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A flooring contractor’s marketing selection box for Christmas

In his final column before Christmas, Barry Ashmore presents a ‘selection box’ of subjects
and issues that affect flooring contractors and their marketing today.

I HAVE focused on matters that both affect and benefit flooring contractors as much as they might a large brand or organisation. These include the use of videos in your marketing, the re-discovery of QR codes, faulty website contact forms and website security.

Are you missing out on video marketing? There are four reasons why video is good for your business.

If you are using digital marketing you risk getting left behind if you do not keep up with its constant evolution. Over the last 10 years, one trend that has enjoyed much growth is video, which has fast become the most popular form of content on the internet. Consequently, many more businesses are adding it to their marketing strategy. If you have never tried video marketing, it might well appear intimidating, but the fact is it’s now easier than ever to create an engaging video. Particularly as almost every smartphone comes with an HD camera, and there are many affordable and free editing apps that enable you to make professional looking videos.

Here are four reasons why you should get filming today:

1: Videos increase conversions
Benefit and keyword rich copy, eye catching images and an enticing headline go a long way towards boosting conversions, but it’s also been shown that adding a video to a landing page can improve conversions by over 85%.

Therefore, the next time you finish writing your next piece of website copy, summarise your sales proposition in a short two-to-three-minute video and add it to the top of the page. This way, visitors can get an instant picture of what your page is about and take the next step, while those who want to find out more can scroll down and read as much as they need.

2: Google loves video
If you want to try to make your website rank more highly in Google search, then video is one of the most effective ways to do it. Google understands that many website visitors prefer to watch a short movie about a product than read written content, so it makes sense that they may rank pages that contain video more highly. Looking for proof? How many YouTube instructional videos have you watched to check how to do something?

3: Mobile users like video too
It’s a fact that the number of users accessing the internet on mobiles is growing rapidly. In many sectors, mobile users outnumber those who use a desktop, meaning that majority of people who access your content will do so on a mobile device. You may argue that architects, designers and contractors are more likely to use PCs or laptops in the course of their work, which may be true.
However, when those same people are away from their desks, where do they go for information? To their mobiles.

Creating a ‘mobile-first’ website is key, but if you want to make it even easier for smartphone users you should also turn your content into videos. Videos are easy and quick to use view on the go, which is perfect for those that only have a few minutes while out and about or relaxing at home and browsing the web.

4: Build trust with video
Can you provide testimonials? Testimonials are one of the most positive and powerful ways to gain the trust of your audience. But why leave it at written testimonials? Video removes the barrier between you and the reader, making it feel like you are having a conversation with them, introducing your business and allowing them to see your unique personality. It lets them feel like they know you—and when know people know you they are more likely to do business with you.

Why not get out that camera, share your message, introduce your product or service, and don’t forget to smile.

QR codes took 25 years to become a good idea
Do you use QR codes in your business? QR codes have been around for 25 years, but in terms of marketing they never really took off, despite widespread attempts to popularise them at the time.
After first spotting them on the rears of trucks going up and down the motorway, all those years ago, there are probably all sorts of reasons for their lack of use, but one of these might well be that people did not know how to use them, despite having a code reader in their pocket.

Where they made a comeback was in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when they were printed onto every flow test kit to make it easy to scan the test number into your phone using the QR reader. Since then, I’ve used a QR code to get into concerts, order food in a restaurant, to set up a product guarantee, and to find out exactly where I was on a woodland walk (the small QR code was nailed to a tree). Many TV commercials now show a QR code as a call-to-action.

You may already use QR codes in your business, perhaps for site management, materials inventories, shipping, job control or in many other ways. Which is why now might be the time to reassess how they can be used in your marketing.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Directing customers to a landing page or app
  • Providing a quick check-in
  • Encourage customers or prospects to contact you
  • Receive business or product details
  • View a business location
  • Offer a discount
  • Deliver instructional videos or set-up sheets
  • In print advertising

I’m sure there are many more.

All you need to create a QR code is a website URL for the web page you want to promote using the code and access to one of the free QR code generation websites. One good site is Kaywa, which offers you a ‘static’ free option, or a subscription version, which gives you more reporting data, interaction and flexibility.

Don’t lose business because of your Contact Us form
I sent an enquiry via a website ‘Contact Us’ page to a company – not a flooring contractor – that shall remain nameless.

After receiving an automated reply saying that the enquiry had been safely received and that someone would contact me, I heard nothing. After 48 hours I found a phone number and rang them. I was amazed by their reply.

They told me that if I had not entered a correct ‘reference’ into the contact form then it could have gone anywhere in the company. Or nowhere, as it turned out they hadn’t received it.

Checking the website and the contact form again, it didn’t ask for anything other than my name, email address and a brief message. It did ask me to tick a small box to say it was a ‘real enquiry’.
Despite protesting that this could have been a new business enquiry, the person I spoke to simply gave me a support email address to re-send my message and did not seem particularly bothered. If my interest was other than a support call for a client, I’d have shown them the door right there and then.

The big question here is how much new business could they have lost through missing enquiries sent via the contact form?

The even bigger questions to you are these – have you checked your website contact form lately, who receives the enquiry, and what do they do with it? Please check out your contact form now.
Who manages your website security (SSL) certificate?

‘SSL certificates’ are designed to show data transfer is secure and encrypted and authenticate the identity of a website.

Not that long ago it was exclusively the domain of an e-commerce website to provide SSL certification on important transactional pages such as login or payment details. Today, ‘https’ should be the default across every website.

Does your website domain show https, or simply http? If it’s the latter, then you should make it a priority action.

Many web browsers now clearly let visitors know if a website isn’t secure, and this doesn’t encourage trust; also, it is a fact that SSL-certificated pages have an advantage in SEO (search engine optimisation). In addition, this technology helps your business to meet regulatory standards, by protecting personally identifiable information. And it will not be too long before we see aspects of a website that will only function properly if the site is secure.

SSL technology handles website authentication as well as encryption and certification must be renewed every 13 months. Unfortunately, it’s not automatic and must be done by either you or your developer, for whom it’s a simple task.

Please check two things: a) does your website domain say https or http? b) If it is the latter you really must move on getting your SSL certificate in place, and then agree who has responsibility to keep it current – you or your website developer.

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2023. If you need more information about anything I’ve discussed here, or help with your marketing in general, then please get in touch.
01773 712116
Barry Ashmore is managing director
and co-founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com

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