At the beginning of 2012, we started seriously doing marketing on the internet. The bulk of what we’re doing goes by the name “inbound marketing“, but is also known as “content marketing” or “permission marketing“. I’d suggest you try it, too. Here’s how & why.
Marketing on the web has had a dramatic effect on our business. In 2011, 10% of our sales were from web searches. In 2012, it was 25%. I expect that in 2013, it will be an even bigger number.
Oh, and our total sales in 2012 were higher than in 2011, so it’s actually even more awesome than the chart suggests.
Although content marketing isn’t free, the cost over the long term is lower than traditional marketing. In large part, this is because of the “evergreen” nature of articles on the internet. Instead of paying money for an ad that people will only see when you pay for it, writing interesting relevant articles has a payoff forever.
We’ve got a few rules that we use in our marketing. Here are the basic principles that guide us.
- Create content your readers would pay for. This is our number one guide. If we’re creating high-quality, informative, valuable articles and videos then the “marketing” we do isn’t spam, it’s actually useful.
- Show why your customers are bad-ass. There’s not a single countertop fabricator who has the ultimate goal of being great at using our software. They want to have growing, profitable, sustainable companies with happy customers and employees. So, we try to explain why our customers are so cool. Occasionally it relates to our scheduling or estimating software, but the focus is the countertop business, not us.
- Distribute where your targets hang out. Sure, we’d love it if everyone was waiting anxiously for the next blog post. But that’s not reality. So, we post links on facebook, the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance forum, and The Fabricator Network.
- Hire good help. I like writing, but I can’t do it all of the time. Many of us at Moraware write occasional articles, but for our blog to be really effective, the schedule needs to be predictable. So, we also rely on folks like Russ at Sites N Solutions to help us with articles about our customers. Having a professional writer means regular, high-quality articles.
Getting Started with Online Marketing
The key to doing this kind of online marketing is to start small. We knew for years that having an online presence would be valuable. But, until we started putting time and money into our website on a regular basis, we only got incremental results.
When we first started near the beginning of this 2012, the goal was to have an article every week. Then it became two articles per week. Then we added videos to some of the blog posts… Now, we’re hoping to add something to our blog every day, while maintaining a high level of quality. We’ll keep you posted.
There have been two unexpected bonuses as a consequence of doing more online marketing.
First, I never imagined how good it feels to be doing something that might help lots of countertop fabricators, for free. I’ve heard from several of our customers and prospects that reading the company profiles on our site is useful.
And finally, because we’ve been open about what we do, and are willing to share the knowledge we’ve gained over the years, we’ve become credible sources of information in our market. For example, I was inspired to write this post after being interviewed for Countertops magazine, about how we do our inbound marketing.
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing and estimating software. JobTracker is job scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.