Getting The Picture: Taking Your Best Remodeling Project Photos

We live in a visual world, and having great photographs of your projects is key to presenting your work in the best light possible, from beginning to end. Not just for using in your marketing on your website, social media networks, and printed collateral like brochures and newsletters, but to make a strong case for your work in award entries.

There are some phases of project photography you can — and should — do yourself. But when it comes to showcasing your amazing work, you’ll get your best results and save time by using a pro. You need to hire someone with an HD camera, a variety of lenses, and a lighting kit. And they have to know how to use it. Check their work, and pay attention to how they photograph difficult rooms like bathrooms — there are so many reflective surfaces in a tight area that angles and lighting become even more important. 

Prep Work

It’s important to get photos of the project site before you start work, and this is something you or someone on your team can do with your phone smartphone. This is the time to strategically get the “before” photos that will tell the story of the space’s transformation.

Schedule time for you, or someone on your team like the designer or your marketing person (if you’ve got one) to take photos of the space. Print out a copy of the approved plan, make notes, and circle places that need to be documented. This is your photo plan — get shots of these key areas and keep the plan and the photos to use a reference for the final “after” shots.

Having almost identical views and angles of your work shows how much of an improvement you’ve made to the space. Mark your locations on the plan as you go. Having lower-quality photos may actually help — the difference will be more striking. But there are still some things to remember, and using a simple editing app like Preview or Photos on Mac or Microsoft’s Photo Editor will give you the results you need for these photos. Some things to remember:

  • Take photos in both landscape and portrait mode
  • Use your photo editor to correct any tilted photos
  • For any area, take close-ups, medium, and longer range photos
  • Select the photos you want to use and create a file on Dropbox or Google Drive and make sure you save them

The “After” Shoot

The project’s done, the appointment for photographing the space is approaching. Pull that plan back out and print small versions of your selected “before” photos on one or two sheets of paper for reference.

You or someone from your team should be at the photo shoot — to explain the work, orient the photographer to the plan and the space, and lend a hand decluttering and moving lights and equipment. Take some time before going to the site to review the photos and shot locations to refresh your memory after all this time.

At the home, walk the photographer through the project with the plan for reference. You or your team member is directing this shoot — don’t leave the results to chance.

  • Point out any detail work you want a close-up of — the photographer may miss those without explanation
  • Go over the “before” photos and make sure to get the same angles and perspectives
  • Be prepared to declutter — take a couple of bins or laundry baskets to stow “stuff” safely, and remember where to put them back when done.
  • You may need to move or rearrange furniture
  • Be especially vigilant in baths and kitchens — clear the counters, remove hand or dish towels, wipe surfaces.
  • Bring a flower arrangement that will complement the decor — and leave it behind as a thank-you
  • Check the photographs with the photographer at regular intervals and make adjustments as needed

Pulling it All Together

When the photos come back, organize them to reflect the best matches with your before photos, as well as the photos that showcase the overall project. These files and results are ready to tell the story of the transformation on your digital outlets like your website and Houzz profile and in awards presentations.

You may also want to put a collection of “before” photos together for your client in print or digital format. It’s an effective way to prompt referrals — when they’re proudly showing family or friends the new space, especially folks who didn’t see it before the work was done, picture of how far they’ve come help them tell the story of your work.

Securing Your Website: It’s Time To Lock Things Up

I’m sure you pay a lot of attention to security. You lock up your materials, tools, vehicles, and job sites. Your office probably has an alarm. And your phone undoubtedly requires a password, a secret pattern, or your face to unlock it.

But what I’m not sure about is whether or not you’ve thought much about securing your online presence.

If not…it’s time.

Google’s latest update to its Chrome browser displays website URLs differently according to SSL certification status. Secure sites start with “https” rather than the non-secured “http.”

In Sept. 2018, sites without SSL are marked “Not secure” in the address bar, while https sites get a lock icon in green. By October, the “not secure” message will turn red with an exclamation point, drawing users’ attention.

If your site doesn’t have SSL certification, you’ll get the red warning sign. Google hopes it will act like a stop sign for people looking at unsecured sites.

What’s an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which creates an encrypted link between the server a site lives on and the browser someone’s using to interact with it — it makes sure any data passing between the server and browser remains private.

The certification says SSL is there and working.

Why is it important?

While it’s obviously important for businesses to encrypt data like credit card numbers when selling over the web, the security setting carries implications for any business site.

Your website is your front door online. As a remodeler, trust is a huge part of why you get, and keep, clients. Even if you’re not taking payment information online, you probably have a page for prospects to contact you, and landing pages for offers or events.

But you’re not taking or storing anything like credit cards or social security numbers on your site — why do you need that extra layer of security? Users will get used to seeing green or red messages, and Google’s teaching them to inherently distrust red sites. 

Even if you don’t think it will affect your brand image, people may see the red and hesitate to even enter basic contact information. If web leads are important to you, showing your site is secure should be too.

You don’t need any red flags about not being trustworthy on your own website.

It affects your Google rank

Google has been using https as part of its ranking algorithm for a while now, but industry watchers predict it will become even more important. Think of the time and effort that went into making sure your site is SEO-optimized, or the money spent on Google Ads for keywords. You want your site to come up first in a user’s search. Adding the SSL certification could help raise your site’s profile online.

Google has been working on elevating https over http for a few years now. With the latest changes, Google’s taking steps to make the web more transparent and safe for users — and users learn to trust those safeguards. Now may be the time to get your site SSL secure.

Make It an Event! Throw a Party Mid-Project

Remodeling is a deeply personal business, and getting out of the office and creating relationships lifts you above your competition. Event marketing is a key way to boost your profile, reconnect with past clients, meet interested prospects, and generate more leads.

A booth at your regional home show is one of the more obvious examples of event marketing, but branching out beyond the exhibit space is where you can differentiate yourself. You don’t have to look any further than your latest projects.

At the Project Site

Hosting a reveal party at the end of a project is a great way to show off your work — whether it’s an invitation-only event for the clients’ family and friends or an afternoon open house to welcome curious neighbors.

A more unexpected strategy is hosting that open house mid-construction — after framing, but before the drywall goes up. Invite the neighbors, prospects, and past clients. Seeing the wiring and plumbing before it’s all hidden is old-hat to you and your team, but is fascinating to those not in construction.

It doesn’t have to be fancy — but having some beer, wine, and soft drinks encourages people to linger and talk. Display your building plans, the photos you took before demo in the right spaces, along with renderings or drawings of what that space will be. When placing them, consider how you want people to flow through the space.

Prepping for the Event

Take a tip from realtors, post a lawn sign in the week before the event to promote it to folks driving by. To avoid being confused with an open house for a home that’s for sale, don’t do it on a Sunday. Better to go for a Saturday afternoon.

Get the word out:

  • Invite past clients — you’ll be surprised at how many show up to check out what you’re doing, and it gives you a chance to reconnect.
  • Set up an event on Facebook, and promote it across your social media channels.
  • Invite the neighborhood — they’ve seen your sign, they probably have a remodeling wish list of their own. Old-school postcards by mail are great for this — use the templates on sites like Staples, or go to Canva.com, a great resource for any of your communication designs. Go the extra step of addressing the cards by name. If you’ve sent “pardon our dust” letters, you’ve already got a mailing list. But consider expanding it to more people — a quick search on Whitepages.com for names and addresses is worth the time.

Even though it’s a Saturday, you want to have at least part of your team there — especially those involved in this specific project. That means at least the Salesperson, the Designer, and the Project Manager, wearing company-branded clothing or name tags so they’re easily recognizable.

Emphasize to your team that this isn’t a high-pressure sales opportunity, rather a chance for them to talk to interested people about what they do. And consider throwing in some compensatory time off — it helps take the sting out of working on a Saturday and will boost your staff’s morale.

Make it Happen

Not every client is going to be comfortable with opening their house for your marketing purposes. But it may surprise you how many are, especially when you present the idea at the beginning of the process — set the expectations early. Assure them that people will only be in the work areas, and make sure that happens during the event. Some clients love to be there, others prefer not to be. It’s their choice.

Give yourself a couple of hours to prep the space on the day of the event. That gives you a chance to make sure the site is clean and safe. The cleanliness of the work zone is going to be a big seller for you.

To keep your clients happy, come in self-contained — with a table or two, all the beverages, disposable cups, ice, coolers, and your own trash container. This is one reason why offering only drinks, and not food, makes sense — there’s a lot less to clean up. Have a music source. If you’ve got a video presentation, bring a monitor and play it. Remember extension cords if you’re going to plug in. Have business cards. Lots of business cards.

Any time you host an event, a party, or even book your booth at the home show, there’s the fear no one will show up. Relax. They will. But the promotion you’ve done beforehand almost makes that irrelevant. You’ve given the perception that you and your company are out and about. It gave you an excuse to contact former clients and remind them that you’re still working hard. Your postcard has created another touchpoint with the neighbors. You’ve got a foothold in the neighborhood — make it your own.

What Events Have Worked For You?

Tell us in the comments about your event marketing successes!

How Remodelers Can Beat Declining Organic Reach on Facebook

You’ve probably heard all about Facebook’s declining Organic Reach by now. For those of you who are tracking your social media analytics, you’ve probably even seen the steep decline for yourself.

These numbers are a bit more deceiving than you may think, and there are tried and true strategies to help combat the decline.

So let’s start at the beginning.
 

What Is Facebook Organic Reach?

According to Facebook, “Organic reach is the number of people who had an unpaid post from your Page enter their screen.” In other words, if you share an article, image, video, or text post from your remodeling company’s Facebook Page without paying for it to reach a larger audience, then your Organic Reach is those who see this post in their Newsfeed.

The dramatic decrease in Organic Reach over the past few months has proven worrisome for some businesses who rely heavily on Facebook to be a free tool to reach the masses. Naturally, business owners and marketers everywhere are asking why there has been such a large shift.
 

Why Is Facebook Organic Reach Declining?

As you know by now, social media platforms are continually updating their algorithms to meet the ever-changing needs of their users. Facebook is no exception – they’re continually trying to find new ways to keep people in their platform.

So why is there a sudden drop in Organic Reach? There are two key reasons causing this decline:

1. Facebook has updated the definition of Organic Reach

Previously, Facebook defined Organic Reach as any post showing up in a user’s Newsfeed.

This was very deceiving because showing up in a user’s Newsfeed does not require that the post ever showed up on their actual screen or was even seen. In other words, if your post showed up in a user’s Newsfeed based on the Facebook algorithm, then that counted as 1 Organic Reach even if the user exited Facebook before scrolling down far enough to see your post in their Feed.

Since their recent algorithm overhaul roughly a year ago, Facebook updated their definition of Organic Reach to require the post actually be seen by the user in order to count as 1 Organic Reach. Naturally, the new definition is much more refined and decreased the number of Organic Reach in analytics nearly immediately.

If this shift was the only reason for the decline, then it would practically account for the drop off by itself. However, Facebook took another stab at updating their algorithm that led to a deeper decline as well.

2. Facebook is focused on their User Experience rather than their Business Pages

Facebook shifted the way they view their users vs the businesses trying to advertise and promote themselves on the platform.

This shift, unfortunately, makes complete sense. While Facebook gets their money directly from Business Pages on ad spend and from data companies, they indirectly get their money the users. In other words, businesses wouldn’t bother advertising on the platform if users weren’t buying from them.

In order to compensate for this, Facebook decided to put the user experience first.

Since most Facebook users have at some point been negatively affected by content saturation online, the platform updated their algorithm to make sure that only content that users want to see is shown.
 

How Can You Improve Your User’s Experience on Facebook?

Facebook is very focused on ensuring that their users stay their users. In an effort to do so, they updated their algorithm to improve their user experience. If you want your posts to continue to show up organically, then you should be focusing on the Facebook user’s experience as well.

Think of it this way. Content marketing has a critical piece of digital marketing strategy for years now. With every company in the world being able to write, publish, and share their own content on social media, it’s no wonder that content saturation is an issue on Facebook.

There are dozens of ways to improve the user experience, and they all begin by considering the buyer journey above your own content. If you are always putting your users’ experience above your own, then you will continue to improve your Organic Reach on Facebook.

Focusing on your end user doesn’t mean you need to make massive shifts. In fact, to prove this, I’ve put together 10 quick tips that you can implement today to help boost your remodeling business page’s Organic Reach immediately.

1. Quality over quantity wins every time

Facebook doesn’t care if you’re posting every day. They care if what you’re posting engages their users. Rather than posting as frequently as possible, try posting only what matters. In fact, try copying and pasting entire blogs into posts.

This strategy should trickle up to your content marketing strategy in general – try only writing blogs that people want to read, not just blogs that will boost your SEO. Helping the user is the new SEO.

2. Share content people want to see

Facebook measures a good post in several ways, including how people react to it. For example, a post that gets more comments, reactions, and shares will continue to show up at the top of users Newsfeeds and increasing its Organic Reach. Rather than sharing content you want to share, share content users want to see.

3. Use Facebook’s “Preferred Audience” tool

Facebook’s Preferred Audience tool allows you to narrow down who sees your posts. Instead of simply posting and hoping that your post makes it to the right audience, you can now specify who sees your post.

For example, some of your posts may perform better if you target specifically users looking for higher end projects while other posts will perform better if you target quick and easy renovations. Take the time to browse the tool and try a few new specific audiences to improve your Organic Reach.

4. Ask questions

If you ask a question at the end of your post, you’re more likely to get a comment because people love to share their opinions. This also increases your likelihood of getting reactions and shares because people interact with engaging and dynamic content, and they’ll want to share it with their friends.

All of these elements feed into the Facebook algorithm to increase your Organic Reach by proving that your content is relevant, engaging, and share-worthy.

5. Optimize your business page

Optimizing your business page leaves nothing to the imagination of a user. It includes your branding, messaging, and persona. It aids in the buyer journey on social, and it also includes any relevant URLs (such as to your website), contact information, and even mission statement.

6. Educate your followers on how to help

You can make sure your engaged audience sees your posts first by telling them how to update their settings. This alerts Facebook that your content is worth being notified about and will greatly improve your Organic Reach.

And if you think of this holistically, just as your Organic Reach is declining, users are seeing fewer posts that aren’t being sponsored, so this is a great way to improve your reliability with engaged users by letting them know that you’re aware of changes and are evolving along with them.

7. Don’t only share links

Post things other than just blog or website page links. If a user wants to learn more about your remodeling business, they’re savvy enough to find your website URL on your business page. Instead of focusing on only self-promotional linking, try using all of Facebook’s content sharing tools – create an event, album, or video directly in their platform instead!

8. Boosting posts

You may have heard the phrase that Facebook is becoming “pay to play.” Boosting posts is an example of this. Whenever a post is performing well organically, Facebook coaches recommend you boost that post. Rather than an ad, boosting posts simply means you are paying to increase the audience of a post.

Typically, these posts don’t link away from Facebook – they perform best as pictures, videos, or long-form posts. Alternatively, linking away from Facebook typically performs best in the form of an ad (learn more about Facebook Ads in this checklist).

9. Ask for reviews

Word of mouth is still an incredibly powerful tool. Reviews are the word of mouth of digital marketing. Whenever a client reviews your remodeling company, they are telling others like them that you are worth working with.

This alert is a clear ranking factor for Facebook – the more positive reviews you have, the higher your Organic Reach will be. Facebook’s algorithm rates those whose clients speak highly of them above those who are silent or negative.

10. Maximize your Facebook Advertising budget

Facebook has quickly become one of the best tools for advertising. This is an extensive topic, so be sure to download our helpful Facebook Advertising checklist or sign up for our upcoming webinar on how to improve lead generation through your Facebook Ads.
 

We would love to hear from you

Have you been able to beat the Organic Reach decline? We’d love to hear what’s been working for you! Shoot us a message on Facebook and let us know!

Download this checklist: https://marketing.builderfunnel.com/remodelers-facebook-declining-organic-reach

Sign up for our Facebook Ads Webinar this month: https://marketing.builderfunnel.com/facebook-ads-webinar

 

 

Create Raving Fans With Micro-Influencer Marketing

Large brands have used celebrity endorsements for decades… and the latest trend has turned more toward how these celebrities are now influencers when it comes to buying decisions. Kylie Jenner, for example, leverages her 25 million Twitter followers by charging ~$500k per tweet if she endorses a product.

We certainly aren’t suggesting you reach out to the Kardashians.. but perhaps look at a similar and more focused strategy called micro-influencer marketing.

A micro-influencer in our remodeling world would be a former client, interior designer, real estate agent, vendor or industry associate who is exceptionally active in social media, blogging or even podcasting in some instances. They are out there and you simply have to do some local or regional research to find them.

A 2016 survey by Collective Bias found that 60% of respondents had considered recommendations by a blogger or social media post before making a purchase. The same study found that 30% of consumers were more likely to buy a product endorsed online by a non-celebrity than a celebrity.

Why Work with Micro-influencers?

1. Higher Engagement at a Lower Cost
Micro-influencer followers are very interested and engaged in what the influencers have to say, post and share… There is a level of trust there that is difficult for a brand to attempt to establish any other way, and comparatively it would cost 4 to 5 times the amount to reach and achieve the same results.

2. They are More Authentic
The key is that the audience self-identifies with the influencer, “that person is just like me, dresses like me, has the same challenges that I have (kids, life, etc.).. and they like that brand… so, I like it too.”

3. Referrals Will Be Further Along the Sales Process
The thought here is not that the audience will suddenly want to remodel their kitchen because someone they saw on Instagram do it… It’s about reaching the audience that IS considering a renovation and getting them to consider and reach out to you.

More things to consider when working with a Micro-influencer

What is your goal?
Are you looking to generate leads? Increase website traffic? Drive attendees to an event? Or are you simply trying to build your brand among a certain segment of the community? Knowing this will help you identify the specific individuals in your market that you may want to approach.

Are they already familiar with your company and your work?
It’s going to be much easier to attract and work with someone that has either worked with you before, perhaps a former client, or is very familiar with the type of projects you do and the quality of work you are producing, i.e. an interior designer, real estate agent, etc.

What social media platforms are they using?
Clearly Instagram and Facebook are going to be a better fit for your remodeling company as most of your target audience is there already; likely watching your influencer post photos of their latest home improvement, furniture purchase, vacation, etc. Hopefully your influencer is also a blogger or perhaps posting videos as well.

What type of content is your potential micro-influencer posting?
Make sure to review past and existing content closely as you can, as you have little control over the content your micro-influencer is putting out there… Red flags include political rants, inappropriate language or photos, etc.

Keep in mind that by using a micro-influencer, you are selecting someone who aligns with your brand image and target audience, not just eyeballs or followers. With that in mind you are looking for someone who is interacting with their audience, typically in the comments section of their posts, vs. someone who is just posting images with little or no back-and-forth.

Are they currently working with other brands?
I don’t think you’re going to be working with a Kardashian, but keep in mind that the more brands an influencer is working with, the less genuine their recommendations become.

How will you compensate them?
At this level you probably don’t need a formal agreement or contract, and many influencers will be open to a reduced rate or percentage off a future project with you. Some businesses may prefer a longer arrangement as it can take many mentions or posts to see any type of return or impact. If you want to get more formal or really find a strong, experienced influencer you can offer a percentage of each completed project.

NOTE: Make sure you look into any local or state laws that may prohibit you from paying for referrals or sales. The State of Maryland, for example, has laws in place that you should be aware of. 

Summary

This strategy certainly isn’t for everyone, but can be very effective if you have the right audience targeted and influencers in place to reach them. We would love to hear from anyone that might be using this type of strategy, or something similar.

Google AdWords vs Facebook Advertising: Which One is Right for You?

We all have questions that we get a lot. For example, as soon as someone finds out you’re a remodeler, they probably ask you if you have friend discounts or if HGTV is realistic.

I’m going to address a question I get all. the. time. from remodelers. In fact if I’m honest, from PEOPLE all the time. I’ve been asked this question at a Remodelers’ Advantage Workshop in Baltimore, at a brewery in Grand Rapids, and even as a guest speaker at an International Social Media Conference in the Netherlands. As soon as someone finds out I work in social media marketing and search engine optimization, this is the first question I get.

I’m willing to bet you’ve wondered this (whether you asked aloud or not) at some point in time. “I have a limited budget. Should I be investing in Google AdWords or Facebook Ads?”

The quick and easy answer is “Yes.” So let’s dig in. (note: click images for larger view, click back to return to blog post)
 

The Basics of Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads, in a nutshell, are simple, compelling, and can reach thousands with a very small budget. By nature of existing on a social media platform, they are just that – social. Facebook Ads are typically a picture with text, multiple pictures, a video, or some combination of all of these elements.

But beyond just the obvious, they can also carry weight because users see who their friends are following and liking which gives your brand even more promotion.

Consider your sales funnel. Social media sites and advertising target the top of your funnel. For many, your Facebook profile may be the first time they see you. If this is the case, it’s not because they were searching for you – it’s because Facebook has been gathering data on its users (such as interests based on other pages they follow) and is showing targeted ads.

In other words, those who see your ads on Facebook were not on Facebook to look for you – you simply showed up in their feed or side bar because you paid to.

There are two key options when putting a budget behind your Facebook marketing strategy, so let’s compare and understand those before we dig into the weeds.

If you’re pressed for time, here’s a complete checklist comparing Facebook Ads vs Google AdWords.
 

Facebook Boosts

Boosting on Facebook works best for brand awareness. If you have a post on Facebook that is performing particularly well, this is the perfect time to boost.

Once a post is already getting more organic traffic than usual, adding a budget behind it will give your post the opportunity to be seen by more people. Since your post performed well organically, Facebook recognizes that its users like this post so it will allow your budget to go farther.

Even with a boosted post, you can set a preferred audience. While not quite as targeted as a Facebook Ad, these preferred audiences are a great general target.
 

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads also work well for brand awareness, but they can also perform well for driving traffic to a link because Facebook has preset calls to action that you can embed in your ad.

Herein lies a key difference between boosted posts and advertisements as well. While boosted posts tend to perform best on posts that don’t contain links, advertising performs well with posts that do contain links. This makes sense when you consider Facebook as a business model – anything linking away from Facebook’s platform should cost more to promote.

Unlike Facebook Boosts, Ads can show up in several locations – the Newsfeed, the right hand sidebar, within Messenger, and other spots all around the platform. With extremely detailed targeting, you can ensure that those who see your ad will be interested. You just don’t know that they’re looking for a remodeling company (yet).
 

How Does Declining Organic Reach Affect Facebook Advertising?

You’ve probably heard of the dreaded decline of Facebook Organic Reach. You’d think it was Armageddon for Digital Marketers.
Realistically, this shift was just an equalizer. Facebook updated their definition of “reach” and simultaneously took advantage of the extreme popularity by brands of using their platform.

The business model makes perfect sense. Any time you are asking for someone to leave your platform, you are risking that they won’t return. Why would Facebook want people to leave their platform? It’s only natural that Organic Reach is declining in order to maintain Facebook’s popularity as a platform.

Driven largely by Facebook’s popularity, content has been saturating the platform. In an effort to stave back the quantity of links and articles bombarding its users every day, Facebook added a higher price tag to gain reach. This movement encourages content marketers to think twice before writing an article or sharing it on Facebook because it will cost more to be discovered.


 

Click Here to Download our checklist of Facebook Ads vs Google AdWords

 

Click Here For a Video From the Builder Funnel Team on This Topic


 

How Does the Facebook App Affect Advertising?

The Facebook mobile app complicates Facebook Ads even further. When in a browser, clicking an ad link typically opens in another tab which makes returning to Facebook that much easier. In the app, however, clicking an ad removes the user from the Facebook experience entirely.

And with current attention spans of under 5 seconds, it’s highly unlikely that a user will remember they were browsing Facebook before they clicked away to purchase a dozen pair of earrings during a “flash sale” (maybe that’s just me).

In an effort to curb their outflow of users, Facebook developed their own browser. Now, when a mobile app user clicks into an ad, they are never leaving Facebook.

The down side for digital marketers everywhere is that this can make tracking analytics that much more difficult for your website and any campaigns you are running that include Facebook Advertising. The up side, however, is that Facebook users are having a more seamless experience on Facebook, making their ad experience that much more enjoyable rather than an interruption.
 

Reasons Why You Would Choose Facebook Ads

We are always on our phones – yes you too. If you are marketing at the generations born with tech, you need to be in social ads to be relevant. Your target audience is always connected. In the 21st century, you need to meet your target audience where they are – and that’s on social media.

Beyond just hosting your target audience for hours a day, Facebook Ads are geared towards the top of your funnel. Or, more realistically, they’re geared towards people who are not currently in your funnel and could expand the top of your funnel.

In fact, Facebook has mastered the art of the “Lookalike Audience.” Rather than continually building ads geared at your client lists, for example, you can build out a Lookalike Audience. Since Facebook has such strong ties with big data companies, they are able to match people with identical characteristics from those you have already reached.

You’ve probably heard of the “drip methodology” of constantly reminding your leads that you exist. Facebook Ads are another powerful way to remain relevant by occasionally targeting your lead lists and running an ad geared towards getting them to convert.

If you are looking to grow your audience, expand your brand’s reach, remain top of mind, and improve your brand awareness, then Facebook Advertising is a great solution.
 

The Basics of Google AdWords

Google AdWords are essentially bids on keywords that populate advertisements within a Google search. Showing up in a Google search requires that the searcher have entered specific keywords into the Google search bar that your company is then paying for to be discovered in this search.

Let’s consider your sales funnel again. The top of the funnel is geared at people who are researching remodeling companies. The middle of the funnel is geared at people who are researching YOUR remodeling company. The bottom of the funnel is geared at people who are making a decision on whether they want to work with YOUR remodeling company.

Google AdWords target the top and middle of your funnel. Since AdWords are targeted keywords, a user must already be searching for “remodeling companies in Seattle” or “bathroom remodeling in Dallas” to show up.

I’ll say that again because it’s so important. Those who find you through Google AdWords are already leads because they were searching for your services, your company, or something related when they selected your ad to learn more.
 

What Is the Difference Between Organic Search and Google AdWords?

Organic search is just that – it happens organically. In simpler terms, organic search happens naturally. A user who finds your website through organic search did not click on a paid ad to find you.

While both forms of traffic originate from a Google search, organic search requires that a user clicked on a search result rather than a paid Google AdWords ad.

In order to show up in an organic search, your company must be utilizing search engine optimization (SEO). SEO can show up in dozens of forms, but in this scenario it typically means that you are targeting topics and keywords that your audience is searching for and writing more content about them.

This typically means blogging about bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling costs, and other related topics that are popular questions among your clients. When a Google user searches for “kitchen remodeling costs,” then you would show up organically for that search.

In order to show up for Google AdWords, all your company has to do is pay. By selecting specific search terms, you can target specific audiences who are searching for the services you deliver. After adding a monthly budget or maximum keyword bid, your ad will consistently show up when a user searches those terms.
 

How Do Google AdWords Targeted Keywords Work?

Here’s a sample scenario of how Google AdWords work. In this example, you are trying to increase the amount of luxury whole home remodeling projects your Seattle-based remodeling company pulls in annually.

When setting up your advertisement, you can either build out a plain text ad (to mimic an organic search result) or you can build out an image ad. Setting up your ad will include selecting what keywords you want to show up for during searches as well. In this example, you may want to target search terms such as “award-winning whole home remodelers,” “luxury remodelers,” “high end whole home remodeling,” and other terms along those lines.

Let’s say a Google user is searching for “award-winning whole home remodelers in Seattle.” Google AdWords is able to geotag searches, meaning that only those who live in Seattle will see your ad. Since you chose “award-winning whole home remodelers” as a search term for your ad, then your ad will show up either above the organic search results or along the right-hand bar of Google.

If the user clicks on your ad, then it comes out of your budget. This is what is referred to by the name “pay-per-click” – you only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Facebook Ads are largely set up as a pay-per-click functionality as well, whereas Facebook boosts are generally used to gain a larger audience to the Facebook post itself.

Clicking on your ad will then deliver the user to a specific page on your website that you choose. In this example, it would probably be a pillar page (a long form content page describing every facet of that topic, example: https://www.builderfunnel.com/remodeler-marketing) about whole home remodeling including information about past projects, client testimonials, awards you’ve won, project costs, and more.

You can also link a landing page (a short page without a navigation menu that is concentrated on asking a user to relinquish their information for a download) if you are looking to convert leads immediately rather than letting them self-qualify themselves by researching before filling out a form.

This landing page could be promoting an eBook you have written about whole home remodeling for luxury homes in the Seattle area including trends, timelines, design ideas.
 

Reasons Why You Would Choose Google AdWords

Google AdWords are perfect for trying to pull in those who are searching specifically for your services. At this point, a click is already a lead.

When using pay-per-click, you are bidding with others to pay for each click of specific keywords. For example, if you are bidding on the keyword “Seattle remodeler,” you may run into some pretty stiff competition since there are likely hundreds of Seattle remodelers who want to appear in Google for the same keywords. In some instances, you can pay for $1.50 – $6+ for a similar keyword.

Facebook’s cost for a click is still typically below $1.50 because it doesn’t have the same authority for searches as Google, and its clicks aren’t based on keywords but rather by the audience you build. One key to note is that when you are paying for a click on Google AdWords, however, is that this person is already a lead because they are searching specifically for your keyword.

Another way to set up Google AdWords is to ensure that anytime a user searches your company name in Google that you are the top result. This naturally will cost far less because there will be no competition or bidding wars for your company name. If you set up “Builder Funnel” to always to direct to builderfunnel.com, then you can guarantee that anytime a user searches for you, they will find you.
You can also set up “re-targeting”.

Once a user clicks on one of your ads, they will continue to show up in other places online. You may have noticed that after clicking an ad for premium yoga mats on Google, suddenly they’re in every article you read and even on Facebook. This is a major benefit to Google AdWords – once a user shows interest, the ad continues to follow them in an effort to increase conversion rates. You can also set up re-targeting on Facebook that functions very similarly after a user has clicked on the ad.

Another good reason to use Google AdWords is if your SEO isn’t working well yet. Rather than waiting for organic search to slowly increase as you build out your blog or content pages, you can direct traffic to your blog subscription page. This will increase your page views which is a strategic move to tell Google that the page is relevant and deserves to show up in more searches.

This method is like investing in protein shakes to improve your workout so that you can get in better shape – Google AdWords are like the protein shakes because they improve your SEO (your workout) which will get your website in better shape.
 

How Do Facebook Ads and Google AdWords Work Together?

Facebook Ads and Google AdWords do not need to work together, nor do they need to work in silos. Since they are targeting largely separate audiences, they do not interfere with one another or create large overlaps.

Facebook Ads are great at showcasing your awards, recent projects, and other brand awareness topics. They are targeting people who may not even be searching for remodeling yet but have shown an interest in related topics like home maintenance, interior design, and related publications or TV shows. This audience, however, can be narrowed down to the right region to the zip code, number of kids, income range, employer, and other buyer persona details.

Google AdWords are perfect for pulling in traffic that is already searching for what you have to offer. This audience is likely engaged and actively seeking remodeling services, but they may not be ready to make a decision yet. They’re gathering information and researching companies, costs, and more.

Both advertising tools are deeply powerful and can grow your business when harnessed properly.
 

Click Here to Download our checklist of Facebook Ads vs Google AdWords

 

Click Here For a Video From the Builder Funnel Team on This Topic

[Podcast] Episode 6: Behind the Scenes of an HGTV Pilot with John Huffman

Lights, Camera, Action! Getting the brand exposure of a TV pilot, aired on a national media channel like HGTV, can seem like every remodeler’s dream… But is it? What’s involved? Is it disruptive to your business? Do you get leads from it? Is it as exciting as it sounds?

In Episode 6, Victoria and Mark talk to John Huffman, CEO & Co-Owner of Black Door Renovation in Southlake TX. John runs Black Door with his wife, Elizabeth, and Rick Baker, a long time RA member, and together they focus on large-scale, high-end additions and whole house remodels.

John and Elizabeth, were approached by a production company in 2016 about pitching a show called “Lone Star Flip” to HGTV and their story of the ups and downs of that process is amazing and great insight to other remodelers considering a similar endeavor.

Often in business, timing is everything… and John talks more about how this opportunity occurred at about the same time as their merger with Rick Baker’s Stately Design & Renovation company.

John walks us through their experience and along the way Victoria and Mark cover:

  • How disruptive was it to your business?
  • How did this experience effect your brand and messaging for Black Door?
  • Did you see leads from it and were they qualified?
  • How did you handle the influx of leads?
  • How did you handle the pricing expectations we see mentioned on these types of shows on TV?
  • Knowing what you do now, would you do it again?

A great episode, not to be missed! Enjoy!

Click Here to Listen to Episode 6

If you would like to know more about Black Door Renovation visit their website and they did an amazing job of documenting their HGTV experience on Instagram and Facebook.

Do you have a similar experience with any other media efforts? Cable shows? Radio broadcasts? We would love to hear about any of your experiences, positive or negative, in the comments section below.

Are you loving PowerTips Unscripted Yet?

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

And as always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

[Infographic] Top 8 Reasons Why WordPress is Perfect For Remodeling Websites

Whether you are looking to re-build your website in 2018, or perhaps you are building a site for the first time, it’s imperative to find a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow you and your staff to make changes to your website quickly and easily.

We have many members who have built their remodeling company websites on WordPress, but also hear from many who have not and they are struggling with making changes to their websites, keeping them fresh or can’t figure out why their search engine results have declined over the past few years.

If that sounds familiar and you are looking to make a change next year, take a look at the infographic below as you consider which CMS to use or build your website on. Beyond making changes to your website easily, here are 8 reasons why we recommend using WordPress (Click Image Below for PDF):

Did we miss any? Would love to hear from some WordPress users out there with any other reasons they decided to use it and if there are any other benefits. Leave your comments below.

And the Winner Is… How to Win Awards & What to Do If you Win

If there is one thing the Remodeling Industry does well, it’s recognizing great work and well-run companies.

You can’t open a trade magazine or visit an industry-related website without seeing some mention of an award-winning firm being recognized for something.
These awards are great for your business if you can get them!

Prospects are looking for them on your websites and collateral and they create great Press opportunities, which is basically free advertising for you.

But how do you do it? How do you leverage it when you do win one? And if you’ve already won a few, how do you keep the trend going?

In this episode of PowerTips TV, Victoria walks you through the process of entering the competition, being selected as an award winner and what to do if you win!

Hey Award Winners out there… Did we miss anything? Do you have any advice to share on how to submit or win an award? Have you done something unique in promoting your award? Please share your experience in the comments below.

And, if you haven’t subscribed to PowerTips yet, please click on the button at the end of the video above.

9 Things to Look for When Choosing a Web Company

Your website should be more than an online brochure with pretty pictures of the projects you have completed. It should be a living, breathing, lead-generation machine. It should be the “Hub” of your digital marketing/content strategy and treated that way when looking at building or re-building your remodeling company’s website.

Choosing a website developer to work with can be daunting task. There are likely hundreds or more in your local market and there are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) outlets such as Weebly or WIX. And there’s always a friend-of-a-friend that “does websites…”

When looking for a Website Development firm, look for these 9 things when considering who to work with.

Breadth of Service

Many web development firms will build a website, launch it, cash your check and wish you luck. So you have the “hub” by having your website completed, but unless you have an internal staff of marketing pros to handle all of the associated “spokes” such as SEO, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media, Video, E-mail, etc. you have nothing but the brochure I mentioned above.

It is important that the firm that develops your website should also have a plan for what happens post-launch. Who will be responsible for writing copy for the site that takes SEO into account? How will you drive traffic to it? How will the site integrate with your social media? How will leads be handled? How often will the site change and who will be the point person on that?

The firm you choose does not have to offer every service needed but, at the very least, they should have 2-3 partners that they work with on an on-going basis to handle them. For example, the last firm I worked with did not handle SEO but we brought their partner into the planning stages prior to building the website, worked with them on the copy and then post-launch as well.

Portfolio of Work

Take a closer look at prior work.

  • Visit the websites that the firm has developed and click through them… Do they navigate well? Is it easy to find information? Are there broken links or 404 Errors (missing pages or bad links)?
  • Does the work reflect the type of website and quality that you are looking for? Remodeling sites rely heavily on presenting high-quality images of prior projects… Do they do that well?
  • Is there variety among the various websites in their portfolio? Or, does it look like they have used the same “template” and just changed the colors, images and dropped in a different logo?
  • What types of websites do they have in their portfolio? They don’t have to specialize in remodeling websites but they should understand what makes your website and our industry unique?
  • Contact the clients presented in the portfolio and ask them about their experience in working with the prospective firm. Easy to work with? Project completed on-time? Within Budget?

Technology

Many web development shops are design boutiques that create beautiful work.. really stunning visual sites.. but they lack functionality. As remodelers you may be drawn to them because of their ability to present your high-quality images but be very careful that you don’t wind up with a website that (1) can’t be updated easily, (2) can’t be found on a search engine or (3) doesn’t capture leads.

Look for a firm that not only creates professional, visually appealing sites, but also builds them on reputable content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress. The prospective firm should have a clear and demonstrated knowledge of website hosting, DNS, Domain issues and E-mail configuration as well.

In addition to the 3 above, here are more things to look for:

Ownership of website: Insure that once the website has been completed, that your company owns the website, including all code, copy, images, etc. This may mean purchasing the limited rights to stock photography, video, etc. but whether you are hosting the website yourself or not, insure you own it at the end of the day.

Project Plan: Ask to see a project plan from a previous client that they worked with, or even better, ask that a rough project plan be included in your proposal.

Process: What does their production process look like? Look for a firm that has a discovery phase before building anything.

References: Ask for them and contact them.

The Prospective Company’s Website: I know there is a saying about the Cobbler’s Children’s Shoes but if I’m trusting a web development firm to build my website I want to see that their own website is solid (no broken links, typos, incomplete pages, empty portfolio, etc.)

Do a Google Search: This likely applies to any vendor you work with but a cursory google search on the name of the prospective company is likely to uncover any client satisfaction issues that you should be aware of.

Summary

Because a website is so vitally important to any reputable remodeling company, choosing the right partner to work with can be a critical business decision. A poorly designed or executed website goes further than just an image problem; losing qualified leads because prospects can’t find or don’t like your website can negatively affect your bottom line. Take your time and choose wisely.

Did we miss anything? We would love to hear any tips or advice you have in finding good or strong web partners to work with. Please refrain from posting ads or links to firms you have worked with… We want to focus on other things to look for… or perhaps any red flags to watch out for?