Marketing is a crucial tool for any business. For local businesses, this can take many different forms.
In this series, our members discuss traditional, modern and clever ways they have expanded their reach. They also discuss when and how to know if you should limit your reach.
The Digital Marketing Landscape
Brian at Fred’s CarpetsPlus (0:05) says customers tell him they chose his store because of its Yelp rating. Brad of Flack’s Flooring says of successful reach “more and more lately, it’s on the Internet”. Dan Bodamer (0:17) says “Internet marketing is where it’s at…so where I used to spend $3000 a month on business listings with the Yellow Pages, now it’s less than 1000 a month”.
Things aren’t going digital, they are digital. The importance of online advertising is a common and prominent talking among our members. Everyone is online in some form, and digital marketing tends to be more effective and more affordable than virtually any other channel.
Tysen Rovig (9:27) of Billings notes “As far as where we’re headed, social media is extremely important…It’s going to be more valuable”. Digital marketing can also help businesses achieve soft goals. For example, if you gain social media followers by sharing relevant, useful information covering flooring and home improvement, it gives local consumers a reason to follow you even when they aren’t considering new floors. Then, when they, a friend, or a relative need new floors, your store is already top of mind. This is how small businesses build online communities.
Additionally, if your website’s blog posts can draw the attention of local realtors, remodelers or even press, they are more inclined to link to your website from theirs. Gaining relevant website links is one of the most powerful tactics of ranking in search engines. This also sends more traffic from their website to yours. So, they can help your store gain more business even if they do not directly purchase from you.
Mark (10:45) says “An employee of mine, Ryan, has been interacting with Alliance Pro Plus…Our goal is to try and move that forward and, honestly, eliminate our advertising company”. Pro Plus has expanded into Web Pro, SEO Pro and Social Pro. These are services that our own digital marketing team offers to CarpetsPlus COLORTILE members. The services are available at extremely competitive prices and focus exclusively on the flooring industry. You can learn more at adm.allianceflooring.net.
It’s easy to see that with the right approach, digital marketing can be one of the most effective and affordable advertising channels for small businesses.
Despite the success of digital advertising, traditional marketing channels are still relevant. The team at Karen’s Advance Floors (2:15) says they run TV commercials just about all of the time. Don Crumb at Midway (4:32) notes that he has better success advertising on cable TV since it allows him to focus on his specific area. Network stations, he says, can have a 60 – 80 mile reach – so he would be paying to reach areas that he doesn’t serve. Commercials help develop a sense of familiarity when customers walk in and see you or an employee that appeared on TV.
Sid York (3:35) finds success by advertising on a variety of radio stations. That way, he can reach consumers with different styles and preferences – just as his store carries a variety of flooring styles. Sid also mentions his strategy of alternating between TV and radio seasonally. He’s found that consumers spend more time watching TV during the winter, and are often on the go during warmer months.
Just remember, DVRs and streaming apps are allowing more consumers to skip ahead of traditional ads. They may never completely lose value, but you should still consider them as only part of an overall marketing plan.
Coupons and Discounts
Jim Ray (5:53) at Carpetland USA reminds us of the importance of coupons. Many consumers enjoy the feeling of finding an exclusive deal. For some, it even means more bragging rights (another opportunity to raise awareness). By offering coupons and discounts with a specified expiration date, you can reach more of these consumers and invoke a sense of urgency. And by offering exclusive discounts online, you can incentivize more people to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media.
Defining Successful Outreach
Ultimately, successful reach means coordinating your marketing efforts on a variety of channels, unified under a common goal. It’s also important to limit your ads to the specific area you serve. Don’t be afraid to try new avenues and channels as they gain momentum. Even if you aren’t sure of how they work, you can always find someone who can help.
We’re Here to Help!
Do you need help with your outreach efforts? We offer a variety of marketing services to help. Media Pro provides exclusive access to videos, room scenes, brochures and more that can be used for your promotional campaigns. Alliance Digital Marketing also provides additional services to help members build their website, rank it in search engines and reach out on social media. These services are available to all Alliance Flooring members at extremely competitive prices.