The Secret to Reselling Past Clients

Be honest, is there anything more annoying than finding out a past customer recently had work done on their house but they went with another company? Most of the time it’s not because they didn’t want to use you: it’s because they didn’t know (or couldn’t remember) that you could do that specific type of work.

In this week’s episode of PTTV I’ll share different ways to stay in front of your past clients so this never happens again.

How about you?

What strategies and tactics have you used to maintain top-of-mind awareness with your past customers? Let me know in the comments below!

The Marketing Tactic Remodelers Don’t Use Enough

Overlooked Marketing Tool

When I ask remodelers what marketing tactics they most rely on, I usually get the same answers. Number one is almost always Referrals. As it should be.

Referrals are commonly referred to as the lifeblood of a remodeling company. And the reason is obvious: since they come from a credible third-party you are instantly trustworthy.

The only real problem is that they are in large part out of your control. You have to hope someone knows someone that’s going to remodel and remembers to drop your name.

After referrals come the usual suspects: Canvassing, coupon mailers (Valpak anyone?), print ads, direct mail, radio spots, etc.

The benefit here is that unlike referrals, you can get your message to the masses, but they are costly.

Still, these tactics can be a valuable and effective part of your marketing plan. However, to get the full benefit of these marketing tactics you need to commit to long term campaigns.

Few remodelers do this. Many, in fact, will try one once and give up on it.

This is what I call the Casino Strategy.

The Casino Strategy.

Regardless of the tactic you choose, doing it only once is relying heavily on luck. Since it takes repetition to achieve top of mind awareness and brand recall, doing a one-off campaign means you’re hoping your message will hit home with a prospect at the very moment that they:

  • Have a need or desire for your service
  • Have the money to spend on your service
  • Have a motivation to proceed that outweighs the desire to keep their money

Put another way, it’s very much like putting a $10 casino chip on RED-12 at the roulette table. Yes, this number will certainly hit at some point in time. But will it be when your chip is on the table?

Not likely. So your one-off campaign just missed the mark.

In order to make it work, you have to keep putting that $10 chip down over and over hoping this will be the time when RED-12 hits (i.e. your prospect is ready).

This is what makes these tactics so costly. You have to engage in a long-term campaign to be sure you’re “on the table” when the prospect is ready for you.

Quite the quandary.

If only there were a magic casino chip that could sit on RED-12 for the next 30, 50… 100 spins of the wheel without further investment.

Well, believe it or not there is.

The Magic Chip

What we’re looking for is a marketing tactic that:

  1. combines the widespread coverage of casino tactics…
  2. with the trust factor that referrals bring…
  3. at little to no cost to you.

Did you guess the tactic yet?

Email marketing does it all!

It allows you to stay in constant contact (pun intended) with customers and prospects, helps you build relationships and earn trust, and best of all costs next to nothing to send messages over and over again.

So why do less than 10% of remodelers have an active email marketing program in place? My guess is it’s the same reason people would rather put $500 into a casino than into a savings account — immediate return potential.

An email marketing program can take months, if not years, to see big results. But the long term benefits are there to be had.

It’s Easier Than You Think

The biggest obstacle to overcome is the seemingly daunting task of building your list.

But you already have an audience that you’re overlooking! Start with past customers. Then move to the phone calls and emails you receive. Your website gets traffic I assume? How about the the events you hold and home shows you participate in?

Building relationships with this audience will accelerate your growth. And not giving them a way to stay connected with you is a lost opportunity.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your “list” is arguably the most valuable asset in your business. If you’re not actively trying to build a list, then you’re missing an opportunity to increase your company’s value.

Promote It!

You have to get the word out. Promote your subscription email service or newsletter in everything you do.

  • Promote it on your trucks
  • Promote it on your print ads
  • Promote it on your estimates
  • Promote it on your business cards

Don’t be afraid to be agressive and take it offline. Remember I said casino tactics can be a valuable part of your marketing? Consider papering a neighborhood with your newsletter signup as the primary message.

What do you think is going to have a higher response: “Get a free tips in your email” or “Get a free quote.”?

Do’s and Don’ts

In my opinion, you shouldn’t get caught up in the hype of fancy HTML emails and newsletters. You don’t want to make the reader feel as though they are just part of a list. Plus, most email services won’t download images by default. Which means that pretty email is going to look very ugly at first glance.

Great emails start conversations. One good way to do this is to simply to ask for a reply! It reminds the reader that you’re human, that you care about her and you want to help. As an added bonus, email algorithms (like gmail) take note of email addresses that are responded to, keeping your future emails out of the spam box.

A few more tips:

Don’t…

  • Don’t make every issue an advertisement.
  • Don’t miss an issue …ever.
  • Don’t forget your manners.
  • Don’t sound technical/show off.
  • Don’t use a generic email address (like newsletter@…)
  • NEVER use a noreply@… address.

Do…

  • Do provide valuable information.
  • Do support your brand image.
  • Do write in a conversational tone.
  • Do use a personal email address
  • Do encourage reader to share/forward.

Email marketing is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools in the remodelers marketing toolkit. But it’s being overshadowed by shiny buzzwords like SEO, social media and the like. If you are patient and stay committed, you will see great returns in the months and years to come.

What about you?

Are you one of the minority that uses email marketing? How’s it working for you? If not, what’s holding you back? I look forward to reading your replies below.

5 Keys to Running a Successful Email Newsletter

How to Run an Email NewsletterEmail newsletters should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. People love to read timely information on topics that are of interest to them.

A newsletter campaign will serve to keep your name firmly “top-of-mind” with your customers and is a great way to solidify your remodeling company as an industry leader. Here are 5 key points to consider when running your email program.

Frequency

Studies have shown that there is no maximum number of newsletters you should be sending–as long as the content is relevant and compelling. I’m subscribed to hundreds of newsletters and there are a few I get twice a day. Don’t be afraid that you will annoy subscribers!

Of course, without a full-time copywriter on staff, 40 monthly newsletters will be daunting (to say the least). To start you should plan on sending one or two newsletters per week; but certainly no less than two per month. Why? Because it works! It works because you never know when prospects will buy, so you have to keep plugging away.

Newsletters are advertising; and as with all advertising, repetition is key. It’s through repetition that you will establish credibility, brand familiarity and ultimately become the first thought when the need for your products or services arises.

Quantity, Layout, and Content

Newsletters should be clean, easy to read, and ultra-specific. If you’re just starting out, stick to one article per issue. There is much debate on this point, but I would urge you to consider your own tendencies before jumping on the “more is better” bandwagon. Especially if you’re just starting out and are concerned about frequency. If topic ideas are at a premium, you’re better off not blowing through them all in one mailing.

This format also allows for a more compelling subject line —which is arguably the most important part of the email (assuming you want it to be read). Another benefit to sending one topic per issue is the potential for forwarding. Subscribers are more likely to become your evangelists if the newsletter is  clear and specific. You want the opportunity for a subscriber to think, “Hey, John would love this,” and that will result in more subscribers and ultimately more customers.

Tone, Personality, and the Missed Opportunity

“You” is the most powerful word in advertising. In my experience, the most effective newsletters speak to you, not at you. It should answer the “what’s in it for me” question each and every issue.

Ultimately, the newsletter is an opportunity to cultivate a relationship—not make a sale. The goal is to befriend the subscribers and maintain the impression that it’s a one-to-one communication. This lets them know that you’re not a company, you’re a person.

Most newsletters miss this one completely. They try to sound like big corporate machines. Writing in the first person will make the reader feel like you are speaking directly to her. This will make your newsletter a more personal and more effective communication method.

Title Format

As I said earlier, the subject line is most important element in getting your newsletter opened and read. It should be compelling and less than 50 characters. Compelling is “6 tips to making your home more energy efficient.” As far as subject lines go, I think you’ll agree that this is highly more likely to be opened than “ABC Remodeling Newsletter – March Issue”.

And, since you’ve taken my advice and decided to write in the first person, you’re certainly going to want the “from” email to be a person. Consider this: are you more apt to open an email from mark@example.com or newsletters@example.com?

Opt Out Language

I said earlier you can never send out too many newsletters. Well, it should be noted that a recent study showed people who unsubscribe from good-quality newsletters cite the primary reason for leaving as delivery frequency. But don’t panic! This can be easily remedied by directly addressing the “high volume” objection on the opt-out page.

Consider this: someone wants to unsubscribe because you’re sending too many emails. They click the unsubscribe link and are directed to the following opt out page:

Please select your delivery frequency:
[ x ]   I would like to lower my delivery frequency to one email per month.
[    ]   I no longer wish to receive the coupons, tips, and insights your newsletter offers at this time. Please unsubscribe me.

Assuming the only reason for leaving your otherwise insightful and entertaining content is the volume of emails, this option will save you from losing a loyal reader (and future customer). So as I said, don’t be afraid of over-mailing. The upside to high-volume newsletter delivery far out-weighs the downside.

How To Increase Your Referral Leads?

We work with some pretty smart remodelers so when we hear a great idea, we want to share it with you. Here’s one made up of three key points to help you increase the number of referral leads (aka. Solid Gold!) that you receive:

Key Point #1: Timing

Washington, DC, remodeler Jerry Liu, doesn’t just hope the referrals will come. Instead, he takes a proactive approach to significantly increasing the referral leads generated by he and his salespeople. The first key is timing. “We ask for referrals at contract signing because we know that’s when our customers are on an emotional high. They’re excited! From there, it goes down hill until some time after the job’s completed and the memory of the disruption has faded,” says Liu.

Key Point #2: Questioning

The second key is in how they ask. In the script Liu’s created, the salesperson says,

“Mr. & Mrs. Smith, as you know, most of our business comes from referrals. If I were to ask you to refer me to someone who needs remodeling, you’d probably say, “I can’t think of anyone now but will be sure to let you know if I do.”

“We send out a newsletter 2 to 3 times a year to our clients, which you’ll be receiving. It contains tips on home maintenance, the latest remodeling trends, etc. If I were to ask you for names of people . . . friends, family, neighbors, or business associates. . . who might be interested in our newsletter, would you be able to help me?”

By listing the types of people they know, Liu helps the customers identify prospects. And because he’s simply offering to send a free, informative newsletter, the customers feel no pressure to resist. “Plus, by personalizing the request and asking them to help me, they’re usually all too willing,” says Liu.

Key Point #3: Following-Up

The third key is how they follow up. The salesperson calls each prospect and says:

“Mr. ___________, we are remodeling the Smith’s home and they referred me to you. Mrs. Smith told me you might be interested in receiving our newsletter. I realize it might be just another piece of junk mail for you. I don’t suppose there’s a reason you’d want me to send it to you?”

Liu says, “If they indicate that they’d like to receive it because of an upcoming project, we ask for more details. If they would rather not receive it, they are thanked and, you guessed it, asked for other referrals!” This approach is a wonderful tool for instantly increasing quality leads whenever the flow slows down.

I firmly believe that by being proactive, and using a proven system, you can double the number of referrals that you receive – and be well on your way to doubling your business as well!