For over a dozen years,
NSPG has been providing the tools that allow contractors to
increase profits and minimize business hassles. With our
simple-to-use-tools, you can make being a business owner
what you always wanted to it be -
successful, profitable and rewarding.
Help Them Find You
the last few issues we've discussed business
organization, learning your profitable prices, and
actually implementing them. This month, we'd like
to talk a bit about getting the phone to ring. An
ongoing investment in advertising is a essential component for
your business success.
Advertising should be viewed as a continuing process
rather than a single event designed to get more
business. The goal is to attract new customers, maintain
current customer base, and creat a positive image of
your business as a source of high quality, high value
products and services. What most business owners
don’t know is that keeping track of advertising dollars
spent is a critical part of the advertising process.
a nutshell, advertising helps keep your company’s name
on potential customers’ minds so when services are
needed, they know who to call.
To get started, you need to decide what you want to
achieve with you advertising
dollars. Most businesses hope to achieve three things:
- The short term goal of your advertising is to get
your message to your audience and get them to act.
- Your medium term advertising goal should be to
increase customer awareness of your coverage area,
and your products and services.
- Your long term advertising goal should be
to create a business image for the customer that
reflects high quality, friendliness, customer
service and value.
In order to achieve these goals, you must identify
your target customers, and determine the best ways to
reach them. Why is this important?
your target customers are over a certain age, they
probably read the local newspaper, so that might be a
good way to reach them. Younger, more affluent
customers probably use the internet every day, so a web
site could be crucial to reaching them. Tailoring
your advertising investment to your actual target
customer base is critical to maximize your returns.
The days of using a Yellow Page ad as your complete
advertising plan are long gone.
The easiest way to find your target customer is to use your current customers
determine your target customer base. After each service
call you should provide your customers a feedback method
of some sort. This can be a postcard, phone call
follow up, or an internet form. In addition to
gathering information about the performance of your
employees and products, you should collect specific
information that you can use to target your advertising
information and how they initially found your business
should always be collected when they first call for
service. Information can be gathered about income
and home value during the service call. Questions
about reading habits and web use can be collected in
your after service follow up.
All of this information should be collected and
analyzed to identify who your customers are, what they
think about your business, and how to reach them.
Since they already called your business, you can assume
that other people with similar traits will respond
to your advertising efforts. If you can determine
why your current customers called you, you can develop a
business plan building on those things that appeal to
your target customer.
Your advertising should focus on the things your
business does that appeals most to your target
customers. They will only respond to
the things that are important to them. Advertising
other things is a waste of money.
Once you know who you will be directing your advertising
to, you need to determine the most efficient way to
audience with the message that is important to them.
You should select where you advertise based on market
coverage and cost. Since your customers may
respond to different types of advertising, you should
advertising budget across multiple media outlets. This will allow you to reach more of
your target market and build name recognition with the
segment of your market that sees your ads in multiple
One popular method of leveraging your business
contacts and existing customer base is to offer discount
coupons and referral bonuses. For example,
including a discount coupon with each invoice that your current customers
can give to a friend, can encourage
the word of mouth every business needs to prosper.
Be sure to include these discounts when you calculate
your breakeven in Numbers Cruncher, and you will still be able to reach your
profit targets without changing your flat rate prices.
Advertising is an essential part of your business
plan. You should view it as one of your costs of
business on a par with equipment and salaries. It
should not be an afterthought. You must include
your advertising costs in your budget just like any
other expense. This way you will avoid cutting
your advertising budget when business slows and you need
to be advertising the most.
Entering your advertising budget into Numbers
Cruncher will allow you to immediately translate the
cost into the amount you need to charge per hour to
cover it. This eliminates the guesswork, and
assures that you have the funds to invest in your
advertising budget for the year.
The final step is to evaluate how well your
advertising worked and to reallocate your advertising
dollars to the most effective areas. This
can best be done by asking every person who calls for
service what made them call your company. Tracking
your ads by description or ad code will allow you to tie
your advertising dollars to sales and profit dollars.
You must set up a process to collect this information
for every job you do.
Advertising should not be considered as a one-shot
expenditure to bring in more business today. It
should be a part of a long term plan for the growth of
your business. This means that you will need to
set up a system for collecting and evaluating
information about your customers so you can spend your
advertising dollars effectively.
You can give Mike Conroy a call to discuss your
advertising strategy, your
numbers, or your flat rate books even if you do not use
He always enjoys dispensing the knowledge he has
acquired talking to successful business owners around
Measure Monthly, Adjust Quarterly
& Achieve Annual Profit Goals
Real Hero Electrician
You can be a comic book Hero!
Explosive Plumbing Discovery
ARI and GAMA vote to merge
50% Tax Credit for Renewable Energy Projects in Oregon
Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credit