Montana Log Homes

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Log Home Marketing in a Soft Economy (Part II)

Last week I posted an article entitled “Log Home Marketing” and promised to provide a few more ideas in an upcoming post.  This is Part II and it is intended for companies in the log home industry.  If you are searching for log home information or businesses, I invite you to visit our main Log Home Directory here. ~ Thanks. 

In a challenging business climate such as what we are experiencing today, business owners often choose to batten down the hatches and revert to traditional promotional and advertising methods on a scaled-down level.  Unfortunately, we can’t spend our way out of this mess; we must get more creative and extend our reach using non-traditional approaches.  The Internet and new social networking websites offer marketing opportunities you couldn’t afford to purchase using conventional media sources. 

What would you do if you knew that 50% – 79% of potential log home buyers were visiting a particular website every day?  What if you could…

  • join that website for free and connect with those prospects?
  • establish your company as an industry leader at no cost?
  • have your website benefit from one-way links from that website?

Would you take the time to investigate that site?  Would you take advantage of this marketing opportunity even though it meant you had to learn something new?  Would you be willing to dedicate time to enhance these marketing efforts?

Have you heard of ‘social media’?

Maybe you didn’t know this new media channel had a special moniker, but you have undoubtedly heard of many of the websites that are considered to be part of this social media phenomenon; websites like MySpace and Facebook.   But there’s a whole lot more to this social media story than just places for kids to hang out.  

In fact, today the largest user segment on Facebook are people over 35 years of age and Facebook has more than 100 million users worldwide.  Many of these sites began as a gathering place for teenagers, but they have evolved into community sites where age no longer plays a part.   

Recently, a company called FaceTime Communications released survey results in which it asked over 500 IT managers and employees about their Internet and social media habits at work. The survey showed:

  • 79% of workers use Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube at work for business reasons, and of those business reasons, 54% cited professional networking, 52% said research, and 52% said learning about colleagues were what they used them for.
  • 82% say they use social media sites for personal reasons
  • 51% of workers use social networks at least once a day
  • 62% said LinkedIn was their preferred network for business purposes

You might argue that IT professionals are not your primary log home prospects and I wouldn’t disagree with you.  However, it is the trend that is important, not the job classification.  Members of these social networking sites are people from virtually every profession.  Social media sites are attracting people from all walks of life, all ages and financial conditions.  Social media is a way to connect and meet with other like-minded individuals… including those who want to buy log homes.  Being involved with these websites can be particularly effective in reinforcing your brand, keeping it fresh and expanding your prospect list.

Which social media sites do I use and recommend?

The last I read there were more than 300 social networking sites (ouch).  Fortunately, you only need to be involved with a few.  MySpace is not a place to talk business or network with prospects as it remains primarily a place for young people to meet.  The social media sites below are ones to which I belong and in my opinion, offer the most business and networking opportunities.

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 30 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries.  LinkedIn’s philosophy is that “Relationships Matter”.  A number of the companies you may already be affiliated with have groups on LinkedIn; NAHB, Timber Frame Business Council, System Built Housing and I sponsor a group called the Log Home Network.  When you join LinkedIn, become a member these groups to help expand your network… and don’t be shy about starting your own group.

Facebook has 100 million members, so I’m certain that someone may be a log home prospect.  By becoming a member and developing your personal and company profile you will be easy to find anytime someone searches for log home people or information.  There are a few log home and timber frame groups already established, including my “Log Homes & Timber Frame” group.  Join these groups – and start your own.

Merchant Circle is not as much of a social website, but it does offer you an opportunity to network with others in the industry and companies with which you do business. One of the best benefits of Merchant Circle is that it provides quality links to your main website and is free advertising to 620,000 members. 

Will you be my friend?

Social networking is the online equivalent of traditional social clubs and fraternal organizations without the geographic constraints.  If you live in Milwaukee, you wouldn’t join a Rotary club in Seattle, but these websites permit you to network on a global level.  The best advice I would offer is to join, create your profile, add links to your websites and sign up with other industry groups.  Before long, people will be inviting you to “be a friend” and connect with them.  Through these connections you will discover other like-minded people and opportunities to share your knowledge and opinions. 

You may decide to become very active in discussions and forums or you may choose to be a passive member.  Regardless of the extent of your involvement, staking your claim as a log home industry expert and adding your company information, photos of your log homes, contact info and links to your website and blog is a freebie you should not pass up. 

Unfortunately, we find ourselves experiencing the worst economic climate most of us have seen in our lifetimes.  From the real estate meltdown and this yawner of an election to the stock market, most people are struggling to find anything that will uncover new business.   This ‘down time’ is the perfect time to extend your reach online and establish new networking opportunities.  The people who will be in the market for a log home tomorrow are doing their research and talking to other people online today.  When they search… make sure they can find you.

2 comments to Log Home Marketing in a Soft Economy (Part II)

  • Jerry

    Great suggestions. This is the kind of stuff we need in our business. Sales are really slow and our website doesn’t seem to be doing much for us, but it never did. I guess we are not doing enough of things like this. Thanks again, very good ideas. Jerry

  • Mary

    Thank you. Great suggestion and I love your blog. You always have something interesting to say. Keep up the great work and keep those marketing tips coming. We are a dealer for a log home company, but they don’t give us much advice about such things. Thanks.

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