Maintaining A Stone Industry Online Presence
Running a successful business in the stone fabrication industry takes a lot of work and attention from the owner of the business. And if the business is to gain significant ‘traction’ online, there is even more work involved. Some stone fabricators wonder what goes into maintaining a successful business presence online? There are a number aspects to managing an online presence of any kind. In this post, we will look at some things that stone professionals will need to keep in mind if they are thinking of running a website; particularly one that has a blog. This will help explain how to maintain a stone industry online presence.
A Stone Industry Website Takes Work
The first thing to know about maintaining a website that deals with products in the stone industry is that it will take work to keep it running and producing benefits. Before we get into the work that is needed let’s look at why an online presence can be a great way to promote your stone industry business.
A presence online can help you keep your brand in front of people that might one day become your customer. Although it is only one avenue for achieving this, it is an important method nonetheless. Other channels for keeping your branding in front of the eyes of the public include print, radio, and television advertising. However, these other methods of contact work along with your website to keep the interest of those to whom your company serves as customers. To that end, the work that you put into your ‘online presence’ will be sizable. This is something that stone professionals should know going into this endeavor. But what actually goes into managing an online presence? Let’s take a look.
Parts of Your Fabrication Online Presence
There are a number of parts to your online presence. Some of these parts include the following:
- Social Media
- Periodic Newsletter
These aspects of your stone industry online presence take a great deal of work and time to manage. As a result, you might want to consider hiring an Internet Manager to handle this aspect of your business’s marketing profile. If you do hire someone to care for this however, you should be aware of what they will need to do to effectively care for your online presence. Let’s delve into that now.
Managing A Stone Fabrication Online Presence
What actually goes into managing an online presence? Well, it takes a person that is tech savvy, somewhat knowledgeable about the industry, and somewhat creative. Although, the creativity need not be such that the individual is a graphic artist or interior decorator. It just helps to be able to think about things from a creative perspective as it relates to possibilities.
One aspect of managing an online profile (or presence) is caring for a website. This does not mean that your Internet Manager has to be a computer programmer or web designer, it just means that they need to be savvy in using a computer and websites. There are a number of pre-built platforms on which you can run your website. In fact, one popular one is WordPress. This software is so popular because it allows you as the owner to create your own website pages and upload images for those pages. However, you will need to be aware of how to manage WordPress in a secure manner. The benefits though are numerous; including the fact that this software allows you to have a blog built into your website. This is a key element of gaining traction online. But what are some of the things to look out for while running a WordPress site?
Managing the Community
“Community? What do you mean community?”, You may be wondering. Well, WordPress allows for others to comment on your blog posts. One of the things that can become a challenge is figuring out what method you are going to use to moderate the comments that will come into your website. Additionally, some clever programmers write programs to post comments on websites that allow commenting. They do this in an attempt to promote their own business on your website. Even though commenting on a blog post is not a bad thing in and of itself, your Internet Manager will need to keep an eye on it so that commenters are actually real people and not robots masquerading as people.
Continuous New Unique Content
Another thing that you will need to make sure your Internet Manager is willing and able to do is come up with, write, and promote new and unique content. This takes a number of resources. First, the writer needs to understand the topic. Second, writing skills are necessary. Third, a creativity that allows the writer to come up with angles on the subject that will appeal to the readers (a.k.a. your audience). At first, you may need to educate your Internet Manager on the specifics of your aspect of the stone industry. However, after the initial challenge of understanding the role your business plays, your content author(s) can then begin thinking of new ways to communicate concepts to your audience.
Social Media’s Role
Another aspect of managing an online presence for stone fabrication businesses is creating & keeping up with social media accounts. Having the big three social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) is important to your stone business. Each of these social media channels can be used to accomplish slightly different goals. However, using all three of them effectively with your blog and website can yield some remarkable benefits when it comes to keeping your brand in front of people whom you wish to draw to your business. This again goes back to creativity in how you produce your content. Some other social media tools that could be used to promote your stone fabrication business is Pinterest. Again, creativity is imperative for success.
Maintaining A List of Stone Industry Customers
Another social aspect of keeping your business’s brand in front of potential customers is creating interesting articles for them to read by means of a newsletter. This can be challenging for some to do effectively. However, if your content writers are able to put themselves in the shoes of the audience you are trying to reach it is easier. Knowing what kinds of questions commonly get asked can give you hints about what they might be interested in reading about.
The key is to think about it from the perspective of the reader and pretend what you would want to see if you were in their position. What kinds of ads (if any) would you tolerate? What types of topics would you be open to reading about? Taking this into consideration can help you sort out what kinds of emails to send to your list and how often to send them.
Using Tools To Accomplish Your Goal
Your goal may vary as it relates to how you use your online tools. In the end you want to use the tools we have talked about to cultivate brand awareness. Using the tools together will help you accomplish this task. For example, the following use case might be one that you find effective for building brand awareness.
First, create good content that describes in detail the aspects of your business that are important to your potential customers. Answer common questions that you receive about stone fabrication, installing stone countertops, how to care for natural and engineered stone countertops. When you write your material, don’t just write it to make a sale. Write it in such a way that it will educate the reader on the reasons why things are the way they are. These pages will become your website’s core information. Always include a way for your site visitors to sign up for your newsletter and mailing list.
After you have built out your core website, begin to flesh out your blog by creating categories that have to do with the stone fabrication industry. It does not have to be only about stone. It can also be about design, appliances , and other industries related to your industry. Then regularly write articles and arrange them in those categories. By continuously adding new articles to your blog, you will accomplish a couple of things; one, you will gradually build authority on the subject of fabrication and two, you will be continually making your website relevant to more topics. Over time, you website will begin to rank for more and more phrases and people will begin to find you in a variety of ways.
Creating Stone Related Content
In addition to creating content on your website and blog, you will want to write interesting articles to send out to your email list. If possible you want to archive your articles on your website, although this is not required. When you write articles for your newsletter readers, add links to interesting areas of your website to help your readers find other information they might be interested in.
Utilize your social media accounts to help people find your website. By sculpting your content and linking it together, you will be able to attract visitors form a variety of points in your online profile.
Cascading Your Information
By using the various parts of your stone industry online presence to promote other parts, you allow people to put your business in front of their eyes in many places. So how can you do this? Cascade your online properties. Here is an example: on your Facebook business page, post a link to an article on your blog (which is a section of your website) or an archived newsletter, then post Twitter tweets about the Facebook post and/or the article.
Use your YouTube channel to create informative and/or demonstration videos about your products and then embed the YouTube video into the product page of your website. In your YouTube description place a link to the details page of the product so people do not have to meander through your website to find that exact product. You can even tweet about your YouTube videos. The idea is to be active on social media so other can constantly see your brand. You never know when someone is going to become interested in your stone related business.
Actively Engage Stone Shoppers
The idea of managing your online presence is that you want to continually keep your audience engaged with your brand. Doing this requires active creation of content and interaction. It may feel like it is not working for a very long time, but if you persistently keep your brand in front of people they will grow to know your logo, your brand, and your business. Then when they are ready to begin a stone project, where will they start looking? With the businesses they already know. The question is, will the business they know be yours?