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Old School Contractor Marketing is New Again


Contractors are frequently accused of using old school marketing campaigns. We hold on to methods such as postcard mailings and door hangers throughout the neighborhood. In this day and age of social media and email blasts, should we be moving forward?

The answer is yes….and no.

Contractors do need to embrace the need for a dynamic online presence. This includes a professionally designed website, complete with active blog, social media profiles, and email connections with your clients and leads. To ignore the power of the internet when it comes to the purchasing decisions of your prospective clients is to hand them over to the competition. If your company’s online profile isn’t what it should be, make it a priority.

However, some of our old fashioned marketing methods are enjoying renewed popularity as well. Thanks to the exodus of advertisers from traditional channels such as direct mail, newspapers, and billboards, some of these platforms have become more effective, and more affordable, again. With less competitors vying for space and costs driven down by lack of demand, you may be surprised at how well you can fit some of these methods back into your marketing budget.

Many will advise you to cut back on direct mail campaigns, not waste money on newspaper or yellow pages ads, and put your entire marketing budget into various forms of internet campaigns. A significant number of your competitors are listening to this advice, which is exactly why it is beginning to pay off to go back to these traditional forms of advertising. Instead of going all or nothing one way or another, design a combination of modern and traditional marketing techniques that best suit your company.

Those who are utilizing traditional advertising channels are becoming few and far between, so when you use them your ads stand out. Getting a postcard in the mail instead of an email is actually becoming a novelty. Whereas your email may be quickly deleted without being opened in order to clear a burgeoning mailbox, a postcard with useful information and maybe even a coupon has a higher likelihood of being saved for later.

The same theory goes for newspaper ads. You may find that you can acquire very reasonable prices on print advertising due to improvements in printing technologies and decreases in demand for ad space. Another benefit of going back to this old marketing technique is that you will place your name in front of people who are being ignored by competitors who are focusing on internet campaigns.

Direct mail is another traditional advertising method enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Especially for a locally centered service like home building and remodeling, direct mail can be quite effective. With affordable material printing options and inexpensive mailing methods like the US Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail, it has become more cost effective to blanket a region with a mailing that is customized to that audience.

People who are not online – yes, there are still a few – will see your traditional campaign and your competitors will appear to be invisible. Retirees are the most likely group to fall into this category. A large percentage of this group tends to have disposable cash to spend, so don’t make the mistake of missing out on their business.

Developing a smart marketing campaign means looking at all your options. It is essential that you stay on top of modern trends, establish your online presence, and remain relevant. However, depending on your local market and your typical customer profile, some traditional marketing campaign components may start to make sense for you again.

The objective is to look at all marketing options with an open mind. Sure a virtual home show is inexpensive to put on and can easily reach an unlimited number of people, but won’t people who are truly interested in buying love an old fashioned tour of homes? What about local radio spots and neighborhood billboards? These are traditional advertising methods that you may have disposed of as you focused on bringing your online efforts up to par. Now is the time to reevaluate.

Start with an in-depth profile of your ideal customer. What is their age, education, income, and interests? Consider what motivates their purchasing decisions and how your marketing message speaks to this. The driving force of your marketing campaign should be to meet them where they are. If online is it, great. If not, be prepared to dive back into some traditional methods that you may have dismissed as out-of-date.

Your analysis will need to be more comprehensive than in the past. Rather than simply taking out an ad in the local paper because it’s what everyone does, you may need to consider all local publications, which ones your target audience is likely to read, and whether their advertising rates make it an effective alternative. Maybe you won’t go back to the daily paper but you will sponsor a page in a local private school’s newsletter. Thinking outside the box about traditional marketing methods can help you determine which channels can effectively reach your prospective clients.