Q&A From Our 2018 September Webinar
Our most recent webinar on effective marketing tactics for improving your profitability in the home improvement industry generated a lot of questions which we did not have time to answer during the webinar. As a result, we will be answering them here.
The first presenter during the webinar was Mark Highbaugh from Marlimar Mobile Strategies. He discussed how to generate more leads via texting and how to make your texting campaigns more effective. You can reach Mark at 502-777-4447 or email@example.com.
Q: On average, how many calls should I make to a lead before I text?
A: Most companies only make one call prior to sending a text message, and they send the text quickly after a failed phone reach. Some groups will even lead-off with a text message to a lead to “tee” them up for the forthcoming call.
Q: Can my customers send pictures to me, if requested?
A: Absolutely! These services allow for MMS picture messaging both from the ‘confirmer’ and from the customer. And, these pictures are immediately visible and are retained in long-term history for future reference.
Q: Does authorizing my phone number interrupt any phone calls?
A: Not at all. You can authorize traditional landlines or digital VOIP 10-digit numbers. In both cases, the authorization of the landline numbers for texting do not in any way interrupt the tracking, forwarding or voicemail activities of the calling activities of those numbers.
Q: Do you have a case history or two regarding the effects of a good texting program vs. what the company was using before?
A: We have heard from numerous home improvement companies that tracked results of the percentage of leads that were “set” or those leads, which were converted into an in-home demo rise between 10-15% using Marlimar texting services compared to traditional calling/voicemail/email and repeat processes. These stats were reported by multiple companies that track each step of their sales cycle.
Q: How complicated is the texting process? Do you have to have a “tech savvy” organization to make it work?
A: Using our (Marlimar) services is easy, and some companies can begin services in even the same day as they contract. It is as simple as providing a landline number, and email address and choosing what type of text messaging you want to send. And, we provide “best-practice” training for users to learn how to get the greatest results from the services provided.
Q: Texting sounds like a great solution. Does the cost vs. results pay off?
A: Our solutions are not a cost center to companies that choose Marlimar and commit to using the services and practices provided. In most cases, companies experience huge benefits from increased sales, impacted productivity and improved homeowner experience, one of the most important benefits. Our results indicate that if done effectively you can have a huge cost to benefit ratio.
The next presenter on the webinar was Todd Bairstow with Keyword Connects. He discussed specific ways to optimize your leads on a targeted, geographic basis. He also touched on ways to effectively implement email campaigns that can follow up with your customers and prospects automatically to keep them engaged in what you have to offer. You can reach Todd at 781-899-3675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I’m still puzzled. Should there be a specific way for me to know the precise cities and towns my website traffic is coming from?
A: There is a specific way to know, via Google Analytics. You can drill down very quickly, and with little technical knowledge, to see the precise cities and towns that your web site traffic is coming from. If you don’t have Google Analytics, make that first on your list. It’s free, and a very user-friendly tool.
Q: Should I be able to create email chains that come from different sources like yours, as an example?
A: I would say so, especially if that source allows you to communicate more specifically with an audience. For instance, if you’re meeting folks at home shows all winter, make sure you reference the home show connection. If you’re generating leads from a sweepstakes, send them sweepstakes emails around number of entrants, who the winners are, and then the great pictures of the finished product. The number of sources is really limited only by your imagination and marketing savvy.
Q: I like your breakdown when segmenting smaller, often more profitable, territory from the big cities, which have a population advantage. Do you have a case study on the workability of this?
A: We don’t have a case study on this, but I have done this for years in the PPC market to find leads that are more cost effective. As far as feasibility, it should certainly be possible for your SEO to focus on specific areas that you dictate based on your profitable customers. But as a home improvement company, you have to ask your SEO, then emphasize that certain parts of your territory are more important – and to shift focus and resources to those areas. Every SEO will do it differently – but only if you direct them to focus properly.
Q: We have just experienced our second SEO company. We are not happy with the results. Is this our fault because we don’t understand the technical aspects of the business?
A: That’s a broad question with too many variables for me to be specific. Your knowledge of the technical aspects should have nothing to do with an SEO’s success or lack thereof. It’s a simple equation for a business owner: Are you getting more leads from your website than you did before hiring the SEO? You need to re-case their mission in those terms.
Q: How can we determine if we are being overcharged for SEO and what information should we anticipate being communicated to us from our SEO company?
A: I can’t speak to the “overcharged” portion of your question. Some very expensive SEO companies do the best job – but others are also very expensive and mediocre at best. In terms of what is communicated from an SEO firm, I would cast their job in terms of “leads and phone calls” from the website. That’s your goal – and it should be their job to work their magic to drive those leads. One of the most common diversionary tactics SEO's use is to blind clients with technical jargon. Don’t let them do it. Let your SEO know that they’ll be judged by the phone ringing and leads coming in.
Q: Does your company actually create leads with the SEO program?
A: Keyword Connects is a lead generation specialist for paid online media, mostly PPC. We don’t do SEO, but if you get in touch with me, I can make some recommendations for you.
The final presenter on the webinar was Eric Spiegel with Fish Shack Marketing & Promotions. He discussed a new method that he has developed for addressing the "one-legger" issue through the use of a travel certificate. You can reach Eric at (818) 796-4410 or (818) 212-6236 or email him at email@example.com.
Q: We have used travel coupons in the past, the use of which created an annoyance with customers who many times faced the practices of (closed dates and similar). Do I understand your program is different?
A: The program mentioned is different from any other program on the market in two specific ways. Firstly our model is a fulfillment model rather than a breakage model which is what’s widely used in the travel incentive industry. Our program is designed for maximum usage and redemption as we are compensated by the resorts, hotels & cruise lines to fill the empty rooms. Those who provide “travel incentives” create a difficult redemption process. Approximately 85% of the travel certificates issued go unredeemed thus creating a negative experience for your customers.
Additionally, this is the only company that charges a monthly membership fee rather than sell the travel certificates individually. The subscription program allows a home improvement company to incorporate the travel incentives program into the culture of their business rather than use the certificates sparingly due to the upfront costs, and the price per certificate.
Q: Do I understand you to say sometimes cruise ships depart with 25 or more of their cabins not booked? Is the issue similar in resort hotels?
A: Yes, all resorts, hotels, cruise ships, and even airlines have unused inventory on almost every day/voyage. The program helps fill the empty rooms with people who will spend money in the spas, restaurants and bars, as well as the casinos, art galleries and jewelry stores. The financial gain to the resorts, cruises and hotels is significant, as the client that receives the travel incentive will spend more money than the bargain shopper who typically takes advantage of the hotel & cruise line's pre-voyage sales.
Q: How does your company make this “cost effective” for small growing companies?
A: Our monthly subscription packages have various pricing levels so that we can accommodate any sized company. We customize a program to make it work for your company!
Q: Beyond its utilization for effecting a “two party appointment”, is this system workable for rehash leads, or our current referral reward system?
A: Yes, the travel incentive program works brilliantly for obtaining referrals and for rehashing non-sales. Many companies have replaced net dollar rewards with higher perceived value travel incentives thus creating a better experience for their clients, and lowering the company’s net dollar cost. In our experience, offering travel incentives rather than gift cards or cash increases the acquisition of referrals over 50%.
As it relates to rehashing missed sales, the offering of a travel incentive gives the prospective client a compelling reason to allow your sales representative back into their home to revisit the project. When you’re calling customers who’ve already said no to you, a compelling reason to reset the appointment is critical to getting your sales rep back into the home.
Q: One of the problems in effectively making “two party appointments” seems to be “scripting”. We have a lot of difficulty with the call center we use. How do you make this happen?
A: We have created scripts that are used by marketers and confirmation people to ensure maximum efficiency. As part of our program we will customize scripting for your business and work with your people to ensure success. Our program comes with a full service marketing support program where we work with your people to teach them how to present the programs, and how to ensure your company’s success.
Q: Our company does not operate with a “one call close”. Do you have other companies in the same position, who use this system?
A: Yes, we have clients who do not operate on a “one call” closing platform and these programs work just as well in that situation. When a client needs time to evaluate or in some cases shop for alternative prices, our travel incentives are what resonate with the prospect, and most often is the reason they decide to purchase from the seller.
In a commoditized environment where many companies are selling similar products & services, the hook of the travel program is what compels them to buy.
If you did not get your question addressed we encourage you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
As a reminder, all three of these presenters will be speaking at our upcoming seminar in Baltimore. There are still a few spots available. You won't want to miss it!