Home Improvement Marketing Help: Internet Marketing
Both Daniel and I truly believe that there are many home improvement business owners out there that have the time, desire and skill set to handle their own marketing. Being educator’s at heart, we bet some of you just need a little home improvement marketing help. Today starts a series that we’ll revisit often that we hope will help.
Each week we’ll delve into one specific topic designed to give you the knowledge necessary to get a quick start on a specific topic, and offer other resources to give you a deeper dive. Even if you choose not to actually perform the function yourself, we want to give you the ability to properly supervise an employee or outsourcer you assign to perform those tasks.
Today, let’s start with home improvement internet marketing. First of all, if you haven’t jumped on the internet lead generation bandwagon, number 1, you’re missing some huge opportunities, and, number 2, the good news is that it’s not too late.
The Way Things Used To Be
As you already know if you’ve been in the business for any period of time, the whole marketing/advertising paradigm has switched. It used to be all about reaching the largest amount of people and hoping the timing was right.
The prime example of this was something that the home improvement company that I (Joe) used to work for would do. We’d “sponsor” a Saturday afternoon movie on a popular local TV station in the fall. These were run in the late morning, with the thought process being that our preferred audience was at home, watching TV, and getting ready for Saturday afternoon college football. Can you see the reach and timing elements?
As you can imagine, the cost of this was very high as a percentage of revenue and was basically a crapshoot. If there was a home game a lot of these people went to, there went the whole campaign.
I’m sure a lot of you have your own horror stories with TV, or other “large reach” medium like radio and newspaper.
It’s a lot like throwing a bunch of stuff up against a wall and hoping enough of it stuck to make your investment worthwhile…or at least generating enough revenue that you could go out and do it again next week and hope for a better result.
We Need To Be Where They Are
One of the greatest books I’ve ever read, in terms of creating a successful, sales-based organization, is The Ultimate Sales Machine, by the late Chet Holmes (affiliate link). Of the many great things you’ll read in this book is a discussion on the makeup of any given market.
According to Holmes, less than 3% of potential customers for any product or service are ready to “buy” at any given time. For the vast majority of home improvement companies “buying” is setting an appointment for an in-home visit.
Think about that for a minute…for every 100 people that you target with any sort of home improvement marketing technique, only three of them are possibly ready to make an appointment with you.
Now you can understand why, with the cost and competition for leads increasing almost exponentially, we’ve got to change our way of thinking.
More owners understand that today’s effective home improvement marketing strategy is about being where the potential customers are, when they are there. Same elements as before (reach and timing), just a much better focus. As a matter of fact, the average cost to generate a lead through this type of marketing ($140) is about half of the average for for the old way ($375).
The Customers Are Doing More Research
Marketing your home improvement business is one of the most optimal ways to do this. One of the things that you and/or your salespeople have probably already noticed is that today’s customer seems much more educated than ever before. Where do you think that education comes from? You got it, the internet.
According to PowerReviews in 2012, 79% of shoppers did at least 50% of their research on the internet. Two things we can glean from that…
- These are general numbers from three years ago. Due to the competitive nature of the home improvement business , and the proliferation of online review sites such as Google, Yelp, etc., it's safe to say that both of those numbers are probably higher today.
- We aren't even a potential customers primary source of information any longer.
Accessing The 100% With Internet Marketing
What about the 97% that aren’t ready for an appointment. We know from those earlier statistics that they’re online doing research, right?
What home improvement internet marketing allows you to do is to gain access all of those potential customers that are in various stages of their research. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be “involved” in their research right up until the point that they become one of those “3 percenters?” Do you think that having been involved would increase the odds that you would be a choice for them to at least take a look at?
Home Improvement Marketing Help: How To Do Internet Marketing
There are several elements to an effective home improvement internet marketing strategy…
- Understand Your Ideal Customer-- This will not only effect your marketing efforts, but it will also help more of your gross business go net. You may have seen this discussed using the term buyer's personas.
- Keyword Research--This begins with understanding how someone might do research for your product or service online. Unless you already own your market and have enough business (which means you probably haven't read this far anyway), just being found for your company name isn't enough. What are the words and phrases someone might use to find your products and services?
- A Lead Generating Website-- In our website evaluations and audits that we do for customers, a consistent theme is that many home improvement business websites are not much more than glorified product or service brochures. An effective, lead generating website is going to be 95% about the customer and 5% about you. Done properly, your website becomes the focal point for all of your lead generation efforts.
- SEO and SEM--These sometimes scary acronyms simply mean taking the keyword research that you have done and creating content and design that ideal potential customer can find and enjoy consuming.
For a deeper dive into the concept of customer research look at this article about being involved with your customers research.
Over the course of the next few visits, we’ll dive deeper into the “do it yourself” aspects of each of these topics and give you more home improvement marketing help.