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+Jason Hugo

#13 - Fire Sprinkler Contractors: Top Three Ways to Market Your Business Online

Posted by Jason Hugo on 2/28/2013 to Fire Sprinkler Business Marketing
Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means:  construction season! This time of year is crucial to filling your fire sprinkler business calendar with projects. While each company will take their own approach, more than ever are leveraging the internet to reach customers with new construction or service projects in your area. Here's three simple tactics to start marketing your fire sprinkler company online.

#1 The Search Engine is Your Best Friend, Cozy Up to It 

Pretty much everyone uses a search engine to find information. So its no wonder that when business to business (B2B) buyers are in need of a fire sprinkler system repair or installation, 81% of them start by looking online and over 50% start directly at a search engine.  Ensuring your company is at the top of search results can be the difference between booking new business or not. 

You want to be on the first page, just below the pink box.

 While studies vary, it seems safe to say that the number one search engine result spot (organic results, meaning not paid-for advertising) captures anywhere from 18-35% of all clicks for a particular keyword. We could spend a year diving deeper into what that stat means but whats important to you is ranking well,  very well preferably,  for keywords that describe your business is critical

Before we talk keywords, we need to discuss what presence on the web is necessary to even play in the game. By now you should know and appreciate the importance of your own website. Your fire sprinkler business website should showcase your company and feature an about us page, a list of products and/or services, a contact us page, and relevant content (See #2). 

In addition, take a few minutes and create social media company pages. I highly recommend Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn at a minimum. These three social media sites create a powerful brand presence across the web where your future customers visit regularly. More importantly, they create pages with your name, address, and particular keywords like the business category of fire sprinkler service that show up in search results. 

My personal prediction is Google Plus will be the most powerful of them all within the next couple years. Did you know that each time someone adds your page to a circle (equivalent of liking your company) your listing gets preference over other search results when that individual and individuals in their circles search keywords relevant to your business? Google Plus is a powerful and easy way for your fire sprinkler business to move up in search results, fast. 

Highlighted icon indicates Google Plus connection and displays HIGHER in search results.

#2 Content is King, So Start Creating 

Many decision makers are 50-60% of the way into the buy before ever contacting a vendor or service provider. What that means is before they pull the trigger on purchasing your product or service, they've already formulated a rational decision by interacting with dozens of websites, white papers, and online resources. 

Not all of these interactions are online. By all accounts, word of mouth is still a driving factor. However, a growing majority of their decision making process is driven by online research. So position yourself to be the subject matter expert and your job as sales rep is half finished! 

Consider starting a blog. I know what youre thinking Im not a writer, I dont have the time, and the bottom line is, I DONT BLOG! While I can appreciate your hesitancy, I suggest you reconsider. In fact, if the order is greater than $10,000 - 70% of buyers say they review four or more pieces of content PRIOR to making the purchase. 70%! Whats better those buyers reading your content or your competitors? 

Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started. Write down every question and answer you receive from a current or prospective customer. Frame the question as the title of your blog, your answer as the content, and make sure to link to your contact information. Short and sweet is key! 

Next, every time something goes wrong while youre on the job site whether its material shortages, challenges with your fitters, or system design considerations, write it down. Frame the challenge as your title, the solution as your content, and link to your contact information. 

Finally, every time you complete a job take pictures. I recommend snapping a picture of you and your happy client smiling. Post the picture on your blog with the job name (within contractual limitations, whatever they may be) as the title, a quick blurb about your work as the content, and a link to your contact information. 

Fire Sprinkler Fitters on Job
Adding images of your job site will help customers identify with your business (courtesy of NFPA)

Here's why: I can assure you that for each question your customers ask, another potential customer is wondering the same thing. Each challenge you face on the job site, your potential customer has or will face. Finally, each job you complete is one more shining example of your quality work. Now take a moment and think about how search engines will view that content. Gold mine! 

Upon completing a new blog, post a link on each of your three (or more) social media platforms. Now your content is represented on platforms with over a BILLION users, some subsection of that is your potential new customer base, and each piece of content links to your contact information! 

# 3 Youre Local, So List Locally 

While having a solid web presence is vital to your business' online marketing success and content will drive traffic for you, there is one more basic step necessary. Take this example: if you're a fire sprinkler contractor in Tempe, AZ, your business gains very little by showing up in search results for a "sprinkler fitter" in Pensacola, FL. Lucky for you, the web is full of local directories to help overcome this challenge. 

First and foremost, create a listing in Google Places for Business. Its free and takes only a minute to set up. Now when a customer searches Fire Sprinkler Contractor in Tempe, AZ, your business shows up as a local provider. Take the next step and do the same for Bing, Yahoo, and AOL Yellow Pages

Adding your business to local listing will result in Map listings

Next, post links to your Google, Bing, Yahoo, and AOL local listings in your social media platforms. You've just effectively created a web of local data and keywords (your business name, at a minimum) that ties your fire sprinkler business to the local economy. 

Additional Suggestions: 

Building up an online presence takes time. You need to work at it just like any other form of marketing or sales. The suggestions above are the first steps of many you can (and should) take if you want to drive business through online channels. Don't get overwhelmed. Whether a local listing, blog, or a social media post, one new piece of content per week will exponentially grow your presence online. A few more places to build your online presence include: 
  1. Merchant Circle a social media platform for business owners 
  2. LinkedIn Groups Join LinkedIn groups for FREE like the AFSA, NFSA, and Firefighter Nation where you can interact with discussions, ask questions, and most importantly leave comments with a link to your website. In addition, you can be like our friends at Fire Tech Productions and create your own group!
  3. Create a Press Release about a new product or service your fire sprinkler company is offering. Learn more about that here
  4. Call me (888-361-6662) or contact me here. Ill personally walk you through ways to help grow your fire sprinkler business online! 
 Good luck and happy construction season! Please leave any questions or comments below.

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