The days are long, and the weather is warm, which means the home improvement season is on here in Chicago. Homeowners find it’s the perfect time of year to beautify their property, taking on projects indoors and out. After all, it’s the time of year when everyone wants their family, friends, and neighbors to stop by for a barbecue, dip in the pool, or toasting s’mores over a chic or cozy fire pit.
Of course, we don’t have to tell you that. Your plate’s probably full as it is, and more likely than not, the orders will keep coming in. It might be tempting to think that with all those projects in the pipeline, you don’t need to commit more time from your tight schedule for marketing. Taking care of your current customers is certainly important. But you also need to think long term.
You need to do some extra work now — namely, marketing — in order to generate leads and secure projects for the off-season and beyond. We put together these four tips with tactical action items to help you build the foundation now, even when things are busy, so that you can have year-round success.
1. Make Your Website Work Harder.
Your website should offer a lot more than your contact information, and that means expanding the content you provide. This directly benefits you when you deploy a strong keyword strategy for reaching your target audience (i.e., lifting your results ranking and making your business easier to find) and by establishing your expertise and desire to authentically connect with potential customers.
Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of ways to generate engaging content. An FAQ is a great place to start; by thinking through common customer questions and addressing them within your website, you make it easier on them to find answers quickly while minimizing how often you have to repeat basic information. Remember that imagery is incredibly powerful, so if a homeowner agrees, you should share before-and-after photos that can act as mini case studies and testament to the quality of your work. Breaking down complex ideas behind what you do can also enlighten the customer as to what you’re actually doing while also explaining why it costs what it does. When applicable, DIY videos also help establish your business as a partner to them during projects. In lieu of videos, infographics are a perfect option to do the same thing.
If possible, you can use your site to display user generated content as well. For example, a happy family gathered on their newly built deck with superior landscaping to share a meal speaks volumes to prospective customers. And if you do work with DIY-ers, then their before-and-after photos act much like testimonials or referrals.
2. Show Up Where It Counts.
We already touched on the importance of SEO for brand discovery, but that’s not the only way to be found. At the most basic level, you need to claim, update, and optimize your business’ listings on Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and other listing sites. These will be among the first places people head to for learning about how your customers feel about you.
Next, if you haven’t already, you need to develop and maintain an active and engaging social media presence. Which channels you choose needs to be determined by where your customers are and when they’re there; this also helps you better target current and prospective customers.
Paid advertising is incredibly important to get found online. SEM (or paid search) improves your business’ odds of turning up in pertinent searches, even if your SEO ranking would not have put you at the top of page one results. PPC (or pay-per-click) ads or other digital format ads can be highly targeted and served through various sites and social media platforms.
Click here to learn more about some of our digital marketing options to help you get found.
3. Be Heard On-Air.
Radio is powerful and continues to reach almost everyone over the age of 12 every single week. It has the reach to be heard 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, and intersects with listeners at different points of both their day and their path to purchase. People tend to bring radio with them, too, whether it’s a drive to the beach, cooking dinner in the kitchen, or working around the yard or garden, people have their radios on to hear their favorite radio hosts, news, weather, sports, or music. That means each station can provide a format that reaches people differently. You can see that with our stations —SHE Chicago 100.3 FM taps into women with adult/contemporary music, 101.9 The Mix features Top 40 hits and witty entertainment aimed at adults, and The Drive 97.1 FM is Chicago’s go-to station for classic rock radio. They represent millions of listeners in the Chicago area each week; therefore, radio spots represent a fantastic opportunity for your brand to earn mental real estate with mental images of better homes.
4. Leverage the Fact that You’re Top of Mind Right Now.
We may be at the height of summer, but fall is already just around the corner. The off-season will be here before you know it. Right now, you’re fresh in your customer’s minds, and the improvements in their home are still a new and welcome sight throughout their day. That means now is the time to compile positive reviews, establish a referral program, and build up your email database and social media following so that you can continue your marketing throughout other months of the year.
Bonus Tip: Outsource Your Marketing.
We understand you’re time is limited, especially since new orders are probably still coming in. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all alone. Let marketing professionals like Hubbard Chicago take some of the burden off of your shoulders. We understand that every business is unique, and we’re experts at providing customized, results-driven strategies utilizing radio, digital, and live events. You can view our case studies to understand the positive impact we offer.