Let’s face it, to get noticed in someone’s inbox these days, or on their Facebook or Twitter feeds, you have got to get creative. Every single week as I assembleR&R’s eNewsletter, I wonder what our open rate will be – and more importantly, the click-thru rate. It's a weekly feat. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve experimented with template, day, time, subject line, content, etc. etc. etc…. every facet, trying to find the magic combination that garners the very best stats. I’ve decided in the end, it’s not all about me, it’s about you too … and whether or not you have time to look at that email, let alone read it. 
Similarly, I keep a close eye on our social media stats to see what content is most interacted with, the best times of day and best day of the week to interact, and other information that can help me better tailor our social media posts to you. Don't think social media is for the birds. R&R's traffic from social media sites is up nearly 250 percent from early 2015. That's hundreds of hits to our site every single month straight from social media.
There are a lot of companies in the restoration realm doing pretty well at their online marketing, and others who are lagging. Here are three companies I've seen consistently nail it.
1. 911 Restoration
If you frequent R&R’s website, you’ve likely seen a byline or two from Alexander Ruggie at 911 Restoration in recent months. 911 Restoration does some seriously fun things on their social media pages. They just wrapped up a Super Bowl 50 Caption Contest! They also post an array of videos – including one for #NationalToastDay, and a #TipTuesday video demonstrating how a dehu works for customers! 
They also post helpful things – like warnings of severe storms heading toward a certain part of the U.S., and tagging franchises in that region, and keep a very active blog. Everything 911 Restoration does – professional or fun -- makes their company relatable.
911 Restoration did something called “The Fresh Start Challenge” to take advantage of everyone welcoming in 2016. A few days before the New Year, the company set up a landing page for the project – including 3 steps to enter, and a sample video. The campaign required people to “like” 911 Restoration’s Facebook page, make a video on their phone answering the question “What does a fresh start mean to you?” and sharing the video on any of their social media pages using the hashtag: #BeTheFreshStart. 
There were also ways to get bonus points, and the winner was chosen by a panel of judges. The winner received $1,000!! That’s not a light prize!
The whole campaign was so unique to a restoration business, but likely helped boost their social media traffic considerably. Seriously, their main Facebook page has more than 4,000 likes! That’s A LOT for a restoration company, franchisor or not! 
Something else to keep in mind with these creative tactics -- aside from the prize money, these ideas cost 911 Restoration little to nothing, yet likely bring in new clients tenfold.
2. Next Gear Solutions
Taking on a broader marketing scope, I’ve had several discussions with people at Next Gear Solutions about how they are "following me" across all platforms. 
One Saturday morning, my toddler was watching a cartoon on YouTube when one of those quick ads came up between clips. Any guesses what that ad was? Yep… a Next Gear ad for DASH. I laughed to myself and realized maybe I needed to clear the cookies on my browser, but never got around to it. 
Later, another ad popped up on my personal Facebook page. And another while I was doing some online shopping. All because I looked at their website while at work on a browser signed into one of my personal accounts – likely Gmail. 
I would also like to point out when it comes to Next Gear, you don’t see the same content over and over. They have established a content calendar for their blog, plus they’re always changing up how they’re promoting themselves – via testimonials, videos, custom content, etc. 
Unlike the 911 Restoration realm, however, all that internet marketing to show up across your browser pages, takes some up front cash. 
3. Violand Management Associates
Well, imagine my click rate envy when I opened an e-blast from Violand Management Associates a few weeks ago and saw one of the funniest, most creative marketing ideas I’ve seen in a while. You’ve all heard of the movie Straight Outta Compton, right? Well… how about VMA’s “Straight Outta Canton” (VMA is based in Canton, Ohio). Major props to Jeff Jones, VMA’s sales and marketing director. He apparently put this all together himself… rap included. Here you go:
"You are now about to witness the strength of business knowledge...
Straight outta Canton, crazy advisers known as BDAs
We're a gang of consultants called VMA
When we get called on, we help companies with their stall on
Provide some coaching so business policies get overhauled on.
A Business Plan is a tool
So your company don't be actin like a fool
When you want to gain best practices and do some procedure transplantin'
Your profit margin and cash flow got you runnin' round your office rantin'
Time to pick up the phone, man, and call the consultants Straight Outta Canton."
From my viewpoint, this strategy made the consultants at VMA even more relatable. I don’t think it at all deters from the professionalism and status of VMA, but does show they can all have a laugh and not be too serious about life and themselves. But, I suppose if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting any of them in person or attending one of their courses, you already know that.
I could go on and on about restoration companies really owning their digital marketing campaigns. These three are just a small portion of the many I see making creative strides every day. 
Remember, when creating your own marketing campaigns, it’s important to mix a little fun with business. 
What does your company do to reach new customers and further engage current or past ones in outside-the-box ways?