Testimonial – Powder Coating a Steel Telescope Tube

"Last September, 2010, I started searching the internet for someone to powder coat a steel telescope tube which had a cracked and peeling outer paint coating. I had already removed about half of the peeling paint; however, the remaining half was beyond my abilities. I found Powder Coating Zone & submitted my info. Within a short time, I was contacted by David Brown. I liked what he told me so I sent him the tube. A month later, in October, I received the newly powder coated tube back. However, I did not re-assemble the telescope until recently. Now that the telescope is back in operation, here are some pictures showing the tube before & after. Thanks to all concerned for a job well done.
– Don Kilfoyle, Longview, TX

Powder Coated Meade SN10 Telescope Tube

Powder Coated Meade SN10 Telescope Tube

Powder Coated Meade SN10 Telescope Tube

Powder Coated Meade SN10 Telescope Tube

   
Meade SN10 Telescope Tube Before Powder Coating

Meade SN10 Telescope Tube Before Powder Coating

Meade SN10 Telescope Tube Before Powder Coating

Meade SN10 Telescope Tube Before Powder Coating

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Why Social Media Marketing Is Important to Powder Coaters

Getting involved in a social media network is a rather easy exercise but knowing how to best leverage their power and reach for the benefit of your business requires knowledge, appreciation, diligence and persistence.

We researched over 100 powder coating websites of which only seven (7) had Twitter and Facebook profile links (Twitter and Facebook are the two most prominent social networks today). The results were alarming. It is difficult to understand why powder coating businesses would be averse to taking advantage of a proven marketing approach that is so cost effective (free). So, we dug deeper.

 

Why Companies Have Not Yet Adopted Social Media as a Marketing Strategy

According to the MarketingProfs, the Top Five reasons that companies do not adopt social media are:

  1. “Our target audience is not on Facebook and Twitter.”
  2. “I would like my staff to concentrate on more important things than playing on Facebook all day.”
  3. “We tried it; it didn’t work.”
  4. “We are just too busy.”
  5. “Could you do it for us?”

Social Media Marketing  - Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - Digg - YouTube The aforementioned Top 5 Reasons are, in fact, ill-conceived and unfortunately, based on a view held by a narrow demographic. Further, it lends credence to our belief that Facebook and Twitter, in particular, are misunderstood. Initially, the buzz about Twitter was the ability to tweet from your PC, laptop, and smartphone. Common tweets centered around where one was and what one was doing at a given moment in time. We’ve heard so many customers and clients tell us that they don’t see the point in using a platform where you get to tell the world “that you’re sitting on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother“. This is their perception of Twitter – that it is something for people to do who have nothing to do. But, look beyond even the way some people use social media and hone in on the genius: its ability to communicate one-to-one and one-to-many quickly and with complete transparency. No longer do we have to wait for the morning paper to inform us of the previous days news. When news happens, we know instantly. When the dictator of Egypt falls, it’s not only CNN that’s on the ground sending reports and images; it’s also the people of Egypt using Twitter and Facebook to communicate their feelings, images and video. One day after Mubarek of Egypt was deposed, graffiti on the side of a prominent building read “Thank You Facebook”. No one was thanking the New York Times or CNN. If a pro athlete wants to communicate with fans and press directly about a game played, another player or a contract negotiation, he circumvents the interview process by tweeting and/or posting to his Facebook page. tweets . Even CNN – the TV network that got you your news before all others – communicates with the world through Twitter (and Facebook).

Facebook fan pages, as opposed to a personal page, are intended for use by businesses, organizations and groups. Facebook should serve as a complement to your website or blog. If you make the analogy that your website is like someone with a nicely pressed shirt tucked neatly inside of dress slacks then Facebook is the brother, also presentable, but with the shirt worn outside of a pair of jeans. Facebook let’s you let your hair down and present a fun and yet educational/informative side of yourself and your business. Facebook not only allows you to communicate textually with your fans, it also allows you to post photos, videos, and custom marketing collateral. And when you add custom applications to the mix, Facebook becomes a place to “hang out”. Custom Facebook application developers now offer all sorts of Facebook-specific tools to help your “page” come alive and speak in relevant terms with your fans and demographic in a way that is fun yet intended to help you increase website visitors and sales: product tools, shopping carts, contests, polls, sweepstakes, games, and visitor capture tools.

Given the quick and transparent one-to-one and one-to-many nature of Twitter and Facebook, it has become a useful marketing tool for businesses. And, it should be utilized to a greater extent than it is by powder coaters.

According to Social Media Today,

    • In a recent study of high-level marketing executives, 70% plan new social media initiatives in 2010. 92% said they personally use LinkedIn, 56% use Facebook. While 28% planned to use internal resources to launch new initiatives, 25% turn to social media marketing consultants.

 

    • Twitter is the best place to share news: 47% of the outbound traffic from Twitter goes to news sites, vs. 28% from Facebook, 18% from Digg and an imperceptible share from MySpace. Digg is the most technical; 12% of its outbound traffic goes to technology sites, vs. 10% from Twitter and 7% from Facebook.

 

    • Nearly 50% of all Americans are now members of at least one social network… While social network use is highest among the young, 66% of people 25-34 years old and 50% of those aged 35-44 years have personal profile pages. 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” up from 18% in 2009.

 

    • 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices

 

    • YouTube now hosts more than 100 million videos and is the second largest search engine.

 

    • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations when making purchase decisions; just 14% trust advertising. (peer offer recommendations on social media, blogs and review sites)

 

    • More than 1.5 million pieces of content (videos, photos, blog posts, links etc.) are shared on Facebook daily.

 

    • Twitter demographic: 44% are between the ages of 18-34 years. 31% are 35-49 years old. 74% of twitterers have no kids at home. 50% are college graduates and 17% have post-grad degrees. A slight majority are female.

 

    • A HubSpot study of more than 2,000 companies showed that, for businesses of all sizes, companies that have blogs have 79% more Twitter followers than those that don’t. Blogging “increases Twitter reach by 113% for B2B companies and 30% for B2C companies.”

 

    • While many executives still dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, recent research suggests it is one of the most valuable social networks for business.

 

    • A recent study concluded that almost 7% of all business web traffic goes to Facebook, twice as much as Google (3.4%) and well ahead of Yahoo! at 2.4 percent.

 

    • Facebook demographic: Men are more likely to be single while women using Facebook are more likely to be married, engaged or in a relationship. The fastest growing segment in Facebook are FEMALES, aged 55-65 years.

 

  • 68% of small to midsized business plan larger expenditures for social media. According to a HubSpot study, “not only can inbound marketing bring leads for less money but it can also double average monthly leads for small and medium-sized businesses.” Twitter reach is critical for increased lead generation: “Companies with 100 to 500 followers generated 146% more median monthly leads than those with 21 to 100 followers.”

 

How Can Powder Coaters Leverage the Power of Twitter?

It is time for powder coaters to adopt and embrace the power and reach of social media marketing. Over 500 million people worldwide use social media. Included in those numbers are businesses, organizations and groups because of the realization that social media has eliminated barriers to entry and leveled the playing field.

The first step is to devise a plan of action for Twitter and/or Facebook: what do you want to communicate with your demographic, your potential customers; how do you want to communicate (text, images, video) and, as importantly, who’s going to manage the accounts? Open free accounts with Twitter and Facebook. If you have video or are thinking of producing compelling video about your brand or message, open a YouTube account (channel). The primary objective is simply to get started. After you begin, use these social media platforms to express thoughts, ideas and opinions about your industry and the demographic that you serve.

“Among companies who say they are using social media in a recent Digital Brand Expressions survey, only 41% said they had a strategic plan in place to guide activities, and only 69% of those (28% of all social media-using companies) have set up metrics to measure the ROI of social media activities. Worse, on 29% of firms with a plan in place (12% of the total) had written social media policies in place for employees.”     – Social Media Today

Talk to your followers on Twitter and your fans on Facebook as if they’re sitting across the table from you waiting to be sold on the benefits of powder coating. Do they want to know what household items can be powder coated? Talk to them about the benefits of restoring their metal front entry gate or their outdoor patio furniture sets. Most homeowners are going to either dispose of their patio sets or spray paint them. Begin educating them and how do you do that? Acquire followers and fans from your website by posting “Follow Us” notices in the header.

Engage the reader. Even if you only have one follower on Twitter, fan on Facebook or connection on LinkedIn, more will come if you stay with it. You must be persistent. If you want overnight success, then pay for it elsewhere. If you want sustained success, maintained a diligent attitude regarding your use of social media. Offer personal information or information about your brand. Briefly explain that which sets you apart from your powder coating competitors; talk about your PCI3000 certification; upload before/after pictures of your powder coated items with descriptions and a bit of content explaining the process; ask followers to vote on their favorite powder coated items; ask them what their favorite patio furniture colors are, and so on. The topics do not need to be profound but they do need to interest your followers or fans. That’s the hook. Don’t bore the consumer with dissertations on polymers and resins – that’s the job for the powder manufacturers. Instead, offer ideas and topics of discussion. This is the stage where many of the more sophisticated companies find themselves right now. They actively manage their social presence, test creative ideas, track quantitative metrics (visitors, sales) and analyze qualitative data (types of visitors, demographic info).

 

Is Social Media a One-time Effort?

By now, you understand that social media marketing requires a sustained effort. Engage with fun, entertaining, educational and informative content (text, images, video, contests, etc.). There are always more homeowners that need to know that their outdoor patio furniture set can be powder coated, not spray painted or thrown away.

If you want an idea of how to manage aspects of social media marketing, take a look at how we engage our Twitter powder coating followers. If you need help setting up and managing your social media marketing, contact Lancer Media. They helped us ignite our social media efforts. They can locate your potential customers, engage them and convert them.

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The “Can’t Fail Profitable Vision” for the Powder Coating Industry

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
 – Henry Ford

It’s a “dog-eat-dog” world out there. Or is it? In the powder coating applicator universe, experience has taught us that there’s nothing to be gained by creating rivalries, dividing and conquering or otherwise throwing obstacles in the way of our competitors. That’s why we were so pleased when we were approached to write a regular column in PCI Magazine. We viewed it as an opportunity to do much more than merely pontificate about powder coating ideas or views. We envisioned this space as a potential forum where all of us in the industry could exchange opinions and advice, and really air out the things that are on our minds. Truth be told, we, as powder coaters, are all in this together and the more we can support one another and create visibility, brand awareness and positive news about the powder coating industry, the more we will all benefit.

Our intent is to provoke questions, generate discussion and even move people in the powder coating industry to action. Similarly, we invite you to check out PowderCoatingZone.com (PCZ) so you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say it’s time to elevate our industry to the next level, to educate the consumer about the benefits of powder coating, to actually spell out the advantages over spray painting, wet paint and other costlier, less efficient and less environmentally responsible methods.

Available to us all alongside the traditional business-to-business customer is the relatively untapped market of business-to-consumer. It is a tremendous opportunity for all powder coating applicators but one that demands a consolidated effort to market. We fear that we’re not getting the word out, that we’re not advocating for our industry, and that we’re not explaining to this segment of the market that which makes powder coating such a great finishing process. It’s time to get groups like the Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others to tout our benefits as a lead alternative that’s safe around children and pregnant women, resistant to chipping and peeling, and a practical component of green technology. But that can be accomplished only by banding together and making our voices heard.

PCZ encourages you to get involved by contributing your comments to our blog discussions and offering suggestions on how we can make the site even more relevant for powder coaters and customers alike. You can actually become a member of Powder Coating Zone, which is endorsed by Chemical Coaters Association International. We offer significant discount opportunities to PCI members. The intent of the site is to actively promote the powder coating “brand” just as professional organizations, councils and advocacy groups have successfully supported architects, tile manufacturers, welders and others. PCZ will feature insightful articles, provide powder coating advice and answer Q&A’s and connect customers with powder coaters.

But, we as powder coaters need to take the message even further by tapping into all forms of media and available online and conventional marketing tools, including social media. Various leaders within our industry are becoming more aware of the importance of marketing our profession to the general public, promoting our products and technologies, and pointing out the misconceptions. Still, too many jobs are being lost to competing wet paint methods due to lack of visibility and awareness, and consolidation within our industry.

For customers to get excited about what our industry has to offer, first we must get excited. And that excitement needs to translate to action, whether through web site promotion, industry forums, community trade fairs, involvement with local business organizations or any number of other promotional avenues. We have an amazing technology. Why are we hiding it, and from whom?

We look forward to presenting more thoughts for discussion in upcoming issues. Our next post will look into the expanding phenomenon of Social Media, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al as a marketing tool, and how our industry can capitalize on this trend for more exposure and positive image building.

Happy holidays.

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List your Powder Coated Item on EBAY and Craigslist

We’ve all done it. In an attempt to earn a few extra bucks we turn to eBay and Craigslist to sell our old stuff. We then buy more stuff only to sell it for less later. I am sure, at times, that you’ve even settled for less than perfect only because the price was too low to pass up. What if a website can change all that?

No longer as a seller on eBay or Craigslist will you have to give away your hard earned money and no longer as a buyer will you have to buy something less than what you want. What is this magical site that I speak of? Well, its Powder Coating Zone, of course.

As we surf the endless list of items on eBay and Craigslist, we see countless opportunities for sellers to earn money for items they never dreamed would fetch a dollar. Let me start with an obvious item: patio furniture. Sellers are left to believe that no one will want a patio furniture set if it has scratches, is faded or is burdened with an 80’s-style avocado color. What sellers may not realize is that those pieces of furniture come from an era when quality was more important than profits. If the seller uses the services of their local powder coater they will be able to refinish their patio furniture set with a more modern look thus preserving (increasing) its value and making it a more attractive “buy” opportunity. The only side effect will be convincing yourself to actually part with it after it’s been powder coated.

There are a lot more “sell” opportunities for you on eBay and Craigslist other than patio furniture. Rims on an AMG car, for example, can be quite lucrative for you because they can generate large profits, if refinished. What about yard equipment? Buyers just want to see that it was well taken care of and what better way of showing T.L.C. than with a fresh coat of powder?

The opportunities on eBay and Craigslist are not just for sellers. We see many buyers employing the “buy low – sell high” method by using a powder coating shop to refinish items that they bought online or at flea markets for pennies on the dollar. Once we are done powder coating an item, it looks better than new and becomes a true asset to the buyer. Refinished, powder coated items tend to always sell for more than they were purchased – and quicker, too!

Good luck to all sellers and buyers and welcome to the new world of powder coating economics: “buy low – powder coat – sell high”.

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