Last spring, in our blog post How to start a firewood business, we wanted to help you to better understand how to increase the profit potential of your firewood business. Next we introduced different customer groups for firewood industry. Now, in this blog post, we want to share our ideas about how to promote your firewood business to gain new customers and keep the demand steady through the year. The case is, if you decide to act as your own retail outlet, you’ll need to do at least some sort of advertising or marketing.
Events as a tool for marketing
Real-life experiences are usually more engaging than any other marketing method. An event is an opportunity to give away promotional materials, demonstrate the quality of your products and generate leads. Most events are organized around anniversaries and other business landmarks. But you can also come up with event themes based on your own business needs. Why not organize for example The Firewood Autumn Festival to boost your sales well before winter?
Photo: Open day event of BDL Machines, Hakki Pilke importer in Netherlands
An event you definitely don’t want to miss out is the grand opening of your business. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the local community. Well organized grand opening – or any other event - will help you gauge people’s interest, create awareness around your business and build relationship with the community.
You should always give people something back for investing their time in your event: an interesting information about efficient use of firewood, good time with family and friends or something to take home with them. Free coffee, cookies and balloons for children usually work just fine. But if you can come up with something more individual and business related, people will remember you even better.
Remember to gather the name, address, phone number and email of everyone showing up. You can handle this for example by giving away free prizes requiring the attendees to fill out simple prize drawing forms. This way you’ll be able to send marketing updates after your event. Consider for example emailing them post-event with a discount and links to follow your website or social media.
Traditional marketing methods work well in the firewood industry
The world is going digital but many traditional marketing methods still work very well in the firewood industry. For example, permanent classified ad in the local paper or a small yellow page display will often give you very satisfactory results.
If your business is next to a busy road it might be a good idea to use something as simple as a "Firewood for sale” -road sign to let people know about your business and its location. Leaving simple leaflets or business cards with your wood-stove suppliers and other business partners is a good way to share information about your business to new customers.
Marketing your firewood business online
Although the traditional methods often work well, it is not a bad idea to use digital channels for your marketing as well. Creating a website for your business is a good start. It gives you a channel to tell about your business and introduce the quality of your products as well as engage your customers with different campaigns. Building a simple website is not as complicated as it might sound and you can find many cheap - or even free - website builders from the internet.
In case your customers use social media channels, make sure that you are also there. Creating a social media account for your business is not only easy but also free. For example, in Facebook you can easily share photos, campaigns and news to your customers and local Facebook groups are a good channel to reach new customers and share information about your business to the local community. And do not forget to share the information about your Facebook account with your customers and ask them to follow you!
Do not forget YOUR existing customers
Keep in mind that repeat and referral business will snowball over the years. You should never underestimate the power of word of mouth and after the first few years, you can most likely grow your business with less effort and money.
But first you will have to make sure your existing customers are happy – and that they stay happy. The happy customer is a loyal customer and therefore more likely not only to generate repeat business but also share their positive experiences with others.
You should also gather the phone numbers and emails from you customers. This way you can let them know about your campaigns, events and other news related to your business. You can for example offer some discount if customers make the order well before the season.
PRO TIP! Remember also to share your leaflets and business cards with these happy customers of yours, so it will be as easy as possible for them to share your contact details forward.
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