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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We sell advertising for a living, but I know much advertising in the contractor community doesn't really work. Maybe you can help me serve our clients better by sharing your success stories: Tell us where your (paid) advertising is successful, and why.

Your best examples would be a copy of your actual ad(s) or a detailed description (if it is radio or television, perhaps an audio file, Youtube or similar link would help), a description of your cost per lead, and other aspects you think important in assessing why the ad succeeds (including how long it took you to get results, and measure them).

If you are concerned about competitive confidentiality, you can 'bury' some important details. If competition concerns you, maybe you would share your success offline with other relevant non-competitive forum readers. It is likely your competitors know and see your ads, anyways, but I understand some of the measuring data might be sensitive.

(I may 'lift' some of your suggestions for our own advertisers -- even if it means sending them to other media/services. Of course, even if the advertising dollars are redirected, it still makes good business sense for us to do this. Would you return for more (or refer friends) to a business that always puts your interests in first place, even if it seems the business is acting against its own self-interest?)

If there are few or no responses to this posting, I think there is validation that advertising should be used cautiously and sparingly -- especially if ou are trying to dig out of a recessionary slump and don't know what advertising works, and why.
 

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I work in restaurants and have tried many types pf advertising, all have had some results. the best for me has been walking through the door and introducing myself. Postcards with before and after shots also have had good results
 

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I have been getting more calls lately to buy professional marketing services.
I told the last guy I don't hire professional marketing people anymore, I am just working with amateurs for now. Stopped him dead in his tracks.
Seriously, I see the same things over and over, so no more pros for the time being.

My most successful ad in the last 20 years I no longer use but here it is, ran this in the Yellow pages as a 2.5 in high x 1.5 ? wide. And then the newspaper also.
Roofing, Roofing, Roofing
More Roofing, Roofing
Roofing, Roofing, Roofing

Yes, we do Roofing
Call *********** To get Roofing

More ROI on this than anything else in the last 25 years.
 

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My most successful ad in the last 20 years I no longer use but here it is, ran this in the Yellow pages as a 2.5 in high x 1.5 ? wide. And then the newspaper also.
Roofing, Roofing, Roofing
More Roofing, Roofing
Roofing, Roofing, Roofing

Yes, we do Roofing
Call *********** To get Roofing


More ROI on this than anything else in the last 25 years.
Awesome. And hilarious.

When it comes to advertising where competitors advertise, here's what some of the best pros (and amateurs) say:

1. Look at what everyone else is doing with their ads.

2. Then do something completely different that cannot possibly be seen as similar.

Thanks for sharing "silvertree, silvertree, silvertree, more silvertree, silvertree, silvertree, silvertree, silvertree."

Cool idea for a thread, Pub1.
 

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While were on it, here is my worst ad.

Run before the "roofing" ad.

A red high heel with a hammer balanced on top. Full color and the ad said some mumbo jumbo about "High Class" sensitive, blah, blah.
Art dept loved it, the magazine editor loved it. I thought I was a marketing genius, they thought I was a genius.

$5000 for 3 months over 20 years ago.

One call in 3 months from a little old lady who asked me if I fix shoes:eek:

Nothing like being humbled by a lady who thinks your a shoemaker:laughing:

Why stop the roofing ad, I did it to jump start my company to full service remodeling, and no regrets about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The results to this thread so far suggest that few readers have found the magic advertising formula. Of course some have. I've posted about Feazel Roofing in Columbus, OH, who obtain a third of their business from radio ads. Of course they spend a couple hundred grand a year on the ads -- so if you want to compete against them (or even follow their example in your own market) you had better have very deep pockets.

I'm now appreciating the concepts of consultant Michael Stone who, during the good times, encouraged contractors to advertise and not rely primarily on referral/repeat business. Anyone who did that, and built a successful advertising model, would have the resources to adapt their business strategy: You could safely increase or modify your advertising volume because you would have enough data and information (as well as experience) to know what works, and why.

My sense right now is the best strategy is to 'advertise' to your former clients -- connect through community and associations -- and experiment and use your website, Google adwords and the like, to draw traffic.

Maybe also, if you have patience look through archives in other markets for busiensses similar to yours, call the owner, and pick brain. (Or get really involved in your relevant trade association, and through the association's multi-city network, achive the same insights, but with a lot less work on your part.) Remember, if the answer is easy to find, it probably isn't very useful.
 

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While your on it Publisher1, can I assume since my ad budget has been $25,000 a year or less I will only get the advertising people that practice the same old platitudes? Advertising requires many skills to work well, over the last 3 years I spent money on some tired old cliches. Now I am networking and driving a display truck, I also intend to do print ads. No more yellow page, no more inserts. Website will be optimized but I expect to get most of my business by face to face opportunities. If that works, I will get salespeople that can do face to face. Sell a job and work the neighborhood you are working in. Its a brave new world out there and if I get one more company sending me their tired old demographics pie as a reason to work with them I'll spit up.
I believe there are some good marketers out there, and a some of them are CT members. Of interest is you and Seth pitching some good things to think about. I am sure you both have some solid advice, and I'll bet like us contractors you may struggle with with you were taught and what you should do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Silvertree, most of our ad sales are business to business "support your client" ads -- largely through direct referrals (The referrer gets a free, well-written editorial profile. The editorial stuff really works -- and is handy especially on websites and follow-up marketing. Some of our editorial publicity clients have reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from the publicity).
Plenty of scuzzy publishers use the "support your client" technique to rake in the cash without giving anything in return -- but I think differently and view anyone who spends money on an ad in our publication as a client worthy of respect. If the ad doesn't get business directly (outside of helping to maintain the supplier/client relationship) we'll make ourselves available as truly free marketing consultants and ensure our advertisers, when the dust settles, receive plenty of real value for their money. Besides being the right way to do business, it also is really quite effective. So I'll do things like spend money and fly to a city where I have absolutely no business to learn stuff, and share the knowledge.
If you are spending $25K on advertising, yes, you can focus it effectively and should be able to achieve some useful results; trouble is, you can't rely on any ad salespeople to do this for you. Nor should you do it without expert support. Where should that come from? Consultants, perhaps, but I really prefer peers. They are cheaper, and much less biased, and have real-world experience to share. Best and cheapest way to get this type of advice (outside of forums like CT): Your specialized trade association. Get involved, contribute, share, and go to the conventions. If you move up the executive ranks, you'll really start networking with some really successful business people with their own great ideas. Yeah, it works. Soon, we'll be depositing some meaningful cheques from a new publishing project initiated just that way. (It is always fun to receive the call and be told you've won the job ahead of time, while the competition frantically prepares RFP documentation in the faint hope of success.)
 

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Painting Contractor
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Publisher,
I am collecting a whole bunch of leads in our CRM (commercial contractors)
until I figure out how to market to them.

I also have 2 questions for you:

How do you get to BOMA decision makers?
Can you actually buy a membership without being referred by someone?
And is it worth it?

What about a trade show like http://www.pmexpo.com/exhibitor/home.asp
I am planning to attend that one just to check things out.
What is the best way to use my time there?
Is it worth getting a booth next time?

By far the best results for us come from our website, SEO and Pay Per Click.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
George:

I found BOMA to be challenging -- while the association supposedly has strict rules controlling the number of associate members (thus increasing relationship/networking opportunities with owners), I think it can be difficult to access 'real' decision-makers, at least at the formal meetings. The best way to get in would be through reference from one of your current clients who is a member already.

PM Expo is part of a huge (for Canada) construction trade show -- we will be there in the Home Builder and Reno Expo section (booth 114). You'll find the whole thing a bit overwhelming if you've never been there before. The show of course is expensive -- we trade out advertising for our exhibit space -- but may be useful if you co-ordinate things and plan carefully. Most people visiting the booths of course are tier kickers, but you will probably find some qualified prospects and connect with people who could use your services. If you want to see me, I'll be there Wednesday morning, Thursday afternoon, and Friday all show hours (morning to early afternoon).
 

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Painting Contractor
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George:

I found BOMA to be challenging -- while the association supposedly has strict rules controlling the number of associate members (thus increasing relationship/networking opportunities with owners), I think it can be difficult to access 'real' decision-makers, at least at the formal meetings. The best way to get in would be through reference from one of your current clients who is a member already.

PM Expo is part of a huge (for Canada) construction trade show -- we will be there in the Home Builder and Reno Expo section (booth 114). You'll find the whole thing a bit overwhelming if you've never been there before. The show of course is expensive -- we trade out advertising for our exhibit space -- but may be useful if you co-ordinate things and plan carefully. Most people visiting the booths of course are tier kickers, but you will probably find some qualified prospects and connect with people who could use your services. If you want to see me, I'll be there Wednesday morning, Thursday afternoon, and Friday all show hours (morning to early afternoon).
Thanks,
I might just find you.
 

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Dollar for dollar the best result is the home and garden or renovation show. Every person (relatively speaking) that walks in the doors is there to see what is new in the renovation and home building industry. Not every person reading the paper or that gets a flyer is in that state of mind.
 
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