No one I know would willingly write a check or whip out their credit card knowing that the advertising campaign they were about to pay for was going to fall on its ass. That’s why a marketing plan is so important, yet very few contractors have one. They have accountants and lawyers, but no one heading the marketing ship.
They assume nobody knows the business better than they do. Therefore, no one could market it better than they could. And that’s a tragedy and that’s why so many campaigns are destined to fail before they even begin. But knowing what to look out for can help stack the chips in your favor.
In order to promote your contracting business you have to establish a relationship with your client. Unless you are a 24 hour emergency service plumber who I call to get out the tennis ball my daughter jammed into the toilet, you need to build trust and rapport. Most of all you have to understand your target customer’s needs, then you can align your product or service to deliver on that need.
It’s all about the benefits
Smart contractors use every technique available to build credibility in the consumer’s mind, and the really smart ones obsess about promoting benefits. In other words, they focus on how their product or service will benefit the consumer and then they build entire campaigns around that benefit.
Avoid the following three reasons campaigns fail and you could find yourself stealing market share away from your competition in a down economy.
1. Improper positioning — if you work in a crowded market and most contractors do, don’t try to compete with the market leader on his terms. In other words, even if you have the best product and execute better, you won’t gain market share if your competition sells the same benefit at half the price.
2. Lack of consistency — if your marketing message is not consistent in both message and the way that you promote it, your odds of succeeding drop dramatically. The primary function of marketing is to make sure that your message has enough reach to get in front of the people most likely to buy.
3. No benefit — I’m going to say it one more time, people don’t care about you; they want to know what’s in it for them. This is where a clearly defined benefit sells, by giving people what they want.
In the end you have to be committed to your marketing. You have to understand that advertising doesn’t work overnight. By establishing a firm goal and sticking to it before you launch your campaign you have an easier time dealing with the inevitable roadblocks that come up and derail what would otherwise be a solid campaign.