How Do I Advertise My Fab Shop? | RMT

Maybe the Yellow Pages?

You are the owner or manager of a metal fabrication shop, and you want to grow and advertise your business. “If only more people knew what we offered,” you say to your staff. An old-timer in the shop might speak up and suggest, “Maybe try the Yellow Pages.” You dismiss that as an ineffective method for doing business in the twenty-first century but can’t think for certain how to begin. An office worker points out that you do have a small single page website that shows a photo of your shop and a phone number, but you haven’t seen much evidence that it does any good.

You recognize that being any sort of small business in today’s world takes some effort to stay competitive, and even more so in the demanding metalworking industry. You determine that you need to advertise your services in as many effective—and economic—ways as possible and set your staff to looking for all available options for your consideration.

Some Advertising Options

Here are a few of the various advertising strategies that might be useful to you as you seek to promote the services of your metal fabrication shop:

  • Create an Online Presence. Create a professional website—or update your current one—to showcase your services, portfolio, and contact information. Be sure to acquire the help of a professional to optimize your site for search engines to increase your online visibility. Add quality content marketing to your site by starting a blog or otherwise creating informative content that showcases your expertise in metal fabrication. Create engaging videos highlighting your fabrication processes, projects, and testimonials. Build an email list of current customers and send regular updates, promotions, or newsletters (allowing them to easily opt-out if they don’t want them). Supplement your website and emails using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share photos, updates, and engage with potential clients. Explore platforms like Yelp, Angie’s List, or industry-specific websites for advertising. Ensure your business is listed with a business profile on Google and other local directories, and then encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
  • Find In-Person Methods of Promotion. Host events at your shop like open houses or workshops that allow potential clients to tour your facility and learn about your capabilities. Encourage satisfied customers to refer your services by offering incentives or discounts. Attend local business events, trade shows, and networking groups to connect with potential clients and collaborators. Establish partnerships with other local businesses, such as construction companies or architects, to expand your reach. Be sure to encourage your staff to drop in on potential clients when they are traveling and introduce themselves and your business.
  • Don’t Neglect Traditional Advertising. Create professional brochures, business cards, flyers, and other printed materials to distribute in the local community. Advertise in industry-specific trade magazines or publications to reach a targeted audience. Consider printed phone directories if you live in a rural area or some other place that still relies on them. Introduce special promotions or discounts to attract new customers and put an ad in a local newspaper as well as online. Price radio advertising. Find out how economical it would be to put up a billboard for a few weeks in an industrial section of your city or county. Brand your company vehicles with your logo and contact information for mobile advertising.

Make a Marketing Plan

No matter what methods you decide to test or adopt, do so within the confines of a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a document that outlines the overall advertising strategies that your business will implement to reach the ideal customers for your fab shop. It will detail all the promotional activities you will be engaging in during a specific period, and it will spell out the metrics that your shop will use to measure the effectiveness of each method. Some results may be harder to track than others, but if someone says that they found your business through this method or that one, it’s a start. Be sure to make a record of every such comment and discuss it as you refine and expand your marketing plan in the future. A marketing plan isn’t a static declaration, it is a living document that changes as you find out what works with a certain demographic at a certain time, and what doesn’t.

If you combine online, in-person, and traditional strategies in your shop’s marketing plan, you will be creating a well-rounded approach that will give you a greater potential for reaching more members of your target audience. Keep within your advertising budget as you try different things, and don’t be afraid to test something that might be unusual (if you get offered a deal for an ad on the side of a hot air balloon, why not check it out and see if it might work?). You will never know how best to reach your customer base until you try different things, so start with those methods that cost the least and expand out from there. You may be pleasantly surprised how quickly word gets out about the services that your fab shop offers.

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