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Learn marketing skills with Google

Undertake training that can help develop not only your technical skills but also your business skills, it will pay dividends in the . It’s an opportunity to refresh your existing skills or train in new technologies, such as heat pumps, which could open different revenue streams for your business.

Online training courses can be completed without leaving the house. If you want to brush up on your marketing skills, the Google Digital Garage offers free courses on everything from planning a social media strategy to SEO – with a certification up for grabs on completion.

Start your development today https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage

Vaillant product training course now online

We've taken our training courses online, so you can access them via the online meeting software ‘Zoom’ from the comfort and safety of your own home.

We have a range of courses to choose from, with more courses being developed and ready to be launched over the coming weeks.

The courses will be available every day, with up to 20 spaces per session on a first come first served basis.

Our online training courses are fully live and interactive - delivered by our team using genuine demo products to give installers a truly authentic experience from the comfort of their own homes.

To register your interest, you can fill out this form here. Or alternatively you can email us training.enquiriesuk@vaillant-group.com

Making the most of your company Facebook page

Facebook has emerged over the years as one of the key channels to use when it comes to marketing a business online. It can help you showcase your brand, your team and the great work you do to potential customers, plus it’s a great way to keep your current customer base up to date with your business.

That’s why we’ve prepared a few handy hints and tips to help you make the most of your Facebook page and connect with customers using this social media platform.

Some of the advice below also features in episode two of The VaillantPodcast on marketing with James Lacey, director at JLN Plumbing and Heating and Holly Hickey, PR & social media director at The Bright Consultancy. To listen to the podcasts and for more in depth advice, hints and tips around Marketing your business, visit www.buzzsprout.com/840097.

Content is king

When it comes to social media, the saying ‘content is king’ has never been more accurate. A Facebook Business page needs a steady flow of engaging content to keep your audience interested and attract potential new customers. We recognise that the prospect of coming up with fresh material for your Facebook page can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when you’re running a business, so we’ve narrowed down some areas to help you focus on.

Consider creating a monthly content calendar.

At the start of each month plan out how many posts you want to go up each week and what these might say. As a rule of thumb, three posts a week is a good starting point, but the key thing is to be consistent. If you can only do one post a week that’s OK, but try and stick to it as much as possible.

Next, consider what the themes of your content should be and what you want to talk about. For example, your content pillars could be:

  • About your brand/company - posts that explain who you are, what you do and how you can help.
  • Company updates – highlight new team members joining, a new product or service you offer, or charity work you’re involved with.
  • Your work – show off the great work you do. Share pictures of your finest pipework, latest boiler installations or a stylish new Vaillant control that you might have fitted.
  • Offers & promotions – shout about any offers or promotions you might be running. You can time these to coincide with any other marketing materials you’ve got lined up, such as leaflet drops or customer emails. Don’t forget to take advantage of the exclusive offers available to Vaillant Advance members, such as controls guarantee matching, or the exclusive product guarantees, which are all great unique selling points for potential customers.
  • Personality – don’t be afraid to show some personality on the channel. If you’ve got an office dog share pictures of them. Or perhaps you have a team mascot that goes out on jobs with you? By bringing out some character and demonstrating your human side on your page, you can connect with your customers on a more personal level.
  • Key calendar dates – think about the time of year. Is it coming up to the first official day of autumn or winter? Could you do a post related to that? Is it a national day of something that you can turn to your advantage? Has the weather taken a turn for the worse (or better) and that creates an opportunity? As James from JLN says, “If it's snowing outside, let's have a picture saying we can make sure your boiler is working. Do you need a service?”
  • Frequently Asked Questions – Think about any common questions you get from your customers. Is there any simple content you could create that could help answers these online? Don’t forget, The Vaillant Advance Resource Library has a whole suite of how to videos and handy infographics you could use for free on your Facebook page.

Once you’ve created your content calendar, simply schedule it all on Facebook, including the relevant days and times you’d like it to go out. Facebook has advice on how to do this here.

Promoting your content - ads

Now you’ve nailed the type of content you’re going to post, it’s important that it gets noticed. By paying to promote your post or create an advert from it, you increase the chances of people seeing it and boost the amount of people your business is likely to reach.

Consider placing a small amount of advertising spend behind some of your content. It doesn’t have to be huge. As Holly from Bright says, “You don't have to spend a fortune on it because the numbers [of customers] that you're probably going to be expecting aren't going to be huge compared to the big brands. Even just sticking 20 quid on a [Facebook] advert can really help.”

The beauty of Facebook is that it allows you to create different types of adverts, including ones specifically designed to bring in new customer leads. What’s more, you can use Facebook’s own tools to target relevant customers, for instance by age group, gender, location, interests, or place of work etc. If you’re looking to set up a Facebook advert, you can read Facebook’s step-by-step advice on doing it here.

Why not consider including offers on your adverts as well? As James states, they’re a great way of tracking the success of your ad and a way to incentivise new business too, “So if you haven't got time to ask every customer where they've heard of you, you can put a code on an offer. If you're knocking 10 pounds off, make them mention the code. Facebook2, Facebook3. You can then see if that advert's working.”.

When it comes to your adverts, make sure you’re using Facebook to analyse how they’re performing, what leads they’re bringing in and if anything needs tweaking. Facebook allows you to conduct ‘split testing’ where you have slightly different versions of the same ad, perhaps using a different image or changing the text slightly on one, and it tells you which was the more successful of the two. This valuable analysis will help you see what leads it’s brought in and decide where to allocate future advertising budgets to maximise your return on investment.

Managing your community – why it’s important to engage with your customers

Now you’ve got your content going out the door with some spend behind it, you’re likely to find you get a few more people looking at your page and asking questions or your advice, so it’s really important you reply to and engage with them in a timely manner. Ignoring them or taking too long to get back to them can lose you a customer and possibly damage your reputation in the process.

The two key rules you should follow when you’re community managing are:

  • Respond and engage quickly
  • Be helpful and constructive

Whilst it’s important to for a company to respond to customer queries on Facebook as quickly as possible, we appreciate it can be hard when you’re out and about on business. To get around this, try and set check-in points throughout the day for yourself or a colleague to spend five/ten minutes replying to any queries that might have come through. Furthermore, consider updating your profile and company information details with your working hours to help manage customer expectations.

James from Vaillant has created shortcut phrases on his phone so that the minute he starts typing the response, the phone suggests the rest and within seconds it’s posted. He believes in responding quickly: “It doesn't matter what time of day or night, we'll respond to a customer comment.”

Alternatively, if you know you’ll be pressed for time you can set up a Facebook messenger chat bot to help customers. This free automated message software can be programmed to recognise questions and provide set answers in response. It’s a great way to save time and ensure customer queries are still getting answered. Facebook has a great step-by-step video on setting this up which you can watch here.

Take advantage of useful software to help manage your Facebook page

There’s so much clever software that can be used to help manage your Facebook page. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s very much a case of seeing what’s right for you. Below is a list of some software or apps that you may want to consider using:

Hootsuite – this free site allows you to schedule the timing of posts and advertising campaigns in advance. It allows you to post to Facebook or multiple social networks at once – great if you’ve got several social accounts to keep an eye on. You can also assign different team members to approve posts to help share the workload.

Facebook Pixel - this is technically a free analytics tool from Facebook but it allows you to track and target your ads more effectively. It’s great for helping you to better understand your customer’s buying path.

Sprout – this paid for software allows you to manage and optimise all your social media channels. You can publish, analyse and manage engagement using this. For an additional monthly fee, they also allow you to create more sophisticated chat bots.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition and appeal to new and existing customers, take a minute to review your Facebook strategy using these tips, to maximise your business’s growth potential.