Photo credit: Enis Aksoy/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images
By Nia Sherrema Pearson
Assumption: ADA compliant website (Visit websitegrader.com to get a marketing score of your website between 1 and 100. This score will measure the effectiveness of your website traffic, SEO and social media.)
One of the greatest accomplishments that entrepreneurs in the restoration industry can always be commended for is their undeniable work ethic. The ability to manage a 24/7/365 business is far more challenging than almost any other industry.
The flip side of being so busy is the lack of focus on branding and marketing. Some business owners underestimate the power of digital marketing, which is a big mistake. Yes, building relationships with insurance adjusters, plumbers and property management companies are a high priority. One should not exist without the other.
Most business owners understand marketing is important, but do not have the time to stay on top of marketing trends. Marketing is one of the most everchanging elements of any business in 2022. With new software being developed daily, marketing tactics from two years ago may no longer drive business.
Having a marketing mindset is important and should encompass all brand identity, logos, brand colors, ADA-complaint website, target audiences, customer service and processes. Any business function that impacts customers is a touch point that should involve marketing to adequately grow a restoration business.
Whether you are a new restoration business owner or have 20-plus years of experience, a sound marketing foundation is needed to ensure success. This foundation should include a well-defined marketing plan, with customer personas, all target audiences, an ADA-complaint website and promotional plans, with a total of 7 to 8% of sales revenue allocated to marketing.
With every business facing a limitation of resources to some capacity, it is not uncommon for marketing campaigns to be discontinued after three to six months if goals are not met. To avoid this, consider the outline below.
For a one-million-dollar-a-year business, $70,000 to $80,000 should be allocated to marketing. You can decide to hire an outsourced marketing agency or internal team members, as long as you have a sole person committed to understanding and executing the goals of your company from a marketing perspective.
It is important for restoration business owners to think of marketing with a mindset focused on digital. Having a digital mindset is how I consult my clients on ways to automate processes that connect with a wider range of people quicker and focus on your local community.
It is important to look at your business from the perspective of a Google search. Google wants to offer the best solution to a query. To be found on Google, your business should have: A map, community affiliations, blog content that is city-specific and local partners that share the same zip code.
Having a map of your office location and blog content that focuses on your city, Google will offer your business as an option for a search in the first pages depending on the competition in your market. A more in-depth explanation of a digital mindset can be best explained as automated online processes. These processes are designed to increase efficiency, business development opportunities and reporting capabilities, while reducing cost.
If you are sending documents to be signed or invoices to be paid, sending them electronically so other work can continue with ease is a quicker way to close a transaction. The alternative is a much slower, inefficient process, which is the opposite of the intention of digital marketing.
Veterans of the restoration industry have the bulk of expertise, while new owners are more willing to adopt digital-first opportunities in automation. The mindset for all should be to streamline processes through an omnichannel lens that connects to better relationships with ideal customers. With competition increasing daily, connecting to more people faster with personalized experiences on multiple platforms is the best path to increase business.
EXAMPLE: Google Workspace offers a digital option to create and share files without a program such as Microsoft Suites.
The way to effectively adopt digital content when contemplating new marketing activity is to first answer the question: What impact will this action have on my business?
By attaching a key business goal to every marketing action, a solid foundation to adequately measure success can be applied. This process may be slow, but in the end, creating a well-represented and effective marketing plan will support your business.
Measuring return on investment (ROI) has always been important to bottom-line results, but certainly the COVID-19 lockdown created a scarcity that changed the dynamics of business conversations into a cost-benefit analysis. With inflation on the rise, being efficient and cutting down on costs while also increasing revenue is very necessary.
Digital content: The foundation of all marketing, messages help your audience best understand your business and services.
To do: Share valuable content with a segmented audience with a clear call to action to get the attention of property managers, adjusters, homeowners, etc., in the form of video, infographics, downloadable forms and website FAQs. This will help increase inbound marketing leads.
Digital marketing funnel: An outline of five steps that move prospects from one stage to another, with a focus on increasing value from building awareness to repurchase/retention of a service.
To Do: Implement a lead-generation strategy with…
a) Set up a trigger email campaign based on behaviors and actions.
b) Drive traffic to specific landing pages with paid social media ads.
c) Use text marketing for promotions/mobile announcements and time-sensitive messages to large groups.
With email marketing still one of the most cost-effective ways to stay top of mind with your target audience, below are calls to action and metric examples. Note: If you are sending the right content to your audience, the below metrics should increase month over month.
Email call to action examples:
a) Click to schedule a “free visual mold inspection”
b) Download “Top 5 Mold Signs”
Email Metrics to Measure:
Social media: Connect authentically with your audience while also humanizing your brand. Create engaging posts with questions that ignite conversations. Be sure to link social media channels on your website. Top Sites: LinkedIn, Google My Business, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp.
LinkedIn: Network and connect with industry leaders while establishing yourself as an expert.
Best content practices:
a) Engage with connections.
b) Join and/or create a group.
c) Showcase your expertise and promote your services.
Google My Business: People search Google first for the best solution to their problem. Make sure your business is in the running. Make it easier for prospects to find you on Google Search and Maps. Note: Google reviews seven days after the initial publishing, so frequency is crucial.
Best content practices:
d) Post content for the search engine by using targeted keywords.
e) Add photos of your business and team.
f) Showcase top services.
Instagram: Share exciting news, updates and job site videos.
Best content practice:
g) Engage with followers.
h) Share local community content.
i) Promote your services.
Yelp: People search Yelp for quick, local solutions. This is an excellent platform for advertising.
Best content practices:
j) Share customer photos/reviews.
k) Share team/office photos.
l) Share service content.
The advancements in digital marketing offer the ability to easily identify gaps in business. In addition, they offer solutions for improvement, the ability to evaluate processes more easily using data, and reports to measure the value of all marketing dollars spent. Remember to focus on authenticity and build a customer-first culture.
Nia Sherrema Pearson is founder and senior marketing consultant at Marketing 4 Real Results. Pearson has more than a decade of marketing experience, and provides marketing consulting and a range of marketing services, acting as an outsourced marketing team to restoration business owners. Pearson is frequently sought out for her expertise. She has contributed marketing advice, seminars, workshops and popular articles for the Small Business Administration, City of Los Angeles - Los Angeles Business Source Centers, Los Angeles Community College District, Lendistry, Cleanfax Magazine and R&R Magazine. Contact Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org.