How Remodelers Can Create a Killer Open House Campaign

What’s better than a job well done? A remodeling job that brings in more referrals. A common way to grow business is by hosting an Open House. Though there are some tried-and-true elements (yard signs, door flyers, anyone?), there’s a big opportunity that a lot of people overlook: and that’s integrating on-the-ground efforts with online marketing. Before jumping into the basics of creating an amazing Open House campaign, here are two main reasons why integrating online and offline efforts are so important:

  1. Promoting an Open House online empowers remodelers to reach a wider audience. When yard signage is the only form of advertising, remodelers are highly dependent upon someone driving through the neighborhood, getting out of their car and reading a flyer.
  2. Flyers can only (effectively) share so much. An Open House flyer can address the who, what, when and where–but the “why” of an Open House is really tough to squeeze in. The “why” could be a series of before pictures or a story about the family’s cramped lifestyle before the remodel. The “why” is the most natural place remodelers have to connect a potential client’s need with a very clear solution without being too salesy in the process.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the four main parts to an Open House campaign. For remodelers setting up their first online campaign, these items take about four hours to complete; for seasoned online marketers, it’s probably closer to two-and-a-half hours. It’s a good idea to start promoting the Open House three weeks in advance of the event.

No. 1: The Landing Page

Think of the landing page as command central for all of your online efforts. If any written or online materials ask people to do any one thing: we want them to visit this customized landing page. An Open House campaign landing page should follow all of the basic rules of conversion: make sure it’s simple, straightforward and appealing–and above all, make sure there is only ONE call to action on the page. In this case, you’ll likely want people on the landing page to fill out a form or RSVP for the Open House. Imagery is really important on this page because you’re inviting someone to a tactile experience (come and see, touch and interact with a remodeled kitchen or house!), the visuals on this page should awaken a curiosity about what someone might see at the Open House.

Insider’s Tip:Look at landing pages in light of what you’re asking from the visitor versus what they’re getting. Make sure you aren’t asking for too much information and consider the appropriateness of the call to action. If you’re asking for a phone number or email in your form, consider offering something valuable like a text message or email reminder.

No. 2: Email Promotions

The same basic email rules apply for Open House campaigns. The subject line needs to be enticing; the visuals need to be stimulating, and the frequency needs to be carefully considered. Since emails in an Open House campaign function as an extension of the landing page, their visuals need to be in harmony with one another. Email is also a great way to capitalize on an existing database and invite them to see a transformation.

open house email

Insider’s Tip:Everybody has their own email volume tolerance, so we suggest a minimum of two reminders and perhaps an email titled “We’re excited to see you” three days in advance. A final reminder the night before the event could also include a Google map.

No. 3: Facebook Boosted Posts

open house email

With Facebook targeting, it’s almost too easy to target the exact audience remodelers are hoping to capture in an Open House campaign. For between $5 and $40, remodelers can target an audience by zip codes, age, home value and household income, to name a few. For these targeted posts it’s a good idea also to include surrounding zip codes near the Open House location. Most people choose to use simple copy such as “Open House” with the date/time and a “before” photo of the project; clicking on it will send people to the landing page.

Insider’s Tip: Facebook also lets remodelers create an invisible post, which means it won’t show up on the business’s Facebook page and will only be populated on your target demographic’s news feed/home page.

No. 4: Blog Posts

Blogs are just another way to push the Open House message out to your list and subscribers, though there’s more creative space to tell the “why” of the project. The blog post for an Open House campaign should provide more value than the landing page and give people a reason to want to learn more about the project and perhaps your company.

Insider’s Tip:The blog post is a good place to tease readers by only showing the “before” pictures. Consider creating a CTA button that leads them to the Open House landing page where they can sign up to see the “after” pictures.

No. 5: Direct Mail

An Open House Campaign wouldn’t be complete without some direct mail. One of the best things about direct mail is that remodelers can know exactly who is receiving their message. An average direct mailing for an Open House campaign would probably include about 500 homes and cost about $1,000 if a new design is needed (otherwise, that price drops in half!). Consider sending out a postcard that’s designed to give just enough information to entice the reader to go to the landing page (make sure the URL is easy to type in!).

Insider’s Tip: The timing on direct mail is important. The first postcard should arrive up to two weeks before the event (and be in coordination with the online campaign launch). If there’s room in the budget for a second piece, then that reminder should be timed to arrive a few days beforehand.

Final Thoughts

An Open House is a great opportunity to get face-to-face time with a remodeler’s ideal customers, and making a good first impression is just as important as getting them to show up to your event. To that end, use these elements to create a killer open house campaign and make sure that the actual event lives up to the hype in the campaign. Whether that’s by hearing the homeowner’s testimony or setting up a Q&A with the designer, bringing value to an Open House will rarely leave a remodeler empty-handed.

4 Must-Haves for Generating High-Quality Remodeling Leads

Let me guess. You need more remodeling leads.

If you tried digital marketing in 2015, you likely employed a combination of:

  • email marketing
  • social media
  • website re-design

And let me guess: few of the “leads” you received from these marketing initiatives turned into revenue-generating jobs.

You’re not alone.

Several times a week, we hear from remodelers across the country who reference an SEO expert here, an email marketing guru there, whose ideas all sounded great, but in the end, the results just weren’t there. They’re understandably frustrated by wasted marketing dollars, and they often wish for the “good old days” when business ran smoothly on referrals. They’re quick to acknowledge, however, that even referrals don’t quite work the way they used to.

In this article, I want to offer some practical ways you can begin creating high-quality leads in your currently existing marketing efforts. I also want to offer our first-hand observations on what it takes to be a successful remodeler both online and with customer referrals.

See Yourself as an Educator First, Remodeler Second

Twenty years ago remodeling clients chose their remodeler based on a few, simple options: they received a referral from a friend; they saw a listing in the Yellow Pages, or they received a direct mail flyer. Most, if not all, of these remodeling clients, were directly educated by a local remodeler.

When the Internet came along, things changed drastically. Fast forward to 2016, and most of the buying/educational process is self-directed. That means:

Clients aren’t letting you educate them one-on-one anymore. They make buying decisions based on independent research.

One of the primary reasons that a lot of remodelers are frustrated by their social media and website leads is because they have no way to gauge where that person might be in the sales cycle. Because consumers prefer a self-educated buying process, this means they likely don’t reach out with an immediate “I’m ready to buy” inquiry.

For remodelers, the most beneficial thing we’ve observed is choosing to evolve currently existing marketing mindsets. When you see yourself as an educator, you create an open space for the “curious,” the “educating” and the “ready to buy” leads. This approach is foundational to excellent remodeling for one simple reason:

If you aren’t educating your leads, then a competitor will gladly do so for you.

1. Your Marketing Should Nurture “Tire Kicker” Leads

In this new marketing mindset, your marketing efforts should create a vibrant, educational-rich destination for those “tire kicker” leads: those people who don’t seem ready to buy but are intensely interested in researching a potential remodeling job.

Instead of asking this person “What’s your budget?” we recommend asking, “What have you seen on Pinterest or Instagram lately?” The way this person responds tells you one of two things:

1. If they don’t have specific feedback (“Oh I’m just curious about kitchens.”), then they’re likely a good candidate for connecting via social media and perhaps an automated follow-up email. But not much more energy should be invested until this person connects multiple times with you.

2. If they offer more exact opinions about granite vs. concrete countertops, for example, this is a good sign they might be closer to wanting to start a remodeling project. In this situation, we’d recommend sending a customized follow-up email with an ebook as well as an invitation to connect on social media.

The point I’m trying to make here is:

Tire kicker leads often turn into good leads if they’re nurtured properly.

By creating a place for all leads, you give your sales pipeline a chance to blossom with a consumer-directed educational timeline. Every lead that interacts with your remodeling business should be staying connected with your company. Houzz is the most common way to stay connected, followed by Pinterest, followed by custom educational emails.

2. “Show, Don’t Tell” Should Be Your Marketing (Especially Social Media!) Motto

With self-directed education being top of mind for consumers these days, social media is the place remodelers have one chance to make a good impression. The easiest way to make a positive digital impression is to have high-quality photos of all your projects with custom, insightful commentary accompanying each one. Without good photography, consumers can’t get a sense of the quality of your work—and you leave yourself vulnerable to being perceived as a “Chuck-in-a-Truck” type of remodeler.

For each new project you finish, we recommend taking professional, room-sized and detailed photos of the project. For a kitchen project, for example, you’d include before-and-after photos, a 20-second walk-through video if possible, and also detailed photos of things like the faucet, the hardware, the finish on the refrigerator, and any custom carpentry or woodworking.

3. Avoid Vague or Indiscriminate Industry Lingo

One of the most valuable aspects of social media is it lowers the opportunities for remodelers to use industry lingo. If your photography is stellar, your work can speak for itself. Here are a few things to avoid in how you talk about your work.

“Quality Craftsmanship”

Instead of claiming to have quality work, let your photography speak for itself. Let your references sing your praises for you. Today’s self-educated consumer is slow to trust remodelers who talk a big talk about their work but have no evidence to back it up. Make sure your marketing avoids the lingo and lets consumers confirm for themselves.

“We Build Green”

Most people intuitively equate “green” with being conscious of a project’s environmental impact. Today’s consumer needs to see details: if you use Zero VOC paint, for example, then include that in a list of standard green project features.

4. Three Pages Your Site Should Have to Kick Start Your 2016 Remodeler Marketing

The process of successful remodeler marketing can become nuanced, but we’re confident that adding a few pages could start to improve the quality of the leads you’re receiving.

1. A Gallery Page.

This is where you let your quality craftsmanship speak for itself (and remove superfluous references on your website). Having a centralized place that showcases all of your latest and best work is an invaluable resource for the self-educated consumer.

2. A Process Page.

Once a consumer has enough knowledge/confidence that you produce the quality work s/he has been searching for, the next natural question is: “How will they complete that work?” This page should be easily accessible from your website’s navigation and include an easy “Contact Us” form as well.

3. A Conversion Page.

Good remodeler marketing always has an opportunity to stay in touch. From our perspective, a conversion page is one of the most valuable because (1) you get a person’s contact information added to your system and (2) you can analyze their stage in the buying cycle based on the content on that conversion page.

Final Thoughts on Quality Leads and How They Affect Referrals

Quality leads is a complex situation, and this is just one blog where I tried to synthesize the biggest, most impactful ways to get better leads. (The other two “must haves” that didn’t fit in this blog include making sure your blogging is up to standard and that your sales and marketing departments are working together.

What’s interesting to note about the four must-have ingredients I mentioned is they also directly influence how you nurture referrals from existing clients. Nine times out of 10, your current clients are making passive referrals to their friends on social media. By maintaining an active relationship with your clients on their social media sites, you keep the door open to be introduced to their friends as well. Because the self-education process never really ends, the door should always be left open to support your current clients in their online education.

What Does the Perfect Internet Marketing System Look Like for Remodelers?

Woah. That’s a big question. But it’s an important one. (and getting more important)

In this post, I’m going to do my best to lay out the “perfect” internet marketing system, knowing that there isn’t a “perfect” system out there. My goal for this post is to show you what a REALLY, REALLY good system looks like based on the last 5 years helping remodelers like yourself navigate the complicated waters of websites, search engine optimization, social media, local search and pay per click.

I’m going to share what has worked for our clients, what hasn’t worked for our clients and also share what tools and skills are necessary to succeed in marketing your business online. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

The Tools Needed

Just like a good remodeler, a good marketer needs his tools. I wouldn’t dare try remodeling my kitchen without the proper tools (hammer, saw, measuring tape, pry bar, safety goggles, screwdrivers, work gloves, boots, power drill, etc.). In marketing, our tools sound a little different, but you still need them.

And it’s important that you select the right tools because these tools need to be able to work together and talk to each other. A good example would be having the wrong screwdriver for the screws you purchased. If they don’t talk to each other, it might still be possible, but it’s going to make it MUCH, MUCH harder.

So, what do you need in terms of tools? Here’s a list of everything you’ll need.

  1. Content Management System
  2. Blogging Platform
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools
  5. Email Marketing Tool
  6. Landing Page Tool
  7. Analytics Tool
  8. CRM

Now, you probably have some of these tools already. I’m assuming you’ve got a content management system, an email tool and an analytics tool at the very least, but below I’m going to describe each tool, it’s purpose and some examples.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a platform that allows an individual that doesn’t know coding to make changes and updates to a website. These content management systems have become extremely common over the last half decade and use a WISIWYG editor (what you see is what you get). Typically, when you make changes, it feels like you’re working within a word document.

content-management-system

The purpose of a content management system is to allow you and your team to make the majority of your own website changes without having to pay a webmaster high hourly fees. It also allows you to make changes on the fly without having to wait for anyone.

Some example content management systems are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • HubSpot
  • Drupal
  • Concrete5

Most likely, you’re using WordPress, but you might have a priopriatery CMS that was custom built by your website design firm. Typically, these are not ideal, but that’s not always the case. As a general rule, we recommend using something that is Open Source, such as WordPress. This gives you much more flexibility in terms of web designers and marketing companies that can assist you.

Blogging Platform

A blogging platform is similar to a content management system, but has a slightly different functionlity and purpose. A good platform allows you to create individual articles and organize them into topics. These platforms also use WISIWYG editors to make it easy for anyone to write articles and add photos.

The purpose of your business blog is to create content that your audience is looking for so that you can attract them to your website, establish credibility, and build trust between your prospect and your brand.

Some blogging platform examples are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Blogger
  • HubSpot
  • Tumblr

Note: A good blogging platform will actually be the same system as your content management system. Ideally, you’re not dealing with 2 separate platforms.

Search Engine Optimization Tools

Search engine optimization tools allow you to do several important things for your business. First, they allow you to brainstorm various keywords and keyword phrases that your prospects may be searching for on Google or other search engines. Second, they give you the estimated search volume for those keywords. In other words, they tell you about how many people are searching for “home remodeling services” or “kitchen remodeling contractors”. In addition to search volume, these tools should also give you a competition estimate, meaning they should tell you approximately how difficult it will be to rank for those keywords. In general, the more businesses attempting to rank for a keyword, the tougher it will be for you to rank for that same keyword.

Sample SEO Tool

SEO tools allow you to make better decisions around where to spend your money, time and effort in terms of ranking for various keywords and keyword phrases in your content and blogging efforts.

There are several keyword tools out there, some free and some paid. Here are a few of them:

  • MOZ Tools
  • HubSpot
  • SEO Book
  • Wordstream
  • Raven Tools

Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools

Social media tools give you the power of efficiency. It can be extremely time consuming to log-in to half a dozen social networks, post something, monitor the latest activity, find relevant people to follow, and respond to your followers and fans. Social media tools let you see all your activity in one place and even schedule posts in advance. This can cut your time spent on social media by more than half.

Social Media Tool

The purpose of these tools is to make it easier to participate in multiple social networks effectively. You can monitor brand mentions, re-tweets and engagements. You can also create social media calendars by scheduling out updates and posts for weeks, even months at a time. Social media is important for your remodeling business today for three main reasons (there are many more reasons, but these are big):

  1. It allows you to engage with your audience and capture reviews.
  2. Social channels can drive traffic to your website.
  3. Social signals improve the overall ranking of your website.

Again, with social media tools, you have some free and paid options. Here are a few:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Social Oomph
  • HubSpot
  • Sprout Social

Email Marketing Tools

Your email tool is one of the most essential tools in your toolbox. This tool gives you the ability to communicate with your prospects and customers directly. A good email tool makes it easy for you to add people to your master list, segment prospects into different groupings, and it should automate the unsubscribe process so that you’re following the CAN-SPAM Act. You should not be using Outlook or Gmail to mass email your list anymore. That’s a big “no-no”! Your email tool will make it easy to design templates for newsletters as well as create engaging material.

Email Marketing Dashboard

The purpose of your email tool and your email marketing is to create a database filled with warm prospects and contacts that know, like and trust you and your company. They may not be ready to buy, but they may be ready in 3 months, 9 months or even 24 months. By keeping in regular contact via email, you’ll keep your pipeline full.

Here are a few email marketing tools:

  • Mail Chimp (free up to 2,000 contacts)
  • Constant Contact
  • iContact
  • Infusionsoft
  • HubSpot

Landing Page Tool

A landing page tool allows you to quickly and easily build pages that are built to do one thing: capture prospect information. Landing pages, also know as conversion pages or squeeze pages, are designed to present something of value to your website visitors in exchange for their contact information. Here’s an example of a landing page: https://www.copperskyrenovations.com/cost-to-remodel-home-atlanta-ga

As you can see, the page offers access to a remodeling e-book in exchange for name, email, phone, etc. The key is having something valuable to give to your prospect. Your landing page tool gives you the ability to build a page that looks like the example above so that you can grow your database of interested prospects. (Hint: and now you can use your email tool to stay in touch with them!)

Here are a few Landing Page Tools:

  • Lead Pages
  • Lander App
  • HubSpot
  • Instapage
  • Unbounce

Analytics Tool

Your analytics tool is critical. If you can’t measure what you’re doing, you can’t improve what you’re doing. And some might argue, it’s not even worth doing if you can’t measure it! Your analytics tool is really just code that sits on the back of your website and tracks information such as website visitors, page views, time spent on your website, bounce rate, and the list goes on. Depending on the tool, you can get access to different information. The purpose of the tool is to give you, the business owner or marketer, the data you need to make informed decisions about your website and online marketing efforts. You want to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Is my website traffic increasing?
  • Are my leads from my website increasing?
  • How are my visitors finding me?

Analytics Tool Example

There are several analytics tools out there, but here are a few:

  • Google Analytics (this should be a requirement for you – it’s free and it’s the “standard”, even if you run another analytics tool with it)
  • Crazy Egg
  • Compete
  • HubSpot
  • KISS Insights

CRM

Your CRM tool, or customer relationship management, is extremely important in terms of managing and keeping track of contacts, prospects, appointments, and sales activity being performed by the sales team. A good CRM will connect to your website and talk to your other tools so that you aren’t exporting leads and importing them into your CRM. Today, it’s just too easy to have these systems aligned to be wasting time manually exporting and importing contact information.

Your CRM will help you track appointments, follow up reminders, and revenue in your pipeline. It will help close the loop on your marketing efforts so that you can see where your best leads and customers come from. In addition to being able to track this kind of information, your CRM also provides accountability. Sales people can now “show their work” by logging phone calls, emails sent and appointments.

Here are a few CRM options:

  • Salesforce.com
  • improveit! 360
  • MarketSharp
  • HubSpot
  • Infusionsoft

The Skills and Knowledge Needed

Now that we’ve covered the tools you need to put together the perfect internet marketing system, we need to look at the skills and knowledge you need. Just like my example at the beginning: just because I have a hammer and a saw, doesn’t mean I’ll be able to remodel my own home. Simply having all the above tools does not guaruntee your success with internet marketing. Let’s break it down. What are the core skills you’ll need on your team? Regardless of whether you hire these skills via an outsourced model or in-house staff, you’ll need them!

Writing

This may be the single most important skill you’ll need. Writing is involved in almost every aspect of a great internet marketing system. You need quality writing for your blog content, your email marketing and your website content. You also need to be able to write persuasive copy on your landing pages (conversion pages) and CTAs (calls to action). Without a strong writer, you’ll be doomed from the start. I’ll break down the entire process in terms of blogs, landing pages, and CTAs later in this blog post, but for now, just know that writing is critical to your success online.

Design

Aside from needing a website design that appeals to your visitors, you’llalso need a design whiz that can whip up custom graphics for your website, blog and social media channels. Without a designer, your website will look very vanilla, but it also won’t convert the type of leads you want for your business. A website that reflects the quality of work you do is vital because your website is all your prospects have to look at when they first start researching. If they are unimpressed with your website, you may never get a chance to talk to them.

Communication

In this connected world we live in, your need a strong communicator. Often times, this communicator can be the same as your writer. They are crafting social media posts, interacting with your fans and followers as well as establishing your brand messaging and style that is communicated throughout the website content and blog.

Organization/Planning

There are a lot of moving parts in an internet marketing system. If you don’t have someone keeping track of them, it will fall apart in a hurry. You also want this person to be able to look ahead at your events and build them into your internet marketing calendar. It’s easy to get stuck in the now, so you need someone that is keeping things moving forward, while looking ahead several months.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is evolving more rapidly today than ever before. If you’re going to be effective online, you need someone that lives and breathes internet marketing. With Google Panda and Penguin being two of the bigger updates in the last few years, you don’t want to fall behind. Your SEO person should be a major part of your content strategy, using data and keyword analysis to guide you. SEO is not about keyword stuffing or building shading backlinks. This is one of the most critical skills you need on your internet marketing team.

Technology Use

We already spent some time above reviewing the tools you need, but you also need a technology whiz that can operate them effectively. If I were going to remodel my own home, I would want to make sure I know how to use all the tools. Just having them isn’t going to give me the result I want. If you don’t have someone with the knowledge, you may need to pay for training so that your staff can get up to speed or hire an outside firm to use the tools for you.

Analysis/Data Chops

Data is becoming more and more important in today’s digital world. We have so much data at our fingertips, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to look at. Which metrics actually matter? Which metrics are demonstrating to you that things are improving. A good marketer today can analyze and interpret data and then change course based on what the data is saying. Emotion should be removed from your decision making process more and more as you have more data available to you.

Estimated Costs (Both In-House, Outsourced and Technology)

Now that we’ve covered 1) The Tools Needed and 2) the Skills and Knowledge Needed, what is this all going to cost? As with most things in life, there’s more than one way to accomplish putting together the perfect internet marketing system. Let’s break this down:

In House Investment

Hiring and/or training in-house staff to do all your internet marketing has a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros:

  • You can develop your own processes and systems so that you can train replacements.
  • In-house knowledge travels faster. If something happens with your company, your team can react quickly – you win an award, add a service offering, etc.
  • You can keep a closer eye on the work being done.

Cons:

  • It is really tough to find 1 person that has all the skills and knowledge needed and can operate all the toolsets effectively. Most likely, you’ll need two or three rockstars.
  • Hiring, firing, and training employees is extremely time intensive.

If you were to hire some rockstar marketers for your team, this is what you should be looking for:

  • Project Manager. This person is an organizational freak that doesn’t lose track of the moving parts. They are a great communicator and can bridge the gap between ownership and the other marketers. This person has a strong writing ability. Skills covered in this position: Writing, Communication and Organization/Planning.
  • Creative Type. This person can whip up social media graphics in a flash, design banners for your website, creative advertisements, and do website design. Skills covered in this position: Design.
  • Data Person. Your data person needs to have at least a base level of search engine optimization understanding. This person is also your technology whiz and analytical mind. Your data person will enable your team to use their creative and writing abilities effectively through technology and then be able to analyze what’s working and what’s not working. Skills covered in this position: Search Engine Optimization, Technology Use, Analysis/Data Chops.

Now, in order to hire these people you should probably budget between $40,000 and $60,000 per person per year. On the low end, you’re looking at $120,000 + soft costs or $180,000 + soft costs on the high end.

Keep in mind, I’m talking about putting together the best internet marketing system. You can obviously scale into this by hiring 1 or 2 people and building from there. This also doesn’t include technology costs which is covered below.

Outsourced Investment

When you outsource your marketing to an agency, you’re looking at a different “hiring process”, but there are also some pros and cons we should look at:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to train anyone.
  • You often get all the skills you need for a discount because the agency’s employees are working with multiple clients.
  • Your hiring, firing process is much shorter and less time intensive.
  • No soft costs.

Cons:

  • In-house knowledge travels slower. The agency needs you to communicate more because they aren’t in the office absorbing knowledge.
  • You can’t look over the shoulder of your agency’s workers.

Hiring an agency can vary widely in terms of investment and the biggest impract on price is scope of work. However, in order to keep things as comporable as possible, the equivalent of hiring three people is often one third or one half the cost to hire an agency. So on the low end, you’re looking at $40,000 (1/3 of $120,000 from above) and $90,000 on the high end (1/2 of $180,000 above).

There’s no right or wrong answer here as to whether you want to outsource or hire in-house – it just depends on what makes the most sense for your business.

Technology Investment

Let’s review the technology we covered briefly:

  1. Content Management System
  2. Blogging Platform
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools
  5. Email Marketing Tool
  6. Landing Page Tool
  7. Analytics Tool
  8. CRM

Today, you can get all of these tools individually or you can find tools that include several or all of the pieces. Below, I’ve included some estimated costs for a couple options. I’m going to break down three of the best options out there right now. These three comparisons are based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to get tools to talk to each other (you DON’T want to waste time and effort just trying to get your tech to talk to each other)
  • My last 6 years of working in these tools and evaluating cost effectiveness, tool capabilities, and their ability to talk to each other.
  • Price vs. Value

Option 1: All on HubSpot: $400/month+

  1. Content Management System (HubSpot)
  2. Blogging Platform(HubSpot)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(HubSpot)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(HubSpot)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(HubSpot)
  6. Landing Page Tool(HubSpot)
  7. Analytics Tool(HubSpot)
  8. CRM(HubSpot)

Option 2: WordPress with HubSpot Plugged In: $200/month+

  1. Content Management System(WordPress)
  2. Blogging Platform(HubSpot)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(HubSpot)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(HubSpot)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(HubSpot)
  6. Landing Page Tool(HubSpot)
  7. Analytics Tool(HubSpot)
  8. CRM(HubSpot)

Option 3: WordPress without HubSpot + Misc. Tools: $337/month

  1. Content Management System(WordPress – requires hosting – est. $40/month)
  2. Blogging Platform(WordPress – free with above)
  3. Search Engine Optimization Tools(Moz Tools – $150/month)
  4. Social Media Monitoring and Publishing Tools(Hootsuite – $10/month)
  5. Email Marketing Tool(Mail Chimp – $20/month)
  6. Landing Page Tool(Lead Pages – $67/month)
  7. Analytics Tool(Google Analytics – free)
  8. CRM(Salesforce – $25/month/user – estimated $50/month)

The Process

So, what does this process look like? Honestly, it depends on the route you take (in-house or outsourced), but here are the main phases you’ll go through.

  1. Technology Phase
  2. Set Up Phase
  3. Monthly Activity
  4. Analyze, Modify and Continue

Technology Phase

The first step is to get your technology in place. You can work with your in-house staff and/or an agency to help implement the tools and get them working properly and doing the things you need them to do. This process can take anywhere from one to four months depending on your existing infastructure and the size of your business.

Set Up Phase

The set up phase typically overlaps with the technology phase and will be a similar timeframe: one to four months. The set up phase involves a lot of strategy work, content development (e-books, email nurturing campaigns, content calendars, marketing personas, etc.)

Monthly Activity

Once everything is set up and the technology is in place, it’s time to start working on monthly marketing activity. This activity plan will vary depending on your goals and budget. I’ll also give you a sample monthly activity plan below, but this activity plan will include items such as blogging, search engine optimization, social media, email marketing and offer development.

Analyze, Modify, and Continue

Once you get going with your monthly activity, it’s important to be consistent. In addition, you’ll want to review what’s working and what’s not on a regular basis. This can happen quarterly, twice per year or annually depending on how much you’re investing into your monthly activity plan.

Putting It All Together

We’ve covered a lot up to this point! In this section, I want to show you exactly what this will look like when you put it all together. I’m going to lay out a sample monthly activity plan along with the technology components and how those work together with the plan.

Remodeling Monthly Activity Success Plan (Recipe)

  • 12 Monthly Blog Posts
    • Each blog post is targeting a specific keyword you want to rank for (example: Dallas Kitchen Remodeling)
    • Each blog post should contain at least one optimized photo
    • Each blog post should be at least 400-800 words long
    • Each blog post should contain a “call to action”.
    • Each blog post should have social media promotion schedule to attract more visitors.
  • 4 Content Pages
    • Content pages are static website pages. These can be anything from building out a “Our Team” page to specific service pages such as “Dallas Kitchen Remodeling” or “Dallas Bathroom Remodeling” or “Dallas Basement Remodeling”. Changes are you service multiple cities, so you may need to create a “Dallas Kitchen Remodeling” page as well as an “Austin Kitchen Remodeling” page.
    • Each page should be optimized for a specific keyword you want to rank for.
    • Each page should contain 1 or more optimized photos.
    • Each page should be at least 500+ words of content.
    • Your pages should not contain duplicate information.
  • Social Media Activity
    • You should be posting to social media daily.
    • Utilize the networks that matter most to remodelers: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Houzz, and Pinterest.
      • Add photos
      • Share blog posts
      • Share testimonials
      • Share design ideas
      • Ask questions
      • Run contents
  • Email Marketing (Newsletter + 1 or more email blasts)
    • Send a monthly email newsletter
    • Email blasts
      • Send a monthly email blast promoting new premium content like e-books
      • Send emails prior to open houses
      • Hold events and send emails promoting those events
    • Less than monthly, send emails to customers asking for referrals
  • Pay Per Click (Google/Facebook)
    • This is optional, but can drive extra leads, especially to websites that get very low traffic.
  • Create downloads and e-books (1 every quarter)
    • e-books like a Kitchen Design Guide work for you 24/7 on your website to capture leads.
    • Each e-book should come with the following:
      • Landing Page (conversion page)
      • Thank You Page (sucess page)
      • Follow Up Email
      • Email Lead Nurturing campaign (5-7 emails)
      • Call to Action Buttons
  • Monthly Reporting
    • Each month, you should be measuring the following (at a minimum!)
      • Website Traffic
      • Organic Website Traffic
      • Number of Leads Generated
      • Lead Conversion Rate
      • New Customers
    • After multiple months, you will start to see trends in where your best leads and customers are coming from. Is it Google? Social media? Once you know this, you can double down your investment in those areas providing you the best results.

This is just a sample plan, but if you have the right tools in place and follow this plan using the skills and knowledge needed, you’ll grow your business dramatically and create a true assest out of your website. It will be your top lead generator and top sales person.

Quick Re-Cap

Well, what did you think? Does this process sound like it will work for you? Are you doing some of it already? I know there’s a lot to digest here, so I created a cheat sheet for you. Just click the button below to access the cheat sheet for the Perfect Internet Marketing System for Remodelers. And leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you.

Download Free

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The No.1 Email Mistake I Know You’re Making

Every single touch with another human being is an opportunity for your company to shine. It’s a chance to differentiate yourself from the competition. And the out-of-office reply is the single most overlooked opportunity a remodeler has to be remarkable.

Now, the amount of mileage you can get on this will certainly vary. If you’re new to our community you’re (hopefully) getting at least one week away per year. But for some (like many of our Roundtables™ members) you’re taking three to six weeks of vacation per year.

Whichever applies to you, one thing we demand Continue reading

Are You Overlooking the Goldmine in Your Back Yard?

Reports from the many remodelers with whom we speak are mixed — some are building strong backlogs and receiving calls for larger projects. This means increased revenue year-over-year and the opportunity to begin hiring again, taking some of the load off of the reduced staff. Whew!

Others are still reporting a lack of work, open schedules, and dwindling leads. When I talk to these owners, our conversation frequently centers around marketing and one common failing in their marketing programs is the fact that they are ignoring their sometimes extensive list of previous clients.

Today, more than ever, your previous clients are a lifeline to additional work. If you have holes in your pipeline, then pick up the phone and start calling these friends of the company. Let them know that you have an opening in your schedule, that you are offering this first to those who have helped make your company successful. What projects are on their dream list for the coming months? If they’re not planning to remodel this year, ask if they have a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who is looking for a reputable remodeling company. Promise to provide the same high quality customer service that this happy customer received.


Second, if you are not doing so yet, start collecting client’s email addresses. Email is a very affordable and effective form of marketing.

Here’s one way to gather emails: First, send a hard copy letter to each client with an upbeat update on the company’s latest projects, new hires, schedule openings, etc. As a P.S. (one of the most read sections of any sales letter), promote a contest in which you invite clients to subscribe to your company’s newsletter, an action that will also enter them in a contest to win a dinner for two at a local restaurant. They can subscribe simply by sending you an email with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

Don’t wait until you have hundreds. Start reaching out to your clients with an email within weeks. This “newsletter” can be created in-house or by a service like The Remodelers Newsletter. It can be a simple email letter from you mentioning an article in which you thought they would be interested, along with a link to read the entire article.

This is only one part of a full marketing plan — but an essential one! This gold mine can be producing business for many years to come. But only if you get out there and work it!

Ten Marketing Tactics That Work!

Everyone has to be smart about generating leads. Marketing is more important than ever and many of us are finding that we have to spend much more to generate enough leads for our business. Below are ten tactics that you should have in place in your business before you do anything else.  If you don’t have them in place yet, you know what to do.

Excerpt from Business Straight to the Heart: The Remodelers Guide to Leadership, Management and Success–the newest book from industry guru, Linda Case.


Top Ten Marketing Tactics Countdown:

Every smart remodeler is covered by insurance against catastrophe. But there is one type of coverage many lack. That’s the coverage that assures that the intake pipeline for work stays full. Many, many remodelers give marketing— the insurance that fills that pipeline—short shrift.

We’ve explored planning and tracking your marketing. Today, I want to cover the top 10 marketing outreaches that work. They aren’t the most sophisticat­ed but they work, year after year. I’ll start at the bottom, Letterman-style.

#10: E-Mail

Developing an e-mail database and sending to it six times during the year. A small company should have 200 to 300 names, addresses, and e-mail addresses in its database, so be sure to capture e-mails of all prospects, all clients, and all friends of the company who are likely to refer to you. Since e-mail is so inexpensive, you don’t have to cull your e-mail the way you used to when you were using your database to “snail” mail.

#9: Association Membership

I wouldn’t have thought of this until I heard Steve Dormann of S & D Renovations Inc., a $2.5 million remodeler in Emmaus, Pa., recently tell how his remodeling association membership has brought him 12% of his volume. He listed links to the website, awards, referrals, and more. He obviously uses every opportunity to mine his membership for marketing angles.

#8: Home Tours

Often, tours are the result of an association’s efforts and they are soft sell and very effective. One remodeler, who had three proj­ects in the same neighborhood, ran his own tour. If you use this tactic, don’t forget security, dust protection, food, and more.

#7: Publicity

When you talk about your company, it’s advertising. When your newspaper or your radio or your TV talks about you, it’s powerful third-party testimonial. It’s often inexpensive to engage a local freelance public relations professional to design and implement six stories about you, your company, or your projects over the next year. Don’t forget entering projects for awards and then publicizing the wins.

#6: High Community Profile

Here’s a chance to take what you enjoy—golf, sailing, biking, charitable outreach—and turn it to your company’s advantage. Don’t be bashful and don’t be brash, but let folks know what you do. They’ll put that together with the fact they like and admire you and will call you for their next remodeling project. Also consider semi­nars for the public here. Take every opportunity to meet and greet and to position yourself as “the remodeling expert.”

#5: Jobsite Presence

Do you have a distinctive sign that shows your crafts­manship and is readable from the street? You might want to include a brochure box—like real estate pros do—on the post. You could also do one, two, or three letters to the 50 to 100 neighbors near the jobsite. After all, you have a “showroom” in their neighborhood. You also have a built-in testimonial.

#4: Your Website

This used to be an option, but no more. Yes, it is a new kind of brochure for your company with great photos, but it should be informative, should stress your uniqueness when compared with your competition, and should encourage new prospects to contact you.

#3: A Great Image

This becomes particularly important for design/build companies. It starts with a logo and a look—colors and fonts. This includes your signage, your stationary, and your website. It should all be consistent and great looking. Don’t skimp here.

#2: Sterling Customer Service

No remodeler can afford to constantly market for new clients. By pleasing your current buyers, you create friends of the company. Because happy clients tell 3 to 5 of their friends and unhappy ones tell 10 or more (unless they give you a scathing review online, in which case thousands), you are playing an important mathematical game of keeping good words out on the street about your company. Consider everything you do to delight your buyers as part of your marketing.

and, drum roll, please…

#1: Past Customers and Friends of the Company Program

This always was and always will be number one marketing outreach. Staying in touch with your past clients and referrers four to six times a year keeps their loyalty strong and keeps them referring you year after year. Vary your contacts from newsletters to invitations to special events. And don’t forget a written thank-you for every referral. Companies have summer picnics, get-togethers, and special perks like Christmas tree cuttings for this expanded sales force.


It’s a tremendous responsibility to run a business on which your family and your employees, your trade contractors and vendors, and their families depend. Don’t forget that intake pipeline insurance—your marketing!

If you need business development help, then it’s time to join the Remodelers Advantage Learning Community, a group of motivated remodeling company owners who work together so that all can succeed. Over 300 remodelers are now members. You can be too. Just give us a call at 301-490-5620 x106 to talk about how we can help you reach your business and professional goals. RemodelersAdvantage.com