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2014 on the road to prosperity.

  • Are you on the road to insanity?
  • How’s your game plan for 2014?
  • Are you a goal setter or just let things happen.
  • Are you on purpose to grow for 2014?
  • What is a 10×10 marketing plan?
  • Be strategic about your marketing.
  • How you can be specific about your growth.
  • How to track your marketing dollars.
  • Why referrals are our best source of business.

csw 10×10 marketing overlay free down load

marketing dashboard csw free down load

In today episode in our contractor marketing podcast

We talk about

What business are you really in?

Why you want immediate results marketing.

Why should you run an ad a second time if it doesn’t pull the first.

Are you marketing into a black hole?

Tracking your marketing how far do you go?

Do you really want results or feel comfortable.

What is education based marketing?

Are you a last minute marketer?

Pete Mitchell  FREE WEBINAR

Check out this from Pete for You

How to Mail Up to 153,243 Promotional Postcards Every Month Without Paying One Red Cent (Even including postage)

Today’s contractor marketing podcast is with Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully.

Tara has been in marketing since 1999, starting at a web hosting company, which at the time she barely knew what the internet was, let alone the technical backend of how websites work. Over the last 15 years she has spent way more than the 10,000 hours required to get really good at marketing, currently providing speaking and consulting services for small businesses, real estate and manufacturing industries.

What Is Direct Response Marketing

Contractors have been using run of the mill flyers for years and they are fine, but Direct Response marketing requires that any marketing materials do more than provide a list of services, they HAVE to have some kind of call to action. The call to action means that someone is prompted to do something after they see the website, magazine ad or postcard.

Direct response is not a kind of marketing but a style of marketing where your focus is to have something happen after the advertising piece is seen. It can be as “normal” as a coupon in a magazine ad, although this is not optimal as discount ads bring in customers who are shopping, looking for a bargain. These types of customers are “right now” buyers.

As long as there is a rock solid plan to turn these price shoppers into repeat or ongoing customers, everything is great. Tara mentioned that she has had numerous contractors and trade people come into her home and has only ever had one send anything after the visit. Some suggestions she had for example were a chimney cleaner could send a followup with:

  • Postcard thanking her for her business
  • A magnet that she could put on her refrigerator with the company contact info and phone number
  • Wintertime chimney weather-proofing tips
  • A personal thank you note

Getting repeat business from current customers who are used to paying you truly is picking the low-hanging fruit!

Even though Tara came in on a discount coupon, they could have easily turned her into a repeat shopper for an annual fireplace checkup (but they never asked). If you are doing yard work, make sure to remind your customers when it is time fertilize or aerate their lawn, sprinkler guys could send a message at the end of summer to “blow out” the sprinklers and at the beginning of summer to do an inspection and turn them back on.

Getting Into The Conversation Early

As a marketer, you need to be in the conversation before your customers are looking to buy. You want to tell them what they need to know BEFORE they start shopping around to your competition!

Tara has a free giveaway that she has handed out over 1,000 times in person and which she uses as a free giveaway on her website, 100 Free Marketing Ideas. This free offer keeps her top of mind when people are thinking about marketing because they print them out and use them all year!

Contractors could have a free offer like that including:

A planning guide for cabinets (keeping the customer out of Ikea and working with you)
A flyer showing how to choose the best paint colors (a good neutral brown, should they use Sherwin Williams or Bayer)
A laminated card showing how to unplug your toilet that they could hang on back of the toilet

As a marketing play it would be much better to have 100 people request a free planner than to sell 3 cabinet jobs because then you have the chance to carry on a conversation with way more people who turn into long-time customers.

Educational Approach To Marketing

There are some specific parts to this kind of educational marketing programs.

1. The way they get into your system (website, postcard, ad)
2. How they are going to contact you (email submission, phone call, visit your location) – a great free email database to start with is MailChimp.com
3. A followup program to keep them updated with your product and services (for the cabinet installer this could include backsplash trends, shaker versus colonial cabinets, glass front doors or not)

Now this sounds complex, but a true direct response program could be as easy as putting a flyer with the little phone numbers cut across the bottom in your local UPS store. Offer your free item and tell them to call you for it!

The main thing to remember is that they are not actually looking for your product or service. Someone with a dirty roof doesn’t want a pressure washing company, they just want a clean roof.

Figure out the top 10 problems that your company can solve, and write a marketing piece with a solution to each. Things that are going on in your marketplace that will get consumers to call you, a free recording, postcard, email or even a hand delivered flyer.

Three Kinds Of People In The World

We have had people question why someone would hire you when you have already given them all the information about how to do it themselves. Tara says that there are three kinds of people in the world:

1. Do It Themselvers – These guys were always going to go the DIY route so you didn’t lose anything there
2. Collecting Information – Some people just like to collect information, without ever implementing anything and…
3. People who have made the decision to hire you! They come to that decision before they pick up a phone or write an email because of all the great information that you have provided.

But wait, there is more business there! The DIYers will show the really great things they have done and tell their friends who might not be so skippy about doing everything themselves. Some of the DIYers will be your best referral sources!

Direct Mail

Direct mail (postcards or letters) has fallen out of favor with companies in the last few years, leaving the playing field wide-open for you to dart in and pick some new business. The cost has come way down (Dave spent $350 for 1,000 postcards recently). Pair that with the Every Door Direct program from the USPS where you can send mail for as low as $.17 per piece and you have a super effective marketing campaign!

To reach Tara, please check out her free offer, 100 Free Marketing Ideas or her main website, MarketingArtfully.com

If you hadn’t noticed, Google Places has become Google Plus Local. Local marketing is especially important to you as a small business owner. People use Google to search for businesses and services, and the last thing you need is to have that messed up.

The changes in Google Plus Local (GPL) will affect you, so here’s the low down on what’s going on.

One of the things that many small local businesses have found was that after Google switched to GPL, the new roll out has been quite buggy. This may have affected your listing and ranking. As you probably know, you work hard to get your ranking just right, and each new glitch can hurt it. It doesn’t help that Google hasn’t been very communicative about the changes. A good example of a bug problem is a recent one where the merge of your old Google Places listing with your new GPL listing had category issues. They put wrong categories into your category section and now businesses listed have nothing to do with yours, but affect your ranking. Not only that, your listing could be penalized for being listed in irrelevant categories!

For local marketing, your best bet is to make sure your website is locally optimized and in good standing with Google. This is the most important thing you can do. Google Citations and customer reviews are still important, but optimization of your website is most important. Next, make sure your listing on GPL has been claimed by you and has no rule violations. Some rules to watch specifically: keyword stuffing your description – this can cost you points with the algorithm used by the search engine; another one is multiple listings. This can become an issue if Google finds old outdated listings on the internet with different phone numbers, addresses or names. Google will create a listing which creates the multiple. Also, another person can create an account and you don’t know about it. Then there is the headache of whether Google merged the old account right.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it is. Your best bet is to hire someone who knows how to handle GPL and local listings and rankings. Let them handle the headaches while you handle the business of your business.

Sandi specializes in working with in the construction trades.

  • Why the marketing piece of it is so crucial in getting your name out there.
  • Figuring out a system.
  • Why when figuring your target market it goes farther than just demographics
  • Is there a gap in the market that you can step in and fill?
  • Target marketing campaigns creating a very consistent touch what it looks like.
  • We talk about the seven touches of marketing.
  • We talk about the importance of relationship building through multiple touches.
  • The importance of using the WWIFM principal in your marketing.

Sandi’s contact information 813-407-2013 or SBurnside@cclogan.com 

Yelp is not often the first choice for marketing your contracting business.

When most people think of ways of marketing their contracting business, the first resource that comes to mind is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or another social media site. But there is a hidden resource that you can use very much to your advantage! Yelp can be just the thing to help brand your contracting business.

Yelp is a review site that people use to give feedback about a business. Not only is it a business review site, but it is a great clearing house for events and special offers. Even better, it’s trying to work its way into the social networking world by giving people the ability to “friend” and talk with other members of Yelp.

Just thinking about reviews alone, there are over 9 million local reviews. Certainly a great source to find out what people in your area really think about a service or business. Which is why, as a contracting business owner, it’s a great place to build positive exposure. After all, smart people check on a business before using it for something as important as contracting. Yelp is one place they go to look.

So how can you leverage Yelp in your marketing?

First, join and write reviews of other businesses that you do business with. It’s important to have a robust and active profile. Keep that profile consistent with your other social media marketing. In other words, brand across them.

Next, use the interests area to link to your website, blog, and other profiles. When you review other businesses, be honest and fair, and let the business know you reviewed them so they can respond. That also means you need to not only read the reviews of your business, but respond to them as well. Again, be honest and fair and make sure to address concerns adequately. Also make sure to add recommendations of other businesses to your clients.

Don’t forget to ask your customers and clients to rate you on Yelp. This is important because when you get a good review you get a front page link on the search engines. More positive exposure. To make sure people can find your Yelp listing put a link in your email signature, put it on your business profiles, website and blog site, and post it where customers and clients will see it. Also use the smartphone app and encourage customers to do the same.

Yelp has many more features, so go check it out and jump in to this great marketing tool!

This one is about GOOD contractor marketing, how to create good direct response marketing with a call to action.

We go through seven steps to creating a successful ad and how you appeal to that emotion. How to get your piece of marketing in the A pile. What makes it captivating is it the headline the offer could it be both?

We discuss how to have your marketing be the information giver, prescreens them predisposes them and warms them up for the sale. We go over what you need to have great  marketing and know what you should expect so that you don’t get bullied by sellers of bad advertising!

This one is about the types of bad contractor marketing pieces what to look for and what not to do. We are going to talk about bad marketing and what a bad marketing piece really looks like.

Bad contractor marketing makes no real compelling offer to the consumer. We talk about the proper and improper place to put your to put your information, your logo.

Why cluttered ads get glossed over by the consumer. And why cluttered ads don’t bring you the return you would like.

Why in your marketing dollar amounts in savings are more effective than percentages.

We discuss why some discounts actually can scare the potential customer away. Why some postcards pull better than others even with the same content on them.

Examples of BAD marketing download

Contractor Secret Weapon first podcast

Have you really thought about your contractor marketing? Join us today as we look at the 3 categories of contractor marketing, the good, the bad and the boring!

We are going to start with the boring side of the marketing which most contractors gravitate to.

We will give you enough information to know what boring marketing is and show you how to stay away from it! We also help you discover how to move your marketing in the right direction so you can get an actual return on your marketing investment and not feel like you are throwing money into a black hole, knowing you need to market but not knowing if it is actually working.

Examples of BORING marketing download

If you are like most of us, hearing the title, Social Media Marketing for Contractors probably made you cringe. We are all so sick of hearing about social media and how it can help grow your contracting business…but can it really?

Well, I can’t think of a better industry for social media than contracting. EVERYTHING we do is a physical event…putting in cabinets, fixing toilets, painting…all are prime candidates for being interesting on social!

What Is Social Media

Now please don’t skip this part, it is not some lame, social media description but actual information that you need to be able to succeed in your marketing efforts!

Social media is a way for people to connect, gain social popularity and figure out if they are normal or not. If someone is cruising down their Facebook timeline and sees a post they approve of and it has hundreds of likes, they will probably be comfortable liking it too. If they see a great picture on Pinterest see that is has a lot of repins, they know that they are on the right track.

Now, don’t get us wrong, the goal of social media is NOT to just collect likes and shares, it is to SELL SOMETHING…mostly your services, possibly some products. What you need to do with social media is find out what YOU are good at, could be writing, might be taking movies of yourself or maybe even just snapping a photo or two with your smart phone. Then you need to take those mad skills you have and start sharing your business with the world.

Based on what you like to do, here are our top sites for using social media:

Writing…if you like to write, you must get a blog! Having a place to express your thoughts and words PLUS a place to drive all your social media traffic to is mandatory for our writers. A good rule of thumb for blogging is one good keyword targeted post a week. Writers can also succeed on Google Plus which does not penalize long form content as much as Facebook does and could list your post in the actual Google search engine if you get your keywords right!

Videos…all social media will be going to videos and pictures within the next few years. Learning how to make a video with your smart phone is a GREAT idea. You can even upload directly from your phone to YouTube (the only video site we recommend you use!) Learning to use your video camera is not hard and will make a HUGE difference in your social success.

Pictures…no beating around the bush here, pictures are the MOST popular things that people post on social media. If you become even a little proficient at taking nice pictures of what you are working on, you will have A LOT of content to use and share on social.

Well hopefully that helps give you a good overview of social media marketing for contractors. We will be drilling down on all the bits during our podcasts, make sure you get signed up to get them all!