Marketing Advice for Custom Sawmillers
Whether you’re looking to do the odd weekend job for clients, or wanting to go full-time with your portable sawmill, there are simple marketing tactics that you should look at to increase your client base. We’ve listed a few bits of marketing advice for custom sawmillers below.
Remember, a passionate business owner is a profitable one. So by doing what you love, you’ll find the marketing side of your business so much easier! We find that all of our portable sawmill purchasers are very passionate, not just about sawmilling but about forestry, woodworking and machinery. If you fit into that category, then you’re already off to the right start. Good luck!
1. WEBSITES REQUIRE TIME, AND LOTS OF IT…
Unless you’re a web designer by trade, or have a family member or friend who is (and who is willing to help you for free), using a website to promote your business may not be the best way to go. Not only does the site have to be designed to suit your business, but it has to be filled with content and updated regularly.
Many business people go by the mantra, ‘if we build it, they will come’. However, that kind of dreamlike marketing ploy often only works in the movies. With business websites, promotion has to be done both from behind the scenes and in the online market place to make it pay its way. It can be a time-consuming process for a novice, but a very rewarding one for someone with the right skills, contacts or bank balance.
2. BUT EVERYONE SAYS I NEED TO MARKET ONLINE!
Yep, they sure do. And ‘everyone’ is right. However if you’re spending more time on attempting to design a website when that’s not your forte, you’re wasting time you could be spending in the field making actual money!
Enter… Facebook. Yes, that social media platform that makes some cringe and others square eyed. Facebook is a free platform for businesses to house their online presence.
To set up a Facebook business page, you’ll just need your basic details, a great description, lots of photos, videos if possible, and the passion to share your business and love for timber to the world. Sure, it’s time-consuming as well, anything worth-while is. But the ability for a novice computer-user to sell to their target market is much more achievable.
The key to your new Facebook business page is uploading relevant content at least once a day. So post about your latest sawmilling job, the types of timber your enjoy cutting, special deals and industry information. Anything like-minded people will find interesting.
While getting organic (non paid) followers is relatively easy, to really give your business page a boost, put some money into Facebook paid advertising. It works, and the ability to target to specific markets and demographics is outstanding.
3. DO LETTERBOX FLYER DROPS WORK?
No. Well, not unless you’re a supermarket superstore who has dropped flyers in letterboxes every Tuesday for the past 10 years.
If you have thought of spending money on getting copious amounts of flyers printed, you’re better off to attend a relevant trade show with your sawmill or finished products and hand them to the ‘right’ people.
4. THE LOCAL PAPER ALWAYS ASKS ME TO ADVERTISE, BUT I THOUGHT PRINT MEDIA WAS DEAD.
There are still plenty of people who read their local rag for community news, cars for sale and obituaries, but you’re somewhat correct in not falling for the print media hard sell. For one, a display ad that costs you $200 and runs on one day with a ‘readership’ of 60,000 is far less likely to get attention than $200 spent on Facebook. Newspapers are distributed to a general audience, but with Facebook you can set specific targets… even based on topics your type of people are interested in!
If you do want a presence in your local paper, go for classified ads instead. They’re 1/8 of the price of a display ad, with higher readership from people who are actually looking for services.
Even better than that, pay nothing and write an interesting editorial piece to send into the paper’s reporters. If they pick the story up, you’d be looking at much more bang for little or no buck!
5. A SCHOOL IN MY AREA WANTS ME TO SPONSOR THEIR EVENT, BUT I CAN’T AFFORD TO GIVE MONEY AWAY.
So don’t just ‘give it away’… maximise on your spend! Many businesses generously give sponsorship to worthy causes and that is commendable. But what you need to be doing, is making the most of your financial commitment.
Think about donating an item rather than giving cash money. Ensure your logo is used at every opportunity in the event. Let your existing customers know that you’re sponsoring. Contact the local paper and tell them too. Spread the word to spread your business opportunities!
Follow this basic marketing advice for custom sawmillers to give you a great start in your new venture!
Layla Robinson – Marketing Manager