I recently had the opportunity to travel to Nashville for the 2018 C&D World conference. The conference, put on by the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), brought out representatives from the C&D recycling industry for four days of educational events, awards and fundraising in the Country Music Capital of the World.

One of the events I had the opportunity to sit in on was titled “Social Media and Marketing in C&D.” The session generated a lot of dialogue from the audience and just as many follow-up questions. Just like the countless music acts that come to Nashville to launch their careers, the session’s attendees seemed to be looking for one thing: the right recipe for getting noticed in a competitive landscape.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few best practices I’ve found that can help you engage your audience online.

Build up your website: Having a bare-bones website is like owning a brick-and-mortar business and keeping the “closed” sign up 24/7. The majority of people look online before making a purchasing decision today, which is why you should invest time and money to ensure your site is optimized. If you don’t have the tools or expertise to build up your site in-house, consider making the investment in a web designer or SEO expert. You should also make sure your business’ information is updated on Google My Business and other search engines so customers can easily find you.

Content is king: Rather than revolving all your marketing efforts around your specific products and offerings, consider introducing a blog section on your website to produce articles that are interesting and helpful to the industry. You can disseminate these articles and other newsworthy content you find on your social media channels. While you might feel spending your time producing nonsales-related content is a waste, it can help your customers get to know what your business is all about and boost your site’s ability to be found on search engines.

Put others to work for you: Not all businesses have the resources for a full-fledged marketing department, but there are still things you can do to promote your company for little-to-no money. News outlets are always looking for content. Consider writing up a press release for new products, projects or community outreach events you’re involved in. You can also reach out to industry publications like this one to see if there are opportunities to contribute submissions or participate as a source in an article that relates to your business. Being recognized as an industry expert is a great way to help promote your company and land you new business.

Finding new ways to get in front of your customers is never easy. The good news is that the internet has leveled the playing field for businesses of all sizes. There might not be one quick fix that can solve all your marketing problems, but rethinking how you engage customers online is a good place to start.