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For home improvement professionals, keeping a good marketing program going can be a tricky as you often are working out in the field and away from your office. But some of the best marketing involves simple tactics. Once designed and implemented, they take just a few extra minutes to execute and can deliver big returns.
Introduce your company to the nosy neighbors
When a contractor is parked outside a home, neighbors always wonder what wonderful changes are afoot. A yard sign, with your client’s permission of course, can help stoke curiosity and promote conversation about the project. Distributing door hangers up and down the block is also an easy way to get your name out, and invite curiosity about the project you are working on with their neighbor. Include a “We’re in the Neighborhood Right Now…” discount offer to encourage immediate response.
Shorten the sales cycle
Keep a travel-friendly version of your showroom or portfolio of work with your crew while they are working on site. Include material samples, before/after photos of outstanding projects, and client testimonials. When neighbors start a conversation at the job site, you’ll be ready to start the sales process by showcasing your very best. Better still, hire a graphic artist to create a full-color “pitch book” for your company which includes all of the information above. Gone are days when printing a glossy, full-color booklet was cost prohibitive. Digital printing has made this kind of professional collateral very affordable. Creating and printing a small supply of booklets that showcase your company, your best projects and testimonials creates a great piece to send home with a prospect after chatting with them about the project they have in mind.
Create a three-way win referral system
Most contractors already ask for referrals but often it is little more than a closing statement accompanied by a few extra business cards that are handed to the customer along with their final paperwork. A unique way to ask and continuing to ask for referrals long after you’ve moved onto the next project may be just what you need to make a more memorable impression.
Upon successful completion of of a project, be sure to convey how important client satisfaction is to your company. If they’re truly pleased with your work, then let them know that your business thrives off of referrals from happy customers. To make it easy for them, you’ve created a win-win-win system:
- Print a supply of incentive referral postage-paid postcards as pictured below. On the front side of the post card, be sure to include a valuable offer that incents a prospect to respond. The reverse side should have a postage stamp, a short message, the name of the referring client and YOUR mailing address.
- Ask your client to think about anyone else they know that might also be interested in completing a project. If they know of someone, ask them to pass along a postcard to that person who can then complete it and return it. Because it is postage paid – ie has a stamp on it – and presents an offer to the recipient, it will be perceived as valuable and the client may hang onto it much longer than they would a stack of extra business cards.
- Also, by including their name on the card as the referrer, you can offer an incentive to them as well. For example, “For every card that is returned with your name on it, if I’m able to book the project, I’ll reward you with a $50 gift card.” Your client wins, the prospect wins and you win – that’s smart marketing!
The sample pictured below is just a sample of what your postcard should look like. A graphic artist can quickly create something that is tailored to your business or that collects more detailed information. Be sure to fill out your client’s name on the top of the card before you give them the postcards so that you’ll know where it came from!
Show off your work
Realtors use this tactic often to promote the fact that they’ve sold a home in the neighborhood. After a project is finished, repeat your introduction to the neighbors. Send a tightly-focused direct mail postcard campaign to neighbors surrounding the job site to show off your work in its finished state. A simple postcard featuring before/after photos (again, with your client’s permission) can be very effective in showcasing your expertise. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Advertise in a direct mail magazine
Direct mail advertising is cost-effective, proven and highly trackable for home improvement contractors who otherwise lack high visibility in the marketplace. Direct mail magazines help maximize your exposure for a tiny faction of the cost of a postcard campaign. The best magazines are targeted to maximize your reach to homeowners. They also update their mailing list monthly to reach new homeowners, which can be one of the best pool of prospects a contractor can reach. Best of all, your ad campaign is professionally designed and reaches your target market on a consistent basis while requiring minimal attention or intervention from you. This gives you time to do what you do best: work with your customers!