The world of marketing today is a fast one full of opportunities to talk. Perhaps now more than ever, the heating industry is one that has almost limitless topics to promote, talk about and debate – not least because the messages are somewhat diverse and complex, while the technologies are multitudinous; and the Green message seems to evolve every day.
Communication channels and techniques have become busier and more complex as people the world over have looked at new ways to promote, research and purchase products and services during the pandemic. “Face to face” had to be replaced with online everything! The heating industry is no different and there are many more ways to skin that cat now!
The challenging bit is still deciding on a bespoke programme for your individual organisation while respecting available time, budget and resource. You will also need to be flexible in this fast-changing environment.
You can use one person, a whole marketing department, or an agency – and the start, as with everything, is the development of a timed plan. Take it slow, plan well, and go forth in a realistic, priority-led manner. Much research has been conducted into how best a manufacturer, specifier or contractor should communicate today. Yet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and we will look at a straightforward approach to start with.
The critical space for anyone hearing about you and wanting to know more is your website. It’s important to get the design and workings of the website just right. Branding, information, SEO, population, photography, videos…..the list is endless. In the heating industry, the best websites are those which are image- and testimonial/project-led, with a big important nod to technology, the environment and your expertise. Your website designer (old or new), in partnership with a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or digital agency, is a good start. Even if you have an existing website, it’s good to go for a health check before you do anything else. It’s also advisable to look at what your competitors are up to.
When looking at your website, and general branding and messaging, always have your target customer in mind. Who are they and how do they get information? It may be that you conduct a research project just to find out, from your existing contacts, what they like to see and want to know. In this desk research, you may initiate the development of a list of key contacts – who do you want to work with?
A blog/news section, populated by a variety of key people in your company as well as “guests”, is helpful as is a section on project case studies with quotes – and statistics – from happy clients and endorsements from other companies you work with. Also follow key people, associations and companies in your industry on social media; talk and share as they may have a greater following than you! By sharing and conversing, you are spreading your message further and enhancing the possibility of gaining new business. Key for the trade world today is LinkedIn as, in simple terms, it is both business and image-led. If you have tutorials on how to best use or take care of your product, why not get a friendly face to demonstrate it on video and upload it to a YouTube channel? This can then be added to your website and used on social too.
You may want to appoint an outside PR/media agency to produce the content, case studies, thought-leadership articles, and this great mix of stories can be used for the media, social media and website pages as a start.
It’s not just about getting your name in the printed and digital media although that is obviously important. It’s also that, by getting to know key journalists, you are asking them to independently endorse your work and share your stories. Your key media could comprise national, local and commercial titles and each article needs to be carefully targeted. Project case studies and thought-leadership articles are really important here. The reader also likes that the piece is independent, and they do not have to “wade through the internet” looking for a good heating technology or system. All good publications produce a PDF flip page version.
If you need any help with your marketing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org