Posts tagged #Online Marketing

Finding a Balance With Time Management

One of the hardest things we deal with as a two man small business is time management. Especially since the recent purchase of our new CNC plasma table, with the goal of growing the business, our time is split between many things. Learning a new system, a new way of doing what you've done for over twenty years can be daunting and many things will sadly be neglected in that ongoing process. For my father and I, especially me, it has been keeping up with many responsibilities in regards to the website and social media.

We have recently hired someone to take-on the marketing aspects of the business, but that also requires attention on a daily basis. With more traffic to the website and orders coming through the door, there is more that must be done to be available for our customers. We want to make sure that our customers are finding us online and that we accommodate them, no matter how small the order. Therefore dialing in our search results to make sure keywords etc. are up to date is on my mind constantly, creating more work and time to make sure things are running smooth.

Keeping up with Twitter and Google+ have become a challenge because of the extra work established by our new machinery. I have neglected much of these responsibilities for over a month, which does not help people engage you looking for your services. It's called social media for a specific reasons. Organizing myself down the road will help me to make sure I am on top of everything. At this point we can't afford to pay for more help, so it falls on my father and I to get things done.

No one said building a business was easy and I am learning quickly that time management will become one of the best things I can learn going forward. No matter how small your company is, look into time management and how it can help you balance your time and goals.


Should We Start a Facebook Business Page?

I have been pretty open regarding my hatred and questions about Facebook. We have never had a Facebook business page; I deleted my personal account over a year ago and have never felt more free. But...

Now that our company is working diligently on marketing the business, latching onto the power of the web and social media, I may be having a change of heart. Is it time for us to start a Facebook business page?

I openly despise, throwing barbs whenever I can, everything that is Facebook. The incessant baby bumps and people who I've talked to once pretending to be my bestee. However, my hypocritical juices are flowing, not wanting to miss out on any opportunity to help promote our business. Should I really let some, let's be honest, minor personal problems deny our business of opportunities?

These strong feelings I portend to have about Facebook over the last year and a half are all for naught if I decide to start a page. Seems pretty weak of me to cave on something not so important in the grand position of personal and business stances. However, we're not talking about abortion or gun control here. I a flip-flopper?

Or does it not matter in the grand scheme of business and promoting the brand? After all, this is a personal position, ultimately hurting no one in the process. The caveat being that the company consists of my father and I only, with my dad not really caring or able to deal with any of the online promotion. Hence, much of what I put out there is very personal.

I try to use this blog as a billboard, company news site and sounding board for my thoughts and questions. The Facebook thing has been riling me for months since we started a concerted marketing effort via Adwords and now with the announcement of graph search earlier this month, I'm even more confused. Clearly, this is something I have strong issues with, but am I hurting the business in the process?

Any suggestions in our comments section or twitter regarding whether or not a Facebook business page is a must would be greatly appreciated.


Someone Has a New Vanity Short

Over the last few days you may have noticed that many of our Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin links had a little more K & E panache than ever before. Well, your sharp eye could not be more accurate. Friday I decided to invest in a new short domain for all of our social media short links with the intent of helping to grow our brand as much as possible. For a $40 yearly investment I secured as our new vanity short link. Therefore, when you're perusing our social media pages and see our new link, you can trust that you will be led to our website or a trusted article sent out by my father or I. Who am I kidding...I would be the only one sending anything out :)

My nightly reading has focused more on branding the business and making sure that our web presence is as consistent as possible. The short link is just another step in that direction. We may be just a tiny local HVAC sheet metal fabrication shop in the physical world. However, with the internet, we can be as big as we wanna be, spreading our wings and finding new business wherever it is hiding.

Walking that same line we must keep in mind not to over extend ourselves, losing focus on finding new business and keeping our new investment running at all times. Marketing the business is new territory, so we must keeep things in perspective and not spread ourselves too thin.


To Market or Not To Market?

That is the question. What do you do when your budget is consistently prefaced with the same moniker as your category of business...micro.

For 20 years our company has been void of any kind of marketing with the exception of the age old, word of mouth. Where satisfied customers roar from the hilltops of the family barbecue, regaling their guests with stories of how great an experience they had with K & E Sheet Metal.

O.k...enough with the melodrama. However, word of mouth can be that powerful if your work ethic and quality of product can back it up.

Sometimes though, like the last few years has taught us, things can slow down very fast and like African Elephants in drought, we search the desolate lands to quench our growing thirst. That's when smaller companies like ours can suffer a slow and painful death, lacking the working capital to increase things like a marketing budget to help us find those stingy springs of profitable water.

So today when I received a call from a nice, well spoken young gentlemen I withdrew from my usual speech of no thank you and listened. He was looking for the marketing department of our little company and with a chuckle I remarked that he must have found them because I'm the only one here; the other possible choice was on a job site. He got to the point, explaining his general company function, words meandering through very professional--but unnecessary--sounding lines of this and that. All he really needed to say was niche SEO.

Not surprisingly, these are the majority of sales calls that get thrown our way recently. The days of trying to sell me the commodity or equipment I use to make a living seems to have gone by the wayside, online is king. That doesn't mean I don't receive calls from the former, they're just the minority in the monthly phone log.

My problem and dilemma is focused on the immense scope of online marketing, when K & E Sheet Metal can only realistically serve a 50 mile radius. This doesn't mean we don't understand the importance of a web presence, but is it the best choice for us. We love technology and the ease it brings to everyday life and business, but can our micro business thrive by focusing marketing dollars on the web.

In regards to this blog and getting the word out about what we do, the answer would probably be yes. Who doesn't love traffic to their website? However, this isn't exactly saucy women in thongs, posing erotically with sheet metal tools--although maybe it should be--so clicks will be at a premium.

When it comes to gaining and keeping new local customers, I'm not exactly sure which would be the best avenue. Newspapers, especially in this town, have drastically declined in readership, putting a big dent into who's eyeballs will see what services we can provide. Young people read the web, searching for what they need when renovating a house or office building, not the newspaper. Hence my dilemma. For now, I'm not sure how many of these iPhone wielding youngsters are searching in the Glens Falls, NY area for HVAC sheet metal fabricators. This is where I start to lean toward no when thinking of an online marketing budget.

Nevertheless, I will meet with this particular marketing company and see what they have to offer. They are local and willing to make the trip up this way to visit the fabrication shop. That says something and is a giant step up from most of the cold calls we receive on a weekly basis. Can they convince me that slapping down cash for online SEO marketing is the way to go? That is the ultimate question.


Posted on September 20, 2012 and filed under Marketing, Micro-Business.