September 23, 2021

You’re the Boss Blog: Where Should I Invest Invest My Marketing Dollars?

On Social Media

Generating revenue along with the buzz.

Jeff Chinman: Am I just bothering my little bubble of friends?Courtesy of Broadway Kitchens Baths. Jeff Chinman: Am I just bothering my little bubble of friends?

Jeff Chinman, 53, is the president of Broadway Kitchens Baths, which remodels kitchens and bathrooms for residential customers in Manhattan, Northern New Jersey and Stamford, Conn. It also sells materials and remodeling services wholesale to builders and management companies. The company generates a few million dollars in revenue each year, but in 2012, its growth was flat.

Mr. Chinman, who says he is an avid reader of this blog, had been hearing so much about blogging and social media that he started feeling like he should do something new to market his services. But what? Confused about where to start, he left this comment on one of my recent posts:

I am working on my either 3rd or 4th revamp of my web site, I have a Facebook page and I am trying to figure out the Fb, twitter, blog integration thing, but then I ask myself, does it really work. Am I just sending and bothering my little bubble of friends and acquaintances or do I really get business from it? There seems to be a gap in what works, and who really knows what there doing. My big question is for 2013, do I spend money pushing social media/ Internet advertising (google adwords) or stick with radio and print?

Mr. Chinman and his wife, Linda, bought Broadway Kitchens Baths 18 years ago. They were drawn to the Manhattan location, conveniently positioned on a busy corner in the Village. The business grew, and in 2000 they opened a showroom in Englewood, N.J., near their home. In 2008, they opened their third store in Stamford.

They built the business, Mr. Chinman said, on customer service. “Hey, this is New York, people demand excellent service in this city,” he said. “We don’t just sell faucets. We’ve done the homework for you, so you don’t have to go out and research everything ad nauseum.” Mr. Chinman said his biggest marketing challenge was to drive traffic to his showrooms and to his Web site. “I want to move up in position in organic search on Google,” he said.

His ideal client is someone who may not have a lot of time but does have some money to spend. Currently, 80 percent of his sales leads come from the visibility 0f his location and from referrals. When asked what is working, Mr. Chinman said he advertises in the newspaper, on local radio and in the Frankin Report, and he uses lawn signs when remodeling in suburban areas. Referrals from manufacturers account for about 5 percent of his business.

So, as Mr. Chinman asked, where should he put his marketing dollars: social media? Google AdWords? Or print and radio?

Personally, I do not think it’s an either-or situation. Social media should be part of any overall marketing program.

When I looked at this company’s social media footprint, a few things stood out. First, the Web site could use a face-lift. One option is to upgrade the site to one based on WordPress, which would offer the flexibility to add a blog and social media connections. A new site should be mobile-ready, as well, because more and more smartphone users go to the the Internet only from their cellphones.

Blogging can be a great way for a service business to build a social media footprint, but it is important to understand at the start that it is time consuming. You don’t want to start out strong and then stop. Mr. Chinman might also consider developing an e-book or special report to give away on the site to start building an e-mail marketing list.

Once the site is upgraded, local online advertising is a great option for this company. Since the goal is to drive traffic to the showrooms, a pay-per-click campaign using Facebook ads or Google AdWords should be effective.

Right now, the company has three separate Facebook pages for the same location, none with more than 51 followers. He might consider developing a Facebook page for each location and highlighting a project of the week. Engagement is everything, and good pictures go a long way on Facebook.

Mr. Chinman should also train his sales team to track where his sales leads come from. That will allow him to test multiple marketing campaigns online and offline to see which ones create the most interest.

While I had his attention, I asked Mr. Chinman if granite counter tops were still popular. He said yes and added that quartz tops were selling well, too. I think he has plenty of material for a blog.

What would you recommend for Broadway Kitchens Baths?

Melinda Emerson is founder and chief executive of Quintessence Multimedia, a social media strategy and content development company. You can follow her on Twitter.

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