Traditional advertising attempted to interrupt, disengage and refocus attention from what the audience was doing to promote a product or service.
Although successful then, today’s customer has changed and is becoming resistant to this type of advertising. The new trend is called Magnet Advertising, or advertising through content. The idea is to advertise specifically to a select group of potential clients. The key is to strike at a time of need or when the consumer could possibly be looking for a solution. These new types of advertising are surprisingly effective and inexpensive. The key is to execute with precision.
1. Website:Gone are the days where an information-based website worked in driving sales. To properly “convert” a customer, a website needs to provide the information customers are looking for easily, beautifully and elastically.
• Easily — This is not time for a puzzle. The site should be very easy to navigate and direct the user along a designed path.
• Beautifully — Use white space and high quality graphics to make the site pleasing. Space out the site so it is touch friendly for tablet and mobile devices.
• Elastically — Unclutter the site by limiting the information available through the main pages. However, if a customer wants more information, make it available via a “press here for more information” link.
2. Estimate advertising:Who says you can’t advertise at the time of estimate? Estimates are the perfect time to double down on your advertising investment. Think of how much you have already spent to get this far. Close the deal with these estimate advertising ideas.
• Free inspections — Going the extra mile for a potential customer will make them give you the job now and talk about you to others later. Realtors, home
inspectors and property managers are the perfect customers to provide a free roof inspection. Making them look good to their customer is a great way to ensure you will get the job.
• Sample board QR codes — Put a sticker with your company’s information on all sample boards so the customer knows who took the time to provide the samples. Add a QR (Quick Reader) code with to the sticker you give the customer a link directly to your website for more detailed information and photos.
• Proposal advertising — Most roofers are still hand writing an estimate on a preprinted form. In many respects this is the last chance to advertise. Spend some time and money to make your proposal look professional. Doing so will increase your win rate and allow you to charge more.
3. Jobsite advertising: “Work gets work,” as Joe Kelly always reminds me. Don’t miss the opportunity to keep your success going.
• Jobsite signs — For less than $3 you can purchase a disposable sign that can be left and forgotten. Claim your territory by putting jobsite signs on every project.
• Truck signs — Think of your vehicles as rolling billboards. A one-time investment keeps on working for the life of the vehicle. They are more effective than you think.
• Caution tape — Surround the jobsite with bright yellow caution tape and turn the area into a crime scene. Passersby will do a triple take to see what is going on and remember your name in the process. It’s also a great way to limit liability by creating a safety barrier around the roof’s edge.
• Same street mailers — Apologize to the neighbors for the noise you make and they will take notice. Doing so will show them you care.
• Uniforms — Professionalism is achieved through constancy. In the field, uniforms scream competence and discipline; two things that make customers feel comfortable when spending money.
• Commissions — Pay your supervisors and crews commissions based on upselling and new leads. Empower your entire staff to sell and you’ll be amazed at the payback. The most powerful salesman you have is the person on the roof. Besides, there is no better time to add to the job than while it is being done.
4. Customer Advertising:Make your customers your silent sales force. Let their testimonials advertise in the most potent way. Provide your customers with the following:
• Overwhelming customer service — In today’s economy, bad news is everywhere. After companies have spent the last few years cutting back true customer service is nonexistent. Buck the trend and give your customers something to glow about. Build in systems that ensure every customer feels as though they are your only customer. Good news travels faster than bad news these days. Use this to your advantage.
• Promotional merchandise — T-shirts, coolie cups, light bulbs, pens, Post-it notes, candy jars, mouse pads, refrigerator magnets, framed photos, reusable grocery bags, and so many other items are conversation starters when your customers proudly display them. Put together a small thank you gift bag for each of your customers to be given at the end of the job.
• Testimonials — Customers like to hear from customers. Ask your clients for a testimonial. Take a candid video of it. Also take a photo of your customer. Add them to your website daily for maximum effectiveness.
5. Online advertising: If there was one area I strongly suggest getting help on it is this one. Even with my techie upbringing and geeky obsession with computers I outsource my online advertising. Doing it right takes an entire team of full-time experts. Make no mistake, this is here and now and is eclipsing traditional marketing in a big way.
• Pay per click — A few hundred dollars each month is all you need to ensure a constant stream of leads. Invest in Google, Bing (Yahoo is included in Bing) and Facebook pay per click campaigns and the traffic to your website will increase. If your website is set up correctly you’ll convert those clicks to qualified estimate calls.
• Blogs and/or articles — How-to articles are great ways to speak to your customers at a time of need and help increase your search engine ranking. Run into any tricky leak details lately? A few photos and a description of the solution make for a fantastic article. Updating your blog daily is a great way to ensure Google Caffeine keeps your site ranking high.
• Videos — If a picture is worth a thousand words, just think what a video is worth. Do it right and the video may just go “viral.” Free video editing software is included on many computers. Almost all digital cameras have a video feature. It doesn’t need to be fancy to be a winner. Start by videotaping the job process. Upload it to YouTube, then backlink the video to your website for better search ranking.
6. Traditional advertising:If targeted at the right time and to the right people, traditional marketing can still be effective.
• Phone book — As phone books slowly become obsolete and other roofers pull out, this may be your last chance to have a killer year full of leads. Today you can buy a full-page spread for a quarter of what it cost just a few years ago.
• Mailers — Strange how snail mail became the oddball. It’s more difficult to discard regular mail than it is e-mail. Before the postal service goes private and triples mailing rates, create targeted mailers in ripe areas. Detail the message and the offer to recipients so it converts them into customers.
• Parades — It’s time to be goofy and show your neighbors you are the local roofer. It’s also a good way to build a strong team by inviting families and having some fun during the day. Throw out high-quality promotional items that the crowd wants to make a lasting impression.
• Seasonal news segments — The local news stations, both radio and TV, are always looking for topical news bites. Grab the title of “expert” by appearing quarterly to offer tips to the community.
Putting your personal touch on these ideas make them more successful. No one knows your market better than you. Don’t feel overwhelmed by all the new stuff. It’s really just the old stuff done in a new way. At the end of the day it all boils down to building relationships, which you are good at. It just takes a little effort to use that talent in a new venue.
This month’s homework is to talk to your manufacturer and supplier reps to find out what advertising co-op funds are available and create a plan to use them up completely in the next three months. Use three ideas from this article to spend the money on.
Next month’s article will focus on sales presentations.
Back in early 2011 Google, which represents about 65 percent of all internet searches, changed their search ranking algorithm to prevent savvy companies from cornering high rankings and to deliver better search results to users. These changes rendered some of the best made websites in the world useless overnight, dropping their rankings to virtually non-existent. Perhaps your own site has fallen victim to the change? An entirely new set of requirements were born. Here are the seven most important changes you need to know.
1. Google Panda: Google Panda was created to eliminate Content Farms, web with duplicate information designed to make a brand appear larger to the search engines. If your site has any content copied from another source your site will be downgraded and the original source upgraded. Any word string over three words long is counted. Think about the products listed on your site. Did you simply copy/paste their description from the manufacturer’s site? If so, change it. Write your own description to rank the entire site higher.
2. Don’t Try To Sell: Jeffery Gittomer has it right when he coined the phrase, “People don’t like being sold, but they LOVE to buy.” When designing your site give the customer choices, make it easy to use and provide more in depth information only if they want it.
3. Google Caffeine: Targeted again as a way to prevent Content Farms from corning search results Google Caffeine favors websites that are updated daily with new, original content. In Google’s mind, if you are new you are relevant and users want relevant results. Update your site frequently by hosting a blog. Update your blog using keyword rich content daily.
4. Photo & Video Keywords: Search engines know users like entertaining photos and videos. For this reason Google and Bing, the two main search engines, look at the file names of photos and videos. Search engines are also able to read word tags, geotags and descriptions to help ranking of sites. My suggestion is to go through your site and rename photos and videos with keyword rich content that describes the photo or video.
5. Flash is dead: Apple won the battle by preventing Flash from running on its devices. In just a few years Adobe has called it quits and will no longer release updates to Flash. With more than 60 percent of the internet being viewed on devices that can’t view Flash, having a Flash designed website is unreadable by almost two-thirds of your potential customers.
6. Social Media Has Changed: For those of you that resisted social media or didn’t understand it, good news, it has changed to become something we can all easily understand. Social Media is becoming a way for search engines to track what others are saying about your brand. Think of it as real time testimonials. The better the discussion about your company the better you will rank. Google has just change its search ranking to favor Google+ results. Google+ is Google’s own social site. Although there has been a backlash, more will follow. The key is to get your customers to post positive reviews about their experience with your company.
7. Don’t Try This At Home: Gone are the days when you could design your own site. The industry is changing far too fast to the point where even web design companies are irrelevant. Websites are the cornerstone of all marketing now. This flips the entire design process upside down. In the past designing a site was easy. Simply take a brochure and make it digital. Now the design starts online and all other advertising compliments the web presence. When choosing a web designer make sure they have a full array of professionals for all of the key areas; Graphic Design, Search Engine Optimization, HTML Programming, Social Networking and Customer Interaction.
Here are some links that will help you design a website that works:
If you would like help designing a site please send me an e-mail. I’d be happy to give some pointers.