Not long ago, placing an ad in the yellow pages was the only marketing decision that a drain cleaner needed to make. The rationale was simple; when a customer had an emergency, they would reach for the yellow pages and pick the first contractor that caught their eye. This logic led to bigger color advertisements as well as company names like AAA-Aardvark designed to dominate the coveted first spot in the drain cleaning section.
Times have definitely changed! In today’s world, a potential customer is more likely using their lone remaining 2001 edition of the yellow pages to prop up the back of their 30-inch, flat-screen computer monitor than to search for your ad. What’s an enterprising drain cleaner to do?
Well, as it turns out, there is no shortage of advice on this subject. As many of you already know, there is a virtual army of independent marketing gurus selling their social media expertise to the plumbing and drain cleaning industry, promising staggering increases in sales and profitability for a mere pittance of commission. Perhaps they’ve already called you…Maybe it was last night during dinner.
I’m not saying that these marketing experts don’t have anything to offer. It’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks, and social media marketing options abound for the small business person in today’s world. You’ve likely heard of Google and Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, all of which promise entry into the online community, where electronic word of mouth is waiting to transform your life.
We think that it’s important to remember that social media is simply an online community of human beings. Like any community that you choose to solicit, the key is having something very compelling to sell. As obvious as this fact is, it is often overlooked in the enthusiasm to incorporate a brand new marketing medium. For that reason, we recommend the following actions prior to taking the social media plunge.
- Create a professional looking website to act as your home base, an attractive place to funnel your leads and profiles.
- Put all of your contact information on your website. Let potential customers know exactly how to reach you.
- Proudly list all company certifications and associations on your website. ..even that award from 1987.
- Plaster your website with photos, backgrounds and qualifications for your employees. Include histories, anecdotes and humorous stories that will help viewers relate to you and your company.
- Provide links to success stories from recent customers on your site, using video if possible. Use this section to let your customers sing your praises and create an emotional link to more potential customers.
- Create a section of your website devoted to “how-to” hints. Post stories and videos designed to help people complete simple do-it-yourself jobs. Emphasize your expertise while giving something of real value.
- Enroll in a contact management system in order to fully utilize the leads generated from your social media exposure.
As you can see, most of these recommendations center on making real and lasting connections with the human beings encountering your business via social media. Relationships, whether forged on Facebook, or face-to-face, have always been the keys to success!
Connect with the Drain Brains