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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Recently I posted some questions regarding roofing on this board, and many of you took the time to reply.

Therefore I would like to give back to your community. Here's the deal. I own a marketing communication agency. In other words our company helps folks market their products and services.

If you have any basic questions about marketing and/or marketing tools I will do my best to answer. We are a full service agency, therefore I can answer questions about everything from web dev and graphic design, to overall brand strategy.

This is not a plug. I will not even mention the name of my business. Any questions? Just post here. BUT please don't expect me to write your whole marketing plan for you, or something like that.

Your Visiting Marcom Pro
GotJacked?
 

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Flooring Guru
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Would you be able to give advice on opening up my own website
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A few basic tips about getting a web site:
1) Ask yourself why you want a web site? How do you plan to promote the site?

2) Do not fall prey to the belief that if you build it they will come. They won't. Just like anything else, you must promote/market your site. Ideally your web site is just one prong in a multifaceted marketing campaign.

3) When hiring a designer you need to know how your site will be hosted. How much it will cost to host your site. Will you own your site or will it be tied to the hosting? Can you easily move your site to another host? If the site is content managed or utilizes a special script you may not be able to easily do so.

4) If your business is small do not waste your money on a high-end custom built site. Pay someone to customize a predesigned template for you. However if you generate large amounts of cash-flow, then you should invest in a more sophisticated, customized site.

5) Ask your developer which browsers your site will be compatible with. All sites that we build are compatibel with the top 5 browsers. Most cheapo developers only make their sites compatible with IE - then they display like crap in the rest of the browsers.

6) Who is going to provide the images/artwork for your site? You or your designer? Content? Site Nav?

7) To find out what you want in a site surf then net. Pick out your three favorite sites and show your developer. Just remember to be realistic about what your budget will get you. You will not have a site as huge and powerul as HomeDepot unless you've got big bucks. However if you choose wisely you can have a very powerful and beautiful site for a good price.

8) Once your new site launches, think about doing these things:
- url on biz cards, stationery and every printed piece you do
- url in your ads
- search engine optimizatoin (easiest on the pocket book if you hire a web developer who can both build & optimize your site)
- hand submit to the major search engines & crawlers
- send postcard announcing site launch to all clients and prospects. We design a free postcard for all of our clients as a standard bonus service
- talk to your developer about providing you with a good newsletter list management sofware. phplist is powerful and wouldn't be too expensive for you. It's free, but you have to pay the developer to install, configure, and show you how to use it.
- Do you have time to have a blog and/or ad articles to your site? If so be sure to have expansion capabilities built into your site. Or, just have a blog be part of your site. Easy for you to maintain, and great for SEF (search engine friendliness).

I hope these quick comments help. Excuse the typos - I'm rather sloppy about that.
 

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Flooring Guru
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Great info!

Actually what I have in mind, is creating a website for customer service. I work for a flooring company in Alaska, and I want to have my own site to provide customer service in a more state of the art way.
Eventually I would like to post sales and other stuff on my website, but I would like to start off by helping people from all over Alaska and clients I have worked with, and maybe even people from all over the world with any flooring issues they may have.
I already have been a part of this site and many others to help people, and I enjoy it very much.
Eventually I would like to see if I can generate customers by having this site. And I believe word of mouth thru my clients will help promote my site.
But I would like advise on the best way to start a site like this. I am not starting a business, I just want to start something new I have not seen yet, and I want it to start out costing little if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So you are talking about an online customer management software? These are available open source - however unless your are adept at php cgi and html you will need a developer to install and configure.

Questions:
What exactly do you plan to do with the site?
How will your visitors interact with it?
Is is for current customers only? Or can anyone use the site?
Please explain further what you are trying to achieve.
 

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Florcraftwhat I have in mind said:
Hey Flor, check this. The coolest thing I've seen along these lines is an MEP contractor that has an IM link on their web page. He's pretty big so he's always got estimators floating around the office that can monitor for IM traffic. If a GC client has a question about some MEP stuff they're working on they can IM with an estimator. I thought that was pretty cool and a good way to promote interaction with existing / potential clients.
 

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Any advice for post cards?

I'm wanting to get about .5 - 1% return (call backs) on them.
My plan is to...
* Send out about 8000 a month
* Get about 40-80 calls off of those cards
* Land about 25-30% of these jobs

Is this realistic? What would you recommend I put on the cards to grab peoples attention?
Right now I have a 4x6" card designed and printed but I'm thinking of going to a 6x8" card for about $.03 more per card... is that worth it?

Thanks for any advice you can give!

My current card looks like this:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Nathan,

Let's talk about this on Monday. Quick notes:

25-30% close rate seems like a stretch, unless you've go an amazing closer on your team.

1% response rate is completely reasonable. I would try to target my list and get a higher response rate.

Cards are nicely designed - take a closer look at call to action, though.

GotJacked?
 

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gotjacked? said:
25-30% close rate seems like a stretch, unless you've go an amazing closer on your team.
Well, I can't wait to hear more on Monday but I will say that 25-30% isn't that much of a streach in this industry.
Most people call 3 contractors for estimates which makes it easy to get 33% if your numbers are right.

November is our WORST month and we won 17% of our bids. But in October, for example, we won 49% of our bids. Actually, Novembers numbers are not final yet. We have several people who we gave estimates to in November who want to use us in the new year so that number could easily be 20-25%.

But I'm getting off track I guess ;) . I know what to do with the leads once we get them... I just need help getting them! :Thumbs:
 

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PipeGuy said:
Hey Flor, check this. The coolest thing I've seen along these lines is an MEP contractor that has an IM link on their web page. He's pretty big so he's always got estimators floating around the office that can monitor for IM traffic. If a GC client has a question about some MEP stuff they're working on they can IM with an estimator. I thought that was pretty cool and a good way to promote interaction with existing / potential clients.
I used to do that exact same thing when I ran my web design/hosting company.
 

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Hey Nathan, I think your suspicions about effectiveness rising by going to a larger card are well founded. With every marketing guru in the nation selling the use of postcards as their personal secret marketing weapon, the last 4 years have seen a dramatic increase in companies using post cards for marketing. I'm sure if you think about it you have noticed a lot more post cards in your personal mailbox than ever before. As the noise level rises due to more and more business trying out this secret weapon in your local market, the effectiveness of post card marketing will begin to drop also. Here in Denver we have seen the effectiveness peak of just simple small post cards and now we are seeing larger and larger glossy full color postcards all the time.

Quality, message, frequency and size of the post card are all going to effect responses rates. You have adequate message, quality and frequency leaving the size to start playing a bigger and bigger role in stopping ability and improving response rates. Bigger is better and will become more important as the amount of post cards continues to increase in consumers mail boxes, until over-sized cards are just the norm and then the effectiveness rates will go back to being effected more traditionally by message and frequency.
 

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I like small post cards for the first mailing to "test the list". I say test the list so I don't spend the higher postage rate to send a letter that get's bounced back "No Such Person".

After that initial mailing, I would go to a larger card, I just sent some 5x8, mixed with letters. That means February I might send a post card. April I'd probably send a letter. In May I might send out greeting cards for memorial day. Then July I would probably go back to a post card, November another Post card.

I would use the same logos on each mailing so it's branded into the customer's brain, and I would use the same list while pruning that list of bounced back mailings and perhaps adding more names as they become available.
 

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I hit on this a few weeks ago while mailing Happy Holiday cards to customers. Why not mail the same to prospective customers? They are Hallmark cards, hand addressed and I use a return address label that only has my name (not company name) and company address. I am hoping that this will get them opened.
If it goes well, Easter is right around the corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I say spend little money/time on xmas cards for prospects. Why? Because they are innudated with them at this time of year. And, they are preoccupied with their personal lives. Better to save your money and time for more opportune times of year. Keep your holiday greetings quick and simple.
 

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I really mostly want the website so I can post sales that we have all year. I have a ton of return customers, and I would love it if I could give them my site so they can check to see if there is a sale they can take advantage of.
Plus, I would like to have a question and answer forum kind of like this one, so I can have my clients email me, or other people in the state and even out of state ask questions so I can answer them.
It's going to just be a fun project to start, but I would like it to turn into something bigger possibly.
 

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Jacked, I spend little money. I buy my cards on sale after Christmas and buy bulk. My paper publishes all of the home sales every week, it includes the buyer's name and address. Typically I only mail to homes sold for over $500K, if things are slowing down I may lower the bar a little. On a busy week I may mail a dozen cards or flyers costing around $.50 ea. postage included and they go directly to the center of the bullseye. It's not a shotgun approach with 90% going into the landfill, it's 100% wealthy new homeowners.
I know that this is off-topic but I'm following along as I keep threatening to open a site. I've had my domain name for years. LOL
 
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