Marketing a Business Online – Blog Posts & Facebook Advertising

In a previous project post we looked at the My Hand Painted Furniture website. Here we will cover how to use that website, in conjunction with other platforms, to grow the business into a national brand. Marketing a Business Online is more than just a website; it is social media, search marketing and paid advertising, all pieces of a larger puzzle.
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Marketing a Business Online is more than a website; it's social media, search and paid advertising, all pieces of a larger puzzle.

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In a previous project post we looked at the My Hand Painted Furniture website. Here we will cover how to use that website, in conjunction with other platforms, to grow the business into a national brand. Marketing a Business Online is more than just a website; it is social media, search marketing and paid advertising, all pieces of a larger puzzle.

A quick recap. My Hand Painted Furniture was the first and the most successful specialist kitchen and furniture painting business in Ireland. The website we built for them, social media and search marketing grew a small cottage, lifestyle business into a 6 figure national brand.

In this post we’ll look at how a variety of techniques earned new clients for the business in every corner of the Republic and Northern Ireland. We used SEO (search engine optimization), Google Adwords and Facebook. 

Without a well designed, easy to navigate website implementing SEO or buying Facebook ads. would be a waste of time and money. Another must have is good photography. Staff at My Hand Painted Furniture always had the latest phones with excellent cameras; vital for the website, vital for social media.

Marketing a Business Online Using Search Engine Optimization

Marketing a Business Online begins with SEO. Every page that you create on your website should have a purpose, or why create it at all. My Hand Painted Furniture had all the pages that you’d expect; Home, Service Pages, Contact. Back then, and still today, very few Irish business websites had a up-to-date blog, averaging a post per week. This is what we did with My Hand Painted Furniture.

This is an example of a post featured on the blog at My Hand Painted Furniture. As we said above, every page needs to have a purpose. SEO at it’s most basic is the practice of optimizing web pages so that Google shows them to the right people… your potential customers.

Visit a demo of the My Hand Painted Furniture Website.

If I’ve done my job right, you, the person reading this very post, is a small business owner, in Ireland looking to market themselves online using SEO, Google Ads and Facebook.

This post is designed to feature in the search results for a number of search terms;

  • "hand painted table and chairs in North Dublin."
  • "hand painted table and chairs"
  • "furniture painting in North Dublin"

Getting people in North Dublin who are interested in, or actively looking for a business that will paint their table and chairs to read this post is the purpose of this web page.

In this post – Landing Pages for Local Businesses, we delve deeper into keyword targeting, here we’ll just look at the basics. Let’s take a few things for granted; the post is well written, in excess of 500 words minimum and has a number of high quality images detailing before, during and after.

Now for the SEO bit. This is very basic. Every element adds only a small piece Google juice but in many cases if competition is low they can have a massive impact;

  • Page Title (meta title tag, 50-60 characters)
  • Page URL
  • Description (meta description tag, approx. 155 character)
  • At least 1 sub heading (H1, H2, H3, H4 tags etc.)
  • 0.5% distribution of the exact keyword/search term (5 times in 1000 words)
  • In at least 1 image title and in most image alt. tags
Furniture Painting Blog Post
Click to Enlarge

Rinse & Repeat...

And that’s the process. The goal is to create a page for every location covered by a business and every service they provide. In the case of My Hand Painted Furniture we built up a large collection of posts doing just that. We had “Furniture Painting in Athlone” and “Hand Painted Kitchen in Athlone.” We had “Hand Painted Kitchen in Belfast” and “Furniture Painting in Belfast.” This website came to dominate the search results in many areas, far from where they were based in Roscommon.

Some pages became so authoritative in Google’s judgment that they ranked above large chains for high value terms like “Hand Painted Kitchen.” or “Painted Furniture.” The SEO campaign that we implemented at My Hand Painted Furniture was a huge success… and you can do it to, for your business. OR we can do it for you!!

Marketing a Business Online Using Social Media & Facebook Advertising

These days, Marketing a Business Online can rise and fall off the back of it’s social media. My Hand Painted Furniture had always had a healthy Facebook following, we took it up a notch. Twitter was important to the business but not for generating new business. On twitter, the owner of the business built relationships with suppliers, trade organizations and colleagues in the industry from all over the world. This placed them at the cutting edge of product development and earned high value links into the website. This is a long term play, and may not fit your business model or type. So here we will focus on lead generation, primarily Facebook.

Facebook Post & Page Fans

A quick disclaimer. This first technique no longer works to any degree at all really, and if it does there are far better ways to spend your money. I have included a pocket history of Facebook’s business pages here to explain what happened.

We wanted to grow the fan base of the Facebook Page. We chose Facebook as our number 1 marketing target because My Hand Painted Furniture were big into photography already and this platform allowed us to showcase this.

The first campaign we created was designed to get people in our target demographic to like the page, then we could show them posts. Our target demographic was as follows…

  • Women
  • Married
  • Aged 25-65
  • Located in affluent areas of major Irish cities; Dublin, Galway and Belfast in particular.
  • High Income brackets (this is mostly discerned from post code).
  • University Educated (this helped to identify income).

Of course, the business had other types of client in different areas but this gave us the best hit rate. Facebook ads. are cheaper the more detailed your targeting and using this approach the staff could book multiple viewings in a single day, sometimes 10 or more.

Over a 4 year period My Hand Painted Furniture amassed almost 19 thousand page likes, a massive number by any measure. On average these likes cost €0.05, some of these became customers invoiced at €5000 or more.

With this page like campaign in place it was the turn of the staff to run with the ball. They did not disappoint. With our help and guidance they averaged 10 posts a day detailing every aspect of the day-to-day running of the business. It worked like clockwork. The best posts, images and content were saved for Friday evening between 7 and 10… Facebook Prime Time !!

Many of these posts performed extremely well. The client would often comment and share with their friend, they would in tern book work. Engagement figures of likes, comments and shares steadily increased, reaching hundreds of extra users.

Facebook Ads. - Landing Pages for Local Businesses

A short History of What Happened to Facebook's Organic Post Reach

In the past it was easy. Design a Facebook Page, advertise the Like button for a few cents and your posts would be shown to those people for free. This was when Facebook launched business pages, it’s not like that today, it’s not like that at all.

2007-2012: Fan Pages

From the moment “Fan Pages” launched in 2007, anyone could create a Page for their company or organisation, start collecting fans, and post to their fan base with the assumption that they would see those posts.

In 2012, Pages learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average — were seeing their posts in their News Feeds.

2014: Organic Reach Plummets

A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. While more research suggested than pages with larger fan numbers could have an average reach of less than 2%.

Based on these figures a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds.

2016: Reintroducing Friend and Family Content

SocialFlow analyzed more than 3,000 posts by publishers on Facebook and found that organic reach dropped 42% between January and May 2016. Then, later in 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm again, to further prioritize content from friends and family over Pages.

In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that Pages could anticipate a dip in organic reach — which could leave reach lower than that earlier 2% estimate, in some cases.

After this algorithm adjustment, SocialFlow adjusted the decline in organic reach — which had dropped further. Between January and July 2016, publishers saw a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook.

This is the state of play on Facebook today. Organic reach for your posts is in the past. Unless you create something truly special that will be shared in a wide group, forget it !! It’s time for paid advertising. 

(a big thank you to Hubspot.)

Facebook Advertising

The Facebook advert campaign that we designed for My Hand Painted Furniture brings together every aspect of Marketing a Business Online. We have our website and our blog posts, we have our Facebook Page and it’s thousands of fans. Now let’s put them all to work for us.

This is how it works… complete a job, collect all the photography together and optimize them (crop, resize, a little Photoshop, but not too much, customers can smell that a mile away). Write a 1000 word post around these images, just like we described above.

Hit the Facebook ads. manager, enter the demographics we spoke about above and include everyone within a 50km radius of the location in the post title. Bingo !!… just watch the inquires flood the inbox. You’ll be booking work in that area for years to come. 

Two early posts in this campaign were in Kildare, one furniture and one kitchen. In the years that followed Kildare was by far the busiest county for the business. These pages paid for themselves 100 times over.

My Hand Painted Furniture Facebook Ad.

This is what the advert would have looked like for a contract carried out in Athlone. It’s simple, you want people to read the post, but most of all you want them to view the images. If anything, you don’t want them to call or email before they visit the website because all of the questions they have (if your web designer/SEO/marketing consultant has done their job right) would have already been answered. the call should be 30 seconds long to book the viewing.

These weekly adverts. would cost between €30 and €80 but would book work totaling thousands; every time, without exception. Follow this formula and you can do it to.

Marketing a Business Online Using Search Advertising

The last piece of the online marketing puzzle was search advertising. You might know it as Google Adwords, today it’s just Google Ads. In our mind it was the lowest priority, we wanted SEO to do the heavy lifting and search ads. have no visual component, not good for My Hand Painted Furniture.

But we had a plan. What was it in the mind of a potential client? Did they know about kitchen and furniture painting? Maybe not. Let’s target people at that point in the customer journey…

“I don’t like my kitchen.” – Google search – “fitted kitchens in X location.” – Advert for My Hand Painted Furniture.

Gotcha !! “I don’t need a new kitchen, I can employ this business to paint the kitchen I already have.”

Interrupting the sales funnel of established businesses is like the holy grail. If you can get customers at this point in their sales journey they are very valuable to your business.

Thank you for reading this write up of our work with My Hand Painted Furniture. These campaigns were highly successful and we are very proud of the work. You can implement these techniques for your own business or get in touch with us, we can take care of everything for you. If you are looking to expand into new locations or you are taking on extra staff and you need to increase bookings your website and social media are the tools you need to get the job done. 

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