There once was a day when a town crier stood in the city square and proclaimed the news of the day to everyone at once, or a solitary town newspaper was the only source of information to all. Dating back to the time of the Romans, marketing in those sources was worth a fortune, since everyone’s eyes and ears were on one direct message. Now, consumers have countless ways to consume information from multiple media types, and what was once one voice and one clear message has slowly morphed into so many people screaming for attention that it’s overwhelming.
More voices and sources for information is not necessarily a bad thing, because of course, if you’re relying only on one, what if that source is wrong? But if there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that your market is far more diverse than you probably realized. The people you’re trying to make a living providing a service for have a wide array of different opinions, backgrounds, propensities, and preferences. And they now have a world of options for how to consume their information. So, with all that noise, how do you turn their attention your way?
Today, one size definitely does not fit all. Consumers live in a highly personalized environment with customized home screens and individualized newsfeeds driven by their unique interests. And here’s the important part: they have now come to expect personalized messaging from you. In fact, 78 percent of 1,500 consumers recently surveyed by InfoGroup said they expect and prefer personalized advertisements from businesses. And on top of that, 90 percent of those surveyed said that messages received from a company they felt was not personally relevant to them were “annoying” and “off-putting.”
So, if that survey truly reveals the feelings of the greater market, your money spent on a cheap, blanket mass-mailing could actually drive customers away from you and cost you more than if you used a smaller, targeted approach that hits home to recipients. If your pay-per-click (PPC) is not driven by the right search terms and demographics, you’re throwing money to the wind. Your social media must be a relevant voice, or you’ll be dismissed. It’s no longer one person simply informing a crowd. Your marketing must now feel like a one-on-one conversation about a prospect’s personal needs — needs that you’re supposed to know.
In order to personalize your efforts, you must first know the personalities that make up your market. Or at least be able to make some highly probable assumptions. The new question is not simply “Does my customer know who I am?” but “Does my customer feel like I know them?”
Contractors need to shift strategies to succeed in an increasingly fragmented media market, but who has the time? And quite frankly, who knows where to start?
Here are three ways to move toward a more personalized message.
1. If Content is King, Data is the Emperor:
The old marketing motto “content is king” has been used ad nauseam for years now, but I’ll see your content and raise you one from there. You could have the best content in the world, and it won’t matter if it’s being presented to the wrong prospects. The strongest system replacement offer ever conceived will fall flat if sent to a new homeowner with a six-month-old system. The good news is that you have an incredible amount of technology to help you find a more receptive target.
Start by combing through your company database to make what’s called a “customer avatar” (living area, income, buying habits, age, etc.) of your best customers who are already buying from you, then seek to duplicate those. From there, you can use "matching databases" available on social platforms like Facebook and info base programs like Acxiom.
But here’s the catch. No one can provide more accurate and relevant data on your current customers than you can … or should be able to. You’ve been in their homes, you’ve seen their issues and buying habits, but how much attention did you pay? What did you record? Whether all of that valuable information has been noted or not, that’s a different issue. If you haven’t been paying attention, start now.
Make sure you’re keeping track of the last time you serviced a home to know who should be due for their next appointment. Know what should be the next logical cross or upsell. Know your customers’ birthdays and ask for their preferred method of hearing from you. The information you have in your customer database could be an absolute goldmine showing you how to properly communicate with them and how to make more people like them say “yes” to your offers. That is, if you’ve written down more than just their name and address.
2. Map Your Customer’s Journey:
It's important to not only know who customers are but also to understand where they are in the customer lifecycle. Did they "like" the company's Facebook page and then make a purchase later? Did they see your ad in a local publication and then buy? If you don’t know what’s working, how can you invest more there and trim the fat elsewhere?
Be careful, though — this can be misleading. Prospects might not call directly from your mailer, but it causes them to visit your website. Social media might build enough top of mind awareness (TOMA) that you get a call from a homeowner who otherwise would have simply run a Google search. The best and most efficient way to find what is working is simple: just ask. Train your CSRs to ask what spurred a connection with you, where the homeowner heard about your offer, etc., and make sure that information is noted. You will soon notice valuable trends.
3. Meet the Customer Where They Are:
It's not easy to make the transition in our minds from addressing one audience as a whole to seeing them as many individual faces and situations. The sheer volume of data can seem overwhelming, but start small. By focusing on the customer as an individual and acknowledging what you need to say to them specifically in order to influence a sale, you can increase your success tremendously.
Simple Example: A competitively priced service promotion pushed out to everyone with a mailbox might get you some results, but you’re giving away free money to the regular customer who would have called you anyway because their decision isn’t based on price. And that’s money you could have used to send a more aggressive discount offer to get the attention of someone who has been inactive in your database for several years.
Think less in terms of, “These are the specials we’re currently running,” and more “This is the special I can offer for you.”
Delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time has always been the ultimate marketing goal. By learning to use the customer data you have as a tool, not just a list; mapping the customer journey to develop better strategy; and moving toward better targeting of your messages, you can make each of your prospects feel valued and more engaged with you than ever.