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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Readers' Question:

Late last night, I received the following email from a reader.

. . .as you can see by my email address I own a garage door repair business......

It has been three years now of success even in a down market... We owe this success primarily to our online marketing methods coupled with some really great closing techniques....... however we seemed to have hit a plateau ... Although we capture a lot of sales online it seems as if our traditional marketing skills are lacking .... We learned the hard way that Yellow Page ads just don't cut it any more to the tune of a $20,000 loss and have since been disabled by fear in the paid advertising arena...

Upon reading about Bestline Plumbing I wondered if their model would work for us as well...

What are your thoughts on this?
My response: (As I haven't received permission, I won't disclose the email writer's identity.)
I think Leoonard Megliola can teach you useful marketing approaches. So, much closer to your home (If the the top ranked Garage Door Service on Google is yours) , can Glen Kohlenberg of Absolute Aluminum in Florida.

(Just checked further, if you are in (a California location), you are far away from Florida, of course, but why can't I find you on Google ... are your online methods working the way they should, and have they been developed fully?)

Leonard has used flyers; Glen developed a co-op magazine, where he had affiliated businesses and suppliers pay much of his marketing costs.
Would I copy them absolutely, quickly, and without testing, however? I'm not certain. The reason is you need to find the model right based on your own experience and your style of business.

Paid advertising is indeed scary because most models require you to spend a significant amount before you know whether things are working. Leonard's flyer model is effective in his neighbourhoods, Glen's model requires a fair bit of co-ordination and may be challenging to replicate.

How are you marketing online?
Indeed, readers of this blog can find inspiration in the marketing success of some contractors frequently referenced in these pages. They appreciate that one size doesn't fit all, and that marketing techniques and methodologies need to be tested over time, and often changed. They generally do this in a pragmatic and logical way; without completely ditching the 'old' approach, they experiment with alternative methods, and if one works, they adapt it to their systems.

This is a challenge because you need to mix enough commitment to give a marketing idea a proper trial (usually first efforts don't work so well), with enough flexibility to change -- this is why fixed annual Yellow Pages contracts are, in my opinion, deadly -- you tie your budget for one medium and, worse yet, one that is in decline! (However if you are currently using the Yellow Pages successfully, don't ditch them without forethought and confidence that you can do something better -- I would seek independent consultation on making a smaller Yellow Pages ad more effective and then allocate the money saved elsewhere, though. Don't buy what the Yellow Pages rep sells you without a great degree of caution.

(Through an unrelated Internet group I have a friend who has just taken a job as a Yellow Pages representative in Canada. It will be interesting, as time progresses, to gather insider perspectives from the Yellow Pages organization.)

You can download the Bestline Plumbing Manual by visiting the Wordpress edition of this blog at http://www.constructionmarketingideas.com, and viewing the sidebar.

1 comment:

Being the Best said...

Online marketing is now the best way (not to mention the most cost effective) to reach your audience. Sadly, many business owners who come to me for help at www.beingthebest.ca say they're online marketing is working but the reality is if you are not getting enough customers, it is not working. And 99.9% of the time that is because they do not have the knowledge or skills to develop a strategy and marketing plan. They are just throwing things out there willy-nilly.

For someone like your reader who emailed you, owning the local market is vital, and eliminating anything other than that is important. Don't waste efforts where they won't get customers.