How Remodelers Can Navigate COVID-19
During these unprecedented times, many of us are navigating a new reality. Take a look at these seven suggestions for weathering the storm:
#1: Stagger Project Start Dates
Several construction-related companies are reporting issues with their supply chains—especially those who source their material from China and Italy. Since the outbreak of the virus, the Chinese government has severely limited factory operations or shut them down altogether. It is estimated that nearly 30% of all US building imports come from China. Commercial and residential builders that rely on those materials from China could see higher costs for materials and potentially slower project completions. If you can schedule projects for the fall (and avoid the summer construction boom), try and do so. If your clients are ok with starting their home remodel or their custom home project a few months down the line- you might be able to buy some time to navigate the supply chain disruptions coming from China, Italy, and the United States. Plus, it may be beneficial for your clients as well. Starting a project later than expected allows your clients to increase their cash flow and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
#2: Virtual Design Consultations
On a recent episode of Builder Funnel Radio, we discussed the importance of keeping your sales pipeline intact. Just because you can’t have a face to face interaction with those in your pipeline, doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with them all together. Video conferencing software like Zoom, Go to Meeting and Join.Me have free versions of their tools- and many are offering steep discounts on popular video packages. If you don’t want to invest in new software, utilize tools like FaceTime or Android-supported video conferencing on your cell phone.
#3: Consider DIY Consultations
While this option may not work for everyone- it may be an option for smaller firms or those operating in smaller markets. Consider virtual design consultations for DIY projects. We are entering an unprecedented area of social distancing, and many folks, reasonable so, are not comfortable having strangers in their homes. Can you charge a small fee to walk someone through a DIY bathroom remodel? Or a cabinet install? It may be an option to consider, especially for those who are mid-project and no longer feel comfortable finishing the renovation on their own. If YouTube just isn’t enough- this might be an excellent opportunity to create passive cash flow and help out your neighbors.
#4: Keep Marketing
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates
It’s a well-known marketing principle that those who continue to market and advertise their product or service during a recession or economic downtown will typically improve their market share and return on investment when the recession ends. Those who continue to invest in their marketing efforts will pull ahead from their competitors and position themselves as the leader in the market when the economy rebounds. Since the great recession is still the back of our minds- this lesson is more important than ever. An analysis by McGraw Hill backs up this claim- citing the effects of marketing spend during an economic slowdown, dating back to 1980. The study concluded that the firms who had maintained or increased their advertising during the recession “boasted an average sales growth of 275% over the next five years (while) those companies that cut their advertising saw paltry sales growth over the next five years of just 19%”.
#5: Get Ahead on Those Marketing Tasks You Keep Putting Off
You know the ones. The ones that you would like to do, but never find the time for. If you find yourself with more spare time than usual- now is a fantastic time to get ahead on marketing activities.
Here is a list of 10 things that you can work on (or at least put in motion) during a slow period:
- Make a list of blogs you’ve been meaning to write. Take an hour to jot down your thoughts on the topic. See if you can turn it into a valuable piece of content for your website. Here’s a list of six ideas to help get you started.
- Make a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). Take the top 10 questions you get asked the most by friends, family, clients, and prospects. Take those ten questions- and answer them on your website!
- Start posting on Google My Business. If you don’t have a marketing agency doing this for you- start now. Google My Business is a FREE way to start interacting with your potential clients before they even visit your website. Take a look at the complete guide to posting on Google My Business here.
- Compress the images on your website. Did you know that high-resolution photos can slow down your website’s load time? The slower your website loads, the fewer people will take the time to view your site. Use a tool like iLoveIMG or TinyPNG to compress the images on your website.
- Apply for awards. Award submissions are often the last things on our minds. After all, they are time-consuming and don’t always pay off. But- in slower times, brand recognition and outside verification of your expertise will be more important than ever. Take stock of the various awards and recognitions in your city, county, state, and national organizations. Keep an eye on their submission deadlines and get to writing!
- Create a Time-Lapse Portfolio of a Major Project. Similar to before and after projects, a time-lapse album or portfolio goes a long way in explaining the renovation process to your more novice audience. Bonus points if you can upload your project to your social channels and your website.
- Clean Up Your CRM. The cleaner your data is, the better off you’ll be when it comes to targeting the appropriate audience. Get rid of any contacts in your database that may have unsubscribed from your emails, hard bounced, or haven’t engaged with your content in the last two years.
- Research Hashtags. Chances are you’re using Facebook for your business- but what about Instagram? Take the time to learn how to use hashtags correctly. Read more: How to Use Hashtags Correctly in 2019: When, Where, and Why to Include Hashtags in Your Remodeler Marketing
- Brush Up on SEO. SEO- you know you need it, you know its important- but you might know the basics. Spend some time brushing up on the basics with free online guides. You’ll learn a new skill, and your company will benefit from your new-found knowledge.
Learn More: Our resident SEO expert put together a fantastic guide on SEO for remodelers and builders, including the 10 best SEO strategies for your business.
- Clean up your NAP citations. NAP (name, address, and phone number) is vital for your companies presence on the web. One way to ensure you’re hitting the right target audience is to make sure your NAP citations are consistent across the board. Sites like Moz Local can help you check your NAP without the headache of checking dozens of websites.
[Looking for More Ideas? 12 Remodeler Marketing Ideas for 2020]
#6: Maintain Continuity While Remote
Many of your office-based employees are probably working remotely for the foreseeable future. Make sure that lines of communication remain open while everyone is working from home. Give your employees the tools they need, options like Skype, Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are great places to start. Try implementing a daily meeting so members of the team can report on what they are working on, and keep information flowing between appropriate departments. And remember- not everyone will take to working remotely the same- take the time to work through your employee’s concerns or frustrations like you would in a typical face to face interaction.
#7: Get the Kids Involved
If you have kids, and your kids are at home right now, which many of them are, get them involved with an age-appropriate activity. If you have teenagers, utilize their spry tech abilities to create videos or fun social media posts for your business. They may be a bigger asset than you think! If your kids are little, perhaps they can draw a cute picture of you with a hammer or a hardhat. Put that cute-as-pie drawing in an email, post it on social media, or add it to your website! It's all content in one way or another.
Taylor is an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Builder Funnel and hosts The Construction Cut, a weekly news breakdown of the construction industry on Builder Funnel Radio.