Marketing to Outlying Rural Customers

Suggestions for a local lumberyard on website improvements and personal contact efforts to boost awareness of products and services. September 3, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
We are a fairly small lumber yard. We specialize in lumber, mill work and building materials. We are in a remote location but are successful. How do you reach those outlying areas? We want people to know we are here and we are better than the rest in our area.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From Contributor C:
You have a nice website. Use it to get some help in your quest. Get the names of those areas (towns, counties, zip codes) that you want to reach on your web site so you start to show up in search results. Maybe a page or a sub-section on your home page headed "Service Areas". You'll want them to be where your other major keywords are.

From contributor D:
Can't hardly miss these days with social media. Facebook page for sure, since it's free. Blogging is also free, but you have to get people there. Facebook also helps with that.

From The Staff at WOODWEB:
You can use several of the resources at WOODWEB for little or no cost. You can create a free listing at our Sawing and Drying Directory (link below).
Sawing and Drying Directory

You can post lumber items for sale at our Lumber Exchange (link below).
Lumber Exchange

We also have the Sawmill Gallery, another free resource, where you can post a description and images of your mill (link below).
Sawmill Gallery

All of these will help boost exposure for your company.

From Contributor G:
Look at the advertising the competition does in those areas and mimic their pattern of advertising. The logic is that they have gone through the learning curve and know the best days, the best venue, the best areas, etc. Also look for pop up ads or blogs that they might be doing. Join associations your customers might belong to. Keep a mailing list and an email list of your customers and mail to them regularly.

On regular mail once a month, on email they say once or twice a week, I don't know regarding the email but that is what I have read from reliable sources. Emotions have a lot to do with advertising find out why your existing customers like you and use that information in your advertising. Also use that information for strategic planning. E.G. if your customers come in because you stock a certain species of wood or a certain brand of mill work or because of your service make sure you put that information into your future plans. Keep doing what you are doing now which is do a lot of find out, before you spend money.

From contributor P:
You could make a list of 100 high end custom home contractors within 45 minutes of your business, and contact them directly via phone. Find out what they need, and tell them how you can help. Keep a list, so you don't repeat calls. Try to do three calls a day for a month. Follow up with a mailing in a few months. This method would complement your great web site, and it's something Home Depot and Lowes can't do. It sets you apart. It's an intensive form of marketing, but the targets are high value. You are establishing relationships. I buy from a place that did this.

From Contributor J:
I think itís better to promote your website online by incorporation social optimization strategy with social media marketing, video marketing and viral marketing. It will be very effective to reach out customer away from your area.

From Contributor Y:
Your best bet is to add local SEO markup to your website, particularly on pages dedicated to each of your service offerings. This way when someone searches for services like yours in your local area you'll be near the top of the search engines. The more specific you are, the more likely you'll appear. Advertising is fine, but local SEO like this is free with the right tools. You may pay hundreds for an ad somewhere, but then it's gone. If you appear in the search engines, you're there whenever someone is looking, and it's free. How you add local SEO markup to your website really depends on how it's built. Some websites do it automatically, but most don't. The newer ones usually do it automatically and you can tell by how they appear in search engines. Always go for the low hanging fruit (the free and easy stuff) first before paying for expensive advertising.