Pay Attention – If you are NOT going to retire in the next five years, you need to pay attention to this post, because each day you ignore the warning I am about to lay out for you, the further behind your contracting company falls.
Sound like a lot of hot air?
Let me ask you a question, how many fans do you have on Facebook? How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many people have found your YouTube channel? If the answer is not many, you better get moving, and not for the obvious reason, which is potential clients or customers.More
I shot this video towards the end of last year and I just dug it up after forgetting I did it. I wish I had remembered it because I think the content makes a lot of sense to contractors who are on the fence about the value of using social media. In the video I make it easy for you to find an ROI for your social media activities using your existing advertising as our baseline.More
I posted this tip on the JLC forum and then sent it out to my weekly tips newsletter readers on Saturday, but I thought it made sense to do a general posting for all of you since the material might really help some of you get started with social media. So, here goes!
This Week’s Marketing Tip: Use Twitter to win customers and spy on your competition in less than 5 minutes a day!
This tip on Twitter was a post I did on JLC Forums last week to prove a point, that there is a value to Twitter. If you can put this tip into practice I promise you at least one new client or customer a month. To some of you, that is thousands and thousands of dollars in new revenue a year, so pay attention!More
Out of the blue, I get an email yesterday from Home Depot. And not just anyone, but someone pretty important inside the organization. Now, I am not going to give her name, but let’s just say she has a huge impact on Home Depot’s brand online.
So what you ask?
Well, some of you may feel that way, but to me, that she sought me out and sent me a personal note on MY little crappy blog was a very nice touch. And it is exactly what I have preached to all of you. Protect your brand, grow your business, but most of all interact with people. It’s not just a nice thing to do, but it could bring you a new client or customer.
And just to show you I put my money where my mouth is, I will be driving right past that other home improvement store this weekend and heading to my local Home Depot. And that is how Home Depot will turn social media into real dollars later this week.
Because you should always do right by those that do right by you. And this “pay it forward” philosophy happens all the time online, which has the potential to translate into real dollars in your company’s coffers! And finally, this goes out to Ms. Home Depot – if you are reading this, the link you sent me was dead, so send it to me again!
Many business leaders and successful people have adopted a common phrase, “Hope is not a strategy”, well no shit! However, many construction contractors are still relying on nothing but hope, prayer and a little luck with their construction marketing strategy. They are hoping that their latest radio ad or television spot will pull in some new leads. Or they hope that the 1,000 postcards mailed out last week will produce a response. Don’t fall victim to this type of mentality.
Instead of relying on hope, develop your strategy
Think of a marketing plan as a new building. You have to first test and prepare the site. Then you build a strong, stable foundation. Next comes the framework and roof of the building. Finally, the interior is completed.
In marketing for contractors, the testing and preparing phase is finding out which services people are looking for. Then you need to build a foundation of communicating with customers across multiple platforms. A website, blog posts, Facebook account, YouTube videos, Flickr photos and Twitter messages are some examples of different ways to reaching prospective clients.
After making the initial contact the work doesn’t stop. You have to continually stay in touch with people. Sending out alerts about new promotions, or helpful tips, or even a quick question about how to improve service are different ways to keep in touch with people and stay in their mind until the day comes that they either need your services directly, or can recommend you to someone else.
In the end, just as it takes time to build a new office or home, it takes time for your marketing efforts to pay off. Consistent and prompt communication, focused on a particular segment, will yield better results than simple “hope.”
I have previously written a post on the importance of not only having a logo but a slogan or tagline as well for your contracting company. One that isn’t just fluffy bullshit, but one that actually means something to you and your company.
I bring this up because I was recently asked by a client what mine meant;
Helping Contractors Sell More, Advertise Better & Market to Buyers!
Seems pretty clear to me, but if one person was confused, then that means there are probably more of you. So, I thought I would go through the exercise that led me to craft such a long and laborious tag line. It took me about a week to come up with the exact wording because I was continually trying to shorten it. What you see above was the final product, and every word means something to me, and yours should too!
So let’s break it down together…Ready?
Helping contractors sell more –
This one has no hidden meanings or connotations. Through 20 plus years of selling, I know a thing or two about the art. And if you don’t think selling is an art, then you aren’t good at it. Knowing how to sell helps you sell more!
Advertise Better –
This one is a little more complicated. Anyone can throw darts at a board, and in the famous words of Gordon Gekko, I don’t throw darts at a board sport! What I mean is, having worked with so many contractors, I have been exposed to 100 things that work, and 100 things that don’t. Now, marketing campaigns are like snowflakes in that each one is different, but after working with 20 roofers or 10 plumbers or 15 electricians, I have a pretty good idea what works across and industry, hence advertise better.
Market to Buyers –
This one has a special meaning, “Market to Buyers”. Having worked primarily with companies and contractors that need to make $2 dollars for every $1 dollar spent on advertising, I don’t market to passively or disengaged consumers. That means a limited diet of newspapers, television and radio, a good dose of specially targeted direct mail and Yellow Pages, and pigging out on dotcom products. That’s how you target to buyers.
Because people who are ready to buy use the YP. People that are ready to buy are looking for special offers or coupons in their direct mail, and they use the web and Google Adwords, Yahoo Ad Network and MSN AdCenter everyday to hire contractors….hence the market to buyers.
So as you see, my slogan may be long, but it means something to me. Make yours mean something to you, and more importantly, your team and your customers!
The question I get asked the most often is how I choose the media platforms for the particular client I happen to be working with. Well, there is a lot that goes into that question, but I have a short answer that I can share with you if you are trying to figure out how you should market your contracting business.
Watch what you do!
OK, what the hell does that mean, right? Here is what I am talking about. Take the next few days, maybe even a week or two and look at the way you consume advertising. Nothing else, just advertising. I want you to pay special attention to the way you either take ads in, or blow right past them.
For example, this weekend I was trying to catch up on some shows me and the wife watch that we recorded with our DVR. I DVR shows for two reasons, one, I charge a lot for an hour’s worth of my time, so why should I give 20 minutes away every hour to a TV show for commercials? And two, I haven’t been engaged by a TV spot in a long time, and I don’t think I will be while watching MadMen.
So everything I want to watch get’s recorded on the DVR and I fast forward right past the ads. I am a disinterested consumer when it comes to most television advertising. Then Sunday morning rolls around, and like most living rooms mine is littered with the remains of the Sunday newspaper. Now, nothing get’s used less in my house than a newspaper, but there is a vibe attached to chilling out with a cup of coffee and a Sunday paper that is going to be hard for Apple to beat with their iPad. Now, you need to keep in mind that I drove to the store to get the paper in a car that has satellite radio, so I never heard a radio spot during my drive.
While reading the paper, I stop occasionally to take a look at a few of the wireless ads (because I am a geek at heart) and a few car ads (only to make sure my dealer didn’t rip me off when I bought my CTS) but for the most part, I didn’t consume many ads in the paper either.
Now it’s Sunday night, and I am planning my week on Google Calendar and my mind starts drifting to the new laptop I want. Understand, this isn’t just a typical computer purchase, I am thinking of making the leap from PC to Mac, and I am doing a ton of research. At the same time I am being exposed to many different ad messages in the form of Google Adwords, banner ads and books, CD’s and DVD’s over on Amazon.com on how to migrate over from a PC to Apple.
The point is, in this economy there is no wiggle room to play the branding game. All of your advertising has to make a difference to your company’s bottom line. If it doesn’t, then it has to be cut. Using me as your guinea pig, I spent not one second watching TV ads or listening to radio spots, I was barely paying attention to the ads in the paper, but I was consuming ads like crazy online while trying to learn as much about who I would buy from as much as what I would by.
So, to market to me, you better be doing it online! How about you? How do you consume media? If you spend some time tracking that answer you may be surprised at the results!
Although you may just be getting your feet wet in the social media space, it doesn’t mean that someone else out there doesn’t have the same personal or corporate name as you. Check out Namechk.com to see if your most commonly used user name is still available. Even if you are not planning on working inside some of these platforms, it still makes sense to protect your brand online.
From the site:
Namechk.com was designed by David Gosse and Andy Edinborough to instantly show you if your desired or branded username was available at the majority of the top social networking websites. By typing your username into the “chk” search box, it will query all the social sites listed on the page and display whether the username is taken or available.
Contractor marketing online is about building brand identity, and you can’t very well do that if someone else own’s your name on a popular social media site. From a review standpoint, there are other services out there, but Namechk.com does exactly what it says it is going to do and does it well. There really is no reason to worry yourself with another service!