About half of small businesses don’t survive past their first year. Of those that do, most don’t see a profit until their third year.
Fair Waste Services bucked those trends. Not only did the business weather its first year, but it turned a profit. Demand for its services so exceeded expectations, the company had to invest in more equipment.
Fair Waste Services Vice President Jonathan Fair credits Deluxe for helping establish the brand and create immediate online visibility.
Deluxe designed a logo and website for the service provider. Additionally, Deluxe created pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to reach new customers. Deluxe’s search engine optimization (SEO) services made the business more visible on search engines.
Those efforts worked so well, the family retained Deluxe to brand and market its other business, Fair Salvage Company.
“Working with Deluxe was like having an additional full-time team member handle our marketing,” says Fair. “I couldn’t imagine trying to do everything that Deluxe has done for us on our own.”
A 30-year-old company looks for a stable revenue source
Since the mid-1980s, the Fair family has operated Fair Salvage Company out of three locations in central Michigan.
Fair Salvage Company buys junk cars, scrap metal and broken electronics. They recycle and process the copper, aluminum and steel, and sell those materials to industrial mills.
The business often finds itself vulnerable to fluctuating commodity prices. A few years ago, metal values took a sharp dive. The Fairs realized they needed a more stable revenue source.
A logical companion business was providing roll-off garbage containers. Waste management companies deliver these containers to a home or business to dispose of large quantities of waste. Once filled, the provider picks up the container and disposes of the trash. They’re commonly used for home remodeling or industrial demolition projects.
Fair Waste joins the Revolution
The existing Fair Salvage Company had a lot of the equipment necessary to offer waste services. The family had 30 years experience running a business. Many of their salvage clients were prospects for waste services. Plus, the capital needed to keep the new waste services venture afloat could be generated by the existing business.
Even with these built-in benefits, the family knew they had to attract a new customer base unfamiliar with their salvage business. Therefore, they were prepared to invest heavily in branding and advertising. It was just a matter of who to enlist.
That’s when the Fairs discovered the Small Business Revolution — Main Street.
Deluxe created the Small Business Revolution to spotlight the vital impact of small businesses on the economy, on communities and on daily lives. In the series, Deluxe professionals work with entrepreneurs in small towns to help them revitalize their businesses and their communities.
The family watched several episodes of the Main Street series online, then reached out to Deluxe.
“We knew then Deluxe was the company we needed to help us with our marketing,” says Fair.
Starting from scratch
Though Fair Salvage had existed since the mid-1980s, it did not have a logo. Therefore, designers would be creating a visual identity for both businesses, from the ground up.
“We didn’t have any ideas for the logo,” says Fair. “We just decided we’re going to trust the experts, so we left it pretty open-ended.”
Designers started with Fair Waste Services. They determined the logo should be identifiable from a distance. They wanted people to instantly recognize the brand as they drove past a construction site with a Fair Waste container or alongside a company truck. The logo also had to work on business cards and the website. It had to be simple, yet bold.
“A consistent look on everything”
Deluxe designers incorporated the business initials — FWS — inside of a black and blue circle.
“The font for the logo name is bold and easy to identify from a distance,” says Cono Fusco, creative director of logo product development at Deluxe. “The new logo is easily transferable on all promotional and marketing items.”
Once the Fairs settled on a logo design for Fair Waste Services, they decided to rebrand the existing Fair Salvage Company. The Deluxe logo team created two distinct identities for the companies, yet the logos are similar enough to indicate one family owns both firms.
“To keep the branding consistent, we chose a similar placement of graphics,” says Fusco.
“Now we have a consistent look on everything,” says Fair. “We have consistency on all of our printed stuff, our website, letterhead, promotional items, leave-behinds. We’ve put the logos as many places as we can.”
Building companion websites
The next step was to build websites for the two businesses.
“The design direction for these websites was greatly directed by the client getting into higher-level marketing,” says Ben Gardner, the Deluxe website coordinator who oversaw production on the Fair’s websites. “Mr. Fair wanted color schemes that fit his efforts to develop consistent branding across all platforms: print and online advertising, and the presentation of his logo and colors across his fleet of vehicles, equipment and invoices/stationery.”
After listening to Fair share his vision and goals, Deluxe built a six-page website for Fair Waste. The homepage includes a service area map and contact information. A services page shows the different sizes of containers available for rent. Another section enables prospects to request a quote for service. There is even a blog that covers topics relevant to waste disposal.
The website for Fair Salvage required additional elements. Because Fair Salvage customers bring materials to the company, each of its locations had to be very visible on the website. Another critical factor was a comprehensive list of materials the business accepts, as well as current per-pound prices they offer. Because metal prices change frequently, Fair also required the ability to make website changes on his own.
“We spent 40 percent of the development process building and fine-tuning the pricing grids and the material definitions, and we got it exactly as the client wanted it,” says Gardner.
With his Deluxe Marketing Suite account, Fair can quickly and easily access his website builder, make changes and publish the updated information.
One of the advantages of having Deluxe create both a logo and website is that designers can more easily share color and font information to make sure the branding for the business was consistent across all its marketing efforts.
Increasing online visibility
Then it was time to direct potential customers to the new websites. The business invested in both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This two-pronged approach is effective for creating short-term and long-term visibility on search engines. PPC ads create immediate placement at the top of search engines. SEO, on the other hand, improves organic search rankings over time.
Fair Waste launched its PPC campaign in December 2016. Michigan winters are not accommodating to home remodels or tear downs, so leads were slow at first. But in March 2017, the campaign generated 71 leads.
Fair quickly realized he would need more containers for the busy summer months, so he doubled his container inventory from 60 to 120.
In August 2017, 140 more leads were generated. Another 139 leads resulted the following month.
“Business has really taken off”
“Our target the first year was to work up to having 100 containers, and then we’d re-evaluate. But the way it’s going, we’ll probably have to add more,” Fair said. “Business has really taken off.”
In the first nine months of the Fair Waste PPC campaign:
- A Fair Waste ad appeared in nearly 29,000 online searches.
- More than 2,500 searchers clicked an ad (approximately 9 percent).
- More than 25 percent of prospects who clicked on an ad called for more information or filled out an online form.
- Each of those 667 conversions (i.e. likely customers) cost the company $12.60 to procure.
Because of those results, the Fair family decided to try the same approach for the salvage business. Prior to investing in its PPC and SEO, Fair Salvage attempted to do PPC and Facebook on its own, supplementing that with traditional ads in phone books and newspapers.
The Fairs generated solid results from PPC ads for the salvage business. For the first nine months, more than 37,500 online searchers saw the ad, and 2,250 clicked on it. About 9 percent of those who clicked on an ad called the business or filled out an online form to get more information. And they’ve seen increased traffic into the salvage business.
Not only are they getting results, but the Fairs can measure those results through the detailed reports provided by Deluxe each month.
“The reports give us more visibility,” says Fair. “We can see all the analytics, which we didn’t have when we did it on our own.”
Two pieces of advice for family businesses
Running a small business is tough. Operating two is doubly hard. And managing two businesses alongside members of your own family can be even more stressful.
Fair offered two pieces of advice to ensuring the success of a family enterprise. First, he said, “Make sure you really love your family because a business can ruin your family if you let it.”
Second, invest in marketing support. Fair said of working with Deluxe: “It’s a bill I don’t mind paying because it’s an investment I will always come out ahead on. I’ll always know that if I’m starting a new enterprise, I have the people and team in place to help me market that business.”