When I ask remodelers what marketing tactics they most rely on, I usually get the same answers. Number one is almost always Referrals. As it should be.
Referrals are commonly referred to as the lifeblood of a remodeling company. And the reason is obvious: since they come from a credible third-party you are instantly trustworthy.
The only real problem is that they are in large part out of your control. You have to hope someone knows someone that’s going to remodel and remembers to drop your name.
After referrals come the usual suspects: Canvassing, coupon mailers (Valpak anyone?), print ads, direct mail, radio spots, etc.
The benefit here is that unlike referrals, you can get your message to the masses, but they are costly.
Still, these tactics can be a valuable and effective part of your marketing plan. However, to get the full benefit of these marketing tactics you need to commit to long term campaigns.
Few remodelers do this. Many, in fact, will try one once and give up on it.
This is what I call the Casino Strategy.
The Casino Strategy.
Regardless of the tactic you choose, doing it only once is relying heavily on luck. Since it takes repetition to achieve top of mind awareness and brand recall, doing a one-off campaign means you’re hoping your message will hit home with a prospect at the very moment that they:
- Have a need or desire for your service
- Have the money to spend on your service
- Have a motivation to proceed that outweighs the desire to keep their money
Put another way, it’s very much like putting a $10 casino chip on RED-12 at the roulette table. Yes, this number will certainly hit at some point in time. But will it be when your chip is on the table?
Not likely. So your one-off campaign just missed the mark.
In order to make it work, you have to keep putting that $10 chip down over and over hoping this will be the time when RED-12 hits (i.e. your prospect is ready).
This is what makes these tactics so costly. You have to engage in a long-term campaign to be sure you’re “on the table” when the prospect is ready for you.
Quite the quandary.
If only there were a magic casino chip that could sit on RED-12 for the next 30, 50… 100 spins of the wheel without further investment.
Well, believe it or not there is.
The Magic Chip
What we’re looking for is a marketing tactic that:
- combines the widespread coverage of casino tactics…
- with the trust factor that referrals bring…
- at little to no cost to you.
Did you guess the tactic yet?
Email marketing does it all!
It allows you to stay in constant contact (pun intended) with customers and prospects, helps you build relationships and earn trust, and best of all costs next to nothing to send messages over and over again.
So why do less than 10% of remodelers have an active email marketing program in place? My guess is it’s the same reason people would rather put $500 into a casino than into a savings account — immediate return potential.
An email marketing program can take months, if not years, to see big results. But the long term benefits are there to be had.
It’s Easier Than You Think
The biggest obstacle to overcome is the seemingly daunting task of building your list.
But you already have an audience that you’re overlooking! Start with past customers. Then move to the phone calls and emails you receive. Your website gets traffic I assume? How about the the events you hold and home shows you participate in?
Building relationships with this audience will accelerate your growth. And not giving them a way to stay connected with you is a lost opportunity.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your “list” is arguably the most valuable asset in your business. If you’re not actively trying to build a list, then you’re missing an opportunity to increase your company’s value.
You have to get the word out. Promote your subscription email service or newsletter in everything you do.
- Promote it on your trucks
- Promote it on your print ads
- Promote it on your estimates
- Promote it on your business cards
Don’t be afraid to be agressive and take it offline. Remember I said casino tactics can be a valuable part of your marketing? Consider papering a neighborhood with your newsletter signup as the primary message.
What do you think is going to have a higher response: “Get a free tips in your email” or “Get a free quote.”?
Do’s and Don’ts
In my opinion, you shouldn’t get caught up in the hype of fancy HTML emails and newsletters. You don’t want to make the reader feel as though they are just part of a list. Plus, most email services won’t download images by default. Which means that pretty email is going to look very ugly at first glance.
Great emails start conversations. One good way to do this is to simply to ask for a reply! It reminds the reader that you’re human, that you care about her and you want to help. As an added bonus, email algorithms (like gmail) take note of email addresses that are responded to, keeping your future emails out of the spam box.
A few more tips:
- Don’t make every issue an advertisement.
- Don’t miss an issue …ever.
- Don’t forget your manners.
- Don’t sound technical/show off.
- Don’t use a generic email address (like newsletter@…)
- NEVER use a noreply@… address.
- Do provide valuable information.
- Do support your brand image.
- Do write in a conversational tone.
- Do use a personal email address
- Do encourage reader to share/forward.
Email marketing is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools in the remodelers marketing toolkit. But it’s being overshadowed by shiny buzzwords like SEO, social media and the like. If you are patient and stay committed, you will see great returns in the months and years to come.
What about you?
Are you one of the minority that uses email marketing? How’s it working for you? If not, what’s holding you back? I look forward to reading your replies below.