This one is super-easy. Throw out that last nasty, crusty, filthy business card you have in your wallet and go out and get a fresh batch made with your Twitter and Facebook addresses. Also get a proper email address on your new cards. No more AOL or Yahoo or even Gmail addresses. You run a big boy (or girl) company, act like it! Then give them out everywhere! [Read more…] about Quick Tips for Contractors #3 – The Business Card Challenge
Marketing and Advertising
There are contractors out there that still find value advertising locally in their classified ads, and classified advertising has transitioned well online on sites like Craigslist.org. In fact, some of the most successful contractors I know make it a point to steadily advertise their businesses on Craigslist as part of their overall marketing strategy.
But who reads the classifieds? Buyers do!
Classified advertising isn’t about flash or pizzazz; it’s about answering the reader’s question. And let’s face it, people reading the classifieds are buyers. Think about it, have you ever looked on Craigslist or in the classified section because you had some time to kill? [Read more…] about Classified Ads Aren’t Just For Strippers
I realize that running your contracting business is a full-time job, but you need to take some time to see what the other guys are doing. Sure, you may shoot the breeze at the supply house or in passing while grabbing a cup of coffee, but do you really know what they are doing to move their businesses forward?
Here are some things to consider when reviewing what your competition is up to:
First and foremost, what exactly is your competition doing in the market and how successful are they at their marketing? Specifically, it’s good go keep an eye on:
- How they network themselves and their businesses
- Industry-wide research and who are the early adopters in your market
- Who belongs to the local associations, both professional and social, and how are they using these networks to their advantage
- Who has tight relationships with the people down at city hall? This can be crucial when trying to get permits or exceptions run through local government.
If you are like me, I trust but verify. In other words, if someone told me they were living off of referrals in today’s economy, I would take them at their word, but also make sure they really weren’t doing any marketing as well.
Why so paranoid?
In the famous words of Norm from Cheers, “It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear.” And some of the most successful people I know are the most paranoid!
Remember Who – What – Where – When – Why and How? Well, I am going to show you how to create your own ads in 5 minutes or less using the 5 W’s.
Here we go:
Who: Your business name, company slogan, logos & USP
What: Information on your range of products and services. Customers need to know what you sell.
Where: Address, phone number (local to the market served), web site, e-mail and areas served.
When: Days and hours if applicable along with emergency numbers.
Why: Reliability, years in business, endorsements, brand names, payment methods, licensed, insured, memberships and affiliations.
WWW: Do you have a website that prospects can visit to learn even more about your business? If not, you better get one!
Once your ad answers the 5 W’s, the ad is well on its way to delivering effective results. Then, you just need to present the information in a way that is logical and pleasing to the consumer’s eyes while running it enough (frequency) to be effective.
Let’s say you do kitchen remodels, or additions, or basements, all major renovations that cost between $35,000 and $50,000 even in a down economy. So how do you convince the consumer to buy from you instead of your competition? There are a couple of ways.
- Sell a feeling, not a product – Instead of promoting fixtures, flooring, lighting or bathtubs, sell them on how having a remodeled bathroom will make the homeowner feel.
- Start high and work your way down – If you present the best of the best, the most upscale projects and capabilities before you discuss the full range of mid-priced and lower-end projects, then you have a better chance of selling the project ABOVE the level the client anticipated.
- Work now with next year in mind – The economy isn’t going to suck forever, I promise. But there is a bright spot to this train wreck of an economy we have had. That bright spot is that many of the knuckleheads you used to compete with have gone belly up, which means there is less competition in the marketplace. So start preparing your business now for next year and the year after that, long after we should be enjoying at least a modest recovery.
- Talk to people about value instead of price – This is a big one, every time you associate a cost to something, the husband’s head spins, unless you are talking finished basements or media rooms. Instead, focus on great quality at reasonable prices to be more effective when trying to close.
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up – Once you complete the project you need your client’s feedback, both good and bad. Ask them what they liked about working with you, and whether they have friends or neighbors who might be interested in home improvement projects.
- Promote – Promote – Promote – Not just with traditional marketing and advertising, I mean get out there and build partnerships and relationships with affiliated businesses and industries. For example, reach out to 5 real estate agents, 5 interior decorators and 5 architects each week and start building a team of people who you refer work to and get work from.
Remember, what you do today determines your business life a year from now, and what you did a year ago is impacting your business right now, so work today for your business tomorrow!
Photo Credit: Little Debbie
I was doing a call last night and the topic came up about competition, and I remembered that I shot this video a while back where I talk about the fact that you don’t compete with just the other guys in your trade, but with all of the influences that come into play when home owners are deciding what to do to their homes. In other words, remodelers compete not only with other remodelers, but with home builders and real estate agents, trying to convince your prospect that they should move instead of remodel. Watch the video and let me know what you think. [Read more…] about Use Unfair Comparisons to Your Advantage When Marketing Your Contracting Company