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.

[Podcast] Episode 9: Seven Steps to Earning Positive Online Reviews with Bryan Sebring

Online reviews can be the “Lifeblood” of any remodeling company’s business and marketing strategy and in Episode 9, Victoria and Mark speak with Bryan Sebring a very successful remodeler who has mastered the art of collecting online reviews from his satisfied clients.

Bryan is the Owner of Sebring Design Build in Naperville, IL and has quickly become a valuable resource and thought-leader for R/A and our Roundtables members.

According to Bryan he is a self-taught marketer who jumped in with both feet following a website re-design project that went sideways.

Bryan’s 7 Step process for driving positive reviews is more than just a marketing strategy. As Bryan describes, his firm’s process of asking for reviews and earning them with hard work, great design and a client-first attitude has become more of a company culture.

As Bryan, Victoria and Mark discuss the 7-step process, we learn more about:

  • Strategies around specific websites such as Houzz, Angie’s List and Yelp.
  • Infusing the review process into your sales/lead intake process
  • Dealing with bad reviews
  • How to encourage and educate your clients to read and provide reviews
  • Setting expectations with clients at project kickoff
  • How to work with client on project completion and walk-through

 

Click Here to Listen to Episode 9 >>

 

Free Resource

As Bryan describes his sales and lead intake process, he mentions that he provides his clients and prospects with information to educate them about online reviews: what to look for, good signs, red flags, etc.  Here’s the blog post he share’s with them, which also includes his free Remodeling 101 ebook.
 

…And Speaking of Asking for Reviews

We are receiving great feedback from our listeners and we have more great episodes like this one coming. If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word by rating our show and commenting on iTunes, Stitcher, or whichever platform you use!

Giving Back: How Does Charitable Giving Affect Your Business?

We had a great dinner conversation with a remodeling business owner here in town for our annual Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. He asked, “What types of charitable giving programs do your members typically take part in?” “How do they give back?”

Our answer was very non-specific because, to be honest, we haven’t gathered this type of information about our members. We know anecdotally that many of our members are very involved in many different charitable activities. From faith-based organizations to community and industry-related involvement, our members are extremely involved.

But how has it affected their business? Is it simply altruistic or is it in bad taste or inappropriate to expect a return on the investment in time and money? Is that a factor in the decision to get involved or give back?

We would love to hear back from our members and subscribers; What types of charitable giving organizations are you involved or partnered with? How has it affected your business? Have you seen a positive impact? Please comment and share below.

If your remodeling business is not involved in a charitable giving program or you have yet to find a way to give back.. pay attention to the feedback and ideas on this post and I also found a great article on the matter in Entrepreneur about “4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back.” In the article, John Boitnot provides 4 strong reasons why…

  • Building respect and a good reputation in the community.
  • Making your community a better place to live.
  • Employees respect leaders who do good.
  • Connections and networking.

Pay it Forward

So let’s hear it! Perhaps by sharing how your company gives back, your comment will help other business owners follow and find ways to improve their own communities.

The Critical Lead Tracking Step That Most Remodelers Are Missing

If you are a part of Remodeler’s Advantage Roundtables or have been a part of Remodeler’s University for a while, you know the importance of lead tracking. Where are you getting the most leads? The best leads? (the leads that translate to design and construction agreements).

Most remodelers are doing the basics, and are at least tracking the following categories of leads (or something similar):

  • Word of Mouth/Referrals
  • Signage
  • Direct Mail/Print
  • Internet/Website
  • Events/Shows
  • Paid Media
  • Other

This is a great start, but there is a huge gaping hole in one of these large lead buckets: Internet/Website.

If you’re doing a good job marketing online, your website should be producing 20%-40% of your leads which is a big chunk of your overall lead flow. If you don’t have more insight into where those leads are actually coming from (SEO, PPC, Social Media, etc.), you are going to be throwing a lot of money out the door.

Let me explain.

Google Analytics Isn’t Enough

Most of you probably have Google Analytics set up, which is great. That’s the standard when it comes to website analytics, but today that’s not enough. Google Analytics does a great job of telling you where your traffic is coming from, but it doesn’t “close the loop.” Where are our leads actually coming from? Remember… It’s not just about visitors.

Let’s take a look at a quick example:
If someone finds you on Houzz, then clicks through to your website, and finally, that individual fills out your Contact Us form, what will Google Analytics tell you? It will tell you that you received 1 visitor from a Referral Website (Houzz.com). That’s helpful, but it’s not the whole picture.

Capturing Part of the Equation

Because this person filled out a form, you call them to see if they are a good fit to work with you. As a part of your Lead Intake Process, you ask how they found you. They say they found your website. Chances are good that they don’t remember they clicked through from Houzz (or any other website for that matter).

So, now you have 2 pieces of information that are sort of helpful, but they are giving you false information (or at least not the full picture). The true picture is that you got a lead from your website, but they arrived there from Houzz. The picture you have is that you got 1 lead from your website. Separately, you know you got a visitor from Houzz, but you don’t know who that visitor is.

We need to connect the dots. Why, you ask?

Because many of your online sources require either time, money or both. Using our current example, Houzz has a free version and a paid version. If you’re paying for Houzz, don’t you want to know how many leads it’s producing for you? Grouping all Internet leads together doesn’t do your marketing budget justice.

How to Close the Loop

So, how can we close the loop on our marketing efforts and get some more visibility into what’s happening on our website? It requires some extra tracking, but it’s not rocket science.

Here’s what it can look like if you’re tracking your website correctly.

  • Column 1 shows Visitors to your website for various traffic sources.
  • Column 2 shows Contacts (Leads). These are people that have filled out a form on the website.
  • Column 3 shows Customers. These are leads that have actually paid for services and done a project with you.

 

And if you want to drill in and see where those referrals are coming from, you can:

 

Above, you can see Houzz has generated 1,022 visits and 65 contacts (leads). We can also close the loop and see we’ve generated 2 new customers from Houzz.

By putting the tracking system in place, we can measure various online paid media channels we use (Google Pay Per Click, Facebook Advertising, Paid Houzz, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, etc.). When those annual contract renewals come up, it’s much easier to make the decision to continue or stop.

No more flying blind!

Next Steps

If you haven’t checked out our Perfect Internet Marketing System for Remodeler’s Cheat Sheet yet, that would be a great next step. It walks you through:

  • The Tools You Need and Recommended Options
  • Estimated Costs for the Technology
  • The Skills Needed to Implement a Full Digital Marketing Strategy

And if you really want to get into the weeds on this stuff, check out the full post I wrote for PowerTips over here.

Refill your coffee first – it’s a meaty post!

Are you closing the loop on your marketing efforts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

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.

How to Showcase Your Customer Relationships for More Referrals

Word-of-mouth recommendations are still essential for your business, but they’re happening on the Internet as much – if not more – than at the coffee shop or grocery store.

To build your brand and drive new business, you need to become part of online conversations.

Why? About 40 percent of homeowners said they would be unlikely or very unlikely to consider a contractor if they could not find reviews about the business online, according to a recent survey by Internet marketing agency Contractor Nation. Not only that but 40 percent said they would instantly avoid a contractor if they saw bad reviews.

Once potential clients know about your business, they seek resources that can assure them that they are considering the right contractor and that they are going to get value for their money. It is a trust problem – and the larger the project, the greater the concern.

That’s why you want to get positive reviews and showcase them to gain trust and bring legitimacy to your business.

Think like a homeowner

Before a remodel, homeowners are searching on Houzz, Porch, Angie’s List and other sites for before-and-after pictures, recommendations and five-star ratings to help guide their decision.

Homeowner expectations are at an all-time high. They want you to show them your workmanship and the value it adds to their home. When you sit down with them, they want to know your timeline and to be assured that they won’t be living under a dust cloud during and after the remodel.

Your first step toward better referrals is to give your clients an experience worth talking about.

Meet your deadlines, be conscious of their belongings, execute your dust control plan and give them the kitchen, bathroom or basement of their dreams. Make their experience livable.

Next, once you know you have a satisfied customer, ask for their testimonial. But not just for your website. Encourage them to post it on Houzz or another review site as well.

Also, update all of your social media accounts with your latest work and photos. When homeowners are looking for fresh ideas, they need to see your work before you stand a chance of getting a phone call for their business.

What if you see a negative review?

Realize you need to work fast. On average, customers will tell nine people about their negative experience. You’ll want to contact your client, let them know you appreciate their feedback and will work to eliminate those faults.

Most importantly – mean it. Take ownership, when applicable. Whether the negative feedback was written on your Facebook wall, through your website or in an email, make sure to point out that their voice is being heard.

These might seem like simple steps, but too many contractors do not take these opportunities to engage with customers and build upon those relationships.

What do you think?

Did I leave anything out? Please share in the comments below!

Want to learn more about this topic?

Head on over to the Marketing Course at RemodelersUniversity.com for lessons on the Customer Experience.


Sales Metrics You Should Keep an Eye On

Are you sure that your salespeople are focused on the right things? Do you know if they’re performing at the highest level or if there’s room for improvement?

All of the savvy owners I’ve spoken to agree that results–like the number of projects sold and the revenue and gross profit generated–are the ultimate measure. But what else is tracked?

Well, on today’s episode I’m going to share the most important metrics that top remodelers use to measure the effectiveness of their sales team.

What about you?

If you have key sales metrics that I forgot to mention, I’d love to hear from you! Please share with our community the comment box below!


Sales metrics to track

How to Attract High-End Customers

Selling to high-end clients is arguably one of the quickest ways to increase revenue and improve your profitability. In today’s episode of PowerTipsTv, I’ll give you some tips and tactics to attract the strong purchasing power of this coveted market segment.

Special thanks goes out to @LeoLantz for requesting today’s topic!


Have a question you need answered?

Follow Leo’s lead and send your questions to me via Twitter @VictoriaDowning with #PTanswers!

How about you?

Have some cost effective tips I forgot to mention? Please share them in the comments below!


The Secret to Creating a Great Company Culture

On this week’s episode, Victoria gives you tips you can use to help ensure you have a fantastic company culture. And if you’re thinking, “why should I worry about that?” consider this: A great culture drives happy employees. Happy employees turn customers into raving fans. And raving fans, my friend, drive referrals.

Something to ponder

Have you ever walked into a locally owned business and known immediately who the owner is just by the way she is behaving? The owner is genuinely concerned about her customers. She is focused on what the employees are doing and how they are doing it.  She will go to great lengths to make certain that everything is operating to her exacting standards.

Your ultimate goal in having a great culture is spreading this sense of ownership to everyone on your team. You want your customers to think “is that the owner?” with any team member they may encounter.

Focus on a great company culture and your employees will repay you with relentless energy and a commitment to excellence.

How about you?

What does your company do to create a great culture?  Let me know in the comments below!

Where Should You Spend Your Marketing Budget?

Do you struggle with how to spend your marketing budget? Want to know cost effective ways to generate the best leads? In this week’s episode of PowerTips TV [7:11] I’ll give you the top 5 things you should be doing with your marketing dollar.

Learn about creating a fantastic customer experience, how to stay in front of your circle of influence, strategies for getting referrals, jobsite marketing strategies, and the keys to a great website.

This episode was inspired by comments we received from our Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop last month. The most common “burning issue” question we were asked was how to cost-effectively generate leads. Want to attend our next workshop? Click here to learn more.


It’s the Best Jobsite Sign Photo Contest!

Remodeler's LibraryThink your jobsite sign rocks? Ready to put it to the test? You could win the Remodeler’s Library ($92 value).

This 4-Volume set of books includes:

  • Master the Business of Remodeling;
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  • The Remodeler’s Marketing PowerPak;
  • 101 PowerTips: Great Business Ideas from America’s Top Remodelers.

Sorry. The contest is over. Click here to see the winner!