Digital Marketing 101: Capture Your Customers Online
By Frank Sciarrino
In today’s marketplace, if you’re looking to grow your business or even establish one, you can’t overlook the online opportunity. Your website is an online showroom, open 24/7, and you must treat digital marketing with as much priority as the tools and equipment in your workshop. The internet is a busy place, riddled with queries and questions and potential customers. Every day, there are more than 63,000 searches per second on Google, five billion YouTube videos viewed, 95 million Instagram photos posted, and more than two-thirds of the population access the internet on a mobile device.
The fact of the matter is, your potential customers are shopping online first, investing their time to research materials, designs, installers and more. If you’re not investing in digital marketing, you may be missing out on that powerful digital connection — the conversation starter that brings customers to your door. Your competitors are likely investing in digital marketing and showing up first online when customers are searching. See for yourself; search “granite installer” or “quartz installer,” and what you’ll see in the search results will give you an indication of whether you’re ahead of or behind the competition.
You’re an expert in countertop installation and growing your business with traditional methods, but you don’t need to be an expert at digital marketing to take your business online. There are agencies and freelance digital marketers specializing in your industry, and it’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, you’ll likely realize a return on investment relatively quickly. Here are a few pointers to get you heading in the right direction.
For starters, if your website hasn’t been redesigned in more than three years, it’s outdated and overdue for a facelift. Your digital presence says a lot about you, and an outdated website could be turning off your customers. Is your website responsive, meaning does it dish a good user experience when users are on a mobile device? Remember, more than 60% of your traffic comes from users on mobile. Web developers are continually improving technologies and design, so it’s imperative your website is up to date to ensure a rich user experience by your potential customers. It’s all about making a good impression. Spend the time to find out what it is that’s most important to them. Content is king, and a good website should include various surfaces you provide, images of recent installations, stories about helping customers realize their dream project, and, of course, reviews.
And with a well-planned website comes a robust digital marketing plan. When you’re seeking an agency or expert to build your site, be sure comprehensive digital marketing is among the requirements. Here are some tactics to consider including in a digital marketing plan:
SEO – Search Engine Optimization. It’s one thing to build a website, but it’s an entirely different endeavor to ensure potential customers find you when they’re searching online. Search engines use bots to scan pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information, and creating an index. Then algorithms analyze the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. How your website resonates within this index is the key to ensuring your site is a top result when someone searches for a business like yours.
SEM – Search Engine Marketing. Augmenting. Augmenting SEO is paid search advertising based on specific search terms, like “best granite installer” or “quartz countertop installer near me.” SEM is essential in getting your business on the front page of google while you are using SEO to organically rank. It’s the quickest way to get consumers to find your business when they are shopping for countertops online.
Content. This might sound out of reach, but it is so much easier than you think. Content is pretty much telling stories about your business and expertise, whether in the form of blogs, pictures, videos, or all three — all using powerful keywords and frequent search terms. This content helps to convey the level of service you will provide to new customers. In addition to this content living on your website, it’s tied to your SEO strategy. Remember the scanning bots? The more relevant content you give them to scan — the keywords and search terms — the better you will index.
Customer reviews. You’re proud of the quality of your work, so ask customers to post reviews on your site or third-party sites like Yelp. Additionally, it’ll pay dividends to monitor review sites regularly and engage with customers on those platforms. Comment back and thank them for being great customers. It’s a feel-good opportunity that others will appreciate. And sure, some reviews may not be as positive as you’d like, but how you respond publicly to those can help you win new customers. It’s all about creating integrity in how you do business, that you are customer-focused, in good times and bad. Remember, customers are searching first online before making purchase decisions, and that includes checking out reviews. They want to know the character of the company they plan to welcome into their homes.
Mobile marketing. Mobile marketing is the promotion of products or services via mobile devices. Some examples include mobile advertising through text messages or advertising in apps. However, a comprehensive mobile marketing approach also includes optimizing websites, landing pages, emails and content for an optimal experience. Is your website responsive? Remember, the majority of your customers are searching for you on a mobile device. If the user experience is clunky, they’re likely to move along to the next search result.
Social media marketing. Social media marketing is a key component of digital marketing. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and even YouTube are great ways to reach your customers and build integrity for your business. Campaigns often combine organic efforts with sponsored content and paid advertising promotions.
Email marketing. Email marketing is an effective approach for sending personalized messages that target customers’ needs and interests. It’s a great way to stay top of mind with your consumers and keep them updated on any new products, services or special promotions.
Web analytics. Analytics allow you to track user activity. Capturing and analyzing this data is important because it gives you insights into online customer behavior and their preferences. Where did they come from? How did they find you? Which pages did they click on? How much time did they spend on your site? Where did they go after visiting your site? It’s powerful information that can help you understand what is working and what isn’t. The most widely used tool for analyzing website traffic is Google Analytics.
Digital marketing isn’t a daunting task, but it’s a must-have tool in your arsenal to grow your business. If you’re not investing in digital marketing, you’re already losing out to your competitors.
About the Author
Frank is a third-generation stone fabricator with over 20 years’ experience in the stone industry. Currently, Frank is a managing partner of Quote Countertops and president of Granite Gold Services, Inc. He regularly advises fabricators and marketing companies across the nation to help drive more sales through digital marketing strategy and technology.