5 Clear-Cut Reasons You Should Blog on Your Remodeling or Home Builder Web Site (even if you hate to write)
I bet you didn’t get into the remodeling or home building business so you could become a writer. For many people it was the passion of seeing a cool finished project or the smell of sawdust (strange as it may sound) which drew you in.
You started out doing the work of building. Over time this work morphed into leading a remodeling or home building business. You had to start worrying about lead generation and sales. You not only needed to support yourself but your inside staff, sales team and people in the field (and hopefully have some profit left at the end).
Generating leads used to be soooooo much simpler. Display your products or services at a fair, Home and Garden Show or Parade of Homes. Run an ad in a local super-saver magazine. Have a phone room cranking out call after call to keep your sales people on the road running leads.
Then 1 BIG thing came along which disrupted the ‘lead-gen formula’ you thought you perfected. It was…
Now fewer people are attending trade shows. Fewer people are calling in from your print ads. You phone room…it was shut down eons ago.
You don’t need to be Mark Cuban or Marcus Lemonis of The Profit to know you need to figure out this ‘digital marketing thing.’ The question becomes what can you do to be effective? What can you do which won’t break your bank (or have to borrow from your kid’s piggy bank) in the process?
Sure, there are consultants and service providers galore who tell you once you sign their contract ‘they’ll get you on the first page of Google.’ Then all your lead-gen problems will go away. You don’t believe this snake oil. You didn’t fall off the construction trailer yesterday (OK – that did happen…but it was years ago).
The question is can you find a way to position yourself as THE PERSON TO CALL for what you specialize in (whether it’s kitchen remodeling, aging in place bathrooms or building custom, production or multi-family homes) and fill up the lead pipeline at the same time?
I’m here to tell you 1 secret bullet of digital marketing few (if any) of your competitors do which will grow traffic and build loyalty with your prospects before they even call you for the first time. Talk about creating a ‘warm lead’. What’s this secret bullet? (lean in … I’m going to tell you softly, so your competitors don’t hear).
THE SECRET BULLET IS BLOGGING
However, I don’t want you to take my word for it. I want you to read 5 clear-cut reasons a blog can be your businesses’ best ‘fre (that word can be translated into the word ‘friend’ if you’re not a fan of Tony Montana’s line in the movie Scarface, “Say hello to my little ‘fre”). It can be your best ‘fre even if you’d rather stick a fork in your eye, get a physical or do the 10-year colonoscopy your spouse has been hounding you about than write articles on a blog.
Read these 5 reasons and/or listen to this podcast on PowerTips Unscripted if ‘readin’ and writin’ ain’t your thang!’
Reason #1: You should blog even if you hate to write – Mark Zuckerberg and Mr./Mrs. Google have sucked-up enough of your money already…haven’t they?
I recently ‘thought’ I had a smart idea. I’ve never been known to be one who wants to play the ‘bidding war’ game in Pay Per Click (PPC), but I thought I had a plan which was finally going to work. I wanted more leads for my home organization business in Columbus Ohio. We do closets, garage cabinetry, pantries, mudroom storage etc. (OK – that’s a free plug for me – ha! ha!).
Instead of paying for keywords in the most competitive segment of the business (closets), I was going to go after the garage, mudroom and pantry keywords (assuming they would have cheaper costs per click).
My PPC guy developed the ads. We created our budget. 2 weeks later he called and said, “Mike, we’re getting basically nothing for our money. Clicks are costing $4 to $20 per. We either need to dramatically increase the budget or blow this puppy up!”
I decided to blow it up.
This was my third failed attempt at a profitable PPC program in Columbus for this product category. One again, I thought to myself…I HATE PPC! There, I said it. It’s a game anyone can play. The goal is to outbid the next guy/gal. This PPC game (IMHO) is getting harder and harder to get cost-effective results.
Blogging (i.e. writing useful articles people choose to read) gets you Costs/Click which equal the magic price of ….
People choose to read your articles because they provide valuable information. Now, when they read your articles you do need to get something from them also. I would argue the ‘prize’ you want is their email address. To get this magic prize you’ll need a lead magnet. (Note – if you don’t know what lead magnets are read 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Home-Grown Digital Marketing for Your Remodeling Business.)
Reason #2: You should blog even if you hate to write – You become known as ‘da man or ‘da woman!
Would you think your success in closing jobs (and generating leads) would increase if you and your company were seen as THE EXPERT in your niche? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone said, “If you need an aging in place contractor, kitchen remodeler or custom home builder you’ve got to call INSERT YOUR NAME AND YOUR COMPANIES NAME HERE.”
If you think ‘the experts’ in any field are the smartest people in any industry – think again. Here’s who the ‘real experts’ are in the minds of people looking to remodel or build a new home.
The experts are people who take the time to position (and get known for) their expertise.
Your competitors may sit on their butt and say, “I know so much more than ‘so and so.’ Why is he/she seen as the expert? It’s simple. They put in the effort to position their expertise.
You may be asking, “Mike, how can I position my expertise?” Well if you’ve got a big mouth (OK – that wasn’t nice) – and love to talk – one way you can do this is to volunteer to present to groups (at trade shows or other venues). You can talk about how you solve design and construction problems. However, if you’re like most people the idea of public speaking makes you want to invest in the mega-sized package of Depends!
A much less frightening way to establish your expertise (without standing in front of a group of total strangers) is to write helpful articles (‘er it’s that blogging idea again). Write about problems people deal with when remodeling, buying a new home, deciding between features etc., etc., etc.
If you HATE to write – dictate your thoughts into a tape recorder. Then hire an editor (or a college English student) to ‘ghost’ write for you. After you’ve got the content written, you need to distribute the daylights out of it (that’s a topic for an entire other post). You’ll start to get known without even picking up a pen yourself.
Reason #3: You should blog even if you hate to write – You build a following, a tribe, a posse
Call it whatever funny corporate catch-phrase you want, but digital marketing, blogging or social media is pointless (and lonely) if nobody is following you. If nobody is clicking on your web site or blog post. If no one remembers you when they finally go beyond ‘digital tire-kicking’ into full-on pricing and buying mode.
Our challenge in the remodeling and building business is people aren’t buying our stuff every day (or every week, month or year for that matter).
As Jack Nicholson would say in his infamous Colonel Nathan R. Jessup voice from A Few Good Men ‘you need to be top of mind, you want to be top of mind’ when they’re ready to buy a new home or remodel their bathroom. But how?
From my POV you need to find a way to stick to your prospects like ‘white (or brown if you’re a vegan) on rice’ without being a pain in their butt. The way to do this is by providing ‘mo (or for you English majors out there that would be more). Mo, what you may ask?
‘Mo information, ‘mo information and ‘mo information beyond that.
After you get the email address as we talked about in reason #1 – use it. Don’t email them annoying ‘specials’ (which they aren’t ready for and will get them to unsubscribe to your list). Your regurgitated ‘specials’ through your email newsletter will be seen as marketing gimmicks, your prospects see through anyway. Email them informative articles about everything under the sun with your product or service.
People will follow you – just like these cute puppies (although I can’t guarantee the people following you will be as cute as these puppies – ha! ha!)
You’re patiently influencing them. You’re teaching them. When they’re ready, they’ll actually want you. You won’t have to beg (or borrow money to feed the PPC machine) to get an appointment.
Reason #4: You should blog even if you hate to write – You own your blog.
There is nothing worse than investing time and effort only to have the rug pulled out from under you.
How much money have you paid over the years to build your ‘fans’ on Facebook? You know what you can (largely) do with those fans today? You can wipe your butt with them.
Sorry to be harsh. But, here’s the deal. Facebook owns the turf of Facebook. They make the rules. Over the last few years they decided ‘in order to make a better user experience’ (this is corporate-speak for cutting our business out to get us to pay ‘da man – Mr. Zuckerberg) to cut down the percentage of time your fans see your business page in their feeds.
From what I read last, only 2% of your fans see your posts today (and those 2% are likely to include your wife and your best buddies). Sure, they LOVE you, but I’m sad to tell you, they’ve likely already bought from you (or you did their jobs for free). So, if you’ve built ‘your list’ (which is owned by them – ‘er Facebook) to 1,100 people over the years only 22 of these fans will see your post organically. Why put a lot of effort into organic Facebook posting if only 22 people see it?
In my book, Facebook organic posting is largely a waste of time!
The heck with Mark Zuckerberg. He’s made his social media network a ‘pay-to-play’ network which, BTW, I’ve never gotten a good return from anyway. Build on your own turf. Create your own list of fans who want to read your stuff and where you’re not competing with cute pictures of kids and grandkids.
With blogging you own your blog and subscriber list. I doubt you’re going to cut down your own list to ‘have a better user experience.’ Anything you do to invest in your blog NO ONE (not even your competitors) can take away from you.’
DON”T BUILD ON ‘RENTED’ ASSETS. BUILD ON ASSETS YOU OWN. Nuff’ said!
Reason #5: You should blog even if you hate to write – Consider this sobering stat… 98% of the people visiting your site aren’t ready for a free estimate or design consultation.
You and I are mostly in the ‘big project business.’ You have to face the fact most people aren’t coming to your site to buy now, they’re coming to look and learn.
Think about big purchases you’ve made in the past. You researched, you researched some more, and you researched even more after that. You weren’t ready to ‘BUY NOW’ – no matter how big the CTA (call to action) button on the web site was, if you weren’t ready yet. You need to think broader on how to build a relationship with your prospect while they’re in ‘research mode.’
Your site needs to leverage the looker (as well as the ‘buyer-now-er’).
OK Mike – you may be asking, “What the heck do you mean by that?” What I mean is you want the looker to be become your learner. Offer up articles like ‘Free Tips for an Aging in Place Bathroom Your Wife or Mother in Law Won’t think Looks Butt-Ugly’ or ‘5 Tips to Build a Custom Home without Wanting to Kill Your Builder at the End.’
Offer free content to help people learn where they’re at in the ‘pre-buying’ process. Give them free stuff. Get their email address. Sorry, I said that before – but I think once you get this message, you’ll have waaaay better digital marketing success without paying ‘da man (FB and Google) to lead generate.
Distribute your content to your email list religiously. Make your mantra the following:
When the student is ready (your prospect), you (as the teacher) will appear (in their email in-box).
I’m honored you’ve read (or listened to the podcast) 5 reasons you should have a blog – even if you don’t like to write. I know (from hours and hours of writing over the years) most people WILL NOT take the advice in this article. And you know why….
IT’S TOO MUCH DOGGONE WORK AND REQUIRES TOO MUCH DISCIPLINE!
The reality for those people is they would rather ‘do what everyone else is doing.’ Pay more money for PPC, Facebook and get those fat-cats richer than they are already. Then they’ll complain about spending too much money for leads.
You can ‘play’ a smarter game. Start writing (or find someone to do it for you). Stay disciplined to the process.
Start blogging like your business depends on it. Oh, and one last thought. Don’t share this article. We don’t want anyone else knowing how we’re getting great, exclusive leads without bleeding our pocketbooks dry! Let’s keep this our little secret.
To ‘talk shop’ about digital marketing, blogging or bathroom remodeling products or become a shower wall panel dealer with labor-saving tub and bathroom wall panels (hey- I’ve got to plug my business sometime – after all my kids’ education bills need to be paid!) call 877-668-5888 and ask for Mike (or that wacky dude who writes those articles). I’m looking forward to getting to know you and helping our businesses grow.
If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, you’ll find me https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefoti/
If you’re into Twitter follow me @Mike_Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.
Tags: blog to grow a building business, blog to grow building business, blogging, blogging for builders, blogging for remodelers, blogging success, builders blog, digital marketing for home builders, digital marketing for remodelers, email marketing for builders, email marketing for remodelers, home builders blog, remodelers blog