SMILE! YOU’RE ON CAMERA
IT’s a new year and for many a time to reflect and plan for the future – particularly in marketing. Many contractors don’t really get to grips with marketing, so getting a bit smarter at it is a great way to overshadow your competitors.
Marketing takes many forms. From detailed analysis of the buying habits of customers, to email marketing, to social media, it all comes under a vast umbrella. However, have you considered how important your project photographs can be in your marketing?
It has long been said that a picture says a thousand words. This is truer today than ever before particularly where online marketing is concerned.
Flooring is a sector where photography can play an important part. Yes, when you design and create a stunning floor, you can take photographs and reflect on a job well done. You only need to look at the pages of CFJ to see how true that is. Do you use those photographs in your marketing?
If so, that’s great. If not, then why not? Here are four areas where using photographs can make a significant contribution to your marketing.
Your website is almost certainly the most effective way to utilise project photographs because there’s so much more benefit to be had than just physically adding a photograph to your site.
Photographs can improve the search qualities of your website in search engines. However, there are rules you must follow.
For example, when you upload a photograph to your website you should give it a proper title, ideally one that includes one of the key words or phrases you want to be ‘found’ for. It’s no longer good enough to call it, say, ‘Image 1’, you must give it a proper SEO friendly name.
In addition, you must also add what’s called an ‘alt-tag’. An alt-tag is a keyword-rich phrase, usually up to 60-120 characters long, which the search engine ‘spiders’ can read. This information, in turn, is fed into the knowledge base Google has built about your website and is used to improve your indexing score.
It’s vital to ensure every photograph carries an alt-tag that relates to the content on the page it appears on. This is because Google regularly collects information about your website, enhancing the searchability of your products and services, and the more background information it can find, the more likely it’ll be your website can be found ahead of your competitors’.
If you go through this simple process every time you upload a new photograph to your website, then you’ll not go far wrong.
Then, over time, you or your website developer should review the images in your website and ensure they carry keyword-rich titles and alt-tags relating to the page they appear on.
Google my business
I’ve previously written about this superb marketing platform in CFJ. This is because a big benefit is that it’s free. What’s more, it offers opportunities to upload and feature photographs of projects you’ve completed to your Google panel.
You can easily upload individual or multiple images into the panel’s photo library, to illustrate a post or an advertisement, or for use within individual product promotion.
Which is why, if you’ve not already done so, you must take control of your Google my Business panel, add your company information and upload your photographs soon.
This is another low-cost marketing opportunity I’m passionate about, so if you’re not using email to promote your business, you should be.
Email marketing gives you a perfect low-cost way to showcase your work. For example, once you have uploaded project photographs to your website, you can embed them within an email containing links to your photo library or a project page on your website.
You can also create your email as a case study, for example, designing it to carry photographs and written copy about a project, explaining what the project was, how you solved problems encountered during the process, and the benefits it delivered to your client once completed.
An e-newsletter could carry two or three different project summaries, each with a photograph, headline, a paragraph of introductory text and a clickable link to the full news story on your website.
StreetwiseSubbie has created email campaigns in this style for some of our buddies and they’ve brought good results.
Here is one example:
The brief: Targeted email marketing for a specialist architectural glazing manufacturer and installer.
This company was already receiving many applications to tender but wanted to focus on ‘better quality’, or rather, ‘better paying’ customers and move away from pricing every enquiry they received.
Strategy: Their existing customer and prospect data was integrated with new architectural practice data supplied and verified by StreetwiseSubbie. This then enabled the company to promote their design and installation service to a new pool of potential customers whose name, address, email address and geographical location had been qualified by phone. An e-newsletter featuring photographs of recent projects was designed and sent out to the newly updated database. Further newsletters featuring latest projects were then emailed on a regular basis.
The result: The company started to receive better quality enquiries and was able to be more selective about the types of contracts it wanted to win and the contractors it worked for, resulting in an improved order book running into the future.
Social media: It’s well known you can post images and text on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but one social media platform dedicated to photography is giving others a run for their money in the B2B sector - Instagram. Owned by Facebook, Instagram can be used to display photographs and videos. It’s increasingly used as a B2B marketing resource, and 71% of B2B marketers reported to be using Instagram as part of their marketing. With its photography and hashtag-driven focus on connecting related subject matter and extending your audience reach, if you’ve a product or service that lends itself to quality photographs, then Instagram is for you.
If you already use Facebook, you can set up Instagram through your Facebook account. Alternatively, you can set it up as a stand-alone platform. However, bear in mind Instagram is a mobile phone platform, rather than something you can use from your PC or laptop.
If you have any questions, or need help with your website, Google my business, email marketing or social media, then please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call our friendly helpline.
Barry is MD and co-founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com which provides business solutions for Specialist Contractors throughout the UK