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More and more, homeowners are turning to online research to hire home builders, remodelers, and home service companies, and many of their waking hours are dominated by screen time. Marketing, especially online, is an important part of running any business in this day and age.
We sat down with Mindy Lepp, marketing director at LEPPDESIGN, to talk about marketing foundations and how GuildQuality members can implement a marketing strategy for their business. Mindy also presented marketing tips during a roundtable discussion hosted by GuildQuality, and some of those tips are outlined in this article. Read more about what she has to say about marketing a business in today’s online world below.
The Importance of Marketing
Word-of-mouth business is great, but it can only get you so far. Intentional, strategic marketing is the best way to grow your business to its full potential.
Marketing allows you to show off your business and convey what makes you unique from your competitors. Nearly every local competitor is marketing their business to homeowners, which is why you need to utilize all available marketing tools and channels to your advantage.
Implementing a marketing strategy is also crucial to ensure your company appears in search engine results, since that is how homeowners are doing internet research to find nearby contractors.
“It’s really important to have some kind of plan in place, even if it’s basic, even if you’re a small company.”
The long and short of it is that you need to market your business, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep reading for tips on creating and implementing a strategy.
Marketing can be daunting, but these are some basic components of a marketing strategy that you need to consider.
Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is a combination of many things: your logo, your voice in marketing materials, how your customers feel when using your product or service, what unique solutions you provide, and more. Your brand is ultimately what your customers perceive you to be.
Think about a charismatic brand, which is a brand for which consumers feel there is no substitute. This could be Apple, Kleenex, BAND-AID, or other highly recognizable brands that are household names. These are brands that have established a strong reputation, personality, and level of trust.
How do you go about building a strong brand that homeowners trust? Start by asking these questions:
- What is your brand’s personality?
- What is your brand’s voice?
- How are you different from competitors?
- What pain points do you solve?
- How do you make your clients feel?
What reputation do you want to build? How do you want customers to see you? Developing a brand takes time, so be thorough and think all these questions through to figure out what you want your brand to stand for.
Identifying your target market, a specific group of people you’re marketing your services to, will help you use your marketing budget more effectively.
Targeting the wrong audience (i.e., individuals who have never shown interest in your product and/or your product likely won’t benefit them) will result in wasted marketing dollars and efforts.
To avoid this, think about who your perfect customer is. They’re in your target audience. You want to tailor your approach to them, and they will respond positively to your marketing efforts, spend money on your services, and ideally come back for more.
How do you identify your target market? Think about demographic information such as age range, income level, education level, gender, and location. There are many other factors you can consider as well, such as average home price or remodel price in a specific area.
An example of a target market could look like this:
- Age range: 35-55
- Income level: $200,000 and up
- Education level: College graduate
- Gender: Female
- Location: Charleston, SC
Once you have a target market figured out, you can develop a buyer persona. This is an example profile of your ideal customer in that target market.
“[A buyer persona] helps when you think about where you want to put your advertising dollars.”
Think about what this consumer is interested in and where you might be able to reach them. Think social media channels, magazines, and other marketing mediums.
Write a description of what this person likes and dislikes, what hobbies they might have, what goals they want to achieve, and think about how your services could solve a problem they might have.
If you need inspiration, there are many examples of target markets and buyer personas available online. You can always hire a professional to help you develop these key pieces of your marketing strategy, too.
Developing and maintaining a high-quality and user-friendly website is crucial. Your company website is usually the first place prospective customers will go to learn more about your company, and you want that experience to be positive and helpful.
“That is your 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week salesperson.”
Mindy cautions against trying to communicate too much at once on the homepage of your website. Think about what you want the website user to find and where the most logical place is for them to find it. There needs to be a clear path for finding the information they would be most interested in.
“A lot of people try to cram too much on the homepage.”
When designing or updating your website, keep it simple, logical, and customer-friendly. Consider hiring a professional to help you craft your site; they’ve got the skills and expertise to make it attractive, easy to use, and optimized for search engines.
Speaking of optimized, our members get a profile on the GuildQuality website that is clean, easy to read, and SEO-optimized that summarizes basic information about your business and displays your survey results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about improving your website in an effort to increase its visibility in relevant searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Search engines take a look at websites, collect information, and index what they find. From there, algorithms look at the information in the index to determine what pages should appear for certain searches and in what order.
There are certain strategies you can employ to help the search engines understand what your page is all about and hopefully increase your website’s rank in the results for relevant searches.
- Use keywords or key phrases in page headings and the first paragraph on the page.
- Include links to external relevant websites.
- Use alt tags for images, and these tags can use keywords.
- Avoid free or cheap website builders, as they can sometimes write “messy” website code.
- If you have the time and bandwidth, post blog articles on your site.
SEO can be complicated, and best practices frequently change. It might be a good idea to consult a pro on how you can boost your search engine ranking and make your website more friendly for the bots that crawl and index sites for search engines.
Approximately 80% of adults in the US use social media, and they’re spending an average of 145 minutes on it each day. Social media can be a great way to get your message in front of a lot of eyes.
Mindy offered several tips for social media, primarily for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:
- Follow relevant pages or accounts as your page/account.
- Like, comment, and share posts from other pages, as your page.
- Comment with questions to get more engagement.
- Interact with your audience.
- Use industry-specific hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.
- Post consistently.
Implementing Your Strategy
It’s important to have something in place, even if it’s basic. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s time to set everything in motion and watch it work. But how do you know if it’s working? And how do you stay organized?
Use marketing tools
There are a lot of tools out there to help you organize and track your marketing initiatives. Tracking is important, so you know whether or not you are spending money and time on the right things.
Mindy recommends tracking metrics in Google Analytics, one of the most popular tools out there for website analytics. It tracks and reports on website traffic. You can see how many visitors your website sees every day, what pages they are visiting, and how long they’re staying. Google Analytics can also help you track marketing campaigns.
“There are so many ways you can break down the numbers.”
Figuring out which metrics to measure and how you want to filter reports can be daunting, but there are a lot of online tutorials available to help you learn how to use this powerful tool.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you with social media posting, Mindy recommends Hootsuite. It allows you to schedule social media posts in advance on a range of platforms.
If you’re sticking with posting on just Facebook and Instagram, you may not need a tool like this, but if you’re posting across a lot of platforms and trying to be intentional about posting consistently, Hootsuite can help.
Sprout Social is another social media management tool, and Mindy finds Sprout Social to be particularly useful for the information they publish about social media analytics and trends.
Keep your expectations realistic
Just like any other business strategy, getting your name out to more people and building a solid reputation takes time, thought, and effort, but it will be well worth it in the end.
“…marketing is about building brand awareness, and that can take time, especially if you’re just starting.”
Don’t expect leads to be flooding in the day after you launch a new social media campaign, start sending out a newsletter, or redesign your website. Give your ideas time to work, and then make adjustments as needed after you begin to see results.
Why choose LEPPDESIGN?
“A lot of business owners are spending all this time learning and going to webinar after webinar and reading blogs about marketing…but ultimately, they should be spending that time running their business and doing what they do best.”
If you’re a contractor, home builder, or home service provider, you probably want to focus all your efforts on performing your trade, running your business operations, and making sure your jobs are running smoothly. Marketing may not be in your wheelhouse, but you know how important it is to growing your business.
You may not have the budget to hire a full-time marketing position, but you want to put your name out there and make sure you’ve got a solid strategy, a presentable website, and regularly scheduled social media posts.
In comes LEPPDESIGN. They’ll work closely with you to develop your brand, improve your website, post on your social media accounts, and implement other marketing strategies tailored to your business. They’ll handle all of your marketing for you so you don’t have to.
“That’s where we really take the burden off their shoulders and also partner with them to help them succeed.”
LEPPDESIGN is here to help you bridge the gap when you know you need marketing help but you can’t hire a full-time marketing position. They are here to help you grow and relieve the stress you may feel about figuring out all the ins and outs of marketing for yourself.
Why use GuildQuality?
GuildQuality is also here to help your business succeed. Mindy pointed towards GuildQuality’s high response rate as one of the reasons she would recommend GuildQuality to a client. Our survey process generally yields a 60 to 70% response rate.
Additionally, the honest, comment-rich customer feedback helps businesses analyze their performance and make improvements. Mindy mentioned that one GuildQuality member she’s worked with would review their homeowner feedback regularly with their team.
“In their weekly team meetings, they’d go through whatever reviews had come through, and that helps them refine their process and fix things as they come along.”
The feedback GuildQuality collects for members can be used in so many different ways. Reports are highly customizable, as are survey questions. And tools like the interactive map, social sharing options, and the review feed can help you with marketing.
GuildQuality’s interactive map, which is turned on by default for all Guildmember profiles, allows your prospects and clients to zoom in to their area or search via zip code to see reviews from folks near them. This map can also be embedded on your own website.
Additionally, you can embed the GuildQuality reviews feed on your website, so GuildQuality research will be displayed directly on your site for prospects to view. Third-party surveys boost your credibility, so this is a great feature to utilize to solidify your reputation as a quality-driven company.
Set your business apart from the rest of the field with your marketing strategy. It’s crucial to growing your business, and you can really show off what you love about your company.
If you need help getting started or maintaining your online marketing presence, get in touch with LEPPDESIGN.
Current GuildQuality members should check out the interactive map and reviews feed, if you’re not using these already. Also take a look at our social media sharing options.
Not a current GuildQuality member? Sign up today to start capturing valuable customer feedback and leverage it to market your business.