In order to successfully grow your business and achieve the sales revenue goals you have established, a sound marketing plan must be in place.
Successful marketing plans can define the future of your business; the same can be said of poor marketing plans. Whether you are looking to implement a new marketing strategy or are reevaluating your current marketing efforts, here are common (and costly) marketing mistakes you should avoid.
Lack of a Marketing Strategy
This may seem obvious, but too many businesses (including home improvement contractors) fail to develop and execute a marketing plan. Some believe that their services or products are enough to sell themselves, relying on word-of-mouth and reputation alone. While it is still important to offer excellent service and products, you still need to get the word out.
Your marketing plan, in addition to including the presence of customer referrals, should also include your reaching out to potential customers through a variety of methods. If you’re unfamiliar with marketing strategies and related best practices, schedule an appointment to meet with a marketing expert to help you develop the right strategy and marketing methods for your business.
Improperly Defined Market Audience or Niche
Marketing experts like to discuss the concept of “niche” markets—a subset of the market on which a specific service or product is focused. While there is sound strategy to be found in pursuing niche markets, be sure you do not target a niche that is too small and that ultimately limits the amount of traffic or leads you may generate.
“Want to pursue a niche market strategy? Here are three simple steps suggested by marketing experts:
1. Identify and estimate the size of your target market to make sure that there are enough buyers to sustain your company’s sales, profitability, and spending.
2. Evaluate potential competitors.
3. Consider what investment in material, personnel, systems, or services, including marketing services, you’ll need to adequately serve the market.”
Remodeling contractor Ron Roell had this to say about the value of niche marketing. “When you choose a niche, you become much more efficient at it and more confident in delivering it. You know the details, so it’s much easier to sell.” Of course, plenty of companies have had to redefine their niche and have still found success, but much time and money can be saved if your niche is properly defined from the start.
Using the Wrong Message
You may be struggling to formulate messaging that accurately reflects your brand and advertises your business, or you may be paying for ads using the wrong keywords. In these scenarios, for example, the wrong message could be costing you more money than just your advertising expense. Your brand and its message, when done right, should be helping to grow your reputation, your business and your bottom line.
Pay Attention to Branding
According to one Remodeling article, “Even a company without a big budget or many staff can boost business via marketing. One great way to get started is to examine your brand. Husband and wife home improvement team George and Dana Hedges, the sole owners and employees of Virginia Shower Door, in Richmond, Va., recently started doing business as RVA Shower Door, capitalizing on the city of Richmond self-branding as ‘RVA.’
‘Virginia Shower Door was a great name,’ George says, ‘but we got calls from all over the place, and we are strictly a local business. So we wanted something with more of a local flavor.’
The change ‘took like lightning,’ Dana adds. ‘On everybody’s bumper stickers, and everywhere you looked, it became “RVA.”’ The Hedges also came up with a logo that shows a frameless shower door opening onto the Richmond skyline.
Before making the switch, the Hedges tried to anticipate whether the name change would work. They gathered information, asking every prospect who called their business where they had found out about the company, and asking every client why they chose to work with the company. To further test their decision, they sought opinions from friends and local members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Hedges are only a few months into the change, but the information they gathered has been reliable. ‘The feedback thus far has been very positive,’ George says.”
Failing to Blog
Too many businesses dismiss the idea of running a blog, including contractors. Keeping an active blog not only brings in more online traffic, but it can also create quality interactions with your customers and establish you as an authority in your field. A successful blog with frequent interactions, strong calls-to-action, and quality posts can generate leads for your sales team. However, don’t make the mistake of promoting your business with every post you publish; at least 90% of your blog should be used for the purpose of providing high-quality content that is useful to your readers. Additionally, be sure that your blog is hosted on your domain (mywebsite.com/blog). This will help the search engines find you.
One article from Qualified Remodeler states, “Use a monthly… blog to regularly connect with all current and past customers as well as your prospects. If your company is the first they remember when they’ve got a project, you are going to get the call.”
Forgetting to Canvass
Don’t forget some of the tried-and-true tactics of business, including canvassing. This is a great opportunity to target neighborhoods in the same price point as past customers. If no one answers, leave a flier that directs potential customers to your website and that details your offers. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch, such as saying that you’re currently working on a job in the neighborhood and would be happy to stop by and provide a free estimate.
Hosting a Non-Optimized Website
Launching a website for your business is crucial to increasing your online presence; however, owning a website is no guarantee that you will generate online traffic. According to Qualified Remodeler, “Remodelers are discovering that their most qualified leads come to them via the Internet.”
If your site is not optimized for search engines (namely Google) and conversions, then you’re wasting valuable digital space. In order to have a presence in Google rankings, your site needs Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Hiring a marketing agency with expertise in SEO can help your site’s ranking improve in Google, increasing your ability to reach your target market. Fortunately, there are also many free SEO tools and how-to guides, especially from Moz.
Disregarding to Offer Financing
Offering financing to your customers is critical to ensuring that your phone rings. According to market research, 50 percent of all home improvement projects over $5,000 are financed in some way. With that in mind, it is in your best interest to tout your financing products.
If you have not yet launched a marketing plan or are failing to run it effectively, then we hope that by pointing out these common marketing mistakes we were able to help guide you in the right direction. Marketing does not have to be an expensive or laborious undertaking; there are numerous strategies that you can implement today to help grow your business.