Hi, I’m Brie with the Pool Marketing Site. I am a newly wed (yea!) and currently doing what newly weds do best; spending money on my house!…er…I mean our house!
As I was browsing online for unique Christmas decorations the other day, I realized that as a young professional raised in the fast-paced world of computers and technology, the way I search for something is far different than my mom. My mom, bless her heart, has magazines for miles from the JC Penny catalog to the latest Sears issue. She loves when the magazines hit the mailbox. I remember when the latest softball equipment magazine or some other teen clothing magazine would come, I was equally elated. Now, it’s all simply clutter to me. Along with most of my generation, that’s not the way I like to learn about new products anymore.
Sure, I can browse store websites selling Christmas decor, but that takes too long and I want to be able to find exactly what I’m looking for in an arena that shows me things that are my style, i.e. Pinterest.
According to their “About” section on their website (and the best definition I could find),
“Pinterest is a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste.
People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things — wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.”
Basically, Pinterest is a way cooler and much more visual bookmarking site. Think of it as a virtual post-it for websites and images you want to be able to remember and share with others. Off the site, as I browse the web and see something I like, I can “pin it,” meaning I can save the images and website link to my personal Pinterest board, which in turn shares it with the entire Pinterest community. Are you starting to see the potential yet?
On the site, I can browse through everything that other people have “pinned” to their pin boards based on categories like “Wedding and Events,” “Food and Drink,” and most importantly for you pool guys out there, “Home Decor.” Or, I can search within the boards for exactly what I want.
According to a demographic study done by Complete Pulse, 54% of Pinterest users are women, with the majority of those in the 28-34 age bracket. Additionally, these users have quite a bit of disposable income. See an interesting article from MediaPost that ponders whether moms are choosing Pinterest over Google for their search inquiries.
As I was looking through the “Home Decor” category today for my fun, Christmas decorations, I saw a couple pool and backyard living photos (which end up linking back to the original website). I don’t think you can get much more social than that! As a potential pool buyer, I can find a photo on your website of a pool that I really like, “pin it” to my Pinterest board and share it with everyone I’m connected with, or even perfect strangers. As I “pin” something, I can also share that to Facebook, so then all of my Facebook friends will learn about your pool and website too! Think of how many leads and website traffic you could get, not to mention a healthy boost in SEO.
How do you get this Pinterest on your site? People who are already on Pinterest can already “pin” your photos through a bookmark button created specially for the site, or you can add a custom “pin it” button on each of your photos! As we always say here, there is no front door anymore! Don’t be afraid of all of this technology. Embrace it! A simple added button on your photos can create a whole new marketing potential for you.
We at the Pool Marketing Site LOVE social tools for pools, and strongly feel they’re a necessity with every website. It’s great to have a Facebook Page or YouTube account, but you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle if you’re not integrating these into your website. In order to understand its importance, let’s look at how social tools affect search engine optimization, a term we’re sure you’re familiar with and currently doing.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art of making your site the most relevant and easily accessed it can be for your visitors and for search engines. It is not a miracle worker that can make your website #1 in all search results on all search engines. There is never a guarantee that you can be number one in any search result, and it can take time to see results. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
With that being said, you may be thinking “Why should I bother with SEO, if there are no guarantees?” You should incorporate SEO into your website as it can make your site the absolute best it can be. It is something you should be working on diligently, yet giving any changes you make the necessary time it needs to assess its progress. The better your site is optimized, the more appealing it will be to your target audience and to search engines.
Let’s start with search engines first. As you probably know, the #1 search engine is Google. Google sets the trend for all other search engines and how they rank certain websites. The basic way this works is, Google has spiders or robots that crawl your website to find your site, read your site and index its contents. From the information the robots or spiders gather, Google determines the relevancy of your site by comparing the keyword phrases it is optimized for versus the content. Does it flow naturally or are keyword phrases forced into the content where they do not make sense? Combine several other factors such as links to your site from another and the age of your site and you basically have the Google algorithm in a nutshell. Google is constantly changing its formula or algorithm as to what is important and what is not. At Pool Marketing Site, we incorporate an organic or authentic method of SEO, so that no matter how Google changes it’s formula, our clients’ websites will still be relevant and searchable.
Since we believe in an organic and authentic SEO practice, we like to call our version of SEO, Web Presence Optimization or WPO. We use this term because we firmly believe that SEO and Social Media Marketing should go hand in hand. The object of getting better SEO results with Google by increasing your web presence entirely is our focus. What better way to accomplish this than using social media as your tool? We incorporate the important SEO aspects and partner this methodology with a strong social media presence using Facebook, YouTube, blog posts, Twitter, Flickr, Linked In, etc… as an extension of your website and your business. Use your keyword phrases that are highly searched and competitive along with engaging content, posts, blogs, videos, pictures, etc… that all showcase your business to its full potential. Your site users will have a better understanding of your brand and virtually be able to get their questions answered prior to the initial contact with you.
With this information in mind, please be wary of “build your own site” companies, and companies that don’t utilize this practice. This is how it works. This is where it’s going to continue to go.
If you want additional reading on this subject, check out this article by MediaPost. To see the benefits of each social network to help you choose what’s best for you, see a recent post from us that breaks it all down. It’s pretty fascinating stuff!
We are always researching the latest trends in marketing to help adapt them to the pool and spa industry. Staying on top of the trends is what’s going to set you apart, and keep you from being left behind. Here’s some of our recent research for your education.
Let us know in the comments any ideas that arise after reading these articles! We’re sure they will inspire!
Twitter is one of those social platforms that garners a lot of discussion on its importance in the pool and spa industry. Before we get into our take, let’s discuss some of Twitter’s value, especially for service companies.
Be the expert that you are.
Twitter allows you to offer tips and to address common maintenance issues in 140 characters or less (and more, but readers have to click to expand the message and may not always do that). When your potential customers are performing their research on which company to choose, your Twitter account can appear in the search results showing your informational and knowledgeable tweets. This can help establish your brand as the expert in your service area.
Build relationships with your customers.
Once you have solidified a customer, ask them to follow you on Twitter. By doing so, you can let your customer know that you will always be there for them. Also by following you on Twitter, they can learn some tips on how to take care of their pool. At first, you might think, “Well, then they won’t need me,” but that’s not the case. They hired you for a reason, didn’t they? Instead, most customers will appreciate that you care more about them having a clean, safe pool than money. That helps create a positive brand image for your company, helps to build a strong customer relationship and can create word of mouth marketing among your customer’s network.
Allow your customers to communicate with you how they want to communicate.
Not everyone who calls your service department or company has a 911 issue, do they? Sometimes they’re calling for more information, or a basic question that they need your help with. Make life easier on them by communicating with them where they’re already spending their time. Make them comfortable and make yourself easily accessible.
Respond to timely issues.
Some of the best parts about social media are its metrics and social listening tools. Through programs like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, you can learn what your customers are saying about you, and respond.
Twitter allows your service company to be human. When someone is upset, turn the situation around by resolving their issue. As Ben Parr, from Mashable, states, “Great customer service gets talked about, and this can lead to more sales and more attention.”
Use your voice.
With the eruption of social media and social consumption, customers have a voice. That also means that YOU have a voice. This can offer instant PR support in times of trouble.
For example, you most likely heard about the latest Alec Baldwin fiasco on board an American Airlines aircraft. As soon as he was scolded for playing “Words with Friends” on his mobile device after the seat belt sign was on and electronics were supposed to be turned off, he got upset and was removed from the plane. He then took the Twitter to complain and low blow American Airlines’ financial situation.
What did American Airlines do? Did they send out a press release? Did they make a statement at a press conference? No! They responded on the same medium Alec Baldwin used (and Facebook), and ultimately got the last line.
American Airlines won in this instance, but that’s not always the case. We recommend any time you have negativity to respond to, you cool down and perhaps check with your marketing agency on the proper way to handle your unique situation.
Is Twitter for everyone?
To be perfectly honest, we don’t think every company on the planet should have Twitter. You should strongly consider whether you have the resources to tend to an account and if it makes sense for your company to have one. For the pool industry, it’s a match made in heaven for service companies and builders with a service department to utilize Twitter for support.
Plus, with the introduction of Brand Pages on Twitter, you will be able to customize your customer’s experience even more!
We’ve all heard the term “viral,” whether you’re talking about a famous YouTube video (Rebecca Black’s “Friday” ring a bell?) or a social media contest that takes off. We all want it, but how do you achieve it?
Is your content worthy of being shared? Do you have a large enough network to encourage social sharing (see why each social network is important and what each can do for you here)? Going “viral” doesn’t just happen. You need to put in the groundwork and fully understand your network. Check out this infographic from Digital Buzz that easily explains the definition of “viral,” and tips to get there! And remember, we have the tools to help!
Picture this scenario:
A perspective pool buyer and her husband walk into your store. They have done some research online and are deciding between you and two other companies they liked. This is your chance to win them over.
You go through your usual sales approach and get down to discussing finishes for their pool. This is where you may usually lose a customer because it’s difficult to imagine what a square sample will look like in a big pool. You can show pictures you printed out or try to describe it to the best of your abilities, but it’s hard.
Here comes the fun part. Instead of racking your brain for descriptive words or spending an absurd amount of money on a color printer that doesn’t seem to print the right color teal, place a Quick Response (QR) code next to the sample. When your customer scans the code, a mobile-enabled video pops up that shows a real pool with that sample. That simple step in your sales process just won that customer over. Leave the other guys in the dust!
What is a QR code? According to Social Media Examiner, “they’re similar to the barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products at the point of sale. The key difference between the two is the amount of data they can hold or share.
Bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses.“
It’s easy to find QR codes generators online, but make sure it’s done professionally. Sticking on a laminated QR code can come off cheesy.
Some ideas for the pool industry:
If you’d like to see what we can do for you and your showroom, give us a call. We have a full video production department that can create some beautiful, professional video work for you. Or our web department can create a mobile site for your QR code destination! We’ll soon post some of our QR work too. We’ve got a lot of ideas up our sleeves!
VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO ENTER!