A New Year, A New Strategy for Marketing
The new year is just a few weeks away. The best business owners have already gotten their budgets set and their marketing strategies and plans are in getting ready to launch.
But what are those marketing strategies and plans? With so many potential places to spend money, what are the best ones for contractors to use? Where are the dollars being spent and what is different heading into 2018?
Keeping In Touch With Current Customers
Losing current customers is costly and so focusing on keeping them is critical to long-term growth and success.
According to Joshua Davis, owner of AccuTemp Service, LLC, in Baton Rouge, LA, says his company’s biggest strategy is keeping in touch with their current customers.
He points out that they have had great success getting new customers, but they are not retaining them to the level they want. The current customers he sees them losing most frequently are the ones who have not purchased a service agreement.
“I admit that we have not been doing the best at touching our current customers, especially the ones who don’t have service agreements,” Davis says. “When a customer does not have a service agreement, they may not have a need to call up for four or five years. Without any contact with them they forget about us, and when their system has an issue they will ask their neighbor or friend who they use. If those friends aren’t using us, then we lose the customer.”
AccuTemps’s goal in 2018 is to be top of mind through quarterly touches to their current customers, which not only will keep them with us, but it will take away the “slow times” of the year.
“These touch points with our customers will be digital and quick,” says Davis. “We are focusing on some short, under 60 second videos, and super short emails to keep us top of mind. We want our customers to see our messaging and think, ‘the guys at AccuTemp are our guys.’”
Social Media Makes The Difference
Social media isn’t new, but it is a moving target in terms of marketing and those who keep up with it will get the most value out of it.
Rich Biava, vice president of GAC Services in Gaithersburg, MD, says that social media is going to be one of the main focuses of his company’s marketing in 2018.
“We are really getting into social media in 2018,” Biava says. “The information that you can get about your customers – what their likes are, what is important to them – from their social media helps you build your marketing campaigns. If they are into health and fitness, for example, you can adjust your messaging to tie their heating and cooling needs to how they care of themselves. This is powerful messaging, because it helps you break through the clutter.”
SEO a Key Component
Google is one of the most powerful websites in the world. If people don’t know an answer or are confused, they simply just “Google it!” That is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a critical part to any marketing plan.
“Our biggest dollars are going to be spent online this year,” says Davis. “Our goal is to dominate Google, so we are really focused on spending money on optimizing our website. If we aren’t doing this we are going to lose out to the competition.”
Biava agrees, “We have been putting strong focus on SEO for years, and we are continuing to adjust that in 2018, so that we are drawing in the most traffic.”
A New Website for 2018
Another change that the GAC team is making to their marketing is launching a new website. They expect it will be up and running in March.
“Building the new website might not seem like a marketing strategy, but when you do the undertaking we have, it really is,” says Biava. “The process has been going on for months and we used heat maps on our current site to find out where people were going the most and how long they were staying. Using this information, we are putting more focus on those sections of the new site to better serve our customers and to help us close more sales.”
Technology is evolving rapidly and being on the leading edge of using it can create a whole new dimension to a contractor’s marketing strategy.
Two of the most commonly used technologies being used today are remarketing campaigns and geofencing.
Remarketing simply means that you are connecting with customers who came to your website who may not have made an immediate purchase or enquiry. It allows you to position targeted ads in front of these people that had previously visited your website – as they browse the internet.
Remarketing has been used for years and you’ve likely noticed it in your own personal internet use.
“One of the advantages of remarketing is it is extremely inexpensive,” says Biava.
While remarketing may seem common to most of us, what is geofencing? Essentially geofencing establishes of a virtual fence around a predefined geographic area. You can then use that information to target push message through apps to customers phones, or had your ad appear on apps they use when their phone is in that area.
“We’re going to try some really targeted mobile marketing this year,” says Davis. “We will utilize app such as weather channel and our local news stations and have our ads show up on them, so we stay top of mind. We’ll see how this works and probably will adjust our targets throughout the year to make sure we are getting the right people at the right times.”
Test, Test, and Test Some More!
With all these new strategies, there will be a lot of testing going on in 2018.
“When it comes to marketing you can’t just give up on something because it doesn’t work the first time around,” says Biava. “So many people don’t get the success they want after one test and say, ‘I’m never doing that again!’ That strategy doesn’t work. Sometimes new marketing takes time to work and needs to be repeated. You have to weigh the value of repeating it, but you shouldn’t give up so easily on every test.”
Davis agrees in terms of trying new things, “This year we are trying a lot of new messaging that features humor and wit. These are working really well for us, but it takes testing them to find the right ones. You’re not always going to get it on the first try, but keep at it.”
What Really Matters
In the end, having a strong strategy in place is what is going to make your marketing dollars work the best. A good mix of reliable marketing techniques mixed in with some new ideas and test items will help you make 2018 a success year.
Biava also points out, “If you aren’t training your team, so they know how to talk to your customers, what to look for when they are in the customers’ homes, your marketing is only going to get you in the door, it’s not going to close the sales.”
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