Listen, I’m a marketer, I’m an ad man, I’m every descriptor you can come up with for the people in my profession, but for fuck sake, I can’t stand text-message marketing, and I hope you hate it too! Thoughts?
Marketing & Advertising
I am a confirmed minimalist, I like things simple, I like things to have their places. I like to have less than more. I do this because, for me at least, the less I have, the better my mind works.
I read a blog by Brian Gardner, Godfather of WordPress framework Genesis. It looks like he runs a pretty minimal ship as well, or tries to.
I am also a firm believer in decision fatigue. If you aren’t sure what that is, is basically says that your brain is only able to make so many choices a day, so why use your bucket of choices on things like breakfast, clothing options, etc?
I go to great lengths to keep my head clear for important things, like writing what I hope are useful posts for you, one of those things is my choice of clothing. I keep it really simple so I don’t have to put any thought into what I wear each day;
I have 20 white Oxford button down shirts.
I have 20 blue Oxford button-down shirts.
I have 5 black polo shirts.
I have 5 blue polo shirts.
I have 5 pairs of blue jeans.
I have 5 pairs of shorts.
That is my main wardrobe predicated on the time of year and weather condition. I have restricted my wardrobe to avoid suffering from what is called decision fatigue, look it up. It’s a thing.
I eat either oatmeal or cheerios or yogurt for breakfast, it all depends on which one I see first. No decision necessary.
I can see each corner of the room I am in. Nothing bugs me more than shit piled up in a corner. I need to be able to see the 90-degree angle of a corner or I get crazy.
Another thing I limit in my life is horizontal spaces.
Tables, chairs, desks, credenzas, folding tables, book cases, anything that has a horizontal surface area I limit because they do one thing…attract clutter.
The room I am in right now, there is one item with a horizontal space, my desk. Nothing else in the area has the ability to store anything. That’s a key way to avoiding clutter.
So…if you are clutter freak or minimalist or cleaning junkie, try removing as many flat, horizontal surfaces as you can and see if that helps your mental approach to minimal living.
Think about it, you can’t keep what you can’t find a place for!
I keep one folder on my desktop, it contains all the other files and folders that would otherwise show up on my desktop. When I need a file or folder, I use Apple’s spotlight feature to search for it. No clutter.
My desk is pretty clean, but it gets cluttered up with shit throughout the day, which makes me crazy, but by the end of the day, it is buttoned up.
Now, I know people who work best inside of a cluttered mess. The shit you can pile on, the better. In fact, that used to be me. In my 20’s, I functioned totally different than I do today. I think, for me at least, living a minimalist lifestyle works better.
What works for you? Do you think paring down your “things” might be beneficial to you? What things could you do without, what would you absolutely not get rid of no matter what?
Your construction marketing plan at work; one way (paid placement), clean and neat and trackable, the other, (SEO) a total disaster.
SEO vs. Paid Placement
The argument for relying on these two types of marketing has as many detractors as they do champions, but this article is going to talk about efficiency.
You run a construction business, you barely have enough time in your day to order supplies for your next job much less sit around and read your Google analytics data. You need a program that works in a way that is trackable, manageable and efficient.
Before I start, let me say that there certainly is a place for SEO, but what I see all too often is contractors relying solely on SEO as a lead generation tool. Most of the time, that comes at the sacrifice of their website, their blog, their social media and their brand.
No one wants to see keyword-stuffed pages promoting “Philadelphia Plumbing Contractor Drain Cleaning” in their feeds. It all looks so spammy.
But you know where a headline like that works (with some tweaking)? In paid placement ads. More on that in a minute.
Let’s talk about the meat and potatoes of construction marketing plan development in terms of the fastest way to get to a conclusion.
Trackable: Let’s face it when it comes to tracking success, nothing beats paid placement. That could mean Google AdWords or Facebook advertising or anything really on the web. You have access to immediate statistical analysis to get at the only answer you need when it comes to advertising; did it work?
Manageable: All of the major platforms have apps you can download onto your phone so you can make adjustments, create new campaigns or pause campaigns on the fly. That means while you are sitting in traffic waiting for the light to change, you can turn on or off your current campaign and change your mind by the next traffic light.
Efficient: This is the big one, and the topic I will get into most detail on. SEO is messy. I mean, think about it. Most SEO’s worth their link will tell you they can barely keep up with the rapid changes in the industry.
Let’s correlate that for a second with a question. What if, when telling Mr. and Mrs. Jones about the deck you are going to build them, that you have no idea what color it is going to be, how big it is going to be, how many steps it may have, if it even has steps, or even if the thing is going to be standing when you are done. How confident in that would they be? Yet contractors big and small plunk down ten’s of thousands of dollars a month with the hope of being 1st on Google for their specific search term. That isn’t marketing, that’s praying.
Paid placement is so efficient, that you can setup a campaign and in an hour know if your product or service has any chance. If you don’t like the results, you can change your campaign and come back in an hour and get even more feedback. SEO takes weeks, months or even years. That’s not efficient at all, and can totally destroy your construction marketing plan.
Again, SEO has a place, use SEO strategies for your blogging campaigns. Use hashtags for your social media strategy, and use storytelling for your email marketing. But when it comes to driving traffic you need today, nothing beats paid placement for construction marketing.
Construction marketing today is more about a story than being the best at price, service or craftsmanship. If you use these 3 attributes in your sales presentations, you need to come up with 3 other things. Price, service and craftsmanship should all be the best, not the main focal point to your business. Distinguish yourself from your competition based on something else besides price, service and craftsmanship.
Today I’m going to talk about a question that comes up a lot with social media, and that is what is the ROI of social media? People want to compare the ROI of social media with the ROI of traditional marketing, but I’m here to tell you, you can’t.
I’m going to tell you that you can’t compare the two because; what good is it to send out an email blast or a direct mail piece to 50,000 people or to buy a full-color, high-gloss ad in a home improvement magazine to households with values above $300,000 dollars with an income of $150,000 dollars if you could just simply have a conversation with the one person who is ready to buy?
I mean, if I could tell you that you could start a conversation right now with somebody who’s willing to listen to what you do, how much would you pay for that one person? A lot. I know.
How much would you spend to be able to talk to that one person who’s ready to buy what you have?
That’s what social media gives you the ability to do. That’s why you are reading this post. Not direct mail, not just blasting out a message to 100,000 people who have no idea that you’re coming, but to the person that’s willing to listen, the person that wants to listen, the person that wants to hear from you. How much would you pay for that one interaction? That’s it, that’s what the ROI of social media is. Now engage.
It’s that time of year. Time for a mid-year checkup! The Fourth is over and I hope you had enough fireworks because we are just six short months away from 2017. How’s your 16’ going?
Let’s review, shall we?
Come on, its good exercise, and you really should be doing it every quarter anyway. Just like employee reviews, marketing performance reviews gives you insight into what’s working well, what isn’t working and what to prioritize in the months to come.
Let’s get started
First, get your marketing plans, strategy reports, goal sheets and any important information that you put together for your 2016 marketing initiatives both online and offline.
Next, review what your goals were for the year: the types of campaigns, budgets, marketing channels, and any high-level strategy you may have put in place.
Some of the big, important changes will take some time to fully implement, things like changes in your operation, bringing on new lines or ordering new inventory, hiring and training new employees, or putting a new marketing campaign together, it will take time to really get them rolling and you may not have all the results you need just yet.
Now is a great time to dig in while the rest of your competitors are busy doing their thing, you get to have an advantage to zigzag if you need to before it gets too late in the season.
But only if you make smart changes now!
Set a goal to take action on at least two important goals you had for this year. Do it while everyone else is sitting on their asses. Make your July, August and September set you up for a great Q4.
Contractors who understand planning and marketing appreciate the importance of a marketing strategy that is not only clearly defined but flexible. Different times of the year creates demand for different products or services. This is an opportunity to identify potential customers who might be looking for what you do depending on the time of year.
For example, we have a roofing client that runs fantastic specials in the winter. He has a huge crew that he wants to keep working year-round so he’d rather do significant seasonal discounts than lay people off. He makes his advertising push exactly when you’d expect a roofer to NOT be advertising.
The problem is, most contractors this time of year are too busy running the day-to-day affairs and can’t allocate the time required for research to improve their marketing strategy.
Here is a quick cheat sheet to get you started:
1. Identify and clearly define market opportunities that EXIST RIGHT NOW. Figure out where the gaps are in your market and determine what the opportunities are that exist and how they could be capitalized on. If your marketing plan didn’t allow for a mid-year adjustment, make the necessary changes so the company can take advantage of current opportunities.
2. Make sure you have a strong brand that is highly differentiated. This one is a little harder but start now to avoid having to do this again next year. How do you build a strong brand? You look for holes in the market. Things that other companies are doing that you can do better, cheaper, faster. Whatever it is that gives you the ability to be better.
3. Establish a competitive cost. Do research related to price changes due to the availability of supplies. Customers will be appreciative if you come to them and say, “I know when we bid your job two months ago, it was going to be this price, but there’s been a price drop on X material and we’d like to pass those savings on to you.” Imagine the good will you will pick up vs. the couple hundred or thousand you may pocket on a one-time event?
These are 3 great ways to shift your strategy mid-year without costing you a lot of money. Use these tips to pivot mid-season so you don’t have to be like the one’s who are trying to save their year in October!
Having trouble figuring out what platforms to use for your ad budget? Here are the budgets and platforms that the world’s largest ad agency, WPP, will spend their client’s money on this year:
WPP will spend $US73 billion ($97.6bn) globally on advertising this year, $US5-5.5bn of which will paid to Google, up from $US4bn, while $US1.6-$US1.7bn will be apportioned to Facebook, up from $US1bn. Sorrell expects WPP’s spend with Twitter to increase from $US240 million to $US320m, while Snapchat will double from $US20m to $US40m.
Source: The Australian
That’s almost $75 BILLION dollars at play in that paragraph, and Google and Facebook will a lot of it. And like I’ve been saying for a long time now, not even the world’s largest agency can figure out what the hell to do with SnapChat with only $40 million in ad spend. Now, there’s a lot to learn about marketing inside those platforms and you should know what you are doing, but you can clearly see where the smart money thinks they should be investing, so you might want to pay attention too.
Today’s tip comes straight to you from a book I just read a while ago called Youtility. The premise of the book, Youtility, and it’s spelled Youtility, is, if you can’t be Apple, if you can’t innovate like a company like Apple, then you better be useful and you better be utilitarian.
That’s a great concept because who the hell can be like Apple,right? I mean, that’s one in a million company. But if you can develop a brand that is useful to your clients and customers, then you have just as much chance of winning as a company like Apple.
How to distinguish yourself as a utility
You can’t buy your way into being a utility, you can’t place ads and make yourself useful. You have to earn it, you have to work at it over the long haul. You have to blog and shot videos and be where people are asking questions about what you do.
AND THIS TAKES A LONG TIME!
But if you constantly engage your community and you constantly are out there crafting content on your blog and through social media and do the things that you need to do to promote your brand, your business and yourself, then what you’re doing is you’re building a community to serve.
Inside of that community you’re going to develop followers, and then inside of those followers they’re going to go out and they’re going to speak to the world about you. What that does is bring people back to your doorstep to hopefully do business with you.
Now you’ve developed your business to the point where you are the go-to, the de facto standard in whatever it is that you do in your marketplace. And it’s not hard to do in Philly, it’s not hard to do in Detroit, it’s not hard to do in Poughkeepsie, it’s not hard to do in Battle Creek, Michigan.
The best part of the effort is the reward
All this content you spent 6 months, a year, 2 years creating will work for you every day, without a vacation, without a day off, without an ad budget. And that’s the real payoff, evergreen leads from work you already did!