I’d like you to have a look at one of our newer client websites. It’s for a window and door company called HomeSealed Exteriors out of Milwaukee, WI.
When you explore this website, here is some of what you’ll find…
A truly engaging homepage. Every detail—from the rotating sliders to the copy that “glides” into view—is designed to keep website visitors’ eyeballs glued to the page.
Sophisticated online chat functionality. This is hugely important because we’re also running a PPC campaign for this client. PPC leads are typically looking to buy immediately or in the very near future; therefore, we want to start engaging them as soon as they land on the website.
A strong and unique Identity. Windows that are 2,000% more airtight? If you’re a homeowner who has to deal with the bone-chilling Wisconsin winters, how could you NOT want to know more about that?!
The articles says that, despite a strong market and high consumer confidence, it’s still “a vulnerable time for many [brick-and-mortar] retailers, as they try to adjust their business model… to a more adept online operation.”
In other, non-euphemistic words: companies that don’t have strong online-sales infrastructure are being eaten alive.
According to the article, Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert said, “We are fighting like hell [to stay in business].”
But Sears Holdings—which also owns Kmart—has closed over 150 stores since January 2017.
They waited too long to get into the internet-marketing game. And now they are paying the steepest of prices.
Sears Holdings lost more than $2 billion in 2016.
This reminds me of how some contractors STILL “pooh-pooh” internet marketing in 2017… and how it will inevitably lead them down the same path as Sears.
The “pooh-poohers” believe the offline lead-generation methods they’ve used for years—referrals, home shows, even direct mail—are and always will be their most effective ways of getting business. They’ve shunned online marketing because they “don’t need it” or “it’s too complex” or “it costs too much” or “it’s too risky.”
But while offline lead-generation methods DO still work for contractors, they are now objectively less effective than internet-marketing strategies like SEO, PPC, and a strong website. Sorry, it’s not up for debate.
Ninety-one percent of consumers now search for local companies online.
Consumer habits aren’t just trending toward buying online… buying online is now the de-facto norm. And that’s not changing.
Here’s why I’m telling you this…
If you’re a contractor who still relies mostly on offline lead generation, you ARE in danger of going down the same path as Sears. And I don’t want you “fighting like hell” to stay in business.
Sure, you may be doing fine right now. Maybe better than fine.
But Sears and Kmart were also doing fine… until online retail companies like Amazon came along, caught them off guard, and annihilated them.
I’ve seen similar situations play out numerous times in the remodeling industry…
Remodeler A builds a nice business for himself through referrals and other offline methods. He prospers for years. Maybe decades.
Then Remodeler B comes along. He has a great website, an SEO strategy, and a strong PPC campaign. Remodeler B also uses offline lead-generation methods. But he uses them in addition to—not in replace of—his internet marketing campaign.
Gradually, Remodeler B starts dipping his hand in Remodeler A’s cookie jar. He’s the remodeler people in the area now overwhelmingly choose because he is so easy to find—after all, over 90% of folks start their search for contractors online. All it takes is a few clicks, and—boom—Remodeler B is right in their faces.
Meanwhile, Remodeler A sticks to offline lead generation only. His profits stall. Then they start to shrink a little more every year.
Remodeler B, on the other hand, continues to grow using an effective combination of online and offline methods. His business booms.
It may seem like impending doom for Remodeler A… a “Sears in 2017”-type state of affairs. But the situation is not hopeless.
I’ve seen contractors like Remodeler A finally “see the light” with regards to internet marketing… and turn things around in a BIG way.
If internet marketing seems risky to you…
or you’re unconvinced it can be effective for your specific company
or situation… I’ve got a GUARANTEED proposal for you.
It’s exactly what it says: a ZERO-risk pay per click program that guarantees leads.
Here’s how it works…
You tell us the amount of monthly PPC leads you want. (Minimum of 30 per month.)
We get those leads to you for $200 or less, guaranteed.
You pay for those leads only after you receive and review them.
That’s it. Besides a monthly management fee—which we waive for the first three months to prove our program works—you pay only for the leads. There is no monthly budget. And if at any time you decide No-Risk PPC isn’t for you, you can quit; we require no commitment. (But I’m positive you’ll want to stay onboard once you see the results.)
This is THE perfect way to get into the online-lead-generation game if you worry about the costs or complexity of internet marketing.
You get the number of leads you want… for a cost per lead that’s comparable or LOWER than your current offline efforts… and you don’t do anything except let us handle everything for you. All we ask is that you can handle at least 30 leads per month, answer your phone consistently, and pay promptly. That’s it.
Of course, you need a website to have a PPC campaign. But with No-Risk PPC Lead Generation, your website doesn’t have to be the Mona Lisa of the internet. As long as it’s serviceable (i.e., has a clear call-to-action, a decent design, and is written in coherent English), No-Risk PPC will work for you since the leads are guaranteed.
I’d like you to take a look at one of our recently launched client websites. It’s for a concrete leveling company in Denver, Colorado.
Before I give you the link, I’d like to tell you a few things we did with this website. It’s a bit different than our other websites, and I believe some of the features are worth noting before you go exploring.
Instead of a static image for the header, we inserted the client’s existing video of tradesmen leveling concrete. This is an awesome way to grab attention.
The “How Concrete Leveling Works” section of the homepage distills the benefits of concrete leveling into easily digestible numbers. The reader immediately understands the advantages of the service.
Not many folks want to replace their windows during the holidays.
Or renovate their bathrooms.
Or install new siding.
Or anything else that would mess with their crazy holiday schedule.
That’s why most contractors make like a bear and go into hibernation mode around the middle of November. They cut their marketing budgets because they think they won’t make any sales during the time of turkey and Kris Kringle.
But that’s not necessarily true.
If business is slow during the holidays, here are 5 ideas to “un-crapify” sales.
As with all marketing ideas, these should be evaluated against your current circumstances. Remember that not every idea may work for YOUR situation.
That said, I present you with my top 5 ideas to fill your stockings with sales this holiday.
Idea #1: Admit Sales Are Slow & Tell A Story
Being honest is a great way to disarm prospects and get them to warm up to you. So why not TELL them your sales are slow?
Here’s what you could do:
Write a letter, email or ad explaining that the holidays are your slow months. Use specifics. If your sales slump 60%, say so. Specifics sell.
Make a great offer for people to do business with you right now. I’m talking something really special and significant. (Remember—people are less likely to buy from you, so they need an extra-big push.)
Be straight up and inform prospects that you’re willing to take a hit in your normal profits to keep your employees busy.
Limit the offer to a small number of people. Then stick to it.
I once ran this type of promo for a sunroom company during the 2005 holiday.
Yes, selling sunrooms during the cold months seems about as smart as selling ice cubes to Eskimos. But you know what? The ad was an instant hit.
Here is the first page of the multi-page ad we ran:
This kind of ad campaign can work during any time of the year for services or products that are “seasonal.” Just ensure that what you say in the ad is true. I’ve witnessed businesses take this idea to falsely engineer “slow months” during the summer. It failed unequivocally.
Idea #2: Focus On Past Customers
This is first cousins with the above idea; however, this involves sending a letter to your past customers. This works because it’s believable that you’d give your existing customers a special offer.
Here’s an example:
Fun fact: A large window company altered this strategy to net a $3-million December—six times bigger than their typical Decembers.
They listed their customers from the previous three years on a spreadsheet. In one of the columns, they listed the amount of every customer’s transaction. The company then multiplied the amount of the transaction by 8%. They offered whatever this number came out to be to the customer in the form of a check mailer.
Example: If a customer spent $10,252, the company sent them a check mailer for an $820.16 discount. This strategy was effective because 1.) it was believable that the company would offer their past customers a discount, and 2.) the amount of the discount was such an odd number ($820.16 vs. $1,000, for example) that it made the offer more noticeable and credible.
Idea 3: Position Your Product As A Gift
Position your product or service as something that can be given as a Christmas gift. This will work better for “fun” remodels and renovations (kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, pools, sunrooms, decks) than for “functional” renovations like windows, siding, and gutter protection. (No offense, window/siding/ gutter contractors!)
Listen to this ad for an example:
A key aspect of this strategy is to determine a way to actually wrap what you sell as a gift, so you can actually give it as a PRESENT. This could be something like a small toy model of a kitchen, a book about sunrooms, or even countertop tile.
Here are some ideas for stuff you could offer to wrap for your clients:
Get creative. Make it fun for your customers. Contrary to belief, “business” and “fun” are not diametric opposites!
Idea 4: Buy Your Customers’ Christmas Gifts FOR Them
If you want to be on the receiving end of some serious “good will toward men,” take some of the profit from a customer’s project and give it back to them in the form of a gift card they can use to purchase Christmas presents.
If they bought a $30,000 kitchen remodel from you, don’t give them a “discount”; instead, give them a $2,000 gift card to Amazon or Target or wherever. Your customer will actually believe you’re Santa Clause. But instead of giving you a glass of milk and plate of Chips Ahoy, they’ll reward you with something MUCH better: repeat business, referrals, and awesome word of mouth.
The key to making this work is how you position it. Here is a great way to angle it in an advertisement:
“Have you thought about remodeling your kitchen, but decided to put it off until after the holidays? BAD IDEA! Right now, XYZ Remodeling wants to pay for ALL YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFTS THIS YEAR. That’s right, Meet with us and sign a deal to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, and we’ll give you gift cards worth up to $2,000 to spend on Christmas at stores like Target, Amazon, Macy’s, and others….”
Idea 5: Keep Your Pay-Per-Click Budget Strong
It’s natural for contractors to want to cut back on their PPC budgets during the slow season. Fight those instincts. Keep your PPC budget healthy.
Here’s why. Your competitors will have smaller budgets than yours. This will create a big opportunity for you to get great placement and a huge chunk of the clicks. Remember, pay-per-click is a great way to capture “now buyers” who are in the market searching RIGHT NOW. Just because there are fewer customers during the holidays doesn’t mean there are NO customers during the holidays! If you keep your PPC going strong, you will find those folks who are in the market for immediate action.
Combine this PPC strategy with one of the ideas above, and you’ll have a holiday-marketing double-whammy!
Bonus Idea: Do SOMETHING Productive During Winter!
If none of the ideas above make sense for your situation, you still have plenty to keep you busy during the down time. Use the time to work on projects that you need for the spring.
Here’s a short list of things to consider getting done during the holidays:
Improve Your Website: It takes time—might as well be doing something while you’re doing nothing.
Beef-Up Your SEO: Write blog posts that you can unload during the busy months when you don’t have time to mess with it.
Home Show Prep: Do you need to revitalize your home show presentation? Winter’s a great time to get it done!
Other Stuff: Are you using a powerful CRM software like MarketSharp? If, not, invest some of your downtime into installing and learning how to use it. Do you want to close more jobs… while doing so for MUCH higher prices? Get set up with hyper-effective closing tools like GreenSky Financing on the double, so you can implement them into your sales presentation.
Don’t just sit around and let inertia be your guide. Getting a head start on projects will make a HUGE difference when your busy season rolls around.