It’s Awards Season… Are you Prepared to Win?

Your inbox is probably similar to mine, with half a dozen emails from industry publications and organizations asking for nominations and entries into various industry awards competitions.

In today’s PowerTips we throw it back to a previous episode of PowerTips TV as Victoria walks through “Tips & Tactics” when looking at entering, winning and then publicizing industry awards. Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here to Listen to Episode 43 >>

Make It an Event! Throw a Party Mid-Project

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

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

At the Project Site

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

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

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

Prepping for the Event

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

Get the word out:

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

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

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

Make it Happen

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

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

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

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

What Events Have Worked For You?

Tell us in the comments about your event marketing successes!