If you're the owner of a home improvement company or wear the marketing hat for one, you know just how much of a challenge it is to make time for promoting your business online. Quality work and referrals will always be the main factors in repeat work and growth, but more than ever your online reputation is what your customers consider when deciding to hire a company. In this post, we cover a set of priorities around digital marketing that we believe are essential for most businesses to satisfy online consumer expectations for your brand.
1. Community Awareness
One of the best things a home improvement company is able to do for their business, is community awareness. When you get your name out into the community, whether by being involved or other materials, you’ll be able to network with other members of your community. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing, and many Americans see the value in supporting companies that advocate for an issue. According to the 2017 Cone Communications CSR study, “87% purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about.”
“Consumer sentiment has grown significantly over the last two decades, showing an unwavering conviction to do business with companies that care,” - Whitney Dailey, Cone Communications
We recommend networking by trying community involvement through local charity organizations! Potential customers see your business as a community business and not only as a home improvement company. Plus, it helps to build brand reputation and awareness. Once the community is aware of what you are able to do for them and the issues supported, the rest of your marketing strategy is easy.
2. Triple Threat Marketing Plan
Advertising in today’s modern buying world is much different than it was ten to fifteen years ago. Today, online advertising is crucial for those who are continually gathering their information from the internet. It’s clear that buying habits have changed drastically. Amazon is expected to grow by about 50% by 2021.
As the largest U.S. retailer, Amazon “accounts for about 34% of U.S. online sales, should see that market share grow to about 50% by 2021.”
With a continuing shift in both buyer expectations and behaviors, Amazon has an edge among the competition through their dynamic sales and marketing strategy. As buyers are becoming more and more informed by researching, consulting, and shortlisting options for comparisons, these locations often take place online.
Traditional marketing potentially lends to print materials being discarded right away. Companies like Amazon leverage online advertising to boost their marketing strategy. Retargeting and conversion optimization are crucial components for only advertising in today’s customer-focused buying world.
While it’s important to note that advertising online seems like a hit or miss game, from a company standpoint you need to know who you want to reach and why. Working online allows for specifics within ad buying and targeting key customers to generate more leads. Pay-per-click ads help businesses spot potential customers who are interested in your product, over someone who is uninterested.
Email Marketing Plan
Some leads come from referrals it’s essential to keep in contact with prospects, as well as past customers. The best way to stay in touch is through an email marketing plan. Yearly, bi-weekly, or weekly, emails are a consistent way for companies to interact with their prospects and customers. Incorporate newsletters - print or email - to ensure you’re reaching your whole audience while remaining consistent. Make sure that you’re still sticking to brand style, with branded material that included blogs, photos, and other company news. The copy of your email marketing shouldn’t bog down your reader, make it light, digestible, and mostly engageable.
Direct Marketing Plan
While we are in a modern-technologically driven time, direct mail for home improvement companies still works. You might be wondering if marketing is shifting to fit online capabilities, how are traditional marketing tactics still in use? It’s quite simple, and traditional print materials work for this division. Printing ads two or three times a year is allows for materials to quickly reach a whole neighborhood at one time. Although, knowing your customer is essential to this part of the process and publishing marketing tactics. As you won’t send branded flyers or brochures to rentals or complexes, but particularly homeowner’s looking at remodeling their house become your favored prospects. Utilizing a healthy mixture of multiple mediums your message to prospects is sure to produce the results you are seeking.
3. Branding is Key
It’s vital to your company that there is a strategic brand, design, and style. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” branding for home improvement companies is no diverse than trying to brand for top companies like Apple, or Nike. These companies are remembered not only because of what they produce but because their marketing strategies lead to memorable, branded designs and slogans.
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes
So, how can a small or even enterprise-level home improvement company create a memorable brand? Through a visual, high-quality site, active social media accounts, and consistent blog efforts.
A company which utilizes a nice-looking website (optimized for searching engines and rankings) are steps ahead of the competition. When you have a professionally designed website, you’ll be cultivating your online presence and reputation. Sites allow for galleries, videos, testimonials, and so much more!
Create social media accounts to help with your branded image and reputation. Social is the-go-to marketing factor these days, and it’s pretty inexpensive. For home improvement companies you won’t need to be on all of the social sites, but Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer great options that make sense for remodeling.
While blogging takes some time, they are a considerable investment in your company. As blogs stay on sites until someone removes them, create content that attracts customers to want to purchase your product. Plus, Google loves content - seriously!
In the home improvement industry having a blog and creating content gives relatability and credibility to show you know your industry. That trust from an information standpoint provides a connection to your brand and may win over a prospect who is on edge.
4. Professional Photos and Videos
A brand doesn't just have a pretty site, using social media, and updating content, you also need to leverage those items with photos and videos. Buyers are in a digital world, that means they are becoming more attracted to branding that is visual and engaging. So, We can’t stress how critical professional images are to remodeling industries. If you opt for professional photographs, you are able to get plenty of miles out of them. Use them in marketing, blogs, print, and social, as well as your website. If the quality is there, utilize photos from shoots for years.
Videography is also becoming a trend to look out for when it comes to strategic marketing tactics. Videography is no joke for content marketing. Youtube is now the second largest search engine and full of videos that are helping guide buyer’s to their decision.
Syndacast video marketing trends of 2015 state, “65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video.”
Using video in your marketing tactics improves search engine optimization, consumer attention, engagement, retention rates, click-through rates, and emotional connections through better conversations, all while benefiting your ROI. “52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.” - Syndacast
Here are four cost-related options to incorporate videos into your marketing:
- Highest-cost Option: Hire a Production Company to Capture Profession Videography
- Mid-cost Option: Hire an Independent Videographer
- Lower-cost Option: Create Videos on Your Own with Phone Cameras or Inexpensive Professional Cameras
- No-cost Option: Utilize Facebook Live and create videos from your social accounts
5. Online Reputation
Unrestricted access to the internet provides users with review sites such as Google My Business listings, and Yelp. These sites offer an excellent opportunity for businesses to increase their exposure, but it may also bring negative and damaging reviews. Reputation management is something that all companies should consider. No one likes having negative reviews posted about them, but knowing how to handle them, improves company image and satisfies all parties.
Keep in mind, that an unhappy customer is an influential one. 80% of people will not buy from a business with negative reviews. It also takes roughly 10 to 12 positive reviews to offset a negative one. To address negative corporate reviews, take on the critics. Posting a response publicly, politely and professionally, shows potential prospects that you are able to handle stressful situations. Additionally, when you address negative comments or reviews consider solving the root of the issue beyond just fixing ratings.
According to ReputationManagement.com, “use your public relations department to point out what the company has been doing well, sharing corporate wins and positive employment stories from employees who are happy working with the company.”
Implementing These Marketing Tactics
How does your current marketing stack up against these recommendations? The next step is deciding what is good enough and what areas need attention, which is not always easy. The key to progress is keeping it simple and making a plan. If you're able to consistently set aside time to dedicate an area per month - great! Otherwise, you need someone to carry your marketing forward, or it will make its way to the bottom of the to-do list.