As you prepare your equipment fleet for the 2009 season, you must also prepare your marketing machine as well. Hopefully, many of you continue your marketing efforts year round, but regardless, here are a few things to think about.

No doubt many contractors in today’s economic climate are looking to market their business with a high return on the least amount of investment. It sounds like a dream you say, but with the unique marketing tools available today it is absolutely possible!

Because of the power of the internet, businesses bring high levels of exposure to their products and services with a much smaller investment than in times past. Time and time again I hear of businesses pulling dollars they normally put towards large Yellow Page ads, investing instead in internet marketing. I’m not suggesting pulling the Yellow Page ad as a path for everyone, but it is certainly indicative of where people and businesses are turning to find the products and services they need.

Yes, increasingly, people and businesses alike are turning to the internet. Communications between businesses and clients happen now through email much more than by phone or other traditional means.

With that in mind – your business needs to get in the path of these internet savvy “potentials” and keep them in tune with your business and services. The best part about it is that you can do these things for a reasonably small investment. The list below will give you a few ideas.

1) Web site – You must have a website these days. If you don’t, you’re in trouble. Not having a website in 2009 is like a restaurant taking down their signs and closing the blinds while hoping someone hungry will stop in. If you are of the older generation and aren’t yet convinced I must say—snap out of it! Everyone searches for products and services on the web. A good web site will have information on the importance and benefits of pavement maintenance, descriptions of your services, photos from recent projects and easy to find contact information. It must also look professional! Additionally, it is important that whoever builds your site optimizes it to do well in the search engines (we’ll have to talk about this later).

2) Graphic emails – email newsletters or company updates are invaluable for reminding your past and potential customers that you are still around, doing good work and ready to work for them. Some businesses will have a quarterly newsletter with images from recent projects, a quick hello and a fact based article reminding them of the importance of pavement maintenance. That’s just one idea… let your imagination soar!

3) Brochures or flyers – Now that you have a web site that provides the basic information visitors need to know about your company, you should reinforce your “web” presence with printed materials that can be handed out in a face to face meeting. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive or expensive. It should look professional, provide reasons for them to act, and have easily found contact information for when they are ready. It should also direct them to your web site to view recent project photos and more information about who you are and the services you provide. These printed pieces can be given out by hand at pre-arranged meetings, drop-ins, or even mailed.

4) Lastly, if you haven’t covered the basics yet like business cards, letter head, envelopes or even a company logo, take care of these things first. It shows that you’re professional, that you’re here to stay, and that you care about the presentation or your company and its work. After all pavement maintenance is all about presentation.

Those are a few of the basics. Many of you who have been in business for a while can probably think of more (like job site signs, etc.) Of course, these marketing tools must be supported by your efforts to spread the word. Your kindness and professional approach, along with a nice looking business card and brochure is quite impressive. Add a professional looking web site and means of communication like an email newsletter into the mix and you just might find yourself with handful of new customers!

If you would like to discuss these things further you can give me a call at 404-432-4019 or visit my web site at http://www.wtalkie.com