Update On Advertising

 
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:17 PM   #1
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Update On Advertising


I've read a ton on CT and on other sites recommended by alot of you guys on here and felt I needed to share a few advertising peices that are actually working. First off, what I did. I bought an address list, I took my time and checked every area to insure we were advertising in the right communities. Then wrote a letter explaining to HO's in this economy they should be careful who they hire because everyone is underbidding each other and in the end you could be hiring a starving roofer who thinks building an addition is easy and he could do it. I told them about my company, what we can do for them, web address and that although we are not the cheapest we are one of the best in our area at what we do. I put a few business cards in the envelope along with a brochure with testimonials and pics of past projects. I did this with about 450 peices of mail and am now receiving calls. One called today who was trying to do a basement remodel on his own. He said he got the letter, opened it(only because it was hand addressed), read it and the letter made him realize instead of trying to remodel one of his biggest investments himself and do it cheap as possible, he needed a pro's help. Said he loved the letter and was going to tell all people he knew about us. He thought we were very inovative with the hand addressing and signing each letter. He had never seen a local contractor advertise this way. This is a big job and will make the cost of the letters worth it. I printed everything myself and my family helped address the envelopes. Probably got $350 in this so far. We are also trying doorhangers. Seems every other house has a few things they need done. Most want to wait until after Christmas to start and we are pretty busy now so no problem. I'm getting their addresses and sending them mailers too. Trying to keep our name fresh in their minds.

So to all of you that say hand address, thanks. All of you who said mailers works, thanks. This mailer was only a test so the results so far are above what I had expected. I know its only a couple of calls but out of 450 I'll take it and the letters are just now getting delivered. If everyone is opening them at least they are seeing my name and will remember us. I can't help but to get excited about advertising that works. I'm getting ready now to send out 500 more letters and 1000 or so postcards. Then I'll start again. Repitition is another thing you guys say works, so we'll keep mailing away.

Another thing thats helping close more jobs has been a really nice and professional bid packet we give to every HO we give an estimate to. Again we print these ourselves. The project we are on now was just supposed to be an addition but when the HO read the packet she wanted us to look at a few other projects she needed done. She was dreading having to deal with a bunch of different contractors and when she saw we could do all her projects for her she loaded us up.

Sorry such a long post but with some of us scrambling to drum up business I just wanted to share what is working for us. And tell all the new guys to pay attention to you old farts. You don't always get what you want but if you listen and cut through the bullsh!t you will get what you need from someone on CT.

Thanks again,
Tom
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:55 PM   #2
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Re: Update On Advertising


congrats, and thanks for sharing!

~Matt

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Old 12-08-2008, 11:41 PM   #3
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Re: Update On Advertising


Awesome.

Everybody who is starving for work, but can still afford $350 and a little time should try this!

Perfect post. Here are the "big three":

1. Verify the list (even drive the neighborhoods)

2. Write the letter focusing on the client's concerns and best interests.

3. Hand address!

Gtmstang, thanks for being selfless and posting about your success.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:53 PM   #4
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Re: Update On Advertising


awesome, thanks and will try to do the same! You say bid packet, what exactly do you mean? Care to elaborate?
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:30 AM   #5
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Re: Update On Advertising


So, What type of neighborhood have you had the most success mailing to? What is the content difference between your letter and post card?
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:47 AM   #6
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Re: Update On Advertising


In my bid packet I put info for the job I'm bidding. I went to all my suppliers and got them to order me brochures like you see in the stores and shops. Most of them ordered them for free. So if I'm bidding a kitchen I put everything I have on a kitchen in it. I try to give the HO a few different choices on any one product. In my kitchen packet I have 3 cabinet, 2 appliance, 2 flooring, 2 fixtures(sinks, faucet, etc.) and some odd and end small appliance brochures. I also visited the share a form thread here and got a contractor comparison form. Most HO's were shocked that I would be OK with bidding against 2 other contractors and even supplied them with a form to compare us. Next I wrote a letter explaining my company. Nothing too indepth. Just a thanks for considering us and a breif history. I put a 'what you can expect from us' page also. I got several ideas from CT on this too. We arent idiots, we won't smoke in your house, we won't park in your driveway, etc. Lastly, a copy of my insurances and a big list of "Don't forget our other services we offer". The packets probably cost me a couple of dollars a peice. The trick was to get my suppliers involved and have them supply the brochures. Everybody loves free advertising and they arent any different. I didnt give any brochures for suppliers, only products sold. I didnt want my potential client to be able to walk in to a lumber yard and pick my quote apart. I just give them info on the products I'm using, not where I'm buying them.

My list was people making over $75,000, own their home, been there from 2 to 20 years and houses worth $350,000+. After I got the list I had to hoof it like Seth said. Go and check these addresses. I was spending the last of my money trying to get jobs so I had to make sure I was mailing to where I needed to be. I would give each neighborhood a rating 1-10 and the high ranking ones got a letter.

Content of letter is pretty much just like I would write my Mom or Dad. Respectful, but personal. Let them know I'm on their side and I'll help them get what they want. I put in my labor gaurantees and licensing info. Just wrote it like I'm telling a friend about what my company can do for them, not about my company. I tried really hard not to use I, we, us, etc. in the letter. If I did use one of them I countered it by using you, yours, etc. First and last paragraph( I think there were 3 total) I ended with a call to order also. Postcard is completely different. I got Keith at KBK GraphX design them. I'm going to do three different postcards. A kitchen, bath and an exterior. I'm ordering 5000 of each and will alternate the kitchen and bath ones out and send the exterior ones just before spring. Postcard just has pics, list of services and a small gimick/coupon. I offer something free for using us. Kitchens I offer a free dishwasher, decks a free deck lighting kit and baths I'm still working on. There is a monetary limit on the cost of the job before you qualify for anything free. $10,000 on a kitchen and $3000.00 for a deck. I went to my stores again on this one and will be getting good deals on "packages" of appliances to keep my cost down so I can afford to have the giveaways.

I hope this helps.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Update On Advertising


Houses over 350k. How does that compare to the average or median house in your area. Is that quite high or just a little high? I mean in some markets that would be low end. In my market that would be fairly high. I think our median is about 210k. Do you look for homes over a certain age? It seems to me that owners of a newer house would not be in the market for a kitchen or bathroom. I really appreciate the info!
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:06 AM   #8
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Re: Update On Advertising


sounds really good Thanks man, and good luck on the future
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:51 AM   #9
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Re: Update On Advertising


350k is in the middle of where we are marketing now. Trying to stay in 350+ neighborhoods with a bunch of houses, in case I miss someone I may get a referal or someone may give my letters to a friend or neighbor who needs work done. No certain age of homes. People will always want to personalize. I got one for updating a kitchen in a small, fairly new neighborhood of homes in the 250k range. HO didnt like the countertops or the tile on the floor. Turned into a good size job just for an update. This wasnt a job generated from these letters. Just pointing out that if you target the right demographic it doesnt matter how new their home is or how long they have been there. They will always find something they want to change once they start living in a new home. Well.... unless they built it. We are getting another list started at the beginning of the year for new Ho's. Send them a congrats on their new home and ........ something. I havent worked it all out yet. Also, I forgot to tell you guys, I printed the letters on nice resume paper. Dont know if this helped but I'm not changing anything until the phone stops ringing.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:31 PM   #10
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Re: Update On Advertising


Just wanted to thank you for this thread. You explained your techniques, your processes and your results in detail. I like the idea of laser targeting your advertising, not shotgunning it.

Good luck to you - in this economy and as usual, the strong will survive. Sounds like you're one.

Mac
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:17 AM   #11
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Re: Update On Advertising


Where did you obtain your mailing list? I have tried one or two different companies and have not had much success targeting my marketing with mailing lists.

Thanks for the posts too; very informative and inspiring!
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:01 AM   #12
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Re: Update On Advertising


Quote:
Originally Posted by fakie99 View Post
Where did you obtain your mailing list? I have tried one or two different companies and have not had much success targeting my marketing with mailing lists.

Thanks for the posts too; very informative and inspiring!
If you know the particular neighborhood that you want to mail to you can get a pretty accurate list for free from whitepages.com We have used it with success.

Here's how you do it.

-surf on over to whitepages.com
-click on the reverse lookup link at the top
-put in the street you want to send mail to along with city and state
-hit send VIOLA you have a list of addresses and names on that street.


I'm sure there are other ways but this works for us and is free.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Update On Advertising


I've tried whitepages and built a list of around 400 from their site. Here are a few problems with using whitepages. Time, it takes days to build a decent list. If you are sitting at home on your hands like I was then do it. You obviosly have the time and it will save some money. 2, 3 or 4 families at one address. I would run into this alot and it would make me think the address is a rental house and a waste of my time. Targeting the right audience. You cant target HO who make X amount, their home is worth X amount and they own the home. For saturation with flyers or a cheap postcard whitepages will save you money. Like lukachuki said whitepages is great if you know the area well. We use it to target HO's close to current jobs.

I bought my last list from melissadata. A targeted list of 750 was $55.00. You can pick what type of HO right down to what types of credit cards they use. I'm not saying this is the best service, their are several to choose from. But before you spend days on a list check them out. You can get quotes on what lists you need just to see a price. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:42 PM   #14
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Re: Update On Advertising


GtMstng,

Did you follow through with the lists and mailings over the Holidays and as we are now headed into spring time, what else have you discovered from your first mailing.

Thanks for the detailed description of what you did and what resources you tried out.

Ed
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:19 PM   #15
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Re: Update On Advertising


The mailers went out and I have been getting a good stream of calls lately. Gearing up for another round of mailers for spring now. For the money it was worth it. I still have a few estimates out that were generated from the mailers. Just need them to turn into signed contracts and I'll be a happy boy.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:56 PM   #16
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Re: Update On Advertising


sounds good. what type of return are you expecting?
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:14 PM   #17
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Re: Update On Advertising


Quote:
Originally Posted by lukachuki View Post
If you know the particular neighborhood that you want to mail to you can get a pretty accurate list for free from whitepages.com We have used it with success.

Here's how you do it.

-surf on over to whitepages.com
-click on the reverse lookup link at the top
-put in the street you want to send mail to along with city and state
-hit send VIOLA you have a list of addresses and names on that street.


I'm sure there are other ways but this works for us and is free.
Zillow.com is good it can target each home and area and tell you the price ranges also

Last edited by Troy M; 02-07-2009 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:45 AM   #18
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Re: Update On Advertising


I dont know if I had an idea of expected return. I just felt I needed to do something and had a few hundred dollars. I had heard about direct mail and thought "what the hell". So far I'm at 7 or 8 quotes. I'm hearing more people are asking about my company, relatives, suppliers, other tradespeople and friends tell me often that someone was asking about me. I get their name, go to the office and see if they are on my list. Most have been.

So the mailer did get my name into peoples heads. I still think most are scared to spend money. I've done the general mailer, "hello, how are you, we do this, let us do it for you". Next goes a specialized postcard to the same people for interior work, special on a kitchen or bath or whole house painting. Lastly an outdoor one for spring. I'm getting a deal on deck lighting kits, so I'll offer one for a deck costing X amount. Then I'll go to generic mailer for a while and do letter and 2 postcards in another neighborhood. And just keep going with it.

Its a hell of alot of work but I enjoy doing these mailers. And if business is coming in from them I REALLY ENJOY DOING THEM!
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Old 03-23-2009, 06:52 AM   #19
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Re: Update On Advertising


Thanks for all the detailed info on how you put this type of advertising together. I am looking into trying something like this out in my area.

So are you saying out of the 450 mailers you have 7 or 8 quotes?
Have any of them turned into actual work?

I am wondering now that it's the end of March, how has all this turned out for you since you began in Dec?
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:43 PM   #20
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Re: Update On Advertising


So far this year here are my outcomes on advertising.

Mailers-13 quotes got 2 jobs $28000 basement & $3000 patio
ad in my local phonebook-5 quotes 1 job $3800 paint
website 7 quotes-1 job $6000 bath remodel
word of mouth 2 jobs $22000 deck & $3000 small remodel
past clients 1 job $3400 retaining wall

Cost of advertising

Mailers=$350ish
ad in phonebook=$860
website=$100

We arent knocking down the money right now but we are all eating so I cant complain.

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