Stone Industry Education, Toronto – part 3 of 3

Aug 2, 2012 | Business

On June 21st, I attended the Marble Institute Stone Industry Education in Toronto, ON. This time there were two keynote speakers and a fabricator forum. As always, I learned a bunch and met a great group of fabricators and suppliers. Here’s part 1 and part 2 of my overview.

After the fabricator forum, Marty Gould of Focalize Now talked about online local marketing for countertop shops.

Before you do anything else, spend 5 minutes dramatically improving your online presence:

  1. Sign up for Google Places
  2. Put descriptive titles on every page of your website
  3. Make your Contact Us info easy to find on every page

Okay, now can read the rest of this post.

Marty gave a great list of the reasons why you should be paying attention to your website (it’s where your customers are looking for you), and specific tips on how to get started. I covered his advice about websites before, but this time he added in much more specific advice about using social media.

Of the key ways that countertop fabricators are exposed to social media is through online business reviews. You have to remember that you’re not in charge – the customer is. And if you’re not monitoring what your customers are saying about your company, you can’t manage it.

So, how do you manage your reputation online?

Publish. Create lots of content that your customers are interested in. Examples include stories and video about your completed jobs, a description of the stone fabrication process, and maybe even tips about care and maintenance of countertops. Or even something as mundane as posting recipes? People who’re looking for recipes are interested in cooking, kitchens, and are probably good contacts to have online.

Push-down. If you’re in business, at some point you will have negative reviews. Nobody’s 100% perfect. If you’re monitoring the web for negative reviews, you’re best off addressing them quickly and honestly. Even if you suspect that a negative review is fake, it’s best to address it as if it were real. However, you’ll want to push down the negative reviews by encouraging positive ones.

Post. Get positive reviews from your customers. You can’t control what they’re going to say about you, but if you’re doing a great job you should explicitly ask them for reviews on sites that matter to you – yelp, Angie’s List, or insiderpages.

As usual the MIA & Stone World education was great, and I feel like the fabricators who didn’t attend really missed out. We’re looking forward to the next one in North Bergen, NJ on September 18th.

Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo lets you draw, estimate, and layout countertops in just minutes. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell stone remnants with fabricators near you.