Thursday, December 26, 2019

9 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Digital Marketing for Your Modular Home Business

By Mike Foti, CEO of Innovate Building Solutions
You keep putting off the dentist appointment your spouse has been harping to you about.
You intend to go to the gym to work off those ‘few extra pounds’ from holiday cookies, but just don’t have the time (or that’s what you tell yourself).

You plan to organize your closet, garage and basement – but the junk keeps piling up.
Whether it’s in your personal life, or work, what you and I can (and do) ignore can be dangerous to our personal health or business results (AKA profitability). It’s easier to put off doing tomorrow what we really don’t want to do today. For a modular owner (or any business owner for that matter), digital marketing is one of those things which are super-easy to put off.
After all digital marketing is so doggone confusing. The acronyms alone are ridiculous (PPC, SEO, SEM, CTR etc.). They’re a PIA (now that’s an acronym you can relate to!). And when you look at a topic like ‘digital marketing’ – it’s so foreign most people don’t even know what the heck it really is. So, in this article about digital marketing, let me start by defining …digital marketing.
What is digital marketing?
Simply put – digital marketing is any form of marketing which happens online.
This could be advertising dollars you fork over to Mr. Google and Mark Zuckerberg (Mr. Facebook) to line their pocketbooks (as if they need more money?).
This could be work done by your marketing company to ‘search engine optimize’ (SEO – yes, another acronym) your web pages or push out social media posts.
This could be time you invest to write blog posts (if you can find the time to write) and make videos (if you don't wet your pants in front of a camera) to answer your customers’ questions and establish your expertise.
So, why should you give a ‘hoot’ about digital marketing for your modular home business? The main reason you should give a ‘hoot’ about digital marketing is because you, and your family and your business can’t escape it. Think about this.
How many times have you visited Home Depot to buy a tool or Amazon to buy (almost anything)? Do you go on Zillow to gauge how much value to put into a home plan you want to roll out? In fact, if you have a teenage daughter can you think of ANY TIME the phone doesn’t appear surgically connected to her hand (yes – my 17-year-old daughter Jade resembles this remark).
Digital marketing (and social media) is so all-encompassing your 80-year-old Mom is even ‘trolling you’ on Facebook (so you better watch what you’re posting)! As a business owner you’ll ignore it at your own risk (and the risk of every person STILL employed at your business). Digital is where we research things (hey- where did my Encyclopedia Britannica go anyway?). Digital is where we buy stuff.
However, if you’re still not convinced you need to put your time, energy and money into digital marketing I’m going to dish up 9 reasons to push you over the edge.
9 Reasons You Need Digital Marketing for Your Modular Home Business
Reason #1 – If your competitor ‘gets it’ before you, you may end up eating their sawdust
In the United States over the last 5 years digital advertising has a compound annual growth rate of 20%. Smart money is going into digital and you KNOW your competitor isn’t smarter than you. Your prospects practically ‘live’ on digital platforms.
You need to be where your customers are. Look at guys like Ken Semler and his Express Modular Blog. He’s growing. Digital is front and center in his marketing plans.
Reason #2 – The returns on traditional forms of marketing are going into the toilet
Remember the race to call your company AAA Modular Homes so you could be first in the Yellow Pages? How silly do those companies seem now?
As a matter of fact, how are your leads performing on TV, print and radio these days? If you’re like most, returns are going down.
If you think about it, companies in ‘traditional advertising’ are attempting to ‘digitize’ their offerings just to stay relevant and alive.
Reason #3 – Your web site and ‘content’ works 24/7 and doesn’t require PTO or a commission.
While you absolutely need to make investments (of time and/or money) to grow your ‘digital assets’, the cool thing is your web pages, blog articles and videos can lead generate while you’re sawing logs in your bed. They work 24/7 without PTO or demanding a higher commission.
Reason #4 – If you’re not ‘made of money’ (as Dad used to say) you (or a member of your team) can trade your time for a lack of budget
Print ads, billboards and home shows are so doggone expensive. If you’re a newer custom modular builder these costs may be out of your league right now.
However, creating useful articles (‘er blog posts) or informational videos (like the content Dave Cooper of CT Valley Homes is doing) answering the questions your best prospects have can not only be informative, but can get your found online, set up your expertise and save time in the sales process (all in one swoop).
If you don’t have money – invest time creating content. Digitally bootstrap your way to success (this strategy has worked wonders for my business).
Reason #5 – By giving away ‘free content’ you’ll build a loyal email list which paves the way for new prospects and future sales
As you (and your sales team) know, building a home is the biggest (and most nerve-wracking) decision a homeowner must make. They’ll ‘kick it around’ and TIO (think it over) until you want to scream, “JUST BUY THIS FRICKIN’ HOUSE RIGHT NOW!” The research process is long, long, long. Hey- did I say long?
However, if you pack your site with free information (downloads, guides, thoughtful articles like 11 Tips to A Smarter Modular Home), you’ll be helping the homeowner and capturing email addresses to continue teaching them along their waaay toooo looong research journey.
For example, in my laminate shower wall panel business we now have an email list of 23,800 people we use weekly. I’ll venture to say if these people look for wall panels, we’re top of mind (even though we aren’t – by any stretch of the imagination – the biggest company in the industry…yet).
Reason #6 – You can track results
Advertising can feel like the drain which keeps on sucking.
The only guarantee is advertisers will consistently cash your checks (but won’t guarantee, or in many cases be able to track your results).
There’s nothing so unnerving in an entrepreneurial business as spending bucks without the ability to track returns. This is why digital is so cool.
Have your ‘geeky web dude/dudess’ install Google Analytics on your site. You can track phone calls, time on the site, downloads and know what’s working and what isn’t.
Reason #7 – You can build on ‘land’ you own, not turf you rent
When you buy print ads, billboards, yellow pages (hey- what’s that?), Pay Per Click or Facebook ads or choose a home show booth you’re literally ‘renting’ space. You pay. Then you pay again.
Unlike staring in a TV commercial you’ll earn no ‘residuals.’
When you add or improve web pages, add blog or video content, or grow an email list these are assets you own. Nobody controls them but you. These marketing tools are the gifts that keep on giving.
Why are you blowing money on rent, when you could build on your own ‘marketing land?’
Reason #8 – You can ‘grease the skids’ on new plans or manufacturing capabilities without relying solely on your sales team to ‘get the word out.’
Your plant has invested in new equipment to grow your capabilities.
You’ve developed a new plan you’re SURE will be a hot seller.
Then this happens….
NOTHING
A year later nobody knows your capabilities or about your new (should have been a hot selling) plan.
This problem can be solved with digital marketing.
When you build an email list (you’ll do this with tools like ‘lead magnets’ – free downloads etc.) you can email your new ideas to customers and prospects. You can lessen the chance you’ll make dumb investments which don’t work out.
With an active email list, you can survey your customers. For example, when recently deciding new patterns for our laminate wall panel line we went out to our email list and showed them 5 options. We let them decide (and give us feedback). 160 responded. Many gave detailed input about what patterns they liked best. I’m less worried about the inventory investment I’m making.
I’m leveraging free information from people who like our stuff (since they’ve opted into our list).
Reason #9 – You don’t have to be sucked into bidding wars
If I’m being real, digital marketing isn’t all fun and games.’ Just like traditional marketing, online (or digital marketing) can also be a money suck. Think about this. Google earns over 20% at the bottom line. Want to know why? It’s because you (and your competitors) keeping bidding up keywords.
IMHO – the biggest key today to digital marketing success is to grow leads without overinvesting in PPC (pay per click) ads (or better yet, spend nothing at all). You may be wondering how this is possible. Make this happen with content you (or someone you hire) creates. Write blog posts and shoot videos – while not the ‘quick road’ to success, it will be the more profitable ‘long-road’ to success.
If you’re at least (partially) convinced you need to kick up your digital game, here’s how to get started
If this article has moved you (or guilted you) to get off your butt and improve your behind-the-times web site or non-existent content marketing resources (blog, YouTube videos etc.) but don’t know where to start, I’ll give you 3 quick-tips:
Tip #1 – Don’t hire some kid who is ‘good with computers’ to help you out on the cheap. As my Dad used to say, “That’s penny-wise and pound foolish.”
Tip #2 – Get referrals from your buds in and around the home building industry who ARE getting results with digital (whether they are stick-built or modular builders). As a matter of fact, you may want to go to the stick-built companies first because they’re the ones who have 97% of the housing market. Call a builder you think is doing well (or look for those written up in industry publications for their effective marketing) and ask for referrals and tips to get moving.
Tip #3 – Call me. I’m free (and easy) to talk to. While I’m not a Digital Marketing Consultation (and don’t play one on TV) I’m into this stuff and getting results from it in for our nationwide building material wholesale business. Just to ‘keep it real, know I may slip into talking about our line of waterproof shower wall panels for modular homes because (after all) I still do need to pay for my daughter’s college education.
Good luck in your digital marketing journey and improved results in 2020. Digital has not passed you by…but if you continue to delay you may end up eating your competitor’s sawdust.
Mike Foti is CEO of Innovate Building Solutions (a nationwide supplier of laminate kitchen and bathroom wall panels and regional remodeler) who is also a professional speaker. He can be reached at 216-310-1074. If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn you’ll find him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefoti/

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