Winter Business Strategies - Part 3
Your Advertising and Printed MaterialsG.K. Sharman, Writer
In the first two parts of this series (see links below), we looked at planning your marketing, and examined online and social strategies for boosting marketing efforts and visibility.
In part three, we’ll consider another crucial piece of the marketing puzzle: printed materials.
Choosing Your Words
Even in an increasingly digital world, printed ads, yard signs, door hangers, coupons, direct mail letters and postcards and similar materials are effective ways to market your business. As with any marketing tactic, you need to analyze your market and target your audience. And, as always, you will need a mix of strategies to achieve your goals.
Here are some suggestions for how the various types of printed goods could work for you:
Success with this tactic depends on being aware of some details. Many people are familiar with the old-style “spray and pray” campaigns that sent mailers or postcards to every address in a large area. Most of the mailers wound up in the hands – or garbage cans – of people and organizations that just weren’t interested. Companies that got a 2 percent response were lucky.
The postal service or mail house can help you target mailers or cards to areas you have identified as potential markets. To determine whether a neighborhood might be receptive to your mailer, look for common characteristics, such as the age of the homes or the roofs, neighborhood income levels, location or demographic information.
You also can use your own list, which should result in a higher response rate, better lead conversion and additional sales.
Some contractors note that postcards can be attention-getters while letters often get thrown away without being opened.
“I mailed out postcards last year to a targeted list and got a half dozen jobs out of it,” said John Martin of ProShot Construction South in Buford, GA. “I will admit, I was skeptical. I had heard the horror stories about doing big mailings and only getting a couple of phone calls out of it. But with a little research beforehand and the right timing - the results can be great."
People love coupons. For roofing contractors, coupons can bring in sales leads and new customers without doing a lot of damage to the advertising budget. They are also easy to measure and track.
For print coupons, consider being included in an ad pack that gets mailed to a particular zip code. Digital coupons can be added to your website or made available through third-party sites such as Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor.com. ContractorCoupons.com, a coupon marketing firm for contractors, offers coupon ad packages starting at $15 a month.
If you consider a coupon campaign, remember to make a specific offer including a relatively short expiration date -- $50 off a roof repair, for instance – rather than just listing your company name and services. Keep your coupons fresh. If you use the same design and offer all the time, consumers will get bored.
You don’t have to limit yourself to price reductions. There are a wide variety of items, such as travel mugs, Yeti coolers and umbrellas that contractors can use as part of a coupon offer. More substantial items, such as large Yeti coolers, can be great raffle/promotional prizes.
A tried and true staple of the roofing trade, yard signs are a great way to tell the neighborhood that your company is on the job. They provide instant credibility to an audience that is already curious about what the neighbors are doing and are primed to consider your services.
Keep a supply of signs on hand, however. They can take a week to 10 days to produce and you don’t want to be on a roof without a sign in the yard.
Fliers and Door Hangers
Signs are even more effective when you follow up with fliers or door hangers hand-delivered to the neighborhood. Door hangers are a great straight-to-the-homeowner strategy. Unlike direct mail pieces, they aren't immediately considered junk and tossed in the trash.
If you drop fliers (or pay a company to paper the area for you), consider including a mention of your reputation, your years in business and testimonials from satisfied customers. You’ll be more likely to get positive responses than if you just list your company name and services. Other tips: use bold headlines and keep the message simple. If you choose door-hangers, remember to use both sides – one to feature your offer, the other with your contact information. Also, give potential customers a reason to act quickly.
Statistically, vehicle wraps may be the most cost-effective way to advertise. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America estimates that a vehicle wrap could be seen by as many as 30,000 to 70,000 people per day. In other words, more people would see a company truck on the road, or in a driveway or parking lot, than would see a TV ad or read a newspaper ad for the same company. When you consider the cost of the wrap and the number of people who see your truck every day, the CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, can be lower than ads on Facebook, Google Pay Per Click (PPC), radio, TV, billboards or print media.
Wraps generally cost between $1,500 and $4,500 for material and installation and can last from one to six years, depending on the type of wrap and local weather and road conditions.
To measure the effectiveness of your vehicle wrap, consider using an alternate phone number, adding a special deal or setting up a special landing page on your website. As a result, any leads that come in can be traced directly back to your wrap.
Everything That’s Fit to Print
No matter which materials or combination of materials you use, be sure they represent you well. While you’re off the roof in the winter, you have time to review everything – or have someone you trust do it instead – to make certain that:
- Everything is spelled correctly.
- Your phone number and web address are correct.
- Your call to action is correct and clearly visible.
- Your wording is clear and concise.
- The materials reflect your current services.
- Everything you use has a consistent look and message.
Manufacturing partners such as Atlas often make a range of gear and promotional items available to contractors. Items may include yard signs and toppers, business cards, door hangers, postcards and materials to leave behind with potential clients. You can even pick up branding promotional merchandise, such as tumblers and coolers. To see the full collection, visit AtlasRoofing.com/Pro and log in to your Pro Panel.
How do signs, mailers, vehicle wraps and other printed materials work for you? Do you have any tips or advice to share? Tell us about it in the comments below.