Brett Abbott, president of Pool Builder Marketing, said “Most business owners…see the world from inside the business.” Here are seven tips he presented during a session at the recent AQUA Live show on how to bridge the gap between how you see your business and how your potential clients perceive your company to boost your leads and sales.
1. Recognize the pool-buying process is unique.
Pools are a large purchase, and the building process is customized and permanent—important things to know when communicating with potential customers. Understanding their mindset will help you more successfully approach them from a marketing standpoint.
2. Focus on what makes your pool business different from your competitors.
If builders offer the same products and services, Abbott points out that buyers will make their decision based on price. It’s a matter of “inside reality” versus “outside perception.” Inside reality is what you do that’s unique or different or better. It’s what makes your company the better choice. Outside perception is what buyers think about your business.
One reason you may struggle to differentiate yourself and your firm from competitors is that people often default to using platitudes. Instead, focus on saying things that are unique about you and your business. One way to do this is to tell your story: how long you have been in business and what awards you’ve received. Use facts and specifics that will get your customers’ attention. Telling your story is a powerful component of marketing if you make it interesting, believable and compelling.
3. Seek word-of-mouth referrals.
Word-of-mouth referral clients tend to pay more and be more amenable to your suggestions. They tend to cost your business less because you don’t have to advertise to find them, and they are more likely to buy from you.
Abbott said your closing ratio for referrals should be nearly double what it is for leads garnered from elsewhere. Referrals also can be more fun customers because you have a mutual acquaintance in common.
However, Abbott said it is important not to beg or bribe for referrals because that can erode your relationship with your customers. Think about when you refer someone to a business you’ve enjoyed working with—it's because you want to help a friend or family member.
4. Track and review your website analytics.
Pool buyers are hungry for information and are going to look at your site before they call you. You can track when people come to the site and when they leave by using Google Analytics to review “traffic flow.” This can help you understand your site’s performance in order to improve it.
5. Nurture prospects to get them to buy from you.
Automate the follow-up process after a lead is generated. Automation can nurture prospects, encourage clients to act and generate referrals. Offer something easy that’s enticing and low risk for free on your site. For example, put together a short e-book like the one Abbott created. Finally, set up an automated email campaign for future potential buyers to help close sales.
6. Use social media to show off your company’s personality and projects.
Abbott suggested being personable and friendly on your social media accounts. Imagine you're at a neighborhood dinner party: If you wouldn’t talk about specific subjects there, don’t share them on social media. Understate what you’re selling and make your posts interesting.
Also, you shouldn’t be a salesperson online and shouldn’t be pushy, according to Abbott. The point of social media is to get people to your website.
On Facebook, post updates of jobs in process and tag the homeowner. They will share it with their friends.
YouTube is a popular free video sharing platform that is good for boosting your SEO.
Houzz is a free design community for homeowners and pros that includes idea books and a directory of local construction professionals. This would be a great place to post your projects to garner business.
Twitter and Pinterest are both free too. Images on Pinterest can promote your work and can help website SEO. In addition, Instagram is a free photo platform and feeds into Facebook.
Finally, use LinkedIn to find employees and meet other business owners.
7. Seek leads rather than sales.
Advertising brings in leads and marketing closes sales, Abbott told AQUA attendees.
For ads, measure your ROI. For every dollar you spend on advertising, you should be generating at least a dollar in profit; otherwise, you’re losing money, Abbott said.
For sales, measure closing ratios. Overall, if you’re closing one in five prospects, or 20% of the people you’re meeting face to face, “you’re doing alright,” Abbott said. For referrals, you should be closing one in three potential customers.
To garner more leads, Abbott suggested that pay-per-click is the best approach, although SEO is still helpful. Pay-per-click is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is usually associated with first-tier search engines.
To improve closings, spend money on professional photography and create compelling videos. To extend the self-promotion from online to in person, consider putting together a one-page printed sheet that highlights reasons homeowners should choose your business for their project. This gives them a physical reminder to take with them and ensures that you’re reaching clients across multiple marketing opportunities.