I recently had the opportunity to travel to Nashville for an industry conference. The conference, organized by the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), brought out representatives from the C&D recycling industry for four days of educational events, awards and fundraising in the Country Music Capital of the World.

One of the events I had the opportunity to sit in on was titled Social Media and Marketing in C&D. The session generated a lot of dialogue from the audience, and just as many follow-up questions. Just like the countless music acts that come to Nashville to launch their careers, the session’s attendees seemed to be looking for one thing: the right recipe for getting noticed in a competitive landscape.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few best practices I’ve found that can help a company engage its audience online.

Build up a website: Having a bare-bones website is like owning a brick-and-mortar business and keeping the “closed” sign up 24/7. The majority of people look online before making a purchasing decision, which is why a company should invest time and money to ensure its site is optimized. If a company doesn’t have the tools or expertise to build up its site in-house, it should consider making the investment in a web designer or search engine optimization (SEO) expert. A company should also make sure its business’s information is updated on Google My Business and other search engines so customers can easily find it.

Content is king: Rather than just focus on their own products and services, companies should consider introducing blog sections on their websites to produce articles that are interesting and helpful to the industry. A company can disseminate these articles and other newsworthy content on its social media channels. While a business may feel spending its time producing nonsales-related content is a waste, it can help its customers get to know the organization and boost the ability of its site to be found on search engines.

Put others to work for you: Not all businesses have the resources for a full-fledged marketing department, but there are still things they can do to promote their companies for little-to-no money. News outlets are always looking for content. Writing up a press release for new products, projects or community outreach events the company is involved in and reaching out to industry publications like this one to see if there are opportunities to contribute submissions or participate as a source in an article can boost recognition. Being recognized as an industry expert is a great way for a company to promote itself and land new business.

Finding new ways to get in front of customers is never easy. The good news is that the internet has leveled the playing field for businesses of all sizes. There might not be one quick fix that can solve all marketing problems, but rethinking how a company engages its customers online is a good place to start.