PODCASTS

Best Practices for Digital Marketing in the Carport Industry

Best Practices for Digital Marketing in the Carport Industry

 

Kip welcomes Josue Mercado to the show to discuss his company’s innovative strategy in manufacturing as well as his successful sales and marketing process. Josue is a marketing guru and he goes over some great digital marketing (and sales) techniques which provided great results for his company.

 

 


 

 

Podcast Participants:

Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Josue Mercado: Marketing and Sales Manager of American Steel Carports

 

Graham:

Hello everyone. And welcome to The Concora Corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with folks working in the AEC and BPM industry. I’m one of your hosts, Graham Waldrop, a Director of Product here at Concora. Today, we’re talking with Josue Mercado, Marketing and Sales Manager for American Steel Carports. Josue discusses the diversity of his company’s product offerings, including steel carports, buildings, garages, workshops, and barns, and the benefit of using American Steel Carports over their competitors. And the benefit is, is that they’re a one-stop shop. They manufacture each project from scratch and will also deliver and install the project on site. This separates them from their competitors and big conglomerates such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. We hope you enjoy today’s interview, but before we begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO, Kip Rapp.


Kip:

I wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcast, and if you’re interested in knowing more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers, and contractors to do business online with you. We sum it up as three things, it’s providing a good web experience, good content, and good tools. And we have some great tools such as submittals, sustainability, project showcases, or anything else needed by your design community to specify and purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo, and you can go to concora.com to learn more, read case studies, and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.

All right, well, Josue, thanks for joining our podcast today, really appreciate it. And I know from our last conversation, we were talking about just the awesome products you have, and certainly interested in learning more about what you guys are doing and how that’s helping both the consumer life, and then from the business side. And I know we had some really good stories around what your product does and how it’s helped with COVID too, and those are always really nice stories I think our listeners would appreciate. But how we start, Josue, is if you could just introduce who you are, what you do, what your company does, and what makes you different?


Josue Mercado:

Yes, definitely. So my name is Josue, I am here at American Steel Carport Inc, and I’m the Marketing and Sales Manager for the company. What I do is, my point is I oversee the marketing and sales team. And our product is we design and manufacture from a simple carport to a unit as big as you want it, pretty much on there. From barns, to sheds, to mini storage’s, to garages, to, you name it, pretty much we built any metal building that you desire and you need to protect your values. And that is what we do here at American Steel Carport Inc.


Kip:

That’s awesome. So they’re metal, they’re structures, they’re used across consumer, commercial or business, and are there any sizes limitations, or are they typically standards that you have?


Josue Mercado:

There’s no limitations. If you’re needing a 80 by 100, we can build it. The limitations that we do have is on the width, and it’s 80 foot on the width, but you can do it as long as you need. You can do it 200 feet, 300 feet, 400 feet, as long as you want it, we can design it for you. So you have a specific plan or a design that you’re wanting, we can definitely do that, no matter what the dimension is in any work pretty much, as long as the area surface.


Kip:

And would you say it’s more of a custom product, or do you have choices, if someone wants a barn, for example, do you give them options for what type of barns they need?


Josue Mercado:

Yeah, we do have the standards, the basic, where there are kind of already options where a client can choose, “Okay, this is what I want already.” It’s our custom built. But we do have what they can actually custom build themselves and say they’re needing just a little corner cut off from that building, or add an additional what we call a lean to, which is kind of a carport attached next to the building, they can customize it as what they’re needing. We can definitely work with them on the design portion. We do have an engineering team to ensure that it fits their city codes, or make sure there no their area to make sure the building is stable for them. But they have options, they can choose different options what we have already displayed, or they can decide themselves and we can definitely manufacture it for them installed for them as well.

 

Kip:

No, that’s great. Yeah, again, I talk to a lot of people and a lot of the products we talk about I know nothing about. I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool, that’s new.” Because I think about metal buildings, I’m like, “Okay, if I need something for my backyard…” Or if I’m on a farm, I’m sure the backyard… Sometimes I can go into Home Depot and they always have these sheds out front. But is there a competitor, is there an alternative to… If they’re not using kind of these metal structures, are they made out of wood, do they hire a local contractor that says, “Hey, I need to build a barn.” I mean, what is the alternative to what you do?


Josue Mercado:

So we do have competitors. I’ll put an example, they can go to Home Depot, they can go to Lowe’s, or one of our competitors across the nation and get a building that is almost identical to ours. What makes us unique and different is that we kind of have it in a one-stop shop type of deal where they can actually get the building from us, we manufacture it from scratch pretty, much we have the steel, and we deliver it, and we install it for themselves so they don’t have to go to Home Depot and it’s already built for them there, or they get just a kit and the own client has to build it themselves. We actually do that for them within our services.

So they can definitely go out and get a wood shed, a plastic shed from Home Depot, or from one of the competitors out there, or red iron, which is much heavier, and that is actually more expensive overall. So they can go do that, but we are kind of a one-stop shop type of deal where they get pretty much from the manufacturing point to the very end of installation on our buildings.


Kip:

And does your company do all that, or do they contract that out?


Josue Mercado:

So we do have installers ourselves. Now, the client themselves, if they do have a general contractor that they’re wanting to use, they can actually purchase the building directly from us and we can deliver it, drop it off, and their general contractor can actually build it for them. We normally provide that to them as part of our service, have the individual go out there and build it for them. But if they do have a specific individual that they like and they want to build then they’re more than welcome to do so on their end.


Kip:

Sure. Yeah, and again, when I go into Home Depot I don’t necessarily think I’ll buy a big building. like, “Oh, there’s a shed. Maybe I’ll buy their shed.” But are you saying Home Depot competes with bigger buildings, or is it just that shed example that you mentioned?


Josue Mercado:

I want to say they’re just providing the most basic shed out there, they don’t let the consumer actually customize it. You have those options and you don’t really have more than three or four options that they’re providing on their lot. We actually let the consumer design it, modify it to their needs, add additional features to the building that they’re wanting from cover screws to upgrade of steel, to different many options that a consumer can add.

If you got a Home Depot, you buy what you see, it’s pretty much that. But with us, we would provide that additional features for them to modify it, to change it based on what they’re needing it for. I think it’s more beneficial for a consumer to actually get to modify it and have… It’s kind of we’re building a house, you either build it from your… What your dream house is or you just buy a house that’s already built. Which, me personally, I would want to build my own house based on what I envisioned it than buy a house that it’s there and it’s already built, but it’s not what I was dreaming of, pretty much type of deal.


Kip:

Yeah. It’s like, either option one or option two, pick one.


Josue Mercado:

Yeah.


Kip:

But no, that’s cool. So as you mentioned in your company name, it’s American, did you say Carports?


Josue Mercado:

American Steel Carports Inc.


Kip:

Steel Carport. So is your carports the most popular or the most common thing that you sell?


Josue Mercado:

It is, it’s actually… And that’s why we’re called American Steel Carports. So it is one of our most popular ones, the reason being because carports are utilized daily, as a matter of fact it’s a part of what a lot of consumers use to protect our belongings, especially as our vehicles.

Your vehicle can range from 5,000 to $50,000 vehicle that they’re wanting to protect. Many of these users, they don’t have the luxury to have a full garage, or something big to store all their belongings, or their vehicle, and a simple garage can do the thing, they can definitely use simple garages to store and protect their vehicle that’s worth 5, 15, 20, $20,000, in just a simple garage for them.


Kip:

Yeah. And are those… I imagine when I lived in an apartment that you had kind of the semi-enclosed, I guess they called them carports, they were just not enclosed with walls. So are your car parts more actual enclosed structures that you park your car or are they semi-exposed?


Josue Mercado:

They can be either/or, they can be fully open, partially enclosed, fully enclosed. It’s pretty much what the consumer dreams, we built type of deal. If they’re wanting it to where it’s partially enclosed, just kind of a six foot drop from the edge of the building, we can do so. If they’re wanting just one side fully enclosed and one side open, we can definitely do so as well. Or if they’re wanting for the whole building to be enclosed, windows, doors, roll up doors, overhead doors, we can do all that for them.


Kip:

Oh, that’s great. Yeah, so you being in sales and marketing, and I think to get some parallels with our listeners that might also be in sales and marketing, I mean, can you share any kind of best practices that you use when you have a potential buyer, or you’re trying to explain the value of what you do, and influence them to use your product? So any thoughts on that?


Josue Mercado:

Yes, definitely. I think when it comes down to the sales and marketing side of the business here, it’s always crucial to make sure the client or the consumer understands the importance of actually buying one of our buildings. I’ll put a perfect example of the vehicle, let’s say your vehicles work point $20,000, you’re exposing it to all the elements out there. You want to really protect your vehicle from hell, from the sunlight, from the snow, from wind gusts, scratches that… Do you want a $20,000 vehicle being put out there without any protection? And you got to really push that mentality to the consumer, letting know that our product is going to protect that vehicle, for example.

Not only vehicles, people use them to store their lawnmowers, their horses, their cattle, you don’t want to let your cattle and your horses just roaming out there, you want to have somewhere where you can keep them. People use some support boats. It’s limited, it’s just what the consumer.

Once you get to talk to the client and understand what they’re needing, you can really put that psychology and mentality of, “Hey, this building can actually do that for you and this is why, and how we can help you accomplish that.”

And the best practice I see is understanding the client’s needs for this product. I think once you understand that, you can definitely help the client choose the better option for him. Sometimes they say, “Hey, I just want a simple carport.” What are you needing the carport for? Is it to store a boat, is it to store a car? Is it to store… But if you go the carport route, you’re just having a basic building, why not go with the garage? The garage can actually be fully enclosed, roll up doors, windows, whatever you’re needing, and you can add all these additional options for your needs, and you kind of want to put that mentality to the client. So I think the best way is understanding the client and the situation and how we can help them protect their values and go from there pretty much.


Kip:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s about kind of that understanding of the real need or educating them by asking some questions on a valuable need for what they have. And you mentioned their car is a valuable asset and it needs protected, or if they’re just thinking simplicity, but you’re saying, “Hey, there’s other things that you may want to think about for protection and options.” And are you mainly talking to people that already have an expressed need for something like this, or let’s say that’s a marketing activity, they already came in somehow and they’re somewhat educated, or are you soliciting and calling all the people in the world that has cars, I guess, and say, “Hey, do you have a garage, if not, use our building.”? What is it normally, or is there a mix of that, or how does it go?


Josue Mercado:

There is a mix of that, we can go from a marketing stand point, we market individuals who own the vehicle to get their interests, and look at our products through our digital marketing campaigns. But the majority of the costs that come in from our sales side are individuals who are interested already in our product, or are educated about what they’re needing. And at that point, we already know that we have to close a sale, we have to close the sale, and we know that they’re needing it, we’re not having to really go out looking for them. So it’s a mixture, to be honest, it’s a really mixture of kind of looking for them, but in the way they are calling in and knowing our product once they call it to purchase the building. So it’s just a variety of all that I will say.


Kip:

Yeah. And I get that you have lots of other types of structures that provide needs around barns, as you mentioned, and you have warehouses. I know sticking to the carport just probably makes it a little more familiar. So my layman’s view at it is, “Okay, I have a car. Do I have a garage?” Maybe I have too many cars and not enough garages. So is there something that you’ve seen that was more effective in educating people? I assume there’s an underlying need in this case, they have to have some kind of valuable mobile asset in this case, right? So can you walk us through that as far as what is the underlying basis, one, for them to be a potential customer? Because that’s my guests.

And then how do you get them to an educational or an awareness where they say, “Oh yeah, I never really thought about it this way.”?


Josue Mercado:

Definitely. So I’ll put it as an example. Let’s say John has a vehicle, and they’re calling in they don’t know anything about our product, they don’t really know anything about what the carport is going to be used. All they know is that they need something to protect their vehicle. Then at that point, we provide them the education of what our product can. How much can they resist if there’s a hundred miles wind gusts coming through, how can it withstand that? How can that building actually protect your vehicle? It depends on the region too, and it also comes down to the region that they’re at, some regions have a lot of snow, how can our building protect your values or assets with the weather in your region, and how can our product make that satisfaction for you to ensure that your assets are protected?

It comes down to really walking them through and understanding where they’re located at, what they’re needing it for, and definitely putting it out there that our product can withstand all that. Now, with that being said, it comes down also with the additional features that they connect to the building. We educate them, understanding that you might need an additional truss in your area and this is why you need it because if you put more trusses in your building then up in your roof will protect the building as well as your assets. So it’s a whole process, it varies based on region, and it goes based off what the consumer’s needing, it goes based off a lot of factors, but we just have to kind of get all that data from them, and that way we can really educate them on our end of why our product.


Kip:

Yeah. So they call in, and then you’re saying, one, there’s a framework where, where are they located, why are they needing this, and other clarifying questions so that it gives you the ability to advise. And secondly, you’re also talking about, it sounds like there’s a protection against damage, like wind and snow and all that. I’m sure there’s security factored to this. And maybe these additional features, it sounds like the example you gave was more for stability of structure.


Josue Mercado:

The stability, correct. The trusses on the… Or anchors to anchor down the building, they can definitely purchase more anchors, but they’re going to be like, “Why would I need more anchors?” Or, “What type of anchors am I needing?” We offer asphalt anchors, mobile home anchors, concrete anchors, concrete supports. But why? At that point, we explain to them, “What surface are you installing in?” And kind of putting it out there and educating them of why they’re needing that type of feature or product on their end.


Kip:

That’s great. Yeah, it seems it’s very consultative. And that’s certainly. I don’t know the difference. I remember when I bought a car 10 years ago, it was not consultative, you were just kind of shoved into a direction and then you sit there for four hours, and you’re sweating, and you want to leave, and then you buy something. So it sounds like you have a playable care where you go through these level of questions, advisory, and then you’re offering recommendations, and it seems empathetic, it seems genuine.


Josue Mercado:

Yes, definitely. So there is. As a matter of fact, for new individuals who join the team, there’s a two week training orientation, pretty much. They have to understand the product. First few days is the bases of the product, what does each little factor in a carport, from what is a truss, what is a base rail, what is an anchor? So kind of understanding the basic of the building. After that, you kind of need to understand the additional features and why the additional features are needed for that building. And at that point, you also got to understand pricing, pricing varies by region, varies by product, varies by the additional feature that they’re adding.

And at that point, you also then have to understand the psychology behind the consumer, understanding how to really push the way he tried to sell. We’re not the only metal company out there, and it place down to the psychology in how to close a deal. We do a lot of things, a lot of great things here within the company to ensure that we get a lot of phone calls coming in, and that is why we’re actually the biggest company in America for metal buildings. But I think we’re on the right track, and that’s why there’s steps to learning our product and learning the pricing and kind of putting the psychology behind it for new people who come in and that way they know what to do in any type of situation that does pop up.


Kip:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And for what you do, is it mostly inbound calls that you’re doing most of the selling on a phone call, is that what I’m hearing?


Josue Mercado:

It’s mostly individuals who call in. We actually never call out. The majority of the time are the leads that come in from our marketing strategies and people who call in, we never actually go out and looking for sales. The only time we go out is to obtain new dealers who sell our products. Other than that, we don’t really look for ourselves, sales come to us. We are really thankful for that.

 

Kip:

No, that’s great. And I like your training process, it’s a very, you’d say. One, learn about the product and learn about more things about the product like with the features you’re talking about, the pricing. And then you mentioned psychology, which I guess I’m interpreting that, is that more of a style of influence, and empathy, and consultant type of-


Josue Mercado:

It is.


Kip:

Communication?


Josue Mercado:

It is. I like to put it for my sales reps, the way you communicate with a 45 year old individual will not be the same way you communicate with a 65 year old individual. It’s two different generations and it comes down to the psychology of it, how are you going to deliver that message? How are you going to deliver those additional factors or features to this client? It’s a unique way and a unique approach how you approach this to individuals. One is much younger, which can probably understand a little bit more of the technology side of how it can help out, but you have this older generation who are still… If I send out a quote, “Can I have your email.” Like, what is it email?


Kip:

It’s carrier pigeons.


Josue Mercado:

So it’s just the psychology behind how did you make sure that you’re selling this building and put it into their minds, there are two different mindsets, two different generations, and that’s where the psychology plays in, how to deliver the message at that point. And how can you obtain that trust with that client? At the end of the day, we always want to build trust with the clients and ensure that we know the product, and that’s why we have those training sessions so with our reps knowing the product, knowing the additional features, and knowing the pricing for sure, and then the psychology portion of it to understand how to approach different matters and different situations when the situation does come up.


Kip:

So if an eight year old calls you up, is there a psychology for that?


Kip:

Is that in the playbook?


Josue Mercado:

Yeah, we go like, “Can I please talk to your dad?”


Kip:

Is this something that you, Josue, developed yourself, or is this part of the framework when you got there?


Josue Mercado:

There was a framework when I got here, to be honest, but I’ll be honest, it was not fully structured, it was kind of scattered. And I remember when I came in wow, is this really what’s in place? I really want to upgrade our way of doing things, especially with technology and the way we do marketing, the way we do sales, the way we kind of do everything across the board, it comes down to what’s working now, but what’s going to work in the next five, 10 years from now.

Our business is majority of our consumers are 45 year olds and above, we’re not really selling to 20 year olds or 30 year olds, hardly, not even 18 year olds. But 10, 15, 20 years from now, it’s all about technology, and I know I am implemented a whole new 3D tool, which is on our website, that they can actually build their designs visually and add the additional features. Go, “How will my building look like if I did order it?” And that way we can start targeting the next generation, it’s all about understanding the generations are coming and their trends and all of that to understand what we’re going to be and target those individuals to ensure that sales are still coming in and creating business for the company.


Kip:

Yeah, no, that makes sense. I was looking at the 3D tool, it’s impressive. And certainly it’s a common thing I hear with buyers, even on the commercial side when we talked to architects and engineers, and then you have consumers. I mean, it seems like there’s a trend of, everyone’s more used to digital, plus they want to do it on their own time, people have less time to talk to people. And I don’t know if that’s a digital type of practice because you’re just so fragmented across different digital things like your phone and the TV and there’s YouTube.

But then I think that’s a great example of you’re giving them better tools to make a decision or getting them closer to a by point, like your configurator.


Josue Mercado:

Definitely. Yeah, and it comes down back to the different generations, a 65 year old might not be tech savvy so they prefer to call in, but a 45, 35 year old, they don’t have the time to call in and place the order, they will take their own time maybe in the afternoon or at night, and built this building for their garage, for their workshop, for that business that they’re needing to do it. can actually go in there and submit the quote and actually get feedback from our sales reps at that point. So two different people, two different ways of targeting and getting their business for sure.


Kip:

That’s cool. I imagine a few years from now you’ll have 90 year olds saying, “I went holographic virtual ways.


Josue Mercado:

Yes.


Kip:

This way.” So where is that? We’ll live longer too, we’ll be like 130 years old, building barns.


Josue Mercado:

By then I’m hoping I… I don’t even think I’ll be alive.


Kip:

Well, that’s great, I do appreciate kind of this more inside sales, inbound type of framework that you have, and that dedication to training and a thoughtful process of learning the product, the pricing, and then the negotiation and communication track or the psychological track. And you also do marketing, as you mentioned too, and you mentioned the 3D application. Is there other things that worked out well on the marketing side that you were able to bring to the table?

 

Josue Mercado:

Yes, definitely. I think our digital marketing approach, especially with COVID hitting us for 2020, digital marketing was huge in obtaining consumers and delivering the message through our digital platforms on social media, such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads, YouTube, and putting it out there, a lot of consumers were on their phones the majority of your time at home and kind of seeing all of this, and we redesigned our new websites for our three companies across the board. So that has helped out a lot from last year till now, and it’s picking up Google ads, we also do a Google posts, keeping up the trends our digital approaches definitely has helped us out in the long run. As well as new creatives, my graphic designer, she has changed the vision of how our marketing material is delivered to our dealers and to our clients to ensure that it aligns with the brand and messaging across the board.


Kip:

Yeah, and are you doing that all in-house or you have some agencies?


Josue Mercado:

So I do have everybody here in house. For our website development I do have an agency who does handle that, but everything is here in house, I do have my employees who handle all of that.


Kip:

Gotcha. And is that where you have the executive influence or decision over that? Or do you have to work with management to get your new digital strategy?


Josue Mercado:

No, I make the executive decision so what we’re going to do and pretty much deploy it out to the public.


Kip:

Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. So is there like one decision you made on the marketing side that was maybe a mistake, I guess-


Josue Mercado:

Oh, yes.


Josue Mercado:

Yes. It wasn’t a technical, it was more of the decision-making of who I was actually going to sign up for our agency, I guess you can say. Unfortunately, they didn’t work out, cost us a couple hundred dollars.


Kip:

A couple dollars?


Josue Mercado:

Yeah. And unfortunately they seemed like a great agency, but because of the way our marketing set up was done before I was here in the company, it really made it difficult for us to do what we’re doing now. It had to be completely redesigned, and unfortunately this agency did not know how to fix it so when I was talking to them, I explained them the situation, they were like, “Yes, we can do this for you.” When the time came, unfortunately it did not work out and it comes out to the legal contract, “Well, you signed this and we’re still going to do this.” “You’re not really providing us a solution. I have things that I want to push forward.” And that was a mistake on my end, should have done a little bit more research about the agency.

But other than that, I mean, we’re on a good track, we’re doing great things, and it has definitely helped out in the long run. I’ll put an example, from 2019 to 2020, we increased our sales by about, I want to say about 65%, and we’ve made roughly about additional 30 to 40 million more on revenue from what we’ve implemented across a marketing approach.


Kip:

Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, it seems really… I guess, satisfied that you can see the results and what you do to have a substantial impact in your case for the company that you work for. So that’s awesome. So you’re specifically talking about the website agency?


Josue Mercado:

Yes.


Kip:

Yeah. And when you’re saying that the challenge was you had an existing website and you wanted them to replicate or add to, and it was a problem?


Josue Mercado:

Yes. The issue was that we have three companies, the big one is American Steel Carports Inc. And then we have a sister company who’s out in California, it’s American Carports Inc. And then we have another one that’s Carport Kingdom. Well, all these three websites were in a multi-site set up, which what happened was if you modify one website, it would modify for the other two automatically. What I needed to do was break all three apart and redesign the whole process. And at that point they were unable to do so, and it was costing us time, and it was costing us money, and it was just going back and forth, back and forth until fortunately I was able to find somebody who was able to do it and you go from there.


Kip:

Your savior?


Josue Mercado:

Yes.


Kip:

Yeah. Well, I mean, why did you need to decouple the websites, I guess, was it they were different brands in market and messaging?


Josue Mercado:

So for legal purposes and the way the business model is set up, I did have to break them apart. But also it was also affecting our analytics through our Google Analytics and our Facebook approaches and everything was just a mess before I got here. So that’s why we broke all three websites three different accounts, and it was not a multi-site where it was just one account for all three websites. And I’m able to now really pull more data and see the results in a better way across the board.


Kip:

So what you have now versus this kind of challenge that you had, I know you mentioned you said you could do more due diligence, but what would that due diligence be? Would it be to further clarify the requirements or vet their technical ability or something else?


Josue Mercado:

Technical, but when it came down to SEO, search engine optimization with specific keywords we were not ranking as high on Google approaches. We really want to be up on… If somebody searched up a carport, we want to show up on the first page. So it came down to a lot of the factors of why I decided to break the three websites apart. And one of them was mainly for SEO purposes and obviously analytics, I want to see my website. But it was really affecting us in the long run, it was not really providing those results, the websites were crashing, if one website crashed the other two would crash, and it was just a bunch of clustered in there and.


Kip:

A buster cluster.


Josue Mercado:

We got to stop this.”


Kip:

Okay. Time out, we’re going to find someone else.


Josue Mercado:

Yes.


Kip:

No, that’s great. I mean, it’s great for this story, I feel your pain. But also, you broke these website out, so what materially helped with the SEO rankings though? So when you broke the websites out and was there anything… Because that’s certainly adventurous, with our listeners, I’d say, everyone wants to be ranked high on SEO, and you mentioned one thing, you broke out your websites. Was there anything else you could share as far as best practices that worked for you?


Josue Mercado:

Definitely. So our company has six facilities across the nation. What really helped us was, like I said, we have a sister company who’s based off of California and where we would be doing if I was still having those three websites together was whatever I would put out on SEO, on keywords for that website, the other two would have. Obviously the other two can still sell for California, but the California one cannot sell for the other two. As a matter of fact, this was the best decision we could have made was to break them apart for the same reason that one company can sell for a specific region, but one cannot sell for that same region in a way if makes sense. When it came down to SEO, what I wanted to do and we’re doing it, is localize our SEO. American Carports, which is based off of California, would not be doing American Steel Carports which manages the other five facilities.

So breaking it down by region has helped us, and that’s the best practice I’ve done with our SEO approach is localizing our SEO by state, by region, by city, where we surface at. I don’t want to service an area that we don’t do, we don’t go out, can’t really put out on our website, “Yes, we go out to Montana.” Well, we don’t, it’s breaking it down by specific keywords, by our specific business model, and making sure that we rank ourselves up there based on what the consumers want and where they’re wanting it at, pretty much, if that makes sense.


Kip:

Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. So when you talk about SEO ranking, it sounds like it’s a localized or relative to that area that you can serve, and so you want to be top of mind in those areas and not be ranking in areas or regions that you can’t serve in that case.


Josue Mercado:

Correct.


Kip:

But I imagine in your case, when you have three websites, that’s probably more expensive than one website, right?


Josue Mercado:

Actually, it’s actually, in my opinion, I think it’s much cheaper.


Kip:

Okay.


Josue Mercado:

Long runs, it’s actually more beneficial to do that the way we have it set up right now than if we only have one website. Reason being is, well, our agency has definitely worked great with us, and they do a great job. But because of our business model and where we service at and what we do, it’s broken down by a lot of factors,

American Carports only services California, American Steel Carports Inc can sell for California, American Carports, it’s its own identity, which our facility out in California is called American Carports for legal purposes. And in the long run, we’re actually saving money, surprisingly than rather than just having one and then having to do multiple pages within one website to distribute the message while having three websites and breaking it down my smaller portions across the region. So it has definitely cut our costs down by having three websites rather than just one and delivering the message across the nation by region.


Kip:

And is your SEO, does your agency manage that or do you have people internally?


Josue Mercado:

Both. My internal sales team does manage SEO because SEO is not only our website, it’s also Google My Business, Google ads, and the way we put out the message to Google posts out there and then our agency who does just specifically our website.


Kip:

Yeah. Well, no, thanks for going over that, Josue, I liked kind of the sales aspect of what you did and the training and how you actually sell when someone calls you up and the dive into the marketing side, especially the website, that’s really cool. And that story about how you were able to solve your SEO problem and the challenge you had with your agency on the websites. And then the growth that you experienced.

When we talked people, actually COVID has been very helpful in one way. And again, I know bad things, COVIDs a bad thing, but I always kind of see it as if you can make people’s lives better in challenging times, it’s a noble thing. And I’m sure some of the growth that you’ve seen and interests, I’m assuming there’s COVID aspects to that, I talked to other people and COVIDs tough because you stay indoors, you’re in a cave kind of, and you want to fix it up, and you may want to go outside. And I was talking to a guy that sells outdoor infrared heaters, and that enables people to go outside and they say, “Oh, it’s nice out here. I can actually do stuff out here and it’s not too cold.” But have you seen that with your business, is COVID… You’re able to help people through the times of COVID?


Josue Mercado:

Definitely, I’ll put two examples. The first one is through our individual’s hospitals who were needing a facility to do COVID testing during the COVID time, which our product was extremely useful for them to do drive through COVID testing. We were always there to provide them a building when we’re needing it and we were delivering a extremely fast time because of the importance of the situation across the nation. So we had definitely help out many hospitals and facilities who did COVID testing during that time to ensure that they had the structure to do so.

And on the other end is, are our consumers. Majority of them were at home, they were just there, they weren’t able to go out, and at that time, they had the time to actually have a building, plan it out, and organize the majority of their belongings hey, at that time, many of them were like, “I’m at home now and I have a lot of things I need to store and protect. I’m order a building for me.” And that helped them a lot when it came down to the organization from their end, storing their boats, storing their RVs, storing their belongings in an actual carport.

Many because had their belongings stored in a storage facility, and because of financial issues, they had to cancel and they had to bring all their belongings back home. Well, now they don’t have nowhere to store that and we would provide them the facility or the building structure at their property to actually store all that during that time. So it was both ends and it was beneficial for them. And then our product has definitely helped them out, one, with COVID testing, and two, for the organization side for our clientele to ensure that.


Kip:

Yeah, I get the COVID side, and that’s really noble where you’re able to meet an accelerated need for this kind of healthcare activity. I didn’t quite get the organizational side for the consumer. I mean, so if I’m at, home working at home and then you kind of mentioned you’re helping them with organizing, are these things that they were just like cold and off, or something to be productive, or what was your angle there?


Josue Mercado:

It was more being productive, especially a lot of dads who were at home, they were doing garden work, they were kind of… Had that extra time, not working at that time, to ensure that they’re actually build, or have a building built for them to actually put their stuff in, workshops. I’ll put an example. A lot of them opened their own business during this time, mechanical shops, and other stuff that was part… Our building was their business and it helped them grow on their end, from mechanics having their workshop to another one would be… A perfect example was a store that opened up from selling small products like a wholesale store that they used our building to utilize. So it kind of provided the beginning structure to a new beginning for them in a way and obviously the dads who were at home organization and for them to pass time and be time with their family during that time as well.


Kip:

No, that’s amazing. And I get both of those, I think especially idle hands is not good, everyone wants to have a sense of purpose and productivity, and where your product can help them. And secondly where you can help them with things that they may not have tried, and maybe not even started because they had no way to… That infrastructure that you’re talking about, for that kind of handyman work that they’re doing, or storing inventory. So that’s really cool. And I know we’re running to the end of our session, really appreciated the stories you’re telling, the marketing, the sales, and COVIDs definitely been challenging for a lot of people, and your contribution as a company, it’s certainly valuable and noble with both the residential, and the dads, and the people, and then starting their own businesses. And maybe there’ll be billionaires, and it’s because you were able to provide them with that one piece of infrastructure that they were missing, and that’s great, and then obviously on the healthcare side. So Josue, if people wanted to reach out to you or your company, how could they do that?


Josue Mercado:

Definitely, they can reach us at 866-730-9865, or they can visit our website at americansteelinc.com and visit our social media platforms so on Facebook and Instagram, or Google, we’ll definitely be there. You can Google us and we’ll be the first ones, hopefully, on the first page.


Kip:

That’s right. Josue, will pick up the phone when they dial.


Josue Mercado:

Definitely, Give us a call.


Kip:

Well, that’s great. Thanks for spending the time here, I appreciate it, and I know you’re a busy guy, as you mentioned, you got a lot of meetings today, but I thought this was great, and I look forward to chatting with you again.


Josue Mercado:

Thank you very much, Kip.


Graham:

All right, folks that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud by searching for The Concora Corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review if you wish on Apple, any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out and/or just the show in general or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com. We are on Facebook at facebook.com/concorallc. We are on Twitter @Concora and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thank you for listening and have a great day.

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