Posted April 20, 2022

Build your business: Gain attention by going online

Get more mileage from your marketing dollars.

A strong marketing strategy is essential for a successful equipment rental business.  Here are some cost-effective ways to market your equipment rental business, getting more mileage from your marketing dollars. 

Use social media
Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your company and products. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the main platforms and they are free to use. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the choices; Starting out, focus on one platform.

Consider Instagram, which is best for images, short captions and a diverse user base, while Facebook reaches an older demographic and is very versatile. Twitter is great for news, images and viewer engagement, and LinkedIn offers an extremely professional platform that is great for networking.

Using Instagram as an example, the most important part of your social media account is the name. The company name should be in the handle of the account. For example, your Instagram handle should be something like @JohnSmithEquipment/@johnsmithequip. If people are searching for that name in the Instagram search, it will come up as a top result.

Use your company logo or an image that relates to the company is the profile picture. The profile description should summarize the company and the link should be to the company website. It is important to link to the website because having social media accounts that generate clicks for your website will help the website have higher rankings on Google searches.

On social media it is important to have fun. People use the platform to be entertained, so the content they see should be entertaining. Social media helps make your company be more informal and relatable. The average person might not want to follow an equipment rental company on Instagram, but if that company posts videos of machines doing interesting things, or the captions are funny, they are more likely to follow your feeds.

Some examples of posts that give your account an advantage could be a time lapse of an excavator digging on a job site, or someone dropping a watermelon from a boom lift. These posts not only show the practical use of the machine that can be seen by contractors, but they also get an audience that might not care about construction equipment to watch the video. All social media platforms keep track of how long users stay on a post, and the longer the average time on the post, the more the post will show up in other users’ feeds.

Follow a schedule. Several platforms allow scheduling social media posts in advance. Look into Hoot Suite, Social Bee and Social Pilot. Prices to use these platforms vary, but if social media is something your company is taking seriously, using one of these platforms is a must.

Use hashtags. Social media platforms keep track of users’ data, so they know what type of content each user likes to see. With this data, they recommend profiles and posts the user will like. To take advantage of this, use hashtags in your posts that directly relate to the industry or topic. For example, if you post a picture of a telehandler, use hashtags like #telehandler, #materialhandling, #constructionequipment or similar hashtags. Hashtags make the post visible to people who are exploring those specific hashtags and users who have shown interest in those topics will be more likely to have your post recommended to them.

Boost social media posts
If you have a specific post or ad you would like to run, boosting a social media post is an easy way to get more views. You can do simple post boosts or run more specific ad campaigns. For example, Facebook allows users to boost a social media post for as little as $10 and lets you set parameters for how long the boost should run. For instance, you can slowly boost a post over a week or two, or have it boosted over just one day.

You will get a statistical report after the boost is completed that includes how many people saw the boost, how many clicks it generated and the cost per click. These statistics help you determine how much a click is worth to you. If your post links people to your website, you get to see how much a website visit costs you. Alternatively, if your goal is to show your post to as many people as possible, you can see how many views you got for the price you paid.

Social media boosts also give you the ability to target who you want to see the post. You can set in which states users will see you posts and what demographics you would like to target.

Use Facebook’s Ad Manager
While boosting posts is extremely easy, the most efficient way to advertise online is through Facebook Ad Manager. The learning curve is difficult, but the results will be superior to running boosts. Ad Manager lets you be even more specific with targeted ads.

Build a polished website
Today, most people looking to rent machines are researching options online. It is extremely important to make sure that your website is well put together and reliable. The home page of your website should be easy to navigate so users can find what they are looking for quickly. Google algorithms can tell when users don’t like a website based on their behavior. The more people who don’t like the website, the lower the website will be in Google rankings. If users try to access a broken website, Google will recognize that and not direct users to the site as much.

Produce high-quality images and video
Even the most well thought-out marketing plan means nothing without high-quality images and video. Today’s smartphones have cameras that can take professional-looking content. If a video is going on social media, the first five seconds should catch the attention of the viewer and make them want to watch the rest of the video. If the purpose of the video is to be purely informational, or the video is going on the website, it’s okay if the video doesn’t immediately grab the attention of the viewer.

Form relationships
Even in the digital age, nothing replaces human interaction. A good relationship with customers is not only a great way to spread the word of the company; you can also use that relationship to get better marketing material.

Potential buyers and renters want to see machines in action. If you have a good relationship with your customers, they will be more than happy to send you working images and videos that you can use for social media and advertising. It is much easier to market cheaply and efficiently today than it was even just 10 years ago. Social media and the tools associated with it gives smaller companies the opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

Harris Wellborn specializes in social media and video production with the AMS-Merlo marketing department.

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2022 issue of Pro Contractor Rentals magazine.  ©Urbain Communications LLC. all rights reserved.