Since the market has recovered from the disaster that was 2008, a number of companies and services who cater to contractors was born. At a time when budgets are tighter, it makes sense to hire a construction marketing service…who knows what they are doing.
What you should do when hiring a construction marketing service:
Understand your own needs.
Before you can expect a construction marketing service to be able to understand your business and your marketing needs well enough to help you reach your goals, you need to know them yourself. Do you have goals set that can help your marketing service focus their efforts and understand your demands? If you do not have objectives, neither will your marketing service.
Consider new forms of marketing.
You may have done perfectly well up until this point focusing on old-school marketing campaigns. Direct mail, word of mouth, and community events can still be valuable. However, if you have come to a point where you are considering outsourcing your marketing efforts, it is also an ideal time to look at what else you should be doing. If you are not already online, this needs to be one of your main objectives. A professional website, blog, and social media profiles are mandatory in today’s business world. For example, our Contractor’s Toolbox provides you with a complete turnkey solution that cares for social media management, blogging, and even a website if needed.
Choose a service that understands your business.
This does not necessarily mean that you need a marketing service that serves only construction contractors, but it does mean that you require a service that understands the nature of your business. While many types of companies, even small businesses, are able to think more globally thanks to the prevalence of online retail, construction is a business that must remain local by nature. Some marketing services are so accustomed to thinking about spreading the word as widely as possible that they’ve forgotten how to target a local market. The marketing service that you choose should be comfortable with this local focus and know how to maximize it.
Know how results will be measured.
If you are ready to try a marketing service, make sure there is a clear understanding of how results will be collected and measured. How will materials be developed so that feedback is easy to receive? What level of response is to be considered a success? Will results be used to change and guide future efforts? What sort of follow up will be performed? Do not let confusion reign when it comes to determining what constitutes a success when it comes to your marketing service.
Understand the fee structure.
Will you pay an upfront fee, monthly fee, per contact fee? In order to compare the cost of services and fully understand what you are signing up for, ask for each services fee structure in writing. Since not all marketing service calculate their fees using the same method, you may need to perform some analysis to compare apples to apples.
What you should not do when hiring a construction marketing service:
Saving money is always so tempting, but remember the message that you undoubtedly tell your bargain-hunting customers. “You get what you pay for.” Sure, this rule probably has some exceptions, and sometimes you simply find a miraculous deal, but this is not the norm. Choosing the cheapest service that you can find is extremely likely to leave you dissatisfied with the results.
You may dismiss personality clashes as immaterial to the business at hand, but you will regret choosing a marketing service that assigns a representative to you that you do not like. Since they will be the voice of your business to the public, you truly need to be on the same page and have a good understanding of one another.
Fail to consider reputation.
As with any other service that you would hire, ask for references and examples of current clients. Choosing a company with a track record of annoying direct mail or illegal email campaigns could potentially hurt your reputation for honesty and integrity rather than bring in business.
Focus on today.
You probably have an idea for a campaign that you would like to start right away. It’s probably why you started looking for a marketing service provider in the first place. When you are considering your options, look beyond the upcoming campaign and think about the future. Ideally, you will chose a marketing service that will be able to grow with your company and build a greater understanding and relationship as time goes on. When you look for an ongoing partnership, you will experience greater long term success than if you simply look for a company that can assist you with your current needs.
Forget to follow up.
Whether you will be following up the marketing efforts or your service will be taking on that step, it is important to make sure that it is done. Prospective clients must receive contact from you in quick succession after the first contact if you are to be the construction company that comes to mind when they have a need of one. Thank customers that contact you, encourage blog interaction and social media follows, and build relationships through the new contacts made, even if a sale has not resulted yet.
Cease your own efforts.
Don’t depend completely on your marketing service once you have hired one. It is still important for you to verbally invite people to check out your blog, include your website address on printed materials, and follow up on inquiries. A marketing service is an extension of your own efforts, not a replacement for them. I offer consulting and coaching to contractors who want to grow their businesses or just improve their game.