Why Your Home Improvement Business Should Be On The Internet
1. It’s much more cost effective that yellow page ads that only serve one area. A website can serve your entire county for less than the price of a basic yellow page ad.
2. Cost less and is more environmentally friendly than printing glossy brochures. Think about how many people ask to see your portfolio of your craft. A website can display your pictures over and over again with no extra cost.
3. Having a website brands you as an expert. Think about two businesses with everything being equal except one has a website and one does not. Who do you think most customers will go with? Well a website will brand your image in the head of your customers.
4. Out of town customers can reach you. Yes I realize that if you work in Alaska it is no value to have someone see your website in California….or is it? YES it is because what if someone from California was about to move to Alaska and needed some Home Improvement Done?
5. It’s cheap these days to have a website. It no longer cost thousands of dollars to make a nice looking website. Most small trades people can have an attractive website for about $200.00-$300.00 with yearly maintenance and hosting running about $120.00. So when you add it up that is less than $1.00 per day. Most trades’ people will break even if they got 1 extra customer in a year. Yes one extra customer will pay for the website entirely.
Last month 22,200 people searched online for “Home Improvement contractors New York” and 33,100 people searched for “Contractors New York” indicating a strong demand for home improvement related services. The fact is another Contractor in your local area is ending up with this business. Most Contractors entered into the profession thinking that they would open up a business and the business would generate from word of mouth and referrals. This may be true for a select few Home Improvement businesses, but it is more likely that if you want to compete, you need to market your services.
Traditionally, Contractors are not marketers! But if you do what I recommend in this article, you can not only stay competitive, but you can also potentially blow away your competition. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 4% of Contractors market their business, and most are NOT doing it effectively. The key to Home Improvement marketing is to acquire, retain, and re-market. If you do all 3, you will have a steady stream (or even a flood) of leads coming into your Home Improvement business.
The best way to grow your Home Improvement business is by using Internet marketing. Forget TV ads, expensive Radio, or Newspaper advertising. We know very few Contractors for whom these marketing mediums have actually ever worked for. In fact, their lack of accountability, measurability, and limited geo targeting capabilities will leave you wondering where your investment went. You need to be where your prospects and clients are, which is online searching for the products and services they need.
Conversion Focused Web Design
To effectively market on the internet, you need a conversion focused web site. What you DO NOT need is a website that collects dust. Think about it, just about every home improvement business has a website of some kind. Most are poorly conceived by graphic designers or stock templates, and were implemented with no strategy, no calls to action, and are basically just like brochures. A brochure is not going to cut it as we move forward into a more competitive marketing space on the internet. Most of your competition has a brochure, but to convert traffic into prospects and then into customers, you need a much stronger pull to get the prospect to want to do business with you.
An internet marketing consultant can help design and organize your site to move you beyond a simple brochure to a highly productive lead generation machine. Also, an effective web solution should put you in control of your site and content. Make sure your site is built with a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow you or your control staff to make simple edits without having to hire your designer at $100+/hr for each little web change needed.
Organic Search Marketing
Organic or Natural Search Marketing is similar in concept to Pay Per Click, but for organic search marketing results you do NOT have to pay per click. It is a much longer and slower process, but it is where 80% of your prospects are going to find you. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a process by which your site is engineered to show up for certain keywords in the search engines. Organic search results can lead to a consistent stream of leads for your practice, but patience and time working on your site (and off of your site) is required to take advantage of this strategy. Make sure if you outsource your SEO work, you deal with someone who understands your business, will not spam the search engines, and is someone you can trust with your message and reputation. One wrong move here could leave you black listed by Google and the other major search engines.
A solid SEO strategy is rooted in delivering good quality keyword rich content to your site. Writing content for the web is a lot different than writing content for a brochure or off line marketing collateral. Make sure you work with an SEO team that understands the complexities of search engine optimization, can create a realistic plan, understands your business, and can measure the results.
Pay Per Click Marketing
Thousands of potential customers are searching online every day for Home Improvement contractors and related services in your local area. With the right message and a conversion focused Pay Per Click marketing campaign, you can get immediate leads and new clients into your practice. Pay Per Click marketing delivers ads in the search engines to prospects that are not only local to your business, but looking for exactly what you are offering at the exact time they want it! It is highly targeted, and a highly measurable marketing technique unlike anything else in existence.
The problem is Pay Per Click marketing, or PPC, is extremely competitive and you really need someone who knows what they are doing to make it successful. If you are going to invest in PPC, you need to make sure you track conversions (emails, phone calls, web forms, downloads, etc.). Without tracking this data, you will not know how effective the campaign really is. Also, PPC marketing needs to be constantly monitored and optimized every day to avoid stagnant and lack luster results. If you do this, you will not only compete in your market, you will dominate.
Internet marketing for Home Improvement business is competitive, and if not done correctly, you can squander your marketing dollars pretty quickly. Developing a custom landing page is a technique to develop a small 1 or 2 page website focused around a very specific service (Plumbing, Roofing, Kitchen Remodeling, etc.), and developed around a strong call to action.
By utilizing a focused page to send targeted traffic to, you are properly aligning what someone is searching for in the search engines with the exact result they are expecting to see when they click on the pay per click ad or organic search result. Conversion rates can increase 100% or more using a landing page strategy. Landing pages tend to work best when used in conjunction with a Pay Per Click marketing campaign. When it comes down to it, effective marketing is all about doing it better than your competition. Landing pages, when used correctly, can dramatically accelerate your lead generation efforts and squeeze more out of your Pay Per Click budget.
Social media sites are where your prospects and customers are spending a lot of their time. So how come most contractors are not utilizing this marketing strategy? It is most likely due to a lack of time and lack of knowledge on how to use Social Media to your advantage. Get on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and at least start engaging with your prospects and customers. Post relevant articles and quick tips on troubleshooting your AC unit, or post excellent bathroom tips for remodeling and renovating your bathroom. You can realistically post whatever you want to talk about that helps present you as an expert. Social Media is all about engagement. Also, Social Media can help your organic search results, build your email marketing database, drive more traffic to your website, and help with reputation management.
Email marketing is a great strategy to use for retention and re-marketing, and a way to present yourself as an industry expert. You need to stay in front of your existing customers and potential prospects every month. The average prospect needs 6-7 touches from a business before they actually do business with them. Mailing out letters is not the answer and it is very expensive. Email marketing is quick, measurable, and extremely effective. Keep your customers engaged and aware of all the services you have to offer and any new exciting breakthroughs in the field of home improvement.
When developing an email marketing strategy, you need to plan it out carefully and make sure every campaign is created with a strong offer or call to action. Don’t be too pushy or overburden people by sending out more than one email campaign per month. Email marketing is a key piece to the internet marketing puzzle and can help maximize all of your marketing efforts.
One of the secrets to starting and operating a successful business is to offer products or services that people not only want but also need. If you combine this idea with the fact that most people consider their home to be their largest and most important investment, you soon realize a home improvement business can be one of the best types of business to go into. Here are five different home improvement businesses you can start, along with some of the best reasons to do so.
1. Water Feature Design and Installation – Businesses that design and install water features such as fountains, fish ponds, waterfalls, and water gardens are incredibly hot right now and, if marketed properly, are likely to have more work than they can handle. Numerous popular home improvement shows on television have featured many of these projects and, consequently, demand has gone through the roof. An individual or a couple of partners can start off with smaller jobs and work their way up to the larger projects as their knowledge and skills increase. Any business that does this would be wise to take pictures of every job and use them in their marketing efforts.
2. Home Staging Consultant – While it is no secret the real estate market in the U.S. is the weakest it has been in a long time and the number of frustrated people who have been trying to sell their home for many months is on the increase, it is still a fact that the best houses sell quickly. What these sellers need is a home staging consultant who can turn their home into one of the desirable ones that will sell quickly. A home staging consultant gets much of their business from real estate broker referrals, but works directly with the seller to get the home in peak selling condition. Most consultants usually price their jobs by quoting a flat or hourly fee, plus expenses. Some consultants also market their services to the seller via direct mail and to real estate professionals via direct mail and personal contact.
3. Deck Builder – Drive through almost any neighborhood in the country and notice how many homes have an attached deck. Now consider the fact that at least half of the rest would love to have one and you will have some idea of the amount of potential business just waiting for the right company to come along. Smart builders work to show their customers how adding a deck can pay for itself in increased value, provide many years of enjoyment, and can be just the thing to sway a new buyer when it comes time to sell. This is another business where you will want to photograph the work you do to use in the marketing of your services.
4. Wooden Fence Installation – A chain link fence may provide security but it certainly does not look very attractive or provide any privacy. Many homeowners today would rather go with a wooden fence, if given the choice, and that provides us with another choice for a great business to start. Whether for security, privacy, or to prevent young children from wandering off, many homeowners would like to have a fence installed and a wooden one is more durable and attractive than any other. Try to offer a variety of styles such as post and rails, picket fences, and privacy fences to your repertoire.
5. Painter – Painting is one of the easier skills to learn, and a house painting business can be started with very little in the way of equipment and supplies. In fact, many successful house-painting companies have started out with one or two people and increased their equipment and workers as the business grew. Painting is a home improvement task that most people need done but also one most people hate to do. Take advantage of this and open your own house painting service and turn your dreams of owning your own profitable business into a reality.
One of the secrets to running a successful business is to choose a business that is in demand no matter the economy. This is why owning and operating a home improvement business can be a smart move for the right company. In good times and bad, a person will spend more money on repairing and improving their home than on just about anything else. Take advantage of this by starting your own home improvement business.
If you’ve always loved working with your hands and making your home look better than when it was first built, you may want to start a home improvement business. This can be a fairly complicated undertaking, however. In order to be successful, you need to choose a focus in terms of what you want to improve about the home. You also need to build a name for yourself to attract more and more clientele.
Instead of trying to take on everything on your own, you can opt for a franchise business. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your hopes and dreams of a home improvement business. You can simply choose a franchise that deals in home improvement products. This will give you the focus you need for your business as well as a brand name that people already are familiar with.
Purchasing a home improvement franchise can consist of various different options. You can choose a company that deals in flooring, cabinets, bathroom remodels or virtually anything else. Depending on whether you like to work indoors or out or even where your interests lie will dictate which kind of franchise you want to buy.
When you are looking into a franchise business, it’s also important to see what you’re getting for the money. In many cases, you will pay a flat fee for the rights to the franchise. This will include the rights to use the name as well as many other things. Some franchises have a website and will add your location to the website. Others will provide you with equipment, product lists, letterhead and much more.
You have the option to choose the franchise business that is most advantageous to what you are trying to accomplish. Some of the franchises will give you some creative freedom while others are very black and white. You need to take the time to review these options to ensure you are able to run the business the way that you want.
Having a home improvement franchise can allow you to be your own boss and work with your hands on a daily basis. As the boss, you get to determine how involved you want to be on a regular basis. You can choose to be in sales, management, installation or any other aspect. Then you hire staff to handle the areas you don’t want to be regularly involved in.
If you were to start your own home improvement business, you may find it more difficult to take a backseat to what’s going on. The reason for this is because, as a new business, there’s a lot more to be done. You will have to work hard to get your name out there. You will need to do a lot of the ground work on your own. With a franchise, however, that’s already done for you.
A home improvement business isn’t a fad. This means you have a better chance of being successful with this kind of franchise than just about any other franchise opportunity out there. Regardless of the state of the economy, there are always people who will want to make improvements to their home – be it adding carpet, updating cabinets or replacing tile.
Starting a business can be difficult. However, if you take advantage of a home improvement franchise opportunity, most of the work has been completed for you. Take the time to check out the options around you and you may be able to become your own boss faster than you ever thought was possible.