It’s important for vending companies to understand a breakroom customer’s journey. Why? Because it is the key to attracting new business, matching a buyer with the right breakroom services, and closing a deal that will satisfy your customer for years to come.
If you’re looking to grow your breakroom services client list, try our 3 step process for success in the customer journey.
Step 1: Be Where Your Customers Are
Ask yourself this question: if an office or facility manager runs a Google search for ‘vending services near me,’ will they find your business? And if it does appear, where is it on the page?
Ideally, your vending business is a top result on the first page. That way all potential customers see it. But how does it get there? A great vending marketing plan is a good start.
However, there is more to effective vending marketing than just being seen on Google. Publishing blogs and articles will help reinforce your vending industry expertise and establish your company as a service leader. In addition, strong social media posts will help you establish a personal connection with potential buyers. It will also ensure you are top-of-mind to those looking for vending services.
Step 2: Anticipate (and Answer) Your Customer’s Questions
Over 90% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers conduct research online and the most popular resource is a supplier’s website. Does your vending website give potential customers the information they need? Many office and facility managers complain of a significant gap between the questions they have and what breakroom service providers share on their websites. Therefore, to win new business, you must provide potential clients with a website that is easy to navigate and filled with the information they want. It can really help to enlist a digital marketing specialist who knows what drives buyers and how to showcase your breakroom services to match.
Step 3: Bring It All Together to Seal the Deal
Once you have the attention of your potential breakroom service customer, then what? How do you prove that you are the best choice so they reach out and ultimately sign a contract? The answer is ensuring everything comes together online to provide a great user experience. From powerful SEO to engaging content to lead capturing technologies, a full-circle approach is needed to showcase your business, interest buyers, and capture leads. When your outreach is seamless, informative, engaging, and complete, then it’s easy to close the sale.
Ready to enhance your vending marketing to impress customers? VendCentral is dedicated to assisting breakroom service providers with vending marketing, including enriching the customer’s journey. Contact us for help navigating online marketing and creating strong business leads.read more
Five years ago, we shared the philosophy of Karmic Management and how it influenced VendCentral’s team and business approach. Our founder, Neil Swindale, connected with the concept when he first read the book Karmic Management many years prior and its principles continue to shape the way our company operates and grows. Today, the idea of good karma is still one of the cornerstones of our vending marketing agency. Here are some of the biggest ways it is impacting our own people and our relationships with clients.
Do for Others
We believe in putting out into the world what we hope to get back. Because of that, VendCentral nurtures an honest and ethical team with a strong desire to do for others. We know it is just as much our people as our business practices that turn new customers into long-term clients. We aim to foster a supportive community within the vending industry and to lend a hand to hardworking breakroom operators, whether they are our clients or not. To us, it’s just as important as hitting profit goals. In our practice of doing for others, we have been fortunate to gain valuable friends and business relationships in the vending industry and grow our revenues.
Build the Connection
Our relationships with our clients are just that: relationships. And, we know a great relationship can’t result from two people just doing their own thing. We invest in building a connection with our clients that generates positive energy for us both. The foundation of that relationship is communication, collaboration, and respect. Through it, we gain a deeper understanding of our client’s business goals. For those relationships to be strong long-term, VendCentral invests in learning, growing, and adapting to our client’s changing needs. It has allowed us to exceed our client’s expectations as they evolve.
Be Comfortable with Change
Growing a small business is the result of being open and responsive to change all of the time. And in the world of digital marketing things are changing all of the time too. Our mindset is to view change as an opportunity, even when it’s hard. Change, in itself, is the constant we can always count on in the vending industry, in digital marketing, and in our own lives as well.
Live (and work) with Purpose
Personally, and professionally, we believe life is much fuller when we live it with purpose. Our purpose at VendCentral is to use our talents to help vending operators succeed online. Through authentic customer engagement, we drive new businesses to increase their sales and profits. For us, it means more than building vending websites or developing marketing programs. It means helping family-run operators thrive. It means secure jobs for route drivers. It means spreading the word on what better breakroom services can do for employees and communities across the nation. It means spreading good karma.
VendCentral is laser-focused on supporting the vending industry. To discover how our marketing programs can help you achieve your sales goals contact us or call (866) 699-8363.read more
For vending operators, developing an effective marketing plan can be overwhelming. That is why your vending marketing plan should start with a solid marketing strategy first. A marketing strategy is a foundation for any successful marketing plan. If you have not created a marketing strategy yet, useful tips can be found in our last article. If you are satisfied you have a great marketing strategy in place then let’s start discussing how to turn that strategy into action. That, in essence, is your marketing plan. Here are some things to consider:
The majority of a vending company’s marketing is now done online. It is important to remember that consistency is key. As you execute your marketing plan over multiple platforms be consistent in your brand look and messaging. Also, develop and maintain a consistent schedule with your content creation. And finally, ensure your marketing content is consistently supporting your marketing strategy.
Your vending website is one of the biggest components of your online brand and marketing plan so it’s a good idea to start here first. Remember when you detailed your company’s mission and goals during your marketing strategy development? Your vending website should support them. It should also clearly show how your vending business differentiates itself from your competitors. If your website is outdated, it may be time to refresh your image to get off to a good start. Websites that are difficult to navigate or hard to read on mobile devices will lose your audience fast. Consider a website health check to see if a refresh is in order. A website refresh may also give you the opportunity to breathe new life into your company logo, brand colors, font styles, etc. These factors all contribute to your company’s brand image and personality online.
Remember, keeping your website updated and growing is an important part of your marketing plan. Add web pages to support new products, brands, or services. Consider publishing blogs to stay on top of new and trending topics. Your new content will continue to improve SEO performance, especially if it contains keywords potential clients might use to find you.
Social Media Content
In addition to your website, social media plays a huge role in vending marketing. If you’re happy with your website branding, terrific! Keep a consistent look on social media by using the same fonts, colors, taglines, etc. This will reinforce your brand image across your social media platforms.
What social media channels are your potential customers visiting? Are facility managers reading news feeds on LinkedIn? Do breakroom service providers read Google Business Reviews? You bet they are. Your marketing plan should include a social media posting schedule across these multiple platforms. This will help your company stay relevant and top of mind for current and potential customers. Don’t forget to use social media as a tool to direct potential and existing customers back to your website to learn more about you.
No matter where you are posting your marketing content, your messaging should reinforce the goals established in your original marketing strategy. Include content that helps potential customers learn more about your business and the team that makes it thrive. Dive into important industry trends to reinforce your company’s expertise. Share customer reviews to show how you are helping customers improve their employee breakrooms – and even show off some of your incredible breakroom installs. Marketing content like this will help tell customers how you are different than your competitors.
For your vending marketing plan to work, someone must build it and oversee it. This person, or team, will create a schedule for website growth, blogs, and social media posts. They will likely compliment it with email campaigns, print, grassroots marketing efforts, and more. They will also review key performance indicators to make sure your marketing plan is working. If no one can take on these responsibilities internally, consider outsourcing to a reputable marketing firm that specializes in vending marketing.
At VendCentral, we are dedicated to the vending industry and marketing to bring our clients new breakroom customers. To get a marketing plan started today, contact us online or call (866) 699-8363.read more
Many vending business owners jump into marketing with social media posts and blogs to reach potential customers. Indeed, these are part of any good marketing plan. However, to get results, vending marketing needs to be supported first by a strategy behind the posts and blogs. Then you can work out a detailed plan of what and when to post.
Did you define your vending marketing strategy before jumping in? If not, keep reading. Here are some marketing strategy basics to ensure your marketing succeeds.
Marketing strategy vs. marketing plan
While often used interchangeably, a marketing strategy and marketing plan are very different. A marketing strategy is the why. It explains how your marketing will help you achieve your company’s mission and goals. Plus, it outlines what you will market, who you will market to, and how you intend to communicate your message. Finally, it should consider your competitors and how you will set your breakroom business apart.
In contrast, a marketing plan takes your marketing strategy and puts it into practice. It is how you will execute the strategy. For instance, your social media post schedule, your blog topics, and the associated performance metrics.
Steps for a strong vending marketing strategy
A well-defined marketing strategy supports your company’s mission and vision. Follow these steps to ensure yours is complete:
1. Lay the groundwork
Begin the vending market strategy process with a summary of your company. For example, how it started and the values that drive your business. It is also important to include what you wish to accomplish with your marketing efforts. Are you looking to obtain new business? Do you want to show existing customers you do more than vending? How can your marketing efforts help you achieve your goals?
2. Understand your market
Next, outline the key factors and trends happening in the breakroom industry and in your particular service area. Are micro-markets the “go-to” in your area? Are locations asking for ways to lure employees back to the office? Check industry sources, local news, and LinkedIn for some insights.
3. Detail your offering
At a high level, list the types of products and services your vending marketing should focus on. This is going to be directly related to the market trends you identified in the previous step.
4. Define your audience
In order to develop an effective vending marketing strategy, you need to know who to target. Therefore, you should create a clear description of your ideal vending or breakroom service customer. What type of business is it? How many employees are on-site? Who is your contact, the facility manager or the human resource manager? How can you get your marketing message in front of this person?
5. Describe your message
Now that you have identified your target audience, what do you want to say? Use what you came up with for overall breakroom trends, which products/services you want to target, and who your ideal customer is to solidify your message. Does it revolve around hassle-free service? Or, perhaps it highlights the advantages of superior coffee equipment? Maybe it’s showcasing your environmental stewardship through sustainable practices?
6. Analyze your competition
In marketing as in most aspects of business, it is important to look not only at yourself but your competitors. For instance, how is your vending company unique or better than others? How will your marketing plan accentuate these differences?
Don’t forget, you don’t have to come up with your marketing strategy alone. A digital marketing agency can assist you in developing and solidifying a vending marketing strategy that works.
A marketing strategy is just the beginning
Once you have all the elements of a marketing strategy complete, you can take that framework and build a marketing plan. Don’t be tempted to skip the strategy, however. It is worth the time. Starting with the support of a strategy will ensure you make the most of your vending marketing investment, keep your message on target, and reach your goals.
Ready to solidify your strategy? VendCentral can assist you in defining one that works. For a free consultation, contact us by email or at ((866) 699-8363.read more
Podcasts have seen tremendous growth. Forbes reports that in 2021, there were 116 million people listening to podcasts monthly. That number shows signs of going even higher in 2022.
Can vending operators use podcasts to boost business? Yes! Read on to learn more about using podcasts in your vending marketing.
Why people listen
There are many reasons podcasts are increasing in popularity. One reason is screen fatigue. Starting in 2020 (Covid19), people began spending more hours on screens. This includes working remotely, streaming content before and after work, as well as scrolling through social media. It’s nice to have a break. Yet, people still want to be tuned in to what’s happening and be entertained. That is where podcasts come in.
As an audio-only medium, podcasts are the perfect choice for making the most of leisure or errand time. More than half (52%) of listeners are tuning into podcasts while doing things at home, according to The Infinite Dial 2017. Another quarter is listening to podcasts on the go, from commuting via car to walking around on foot. The versatility of when and where people can listen to podcasts is part of what makes them so attractive. Plus, there is a podcast on nearly every subject. You can listen to one to boost professional development, be entertained, or explore a hobby. This variety in topics adds to podcasts’ overall appeal.
What to podcast
So how does a vending company break into the world of podcasts? A great way to start is by taking the digital content you already have and repurposing it for a podcast audience. Use the pages of your own website for inspiration. You could expand upon your origin story, company mission, and/or vision for the future in a podcast (all from your About Us page).
Another podcast idea is to discuss what’s new and trending in breakroom services. You might start by interviewing your employees. For example, what is it like to be a route driver in 2022? How have workplaces in your area changed in the past few years? Or, perhaps you would rather discuss how breakroom service technology is changing. You could report on the new services and hardware available along with how it benefits your vending customers and their employees. The sky is the limit on vending podcast topics. Try innovative food and beverage products, shifts in the way today’s workers are snacking, or anything that informs and educates listeners.
Get help from a host
When creating a podcast, a good host is invaluable. They can help guide the listener through the episode, add a level of professionalism to the finished product, and help you get your podcast published. Our talented friend, Cecil LeDesma, is an expert podcaster and can help you explore and create podcasts about a variety of topics that you or your business feel passionate about.
Podcasts are outside the box
Podcasts are not going away. Buzzsprout reports projections that listeners will exceed 160 million by 2024. This is a big reason for you to consider a podcast to market your vending business. It can help boost your brand and solidify your place as an expert. Most of all, it will reach an audience that could be potential clients.
There’s help along the way. VendCentral has been assisting breakroom service providers with vending marketing for decades. We can help you navigate the online marketing world to create strong business leads. Call (866) 699-8363 or email today.read more
Your website’s About Us page is the place to share your vending company’s story. Why is that important? Because a good story can sell your vending services to customers. In particular, you want prospective breakroom customers to feel good about hiring you and buying your breakroom products.
An impactful About Us page will showcase the unique attributes of your vending business. It should have personality and represent your company’s values. The text should inspire confidence in the services you are offering. The page should resonate with the reader and make them feel good about entering into a business relationship with you. For many vending services companies, achieving the right tone and content can be difficult. Fear not. Vendcentral can help. Read on for our best About Us page tips.
The About Us needs a beginning
Start your About Us page with how and why your vending business began. Was it a family business now in the third generation? Did your vending services company grow out of a different business? Was it first started out of a desire to fulfill a specific customer or community need? Whatever the origin of your vending business story, let it be front and center.
What makes you special
Part of a good About Us page is its uniqueness. Therefore, include what makes your vending services company different from your competitor. Is it the diverse group of people that contribute to your team? Is it the family environment you create in your workplace? Have members of your company been recognized for their contributions to the vending industry? Perhaps it is your unique relationship with local providers. Put whatever makes your company different here.
Another About Us page must is stating your company values. What mantras do your employees embrace? Is it customer service, attention to detail, hard work, quick solutions, or integrity? Mention them. Aim for 3 to 5, not a long list that captures every value in the dictionary. Why? Because a long list will ring false. Plus, you don’t need all of them. Let’s say someone sees a company that promotes Family Values, Integrity, and Grit. That person doesn’t assume there won’t be good customer service because it wasn’t mentioned.
Why you are a great place to work
It’s not just decision-makers who read About Us pages. Potential employees do too! The About Us page will show them what your company stands for, how you care for your employees, and what your business culture is like. A well-crafted About Us page can make your company very attractive to valuable new talent.
Personal, yet professional tone
Finding the right tone can be difficult. In vending marketing, it is important to be friendly and upbeat, yet professional. Aim for positive stories and avoid too much vending or business jargon on this page.
Short and sweet
It can be difficult to determine which details to include on the About Us page. This is especially true if your company has been in business for many years. Your company’s milestones may help guide your way. Highlight important company growth and acquisitions and the people and passions that make your company thrive. Your goal is to make it a cohesive and well-rounded story.
Community and volunteer endeavors
People will like to hear how your company gives back to your community. Include community support and volunteer efforts, whether it is initiatives your company takes on as a whole or individual pursuits by your employees. These can be supported with pictures to bring an extra special touch to your page.
Tell the occasional anecdote
As you consider what should be on your About Us page, make sure to include anecdotes. Short, humorous stories or personal reflections from your team will stick in people’s minds. This will make your vending services company more real and memorable.
It might surprise you how many people visit the About Us page. Because of its popularity and importance, we consider it an essential part of a great vending website! Have a few people read your About Us page before publishing it be sure it flows well, is free of errors, and properly reflects your company and your team. If you want help creating a vending website with a great About Us page contact VendCentral. We build vending websites that generate leads and impress customers!read more
Hungry for new vending clients? Focused on retaining current customers? Consider your level of personalization online. Have you gone beyond the basics – logo, brand colors, and website? Those are all critical first steps. However, to elevate your vending marketing, you need to personalize it. Why? Because that is the key to bringing in more business and keeping the business you already have.
Ready to learn how you can use personalization? With this intention, keep reading.
Breaking down personalization
Personalization is a long word that simply means showing who you are online. Websites full of stock art look great. However, they are generic. That’s purposeful, as stock art companies sell stock art, not vending art. Therefore, the photos don’t show your specific vending services. Nor does stock art showcase your employees or brand. Using only stock art can cause you to blend in with other vending businesses in your area that also use stock art. As a result, facility managers and human resource managers won’t differentiate your company from your competitor. Personalization in your vending marketing can change that.
Remember the saying, a picture is worth a 1,000 words? It’s still true, even with online vending marketing. Therefore, to personalize your vending business online, you must focus on photos. Consider the services you offer. Do they include office coffee service? What about water filtration service? How about that micro-market service you’re growing? You will want photos of all of these. Photos that show your coffee brewers, your branded vending machines, and your specific micro-market fixtures. Furthermore, it is important to showcase your employees in these photos. To do that, snap of photo of them installing equipment at a friendly customer location. Another way to include employees is to take pictures at corporate events or run a featured employee each month. As a bonus, these photos are great to personalize your social media and often get shared by the employees themselves.
With a smartphone in nearly every pocket, getting photos is easy. Nevertheless, consider hiring a professional photographer for a day. A professional will consider lighting, background, and composition. The result will be a personalized photograph that is professional and rivals stock art.
Don’t forget other areas of personalization
Photos are not the only area a vending services business can personalize. For example, social media is an ideal platform to add personalization. You might want to do a short video showing a new location install. Alternatively, you may want to repost a community event you took part in. The most important thing is to keep the content personal, not general. In this way, you will set yourself apart from competitors.
Personalization can also mean seasonal promotions. Put together a promotions calendar. Then create PDFs or images with the specific products you want to sell. These can be put on your website, social media feeds, and even micro-market kiosks. Promotions are a way to be unique in your service area and increase sales.
In the end, personalization can take your vending business to the next level. If you need help getting there, contact VendCentral. We’ll develop a distinctive vending marketing strategy that will bring in new leads and impress existing customers.read more
Having a Google Business Listing is a great first step in vending marketing success. However, if you are only doing the basics, you are missing out on potential business. That’s why we’ve pulled together the 4 essential elements that your vending company needs to maximize your Google Business Listing. Upgrade your listing with:
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
It’s no secret that today’s consumer puts heavy emphasis on reviews. However, it’s not just consumers. Facility Managers, Human Resource Managers, and Decision Makers research refreshment and vending services business online too. Where do they look? Google Business Reviews. Those stars (and comments) come up as soon as they search for your business name. They can show decision-makers that you are as reliable and competent as you say, which will help them choose you for a breakroom services partnership.
Timely Responses & Content
While getting lots of reviews is important, that’s not all. You also need to respond to reviews. Even if the review is 5-star, offer the reviewer a quick thank you. The more personal the thank you sounds, the better. Replying to reviews shows everyone that you appreciate your customers and keep an eye on your image. It can also encourage more people to leave reviews.
We know what you’re thinking. What happens if the review you get is less than 5 stars? The good news is that having a few 4-star reviews, or even a negative review or two, actually makes your listing more credible. No one is perfect, and vending service decision-makers will appreciate the integrity of allowing all types of reviews to show. Having said that, your company must respond to negative reviews. Avoid defensive language and be personal. Ask questions and explain how you did or will fix the issue. You can also direct them to call you to discuss the issue, which takes the issue offline. While it may be offline, visitors to your Google Business Listing will see that you responded quickly and care about your level of service.
Similar to responding to reviews, it’s important to keep your Google Business Listing information updated. Old addresses, logos, and messages from years ago all need to be removed. Ensure your service area is current too. This impacts whether your company shows up when a decision-maker searches for vending “near me.” Keep your company considered for a business partnership by being up-to-date.
Stock photos are beautiful, but anyone exploring your business on Google is looking to find out about you! That means they want to see your location, your employees, and your services in action. Grab some shots at vending and micro-market installations. Add photos from your company events. These real-world photos will show that you take pride in your business, exactly what a company looking for a refreshment services partner wants.
While your Google Business Listing photos should be of your business and services, aim for high quality. The best vending marketing photos are well lit (with daylight), high resolution (even if it’s a smartphone camera), and look appealing. Avoid blurry, grainy, dark photos that don’t showcase the best of your vending business.
Today’s vending marketing pros know that your online image is important. That’s where an optimized Google Business Listing can help. If you need help optimizing your Google Business Listing or improving your online marketing presence, contact VendCentral. We’ll develop a distinctive vending marketing strategy to attract new leads and impress your existing clients.
The refreshment services industry is buzzing about ZippyAssist. The powerful but simple-to-use customer service platform is seeing tremendous growth in the marketplace this year and there is good reason for all the excitement. ZippyAssist can be used from any mobile device and it offers speedy support for customers in unattended environments like micro-markets, vending machines, and office coffee locations. Here we dig into the big reasons why ZippyAssist is receiving a warm welcome from operators in the refreshment services industry.
One of ZippyAssists’ key advantages is how easy it is to issue a refund online through electronic payment systems like Venmo and PayPal. When a customer submits a refund request through their mobile device, a breakroom operator can see and authorize the request right away, with the customer then automatically reimbursed if they choose an online option. Breakroom operators love ZippyAssists’ focus on simplicity and ease-of-use, with the new online refund feature just the latest example of this attention to improving the customer experience. And for customers themselves, having their money refunded without unnecessary hassle and delays is a game-changer.
Calls and emails for customer service issues are drastically reduced when customers shift to ZippyAssist. The ZippyAssist dashboard allows multiple members of an operator’s team to see and manage the service requests submitted. Customer service representatives spend less time receiving and forwarding issues for follow-up. Instead, they can focus on other tasks and become more productive.
Increased Business Intelligence
A key feature of the ZippyAssist platform is its reporting capabilities. Breakroom operators are now able to access information and identify trends in the types of customer service requests submitted. If problems arise more frequently on a particular driver’s route or with a particular customer or piece of equipment those issues can be recognized and resolved more quickly.
Breakroom operators are using ZippyAssist to market themselves above the competition, and they are noticing it instills a higher level of customer confidence from the very start. Operators report that ZippyAssist helps them demonstrate their commitment to superior customer service in a tangible way and allows them close deals with new accounts more quickly. Sales improvements have also been seen with existing customers. Problems are resolved more quickly, missed sales are avoided, and client satisfaction is higher.
For breakroom operators looking to elevate their customer service, save costs, boost sales, and enjoy more productive operations, ZippyAssist is an easy choice. Getting started is simple and the platform can be up and running in a few short weeks. Want to try it out? Click here for a 14-day free trial. Or schedule a quick demo of ZippyAssist to learn more.
Operators and manufacturers are using blogs more and more to connect with customers, display their expertise, promote their breakroom products & equipment, and generate leads.
There are many ways to keep blogs engaging for breakroom customers. But what types of content work well in a blog? Read on to discover ideas for incorporating interesting and relevant blog content into your digital strategy. And stay tuned until the end to learn one of the biggest benefits of creating blogs.
It is easy for breakroom operators to identify frequently asked questions when servicing their clients. Write blogs that can be used as a customer service tool for answering them. Consider sending these blog articles to your clients proactively to show you are in tune with their needs and have resources to help them.
Promote New Products & Brands
Use blogs to let your clients know you are working hard to keep your snack, beverage, and fresh food assortments new and exciting. Blog articles are an interesting way to explore new flavors, brands, and seasonal items.
Explore Breakroom Trends
The refreshment services industry is constantly evolving and there are always new ideas to share. Blogs that identify and elaborate on breakroom trends are a valuable tool for your clients. They can also create opportunities for breakroom service and equipment upgrades.
Breakroom equipment is constantly innovating. Write blogs that provide information on your most popular breakroom equipment – especially gourmet coffee brewers. These articles can help your clients maximize the use of their equipment and be helpful for troubleshooting problems too.
Use blog articles as an outlet for demonstrating your industry knowledge. It will show you stay on top of what is happening in the industry and reinforce your company as a leader in refreshment services.
Blogs are a great way to establish a deeper connection with your clients, build trust, and enhance your company’s brand image. Use these articles to get a little personal. Share your company’s values, highlight outstanding employees, or explain what you are doing to contribute to your community.
There are so many ways blogs can be useful for your breakroom customers. The added benefit? Blogs are one of the best ways to attract new customers and generate leads for your website. Blogs are often rich in industry keywords, improving your company’s SEO and search engine ranking.
Blog articles published to your company’s website remain online far longer than any social media post. This means its content will continue to be helpful to your existing clients and effective in driving new website traffic for years to come.
VendCentral specializes in creating thoughtful and impactful digital marketing content for the refreshment services industry. If you would like to learn more about our marketing programs visit our website or call us at (866)699-8363