For many in the decking industry, 2020 has been an outstanding year; thanks to canceled cruises and rescheduled vacations, more homeowners are seeing the benefit of investing in an outdoor living space.

You may think that because your schedule is booked for months and you have a long list of potential leads that you don’t need to worry about marketing your company.

This is the wrong way to think about marketing. Marketing is an investment in your company’s future. It helps you build trust with potential customers, gain search visibility on Google, and help you stay ahead of your competition.

In this article, we will look at 4 reasons why you may want to continue (or even increase!) your marketing efforts this coming year. We will also look at 3 nearly free ways to market your company online.

4 Reasons to Market Your Decking Company in 2021

Here are 4 reasons why you should be marketing your deck company in the coming year.

1. Prepare for Lean Years

If we’ve learned one thing in 2020 it’s that you can’t predict the future. Who could have predicted a global pandemic, baseball with no fans, or murder hornets?

Sure, demand was up this year, but what will it be like next year? As a business owner, how are you preparing your company for the lean years?

Through marketing, you have a better opportunity to create a steady stream of leads for your business. That way, you can spend less time hunting for new business and more time actually building decks.

2. Fend Off the Competition

Because of the sustained demand this year, there has been a major swell in upstart companies within the outdoor living space. This will create increased competition both in local markets as well as online. Only 10 companies can show on the first page of Google for “deck builder near me”; make sure you don’t lose your spot to a new company.

3. Business Relationships

Digital marketing can bring more benefits to your company than just new leads. By investing in your online presence, you can gain the attention of manufacturers, connect with local businesses who can refer work to you, and grow your reputation within the industry.

4. Recruitment

One of the most underappreciated roles of digital marketing is for employee recruitment and retention. The way you present yourself online can help showcase your company culture and values, two things that can draw in potential hires while also reinforcing these to current team members.

3 Free Opportunities for Marketing Your Decking Company Online

Too often, contractors have a negative opinion about marketing because they think it costs money. And while there can be significant costs associated with marketing – truck wraps, print brochures, or websites – there are still things you can do that only cost you time and energy.

As you prepare for 2021, here are 3 areas of online marketing that you can focus on for little or no money.

1. Google My Business

Whenever you search on Google for a local business – like a coffee shop, convenience store, or contractor – you likely see a map with several pins on it. You may also see a unique box when you search for your own company’s name.

Both of these are examples of Google My Business, a free platform that Google provides for small businesses. Through this platform, business owners and staff can give Google the most up to date information about the business – including hours, services, and directions to the business. You can even use it to market your business by adding photos, discounts, and even social media like posts called Google Posts.

If you don’t already have a GMB listing, it’s easy to create. Once you have verified your profile, you can use the online dashboard or mobile app to update information, respond to Google reviews, and create Google Posts.

By investing time in your Google Business listing, you can have a better chance of showing up when homeowners conduct local searches. Even if you already show up high for “deck builder near me” or “decks [your town],” you’ll want to optimize your profile to maintain that high ranking and keep the competition at bay.

For tips on how to make the most of your GMB profile, check out this Guide to Google My Business for Contractors.

2. Awards

If you are like most entrepreneurial business owners, you are driven to be the best in all you do. Are you being recognized by others for being the best?

Every community in the nation has some sort of local or regional business awards. Sometimes they are voted for online by newspaper readers or evaluated by judges. And of course, within the deck and railing industry, there are the National+ Deck Awards.

These awards can go a long way to establishing trust, authority, and brand recognition within your local community and industry. By winning these awards, you can gain a leg up on your competition, connect with potential customers, and increase your reputation.

For tips on how to find and apply to awards in your community, check out the Guide to Winning Small Business Awards.

3. Your Website

With the rise of social media, there are some contractors who wonder why they even need a website. Our response is always: you need to own your own digital property.

What would happen if Facebook shut down, or Instagram made you pay for every post? Would it be as good of a marketing channel then?

With a website, you can have your own corner of the internet where homeowners can find you, see projects you’ve completed, and find the next step in contacting you. Sure, some people will still reach out to you after seeing your Instagram feed, but there are others who want to do their research before contacting you.

If your website is easy to edit, take some time to keep it fresh and updated. Add recent project photos to your site – especially if you are getting into new styles or techniques like lighting, inlays, or radius decks. Include trust symbols – like logos to local or industry groups you belong to. And be sure to include quotes, testimonials, or videos from satisfied customers. You can say all you want about how great a company you are, but people will trust it more if they hear a past customer saying it.

Use your website as a tool to build trust with your potential customers. After all, if they are willing to make a significant investment in their outdoor living space, help them feel confident that you are the right choice for the project.

This article was contributed by YDOP, a digital marketing agency in Lancaster, PA that helps home service contractors with their online marketing needs. YDOP is a proud member and supporter of NADRA.