When it comes to marketing, some tactics are more effective than others. Keep reading to learn about seven marketing mistakes contractors should avoid.
No matter how long you've been in business, marketing is essential for continued success. It helps you attract new customers and increases awareness of your brand, giving you more opportunities to bring in revenue.
For home service providers, however, the prospect of developing and executing a marketing strategy can be a bit daunting. Before you get started, familiarize yourself with these seven common marketing mistakes so you know what to do — and what not to do — when you're ready to take your business to the next level.
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Slashing Your Marketing Budget
When it comes to running a business, every penny counts. You have to buy materials, pay subcontractors, set aside money for business taxes, and cover a variety of other expenses. If business is slow, you may be tempted to slash your marketing budget to save money, but this is one of the worst things you can do.
Marketing is what allows you to share information about your business with the public, making potential customers aware of your expertise. If you cut back on marketing activities, you won't have as many opportunities to connect with people in your service area and tell them about what you have to offer. Instead of slashing your marketing budget, consider increasing your budget to generate more leads and convert them into paying customers.
Choosing The Wrong Marketing Methods
Not all marketing methods are appropriate for all businesses. If you're a one-person operation, your approach to marketing will be very different from the approach taken by a company with millions of dollars in annual revenue. One of the most common marketing mistakes is trying to copy what other contractors are doing instead of choosing marketing methods based on your budget, level of expertise, and service offerings.
Think about the differences between a contractor who does roofing and a contractor who does residential cleaning. They provide different services, they have different pricing structures, and they seek out different types of customers. It wouldn't make sense for them to follow the exact same marketing strategy, just like it wouldn't make sense for you to do the same things your competitors are doing.
As you put together your marketing strategy, think about what your target customer needs and what marketing methods are most likely to reach them. You may want to use some of the following techniques:
- Social media: Do you provide roofing, landscaping, or carpentry services? If so, try marketing your business via social media. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube make it easy to highlight recent projects and share before-and-after photos with potential customers.
- Direct mail: Did you just launch your business? Send a postcard to homeowners in your service area to let them know what you have to offer.
- Website marketing: If you don't have a website, or the website you have is nothing more than one page with a couple of paragraphs of text on it, invest in establishing a solid online presence. A website makes it easy for customers to find out more about what you do and contact you to request more information.
- Mobile marketing: Create a QR code that redirects people to a discount offer on your website. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned with smartphones. When someone scans your QR code, they're taken to a web page with more information about your services.
- Referrals: If you know other contractors who don't compete with you directly, ask if they'd be willing to refer their customers to your business. For example, a roofer and a landscaper aren't competing for the same types of projects, so they can provide referrals for each other without either one losing out on revenue.
Skipping Social Media Marketing
It's extremely common for contractors to assume that social media is for watching funny videos or keeping in touch with family members. That's a major mistake, as sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have millions of daily users, some of whom live in your service area and have a need for your services. In fact, nearly 80% of internet users say user-generated social media content impacts their buying decisions.
If you're not on social media, you're missing out on an opportunity to connect directly with the people who need your services and have the money to pay for them. To avoid this critical marketing mistake, take the following actions:
- Set up profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you offer commercial services, you should also set up an account on LinkedIn, as the professional network attracts business owners and other users with the authority to hire vendors.
- Add a high-resolution image to each profile. For solo business owners, a headshot works best. If you own a larger company, try a high-quality copy of your business logo.
- Write great content. You don't need to write long posts; just make sure you provide enough detail for other users to understand what you offer. Don't forget to post photos or videos of your projects to show potential customers what you can do for them.
- Provide links to your website. Make it easy for users to visit your website to learn more about your services and find out how to get a quote.
- Be yourself. You don't have to copy your competitors to gain traction; in fact, copying others can hurt you more than it helps you.
Not Following Up With Leads
One of the main purposes of marketing is to generate leads and work to turn them into paying customers. Unfortunately, one of the most common marketing mistakes is getting new leads and failing to follow up with them. Following up quickly helps you build strong relationships with prospects, making it more likely they'll hire you. If you wait too long to follow up or, worse yet, don't follow up at all, there's a good chance that hot lead will hire one of your competitors.
To avoid this mistake, make it a priority to follow up with leads as soon as possible after you receive them. At CraftJack, we offer a speed-to-call discount to help our clients maximize their marketing budgets and increase sales conversion rates. Any client who calls a new lead within 30 minutes of receiving it qualifies for a 20% discount on that lead. That's how important it is to follow up quickly with potential customers.
Failing To Define Your Audience
Another common mistake is trying to market services to everyone in a neighborhood. Not everyone in your service area needs your services or has the money to pay for them. If you try to market to everyone in your city, you may spend time talking with renters who have no authority to hire a contractor, homeowners who don't have a need for what you offer, or people who have no wiggle room in their budgets for landscaping, cleaning, or construction-related services.
All that time could be better spent focusing on people who need your services and have money set aside to pay for them. That's why it's so important to define your target audience instead of trying to market to everyone. A target audience is a specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing efforts. Depending on the type of service you provide and how much you charge, you may want to narrow down your target audience based on these characteristics:
- Homeowners vs. renters: If you offer cleaning services, you may be able to market to both renters and homeowners. Contractors who do roofing, landscaping, or any other service involving major changes to a home and its grounds, however, should focus on marketing to people who own their homes. Renters typically don't have the authority to make permanent changes.
- Location: Although serving customers in multiple cities gives you more chances to bring in revenue, it can also increase your business expenses. You'll have to drive farther to give quotes and spend more time going back and forth while each project is in progress. The extra wear and tear on your business vehicle can also lead to increased maintenance and repair costs down the road. To keep costs low, you may want to focus on just a few neighborhoods.
- Financial situation: Income level isn't as important for contractors doing small projects, but if your projects typically cost several thousand dollars, it's good to narrow down your target audience to people with enough income to cover that kind of investment.
Not Tracking Your Results
Once you implement your marketing strategy, you need to track your results. Otherwise, you won't know if it's working as intended. Checking your results every so often gives you the opportunity to adjust your plan so it helps you attract the right number of customers at the right time. Unfortunately, many contractors are so focused on finishing customer projects that they don't take the time to track their marketing efforts. As a result, they miss out on opportunities to enter new markets and make more people aware of their services.
As you track your results, keep an eye on the following metrics:
- Revenue: How much revenue are you earning each month? Revenue is the money you collect from customers before you deduct your costs.
- Profit: Is your business generating a profit? Your profit is the difference between how much you earn and how much you spend on things like materials and labor.
- Website visitors: How many people are visiting your website each month? Is this number increasing from one month to the next?
- Leads generated:How many leads are you generating each month? Are they high-quality or low-quality leads? If you're not converting leads into paying customers, it may be because you're targeting the wrong audience or using the wrong marketing techniques.
- Cost per lead: On average, how much does each lead cost you?
- Conversion rate: What percentage of your leads turn into customers?
These are just a few of the metrics you can check to determine if you're on the right track with your marketing. If any of these numbers are off, don't be afraid to adjust your plan to take advantage of changing trends.
Trying To Do It All
Trying to do it all is one of the most serious marketing mistakes you can make as a contractor. It's great that you care about marketing, but you can't possibly do everything yourself, especially if you're busy giving estimates, attending networking events, and providing services to your customers.
Working with a lead generation company can help you generate high-quality leads without having to take attention away from other areas of your business. Instead of dealing with poor leads or worrying about whether your current marketing strategy is working, you can be asking for referrals or updating your social media pages with pictures of your recent work. The CraftJack Pro App makes it easy to manage your leads, follow up with them quickly, and get more sales.