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Monday, December 31, 2012

Personalized and targeted marketing for roofing contractors in 2013

Let's say you get two emails today from companies soliciting a product or service you may in fact need or buy in the coming year.

The first is obviously a standard lead generation marketing email with a huge CONTACT US or CLICK TO BUY button that you can safely assume was already sent exactly the same way to hundreds if not thousands of other potential purchasing decision makers. You are likely also Bcc:'d (blind carbon-copied) as part of a mass distribution list. How inclined are you to respond to this email, call them or even visit their website?
NOTE: If you have ever done email marketing for your roofing company, this is likely the route you have taken and you probably saw a bit of a spike in website traffic, maybe got a handful of folks to email you back and a couple to even call you. It is quick, cheap and easy - especially on a large scale. But what about commercial roofing companies who deal with 1,000 or less building owners or property or facility managers?
The second email you receive today is sent directly to you (i.e., your email address is in the To: line). Your name is in the subject line and in the salutation. The body of the email references your company specifically as well as why the sender feels your particular company could benefit from doing business with him or her. And to top it off, to save you the time and hassle of reading through a bunch of boring literature, there is a link to a short video (addressed to you) that succinctly explains the product or service, its benefits, etc. How inclined are you to watch, then respond to this email?

EXAMPLE personalized roofing company introduction video:


It would appear the sender of the second email really wants the opportunity to earn not just whoever's business, but precisely your business. He or she has gone out of their way to identify you as an individual, assess the fit of their product or service to your company, and reach out personally to introduce themselves. This is not the typical approach by marketers because it seems like it would take time, would be expensive and is difficult.

Can I afford this?
Your question should really be "Can I afford not to do this?" Commercial roofing companies typically don't deal with tens of thousands of potential customers. In your service area, there are likely few enough potential customers that this personalized approach would not only be feasible financially, but could be done within a 12 month period. This may be simplest, most inexpensive way to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors (at least those who haven't read this blog post yet).

I have discovered a method for researching contacts and developing personalized introduction and overview videos for roofing contractors that really works, and would like to share with you the basics of how to do it.
NOTE: If instead you would like my help I charge $100 per lead (minimum 20 leads), which includes identifying the contacts, qualifying them, collecting all available contact information, and developing & posting the personalized videos to your YouTube channel. Please email RoofPal@gmail.com for more information.

How do I do this?
First, develop a short video about your roofing company, the services you offer, a particular type of roofing (like cool roofing systems, metal roofing, roof cleaning & maintenance, etc.), or any message you would like to get out.

Second, identify potential roofing customers (please click to read my previous blog post or watch the podcast episode on this topic).

Third, develop individual slides or frames for each of the contacts on your list. It is particularly effective to incorporate their picture from the company's website or their LinkedIn profile page. I use Microsoft PowerPoint and save each of the slides as a .png image file.

Fourth, compile a list of all of the unique first names on your list (for example, there may be 6 men named Jim, 8 women named Mary, 3 men named Tom, etc.) and record yourself offering a very short personalized greeting, using the first name. Repeat this for every unique name and save each as its own video file, as these can be reused for every person with that same first name.

Fifth, in the video editing software of your choice (I use Windows Live Movie Maker) import the video about your roofing company along with the first name greeting video associated with the person's first name, as well as the individual slide for that specific person. Burn it as one single video file and upload it to YouTube.
NOTE: I recommend uploading these videos to YouTube as Unlisted, which means only those with the link can view the video. Otherwise when someone visits your channel, does a Google search, or finishes watching the video you send them, they'll see all the other one's you have put together and the whole process won't feel as personalized as it originally did, basically killing your strategy.
Sixth, send an email directly to that contact using their name, title, company name, etc. in your introduction and include the link to the video on YouTube. The idea is to make this very personal (without being creepy) to convey to the recipient that you really would like to earn his or her business and are not simply doing a mass email blast.

Would you like help doing this?
Again, I charge $100 per lead to develop these videos (minimum 20 leads). This includes developing the company overview video, identifying potential customers, collecting all available contact information I can find online (including links to social media profiles, email address, phone number, mailing address, etc.), as well as developing and posting each personalized video to your YouTube channel. I would ask that you record the personalized greetings though to keep it authentic (I provide you with the list of names and a recommended script). If you would like to discuss more or get started, please email RoofPal@gmail.com.

If you do put some of these together, I'd like to see an example and hear how it worked for you. If you have any other ideas, comments or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. Best of luck!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Roofing Article and Video Special Offer!

If you are a roofing contractor looking for dynamic, reusable, custom content to promote your company in 2013 I have a special offer for you. For a limited time I am offering a 1-page article with an associated video on the topic of your choice for just $750 (this is 25% off the normal $1,000 price).

The article and associated video version can be about your company, a type of roofing system you install, a specific service such as storm damage restoration, etc. - any topic you desire. Provided you make yourself available for feedback on drafts through completion, these can be completed within just 2 weeks.

Your article can be posted to your website, shared on social media, submitted to local and national publications, emailed as a .pdf to prospective customers, and more. Your video will be uploaded to YouTube where you can share it on social media, embed it on your website, send it to prospective customers, have potential customers launch it on their smart phones via a QR Code from your brochures or business cards, and so much more.

For examples of videos, please visit YouTube.com/RoofPal or email RoofPal@gmail.com to get started or to request additional information, examples of videos and articles, or references. Payment in full is due upfront.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to find potential roofing customer contact information online (Part 2)

When you reach out via email to a potential new commercial roofing customer such as a property or facility manager and get an Out of Office AutoReply email message response from them... EUREKA! - you may have just struck customer contact information prospecting gold!
 
Why Out of Office AutoReplies are so valuable
When someone is on vacation or out of the office for an extended period of time, they often leave one or more alternate names in the company (with contact information) who are supporting their customers during that time to people who email them during their absence.
 
Those alternate contacts often have a similar or supporting role (i.e., they manage other commercial properties or are otherwise involved in the process) and are likely another person worth reaching out and introducing your roofing company to.
 
If you are interested in building a list of potential roofing customers and gathering contact information so you can create awareness of your roofing company and request to be contacted for opportunities to bid roofing work, please also see: How to find potential roofing customer contact information online (Part 1).
 
If you have any questions about finding potential roofing customers in your service area online or would like assistance doing so, please contact RoofPal any time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Are people hiding your roofing company's Facebook posts?

Most roofing companies focus on how many people 'Like' or are friends with their Facebook page instead of focusing on what is important like what they post, how often they post, and actually engaging with those they are already connected to. Now they are paying the price: people are blocking or hiding their posts.
 
4 types of negative feedback on Facebook
Outside of bad reviews or comments, there are four types of negative feedback your roofing company's page can receive on Facebook:
  1. Hiding a single post from their newsfeed
  2. Hiding all of your posts from their newsfeed (also called “unsubscribing”)
  3. Unliking or unfriending your page
  4. Reporting your post as spam
If any of this has ever happened with your roofing company's Facebook page, it doesn’t mean what you are posting is bad - it could just mean you are posting to the wrong audience or maybe you are posting too frequently (overwhelming your connections).

PageLever is a Facebook analytics tool that measures more than 1 billion Facebook fans across thousands of fan pages. They have found that approximately 2% of post views (1 out of 50) generate some form of negative feedback.

Your connections are most likely to hide or block ALL of your posts when they take a negative feedback action (60 times more likely than unliking or unfriending your page), which means that just because your roofing company has a lot of connections doesn’t mean they are all seeing what you post. Also, they are more likely to report one of your posts as spam than they are to unlike or unfriend your page.

Why are some people hiding or blocking your posts?
It is most likely because you aren't engaging and interacting with them, or they find out after connecting with you that they don't like what you are posting.

What can you do?
The best advice I can give you is to both ensure what you post is relevant and on topic with your service offerings, and that you post at a reasonable frequency (and at an optimal time of the day and days of the week).

Don't be afraid to ask some of your connections what they would be interested in seeing posted by your roofing company. Track your page metrics to see which posts get the most engagement and the most organic virality.

Periodically try new content and new formats of content like text only, pictures of your work or team members, videos of your work or roofing video brochures, links to roofing articles or pages on your website, polls/questions, etc. Try new things and measure the results so you can make quick adjustments when necessary.

One other thing I would recommend is to focus more on quality connections than quantity of connections. Define your ideal customer and target people who match that profile.

Want to discuss or need some help?
If you would like to discuss this in more detail or would like assistance developing a Facebook content or engagement strategy, please email RoofPal@gmail.com any time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Choose your roofing customers - outbound vs. inbound marketing


Regardless if you install residential or commercial roofing systems, creating the opportunity to choose your customers instead of hoping the phone rings or getting an email from your website's "Contact Us" form will ultimately lead to greater financial success and much fewer headaches.

Too often we practically beg for work - any work, as long as it helps to keep our crews busy and pay the bills. But over time that leads to diluted service offerings and a splintered work force. Your marketing efforts suffer as well, as it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Choosing Your Customers
This can mean several things, including differentiating potential customers based on personality, geography, credit worthiness, financial solvency, existing roof size, existing roof system, existing roof age, their reason for needing roofing work, their preferred roof system, their level of environmental consciousness, and more.

Disqualifying certain potential roofing customers helps to streamline your operations, materials purchasing and your advertising, which ultimately improves your profit margins or enables you to compete more aggressively with low-bid contractors. It also enables your company to focus, to truly become an expert, and to develop a strong reputation as "the company" for the specific work you bid.

'Spray and Pray' vs. 'Ready, Aim, Fire!'
Inbound marketing in essence is the reliance that people will find you and contact you when they need work. It is the "spray and pray" approach. Outbound marketing is the opposite - it is the aggressive pursuit of work, and can more easily be targeted to a defined customer profile. It is the "ready, aim, fire!" approach.

With the right marketing, content development and search engine optimization over time, inbound marketing can have a similar eventual outcome. But by clearly articulating your "perfect customer" (e.g., government buildings, new construction, manufacturing facilities with asphalt roofs looking to reduce energy consumption, residential homes after a hail storm, etc.), you can laser-focus your advertising, sales pitch, inspection and bidding processes, materials acquisition, installation methods, and more.

How Do I Target Customers?
Researching customer contact information online is easier than ever. Once you have profiled your target customer you can get specific names, titles, email addresses, mailing addresses, social media profiles, and so much more with a few clicks using resources such as Google, LinkedIn, Spokeo, and others.

Creating a simple Excel spreadsheet with all of this information arms your sales and marketing team to aggressively pursue work that fits your company's expertise.

The bottom line is that it is better to define your customer and aggressively pursue him or her than to wait for someone to contact you and do the best you can with what they need.

Want to Discuss or Need Some Help?
If you would like to discuss this in more detail or would like assistance implementing an outbound marketing strategy so you can better pick your roofing company's customers, please email RoofPal@gmail.com any time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Viral marketing for roofing companies



In 2006, New York City artist Scott LoBaido traveled nationwide to paint Old Glory on roofs in all 50 states. But four years later (2010), he accepted his biggest challenge ever: painting a Texas-sized waving American flag on the 150,000 square foot metal roof of Lamons Gasket Co. in Houston, Texas, using only 9-inch rollers to apply approximately 900 gallons of paint. Ironically, it took him from Flag Day (June 14th) until the 4th of July to complete the project.

Although the project cost nearly $50,000, the free publicity LoBaido and Lamons Gasket get every year I'm sure is well worth the original investment. Three years later, images of the roof still go viral around every patriotic holiday including Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Patriot Day (September 11th), Veterans Day, and others.

Similarly, in June 2011 the tile roofing crew of Istueta Roofing in Miami, Florida luckily had been video taping a residential tear-off when they came upon a very strange discovery: thousands of bats that had infested a home!

Here is the original full-length video:



Amazingly, this is not prominently featured on their website. Truly a lost opportunity to capitalize on a viral video.

The bottom line is that viral marketing isn't just about making a funny video to upload to YouTube. It can also be about discovering something unusual or doing something big, cool or even patriotic and making sure you document it well with pictures, video, testimonials, and interviews, and then getting the word out through articles, blogging, video blogs, social media, local news stations, and more. It doesn't always happen overnight, but in the end it can really pay off.

What ideas do you have to virally market a roofing business?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grow your roofing business with video blogs and video brochures


Let's face it, attention spans are shorter than ever. No one wants to read pages of information on your website or in your brochures or proposals about the roof system you are proposing or about the qualifications of your roofing company. So how do you make sure the customer is fully informed?

A short, scripted, edited, professionally produced video can provide enough information in just the amount of the time you are actually going to get from most prospective customers. A win-win for everyone!

Video blogs can serve multiple purposes for your roofing company:

They enable you to more effectively, efficiently and consistently communicate information to your customers.

In just 3-5 minutes you can communicate all of the benefits of a particular roof system you are bidding.

You can highlight the qualifications and accomplishments of your roofing company that otherwise get lost in your proposals or website.

With the proper title, description and tags, potential customers in your service area have a better chance of finding your company online when performing a Google search, since videos (especially those uploaded to YouTube) are now ranking higher than many older, established web pages and online documents.

Your proposals, bids and presentations can be enhanced to help you get all the pertinent information across and help you stand out from the competition.

Print marketing such as postcards, brochures, business cards, door hangers, service vehicles, yard signs, billboards, and more come to life simply by incorporating a simple QR Code that launches your video blog.

They are ideal for sharing on social media and expanding on messages in email newsletters without the addition of pages of unwanted text.

You can play them on a loop from a DVD in your reception area or at trade shows.

They bring your blog posts and articles to life - further explaining the topic you are writing about, or the script itself can become its own blog post or article.

And the best part is that customers can watch them anywhere, any time at their convenience.

Video blogs can be a huge time saver for your sales staff:

For example, if you have 5 salespeople who bid 100 jobs per year and each time they have to spend even 15 minutes explaining the roof system you are proposing, that comes out to 125 total hours per year explaining the same roof systems over-and-over.

At $20 per hour, that totals $2,500 in productivity time lost. But more importantly, that is 125 hours every year they are not out selling more roofing jobs.

Due to the conversational nature of the sales process, it likely takes more than 15 minutes to sell the customer on the roof system, and there is no guarantee your sales staff is explaining the systems as effectively and consistently as you would like them to.

By incorporating video blogs into your content and sales strategies, you streamline the most basic component of your communications processes, instantly have compelling content for marketing and social media sharing, and improve your search engine optimization all in one shot.

RoofPal produces video blogs on a variety of topics such as the benefits of elastomeric roof coatings, historical preservation of slate roof tiles, metal roof restoration, storm damage restoration, and so much more that can be completely personalized for your roofing company.

We can also develop custom video blogs on any roof system you need, for a large bid you are preparing, or a short video brochure or commercial for your roofing company.

If you have any questions about creating or putting video blogs to work for your roofing company, please feel free to contact RoofPal any time.


This episode of the RoofPal Marketing Podcast is brought to you by The Contractors Alliance. Expand your roofing business by integrating Conklin reflective cool roof coatings, foam, single-ply and other systems. For more information please contact Stan Volkman at (612) 750-6639, via email at Info@TheContractorsAlliance.com, or by visiting them online at TheContractorsAlliance.com.