If you're still using the Yellow Pages as a primary way to promote your business, it's time to make some changes.These days, new customers are more likely to find your company via the Internet or social media than thumbing through a phone directory.
The world of websites, social media and hosted pages has changed the way contractors and their companies do business. But, that doesn't mean you have to be intimidated by the changes.
Start by looking at your company website. This has become the essential "go to" location that defines a company for its customers. Rather than people letting their "fingers do the walking" through the Yellow Pages, potential customers now search the Internet to find companies that meet their requirements. Your website can show those customers that your company can indeed fulfill their needs.
To create or update your website, the basics are actually quite simple. You need good graphics, an easy-to-follow content flow, and a fast way for visitors to connect with you. Two great resources are SimpleSite.com, that helps you set up a website and Cyberindian.com, which offers easy step-by-step guidelines. If you're not comfortable setting up and maintaining a website yourself, look for professional help, a college student intern or other company members for assistance.
After you have a basic website in place, take it a step further and make the website really work for your business. Try these ideas:
- Start a "project brag" tab with images of projects your company has completed. Add in short testimonials from satisfied customers.
- List your services in detail ... along with examples of successful projects completed with each service.
- Update your website monthly with promotions, new products your company has discovered and profiles of your employees. For the product details, ask a company like Mansfield Plumbing for images and information on their newest products and you'll get instant content for your website.
- Post your social media links (to your Facebook page, blog, LinkIn accounts, etc.) prominently on your website.
With a website, once you create it, you're mostly done. Other than monthly updates, a website runs itself. Not so with social media. It's fast-paced and requires a commitment to regular postings to keep your company visible to your many audiences.
Social media can be confusing. There are so many different sites to monitor (and post on) that it can also become time consuming. Your best bet is to learn which social media sites are important to your customers and then post information to those sites.
Many contracting businesses focus on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest (or Houzz) to post their information. What's the benefit of doing this? Think of it as free advertising. Every time you post something about your company, your followers see it. The more valuable content you post, the more your customers are reminded of your company and its services.
There are several tips to growing your business via social media, including:
- Post relevant information at least two to three times a week, so that you keep a strong presence.
- Take time to follow your key customers and potential customers on their social media sites. Then, get engaged and comment on their postings.
- Mention your customers often, so that they know you appreciate them.
- Post videos of your projects. Not cute animal or children videos, but short videos you take on the jobsite or showing how your company solved a problem for a customer.
- Brag a bit. Show off pictures of your most recent projects to educate your followers on your firm's capabilities.
- Engage your audiences. Ask for their opinions, pose questions on social media and encourage followers to add their comments to your posts.
- Repost and share important items that your customers have put on their social media sites.
- Keep it professional. Your company social media postings should relate specifically to your business and the industry.
Lean on product suppliers
If you're concerned about coming up with content on your own for your website and social media postings, lean on your vendors. Product manufacturers and suppliers have an abundance of material they are willing to share with you to make your life easier.
Mansfield Plumbing is a great example. The company manufactures toilets, sinks and tubs and has a large quantity of new product photography and information, videos and technical information you can post on your sites. This cross-exchange of material helps everyone involved and most suppliers are eager to share content with you.
Along with giving you top quality materials to post and share with your audiences, suppliers may also be willing to provide you with a host of customizable materials, write special blogs and content for your company and then feature your company on their sites.The world of social media truly is one of free exchange, so take advantage of materials readily available to populate your sites and make your life easier.
Need more ideas? Forbes offers 25 fast tips that are dedicated to helping you grow your business.
Kathleen S. Ziprik, Public Relations Representative for Mansfield Plumbing. She has been an independent public relations consultant exclusively for building product companies for 20 years.