Everyone who has taken Business 101 classes or read the most basic “How to Start a Successful Business” book or article knows that owners must distinguish themselves from their competition. Home Services are no different, and in the current competitive environment, the importance of communicating your differences to the potential customers is greater than ever. Here are 6 tips that will help you determine your marketing message, and how to communicate that message to the people who are ready to buy in your market.
1.Identify your niche service offering, and market that! Sure, you offer every service imaginable, as it pertains to your industry, but so do most other companies. You probably consider yourself the best at one of those, right? Maybe you use environmentally-friendly materials, or you commit to a “no cutting corners” policy. Or perhaps it’s the “little things” you do that makes you different. Examples include:
- A remodeling contractor whose crew takes special care cleaning up after themselves,
- A plumber who wears “booties” before entering a home,
- A fence contractor who provides unique pet-friendly solutions to backyard containment.
Whatever you decide your “thing” is, that should become a major factor in every piece of marketing you do whether it be your website, direct mail pieces, radio ads, or social media campaigns. If you have trouble coming up with the “difference” in your company, survey your best clients; ask them why they chose to work with you.
2.Become a subject matter expert and trusted resource. Educate your customers and your potential customers about best practices in your industry. Tell them how they can help avoid needless repair costs, maintain the work you do for them, and what options they have. Do this everywhere your brand is present, regardless if someone has decided to use your services or not. One example of this is keeping a relevant, helpful, and interesting blog. Whether you hire someone to write this blog for you, have someone on staff that writes, or if you write it yourself a good blog encourages your potential customers that they are dealing with an expert. It tells them that you prioritize their satisfaction more than their dollars.
How can home services contractors stand out from their competition?
Have a presence where people search. This seems obvious, but is often forgotten: you’ll never have a chance at winning business from a person in need of your services if you are not in the space where they are looking for solutions. Good or bad, the days of pulling out the phone book are long gone. People use every channel imaginable when researching, including specialized listing services, asking their friends on Facebook or checking customer reviews on Yelp or other sites. Your indirect advertising (radio, billboards, print ads) may help a potential customer recall your brand when they are in need of your services, but rarely will that translate into a phone call or online inquiry. Home Services professionals need to be able to get in front of the eyeballs of relevant prospects in the moments before and after they realize they need your services.
Be transparent. It is only natural for a prospect to suspect they are being taken advantage of or being treated unfairly, because sadly, they often are. Businesses and the people within them make mistakes, but the important thing is to own up to it and be straight with the people you interact with. This owning up to mistakes can often occur in the public eye, so ignoring complaints or issues is never the right thing to do. Another example of transparency is during the consultation before you start the work. If you have the ability to offer different solutions at different price-points, let the customer know those options, and why the prices differ.
Don’t “Always Be Selling”. Although this mantra is still sung by sales trainers and managers across the country, people appreciate human-to-human communication. Anyone within your business that has face-to-face interaction with the customer should practice good empathic skills and relate to them as a fellow member of your community. This can be demonstrated not only while on the customer’s property but in your company communication. Social Media is a good place to really “connect” to your current customer base, and your community in general. Your presence on social media shouldn’t always be about “why you should hire me”.
Go the extra mile to treat your customers right, and thank them. This is closely related to the previous point, but there are steps you can take to ensure the quality of your services, satisfaction with your work, and just to thank them for their business. Some businesses go as far as providing a personal visit, or phone call while others use email/online surveys and reputation management tools to automate this process while keeping a personal touch. None of those options are necessarily better than others, but keep in mind that many people prefer online interaction.
Kaufer DMC offers solutions for contractors to help with new customer acquisition utilizing engaging site content, drip email campaigns, social media and search engine advertising, reputation management and more. Call or email us today for a free consultation to discuss what makes you different, your goals for growing your business, and how we may be able to partner with you to achieve those goals.
Written by Brady Anderson
Brady Anderson is a Business Development and Account Manager at Kaufer DMC. He’s originally from Texas and enjoys singing in local acapella groups. He lives in Mountlake Terrace with his wife and son.