Marketing 101: Fundamentals are the Key to Your Success
While marketing isn’t brain surgery, it does take a bit of thinking and planning to create a program that uses dollars efficiently and yet produces quality leads. Set the stage for success by defining your market and calculating the amount of business your marketing program needs to generate.
Know Your Market
Step one in shaping a marketing plan is to decide what you want to sell and who your preferred buyers are. Targeting the prime jobs your company wants and the prime buyers of those jobs lets you narrow your marketing focus. That saves money and boosts the efficiency of marketing dollars spent.
Once you define your target job type and client profile, direct your marketing toward that business segment. Publicity, photos in brochures, written materials, ads in magazines, and newspapers should all speak to your prime buyers and feature the jobs you want to do. Your staff should share the vision of the prime job and work as a team to deliver on the promises you make to produce top-of-the-line projects in your market niche.
Have a Plan
Marketing is underused by so many remodeling companies that you probably can outshine your competitors easily with a well-designed yet relatively inexpensive program. The key is planning. With smart spending choices and careful budgeting, you can bring in a consistent flow of quality leads month after month.
The alternative is to wing it – and I’ve seen plenty of this happening in the industry. When leads are low, the owner makes a spot decision to advertise. When lead flow is brisk, they cut the ads. This start-stop approach leaves few marketing options other than advertising because that’s the only lead generation “faucet” you can turn on and off so quickly. Planning ahead and producing a consistent, targeted marketing presence is far better, if for no other reason than that advertising leads are expensive and generally lower in quality than leads from more targeted marketing.
Planning your marketing is a straightforward process. It’s best done on an annual basis, with regular reviews and tweaks as needed. Here is how to design a marketing plan that fits your company’s goals and needs.
- Determine your average job size. You can do that by dividing your company’s annual volume by the number of jobs you do in a given year. Track that figure from year to year to form a reliable estimate of the number of jobs you need to produce a target volume.
- Assess your lead generation needs. How many leads will it take to produce the sales you require to reach your target volume?
- Develop a budget line item. Your marketing expenditures should appear as a line item in your projected yearly budget. Design/build remodelers typically may spend 1 to 4 percent of their anticipated volume on marketing. Plan to fund your marketing activities on a steady basis. When the money comes from a designated fund it’s less painful to spend than when it has to be squeezed out of daily cash flow.
- Plan your expenditures. Set up a year-round program aimed at obtaining as many high-quality, referral leads as possible and uses advertising to bring in additional leads for insurance. Study the success of past or current marketing activities. Keep the winners and drop the losers from your program. And be sure to include at least one innovative project in your program so you can test new things.
- Prepare a flow chart or schedule showing when each marketing activity should be started. Schedule the marketing so that expenditures as well as initiatives are spread throughout the year.
- A key to successful marketing is tracking the results. Track all calls coming in since this indicates the success of your marketing program. Too many leads being turned away for a poor fit means that your marketing needs a serious review. Numbers in hand, you will be able to compare actual performance against projections. Do this analysis on a quarterly basis, adjusting your marketing plan accordingly.