I take on this task because of my ability to predict the future. When my wife was out of town recently, I baked my freshly-applied clear coat on aluminum cam covers in my home oven. I knew – in advance – that if she found out, things would not go well for me. When she arrived home two hours earlier than planned, this prediction came painfully true. I now have at least the same qualifications of other fortune tellers, absent the awesome swami hat.
Let’s get rolling –
Online marketing moves toward accountability. Contractors are sick of being told, “You got umpteen-hundred and sixty-three visitors/clicks/followers/Likes/’you smell good’/thumbs ups.” Business people now want to know: 1) How many are legit traffic (not my competition or some 9-year old in Bora Bora). 2) Did they make an appointment? 3) Did they buy anything?
So, when your web-media salesperson offers you analytics, tell him/her you only want the figures relative to meaningful specifics. Yet, instead of just looking at numbers, you can now have mechanisms in place to follow-up –
Advanced marketing automation. It used to be cool to have an email autoresponder. Now you can plug automated responses for traffic that did or did not respond including…
- Short automated email sequences – Gone are the long one-hit emails. Today’s sequences are short messages that ‘stack’ upon each other, and lead prospects to your site or nudges a call. The style is very conversational, often uses your name and can reference what item or part of the site you spent time on.
- Pre-loading Social content – Though not exactly new (think Tweet Deck), advertisers are now wisely pre-writing posts, articles, linking videos well-ahead of marketing need to be ‘time-released’ on Social platforms. (If you have our PowerSuite, you can do this.) This a lot better than the random, “Guess I’ll link a cute video of a cow falling over for my customers.”
- Retargeting – Recent web searches result in your ad(s) showing up on subsequent searches. Very effective, and costs have come down as the tech is more available.
- Content updating – This is way cool, but is not ‘quite’ affordable for contractors yet. This is where your entire site, or parts of it, would update for offers, news, price changes, AdWords campaigns, PLUS send approved emails, make Social posts on your behalf. All automatically.
Fragmented marketing dies a slow death. Quit running one ad on your website, another in a billboard, another as a bill stuffer, another message on Facebook. That is way dated, and it’s not working. Enter…
Marketing integration continues its rise. No longer can contractors run one ad, wait on results and declare it a bust or a winner. In fact, the ‘winners’ using this approach are almost non-existent today. Integration means you have one ad campaign that runs over a variety of online and offline media. Results prove that due to declining attention spans and shorter memories – what was I saying? – a single ad message repeated across media massively improves response, recall, results.
Best ‘short list’ of media for above? Email, Social, search-string loaded web content and Direct Mail, which is the centerpiece for the effort. This brings me to…
Direct Mail continues comeback. We’ve seen Direct mail trounce other efforts so repeatedly it’s no longer news here. The national big-name companies who’ve won in Direct Mail (Orvis, J. Crew, Ikea, Google, yes that Google) and those who’ve had their profits shredded (Victoria’s Secret, J. Peterman) for abandoning same are modern marketing case studies. Direct Mail spending is actually up while many online media are being slashed in favor of more focus, more results base avenues.
Contractors are even more encouraged to use Direct Mail since it has a physical presence in the home. But the old institutional message types (putting random messages about everything you do) are dead. Also, seeing how many cheap postcards you can send out with a nonsensical message to a non-targeted market is out. Well-aimed target + focused message = result.
Geo-location gets smarter. Otherwise known as “GPS enabled” marketing, you can thank Pokémon Go – though I’d rather not thank Pokémon for anything – for tying location to message. You can now aim online ads to homeowners when they’re (or their phone is) home, or you want your digital billboard messages seen by clusters of your targeted prospects, or you want your customers to know you’re at a home show nearby.
In summary, a wise use of technology – not just guessing or using what’s new – will be the profit drivers for the top performing contractors.
The biggest results for 2018 will come from contractors who intelligently aim their messages at a particular market using the particular media they’re consuming. The marketing control has never been higher.
The biggest losers will be the ones who still just “try a little of this and that to see if I can make it work.” That has about the same chances I had with baking a clear coat in my oven: It won’t.