Posts filed under Website

Let's Give Them Something to Blog About

An interesting question was posed to me over the weekend on Twitter by one of my favorite follows @RayFrith1.

 

Honestly, finding things to blog about is the most challenging thing I do on a weekly basis. I would love to pump out a post daily like some of the best bloggers out there. However, in an industry where much of the information is either too technical or boring, the byproduct of interesting things can be slim. Many HVAC and sheet metal businesses aren't even attempting, which makes it hard for many of us to learn. I am always excited to see others in our same industry giving it a try.

I have started upwards of 10 blogs over the last 6 years or so. All of them were crap because I started them for the wrong reasons. I wasn't focusing on what I knew or was interested in at all, only what I thought would make my blog popular or what would make me money. Basically, a get rich quick scheme. Needless to say, not good reasons to start a blog.

When I started this blog for the company I was writing for an actual purpose, on a subject I have some knowledge in and one that I enjoy, along with an interest in business. All of theses things lead to something that is real and can ultimately be interesting. Nobody wants to read anything that is fake or always trying to sell you something. People want to feel like they are behind the scenes, learning something or following the gossip. These are skills I am still trying to master while I find things to write or post about.

On the other hand this is a business and our ultimate goal is making money, so there will be some marketing and sell in what we do. However, my father and I are humans with all encompassing interests, which lead the direction of the business. The blog is a way for me to hash these things out and help our customers understand who we are and how are business runs on a daily or weekly basis. This can be difficult, but I enjoy writing and posting, which can make the process more enjoyable.

Things are easier to do when you actually enjoy what your creating. That's how I feel about growing the company these days. For the first time in a long while I enjoy going to work, making the business what I always thought it could be. The blog is a way to hash out ideas and display that enjoyment when the inspiration hits. Hopefully what I'm putting out there is relatively interesting to read.

If not, no biggie. I will post stuff anyway.

 

Someone Has a New Vanity Short Link...keshtm.tl

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 keshtm.tl 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 kesheetmetal.com 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.

 

5 Reasons Your Micro-Business Should Have a Linkedin Company Page

Our teeny tiny little company could be the poster child for local, micro, niche business. So why should a company so diminutive in size make it a priority to focus on their Linkedin company page?

Here are five reasons why any micro business should have a presence on Linkedin:

1. Don't Judge a Micro-Business by it's Cover

Nobody really knows the size of your micro-business and most could really care less. The customer wants the job done right, for a good price. That's it, that's the list. They don't care about the number of employees or how colorful your trucks are. Most customers want the project done properly, on time, by good people and priced fairly in accordance with the market.

Your Linkedin company page is a great place to make those connections, to show and promote the products and services that make your company special, no matter how big or small you might be.

Just because Linkedin seems like only a place for big business and financial or law firms, doesn't mean that local, micro-businesses can't flourish and learn from the site. Many business employees on the site and in groups are very gracious with their time and insights about business best practice.

You have knowledge as well, make your voice heard no matter what size company you currently have.

2. Budget Should Not Be an Issue

Anyone running a micro-business knows that sweat equity is the only way to get things done. You have to put in the hours to move the company forward. Yes, budget is a concern, but the internet is a never ending, low cost business tool that every owner should be using. Linkedin company pages should be one place you focus to grow relationships for no dollars.

The page is free.

It's your job to put the time and effort into making it a powerful tool to help grow your micro-business. Believe me, I'm still learning and updating my pages to get our name and what we do out into the world. However, I am the one putting in the time to save the money. No one knows my business better than I do. Don't feel like everything has to be subbed out just because you don't understand it. Not only is the web a powerful business tool, it's also a free education on any subject you choose to learn about.

Learn something new, create these micro-business advantages yourself and save money in the process.

3. Networking is Important for Micro-Business Too

I did not want to believe this a few years ago when our company was struggling to find good partners and contractors who we could trust. My anxieties got in the way, making it difficult to put our company out there, working to find new business connections and innovate at the same time.

Our micro-business is very niche and boring, not on the minds of customers until their furnace quits or a contractor informs them new ductwork is a must. My job is to make sure that not only customers know who we are and what we do, but also business owners who can promote or use our services as well.

Linkedin and Linkedin company pages is 24 hour networking service, finding the business owners in your industry who can help promote your business and find customers, even for micro-business owners. Sometimes the hardest thing is locating good partners and people that can help your business to grow and prosper. Linkedin promotes this process and Linkedin company pages make it easy to inform those connections about what your doing daily.

Good relationships is what keeps our micro-business afloat when times get tough. My father always preached to never burn bridges. I hated the cliche when I started working here 15 years ago, but it's completely true and has worked in our favor more than once over that time period.

4. Keep Your Linkedin Company Page Current

We are still working to update and make our web presence as pleasing to our customers as possible. Again, sweat equity to keep costs down. I do the designing and updating myself of all our pages and the website, making the process slow and tedious, but necessary for our micro-business to flourish in a world moving feverishly toward the web and the cloud.

There is nothing more annoying than searching for a local business and seeing the stock avatar and business name only. We get it, you signed up and have never been back to update, you're too busy. However, this makes any connection via that platform meaningless and worthless for your micro-business or potential networking opportunity. Focus to take any and every business relationship you can get.

Keep those Linkedin company pages current

5. Don't Sell Yourself Short

I struggle with this on a daily basis and it's something a micro-business owner should never do, whether in person or on the web. I'm still working to sell our company properly whether on our Linkedin company page or any other. The thing is, I know we do a great job and it's not egotistical to let our customers and business partners know that.

This doesn't mean telling everybody your company can produce anything under the sun for the cheapest price possible because truth is, that is completely false. You know what your micro-business can do and it's more than likely small scale, but the quality is probably bar none. You know your pricing is good and you do everything you can to make the customer happy. Do what your micro-business does well, to the best of your ability and promote the hell out of it.

Our company makes sheet metal boxes for residential heating and cooling systems. My whole business life that's how I thought of our business. However, those tin boxes have a function and we fabricate each of them custom to the customers needs, locally and at a great price. My job is to make sure people in my community and on the web know this about our company.

My business may be small, but we do fantastic work and care about customers. Our business partners are important to us and making sure we are accessible any way possible and on a budget is key to growing and promoting our micro-business into the future.

This is what you should be focusing on in your business, getting the word out and making connections in your industry and a properly setup Linkedin company page is a great way to start.

 Follow the K & E Sheet Metal Company Page

 

Is Having No Facebook Page Bad For Business?

Is having no Facebook page bad for your small business?

I hate Facebook with a passion I cannot describe in written language. On the other hand, I love my business and realize that trying to get online eyeballs means finding that place where everyone is hanging out the most. Sadly, that place seems to be Facebook.

We are on Twitter and it is my social network of choice, but most use Facebook for everything. The learning curve is lower than Twitter, so more use the site for their main hub. This annoys me, knowing full well that this is the world we live in and my judgment changes nothing. However, we all bitch and moan about something that we can't change. My crutch is hatred of Facebook.

A little history...

I once had a Facebook page. The one that most people have, jamming with asinine banter about who did what and why they're stupid. The kind where daily baby photos--of the same baby--trump the total number of photos taken of me in a lifetime. Oh yeah, and now everyone's parents can see what you do while out on a date, imbibing till blind and ending up on a strangers couch (not a personal experience). They see and ask about these things like they were in the same group of friends. And then there's the trolling.

I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to get out or suffer the consequences. Having no Facebook page has saved my meager brain from complete annihilation.

But can it help my business?

Running a tiny local sheet metal fabrication shop is hard enough. Finding business the old fashion way can work to gain a few customers, but I want to grow the company into the future. I need to concentrate locally, but where the most eyes are looking and that place isn't the local newspaper or radio.

I never read the local newspaper and pay for satellite radio. If I'm thirty-four years old and look online for everything, it seems logical that as time goes by the younger generation is doing the same and they are the ones who will eventually grow my business. They will be buying homes and installing heat and air conditioning. These are the people whom I need to appeal and make it as easy as possible for them to find me...online.

My point being, if the majority of young people find everything on the web and all have a Facebook page, then having no Facebook page will eventually hurt my company if growth is my ultimate goal.

But I really hate Facebook...

This is true. However, stubbornness will not help a growing and evolving business owner. I have to learn to roll with the punches because honey, I would like to actually own a home (sorry for the lyric change Mr. Zevon)

So do I need to give in and start a Facebook business page? Will it garner me the SEO and traffic to help my business get seen on that great internet ocean we dive into everyday?

I must admit I have wrestled with this for months, it's that hard a decision. I deleted my Facebook page years ago and the nightmares of stressful screen time have finally stopped. Is it worth the impending doom?

Will having no Facebook page hurt any online marketing push for my itty bitty business?

I would love any feedback.

Leveraging Our Local Business Web Presence to Grow Customers

I may be a little crazy. Well, maybe not crazy, just stupid. I have been working on our local business web presence and company website for some time now and positive as the experience has been, there are days when it seems like an insurmountable task, relegating me to suffer through for the rest of my life. I'm not a cheapskate when it comes to investing in the business, but I do try not to waste where I can. The company website and our local business web presence is one of these not waste kind of investments due to my love of technology and interest in the internet as a business and marketing tool. I'll be honest, I've had my stint in the make money quick affiliate marketing scene once before, which came to an abrupt, money burning ending. However, I did receive an education on some good practices when it comes to building and running a successful website. By no means am I an expert, but a little SEO, HTML and CSS goes a long way when trying to save money with creation and promotion of a website.

Products_Page_Screenshot

Products_Page_Screenshot

Today I began creating the pages for products we fabricate here at K & E Sheet Metal. Nothing too major, mostly pages with our more common sheet metal fabrication to start. Things like:

The hope is that these new pages will give the customer more of a detailed view of what we are capable of fabricating and also giving the engines like Google and Bing the fuel they need to pop us up when a potential customer searches for, as an example "cold air boot".

One thing I am trying to accomplish as a business owner is figuring out how we can leverage the internet and our website to help be a better functioning local business web presence on a budget. Our overhead is costly, so anywhere we can save is a major benefit.

Even though I wear many hats for this company, they are all important and must be cared for individually. Our main products and company revenue are custom sheet metal boxes and fittings, but there are other ways to find streams of income and having a quality website, where customers can find you easily and become more informed on your products is paramount (imho). This is why I am more focused more than ever on creating a higher quality web space.

Obviously, this comes at a time cost, which is valuable, but will ultimately bring solid growth to our local business web presence and customer base. So I trudge through the dashboard of Wordpress and tap away on the keys trying to find the best wording and content for each page, hoping to bring our new and old customers closer to us on the internet.

The challenge continues...