Don’t expect the words “home performance” to make your phone ring. People don’t know what home performance is. If that’s all you talk about, your call-center will be silent. People call for widgets (like furnaces, air-conditions, insulation, windows). They call for comfort issues (rooms that are too hot, too cold, drafts, etc.). They call for others reasons. But most people don’t call for home performance, a blower door test, or just to talk with a BPI certified contractor. You can work those in as differentiators once the conversation is started, but don’t rely on them as the headline.
Don’t assume your “old” marketing still works. What worked yesterday might not work today. You need to track and evaluate. If it’s not helping generate leads (or otherwise helping your brand image or your sales), stop!
Don’t assume with enough persistence the marketing that has never worked for you will magically start working. Sometimes patience is required to really see if a particular campaign will pan out. And yes, there’s some art and judgment calls to be made. But don’t be the business that spends thousands of dollars a year (or a month!) on ads, programs, or great ideas that just don’t work. Track and evaluate and dump the junk.
Don’t ignore the way your employees, vehicles, or work sites look. Whether you think it should be that way or not, people infer a lot about how you’ll take care of them and their homes based on your appearance. Marketing is everything you do. It includes the quality of the work you do. It also includes how you project your company in a variety of ways–in every way.
Don’t be the last contractor in your area to sign up for the hot new marketing program. You do want to pay attention to the competition—and if something really looks like it works, give it a whirl. But rushing into the same channels with the same messages as all of your competition is not a great way to stand out. If you’re not differentiating, you’re paying to help generate your competitions’ leads. Work on messages that are yours alone. Dare to try different approaches. And build on opportunities unique to you.
Don’t keep waiting for “Home Performance” to be the next big thing in the Yellow Pages. In the good ol’ days, maybe Yellow Pages was all you needed. Now, you may find they barely work at all. If you’re spending more than 10% of your marketing on the YPs, you’re probably spending too much (or you’re not spending enough on other channels). It’s not unreasonable to drop the YPs completely. However, if you’re not spending any, you probably won’t get my mom as a customer. Of course, if you’re measuring and evaluating, you know whether you’re spending too much.
Don’t build your marketing life around co-op ads. Whether from manufacturers, distributors, and a home performance program you’re participating in, co-op funds can provide a great opportunity. I love the idea of tapping into co-op benefits to cut costs and boost exposure. But don’t sacrifice your message, your brand, or your differentiators just to access co-op dollars. If the requirements make sense for you, by all means grab the cash. If not, don’t worry about it. Remember you need to differentiate on the value you bring, and your advertising should help you do that, not bury you behind a brand that your competition uses, too.
Don’t ignore planning, budgeting, tracking, and evaluating! Read my last post. Don’t just wing it. Figure out how much you want to spend, how much you can spend. Prepare creative ahead of time. And track, track, track, so you know what’s working and what isn’t. You can keep the good and fix or drop the not so good.
P.S. Here is the collection of the arbitrarily proclaimed Focus on Marketing Week articles: