By Stephen Alberts
Are you still relying on word-of-mouth and referrals to drive new business? Have you dabbled in radio ads, television, or even billboards? Like most, you may have discovered that tracking the return on investment is challenging. These days, if you want to grow your customer base, you should implement a digital marketing strategy. There is a suite of options to target customers online, and guess what? It doesn’t have to break the bank, and it’s highly trackable.
Common digital marketing strategies include advertising on Google, including search ads, which show a link to your website at the top of a search page. You can also leverage display ads on websites your target customers might frequent, like popular news or e-commerce sites. Social media advertising is another great way to get the word out about your business. You can create dedicated advertising campaigns or boost posts to get more visibility for your content.
The beauty of digital advertising is that these ads are highly targeted. You can put a Google ad in front of someone searching “granite countertops in Tampa.” If you’re a fabricator in Tampa, you can pay Google to ensure they find you at the top of their search results. And as long as the clickthrough to your website provides a good user experience, they’ll likely “convert” and engage with you about their next project.
The key advantage is that you can track these types of advertising a lot easier than traditional methods like TV and radio. You can determine if someone goes to your website, how they found you, and more — right down to the moment they pick up the phone and call you. There are a lot of powerful insights into consumer behavior that you can use to attract more customers.
But like any type of advertising, this all comes with a cost. Here’s a breakdown of a digital marketing budget for fabricators and tips on how to prioritize your strategies.
Your Website + SEO
Let’s start with your website. If your website is messy, you don’t want to waste time and money sending traffic to it. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when building your virtual presence:
- Homepage: Include all your important information about your business on your homepage as it’s the most visited page on your site. You want to make sure that anyone visiting your site knows what you do, what you have to offer and how they can get in touch.
- Material offerings: At the Countertop Marketing Co., we work with dozens of fabricators, and we look at the data. We find that granite and quartz pages are the next two pages users visit.
- About, contact, services pages: These pages typically get a lot of visits, so you need these pages on your site, and they need to be easy to find in your site’s navigation. Make sure the user experience is mobile friendly and fast.
- Blog: These are short stories, photo galleries and articles that help your consumer learn about your products, services and more. These help the discoverability of your website, and they convey to your visitors that you are an authority on the subject.
- Budget: A new website can run between $1500-$5000. I recommend the WordPress platform because it’s easy to manage and keep updated. Make sure you own the site after it’s developed, and determine a maintenance plan so that your site stays updated as technology improves.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is an organic way to get you a higher rank in Google on search pages. I say organic in the sense that you’re not paying to get the result, but you’re taking steps to get the same result. It’s imperative that you make sure your website is on the first page of results when someone searches for the products or services you offer. Most people don’t click past the first page of results, so it’s crucial your business appears at the top of the list.
It can be a full-time job to manage SEO for a company. A lot of work goes into it, and it’s constantly evolving. It’s not something you can set and forget like your mom’s slow cooker, which is why most agencies charge a lot to handle this for you. If you have a marketing team in-house, this is learnable and executable, but if not, consider hiring an agency to manage this for you.
Budget: Most marketing agencies charge around $1500-$3000 per month for SEO management. Make sure to ask about their strategy while holding them accountable for results.
Facebook/Instagram Ads + Google Ads
At our agency, we usually start Facebook and Instagram ads for our clients because we can get them up and running quickly while we build their websites. Then we move on to Google Ads because you don’t want to waste marketing dollars funneling traffic from Google Ads to a mediocre website.
Facebook + Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram are beasts when it comes to advertising. People are on social media hanging out. They aren’t necessarily there looking for a countertop, so you will be interrupting them — much like traditional advertising.
But the beauty of social media advertising is that you can place an ad in front of exactly who you want to target. Instead of blanketing a large demographic hoping to reach the right person, you can target potential customers from the beginning based on their likes and dislikes, geographic location, and even their household income or profession.
You can do many types of ads on Facebook and Instagram. What work best for our clients are lead ads. It’s a simple ad promoting a package or sale, encouraging the user to contact you directly on the platform. Leads are around $30-$100 per lead. So for $1000 per month, you can expect about 10-30 leads. It all varies on the time of year, the offer and your market.
Budget: Expect to spend around $1000-$1500 per month on social media ads. For Google Ads, agencies charge about $500-$1000 per month to manage social media ads.
When you run Google Ads, you show up at the top of the search page. If someone searches “countertops near me,” your business appears in one of the top few spots. Then when they click that ad, you pay Google for that click. For fabricators, the Cost Per Click (CPC) is usually around $5 per click. Let’s say you get 100 clicks from Google in a month. Your cost will be $500 (100 x $5 per click).
Buyer beware: A click does not mean a lead! The quality of your website will determine the number of leads you get. You can get anywhere from a 5% to 15% conversion on these clicks. So out of 100 clicks, you might get 5 to 15 leads. Doing the math on that, each lead costs $100. Leads with Google Ads can range from $50-$150 per lead for fabricators.
Therefore, you must figure out your numbers. How many jobs can you close with x number of leads? If it’s low, like 10%, you should be striving to improve that. Maybe you need to improve your follow-up process and contact leads quicker. There could be a lot of variables, but getting your close rate up will make your advertising strategy more successful.
Budget: Most fabricators spend around $1000-$3000 per month on Google Ads. An agency will charge about $500-$1000 per month to manage Google Ad campaigns.
Determining the Budget
Given the budgets outlined above, let’s look at the costs to determine whether you hire an agency or handle the work in-house.
Website development and SEO: $2500 per month
Facebook + Instagram Ads: $1000 per month
Google Ads: $1500 per month
Total annual budget (agency): $5000 per month including ad spend + agency fees = $60,000
Total annual budget (in-house): $2500 per month in ad spend + $30,000-$60,000 employee salary = $60,000-$90,000
No matter what advertising you do, it’s essential to know your numbers and track your progress. Make sure you monitor all leads, your marketing spends, and how many countertop projects you are closing as a result of your efforts. Periodically review your marketing plan, lean in to what’s working, and pivot away from what isn’t.
About the Author
Stephen Alberts is the owner of the Countertop Marketing Co., which specializes in helping countertop companies grow the retail side of their business outside of word-of-mouth and referrals. To learn more and book a free strategy session, visit countertopmarketingco.com or contact Stephen at steve@countertop marketingco.com.