What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing creates sales from digital efforts. For example, Facebook ads and Google Adwords are examples of digital marketing strategies used by local businesses.
How do businesses use Facebook ads or Google Adwords to market their services?
By paying to see a prospective customer see a Facebook post on their newsfeed
By paying to have their business appear as the first result on Google
Small, local businesses have a lot of digital marketing opportunities, despite thinking that their efforts are better in the “real world”. When the hood is lifted on Facebook and Google, there is nothing but data. Data pertaining to every user that has interacted with their websites.
For example, let’s say Alice is online, looking for a window professional. Alice is just browsing, she doesn’t know for sure that she needs new windows but is interested to see if it’s something she’d like to spend money on. Alice Googles, “window professionals near me”, clicks on a few websites and then gets distracted by her children asking to play with her.
Alice shuts down her computer and spends the rest of her night playing with her children.
The next day, she logs on to Facebook. As she scrolls through her newsfeed she sees an advertisement for a window professional in her area.
Why is Alice seeing that advertisement?
This digital marketing strategy is called retargeting and it’s the reason that once somebody has searched for an item online, it starts to appear on every webpage they visit. Just as Alice has a driver’s license number, she has an Internet identification number that tells the website she is visiting what Alice is interested in purchasing. Businesses can retarget Alice by paying to have their advertisement show up on the webpages she’s visiting, including Facebook.
Why do small/local businesses want to spend their money on getting their ad seen by Alice?
46% of all searches on Google have local intent-this means that 46% of Google users are looking for a specific product or service within their area. How could your business grow if those search queries led prospective customers to your business?
Digital marketing is a four step process:
In this guide, we’ll explain how to increase traffic to your website, how to acquire leads, how to generate sales and how to use a return path to retain customer relationships.
Before visiting a small business or buying a product/service from them, 70-80% of people will search for the company online, visit the website and look at past reviews (Blue Corona). As a window professional, you want prospective customers researching your website over the competitions.
This is where traffic comes in. “Driving traffic” to a website is the digital marketing term for increasing the amount of people who visit a website, usually through a digital marketing effort. Not only can this increase leads from prospects that immediately call about window services, it also gives you the opportunity to retarget, as we talked about earlier and will go into further detail later in this guide.
There are eight traffic channels for window dealers/installers to use to drive traffic to their website.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Great SEO is ranking first when somebody searches for “window installers in my area”. Ranking first means your business is the first search result (after the paid results) and looks like this.
Bad SEO is ranking below the third search result, or worse, not even making it to the first page of the Google results.
Why is SEO important to window dealers?
It is a sustainable traffic source, in comparison to other channels (social, referrals, etc.)
It has a higher conversion rate in comparison to other channels
It has the largest return of investment over time
To increase your Google search ranking, you want to become best friends with the Google bots who determine the ranking status. To be their friend, you have to know what they like.
Google bots like:
Proof That You’re a Real Business
What makes a Googlebot believe a business is real? Inputting the details of your business like address, telephone number, and customer reviews. In the search results above, each of the three top tanking window installment companies have a description of their services, “window installation services”, their address, phone number, hours, and Google reviews from customers.
This link will take you to the Google Support page that shows you how to input all of this information.
Proof That Other People Like You Too
Just like in the real world where we trust people who are trusted by our friends, Googlebots trust businesses who are referred by other sources.
This is a digital marketing strategy called backlinking. Backlinking is when a website posts a link to your website (www.yourdomainname.com) on their website. The idea is that the website featuring your business, publishes a link back your website, hence the name backlinking.
For example, let’s say a website specializing in local services in your area is going to publish an article titled, “Top Ten Window Installers in Los Angeles”. To show the Google bots that other websites (aka people) trust your business, you want to be featured in this article and have a link to your website published in it.
The website publishing the article is backlinking to your businesses’ website and showing the Google bots that your business is trusted by other people.
To See You’re Still In Business
Google bots want to know that your business is alive and well. To show them this, you want to regularly update your website with new content. In this case, content would be new articles relevant to the window installation niche. Article examples are:
This Is How Much Window Installation Should Cost For a 2,500 Square Foot House (Don’t Pay More Than $X)
The Top Ten FAQs About Window Installation
How To Know When It’s Time For New Windows (10 Signs Your Home Needs an Update)
By regularly posting articles like this, you’re not only showing the Google bots that your company is alive and well, but also making yourself a search result for prospective customers searching for “how much window installation costs for a 2,500 square foot house”, “FAQs about window installation”, and “how to know when I need new windows”.
This extra traffic to your website will also boost you in the Google searching rankings for “window installers in my area” because the Google bots recognize that people like your website and so they will rank it.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM differs from SEO. With SEO, you take actions like updating your business’ information, showing proof that other websites recognize your business and creating content to push yourself higher in the rankings. You take actions that make the Google bots like you.
With SEM, you don’t take action to make the Google bots like you, you pay them to.
This is the first difference between SEM and SEO. The second is how long it takes to see results. SEO can take time while SEM is immediate. If you pay Google to show your business as the first result in the search for “window installers in Los Angeles”, you’ll see that pay off immediately after you give Google your money.
If you Google “window installers in Los Angeles”, you’ll see the businesses who are using SEM-Window Design Group, Calrep Windows and Doors, and Bear Windows.
These businesses are using Google Adwords, Google’s advertising platform. Google Adwords let’s business owners advertise their business/website based off of chosen keywords. In this case, the above window installer companies using SEM have paid to rank first when a Google user searches the keywords, “window installer in Los Angeles”.
Did you know that Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world? The video platform has over 30 million users every day and over 5 billion videos are watched within a 24-hour span (Videonitch).
What makes Youtube particularly interesting is that Youtube videos can rank as a Google search result. This means that your website can have an article titled, “How To Know When It’s Time For New Windows (10 Signs Your Home Needs an Update)” and have a video titled, “How To Know When It’s Time For New Windows” helping your website rank higher on the first page of Google.
This content strategy is used by hundreds of businesses and stems from one question, “How can one piece of content be repurposed into other types of content?”. In this example, the article is repurposed into a video-each with the same information just put into a different media (words vs. video).
The key here is to make sure your Youtube video drives traffic back to your website. Since the video will be posted to Youtube it needs to have a call to action that motivates the viewer to visit the website after they finish watching.
This call to action can be something like:
Click the link in our description to see the different window types available for your home.
Click the link in our description for a guide on how much window installation should cost for your home.
Click the link in our description for a free estimate for your window installation.
Don’t try to sell your services, but sell more valuable information. The key is to drive traffic back to your website and then be able to retarget these users through ads on other websites and social media.
4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
SMM is a way to connect with prospective customers and showcase your expertise in the window installation niche. 96% of small businesses use social media as a part of their digital marketing strategy (Blue Corona). Your social media content will be curated around useful information people who need new windows want to know. The SMM strategy of a local business involves to focal points:
Engage with audience
To build your brand, you want to showcase your expertise in the window installation niche. You can repurpose articles and Youtube videos into bite sized golden nuggets of information to be posted to each platform.
Instead of posting the top ten FAQs about window installation, you can post the top five within a Facebook post and place a link to the full article with a call to action of, “To read the full list of FAQs, click here.” This drives traffic back to your website (and places a backlink on Facebook).
SMM marketing is most popularly performed on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read The Complete Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses by Sprout Social, one of the largest social media management softwares available.
5. Social Media Advertising
The relationship between SMM and Social Media Advertising is similar to that of SEO and SEM. SMM parallels SEO in that it’s all about giving the social media platform what it wants, fresh content to push to its users. SMM and social media advertising are ways to pay for that traffic instead.
Social media advertising is just like Google Adwords, it focuses on putting your social media content in front of the users the social media platform knows are interested in your services. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram know these users are interested in your services because of retargeting and the geographic information they have on each of their users.
A social media ad looks like the one above. Users can discern that it’s an ad by the “sponsored” text located underneath the user’s account name (in this case, Ezra Firestone).
As a local business, you want to target local social media users. Like we mentioned at the start of this guide, Facebook is a data machine. If you lift its hood, all that you will find is data. Facebook has such detailed data on its users that it knows who is the most likely to click on a link and will place ads in front of that user over another (depending on the ad budget).
Click here to read Social Media Advertising 101: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Budget, published by Hootsuite, a social media marketing and management software.
5. Local Industry Directories
Local industry directories are the Yellow Pages of the digital age. Locals can use the directory to find a service and see all of the businesses within their area offering it. They can then choose to click on a business and visit their website. Being placed in a directory is also great for backlinking and organically pushing your website’s search ranking up.
The key to directories is to ensure that all of your businesses information is constant across all of the directories you are linked in. For example, you want the same address, phone number, and website in Facebook’s directory, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Angie's List, etc.
Adding pictures of homes with your windows installed is also a great boost against the competition and can drive more traffic to your website over those of the other window installers in the directory.
In this article by Hubspot, there are 57 Online Local Business Directories to submit to.
6. Email Marketing
Businesses average $38 in revenue for every $1 they spend on email marketing (Leighton Interactive). To say this another way, email marketing is powerful. Email marketing can continue to drive traffic to your website, as prospects and customers are enticed to click on links within an email.
In digital marketing, adding people to your email list is called, “building your email list.” It refers to a virtual list of first name, last name and emails that is kept in a third party software, like Mailchimp. To build an email list, the key is to motivate somebody to give you their email. Think about the last time a business was able to motivate you to sign up for a newsletter or other email updates from them. What did they say that convinced you it was worth giving them your information?
A popular strategy to get users to sign up for an email list is to give something away for free. For example, a window installation company can offer a free window installation estimate. In order to receive the free estimate a user has to sign up and schedule their appointment.
This freebie can be placed on various parts of your website. For example, at the top of your webpage in the above-the-fold content (the part of the webpage that can be seen without scrolling).
Here’s an example of what an above-the-fold email newsletter sign up looks like:
It can also be placed in a pop-up that appears on the website after the viewer has been on the page for a few seconds. You’re most likely familiar with this pop-up as it’s an extremely popular email newsletter strategy.
Here’s an example of what this pop-up looks like:
The freebie can also be placed within or at the end of each blog article. For example, the article “How To Know When It’s Time For New Windows (10 Signs Your Home Needs an Update)” can have the freebie of a free window consultation within or at the end of the article. Freebies placed in articles should correlate to that article. A website user who is interested in seeing if it’s time for them to get new windows, is interested in a consultation that will verify if they should get new windows or not.
We’ll talk more about email marketing in the “Return Path” section of this guide. Read Mailchimp’s article, Email Marketing Strategy and Tips for Successful Campaigns here.
7. Traditional Marketing Strategies
Traditional marketing strategies like direct mail, business cards, or referral cards can drive traffic to your website through call to actions, like the ones used in Youtube video descriptions.
Chances are you have a direct mailer sitting on your counter right now. Direct mailers looks like this:
(photo from sonicprint.com)
On each direct mailer, there is information about the business and, in a digital marketing strategy, a call-to-action to visit the business’ website. The call-to-action works best if it’s a coupon code or access to premium content. The same coupon codes or access to premium content can be placed on business cards or referral cards.
Here are examples of coupon codes:
Visit our website to receive 10% off of your window installation
Visit our website to schedule a free window installation consultation
Here are examples of premium content:
Don’t overpay for new windows-visit our website for a free guide on window installation pricing for your home size
Make sure you’re reading the fine print-visit our website for a free guide on what to avoid when shopping for window dealers
These call to actions have to offer the customer something in return for the effort of visiting your website. Even though the effort to visit a website may seem minimal, it’s important to look at this request as a favor you are asking a prospective customer. You want to give them something in return.
Driving traffic to your website is going to increase the amount of people who interact with your business online. Now, you want to convert those people from viewers to customers. This part of digital marketing is called “generating leads” and is the second part of this guide.
Driving traffic to your website is like owning a restaurant and having a customer walk through the door. Generating leads is equivalent to them opening the menu. The sale happens when the customer officially places their food order.
How do you get customers to open your menu, or in your case, to give you their information (email and/or phone number) so you can make the sale?
There are several ways to motivate prospective customers to give you their information. Like we talked about in the email marketing and traditional marketing sections, the key is to offer something valuable for free in exchange for their email address or phone number.
Here are a three examples of freebies that can be used to capture information and generate leads.
1. A Free Consultation
Free consultations give you the chance to showcase your expertise and professionalism. You’re talking to your prospect to give them an estimate on how much their window installation will cost but you’re really convincing them that your business is the one they want to hire for the job.
Free consultation call to actions include:
“If you are x, we can help you determine whether we are a good fit for you”
“Call now to speak to an expert”
“Get a free custom quote”
“Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation”
What this warm introduction does is give the prospective customer a chance to talk with you, without any strings attached, the strategy you want to use for your lead generation.
2. Create a Downloadable Product Brochure
A downloadable product brochure is a PDF file with all of your products, prices and timelines of completion. Customers can find your product brochure through blog posts, social media posts, call to actions on your website, links in product descriptions and a “Request More Information” button.
In order to receive the brochure, they’ll input their email address and in return, be emailed the PDF. The key here is to have the PDF have another call to action, such as “Request A Free Consultation”. You want to keep this customer moving through your marketing funnel and ideally get them on the phone so you can show them that you are the window installer they are looking for.
3. Offer a Content Upgrade
A content upgrade plays off of a piece of content and adds extra value that can only be accessed by giving an email address. For example, the article, This Is How Much Window Installation Should Cost For a 2,500 Square Foot House (Don’t Pay More Than $X), can have a content upgrade placed at the bottom of the article. The content upgrade would be downloadable cheat sheet for knowing if you are paying too much for window installation.
Why does this motivate website users to give their information?
This viewer showcases a strong interest in understanding how much they should be paying for window installation. We already know they are actively trying to ensure they don’t overspend on installation, so the content upgrade plays into it.
Other content upgrade ideas are:
A free checklist for how to hire a window installation company
A guide on the different types of windows to choose from
A video on an exclusive interview with a home designer where he talks about what windows look best in a living room, kitchen, etc.
These freebies can be marketed on the website or in a pop-up. Pop-ups are the email information capture forms that you see automatically pop up when visiting certain websites. Just like in your digital marketing strategy, these websites are trying to capture your information to convert you from a warm lead to a customer.
Prospects who are interested enough in a free consultation, product brochure, or content upgrade are individuals who have a large interest in your services. Just as somebody walking into a restaurant to look at a menu is pretty obviously interested in eating, these leads are very interested in window installations.
How do you turn them from leads into sales?
In digital marketing, there is a term called a sales funnel. These sales funnels primarily use email marketing engagement campaigns to keep prospective customers moving through the funnel. For example, once you finish a phone call with a prospective client who requested a free consultation, the prospect needs to continue to be “nurtured.” Nurturing this prospect is like calling somebody after a first date. You want them to know you’re still thinking about them and interested in another date. In this case, you want them to know that you are still available to install their windows and are happy to answer questions they have about the process.
Here is the general flow of the sales funnel of a window installation business:
Free consultation scheduled
Confirmation email after consultation call
Follow-up post estimate
Close unsuccessful and successful leads
The key to a successful sales digital marketing strategy is using tools that can automate appointment setting, confirmation emails, estimates, follow ups.
These tools continue to touch base with warm leads and can do the math for you (when it comes to estimates). Automation tools are highly regarded in digital marketing as they can cut down work time by hours.
For example, in the sales funnel automation tools can capture information, schedule a consultation, send out a confirmation email after the consultation, create an estimate, nurture, follow up after the estimate, and close leads.
The only point during this sales funnel that a customer needs to interact with a part of your team is during the free consultation.
An example of a useful automation tool is a calendar software. Calendly is a scheduling software that allows you to send a scheduling link via email. The link takes the lead to a calendar where they are able to choose from the available time slots for their consultation. Calendly also provides a confirmation email prior to the phone call and additional information about the call can be inputted into the software.
Once a lead is scheduled, you want to keep track of their status in your sales funnel. Did they purchase window installations? Did they never call back?
Leads who convert into customers and have new windows installed can be asked to give referrals or can receive a discount on their next purchase. Leads who don’t convert can continue to be followed up with and retargeted to attempt a conversion. The return path is the last section of this guide.
Remember Alice, the woman interested in having her windows installed that kept seeing advertisements for window installation businesses in her area?
This is the return path. It’s how leads who haven’t converted yet get retargeted. These leads can be people who have searched for “window installation in my area”, have visited your website, have interacted with your social media or have given you their email address in return for a freebie.
To keep these leads warm and avoid letting them get cold, you want to keep interacting with them through different platforms.
Here are four ways to keep your window installation business in your leads digital space.
1. A Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly Email Broadcast
Email broadcast shouldn’t be about promoting your window installation services. They should be useful nuggets of information that your warm lead will be interested in reading about, like the articles and Youtube videos we talked about above. These email broadcasts will have a call to action for the viewer to visit your website where you’ll continue to ask them if they’d like a free consultation.
2. Social Media
Social media is great social proof for why this lead would want to choose you over other window installation companies in the area. Social media as a return path helps your lead see other happy customers and to be reminded of your expertise in the window installation industry.
New content helps you make friends with the Googlebots and your leads. Just because your lead isn’t ready to commit to window installation doesn’t mean they aren’t still researching what windows they may want and what the price will be. Keep driving traffic to your website by creating a regular content schedule with new articles that answer your most commonly asked questions.
Your email broadcast, social media and blogging marketing strategies are going to make retargeting possible. Just as Alice was retargeted, every warm lead can be retargeted. What does somebody who needs new windows-but isn’t ready to buy-need to tip them over the edge to convert into a customer? An example of this would be a discounted price that is offered for a limited time. The discount can be marketed through email, social media, blogging and retargeting.
With 62% of people consulting search engines for advice over talking to a salesperson, digital marketing efforts can increase traffic, leads and sales. To get Alice to install her new windows through your company, you want to be the business that she finds first while browsing for window installation companies in her area.
To learn more about how to improve your digital marketing efforts, you can sign up for a weekly newsletter with all the top digital marketing insights, trends and must-do’s here.