4 Remodeler Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Are you ready to get real about the marketing mistakes your remodeling business made this year? One of the best ways to grow is to learn from your mistakes and vow to do better in the future. We surveyed remodelers from across the U.S. and Canada in Builder Funnel’s inaugural State of Remodeler Marketing Report and uncovered some mistakes remodelers were making and how to fix them to grow sales and boost your marketing in 2020. 

Remodeler Marketing Priorities

In 2019, the majority of remodelers surveyed prioritized converting leads to customers. However, almost half of those remodelers said their biggest marketing challenge was generating traffic and leads. While converting leads to customers is an important aspect of any business, remodelers struggled to obtain leads in 2019, and also didn’t make converting leads to customers a goal.

In 2020, focus your marketing efforts on the areas that generate leads and close sales. For many of the remodelers we work with, lead generation often come from premium content offers such as design guides or cost reports. Once you have a lead in your database, you can keep in contact and nurture them to the purchase phase by providing additional information, building trust, and helping lead them through their remodeling journey.

ROI & Analytics

In 2019, more than half of remodelers surveyed couldn’t calculate their marketing return on investment (ROI) or didn’t know which form of marketing gave them a higher ROI. This is causing remodelers to lose out on money and leads by not monitoring the ROI of their marketing efforts. If a tactic isn’t working, it’s important to change it to perform better or remove it from the marketing set, reallocating that part of the budget and time to an area that is doing well.

In 2020, invest in your marketing and your business by installing marketing analytics software. Once you can see the data, check the numbers weekly to see if anything needs to be tweaked. Take deeper dives monthly to see what’s working for your business and what’s not. By implementing these suggestions, your remodeling company will start to generate leads and customers more efficiently.

Remodeler Marketing Content & Strategy

In 2019, remodelers said that growing SEO and organic presence was a top priority. It’s  commonplace for consumers to take to the internet to do 90 percent of their research and decision making. However, this becomes a mistake when remodelers don’t take the extra step to boost their websites. Almost half of remodelers said their company never blogs, which is an important traffic driver and website booster.

In 2020, continue to focus your efforts on SEO and organic presence, but also consider more content creation for your website. We generally see content-heavy websites perform better in terms of website visits and leads, because with more options drawing people to your website, there are more opportunities for your content to be seen and for visitors to convert. Add blogs, videos, FAQs, process explainers, timelines, and any other pieces of content users would find helpful.

Sales & Leads

In 2019, more than half of remodelers said qualifying leads was their top sales challenge. It’s understandable that this is a challenge, especially while television shows on HGTV make remodeling seem like a fun, easy, and cheap process. Qualifying leads doesn’t have to be a long process or even a difficult one.

In 2020, let your leads self-qualify. Knowledge is power and your prospective customers want to learn more about the process before they begin. Why waste your own time by disqualifying leads after they’ve already reached out? Educate your consumers on the points that will help them self-qualify before they even get to you. Give consumers a range of what they can expect to pay for a remodel. Tell them the types of projects you complete. Show them what your timeline for remodeling projects typically is. All of this information can be given on your website — and ultimately saves time for you and for your prospect.

Creating Your 2020 Marketing Plan

We all make mistakes, but true failure comes when we don’t learn from our mistakes and instead continue to make the same ones. If your remodeling business is making any of these mistakes, consider the points above and work on a better system for 2020. For more stats and takeaways your business can use in the coming year, download the full 2019 State of Remodeler Marketing Report.

Marketing Toolbox: Canva is a Busy Marketer’s Dream

Marketing for a remodeling business is often handled by the owners themselves, an office manager, an intern, or someone solely responsible for marketing such as a Marketing Director or Coordinator.

Regardless of who your champion is, marketing is often a hectic, fast-paced endeavor; trying to keep up with the pace of a growing remodeling firm as you constantly try to add to your portfolio of amazing work, maintain your website, videos, blogs, social media assets, live events … and the list goes on.

Here at R/A we began using a tool to help us keep up with the pace of our own department, and we’ve found that is has saved us countless hours, allowed us to collaborate, share files and even ramp up our creative a little.

Canva is a web-based design tool that allows you to crank out social media graphics, basic logos, presentations and even print projects like flyers, posters, invitations and more. 

Speed

The key to using Canva is speed — an easy-to-use and intuitive design tool allows creation, editing and uploading of images to use and templates to start from. Once you have a design set, say a Facebook image for example, you can copy and resize for other social media-channels quickly and easily instead of starting from scratch each time.

Ease of Use

If you’re an experienced designer, you’ll like how quickly you can crank out work without having to open multiple Adobe products, and if you are a “newbie” you’ll find the editing tool intuitive to use. There is a “design school” with a series of how-to videos that will have you producing great work in no time at all.

Collaborate & Share

If you need to share images or projects with different team members, you can set up groups in Canva and share images or keep them private.

Multiple Exports

You can download your images quickly or, share them directly on your social media channels if you choose to set that up. Print projects can be exported as high-res PDFs and there is even an option to order prints directly from Canva, but we’ve not used that.

I’m sure there are countless other web tools similar to Canva and we have looked at a few; the key is to find a tool that is fast and easy to adopt and use within your own organization. One that you can use no matter how experienced you may be as a designer or editor.

If you’re interested in looking at Canva, visit their website at https://www.canva.com

Website Conversion Killers: What You Need to Know

Remodelers and Custom Home Builders spend millions every year, driving prospective clients to their websites and landing pages.. doing everything in their power to get visitors to hit that “contact us” link or fill out a form to provide more information and request a meeting with you… Eureka… A Conversion! A Lead! A Potential New Client!

So why are so many websites (estimated at around 75%) potentially sending prospects away by adding social media buttons and links to the tops or footers of their respective websites? You are essentially inviting a prospect into your virtual showroom and then hanging large “EXIT” signs up for them to click on… If they click on any of these; Facebook, Instagram, Houzz, etc. there is a really big chance that they AREN’T coming back and in the case of Houzz you’ve sent them to a website where all of your competitors are.

Relevancy and Legitimacy

I have brought this up at several Roundtables meetings and other R/A Events and the push-back I get is “I want to connect with my potential clients” or “If they don’t see that we are on social media, we look less legitimate.” I totally understand that, my point is that we need to look more closely at how we present your social media on your website, and hopefully change the way you view how social can work for your business.

Social is vitally important

In 2015 Forbes estimated that 31% of all referral traffic was coming from social and that has only grown and become more important over the past 4 years. A vibrant and active social strategy is critical to a remodeling business; connecting with existing clients, showing project progress, videos and your activities and efforts in the community, etc. but social media is designed to SEND traffic to your website so you can convert, not a destination where a prospect is likely to convert to a lead.

So here are 6 things to keep in mind when integrating social media with your website

Share vs. Send: Whether it’s your gallery, an article or a blog post, giving your website visitors the ability to share your content on THEIR social media WITHOUT LEAVING your content can be a huge asset in driving traffic to specific areas of your website. Social sharing tools are very common plug-ins in WordPress and other content managements systems.

Video Leaks: Video is a fantastic way to present dynamic, engaging and compelling content, especially testimonials. Just be careful how you embed the video into your website. If your video window includes a YouTube logo in the lower right-hand corner or at the end of your video there is a collage of “other videos like this one” you just opened the exit door and invited your prospect to leave. We use YouTube here for our content channel but use Vimeo when embedding video into websites and landing pages.

Avoid Social Widgets: Another fairly popular way to present social content is to use one of the widgets (provided code) that social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram offer. I don’t recommend them because (1) they can affect load time on your website, (2) if they are broken or aren’t being served correctly they just show up as empty areas or weird error messages and (3) they will likely have the same exit links that the social buttons provide.

Location, Location: If you must include social media buttons, perhaps instead of a global element on the header or footer, you only present them on the “contact us” page of your website. They are there if needed for legitimacy, but they aren’t in the prospect’s face on every page, tempting them to leave.

Think Small, Monochromatic: If you MUST have them on your header or footer.. make them as small as possible and less noticeable. The colored, flashy sticker icons are not only a dated look aesthetically, they are also just begging your web visitors to click and leave. Small, outlined, subtle icons are best.

Open a Window: And last, but certainly not least, if you must have these links to social assets on your website, PLEASE code the link to open a new tab or window in your browser and not just navigate away… never to be seen again.

It’s not easy to let go

With so many websites out there doing it, it’s tough to buck the trend and do something different. Test it out for 2-3 months. Take these social icons off your website and take a look at your conversion rates, did they go up compared to this same time last year? In your analytics program, did the amount of time on your website improve? See what links were clicked on when exiting your website. Plenty of data to look at to see if this is a change you can live with and profit from.

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.

Running Your Remodeling Company Using Dashboards

In order to run a profitable remodeling company, you have to understand your business inside and out. That is why Remodeler’s Advantage pushes its members to measure every aspect of the business.

Everything from your marketing to your financials, it is important to measure key data points and make decisions based on that data to push your business forward.

But the reality is that most company owners do not track those ever-important metrics for their company. There are too many hurdles. You have to jump from one platform to the next just to extract the data (what’s my Google Analytics password again?).

Depending on the platform, finding the data can be extremely hard. Finally, you have to make sense of all of that data so that you can make good business decisions.

In short, it’s hard.

Why you should use dashboards

Dashboards are dynamic reporting systems that allow you to get a glimpse into every aspect of your business. Instead of constantly jumping from one platform to the next trying to find those key data points, company dashboards allow you to view your metrics at anytime and at a glance.

  • Easy to access.
  • All metrics in one place.
  • Data updates regularly so you know it’s current.
  • Allows you to easily identify company trends.

Here is a snapshot of a marketing performance dashboard just as an example:

What Metrics Should You Track?

There are thousands of datapoints that could be measured and tracked in your business. But just because you can measure something doesn’t mean that you should measure something.

So what areas of the business should you track on your dashboards? The first place to start is to establish your goals for the company, and most often this starts with financial goals. However, it is important to understand what activities need to be accomplished each month to accomplish your financial goals. Whether it is tracking metrics such as website conversion rate or metrics around payroll, you should be clear on how each one affects your ultimate company/financial goals.

Based on our countless conversations with remodeling company owners, we believe that marketing, sales, and financial metrics are a few of the most important goals within every remodeling company and is a good place to start.

We created a list of 50 metrics that you should consider for your company. Click here to download the excel spreadsheet.

Choosing Good Metrics

Not all metrics are created equal. Within the marketing department alone, there are hundreds of data points that you could track. So what are the attributes of a good metric? Here are some things to look for.

A good metric will change the way you behave.
Every metric that you choose to track should prompt you to act. Maybe the action is a small adjustment in your social media strategy. Or maybe a metric will cause you to want to change your sales process. Regardless, a good metric will cause you to make decisions.

A good metric will reveal trends and not just moments in time.
Often times, business owners will look at snapshot metrics. Examples of these might be # website visits, # of new leads, etc. While these metrics are very valuable, and often establish baseline metrics, these are not the only metrics to consider.

In addition to your snapshot metrics you should look at metrics that show you “movement” toward your business goals. A metric such as “our website has a 2% conversion rate” is important to know, but a better metric might be “our website increased conversions by 12% compared to last month.” When comparing a metric to another, you are able to determine trends that could be impacting your company.

A good metric is not a vanity metric.
A vanity metric is a metric that may look good on the surface, but does not reveal the true health of your business activities. For example, having thousands of Facebook followers looks good on paper, but number of engaged Facebook followers is infinitely more valuable for you to know.

When Should You Review Your Dashboards

It depends! There are some metrics that you will want to measure weekly, and there are others that you will want to review monthly, quarterly, or annually. As an example, here are a few sales metrics that serve as examples for each timeframe:

Weekly

  • # of calls/emails/tasks completed by sales team
  • # of new appointments set
  • # of raw leads created

Monthly

  • # of new deals created
  • # of deals closed
  • Conversion rate from lead to closed deal
  • Revenue in each stage of pipeline

Quarterly

  • # of new deals closed
  • Average # of days to close
  • Total Revenue

Yearly

  • Total Revenue
  • Total # of Deals Closed
  • Top Sources of New Deals
  • Reasons Deals Were Lost

Steps to Create Your Own Dashboards

Here are a few steps and tools to consider as you begin building out your own company dashboards:

  • Determine what metrics should be tracked for your company
  • Understand where you will need to get this data from
  • Use tools such as Databox or Countly to create your dashboards
  • Setup systems to review your dashboards on a regular basis

Note: You can set up dashboards within tools like Google Analytics. However, this still keeps reports isolated and forces you to jump from one platform to another.

Dashboards Will Not Solve Your Problems, But They Will Guide You to the Answers

We have talked a lot about how and why Dashboards can help you run your company better. However, we fully realize that this is no silver bullet. Instead, we believe that adding more tools to your toolbelt will help you to make better decisions and come up with creative solutions for your company.

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?

5 New Platforms to Consider for Your Remodeler Marketing Strategy

*This post has been updated to reflect 2020 data.

Our team at Builder Funnel attends the annual Digital Marketing Conference INBOUND in Boston every year. We know we are always bound to come back to Colorado Springs overflowing with new ideas, inspiration, and technology updates for the coming year. 2017 was no exception.

With a heavy emphasis on storytelling, social media marketing, video marketing, and emerging technology, it’s fair to say we came back with our notebooks full of ideas.

How do you stay on top of an industry that is constantly evolving everyday? Let’s start with what you’ll need to know about emerging technology in the Digital Marketing realm.

1. Off-Site Publishing for Remodeling Companies

Blogging has been an important aspect of content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media sharing for the remodeling industry for years. But how does an increasing amount of mobile users affect this?

In fact, roughly 86% of time spent on mobile is in apps (and nearly all of that is spent among the same 5 apps). That means that the vast majority of searches conducted on mobile are directly in apps such as Facebook, Google Maps, and Instagram. So what does this mean for the future of search?

Medium is an increasingly-popular off-site publishing blogosphere that has taken the internet by storm. A popular app as well as search engine, Medium offers the added benefit of not only sharing your brand with new viewers but also of capturing more views on mobile in particular.

The biggest differences between Medium and your own blog include the following:

  • Medium articles are optimized for people rather than bots factoring in search like on your website
  • Medium is all about the aesthetic experience of reading on a mobile device whereas mobile websites still tend to be an afterthought rather than a forethought
  • Medium opens the door to audiences that don’t use Google as heavily for their search engine whereas your website heavily relies on Google to be found
  • Medium boasts 30 million monthly visits to its stories, whereas Google boasts 1 billion active users between all of its platforms (Gmail, Google+, Google search, etc.)

If you’re looking to gain some traction or even just begin blogging altogether on Medium, check out this helpful article to get started.

2. Podcasting for Remodelers

I know your initial reaction to this idea, because it’s the same as mine. A podcast? Talking and recording it? What can I possibly talk about for 20-40 minutes? How do I set a schedule for this? Where do I publish? How do I get people to listen to it?
But if your biggest question was “why,” then I do have the answer to that.

A voice adds humanity to your brand. And a thoughtful, intelligent voice boosts you as a thought leader rather than just another remodeling company.
If you think you don’t have enough content to turn into podcasts, consider every single success story you could tell – how many problems you’ve solved, designs you’ve developed, and lives you’ve improved.

And, as you may have guessed, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podcast Republic, Stitcher, and CastBox are among the top apps used on mobile. In fact, 104 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly (Infinite Dial 20) and 45% of monthly podcast listeners have household income over $75K.

Podcast viewership skews to 25 to 54 year olds and with the increase in speak to search tools such as Google Home and Alexa, podcasts are built directly into the software. This style of content has never been easier to digest.

If you don’t plan on starting your own podcast any time soon but would still like to try speaking on one, give us a shout! We just launched our Builder Funnel Radio podcast, and we’d be happy to interview you!

3. Voice Search with Google Home, Alexa, and More

Are you Team Alexa or Team Google Home?

These voice search techniques are transforming the way search engine optimization works. The way people speak and interact with a human-like product isn’t the same way they type. Our brains have been convinced that we type out searches one way because Google taught us how. But now, with the emergence of speak to search applications, we are re-learning how to search.

Now, I ask questions. Are your blogs and website optimized to answer questions?

4. Video and Live Stream for Remodeler Marketing

Have you heard video referred to as the currency of social media?

It’s true. According to Wordstream, 1/3 of time spent online is watching video and 85% of internet users watch videos online. In fact, 50% of video consumed is done so online, and a staggering 92% of mobile video viewers share with others. And if you want more gasp-worthy statistics, read the full article here.

Beyond just social sharing, video has proven to increase landing page conversions, email click through rates, and search engine standings. According to OptinMonster, 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product.

So what does this mean for your remodeling company?

It means that video is critical to your remodeler marketing strategy.

Videos can be used all along the Buyer Journey by viewing them as integrated with your Sales Funnel. For example, when people are still in the discovery phase and are looking for information on your company, a video within your blog talking about the same topic could be helpful.

Or, if someone is considering your remodeling services, an educational video or a quick video about your company culture could help close the deal. If you’re ready to convert someone, a testimonial video or proof of performance is the perfect option.

Live video has been increasingly critical for businesses on Instagram and Facebook. Facebook claims that videos uploaded natively or hosted live on their platform receive and audience of roughly 10x that of YouTube in its algorithm.

If you are new to live video, I recorded a quick video to give you some background.

5. Maximizing Messenger for Remodelers

Perhaps you’ve heard that Facebook Messenger plans on being the only app you need to use (other than Facebook, of course). The statistics for 2016 and 2017 Facebook has rolled out seem to hint that this could be the future.

Messenger can now be used by business pages on Facebook in very strategic, communicative methods that can’t be overlooked. This app generates direct engagement with potential leads by engaging them in conversation on the spot. Messenger users can send message directly to your remodeling company

Facebook page rather than fill out a Contact Us form, for example.

But beyond just engaging in conversation, Messenger offers these other incredible business applications:

  • Sending content such as eBooks to users
  • Booking meetings through a scheduler
  • Engaging users during and throughout events (such as Inbound, for example)
  • Chatbots coded to answer basic questions users may have when interacting with your Facebook page

Facebook boasts that 11% of the world’s population uses Messenger actively, from video or voice calls to sharing images or engaging with brands. This is another channel where people already are expecting you to show up, and it’ll hurt your business if you don’t.

Implications of Emerging Technology for Digital Marketing

As marketers, we’re no strangers to emerging technology seeming to be unpopular but then resulting in disrupting the entire field. As 2018 approaches, it’s imperative to consider these upcoming trends moving forward with your marketing strategy.

If you have any questions, feel free to find us on Medium, check out our Podcast, ask Alexa, watch one of our videos, or shoot us a message on Facebook…