In the wild and oh-so competitive world of remodeling, there is a seemingly endless pit to throw your marketing dollars in with very little return on your investment. When prices for marketing are in the thousands though, it’s important to know which works and why.
NVS Kitchen and Bath has been in the competitive remodeling world for over 30 years which means we’ve seen every marketing fad come and go. We’ve seen the rise and fall of entire remodeling marketing businesses, and we’ve seen what works and what really doesn’t.
We’ve seen the advent of the internet and the fall of the Yellow Pages. We’ve also seen the entire US market crash in 2008 and watched as poorly-marketed remodeling companies disappeared into oblivion.
Here are the top 5 ways to market your remodeling company written by a remodeling company who has been in the trenches, wasted tens of thousands of dollars, gained hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales, and through battle scars and lessons learned (some hard), has walked away with the top 5 places to spend your marketing dollars to better promote your remodeling company in 2017.
Say No to Reputation Aggregators like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Birdseye
No, no, we’re not saying abandon reputation management tools (more on that later), but we are saying don’t pay into advertising on review websites. Your lead source now doesn’t belong to you and you’re subjected to changing prices, hostage-like tactics, and unbreakable contracts.
Many online businesses claim that Yelp’s “super secret algorithm” only filters 5-star reviews when you’re paying thousands into one of the world’s largest review websites, but the minute you stop the cash flow, the bad reviews resurface and your great reviews are pulling a Houdini act.
Our experience is that most people who can afford our high-end remodeling aren’t active on sites like Yelp and often have their reviews filtered out anyway. Leave advertising on review sites to low-cost sales like plumbers and HVAC companies.
The other big takeaway from advertising on websites like Angie’s List and Homeadvisor (now one company) is that once you stop paying, your lead source dries up and all that money spent to reach those would-be clients is immediately funneled over to your competition. You don’t own that lead source despite the tens of thousands it costs to advertise there (Angie’s List pricing is based on location – where we’re located, monthly advertising can be well over $10,000).
Invest in your Local Online Presence
Most remodeler’s eyes roll back in their heads when you mention SEO (search engine optimization) – and for good reason. These snake oil sellers known as SEOs take your money up front and promise you leads “in a few months” only to provide no results by the time you’ve paid thousands.
But that doesn’t mean SEO doesn’t work. Go to your favorite search engine and type in “Pizza Places near me” – see, SEO works. In fact, we recommend finding a local SEO company.
These types of SEO help remodelers rank for their local service area by combining keywords with locations. For example, ranking for the keyword “kitchen remodeling” is a lot tougher than ranking for the keyphrase “kitchen remodeling Northern Virginia.”
It’s important to vet an SEO company before entering into a contract with them. Ask them if they have been working with any other sites in your industry. Make sure that they won’t be working with your competition while working with you. Look for buzzwords like citation cleanup, backlinks, and content creation, and PPC – all of these are good signs that these SEOs know local SEO.
It’s All About Social
Being social isn’t just about having a Facebook page anymore. It’s about creating a tribe around your brand and constantly reaching out to them.
Facebook has become a pay-to-play arena with posts reaching only 2.6% of your page’s followers. Posting more frequently with better content will increase your page’s reach over time. Investing in Facebook ads is another great way to turn the social media giant into an ongoing lead source.
Responding to comments and sharing interesting information about your business and local area are great ways to keep the content interesting and the interactions up.
As the Facebook algorithm becomes more complex, it’s harder to just create a page and leave it be without seeing a drop in reach. Consistent, well-created posts are the key to winning at Facebook.
Other social sites we recommend are Google+, Twitter, Pinterest for remodeling photos, Instagram and LinkedIn. Using an application like Zapier or Hootsuite can make posting content on all these applications as easy as clicking a button.
Reputation Management is the Future
It was the great Ben Franklin who wrote: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” The same concept is echoed online through the ever-growing number of review websites across the web.
Reputation is the biggest CRO (conversion rate optimization) factor we’ve found for converting leads into sales. You can have the world’s best sales team, but a scathing online review about the company’s character, lack of work ethics, poor timeliness, and bad employees will destroy your bottom line.
While rules regarding asking for reviews vary according to the website, making sure you have a method in place of getting good reviews onto your review profiles before that inevitable bad review will save you a headache in the long run. While no company is perfect, getting ahead of bad reviews is the key to surviving them in this 2017 online world we live in.
You’re Invited – Event Marketing
We’ve seen a really positive response from hosting seminars and events surrounding our company. Not only is it a way for us to give back to the community, it’s a really great way to get your brand in front of your target market.
We’ve hosted lunch and learns and educational seminars taught by employees to better educate potential clients on the pitfalls of remodeling. We’ve also hosted open houses at past client homes to allow people to get up close and personal with our level of craftsmanship and even ask the client how the process went.
Would you believe that home shows still work? We have found it to be true too. It’s another great tool to get in front of clientele who may not be online, on Facebook, or on their phones 24/7.
There are plenty of money-sucks when it comes to marketing a remodeling company, but we’ve found that these are our top 5 producers when it comes to creating a quality marketing plan in the 21st century. The key – rinse, wash, repeat.
See what works and what doesn’t, cut off the excess and reinvest in what’s working for your company. No one marketing plan will fit every remodeler in every location, but having a diversified marketing plan will make sure that despite any changes, your leads are still coming in.