He started blogging at the end of 2011 with a focus to help small business owners improve their marketing efforts. "It touches on sweeping and the industry in general by understanding what sort of problems and challenges they have along the way," he says. "It's not like we have huge marketing budgets to hire outside firms to do this for us. We're expected to run the business and be able to do marketing, advertising and customer service all at the same time. Finding efficient, cost-effective ways to do that is what I aim to do."
The blog has been extremely useful in preparing Carter for a Bill's Sweeping Service blog. Carter believes that blogging about any topic is a successful way to prepare for a company blog. While it can be intimidating, Carter says that contractors can only get better the more they blog. "Even if the most you are doing is writing about a hobby, just writing about it online will naturally improve your writing," he says. "You will have some of those basic skills to transfer over to your business blog. Getting out there and starting to write on any topic is the biggest step you can take."
Much like most online efforts, a strong viewership won't happen instantly; however, contractors must understand that blogging is still extremely useful. "You are still creating your own authority in the industry," Carter says. "There are certain benefits you have just by having a blog up. You can point to your content and tell a client about the material you've written. Then, let them know you can discuss the topic and how you can help them with X, Y and Z."
Facebook and Twitter extend reach
C&L Sweeper Service has a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account. Vitale uses the sites to share content about the company. Vitale also shares blog posts as well as photos with both sites. "We have a Twitter account that I use regularly," Vitale says. "I'll post a blurb about our business or use it to respond to other conversations. Twitter is a two-way conversation."
She also suggests that contractors include social media logos with links to the company page in employees e-mail signatures. This will promote the social media sites to anyone employees communicate with.
Vitale only sees an opportunity in social media. "This is an untapped market," she says. "It's so easy to reach thousands of people. We have 148 people on our Facebook page. So, anytime I post a blog to Facebook it goes out to 148 people."
Although social media and online marketing consist of a large part of C&L Sweeping Service's marketing plan, the company continues to use traditional marketing techniques with a fresh spin. "We order a lot of give-a-ways for trade shows," Vitale says. "There are people who like koozies or bottle openers. All of those little give-a-ways have our website, Facebook and Twitter addresses on them. So, our company is always in front of the customer."