Seeing a plan come together

NFBA’s Post-Frame Market Initiative (PFMI) to market and grow the post-frame industry is well under way.

Check out the new website

NFBA has developed and launched a new website specifically to educate industry “gatekeepers” (architects, engineers, specifiers, project developers, building owners and others) about the advantages of post-frame.

The new site, called “The Post-Frame Advantage,” describes the advantages and benefits of post-frame to people who are not familiar with our buildings. Post-frame builders who have contacted NFBA to ask to be included on the new site will get potential business leads that NFBA can track and report. All NFBA supplier and design professional members can also be found by potential customers who visit the new site.

NFBA members benefit directly from business leads the PFMI program now generates. If you are an NFBA member, we keep track of and report to you how many people click through the web site, look up your contact information, and send you an e-mail from our websites.

Search engine marketing

NFBA has placed Internet keyword “search engine” advertising directing traffic to the new site, as well as to the main NFBA.org site.

People who are already familiar with post-frame know that they are looking for “pole barns,” “pole buildings,” “horse barns,” “residential garages” and similar terms that already are well-established markets for post-frame. They know what they are looking for and don’t need to be convinced of post-frame’s value. They simply want a list of quality builders, suppliers or designers to meet their needs.

NFBA search engine advertising on related terms directs people to the NFBA.org website so they may “Find a Builder,” “Find a Supplier” or “Find a Designer.” (Note: NFBA’s website already appears as the #1 site in Google’s searches for “Post-Frame,” so we don’t need search engine advertising for that keyword).

Our new Post-Frame Advantage website now includes special “Find a…” search feature that will keep track of potential business referrals. Potential business referrals from the NFBA.org site are tracked separately. 

For our search engine marketing, terms related to industrial, institutional and other “commercial” building applications are being directed to the new Post-Frame Advantage website. Most people who are looking for information about these kinds of buildings are not thinking about post-frame, so our new marketing web site will help them discover the advantages of post-frame for their building needs.

We plan to allocate approximately 70 percent of our search engine marketing efforts to direct traffic to the new site, and the remainder to the NFBA.org site.  It is less costly “per click” to advertise for keywords related to traditional post-frame markets than for keywords for commercial post-frame markets.  This strategy will ensure that ALL members — not just those who are involved in commercial construction — will benefit from increased business leads. 

120-page ‘Advantage’ book

NFBA has authored and is now publishing a 120-page, hard-bound, full-color book called “The Post-Frame Advantage.” The book is available exclusively to those “gatekeepers” who are key to expanding our market. It contains many pages of photographs from the NFBA Building of the Year Contest and other sources, as well as technical reference information and more to convince people of the unique value offered by post-frame.

Some technical problems in collecting the material and getting it to the printer delayed production of the book. Some of the photographs we received in the past were of low resolution and we have been working to try to improve the quality of those images or to replace them. We estimate four to six weeks for printing and delivery of the new book.

We welcome submisions of photographs of remarkable post-frame buildings from members and others, and we encourage everyone to take the highest-quality photographs possible of buildings they are proud of.  Keep in mind that the minimum resolution for printing is 300 dpi at full display size.  If you use a digital camera, it would need to be capable of 3 megapixel or better resolution at its highest quality setting.

Print advertising

NFBA has begun placement of a series of new print ads that will appear in magazines that our research indicates are most read by the “gatekeepers” we seek to influence. New ads are now appearing in design and construction-related magazines, beginning with Design and Build magazine in July and Architectural Record in October.

The print ads focus on themes that, according to our research, are common misconceptions in the minds of the “gatekeepers.” Many people have misconceptions that all post-frame buildings must use a treated wood foundation, or that they can only look like a metal “pole barn.” We need to open their eyes to all the possibilities of post-frame.

Our new ads catch the attention of readers by showing unique post-frame buildings and focus on energy efficiency and other advantages to pique their interest. The ads direct people to the new web site or call NFBA to request a copy of  “Post-Frame Advantage” book.

Direct mail

NFBA has approved a new design for direct-mailers that will be sent also to “gatekeepers” essential to growing our market. The direct mail pieces are full-color, large, glossy postcards that direct people to take advantage of special offers we are extending to our “gatekeeper” targets for free on the new Post-Frame Advantage website.

We intend to send the first direct mail piece to approximately 5,000 recipients.  We are asking NFBA members for addresses of additional potential targets that we may mail and/or email to. 

PFMI’s e-newsletter

We are signing up “gatekeepers” for a special e-newsletter just for them. NFBA has approved an e-mail template and created new content for the first issue of the e-newsletter. Starting in July, each issue will feature a commercial post-frame “Success Story” that illustrates the post-frame advantage.

The e-newsletter features post-frame success stories, photographs of some beautiful buildings, breaking industry news and more to engage “gatekeepers” on an ongoing basis.

Fundraising and market metrics

A vital sub-committee deals with market metrics and research, and communication with benefactors.  A lot of this sub-committee’s work is related to fundraising and communications with benefactors. The sub-committee members have been actively involved in presenting our case to potential contributors to our PFMI marketing fund and helping us make sure they get what they need to find satisfaction in our efforts.

The primary basis for metrics related to this project will come on a monthly basis in the form of web site activity reports.

Also of importance are the annual Post-Frame Market Survey, which measures reported growth compared to the previous year, and the Post-Frame Industry Metal Roll-Forming Industry Survey, which we use to estimate the total size of the post-frame industry.  A new survey that many members have found useful is the Quarterly Post-Frame Industry Market Forecast Survey. Results are found on www.nfba.org.

The PFMI program is taking off, and will pay a substantial dividend to NFBA members not only in the form of heightened awareness among low-rise commercial “gatekeepers,” but also as potential business referrals.
If you are a member, thank you for your support of this vital effort that will help all of us. If you aren’t a member yet, I hope you’ll consider joining NFBA today. Membership information and more is available at www.nfba.org.

Randy Ridenour, Atlas Bolt & Screw Co., is chairperson of the NFBA’s Supplier Council. Contact him at
rridenour@atlastfasteners.com

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