As a business in the home and garden industry or a home improvement contractor, understanding how to attract new customers is important. One effective way to gain a loyal following is to get customers in your door or to make the first phone call to inquire about your services and products. This will give you the opportunity to keep them coming back by providing them with the service and quality that they expect.
So how do you get them to choose you over the competition? This article will outline some effective marketing strategies for home improvement companies to ensure you’re creating the right offer to attract new customers.
Know Your Target Audience
Determining who your target audience is and how to reach them will help you make smarter decisions that will have a positive impact on your business. Are the people you are trying to reach more likely to respond to an educational resource, a limited time offer, a BOGO, or a discount for referring friends and family? What excites them and motivates them to buy? Who normally makes this decision in their household?
The more you know why they NEED your particular product or service, and what their most common path to purchase is, the more you can use this information to your advantage to shape a message and offer around that.
Market research (which your media partner should also be able to help you with) will help you determine the right type of offer that will resonate with your customers and will allow you to spend your marketing dollars in ways that are likely to produce the greatest return on investment. For most businesses, coupons are a great place to start. Enticing first time customers with savings and promotional offers will get them to consider your business over the competition and give you the chance to keep them coming back.
Use Different Advertising Channels & Delivery
Once you’ve got a thorough understanding of your target audience and what motivates them, you now need to think about where you are advertising. While having an integrated approach to your marketing (having similar messaging across different channels) can be extremely effective, this doesn’t mean every ad should be exactly the same.
For instance, while you might have a similar offer — let’s say $50 off your first lawn care service — this should be expressed (and possibly redeemed) across a variety of media. An online banner ad might drive people to a landing page to download the offer coupon and set up a consultation, while your radio ad might provide a phone number to call and start the process to redeem the offer. Finally, your Valpak print ad may be even more detailed and provide a variety of lawn care offer options that the customer can choose from by calling you or visiting your website.
While your main offer could be the same, they are presented differently based on the method of delivery… which will ultimately increase results. By having a variety of methods for delivering your offer, you are also able to include supporting offers in these different methods. So aside from the $50 off your first lawn care service, you might be able to have supporting offers delivered in a print ad that you otherwise might not be able to include in an online ad or radio spot. Some great examples could maybe be a free month of lawn care with a 12 month agreement, or 20% off any landscaping service. Having supporting offers are a great way to keep customers coming back, especially if they’ve redeemed their first offer as a new customer.
Keep Offers in Season
In the home improvement industry, timing is everything. Varying regions have to consider different timelines for when specific products or services should be promoted. If you operate a business in Boston, running a special offer for landscaping in December will obviously not get the response that you are looking for, since homeowners are certainly not thinking about their lawns when there’s 6 feet of snow outside. Instead, focus on home improvement projects that can be done indoors while winter storms rage outside.
Depending on the type of store or business you operate, you can determine what season is the slowest and the services to be targeted for special offers to increase sales. Since most people are also likely to stay inside, you could even consider special offers for services to be done outdoors, such as an initial fall cleanup before winter arrives, snow removal, or putting up holiday lights!
When you are developing your marketing plan, always be one step ahead. This means you need to get your customer’s attention as they are just starting to think about their need for a product or service, rather than when they actually need it. In most regions, landscaping and lawn care starts in the early spring, giving people the opportunity to plan and do the prep-work before the growing season. If you wait until June or July to start running ads and introducing coupons for your products or services, you will have given your customers a reason to take their business elsewhere because they started making these decisions months ago.
Tips to Start Your Home Improvement Advertising
The first step is to do an evaluation of your current plan to determine how effective your efforts are and where improvements can be made.
- Research your audience:
- Who are they?
- What type of offers are most appealing to them?
- Research your market:
- When it comes to your competitors, how are they advertising their offers for their products and services, and is it working for them?
- Do you want to try the same delivery methods or take a different approach? You may find that their offers will be appealing to your audience, but if you choose to use the same strategy, you find yourself in direct competition, both in the types of products or services that you offer and in how you are approaching your customers.
- Are there any supporting offers that you can include to entice the customer to your business? Think about offers that could help that customer stay a loyal customer, especially after they’ve made their first offer redemption.
- What can you do that your competitor isn’t doing to keep that customer coming back to your business?
- Review your historical data:
- You should be able to access records of previous offers and various marketing strategies used in the past, and review the results.
- How did different products/services perform during different times of the year?
- Customer feedback can also yield valuable information about how effective your marketing efforts have been in the past.
- Listen to their comments, they can be a great indicator of what has worked in the past, or what opportunities you can expand on for your business.
- For example: Have they told you a certain offer resonated with them? Have they mentioned they don’t look forward to cleaning up the fall leaves before the first freeze? Maybe they aren’t really good at cleaning their gutters. Do they need a little help putting up holiday lights? Do not ignore this feedback, but instead use it to help you determine what offers to push moving forward.
- Talk to your media partner and utilize their expertise to get the most out of your marketing.
- Valpak specialists can help you create and implement a strategy based on best practices and what offers have been known to work for your industry, based on many different variables. This information can be used to create powerful offers that will benefit your business across multiple campaigns.