Whether you have just entered the industry or have been around for years, developing and executing a proper marketing strategy is one of the most important yet challenging parts of your business. If you want to beat the competition, both locally and nationwide, according to legendary marketer Regis McKenna, ” Marketing is everything!”
McKenna’s bold statement published in 1991 in the Harvard Business Review suggests that every aspect of your company affects the customer’s perception. First and foremost this includes your product and services along with pricing, promotion and distribution. However equally important is how your sales team represents the company. The manner in which your sales personnel present your products and services to the public and the ways in which they attempt to increase market share will have an influence upon your customer.
Your website is vitally important as this is the face of your company. Your website needs to be professional and informative, but it doesn’t matter how stylish it looks if you don’t address problems promptly and handle customer communications with speed and efficiency.
There has been a fundamental shift in the role and purpose of marketing: from manipulation of the customer to genuine customer involvement. Every part of your company now involves marketing.
As a home remodeling contractor, no matter how long you have been in the industry, there are four undisputed secrets that you cannot afford to ignore when developing your marketing strategy.
Know your target audience! You have probably heard this a zillion times but now is a good time to really think about this and be honest with yourself. How well do you really know your target market? Are you constantly updating yourself about your clients and adjusting to their wants and needs or are you relying on old information? Who exactly are your clients? How often do their interests change? How can you plan your marketing strategy to fulfill their interest? If these answers are not at your fingertips, then you need to take action and do some homework in order to stay ahead of your competition.
You need a valuable product or service that has an edge. Whether you are a carpenter, a plumber or a designer, in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to have a clear competitive advantage. Unless you can offer something that is unique to you and different from your competitors, you are likely to struggle. It is essential to find your niche. FInd what it is that you do better than your competition.
Communication is paramount. It took years of debate before the American Marketing Association (AMA), in July 2013, declared this to be the definition of marketing:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Effective and clear communication with potential and existing clients and creating awareness is one of the keys to a successful marketing strategy. But how do you do this as a contractor? We all know that online marketing has rapidly become a powerful marketing tool for branding, delivering your services and communicating with clients. However online marketing is a very broad term and one needs to know how to use it for maximum benefit.
A company website is one of those online marketing tools but according to a 2013 survey conducted by Google and research company Ipsos, a surprising 55% of small companies don’t have a website. In today’s business climate, clients tend to do their research online and visit various websites before deciding whether a meeting is necessary. Having a good website or blog is a must for most businesses!
Another powerful online marketing tool is social media which is easily available. But you need to know which social media is suitable for different purposes and how to use it effectively. Should you use Twitter to answer the client’s questions? How do you want Facebook ads to be seen in your target market? Just like any other aspect of business you require a clear vision, goal and strategy for social media marketing.
These days contractors can take advantage of online platforms such as Angie’s List, Porch, Houzz and consumer feedback applications such as Yelp! These can be used as a powerful alternative to the traditional “word of mouth” method to create leads and help you be recognized more quickly by potential clients as a reliable contractor. This is a chance you don’t want to miss.
Remember you want to make sure that potential clients know about you and your competitive advantage. Also your past clients should not forget about you! In the end they must all feel motivated to give the job to you! So any other advertising and marketing methods such as webinars, seminars, public events, etc need to be in your strategy depending on your periodic goals, resources and capabilities.
Clearly you cannot simply have one marketing strategy that you stick with forever. It needs to evolve as time goes on and circumstances alter. It is all about people and they change all the time. Therefore, every day, educate yourself regarding the most important asset you have – your valuable clients.