Have You Adapted Your Marketing Yet? Part II

The Remodeling Industry Was Behind…but Catching Up Now (continued from part I) Being involved in the digital marketing industry as well as the technology industry, we’ve been implementing several things for years that would have helped a lot of remodelers when the pandemic hit. That being said, this kicked the industry forward in a good way. What were those things? Virtual Events Many remodeling companies attend home shows, participate in Remodeled Home Tours, seminars, and similar events.  These are fantastic events, but with the landscape changing, the door is opened for more virtual events. These can be webinars instead of seminars, virtual walk-throughs instead of in-person and other creative events and video ideas. Virtual events are not “new”, but they are more “new” to this industry, so remodelers that are more tech savvy or jumped quickly to converting their physical events to digital events started seeing quick results. The end homeowner is primed and ready to join these events.  They are extremely comfortable with Zoom and video conferencing now, and they enjoy the convenience aspect as well. Action Steps:
  • Host your first webinar even if no one shows up:
    • Create a presentation deck on a high value topic to your audience
    • Practice your presentation
    • Put up a registration page for the webinar and promote it
    • Record the webinar so you can use it as an evergreen lead conversion funnel forever
Video Marketing Video has been growing exponentially online for the last decade, but the importance of using video in your digital marketing just jumped in a big way.  The less you’re meeting prospects in person means you need other ways to build rapport, credibility, and trust. Creating video content where your prospects can see your face, your team’s faces, and get to know you before they ever meet you increases the likelihood they will buy from you.  Anytime you can increase their comfort level with you and allow them to lower their guard, the better. A strong video marketing strategy will make your virtuals sales calls go smoother because they will be seeing a familiar face. Action Steps:
  • Start shooting video on the job site and posting it to social media
  • Brainstorm 3-5 videos you want every single prospect to watch before reaching out (about your process, your team, etc.)
    • Script out those videos
    • Hire someone to come shoot for a half day or have a team member film you
    • Edit the videos and post them to your website and social media
Digital Marketing I often get pushback from remodelers.  “I don’t think people looking to do $300K design-build projects use Google to find the company they want to work with.” This just isn’t true anymore. Maybe it was five or ten years ago, but it isn’t today.  We see our clients routinely closing $100K – $700K projects from internet leads, and we also see $1M+ projects closed, just not at the same frequency. Digital marketing is only going to get more and more important as we move ahead.  If you’re not looking at your website as your primary marketing tool and primary lead generation tool, you’ll eventually become obsolete.  As our younger generations get older and become your target market, you’ll be looking at an audience where all they know is Google and social media. Right now, we’re in a blended environment where you can still survive on word of mouth and referral leads, but you won’t thrive moving forward. Action Steps:
  • Take a hard look at your website. (and not just the design, which is what it looks like)
    • What percentage of your lead flow is it producing?
    • How many customers does it generate for you each month, quarter or year?
  • Invest in content, SEO and lead conversion strategies.

Moving Forward

If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, look at the action items I laid out in this article and pick one section to start working on. Take it step by step and start chipping away. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort and investment.

And if you’re looking to fast track things a bit more, I recommend you join our VIP list for Builder Funnel Academy which is our comprehensive digital marketing training platform for remodeling companies. The doors will be opening soon, so make sure to join the VIP list to stay in the loop and learn more.

Have You Adapted Your Marketing Yet?

Earlier this year, we all got hit with a big shock to our world. The global pandemic had impacts on our personal lives, our businesses, and just about everything in between.

It feels like you can’t even go 24 hours without someone talking about COVID-19. See, even I just brought it up.

But we’re not going to focus on that. Today, I want to walk you through an interesting trend I’m seeing.

I’m in the fortunate position to have a more global perspective as to how this year has impacted remodeling companies. My company works with over 100 remodelers throughout the U.S. and Canada, so I can spot trends, common challenges, and opportunities.

In this article, I’m going to share six things I’ve learned or confirmed since the pandemic hit.

Content is Still King

When everything started happening in March, the world froze for a minute. Sales conversations screeched to a halt and leads dropped. But when everyone started to normalize a little bit (within about 30-45 days), I noticed a HUGE upswing in leads across the country for our clients.

As I dug deeper to try to figure out why, I realized that this pandemic was playing right into the hands of companies that had been invested in content marketing, their websites, and SEO.

Word of mouth and referral leads dried up and online activity spiked even more than usual.

Here’s an example. Things were moving along fairly steady and then leads spiked in May and have held strong at those new levels.

Here’s another example below where leads have doubled since March and continue to rise.

And another where leads have just about doubled.  These are some big increases!

I’m only sharing these to show you that we’re seeing this trend across the board, not just a one-off scenario.  All of these companies have invested in a strategic content and SEO plan.  

Content marketing and SEO matches the way people shop and buy today.  Homeowners do their own research.  Your potential customers want to come to the first sales call armed with information.  We all do this anytime we’re buying something.

So, why not implement a marketing strategy that matches the way people buy?

You can get started down this path by answering common questions you hear in the sales process.  

For example:

  • Prospect asks you: “How much will this cost?”  This question translates into blog titles (CONTENT AND SEO):
    • How much does a kitchen remodel cost in San Diego?
    • How much does a home addition cost in San Diego?
    • How much does a bathroom remodel cost in San Diego?

I made the assumption that you’re in San Diego, but just use your primary market area.

  • Prospect asks you: “How long will it take?”  This translates into blog titles (CONTENT AND SEO):
    • How long does a kitchen remodel take in San Diego?
    • How long does a home addition take in San Diego?
    • How long does a bathroom remodel take in San Diego?

I think you’re starting to get the idea.  Write down the top 5-10 questions you hear in the sales process.  Those are questions your prospects are looking up on Google.  

If you’re the one answering these questions, you’ll start pulling those people into your website.

The Remodeling Industry Was Behind…but Catching Up Now

Being involved in the digital marketing industry as well as the technology industry, we’ve been implementing several things for years that would have helped a lot of remodelers when the pandemic hit. That being said, this kicked the industry forward in a good way.

What were those things?

Virtual Selling
Here at Builder Funnel we’ve been virtual selling for a decade. From about 2010-2012 it was mainly by phone only and the occasional use of screen share, but then we made the transition to using video tools like GoToMeeting (and now Zoom).

A lot of remodelers moved quickly to adopt Zoom, but there was a learning curve, and we’re still seeing that learning curve in process. The companies that push the hardest down this path will be the ones that succeed because that’s what your prospects are looking for as well. They want convenience and safety is a concern.

You can accomplish a good amount of your sales process via video and screen share, and it will actually save you a ton of travel time. This will enable you to take more meetings and fill your sales pipeline faster.

Action Steps:

  • Get all your sales people trained on video technology.
  • Create a presentation or set of tabs you can pull up on a call and practice using screen share.
  • Invest in a solid webcam, lighting, and microphone.
  • Practice with a team member.

Moving Forward

If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, look at the action items I laid out in this article and pick one section to start working on. Take it step by step and start chipping away. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort and investment.

And if you’re looking to fast track things a bit more, I recommend you join our VIP list for Builder Funnel Academy which is our comprehensive digital marketing training platform for remodeling companies. The doors will be opening soon, so make sure to join the VIP list to stay in the loop and learn more.

6 Simple Questions that will Focus Your Marketing Efforts

As we sail through the fist quarter of the year, you may be finding that your marketing strategy and materials aren’t hitting the mark. Here are six simple questions that will help you refocus your efforts and find your target.

Before I started working in content marketing, I was a journalist. One of the first things I learned in Newswriting 101 remains a basic today. It’s an exercise that helps you find, and sort through, the information you need when communicating your message. It’s called the 5Ws (and an H):

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

While finding and answering these questions are the building blocks of any news story, it’s also a fantastic tool to use in marketing with a couple of tweaks. If you’ve got good client records, it should be easy to find the data, answer the questions, and nail down your marketing strategy.

Who?

This is a crucial step in figuring out your marketing plans and strategy. Nail down who your customers are demographically. That’s the best predictor of who your new clients will be, and where to aim your marketing message. It can also help you figure out new client segments that you can target.

What?

You’re marketing your remodeling business, yes, but your data may show you that kitchens are your sweet spot, or that whole-house remodeling is growing in a certain neighborhood or area. This can tell you what your best prospective clients will be looking for. Then give it to them.

When?

In general, you’re always marketing. But this is a great question to ask when, for example, scheduling your email marketing. For years, the accepted wisdom has been that emails do best sent between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. But recent studies show that people are increasingly active at night and on weekends, due to their phones and tablets. 

Figuring out when can also help you target your messaging calendar. Focusing on kitchen remodeling right after people have made do in outdated and cramped kitchens during the holidays will hit prospect’s pain points at the right time.

Where?

The answer to this is less about your clients physical addresses and more about where they receive information. See where your qualified leads are coming from. If it’s your website, make it a priority to have new content frequently, then promote it on your social channels. If you’re getting results on social media, lean in to it. If referrals are your bread and butter, consider increasing the frequency of your email or snail mail outreach, with information your audience wants to know coupled with a clear request for referrals.

Why?

Lead generation is the goal, but the best marketing results come from communications that have been carefully considered. It can be tempting to throw a cute picture up on your company’s Facebook feed, but what is the intention behind it? If you can’t make a business case for it, keep it on your personal account.

How?

How you tackle your marketing efforts depends on your budget. You may have a full- or part-time marketing pro on your team, you might work with an outside vendor, or it’s you. Creating and maintaining a marketing strategy and all the collateral that comes after takes time and money. But if you answer the 5 Ws and an H, you’ll streamline your process, and make your efforts more effective.

How are other Remodelers handling Marketing? Take this survey and find out

We are partnering with our friends at Builder Funnel on the 2020 State of Home Builder & Remodeler Marketing Survey. It’s going to provide the industry with vital marketing data to help their respective businesses.

Take 5 minutes out of your day and complete this survey… as a participant you will receive the reports before they are released to the public and also be entered into a drawing for a $200 gift card. Survey closes on March 25. – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PPBFN3J

Put Pricing on Your Remodeling Website for Better Leads

I tell any remodeling business owner to put pricing on their website, either directly or through a lead capture — a user entering their email address to access the information. More often than not, I get a shocked response, followed by one of these types of objections:

  • I can’t just put my pricing out there because then my competitors can see it and undercut me!
  • What if people can’t afford my services or don’t want to pay it when they see the price before even talking to me?”
  • I have to know more about their project because my pricing depends on what they want.

None of these objections matter to your prospects. At the end of the day, they just want to find out if they’re financially qualified to hire you.

Why you should put pricing on your website:

  1. The internet has given buyers power, and 60 percent of them want to know about cost right off the bat.
  2. Your competitors are scared to show pricing, too, so get ahead of them.
  3. The ranking potential for content surrounding cost is buried treasure.
  4. You’ll increase traffic on your other pages too and built momentum for your entire site.
  5. If someone can’t afford you, they won’t call — you’ll save time to devote to others. 

Being completely transparent about your project pricing ranges is difficult but worth it. Providing prospects with the information they’re looking for, like cost, can grow your business.

Answering Common Objections

“If I put my pricing on my site, my competitors can go look at it and undercut me.” This is true to some degree. Your competitors will do some competitive research, especially when expanding their service area or offering new remodeling services. But your primary focus: is providing value through your services. Competing on price alone is a hard game, but adding value to homeowners comes in a variety of ways.

You have two types of competitors: those who disclose pricing and those who don’t. Ninety percent of searchers haven’t made up their minds about a brand before starting their search, so you have ample opportunity to capture and nurture leads by providing them with answers to their top-of-mind questions.

Sixty-two percent of those searching consult a search engine for more information, while 29 percent want to talk to a salesperson. Businesses that are transparent about their pricing on their website are keeping leads in the funnel because they can complete more of their research and request a personalized estimate based on the pricing figures without having to talk to anyone first. If you get ahead of your competitors by talking about your costs first, you have the opportunity to increase the number of leads you generate — you’re the one providing prospects the answers to the questions they are researching online.

“What if they don’t want to talk to me after seeing how much it will cost?” Talking about cost is a qualifying tool, as at least half of those prospects are not truly qualified leads and 50 percent of those deals are lost because of budget. Your sales team should re-evaluate their expectations and sales goals to align with the reality that not every prospect will choose you. The sooner prospects know the information that matters most (which is most often price), the sooner they can dialogue with companies who fit their budget.

“I have to know more about their project because my pricing depends on what they want.” True, and that provides a value to remodeling prospects. Your services are tailored to their needs. You can provide them added value by giving them an idea of what their dream kitchen or bathroom remodel might cost. There are several ways you could do this:

  1. Provide price ranges: When you talk to a homeowner in person and they ask about costs, you likely give them a range. Simply do the same thing on your website or downloadable cost guide. For example, “You can expect a powder room renovation to cost between $7,000 and $15,000.”
  2. Share specific examples: Prepare “case studies” of some of your best projects outlining what all you did and how much it cost. For example, “This gutted kitchen remodel with new layout planning and top grade finishes cost the homeowner $76,500.”
  3. Create a Remodeling Cost Calculator: Something as simple as a cell value dependent spreadsheet will work to provide prospects with content to engage with and answers to their top-of-mind questions. Plus, you are capturing more organic searchers from high value cost calculator search queries. 

Who’s Searching and How Often?

VERY often. And if you write quality content on the topic of cost before your competitors do, you can outrank them in the top search results.

Further, adding location-based keyword targeting to your content strategy will help your site rank even higher for search queries by users in your specific area. For example, “Kitchen Remodel Colorado Springs” has an average of 300 monthly searches and is very easy to rank for based on the current content landscape.

The Snowball Effect of Website Traffic

I’ve noticed a trend among businesses that talk about cost on their website: the traffic gains are not isolated. Their cost page gain traffic, and the other pages on their site gather additional traffic. 

This is primarily because Google likes to send traffic to websites that people like to be on. The more times your website is landed on and the more pages a user visits in their sessions there, the more Google will want to send traffic to your site, therefore increasing your organic ranking potential. 

The “more, more, and more” continues to snowball as you optimize your website pages and publish new content, thereby building constant momentum month after month.

You can learn more about how one remodeling company boosted their revenue by putting costs on their website here: https://marketing.builderfunnel.com/remodeing-cost-case-study.

Sources:

https://research.hubspot.com/charts/what-buyers-want-to-talk-about-in-the-first-sales-call

https://www.weidert.com/whole_brain_marketing_blog/14-statistics-that-make-the-case-for-inbound-marketing

https://www.marcwayshak.com/sales-statistics/

http://community.chorus.ai/blog/deals-at-risk-chorus-ai-s-early-warning-system-helps-you-gain-confidence-in-your-pipeline

See Builder Funnel at Summit in Orlando

Builder Funnel is not only one of our valued Annual Sponsors, they will join other great exhibitors at the Annual Remodelers Summit in September. So while you are networking and learning from some of the industry’s finest, make sure to check out these great companies!

[Podcast] Episode 47: How Social Proof Can Ignite Massive Growth with Josh Kelly

Reviews are the lifeblood of any remodeling company. But are you getting the best social proof of your company’s performance from your clients?

Social proof is simply getting credit for what you’re already doing, says Josh Kelly. But it can spur your company to massive growth when done right.

In this episode, Josh talks to Victoria and Mark about social proof, how to use it in your business, and how it can help you weather some big changes coming to the remodeling industry.

Josh is a principal of RevuKangaroo.com, a review collection and distribution company. Before starting RevuKangaroo, Josh used the power of social proof, reviews, and referrals to grow his residential services business, Parker & Sons Inc., Phoenix, AZ, from $6.5 million to over $100 million in just 13 years.

The best way to grow your business is to keep and make more money with the customers you have — and have them tell others about their great experiences. But big changes are coming — Amazon and Google continue to make inroads into the remodeling space. If you’re not prepared to play with them, and not against them, you could lose out. And one of the ways to work with them is to show your social proof. Josh breaks down the three components of social proof, and has great tips on:

  • Making it easy for the customer to give you a review
  • Why you want an employee reviewed, not your company
  • How to ask for referrals in a personal way
  • Why “referral” is a dirty word, and what to use instead
  • How to screen reviews
  • Why identical reviews on multiple sites are bad
  • Why he spells Revu that way
  • And more…

Click Here to Listen to Episode 47 >>

[Podcast] Episode 43: The Power of Public Relations with Jim Zack

As remodelers, public relations is often an overlooked part of your marketing mix. We spend so much time and money on online marketing, PR is an afterthought. But with the web’s insatiable need for content, placing projects to get publicity should be a part of your strategy.

In this episode, Roundtables member Jim Zack tells Victoria and Mark how and why his firm gets up to 30 articles about projects published per year, creating an overall brand awareness in his market and beyond. His projects have appeared in such print and digital outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Dwell, and archdaily.com.

Jim’s president of Zack | de Vito Architecture + Construction, an Architect-led design/build company in San Francisco. His goal is to be the No. 1 design-focused design/build company in the Bay Area. The company’s work focuses on high-value residences, renovations, and new construction with a consciously modern focus.

The push to get published comes from his Architectural background, where getting published is always a primary goal. It translates well into driving the PR side of his design/build business, with PR as part of the overall marketing strategy. Jim shares his proven method for getting great PR coverage, including:

  • Capitalizing on awards
  • How to submit work to print and digital outlets
  • Finding your project niche and the outlets to use
  • Industry vs. consumer outlets
  • Why to pay for professional photography
  • Making your projects newsworthy
  • Choosing the right project to promote
  • Getting your clients on-board
  • Putting the right to publicize in your contract
  • And more…

To get an idea of just how much Jim’s work has been published —and publicized — check out this list, which only shows a part of his PR footprint.

Click Here to Listen to Episode 43 >>

[Podcast] Episode 40: Website Best Practices with Mark Harari

Your website could be the first time a prospective client encounters your remodeling business. What they find there may get you the job or send them off into the ether, never to be seen again.

In this episode, Victoria grills our own Mark Harari on how to make a remodeler’s website into a lead-generating machine. Mark’s fresh off his engagement at CoCon‘18 in San Diego, where he presented his popular seminar “Website Punchlist: A Live Blue-Tape Experience.” 

Mark’s the chief marketing officer and vice-president of Remodelers Advantage, and the president of our sister company R/A Marketing. He’s an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience (18 years in construction), and specializes in translating strategic vision to tactical execution. He’s also the facilitator of the R/A Marketing Roundtables groups, which bring together top marketing pros from across the US and Canada.

To design an effective website, you have to determine its purpose. Some remodelers only want their sites to act as an online brochures — they send prospects to it. Mark makes the case that all remodelers, though, should have a lead-generating website — one that searchers find themselves. Then, you have to get actionable information out of them. Mark explains what works in marketing, especially digital marketing, including:

  • Why an email address is the most important information to get, and the easiest to get
  • How to integrate offline marketing and advertising with your online efforts
  • What a call to action is
  • Why growing your email list adds value to your company
  • How capturing leads future-proofs your business
  • The top technical mistakes in website design
  • Why you should make your photos searchable
  • Where not to put your social media icons
  • And a whole lot more…

Including just what a lead magnet is, and how to use it. Want to learn more about lead magnets? Get The Remodeler’s Guide to Lead Generation, which is not only a fantastic resource for getting more business, it’s a great example of a lead magnet, its landing page and the kind of information-gathering form that will convert. It’s all so incredibly meta, as the kids say.

Click Here to Listen to Episode 40 >>

 

Want Mark to look at your website?

If you’d like to submit your own website for a live blue-tape walkthrough, will be presenting his popular seminar during our Extreme Makeover: Business Edition, Jan. 29-30, 2019, in Baltimore.