3 Reasons Your Marketing Is Bad and What You Can Do About It

by Kacey Larsen

Remodelers waste the most money at their businesses on marketing. The problem is rampant. And most remodelers have no idea it’s happening to them. Marketing is also extremely time-consuming. Many waste a lot of valuable time that would be better spent on other, more valuable profit-generating activities. So just as I have warned in previous articles, after you read this, you should really have no excuse but to recognize what you may be doing wrong. From there, you can make a conscious choice to either change things or keep wasting your money on some aspects of your marketing.

Reason No. 1: Are you shooting arrows without aiming for a target?

Most remodelers spend money on marketing to get leads. This is a good strategy as long as they are qualified leads. However, if the leads you get are not for the work types and/or customer personality types you want, or if they are not from prospects who will actually value what you offer at your price, you are wasting your money as well as a lot of your time.

To solve these challenges you must first decide who and what your targets are, as well as where you will limit your services geographically. For example, you might want to only work with people who want and need design assistance. That way, you can focus on design/build and avoid the bidding game, where often the biggest loser wins. Your project targets might be best focused on projects that are material intensive. That way, you are growing your business and volume. Therefore, your gross profit isn’t so dependent on the need for additional field staff. Plus, materials are almost always easier to manage than labor. This could be a big potential strategic advantage in an industry short on available talent. And from a geographic standpoint, if you can keep commuting time down between projects by limiting your service area, you can save lots of time while lowering your job costs and your overhead.

Reason No. 2: Are you too busy or not interested in keeping score?

Imagine an archery contest where no one ever kept score of how many targets were hit. How would you ever know who wins? And without keeping score, how would you know which arrows shoot straight enough to hit your target? Unless you keep score on your marketing, you will never know which arrows to keep and which to replace. After all, isn’t the purpose of an archery contest to identify those with the best aim, not the ones who took the most shots?  

In my opinion, marketing is simply an expense if you can’t or don’t measure its effectiveness. However, if you do measure your efforts, it can easily become an investment. This requires you to revise your tactics based on what you learn from analyzing your marketing results. Good measuring and analysis can eventually help reduce your spend on marketing and, at the same time, save many wasted hours trying to sell less than ideal project types to the wrong prospects. In most cases, a simple spreadsheet can keep track of your results, but there are a number of software solutions that offer very nuanced reporting and analysis.

Reason No. 3: Are those you pay to help with marketing taking advantage?

When you shop at a used car lot, your options are limited to what’s on the lot at that time. And the salespeople at that location have no choice but to try to sell you on what they have, which might not be what you actually want or need. I find it to be very sad (and maybe even bordering on theft) that many people who offer marketing services to remodelers often do so without first identifying what that remodeler really wants and/or needs to accomplish. Many smooth talking salespeople have sold remodelers what they have on the lot. They are able to do this because remodelers typically don’t have a strategic or measurable marketing plan. However, we can’t and should not put all the blame on the smooth talkers. The true responsibility for how such money is invested is up to you.

Take the time to do what I suggest above: Identify the purposes and targets for your marketing before you do it, and be prepared to accurately measure results. Remodelers who have done this are sometimes able to create a pay or no-pay service agreement with their marketing providers. With such an agreement, the marketing consultants and service providers are compensated based on the outcomes rather than for their efforts. The risk can be high for the marketer, so therefore assume their pricing may be higher. However, the increased cost will only come if and when you get the results you need. This, in my opinion, is a much better investment than paying them for shooting arrows into the air without any idea of where or if they will ever land. QR

Shawn McCadden, CR, CLC, CAPS, is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award-winning remodeler with more than 35 years of experience. He can be reached at shawnmccadden.com.

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