In Times Past
Contractors in years past could set up shop and then post a few classified ads and then maybe run an ad or two in their local newspaper and rightfully see the merits of their contractor marketing efforts. Today however, a contracting business or trades person faces a myriad of off-line and online marketing options—just as the newspapers of yesterday continue to go out of business.
But like in days past, the focus should not be on what marketing mediums are available and instead, the focus, then and now, should be on incorporating contractor marketing into the overall business strategy.
Hindsight and Foresight
In one of the ironies in the trades, a startup contracting business will quickly hire a receptionist and pay said person thousands of dollars a year to answer the telephone and maybe be the forward face of the company when someone visits the office. However, that same business will consider marketing and advertising an over extended and most likely—ancillary expense.
When contractor marketing is a part of the overall business strategy, a contracting business or trades person can propel their business revenues forward more profitably and more quickly when they dedicate some time to identifying their ideal target customer. In other words, take the time to put a face on your ideal consumer!
Because knowing WHOM the ideal target consumer of your service is, can make your business immensely and immediately profitable.
Case and Point
When a contractor that specializes in drywall and interiors for example, is approached by a service seeking “prospect” with a need to build a fence, that contractor now has to make a decision whether that prospective customer is his or her ideal target audience.
We saw this in a trades person that won a carpet laying bid. Unfortunately, the contractor did not have the carpet stretching equipment necessary to do the job correctly. The contractor then went out and bought the equipment with the mindset that even though their would be no profit on this job, the equipment would be available for the next one. But when that same contractor was approached by the next prospective customer, that customer was in need of ceramic tile work in their kitchen—requiring the purchase of even more equipment
These examples illustrate the problem facing many contractors.
Rarely is trades knowledge or experience the problem in the work. The problem is that the contractor did not define the target audience and in doing so, now struggles and wins bids that are out of scope. And trying to “make it work” by cutting costs is what begins the decline of what otherwise would be a highly reputable and profitable contracting business.
Stay In Your Lane
If a drywall and interiors contractor is looking for drywall and interiors work, then that contractor needs to define his ideal customer and persona. For example,
The ideal target audience defined starts the road of profitability for a contractor from the start.
When Hollywood studios release a movie with a touted $200 million dollar production budget, they have incorporated marketing into the overall movie production strategy from the start. The studio allocates, say, $20 to $30 million to bring the movie trailer to the eyes of its ideal target audience. And when consumers rush and pay the $14 movie ticket fee, you come to understand and appreciate the value of marketing.
This is because movie production studios understand that for the movie to be successful, it must reach its intended target audience.
And it accomplishes this only by allocating a percentage of its anticipated target audience's wallet spend to to determine a marketing budget.
When a contracting business sets out to find customers and has defined who the ideal target customer is, then the next question is how much will it cost. Unfortunately, contractor marketing spend is incorrectly measured by trades contractors by asking how much a specific medium like say, Facebook ads will cost.
That is because marketing costs should not be treated like a commodity. Instead, marketing needs to be a part of and inclusive of every bid. For example, when a contractor spends a dollar on marketing, and it reaches the wrong audience, then that is a completely wasted dollar because it will generate ZERO revenue. Alternatively, when a dollar spent reaches the correct target persona and audience—that exchange is priceless.
That is because when a contractor wins a bid for say, $100, that means that the contractor first incorporated and allocated (or will allocate) $10 (for previous marketing expenditure reimbursement); or, future imminent marketing spend equal to $10. And every time the contractor spends $10 the business will generate $100.
And when the target audience is exactly whom the contractor is targeting, the contractor will divest themselves of having to buy unrelated trades equipment, tools or materials that take them away from their core trade and services.
Knowledge Transfer LLC is an education company focused exclusively on trades contractors. We specialize exclusively on contractors because we understand that the more we understand our ideal customer the better we can service them.
We will never be interested in a flower shop because we don't know anything about flowers. And although we are experts at marketing and hyper- localized targeting, we would spend too much of our time too much of our resources trying to service every business in search of marketing services.
Don't chase every consumer of contracting services. Take the time to envision in front of you your ideal customer. Then decide what your service is worth in the market. Then decide whether that consumer in combination with your traits service is profitable. But first and before you get the next bid, and before spend a dollar on marketing, make sure you have made marketing a permanent part of your overall business strategy.