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5 Steps to Drive Demand for Local Partners to Increase Your Sales

The key to growing your manufacturing business is helping your local dealers and pros grow their businesses. When your local partners are selling more successfully to their end customers, they’ll purchase more from you.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

More About This Show

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

In this episode, Zach and Beth talk about how manufacturers can help their local partners sell more successfully by having a better online presence. We talk about how you can help support your local pro dealer network to help them win more business, and ultimately, help you sell more products.

Help Your Local Partner Be Where Their Customer Is

The building products space is built on partnerships and relationships. If you as a manufacturer wants to succeed, you need to help your partners grow their business as well. When they sell more, you sell more.

And the way to help your partners grow? Ensure they are where their customer is: online.

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, asked a group of Harvard MBA grads what business he was in. The answers came back as predicted: hamburger, logistics, customer service. He replied that he was in the real estate business. McDonald’s owns more prime real estate than any other organization in the world because Kroc knew in order for them to win, he needed to be incredibly convenient to his end customer.

060 Be Where Your Customer Is

The same applies to the building industry online. Manufacturers, pros, distributors and dealers need to make it very convenient and very easy for the end customer to find us. While it used to be easy to rank organically and show up at the top of the page, ads are now taking up increasingly more and more space, moving organic results farther down the page where it takes much more scrolling to find. So today, dealers and pros need to find ways to work around this new search system to drive solid business. One way is by being strong in local search results.

There are several great ways manufacturers can help local pro dealers drive demand in their local market. Today, let’s look at four steps that can help dealers and contractors increase their online presence and drive sales.

Step 1: Ensure They Have a Google My Business Page

060 Have a Google My Business Page

The very first thing a dealer or partner needs to do is sign up for a Google My Business page. There’s a surprising number of dealers who don’t know this exists, and because they haven’t set it up, Google will have done it for them, sometimes with incorrect information.

When customers search for their local dealer, such as “Atlanta window dealer,” Google will show what is called the ‘local three-pack’ (which can sometimes be four). This is a listing of businesses in the Atlanta area with their ratings, phone numbers, directions, an image of the location and hours of operation.

If the information being shown is incorrect, the dealer is immediately losing business — and by extension, so are you. So help your partners get this information right.

Step 2: Prioritize Reviews

060 Prioritize Reviews

After you make sure your dealers and partners have taken ownership of their Google My Business page, they need to start prioritizing getting reviews. It’s an easy step that is overlooked and can really help how often their business is shown in search results.

Literally anyone can go to the business page on Google and leave a review — they don’t’ have to prove they bought anything. Dealers can ask employees, customers, family members, anyone they want to leave 4- and 5-star reviews.

Online reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers. And if a customer is looking at a three-pack of results on Google, they’ll go with the result that has the top reviews. Customers trust and purchase from companies that other people have said is a trust-worthy company. Plus, Google will show business with high rankings more often than ones with no or low rankings.

If your dealer partner needs help getting reviews, suggest they use (or use for them) tools such as BirdEye or Podum. This tool creates timely emails to people who purchased from the dealer asking them for a quick review and includes a link to the review page.

Step 3: Target Local and Regional Keywords Online

060 Local Three Pack

After a dealer gets their page set up and has good reviews, they should start Googling the terms around their name; specifically, the name of their business in that region, as well as other regional terms online.

Most of the time, unless they have a very smart and strong digital strategy, is that there’s going to be other businesses trying to rank above them by paying.

As a manufacturer, you should be helping your partners gain web traffic. One way is to help them pay for ads for terms they need to rank for. This can help you too if they have the ad go directly to a landing page with your products on it.

And because local ads are typically less expensive than national ads, you’ll be able to help your dealer for less money which can leads to sales quicker than if you bid on expensive, national keywords.

Step 4: Ensure Their Google My Business Page & Website Is Complete

060 Be Complete

Make sure that their Google My Business page contains contact information, a proper description of the company and pictures. Images are really important as they boost customers’ faith and trust in the location that they are going it. It makes them feel safe, especially if they’ve never been to the location before.

Also, include accurate hours of business and include all the suburbs, towns, or areas of business that you service, even if you don’t have a specific location there. If you do have a second location, create a separate Google My Business page for that location.

And don’t forget to check out your partners’ websites. Three critical things to check out: what the title tag is on their site, do they have contact information, is the headline an H1 tag. Making sure that the title includes the name of the area, the H1 tag includes the name of the area and the contact information readily available to those looking for it will help you in ranking in local search, as well as the three-pack.

Step 5: Create Content

One thing we’ve heard again and again when talking to dealers is that they know they need content, but they don’t have the bandwidth to create content. They believe they should have a blog. They believe they should be able to offer valuable how-to content or instructional information to their customers and they simply don't have the bandwidth.

If you can help your dealer distributor network by writing content on their behalf that they can post to their blog and share on their social media, you’ll increase their value to their end customer and, in turn, increase sales for them and you.

It's a win for the customer because they're getting information that they need the answers to their questions. It's a win for your dealer distributor because they're offering value to their customers that they know they need to offer. That wins them more business which leads to a win for you because you're offering value to your distributors because they're offering value to their customers.

Got a Question?

If you have questions about how else you can help your dealer network grow, let us know! Shoot us an email at [email protected] with all of your questions.