A good foundation is the key to a lasting building. And using the right materials on top of that foundation adds to its longevity. The same is true of building an effective and lasting marketing strategy.
Jack Jostes owns a digital marketing agency that helps the landscaping industry make a splash. I created a graphic from his book, Get Found Online – The Local Business Owner’s Guide to Digital Marketing. I’ve been through the book a couple of times, and it has excellent information.
These days I’m talking with a lot of people in the wood industry. Many of them deal solely with local marketing (though some ship nationwide). The Pyramid of Local Online Marketing is a fantastic way to prioritize your marketing, which is building upon a solid foundation.
The following is my perspective on the pyramid of marketing for the wood industry, though it can translate to other local businesses too.
Branding & Messaging
Branding and messaging tell your story: who you are – what you do – where you do it – who you do it for – why you do it.
Most people think branding is solely the graphical part, but it’s also your message, and how you communicate it.
To me, messaging is equally important. It is woven into every page of your website, email newsletters, and social media posts. It’s not sell, sell, sell. It’s telling your story.
The foundation for branding and messaging is figuring out who you are, and what’s unique about what you create. What’s your niche?
Here are aspects of branding and messaging:
- Logo: Have a logo professionally designed with the right colors and images.
- Elevator speech: If you have 20 seconds with a person, how would you succinctly describe your business? Cutaway extraneous words and get to the essence of your company.
- Core values: What values do you and your employees work from? This inspires your customers. Jack does an excellent job with his company and its core values. I especially like the one, “Be Human & Pick Up the Damn Phone.”
- About Us: This webpage tells your story in long-form. You can also use it in the bio of your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
You need a site that converts visitors to leads. This is where you will be sending people from your marketing efforts. It’s the words, graphics, and photos that communicate your brand.
Foundational thoughts about websites:
- Have a good structure to your homepage: Start telling your story and give visitors general information to inspire them to reach out to you.
- Clearly communicate your services: Assume your visitors don’t know anything about your services and give them a good reason to call.
- Good Calls to Action throughout: Tell people why and how they should contact you.
- Install tracking: Tracking lets you see how people get to your site, and what they are doing once they get there. Google Analytics is the main player here.
Your database is one of your most valuable assets. Start with your current and former customers. Include people in your database that you gave quotes, even if they didn’t buy from you. Have an email sign-up on your website and social media accounts, if possible. This will keep you at the front of their minds for future projects or to recommend you to the people in their world.
- Gather all your contacts in one place: You can do it on an Excel spreadsheet or a good CRM. For those in the wood industry, Acres of Timber has a great CRM specific to the industry.
- Set up an account with a good email service provider: I use MailChimp, and it is free for under 2,000 recipients and less than 5,000 sends per month. It’s simple and quick to use.
- Automate adding contacts to your database: Set up a subscription form on your website and social media. Add people to your database who email you or you meet in person. MailChimp even has automation where it pulls contacts from QuickBooks and other billing systems.
- Develop an editorial calendar: Schedule the information you want to send and when you want to do it.
- Make it a practice to send out a newsletter every 1-2 months: Use pictures of projects you’ve completed, any specials you might have, and even a blog post you think people would find interesting.
You want to show up in the search engines when someone is searching for someone like you, and there are certain things you need to do to be successful.
- Optimize for the search engines: Implement keywords into your pages and blog posts. This is normally best done by professionals.
- Set up a Google Business Profile: If you haven’t already, claim your business, fill out all the information, and include photos. Regularly create posts and add photos.
- Get links and citations: Links have always been an important factor in search engine ranking. Citations are places usually created from directories and are important for local rankings. I like using a service called BrightLocal for local citations.
- Ask for reviews: Whenever you sell something or build something for someone, ask them to do a review for you. These add up and will put you way ahead of your competition.
Find out where your customers are on social media and then go after them. Develop an organic strategy of things to write and show. Gary Vanyerchuk says, “Document. Don’t create.” Experiment with video. You can make it simple with pictures and music without feeling like you must get in front of the camera.
- Concentrate on one or two different social media outlets: Doing more than that can spread you too thin.
- Use your personality: You can learn things from other content creators, but be genuine and interesting in what you post.
- Contribute regularly: This can be 5-6 times a day or 5-6 times a week. But do something. And then interact with people as much as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to reuse posts: Most people haven’t already seen your posts, especially new followers.
Once you have built a foundation in these other areas, you can start paying to get more followers and leads. Make sure your website is in good shape and is converting visitors to leads. The beauty of paid ads is that you can turn them on and off depending on how busy you are.
- Facebook Ads: you can try boosting ads to get more visibility and branding, and then move into lead generation ads.
- Google Ads: figure out a niche and start experimenting. Start with a small budget to figure out what keywords people are using to convert to leads. Make sure your Google Ads account is connected with your Google Analytics.
That’s it for now. Look again at the graphic above, and identify where you need to see improvement. Don’t be afraid to invest in professional help. If you can’t afford that right now, ask for help from a trusted friend or trade out services. Just get the help you need and make sure you’re building a good base, so the rest of your marketing is successful.