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The problem of Somerset Sheds

I have a client who makes timber buildings of various sorts, large and small.   They do garden sheds, but they also do rather fancier constructions called 'garden rooms' which are used as artist's studios, and that sort of thing.   Plus, garages, workshops, store rooms and so on - basically, if it's made of wood but not actually an entire house, they make it.  They are based in Devon, but would like to sell in Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall too, since it's fairly easy for them to deliver up and down the M5 and A30.  But, because they are in Devon, it's quite hard to get the internet to recognise that they are highly relevant to people looking for timber buildings in Dorset or Somerset, but not across the whole of the UK. 

Now, the approach taken by the big name shed manufacturers to promoting their wares is to make enormous websites full of messy annoying pages crammed with relevant terms, which aren't actually that easy to use and tend to sell on price.  I really don't want to take that approach with this business, as it seems to me that a smaller family firm making a point about local quality and customer service shouldn't be annoying people in that way.   Plus, that strategy doesn't help particularly with my Somerset and Dorset problem. 

The more arty garden room people tend to take the approach of working on getting expensive PR coverage from lifestyle supplements, but this business isn't quite in that market (yet).  And again, that's UK-wide. 

I don't like link-buying as an approach to promotion generally, and anyway, it's really hard to source links that are highly relevant to Somerset, Cornwall or Dorset but not to, say, Norfolk.   Possibly local press coverage is the way to go, but I find it hard to think of press stories about sheds that might interest the local paper. Hmm. 

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
louisedennis
7th Nov, 2011 14:51 (UTC)
When we briefly had satellite there was a program called Shed Heads (I think) in which they built a different shed each week starting with your traditional garden shed and then building a variety of other ones. B was fascinated by it and I suspect was seriously considering acquiring a quirky shed of some kind.

I'm not sure exactly how that helps but if you can make an entire TV series (albeit on satellite) out of two blokes building a different shed each week and get B to regularly watch it, it must be possible to do some kind of local press column, or blog or something in which a different one of your customer's sheds gets featured each week... Though mind you the above does look a bit like

1. Get two blokes to build a shed
2. ...
3. Profit
bunn
7th Nov, 2011 14:54 (UTC)
Possibly choosing the two blokes carefully is the key factor in that situation...
louisedennis
7th Nov, 2011 14:57 (UTC)
You clearly need a minor local celebrity to build a different shed each week, or even a not-so-minor local celebrity. Do you think Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall could be persuaded to take an interest?
philmophlegm
7th Nov, 2011 17:58 (UTC)
In light of your previous post, it's remarkably sexist of you to assume that the two people building the shed would both be male...
louisedennis
7th Nov, 2011 18:02 (UTC)
The two blokes on shed heads were clearly male. I merely report.
philmophlegm
7th Nov, 2011 21:33 (UTC)
Ah I see - sorry. Mind you I do get the impression that in normal households, shed love is a male thing.

Not in ours. The shed contains garden tools and spiders - both things I'd rather not have to deal with...
ideserveyou
7th Nov, 2011 16:49 (UTC)
I'm sure that stories about sheds would be of absorbing interest to our local paper, if the other stories they cover are anything to go by...

How about finding some successful local artist who uses one as a 'shedio' and using their story as the basis for a press release? And rather than the national supplements, there are posh 'lifestyle' county-based magazines and arts magazines as well as local papers. Or does one of the shed-builders have a particularly cute dog that travels in the van? Few local reporters can resist a cuddly animal story...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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