Local service business seeking marketing guidance/help!!

9 replies
Hi,

My name is Jesse and I currently am running a hardwood floor refinishing business in Minneapolis, MN. I have been in business on my own now for a little over 3 years. Over those three years I have built up some relationships which provide leads, but id say 75% of my work to this day still comes off of Craigslist. I know... That probably will make some of you laugh. I spend $10/week on ads which can gets me at least a couple leads per post on average throughout the year.

I realize that I have been extremely fortunate to not have had to be a marketing genius to attain work thus far, but I do realize the importance. This is what brings me to post today. I am hoping that I can get some good replies as to what I should focus my time on as far as advertising/marketing goes and any additional info that may cut my learning time down and of course make these practices more efficient.

Right now I just launched my first FB ad campaign so I will track that and see what lead cost ends up being as well as how qualified those leads truly are. What I am more interested in is I guess what everyone and their mom seems to be an expert on is SEO. I get daily calls pitching me monthly programs where they will improve my SEO and drive leads my way. Ive turned everyone down because I simply do not trust whats being said. Im here to learn what I have to do and despite this not being my normal expertise/comfort zone, I know I need to put my head down and just do whatever its gonna take to make business come in.

I will admit I am not the best when it comes to computer related things, never done a blog post period before, never researched keywords, etc., but I have seen enough videos to have a small bit of knowledge. Ok ill cut the story there...

Any advice will be helpful and I fully realize I am going to have to grind hard at this stuff to make it work. I prefer to start with the more inexpensive methods that just require persistence and then once I've covered all those bases I will move on to the higher dollar marketing choices as I grow.

Again, I greatly appreciate any input I get and I do apologize if this is too vague of a post. Im brand new here and just didn't know how else to start!


Thanks,
Jesse
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#business #guidance or help #local #marketing #seeking #service
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Jesse, why aren't you purely building long term relationships with contractors?

    Make the sale once, deliver a great install, and have them come back to you for repeat sales on autopilot.

    One of the biggest, often the biggest, costs is that of acquiring the customer.

    At one point I ran a metal fab shop and that's how I did it. At the start some of what I did was drive around to job sites in the shop truck, get out and ask for the general...I picked up many projects that way.

    If you can deliver on quality and time, then they'll come back as you probably know. At that point you can start creeping your prices up a few % an invoice.
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    • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Make the sale once, deliver a great install, and have them come back to you for repeat sales on autopilot.

      One of the biggest, often the biggest, costs is that of acquiring the customer.
      .
      Get these customers Jason pointed out, to refer you to friends and family. Get testimonials from them also. Maybe even set up a referral discount program. Customer A refers Customer B. Customer A receives a discount on the next refinish job.
      Excellent post by the way.

      Take before and after pictures and post them on your website if you have one. If not get a decent website built. Some hosts use to give you a google ads coupon for a $100.00 use it if they send you one. Also before and after pictures on your facebook page. If you have a office make sure to get your goolge listing and fill out all the information. This way people in your town and surrounding area can find you.
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  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    I'll second what Jason said about building relationships with contractors. And I'll add one more suggestion to it...

    When I ran my home restoration business full time, I became friends with a few real estate agents. Even though my main service was restoring antique horsehair plaster, for homeowners, I still got a ton of sheetrock repair, plaster repair and painting work from the real estate agents.

    If you get in with the right agent(s) - refinishing floors for people about to sell their homes can keep you and your crew busy for years. (no advertising required)

    Something to think about...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I'll share some further thoughts today since I have a few minutes free.

    What I'm recommending here is not picking up consumer projects one at a time. That is exhausting. I would much rather make one relationship with one contractor, and have them keep feeding me the work. Then my job is solely to please that one person... who knows my business, knows the standards, and doesn't require re-selling with every single project we do (unlike individual consumers).

    Construction is, at least in my experience, very much a non-Internet business. In 2011 I took a job in rural North Carolina (which eventually lead me to joining this forum!) and had to find a home quickly in a small town. Did those wanting to rent out their homes use lawn signs? Or post on Craigslist? No, of course not: you had to go to the local CABINET SHOP in the morning, where "everyone" met for coffee, and talk to them there. Granted this was a decade ago but compared to my home town of Vancouver this was like going back to the '50s. I could not find that info on the internet from at a distance. I had to get out of my car and go into a real estate office in that small town.

    The main thing I want to demonstrate here, Jesse, is that it is a pain in the butt to develop and then automate something like "I attract leads from the internet, qualify them, speak to them, do a site visit, quote them, and then maybe I can get told Yes or No about whether I get the job." Every stage falls down and you have to pick it up and figure it out--or nothing happens. There is no magic bullet. And I am speaking from a decade of IM experience. The Facebook and Google Ads guys will tell you the sweet, sweet lie that they'll figure it out... and eventually they will, on your dime. But then even once you've got that figured out--the magic of getting locals who want their floors refinished to find your web page--then those consumers have to actually click or call or enter their info or download something... and the fact is that it just isn't that easy to get them to behave.

    I would much rather find a general who "gets it", sell that guy once, deliver quality and on time service, and have them use me again and again. I wouldn't have to convince that one contractor about anything. I wouldn't have to educate them. All I'd have to do is show them why I'm worth the price I charge.
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  • Profile picture of the author craigsposterpro
    Referrals have at least a 50% higher conversion rate than cold leads. There's an immediate trust factor. That being said, it wouldn't hurt to add some client testimonials to your website. If you are looking for ideas for blog posts, showing Before/After images, a video of your craftmanship and work results, Dos & Dont's, Floor material choices, Material Quality Considerations, Criteria for Selecting a Professional, etc.

    You may also want to consider placing some ads on LetGo.com and ClassifiedAds.com along with Facebook Marketplace.
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    Your type of business is local so I recommend getting a Newspaper ad, Local Classified Magazine Ad, get some ads in things like Coupon Mailers: Valpak, Money Mailer, Clipper Magazine, etc. Service businesses thrive off positive reviews on Angie's List, Yelp, Google Reviews. Offer discounts if customers leave you 5* reviews. You can also advertise on Letgo and Offerup.
    Focus advertising at a local area that you can service.
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by DURABLEOILCOM View Post

      Your type of business is local so I recommend getting a Newspaper ad, Local Classified Magazine Ad, get some ads in things like Coupon Mailers: Valpak, Money Mailer, Clipper Magazine, etc. Service businesses thrive off positive reviews on Angie's List, Yelp, Google Reviews. Offer discounts if customers leave you 5* reviews. You can also advertise on Letgo and Offerup.
      Focus advertising at a local area that you can service.
      Tracking is also a big part of advertising because you want to know where your results are coming from.

      Learn how to track your future advertising and ONLY then test what works and what doesn't because NOT every ad you place will get you the results you are looking for.
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  • Profile picture of the author adsinthehood
    The advise of securing a few home builders and other contractor relationships is good advise as you will always need them to further your business.

    Having all your work based on a few contacts may not be wise as you should spread your business across both industry contacts but straight to consumer will pay more and has the ability to create referrals.

    Having a strong LOCAL presence within Google and other search engines will help get you more business plus you need a reputable presence online to help with your leads from Craigslist Ads or any other ads or referrals.

    There are some internet marketing providers that specialize in local optimization and have service packages that are no risk as they prove they can increase your online presence locally and then you would be required to pay a monthly amount.

    You are a flooring contractor not an online marketer so my recommendations would be to hire someone to look after local marketing and you concentrate on hardwood flooring. You are a specialized craftsman so your time is far more valuable and better spent doing your craft then a local optimization person.

    Social media is also a good way to improve your presence online with before and after images and new looks for flooring. Advertising could be used to boost your posts but spend wisely.

    The internet will only boost your sales by maybe 18% to 25% so keep doing what you are doing but get a local optimization specialist so that local optimization service adds to your sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author starbaby
    Using local marketing by aiming at people in your town or state you could get leads from Facebook and google and Bing search engines You will need a website and it doesn't have to cost you a whole lot or could point to website you have It also wouldn't hurt for you to have free book on your business will get you leads as well as you could get local Pr from your neighborhood paper by doing something for community or reporting could go on and on
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