Albert Einstein is often credited with the quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” If this saying describes your company’s marketing strategy, it’s time mix things up.
As a restoration business owner, your daily tasks are likely focused on the residential and commercial services you provide to customers in need. Sure, you know marketing is important--after all, a successful business of any kind requires patrons--but you wouldn’t be alone if you said your social media, advertising, and consumer reach strategies often take a backseat to more pressing business needs. You also wouldn’t be the only entrepreneur whose business is doing decently well on referral business alone, and thus, see no reason to bolster your marketing efforts further.
If business is coming in without you spending time or money on marketing, then thank the entrepreneurial stars; it certainly isn’t the norm! But don’t forget that marketing efforts are as much about your present situation as they are about planning for future business growth, changing your direct involvement in day-to-day functions, or providing more job opportunities to your community.
The Marketing Mix
Think of your marketing as you would a recipe. A cup of this, a dash of that, and just a little pinch of something special is going to lead to something much more satisfying that just a bowl full of one ingredient. If your marketing plan has only been one ingredient, it’s time to mix in a few of the following extras to get a real taste of marketing’s wow factor potential.
1. You.com: Like it or not, it’s a digital world out there. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and a long list of other gadgets are helping people stay connected to one another as well as work and live more efficiently. If your business doesn’t have an online presence--a website, social media accounts, online advertising--you’re missing out on a big opportunity to reach potential clients. A flooded basement or sewage overflow causes people to reach for their phones. And second to any emergency calls, the phone is used to search online for a skilled, reputable professional. Will that search lead to you?
Do this now: Is your website updated and current? Do you have a mobile-friendly website? If not, that should be on your “must-do” list. But because that can be a timely undertaking, in the meantime start a Facebook business page where potential customers can come to see the services you offer, your employees engaging in community efforts, and read customer testimonials of your past work. Since the two major players (Google and Facebook) online are a pay-to-play arena, budget in money for ads.
2. Build-a-brand: Unless you’re the only restoration and remediation business for hundreds of miles, it’s important to make your services stand head and shoulders above your competitors. Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, happy for any work that comes in the door, focus your brand on being the master of a few select services.
Do this now: Research your local competitors to determine the value you can bring to the industry you feel is currently lacking or completely missing. Amp up your marketing around these services to set you apart from the pack.
3. Serve your community: Want to market your company without spending one cent? Get involved in your local community through volunteering your time or business services to those in need. If you have employees, make it a group effort to double as a team-building exercise. Not only will you feel a sense of pride by giving back, but also you’ll impress your neighbors with your commitment to kindness. Think of it as building good business karma that can result in future customers.
Do this now: Contact your local government or a nearby nonprofit organization(s) to ask about volunteer opportunities. When you put in the work, don’t forget to take pictures and share the experience on your company website, blog, and social media to help inspire others while simultaneously boosting your brand. (Here’s my shameless plug!) The restoration community movement “Restoring Kindness” was created for restoration companies to do kind things for strangers in their communities, expecting nothing in return. Visit RestoringKindness.com for more details.
4. Advertise wisely: No matter what size your advertising budget, you never want a dollar to go wasted. For example, it’s typically too late to run your ads after a natural disaster hits your town. Instead, you want to make your business a household name so that the homeowner knows to contact you first for any restoration need.
In addition to timing, make sure the type of advertising is right for your customer demographic. A report created by comScore shows women spend more time on the mobile web and apps than men. Knowing statistics like this can help you make better decisions about where to get the most bang for your advertising buck.
Do this now: Define your ideal customer. Residential or commercial? Is this person male or female? What does he or she do for a living? Where does he or she live? What does his or her house/business look like? Does this person have children? Get very specific about this imaginary client so that you can then use this information to think of ways to reach clients who closely fall into this category.
5. Be social: Social media has caused many people to forget what it’s like to meet in person. While online platforms have made it easier to stay in touch with family, friends, and acquaintances, the human connection is still missing. Face-to-face conversations are so important for networking with potential clients and other business owners who may need your services, or vice versa. There are lots of business and personal benefits that can come from stepping away from your computer and the daily grind to share a coffee and a laugh surrounded by new, friendly faces.
Do this now: Find a networking group in your area to attend. Your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI), Business Leads Group, etc. are great places to start. For others, try searching “networking events” plus your city and state for a list of meet and greet options available.