During the off season, it is essential that contractors focus their efforts on prospecting for the upcoming year. The end-goal in mind is to always grow the business and strengthen relationships. But how?
Contractors often struggle with what are the most beneficial strategies or proven practices to earn new customers and increase sales. Although every company’s strategic plan will differ, there are a few key marketing practices that can be included to realize the best results – networking, telemarketing, direct mail and email marketing.
NETWORKING is a crucial part of any marketing campaign. It not only puts you face to face with potential clients, it also gives the other components of your marketing campaign momentum. People are more likely to take a phone call or open an email sent from someone they know. A reasonable goal would be to attend at least one networking event per month – whether it be a trade association event or a seminar that you host to prospect groups. If you have a proven expertise in the product and service you are selling, take advantage of this knowledge and share it.
When you are connecting with people and thanking them for their contributions, you will naturally find yourself with a larger network.
TELEMARKETING is only as good as the list from which the calls are made. Below are some simple tips to help you compose a comprehensive list that will result in quality leads.
First, select the target markets and client type, such as property management or big box retailers, that you would like to prospect. Next, search for each prospect’s contact information through online research or cold calling. Utilize sites such as Linkedin, BOMA, IFMA, IREM and other trade associations to gain additional company information and locate the organization’s top decision makers to ensure you are contacting the right people.
Set a realistic goal to compile a list of five target markets and the top ten companies within each market, which will result in 50 companies to prospect. Develop and write a simple script to introduce yourself and gain entry. You do not want to sell them anything over the phone. First gauge interest and set up an appointment. However, before you pick up the phone and make a blind call make sure you do a little homework.
Who are you calling? If all you know is his name and job title, then put the phone down. Research the person and his business (company website, LinkedIn, Facebook, trade associations, etc.). You may be surprised to find a common interest, friend or belong to a similar organization. Is there an issue or problem his type of business commonly faces that you have a proven solution to? Research, gather data, plan the call and then execute.
DIRECT MAIL marketing is one of the most traditional and proven methods for lead generation. As with telemarketing, direct mailers are only as good as the list of people they are mailed to. There are two types of direct mailing campaigns. The “blanket mailer” is where you send a generic mail piece out to everyone within a certain area. The other option is to be more selective and choose specific industries to send a more targeted mailing piece. You can create your own industry lists through manual data research as mentioned above in the telemarketing section or you can purchase lists based on certain SIC codes or geographic details from resources such as Experian.com, infousa.com or many local mail houses.
Once your mailing list is generated, you need to determine the cost of sending your mailer. These costs include designing, printing, processing and postage. Before sending, it is helpful to decide how many sales you would like to produce from the mail piece to determine the campaign’s success.
Lastly, good direct mail pieces sell solutions to problems, not products. You need to send a mail piece that is not only eye-catching, but communicates the benefits of your products or services. Also, make sure that it speaks their language. To truly gauge a mailing campaign’s return on investment, you should contact your list a few times to ensure your prospects realize that you are serious about catering to their needs.
EMAIL marketing is a low cost option that allows you to easily contact your prospects frequently. Whether sending a company newsletter or promotional announcement, distribute the communication to all email addresses you have collected – just make sure you include an “opt-out” option.
The first step in creating a successful email campaign is to create an email communication that is highly visual, yet browser, email and mobile friendly. There are many tips and tricks to email marketing to ensure your message displays correctly whether you are sending to Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo or any other email accounts.
An easy way to jump into email marketing with a low barrier to entry is to utilize an online email marketing service, such as Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Streamsend, etc. These services provide users with templates that are user-friendly and built to optimize a high level of delivered and opened emails.
Lastly, make sure you track the success of each of your email messages. Update undeliverable email addresses, refresh your messaging often, offer promotions and always have a distinct call to action.
Because Neyra is committed to the growth and development of our customers, our Marketing Department is available to assist you if you would like additional information or help implementing any of the marketing strategies described in this article.