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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Links and referrals

Cool. Professional Roofing has referenced this blog. Meanwhile, for a variety of keywords relating to the topics here, we are receiving front page and even first place listings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN. I can see this with the number of inbound references, tracked through Google Analytics and

So, what does it all mean? In a marketing sense, is this creating business? Not immediately, and that really is okay here. I'm writing this blog not to sell consultancy services, or to get you to advertise in our publications, but because I believe the marketing of construction related services and professions can be improved, and am interested in both the trends and issues in these areas. (There are of course less direct uses of this blog -- in Canada, we are recruiting some key employees and the blog is one way to introduce our business -- and values -- to them).

As I learn more about the business I believe much money is wasted on ill-thought advertising and not enough is spent on carefully considered marketing (which can, of course, include effective advertising). Here, to summarize, are some simple strategies. These supplement the Seven Tips for Construction Marketing Success which you can request online by clicking on the relevant link.
  • Your current clients are the foundation and essence of your marketing for new business. If you give them excellent value and service to the point that you are truly exceptional, you'll win the their references, future business, and -- if you really get it right -- their active support and encouragement. I believe 80 per cent of your marketing efforts should be concentrated with the clients you have now.

  • You can:

  • Send thank you notes

  • Return calls promptly

  • Resolve issues quickly and, if you sense a possible problem, proactively communicate how you will deal with the concerns

  • Share rewards and gifts (within reason)

  • Promote and publicize your customers -- even better, refer business to them!

  • Communicate frequently -- electronic newsletters can help; also personal calls, visits, and events are often appropriate.
In advocating you focus the bulk of your marketing on current clients, you should appreciate that the other "20 per cent" can provide the critical edge to your business. And I see three primary strategies within that 20 per cent.

  1. Attain positive media publicity for your business in relevant (to your markets) communities.
  2. Join and participate in relevant trade associations or groups, either as an associate/supporter at your client level or, within the industry, with groups that allow you to enhance your best practices and peer network, especially in non-competitive markets. I like the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).
  3. Use selective Internet marketing and advertising resources -- but be wary about 'pay per lead' services unless you have good tracking and management/measurement systems to be sure you are obtaining value for money.
It is ironic that while my business earns more than 90 per cent of its revenue from advertising, I don't encourage you to rush out and spend more than necessary on advertising. But this advice is consistent with our values. Much of our revenue is derived from special editorial features which are supported by supplier advertising. The features, of course, generate positive publicity without requiring any advertising investment. The advertisers are supporting their clients -- in line with our belief that this is the highest and best form of marketing.

The latter point explains one of the purposes of this blog. While our advertisers are giving us money to support their clients, they have become our clients, as well. And we wish to deliver more than the ink on paper, and invoices. Hence, this blog. Solid, practical marketing ideas and advice, without expecting anything in return, helps us to deliver the value our clients have a right to expect.

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