Online Marketing For Home Contractors

Why Home Contractors Should Have iPads

home contractor iPad

Why Home Contractors Should Have iPads

Today let’s talk about iPads! Every home service contractor should have iPads (or tablets) for their techs. Whether you do garage door repair, lawn care, plumbing or any other home service, your techs need to have iPads when they’re in the field. Let me give you three reasons why:

 

1. They make you look more professional.

You look more professional when you carry an iPad or a tablet, and you can show your orders and estimates on it right there to the client. This is more efficient than fumbling through paperwork, and it makes you look more efficient. I know some home service contractors who don’t even bring paperwork to their customers anymore. Plus, people expect you to be tech-savvy now. We can do just about anything with a smartphone or tablet, and your clients expect you to be on top of the technology. It just makes you look more professional, across the board.

 

2. They make you more efficient.

For instance, if you take payment at the point of service, you can hook up a card reader to the iPad, swipe your customer’s card, take the payment, and immediately email a receipt to the customer. (Please note that to do this, you need an iPad or tablet with a data plan to make sure you have an internet connection.) Not only does this streamline the process, but all the information automatically syncs with your computer back at the office. Everything is seamless! This is so much better than having your technician come back to the office with a stack of paperwork that has to be manually entered, or doing spreadsheets. The iPad and your business software will take care of all this for you!

 

The iPad makes the bidding process more efficient, too. If you are a service that comes up with a bid after you’ve met with the homeowner, you can go back into your truck, figure out what everything is going to cost, and show your customer right then and there. (If you do this, I recommend that you get one of the larger iPads with a larger screen.)

 

If your job is to assess damage, you can use the iPad to take pictures of the damage, and you can show them to the homeowner right there. Obviously, you can do this with a smartphone as well, but the iPad lets you show the pictures on a bigger screen so that they’re easier for your client to see.

 

(FYI – For social media purposes, I don’t recommend taking pictures with an iPad. They’re too big and bulky for pictures. And if I see anyone holding up their iPad to take pictures at a schools play … I’m just kidding! Do whatever you have to do to capture those moments! But pads and tablets are bulky and inconvenient for taking social media pictures.)

 

With the iPad or tablet, everything is streamlined, paperless, and right there at your fingertips.

 

3. You can use them to grow your email list.

 

There are different apps you can use for this. I like to use MailChimp. They have an app called MCSubscribe (MailChimp Subscribe). If you go to trade shows like the Home and Garden Show, you can collect emails right there on your iPad with MCSubscribe or a similar app, when people come up to your booth. There’s nothing worse than getting back from one of these trade shows with a list of hundreds of email addresses, and then you or someone else has to manually follow up and enter all that data into your computer. That’s time that you could be doing something else! Instead, you can set an app up on your tablet, set it up for your clients to see, and be collecting email addresses all day long that automatically save to your Constant Contact, MailChimp, or whatever you use to manage your contacts. Then you can set up campaigns to email directly off those captured emails. This saves time and helps you build your email lists. If you watch my videos and read my blogs, you understand that the gold is in the email list!

I hope this gives you three really good reasons to go out and invest in some iPads for your technicians! I promise you that they’ll look more professional, the whole office will run more efficiently, and you’ll capture more emails at trade shows and events!

 

If you need any help setting this technology up, that’s something I love to do for my clients! If you need a free quote I’ll be happy to meet with you! Just click the button below!

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Online Marketing vs Direct Mail

online marketing vs direct mail

Online Marketing vs Direct Mail

Let’s compare direct mail, like a postcard or some type of mailer, and online marketing.


Before we get started I want to make sure to get something very clear: I do not talk negatively about any other forms of marketing. I always tell people that online marketing only complements print marketing, or direct mail, or any other kind of advertising. I still recommend that my clients do something like direct mailers. However, I want to make sure you understand the differences between direct mail and online marketing

1.  When someone checks their mail and find a mailer in the box, what do they typically do? Most people just throw it in the trash. That’s a reality for direct marketing. 

2.  Direct mail is relatively inexpensive to send out one piece. The problem is, it’s only going out, typically, one time. So say for instance that you send out a mailer to a thousand people, and it’s only $200. You think “Wow, that sounds great! I can send it to certain zip codes, and certain neighborhoods, it’s awesome!” 

But with online marketing and social media, you can send out a message every day. What if you wanted to send out a mailer out every day? Well that $200 now becomes about $5000! Just like that! So if you think it’s a better use of resources to do direct mail, I challenge you to add up the dollars to see what it would take to be able to send something out every day. 

targeted fb posts3. Not just that, but the targeting you can do in online marketing is fantastic. I’ve talked about this before, how with social media you can target not only certain demographics but specific interests. You can send a mailer to particular demographics, zip codes, and neighborhoods, but you still can’t target those interests.

4.  And not only that, but you can’t have a conversation with your customers through direct mail. Your customers can’t ask that piece of mail a question. Meanwhile, on social media, you can have a two-way conversation with someone, whether it’s through email, or messaging their Facebook page, or sending a tweet.

Now that I’ve told you how direct mail doesn’t work, let me tell you where it does work. And it does, I’ve seen it work on me! One of my clients runs an auto repair shop, and they sent out some direct mail that was very timely — it reminded me that I needed an oil change. I thought, “Oh, yeah, I need to get that oil change!” So I went to the shop and got it done. That’s an example of how direct mail can be effective when you use it to target your current audience. 

Those are some of the differences between the way direct mail and online marketing work. Now let me explain why your direct mail marketing will be much more effective if you use it along with online marketing:

Mom and baby with laptop computer working from homeImagine someone gets a mailer. Instead of picking up the phone to call that business, more and more people are taking this next step — they’re going online and they’re researching what that company’s all about, looking through their Facebook page, clicking through their Twitter account, their Pinterest account, looking at reviews, etc. If you are only doing direct mail, understand you’re missing the boat on that second step, because people want to see transparency. They want to go online and learn all about you. 

On the other hand, if you’re only doing online marketing you’re missing that person, like myself, who may have forgotten about an oil change and your targeted piece of mail will bring him in. 

The world is moving towards online marketing and for good reason! With online marketing, you get everyday exposure, and with direct mail marketing, you get a one-time blast. But sometimes that one-time blast may be just the right piece of information your customer needs. Direct mail and online marketing really work best when you use them together. If you would like to move some of your marketing budget from direct mail to online marketing, request a quote below! 

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Appointment Booking Software For Contractors

Appointment Booking Software

Appointment Booking Software For Contractors

One thing I don’t talk enough about is how I’m able to implement strategies and processes that help customers go through the lead process to get to my clients’ front door.

 

As customers, most of us don’t have a lot of time to call or go back and forth via email to schedule a service. I’ve researched a couple of appointment-setting applications that a customer can use to book an appointment with you without having to pick up the phone or sending several emails. With these apps, a customer can go to your web page, your Facebook page, or wherever they find you, and book service with you right there!

 

This not only saves time for your customer, but it saves your time too. The time you’re not spending on the phone frees you up to do the things you do best, and it frees up your admins or whoever handles your appointment-setting process so that they can work on other things.  

 

These days we want to do everything with our phone, except make phone calls! Think about it from your customer’s point of view. Do they want to spend time on the phone, pulling out their calendar, trying to figure out a good date and time while talking to you? Or do they just want to go to your website, pick the day and time they know is good, and be done?

 

Here are my favorite scheduling apps:

 

1. Setmore

This app allows you to have a booking page right on your website, or you can text the appointment app to your customer. Either way, the customer can pick the date, time and service, and any other criteria that you set. Then Setmore will sync with your Google calendar, or your iCal, whatever calendar you use. You can have it sync with your calendar and/or one of your techs’. That way the app knows when you have other appointments and blocks those out so that the customer can’t schedule you in a time that’s already committed to something else. All the customer sees are the days and times you have available, and they choose from that.

 

Once the customer books the service, they get an email confirming the appointment. The customer also gets a calendar invite so that they can get it onto their own calendar and get reminders. Your tech or whoever manages the service will also get a reminder email for that calendar appointment. Plus, you (or your customer) can reschedule the appointment through the app, and everyone will get the updated information.

 

Setmore has an app for iPhones and Samsung phones. However, it does not sync with QuickBooks. I know that many businesses use QuickBooks, so that’s something to keep in mind. It will, however, sync with your email campaigns through Mail Chimp, if you use that.

 

2. Acuity Scheduling

This is the tool that I use. I like this app because not only does it sync with my email campaigns through Mail Chimp, but it also does sync with QuickBooks. Acuity Scheduling does not have a phone app, but it does have a very mobile-responsive website. This means that when you look at the Acuity Scheduling tool on your phone, it looks and feels like a phone app.

 

It has the same features as Setmore in that you can set up your whole schedule and sync your calendars, and not allow customers to schedule service over times you already have blocked off. It only shows customers available dates and times.

 

I had one of my clients use this for the last few weeks, and he’s booking appointments nonstop! I put myself as a CC on his confirmation emails so I can see the lead flow, and his business is just blowing up! I love it! And the beauty of it is, all he has to do is wake up, look at his calendar, and see what he has on the schedule for the day. In the meanwhile, he’s saved himself valuable time by not having to be on the phone booking these appointments, and he’s saved his customers time making phone calls that they don’t want to make.

 

If you’re interested in these apps and need any help to implement these strategies to get lean and efficient with your business and cater to how today’s customer wants to do business, please give me a call or click “get a quote.” We can definitely set up a meeting to see how we can help you out!

 

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Online Marketing Tips For Plumbers

plumber mckinney tx

Online Marketing Tips For Plumbers

What do you do when you suddenly need a plumber? In the past, people would turn to the Yellow Pages. Now, they most likely Google. In an emergency people often choose a plumber blindly, almost at random. Sure, everyone has seen push marketing from plumbers—ads on the radio, TV, direct mail, etc. If you’re a plumber you know that that kind of marketing is great for getting your name out—but when someone needs a plumber quickly you have to depend on them remembering your billboard or ad.

This type of push marketing is on the way out because there’s a better way to market your business: online marketing. The beauty of online marketing is that it gets your name out there, like a billboard, but it’s also interactive. You can change it daily, and more importantly, you can interact with your potential customers and build a relationship with them before they need you. You can respond to their questions and comments in real time and attract a laser-targeted audience right in your service area. That way when that moment comes that your customers need a plumber, they already know where to turn for help.

How Online Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Business:

“Great!” you say, “But how do I do this? What do I do to build a relationship online? Do I have to post cat videos?” The good news is that it’s easy to start building relationships on social media, and it doesn’t have to involve cats at all (at least not for a plumber). Here are a few ways in which a plumber can use social media and online marketing to attract customers:

1. Show off your work:

Most of us are visual and like to see the work of others before we use them. We love to see before/after photos of projects! Plumbing is no different. Show off pictures of the work you’ve done, or that you’re doing!

2. How-to videos:

Even better than photos, make some videos. Simple how-to videos to help your prospective customers help themselves will also earn their gratitude and trust. When a big project comes along that they need to call in a professional for, they will remember the company that helped them with their videos.

3. Give tips:

Along with the how-to videos, offer some tips and information so that your customers can learn about how their plumbing works, and how to maintain it and use water wisely. This can be done effectively through blog posts and email campaigns.  Facebook is also a great place to share this kind of information.  When you give out helpful tips you not only come off as the expert (which you are), but you gain trust because you are offering something of value without asking for anything in return. Your prospective customers will look forward to your posts instead of dreading another sales pitch and tuning you out.

4. Show off your staff:

People want to do business with people. They want to know what your customer does, but they also want to know who is doing the work! Posting pictures of the staff on Facebook, Twitter etc. shows a human side to the company and people can make an emotional connection. It’s about the people and not just a logo.

5. Encourage your customers to follow you:

This seems like a no-brainer. Of course, you want your customers to follow you on Facebook and Twitter! But there’s a catch to this: Don’t just ask people to follow you. Give them a reason to follow you. Give your customers something of value for their follow.

For example, you could say: “Please be sure to like our Facebook page because we give tips on how to take care of simple plumbing projects around the home, as well as how to save money on water.” That should be a guaranteed “like” and gives the plumber a chance to stay connected with their customer so the customer will remember who to call when something major does go wrong.

We live in a relationship-driven business world now, and social media is where those relationships are born. People want to do business with those that they know, like and trust. With millions of users on social media, it only makes sense for a plumber to have a presence there. We challenge you to try these tips, and see if the leads start flooding in!

Are you a plumber who is interested in online marketing? I’d love to talk with you!

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How to Generate More Leads at The Home and Garden Show

Collin County Home and Garden Show Allen TX

The 8th Annual Collin County Home and Garden Show is coming up in Allen, TX, in just a couple of days! I want to give business owners a few tips on how to generate online leads when you’re at the Home and Garden show in person. This show is a huge deal for local businesses, contractors, service industries, etc. But there’s a little tweak you can make when you’re at this show that can yield online referrals for your business as well. 

1. Bring your iPad:

If you don’t have an iPad, consider getting one. The key to having your iPad with you is to make sure you have cellular service for it. You don’t want to depend on public wifi—that can really slow you down at a busy show where everyone is trying to use it at once. So make sure your iPad can use cellular data. Why bring an iPad? Two reasons: 

    • If someone is really interested in your products or services, rather than having them fill out a form with pen and paper, you can take them directly to your contact form on your website and get their information submitted immediately. That way you get the email with all their information and you can follow up with them accordingly. Another benefit is that this bypasses any trouble you might have when people’s handwriting isn’t so great, and you can’t read their email address when you get back to the office. So by brining your iPad, you can have people put in their information directly on your contact page, and then boom! You have a lead right there. 
    • Another reason is that when you have your iPad there, you can make it very easy for someone to subscribe to your email list. MailChimp has an app that makes this easy and so does Constant Contact. You can be stockpiling subscribers all weekend long at the show! This is so much better than having a piece of paper and having people write their emails down on it because think about this: Who has to manually enter in all that data? Either you do, and if you’re the business owner, who has time for that? Or maybe you have an assistant or an employee do it, but they could be doing better things with that time. If you have an app set up so that people can put in their own email address and hit “subscribe,” then boom! The work is done, and all you have to do is follow up with them through email. 

2. Ask for likes and follows.

Ask people to like your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter or Instagram. But here’s the key—and you’ve heard me say this before. Give them the selfish reason why they should do it! Don’t just say “Like us on Facebook.” Say “Like us on Facebook because we’re always giving out tips and coupons!” Whatever is appropriate for your business to offer, give the end user a selfish reason for why they should follow you in the first place.

3. Have a contest or giveaway

In exchange for liking your Facebook page or signing up for your email list, have people sign up for a drawing for a prize. This is probably my least favorite way to get leads at a show, but I know it works so I’m putting it out there. The reason I don’t like this method as much is that you may not be getting people who are interested in your products or services, so much as winning your contest. You’re still capturing information, which is good. But you may be capturing the information of people who aren’t at all interested in your services. They just want the prize you’re giving away. This is why I prefer using the first tip above. If someone puts their information into your iPad, you know they’re a qualified lead who is interested in your products or services. But you never know! You still end up with the email addresses, and you may get a sale from someone down the road. 

If you’re reading this list and thinking that you don’t know how to set this up on your iPad to get subscribers, or you know that even if customers like your Facebook page it doesn’t matter much because you don’t have any content there—that’s where we can come in! We can help you with a full online marketing strategy to help you capture and follow up with people at the Home and Garden Show. Give me a call or an email and we can set up a time to chat! 

I wish all of your business owners success at the Home and Garden Show! I’m going to be out there too, taking videos and pictures of clients, to use in their online marketing! And if you know of a vendor who is going to be at the Home and Garden Show, please pass along this post to them so that they can get these tips and be ready to grab those online referrals! 

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