Can “Farming” Work for Contractors?

I’m not suggesting that you buy some cows and plant a field with corn, unless that’s your thing. Rather, “farming” is a marketing strategy traditionally used by real estate agents to increase their visibility in their local area. This typically consists of blanketing a selected area with direct mail post cards, multiple times each year in order to be effective.

Farming works for realtors for the same reasons that it can work for contractors. It makes your name familiar, putting your company in mind when a situation calls for a contractor. The industries have several similarities. Both realtors and contractors are infrequently needed, but clients need to know that they can trust someone with their largest investment when they do need one. Your farming marketing campaigns begin to build a rapport between you and your prospective clients before you even have a chance to meet them.

Before you dismiss the idea of a farming campaign as out-of-date or ineffective, consider how to plan one for optimal effect.

Know your market

Even if you are sending the same postcard to every door in a neighborhood, you can do some legwork to ensure that you are using an appropriate message. For example, you will send a different mailing to a neighborhood of retirees than a neighborhood of young families. Provide them with something they want that will give them a reason to keep your postcard around: a recipe, list of local free events, or coupon.

Those who complain that farming campaigns don’t work may be experiencing disappointment because their postcards were inappropriate for the audience. In order to captivate homeowners’ attention enough that they will give your postcard a second glance, or even a first glance, you need to have something on that mailing that they will be immediately interested in.

Don’t give up

This type of campaign may not have significant immediate results. The goal is to repeat your message enough that your name automatically comes to mind when the need for a contractor arises. Therefore, the message needs to go out more than once or twice each year.

Consider the number of advertising messages that flash before the average consumer’s eyes each day. If they are only seeing your name once every few months, it is too easy to purge from their memory. A monthly reminder that you are ready to serve them will establish you as the neighborhood go-to contractor. If you can afford to send mailings more than once a month, all the better.

Measure your results

It will be difficult for you to determine whether or not your campaign is successful if you do not have a method for tracking its effectiveness. If you are placing a coupon or other incentive on your postcards, calculating the results will be easy. Otherwise, you may have to encourage website contact, conduct surveys, or simply look for increases in sales.

Collecting results of your direct mail campaign will be easier if you offer your prospective clients and incentive for responding to your mailing. Encourage subscriptions to online newsletters or other calls to action that will give you measurable results.

By carefully planning a farming marketing campaign, you can use this traditional advertising method to increase your sales and your reputation within your community. While more thought and creativity is required to make blanket mailings work than in the past, this method can still be utilized effectively to improve your business.