Our two most recent blogs focused on measurement and understanding how you’re spending your marketing dollars. In today’s blog, we take a different view, focusing on the tactics themselves and the concept of a marketing “portfolio.”
In the investment world, of course, the idea of a balanced portfolio is well known: minimize risk and improve results over time by holding a diversified mix of assets. When it comes to marketing home improvement services, we think the same strategy holds true: develop a balanced mix of diversified tactics.
Pick a handful of tactics and do them well.
Nearly every week (it seems) new marketing tactics for home improvement companies appear on the scene. That’s good news, of course, because it means more options and more flexibility in finding the best tools for your situation.
But it can also mean wasted time, money and effort. If you spread yourself too thin – by chasing every new trick that comes down the pike – you’re likely to see meager results.
Effective marketing requires consistency and, in many cases, a fairly deep understanding of the nuances involved in a given tool. You’ll never get there if you continually hop from one approach to the next. Instead, pick four or five tactics and get really, really good at them.
By the way, too few tactics can be problematic as well. Like putting all your money into a single stock, if your promotional efforts ride too heavily on just one marketing channel, you’re at risk of “losing it all” if a change occurs in the marketplace (remember the Yellow Pages?).
Win the Internet.
There’s nothing wrong with traditional tactics (radio, TV, newspaper, snail mail, etc.), but with every day that passes, more of your prospects and clients look online first (if not entirely) for home improvement information and solutions. Which means you need to be there, at least in part.
What if you don’t know where to start? Then hire someone. Either in-house or on an outsourced basis. Avoiding online tactics, whether out of fear, confusion or inertia, is simply no longer an option.
Also, whatever you do online, make sure everything looks good and works well on a mobile phone. Sixty percent of homeowners go to their phones first when researching buying options. That means that mobile is more important than ever!
Keep trying new things.
While it’s important to master a handful of consistent tactics, it’s worth paying attention to different approaches – online and off – that are working for others. Three that have caught my eye recently are:
Neighborhood block parties. Participating in block parties in areas in which you’ve already done great work is a nice way to gain visibility while letting your happy customers do the talking for you with friends and neighbors. Offer to contribute some funds in exchange for setting up a table and join the fun.
Company open houses. Host an event at your office and invite past customers and their friends. Let them see where you work, meet your staff, and get a firsthand feel for your company.
Brand ambassadors. These folks represent the company in a customer service and marketing capacity at the job site. They meet the homeowners, take before/during/after photos, answer questions, and (very important) tee up the online review and testimonials, right there, on the spot. This last step is a critical piece of your marketing (see point #2 above).
Diversify, measure, adjust, repeat
Like any good portfolio manager, it’s important to experiment with new tactics, track progress and adjust as you go. You’re bound to have some strikeouts and some home runs – that’s just reality. Preserve what works, toss what doesn’t and keep investing for the future!