Installer marketing from fabricators – nicety or necessity?

Choosing your fabricator is a lot more considered than it may have been years ago – it’s not just about the products they can supply but how they can actually help to grow your business, says Glazerite’s group marketing manager Michelle Wright.

The face of marketing has changed massively over recent years with the rise of digital marketing. What may have worked to find and attract new customers in the past may not work today. Competition in the market is intense and when you’re directly competing with some of the nationals that enjoy a substantial budget to influence the homeowner, effective marketing is an absolute necessity. And when they have specialist marketers forming their strategies how can a relatively small local installer compete?

Presenting your business to your customers across all touch points in the right way is the only way to make sure your business not only survives but thrives. Installers now need to strike the right balance between digital and traditional forms of marketing communications to make sure they are keeping their business fresh in the mind of customers.

Choosing to work with a fabricator that offers marketing support is a great way to do this, but as with everything it’s making sure the offer is the right fit for your business.

Buying windows from a trade fabricator is much more than choosing a great product supplier; now you can expect to enjoy practical support to help you sell the windows too. And this may be more complex than buying the windows themselves: can they build you a website, create flyers and drop cards for your customer campaigns, help with identifying appropriate social media channels and content plans?
If you’re a new start up (or just in need of a new direction) can they help you to design a brand identity that conveys your vision and values? Do they give you the tools to actually talk to your customer in the right way on a sales visit? And can they deliver all of this in plain English and be trusted to continue delivering, once you have placed your trust in them to support you?

Starting with the basics you should expect your supplier to discuss and review your overall branding, including such basics as the logo and core identity that will traverse across all marketing channels.
Despite the fact that digital channels have become increasingly important, traditional marketing such as brochures, flyers and ads should always be a key part of your offer; they remain the fundamentals of marketing that will support and reinforce efforts delivered through digital marketing. You’ll still find people want to see and trust in a printed brochure far more than any digital communications you can show them and will use it to make an informed decision.

First and foremost, all companies should have a professional website no matter how small they are. Many installers rely on word of mouth and do very nicely from it, but even if a large proportion of your business comes from word of mouth, customers tend to still check the web as a first port of call. What they find online is their first impression of your business and forms an early opinion of what they can expect from you. It is crucial that your website portrays your company in the way that truly reflects what you do, and how you do it.

One of the buzzwords across every industry right now, once you get into the realms of digital marketing and in particular websites, is SEO or ‘search engine optimisation’.

There are many companies and agencies offering to enhance a company’s web presence to ensure the installer is listed highly on the search engines and anyone with a website will be bombarded by ‘experts’ offering to perform all sorts of miracles for you.

SEO is a dark art for anyone not familiar with the technology and the internet is full of ‘experts’ offering the modern, digital equivalent of snake oil. Glazerite takes the pain out of this potential minefield by offering SEO packages to those customers who are benefiting from its ‘white label’ website package but also to our customers who have developed their own websites.

Another tool that many companies are not taking advantage of is social media, especially some of the more traditional operators who worry about it rather than embrace it. Put simply, social media is a great way to keep your brand fresh in the customers mind and should be used to drive traffic to your website. Obviously needs and requirements for the various channels and content you load onto it varies for each business, but a fabricator worth its salt will talk to you in plain terms about what you should be doing, help you to get your channels up and running, and show you how to maintain your efforts with minimal effort.

In addition to marketing tools, a good fabricator should be able to offer sales aids that help you present the enormous number of product choices and benefits available through choosing to work with you. These should come in digital and printed forms to ensure you can cater for each individual customer’s preference. All of this helps your business to stand out from the crowd and provides a seamless and professional foil against anything the big brands might be able to throw at you.

With all this in mind when considering fabricators, and how they’ll support your business, you really need to think about what are they offering? Ask for examples of what they can deliver on and consider is this really what you need? Choose your fabricator wisely, and if you do find the right one they should be a real asset to your business. There is no doubt though: marketing is a necessity in such a competitive industry, it’s just finding the approach that works for your business.