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I started my renovation business 2 years ago and have tried only a few advertising methods. I have passed out business cards like crazy, I've advertised in the classifieds, and I have started a Facebook page. So far business cards don't do a whole lot in gaining new clientele, the classifieds always bring me a ton of leads and even a good amount of work but it's mainly all time wasters an people looking for a bargain or looking to rip you off. And my Facebook page works great for displaying my work but has done very little in gaining me new clientele.

I've read articles and threads on SEO and various things but I'm curious what the bottom line true field test answer is.

So question: what are the top three methods of advertising that have worked for you?
 

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stacker of sticks
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It's not easy starting out. I tried everything and the only thing that works for me is word of mouth.

I go through maybe 30 cards a year, and never get a call from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
jlsconstruction said:
It's not easy starting out. I tried everything and the only thing that works for me is word of mouth. I go through maybe 30 cards a year, and never get a call from them.
I agree that word of mouth is by far the best advertising. I would say 95% of my business is from word of mouth and repeat customers. The problem is its not fast and it doesn't kick start my business in the slow seasons.
 

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Word of mouth is King.
Write a detailed proposal/contract, explain what you are going to do for them and then "Do It!"
Address any isssues at the end of the job before you present the bill.
Ask for any leads they might have, offer a referal reward.
Always try to leave with a satisfied customer who knows that you will appreciate their referals.
Do that consistently and you will always be busy.
 

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A stickler for excellence
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There is no "truth". The variance in advertising ROI is going to be huge because of the number of variables you're working with.

How many business cards are you handing out per day? How often are you interacting with followers and adding content on Facebook? What are you doing to give customers incentive to interact with you online and via social media?
 

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How about....
-folks behind the counter at the lumberyard and hardware store
-realtors
-architects
-other, busier contractors who are turning away jobs
-subcontractors

And more for long term branding.....
website, truck signs, yard signs

more than three I know! ...but I have obtained work from all of these sources
 

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Discussion Starter #9
CSB said:
There is no "truth". The variance in advertising ROI is going to be huge because of the number of variables you're working with. How many business cards are you handing out per day? How often are you interacting with followers and adding content on Facebook? What are you doing to give customers incentive to interact with you online and via social media?
I hand out about 15 a month. Without going door to door with them I just hand them to people when there is an opening. As for Facebook I post pictures of my jobs a few times a month (I usually only post the tile and finish work photos) that's really it.
 

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Talking Head
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All but one of my jobs this year have been from WOM. I've had lots of leads from local searches turning up my website but I just haven't had the time to take any of them. The one job that wasn't WOM was from an internet search, it's about 50 hours of work.

Word of mouth should not be a passive method of marketing for any contractor. Do a site search for Oconomowoc and marketing and read some of his, very well thought out, posts.

Waiting for a happy customer to refer you is way to laid back for a guy who needs work. You have a list of happy customers, do something with it. Call them, let them know when you have some openings and ask if they, or anyone they know, needs some work done. Mail them a special offer for past customers and a special offer(slightly less) that they can give to a friend. It enhances their perception that you value them more than non-customers(and you should).

I keep a spreadsheet of leads and I have a category that includes projects that people have just mentioned in passing. When I feel like I might have a day or two for small projects I call them and say "Hey, I remembered that you had asked me about a new storm door the last time I was working on your house. I could stop over next Thursday morning and take care of that for you. How about it?".

I can usually pull together a couple days of high margin repair work using this list.

Edit: Handing out cards doesn't do a thing for me unless I make an impression. I sell myself, and them give them a card so they have a way of contacting me. Writing some specific info on the card, such as a product you recommend, is a great way of getting them to keep the card in a prominent location for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
jpeaton said:
How about.... -folks behind the counter at the lumberyard and hardware store -realtors -architects -other, busier contractors who are turning away jobs -subcontractors And more for long term branding..... website, truck signs, yard signs more than three I know! ...but I have obtained work from all of these sources
I appreciate the ideas for sure! I'm getting t shirts printed up next month for myself and my crew. I will look into truck signs. And yeah I have given cards out to people in hd and lowes.

I'm also considering trying to get hooked up with lowes or HD as a tile sub-contractor but no sure how it works
 

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Ethan's points here are excellent. Your current satisfied customers are your best salespeople. I have excellent luck with my Facebook site (and it's free!), and my yard signs get me work. I'm getting better at selling myself and letting people I come into contact with know about what I do.
 

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I started my renovation business 2 years ago and have tried only a few advertising methods. I have passed out business cards like crazy, I've advertised in the classifieds, and I have started a Facebook page. So far business cards don't do a whole lot in gaining new clientele, the classifieds always bring me a ton of leads and even a good amount of work but it's mainly all time wasters an people looking for a bargain or looking to rip you off. And my Facebook page works great for displaying my work but has done very little in gaining me new clientele.

I've read articles and threads on SEO and various things but I'm curious what the bottom line true field test answer is.

So question: what are the top three methods of advertising that have worked for you?
Become involved in church, youth athletics, PTA, HOA, block parties, charities, fundraising etc. Its all about how many hands you can shake and how many times you can tell your story about what you do, why you do it and why you're different than the next guy.
 

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On the marketing or the Transit? The Transit should be a Lamborghini at this point, if you're still working on it.:whistling
I am. But slowly. The first rack I built works so well and carries so much stuff I'm not in as much of a hurry as I was. It's coming together though.

But I'm tired and burnt out a little bit. All three kids and the wife have been sick and I've been feeling crappy for 3 weeks. Been working everyday when I should be resting.
 
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