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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure my business is like many others. The recession has drastically reduced foot traffic and propects (i.e., people who really intend to do a job and are financially capable of doing so). We do flooring, cabinets, countertops, kitchen and bath remodels. The industry, according to the trades, has been in recession since October 2006 and shows no sign of improving. If anything, it is deepening.

We can't afford expensive "marketing campaigns" like they teach in business schools and that every ad agency wants to do. (Very few companies have the marketing budget of a Lowe's.) Plus I've moved the store from a small town 12 miles from the metro area to Lexington recently, so it is a lot like starting all over.

Has anyone been absolutely successful with any kind of guerilla marketing in this environment? I've focused the last year on door hangers targeted in specific neighborhoods, but success has been modest. I also can't find anyone reliable to get out thousands of them (maybe 12-15,000 households within 3 miles that are good demographics) and I can't find the time to consistently do it all myself. Despite only modest success with them, it seems to me a better payback/lower cost/more directly targeted/creates some awareness with one impression than anything I've done with newspaper, newspaper inserts, radio, or cable TV on HGTV.

Like I'm sure many others in the industry, there are lots of great deals we can make to clients, but getting qualified prospects in the door or to call us is the problem right now. Any suggestions are appreciated!
 

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Hire some high school kids for door hanging.

I guess this economy is and will continue to batter us into the red and we are limited to marketing. Gone are the days of spending on marketing and it actually works well. I would hire a group of teenagers to door hang the area you are talking about. Could be done relatively soon with a good ROI. Find some that you know and have them recruit their friends. Give the recruiter a spiff to organize it and you would be suprised how quick you have 10 kids who are willing to door hang a couple weekends for the cash. Good Luck
 

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It's rough out there right now, that's for sure...

Everyone seems to be holding back, and not rushing to have their jobs done. I have two repeat customers who I know I'll be doing their jobs. Question is.. when?

What are they waiting for. I run into this, each year before Christmas, but not before Thanksgiving.. heck, its been like this, for most of the fall.

Doesn't seem like I can count on a job. I generally don't ask for deposits, until Im ready to actually start the job. I might have to re-think that.

Right now Im waiting for piers to get dug & poured. I called two smaller jobs, that I had lined up for "fill-ins"... both stalled me. I was able to line up something on my third call for Monday.

Maybe, I need to try and line up more jobs than I think I need, to compensate for the cold feet... Generally it's not like this.
 

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Internet Marketing Agency
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Im in the internet marketing business and we market various products and services over the internet. One very inexpensive way to advertise your business is to create a blog.

I know the all the internet marketing experts say you have to spend a large amount of money on building a website and then promoting it. The truth is that a lot of this can be done on a shoestring budget if you are will or have the time to.

start slow and work on it...little by little you should see some progress.

Jim

edit....put stuff on your blog about what is the best type of flooring (ie laminate vs wood) or what makes a good cabinet...people who find value in the information you provide will be interested in doing business with you when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess this economy is and will continue to batter us into the red and we are limited to marketing. Gone are the days of spending on marketing and it actually works well. I would hire a group of teenagers to door hang the area you are talking about. Could be done relatively soon with a good ROI. Find some that you know and have them recruit their friends. Give the recruiter a spiff to organize it and you would be suprised how quick you have 10 kids who are willing to door hang a couple weekends for the cash. Good Luck
I have maybe 12-15,000 households targeted to hang 3-4 times per year. I've tried finding some high school kids w/o luck. Tried bands, cheerleaders, ball teams, and churches to either door hang, do a door to door survey, or use me as a fund raiser by giving them a 2-1/2% referral fee for anyone they send me. (Each member would give out 5 flyers to family/friends who may be thinking about doing a project.)

Been told not interested, or "have to have school board approval," or "we can't risk kids (teenagers) going door to door..." Mind you, this is in their OWN neighborhoods and I'd specified that girls, particularly, do so only in pairs. Yet my daughter's elementary school want 3rd to 5th graders to go sell candy door to door. Churches say "we don't want to because we might be seen as endorsing a business..." But they haven't minded asking me to do work for free or at a "non profit discount."

Tried a couple young guys who work for one of my crews. They got out a couple thousand, too busy or too uninterested to do it consistently. Called a honorary fraternity I was in during college. Took 6 weeks to get a return call, said they would like to do it. Last week passed out 400, scheduled to do more today but canceled and said "...3 of us can do some the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and we can do some next semester..." Apparently don't understand I want to do this CONSISTENTLY. When I was in college a low effort way to add $2-4,500 dollars to the budget would have been a God-send. 30 guys could figure on 1 hour every three or four weeks and more than cover the amount I need to do.

Considering the recession, I'm amazed no one wants to pick up a couple thousand dollars piddling around in their spare time, or do an easy fund raiser that could go on indefinitely. Frustrated is a word I am becoming well aquainted with in this area.
 

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I've pretty much given up on handing flyers out to strangers. I'd say that out of 5000 flyers I've handed out over the years, I've gotten 1 job from a stranger. I've found much better luck in targeting those I know. I went through and made a list of people I know since childhood and had my Mom do the same, I then sent them all a letter. This has worked great, except this last time where I didn't get a response, but at least they are aware of me and hopefully will recommend me to someone. When I do hand out flyers, I try to hit neighborhoods where there is a likelyhood of someone knowing me. (childhood hometown in the suburbs, areas where there is a high concentration of professors from the college I attended) Fortunately my parents were well known and respected, and my Dad always gave me good word of mouth when he was alive. My references are excellent, so if I can just get them to check my references, I'm in. Having said all that, currently I'm sitting on my ass, although I did get a call for a bid yesterday on a rather large job. I'm currently looking for new arrows to put in my quiver. The big thing I have to change is that I need a consistent program of advertising even when I am busy. This is the first time I've ever been without work and no prospects. Last fall I had lots of prospects, but everyone delayed their projects because of the sudden downturn.
 

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Im in the internet marketing business and we market various products and services over the internet. One very inexpensive way to advertise your business is to create a blog.

I know the all the internet marketing experts say you have to spend a large amount of money on building a website and then promoting it. The truth is that a lot of this can be done on a shoestring budget if you are will or have the time to.

start slow and work on it...little by little you should see some progress.

Jim

edit....put stuff on your blog about what is the best type of flooring (ie laminate vs wood) or what makes a good cabinet...people who find value in the information you provide will be interested in doing business with you when the time comes.
We just started an E commerce campaign, with the benefit of an establised website. The key to this is the landing page and capture of info (email addresses) We'll see how that goes
 

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Thom
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You won't get a penny from me, but maybe a 2X4 through your windshield.

If you want my business, treat me with respect, treat my community with respect, and market through legal and proper chanels. Guerrilla marketing is for hacks. Of course, I'll bet your the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your guerrilla marketing, HACK.
 

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You won't get a penny from me, but maybe a 2X4 through your windshield.

If you want my business, treat me with respect, treat my community with respect, and market through legal and proper chanels. Guerrilla marketing is for hacks. Of course, I'll bet your the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your guerrilla marketing, HACK.

Wow, just wow
 

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Wow why so salty?

Geesh thom...some guys have to do what they have to do. Its America the land of opportunity...Don't knock someone for trying...I wish all newbies luck and the best...Do whatever you have to do to make it and don't be side stepped by negativity...Everyone big has started from somewhere small...unless it was handed to you...nobody needs negativity in these bad times...
 

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Geurrilla Marketing by definition is
Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.
Its not just door hangers, flyers on windshields etc., I think its more about focusing your marketing efforts to the point of not having to spend large amounts of money to get good results.
My direct mail effort consists of black print on white paper (in house) that I send to 1 or 2 Carrier routes (400-600 homes) am doing. To the prospect it stands out from other mail pieces because its simple, It costs much less to produce than a full color peice. My cost per lead is $100 to $150, the closing rate is high, almost as good as referrals because the association with the job I am doing close by.
 

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You won't get a penny from me, but maybe a 2X4 through your windshield.

If you want my business, treat me with respect, treat my community with respect, and market through legal and proper chanels. Guerrilla marketing is for hacks. Of course, I'll bet your the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your guerrilla marketing, HACK.
:tank: I see where Thom is coming from. For me, its not the marketing so much. Its who I suspect is going to come knocking, If I was to call the number. If its someone local, I don't mind. I equate Guerrilla Marketing, with hollow corporations...

EEKK! JV, What is an autoresponder? lol, Im starting to puff up like thom.
 

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Thom lighten up and appreciate the hard times we are living in.
Your thoughts are those of an ignorant person who knows no value to putting bread on the table.
Sorry if this offends you but you have just did that to many workers out there trying to make a living.
 

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You won't get a penny from me, but maybe a 2X4 through your windshield.

If you want my business, treat me with respect, treat my community with respect, and market through legal and proper chanels. Guerrilla marketing is for hacks. Of course, I'll bet your the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your guerrilla marketing, HACK.
If you stay busy by simply placing your ad in the local paper, having your listing next to hundreds of others in the yellow pages and sit on your a$$ waiting for the phone to ring,....and staying busy? Hat's off to you.

My thoughts, and what I've personally found is you have to think outside of the box.

"Geeez,...I want to be a contractor. I'll buy my hard hat, place an ad in the yellow pages and the local town paper and I'm going to be successful."

Don't know what part of the equator your from Thom, but in today's times that doesn't work.:no:

Maybe you've been in business long term already, and have done tons of jobs that you can get referral work from because your work is unparalleld to none--and if so--again, hat's off to you.

I've been in the business 15 years myself, and to NOT consistently think of new ways to generate more leads and more business, I honestly have to say you're cheating yourself.--The guy that's willing to think outside the box, that's willing to get creative and try alternative methods beyond the "norm" is going to get that extra work that you're evidently too good for.

Calling the guy a "hack" for merely trying to think of alternate methods to generate more business is simply foolish.

And I knocked on a door 2 weeks ago, being that we were doing a job in the neighborhood. Introduced my company as well as the services we provided--and landed a $16,000.00 siding job.

-Don't "knock it" before you try it.
 

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You won't get a penny from me, but maybe a 2X4 through your windshield.

If you want my business, treat me with respect, treat my community with respect, and market through legal and proper chanels. Guerrilla marketing is for hacks. Of course, I'll bet your the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your guerrilla marketing, HACK.
WOW!

I don't think anyone in their right mind would want your business let alone give you theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Depends on volume you are trying for

I've pretty much given up on handing flyers out to strangers. I'd say that out of 5000 flyers I've handed out over the years, I've gotten 1 job from a stranger. I've found much better luck in targeting those I know. I went through and made a list of people I know since childhood and had my Mom do the same, I then sent them all a letter. This has worked great, except this last time where I didn't get a response, but at least they are aware of me and hopefully will recommend me to someone. When I do hand out flyers, I try to hit neighborhoods where there is a likelyhood of someone knowing me. (childhood hometown in the suburbs, areas where there is a high concentration of professors from the college I attended) Fortunately my parents were well known and respected, and my Dad always gave me good word of mouth when he was alive. My references are excellent, so if I can just get them to check my references, I'm in. Having said all that, currently I'm sitting on my ass, although I did get a call for a bid yesterday on a rather large job. I'm currently looking for new arrows to put in my quiver. The big thing I have to change is that I need a consistent program of advertising even when I am busy. This is the first time I've ever been without work and no prospects. Last fall I had lots of prospects, but everyone delayed their projects because of the sudden downturn.
Dear Abacab:

I think your method is fine IF you can generate enough work for the rest of your life at the level you are happy with. Kind of limits you to strictly a "personal services" size, which many people are happy with.

If a company is going to get larger than that it HAS to market to people who don't know you (or mom or dad). Personal references are powerful, but at a minimum it has to expand at least to your satisfied clients. And you are right - seems EVERYONE is delaying doing any jobs because of the economy.

Here's the issue with "mass marketing" on TV, radio, and print. Marketing studies say that on average it takes 3 times of somebody seeing your ad and actually NOTICING it for it to make an impression. But people only notice about 1/9 of what they see or hear. So 27 ads/spots for it to make an impression on someone. BUT everyone isn't in the market for what you, me, or anyone else does right then, so most of the "hits" are to someone who isn't a prospect right then - and if you don't keep up the consistency they forget about you when they ARE ready. Plus how many people hear or see EVERY ad or spot you run? None. So maybe they see 5% or 10% of your spots? So at 5% (that means 1/20), you have to run 27 times X 20 or 540 ads or spots to be in mind of the maybe 2% of listners/readers who are in the market. And all of them are not going to call or come see you.

That's why you hear Lowe's and Home Depot and car companies on every TV and radio station a couple times an hour. Is it because they are great at pricing and actually doing the job? No. It's because they got over the hump and have the cash to advertise heavily and ALL THE TIME to be in the mind of most people when they want to buy something.

I've asked people (like flooring reps) where they would go when they are ready to do a kitchen. The answer is "box stores" because they "don't know anyone else" who does that. Duh - how about me? And Yellow Pages are used less and less. We, collectively, have to find a more efficient way to have our name in front of potential clients at the time when they are thinking about doing a job. How to do that on a limited budget is the challenge.
 

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Thom
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Why door hangars and flyers don't work.

In order to work, marketing must:

  1. be done when the customer is looking
  2. be done where the customer is looking
  3. sell what the customer is looking for
Does a door hanger or flyer really do that? They might if you're selling soap, people buy soap almost weekly, already go to the store regularly, and are willing to try something new.

Most people hire construction services (not repairs though) only a few times in their lifetime. If they are not looking right now (99% of the population aren't) your marketing efforts are wasted if your efforts are a shot-gun approach. They may be even worse than wasted. You may end up wasting valuable time on sales presentations to people who will never buy.

When a customer is ready to buy significant construction services, your door hangar will not likely impress them. It might work if you want to paint their address on the curb for $5 though.

Many potential customers, I include myself here, will not consider you at all if you trash my neighborhood. If you put up illegal signs, if you put a hangar on my door, if you put a flyer under my windshield wiper, you have disrespected my community and by extension me. You will not be considered for my business.

I have been and continue to be an active member of my neighborhood association. I continually tell people, the way to stop neighborhood spammers is to refuse to do business with them.
 
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