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Marketing Fundamentals

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  • #91
    Re: Marketing Fundamentals

    LOL...I tend to agree. Who is the guy on the TV always yelling at you, trying to sell the "wonder" product?

    Comment


    • #92
      Re: Marketing Fundamentals

      Originally posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
      LOL...I tend to agree. Who is the guy on the TV always yelling at you, trying to sell the "wonder" product?
      Billy Mays

      Comment


      • #93
        Re: Marketing Fundamentals

        There seems to be a common thought on this thread.

        We need marketing advice because our business is failing.

        THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!!

        My business increased 12.7 percent from 2007 to 2008.

        645 invoiced jobs in 2007.

        727 invoiced jobs in 2008.

        My business is doing great with quality work at a fair price, word of mouth, newspaper ads, repeat customers, refrigerator magnets.

        My problem area is my YP ad.

        I want to keep growing. One day I'd like to get to a point where I have a three truck shop, no bigger. Am I crazy to want to take weekends off one day? Maybe I'd like to sit in a nice air conditioned office answering phones and sending my employees to jobs so I can play on the Ridgid Forum .

        I'm not delusional. Of course, I'll still have to go out to trouble shoot jobs or pick up the slack when they cant keep up with the work, or work when my employees dont show up.

        The more I can lessen the workload on my knees and back, the longer I'll last, and maybe enjoy retirement, if I'm lucky enough.

        I'm not an inexperienced, unlicensed, D-bag, who wants to overcharge customers. And I have no delusions about getting rich from this line of work. I've never met a rich plumber anyway.

        I see marketing as a way to grow my business. The more I learn the better.

        Mike, dont worry about the negative posts, I appreciate the info. Thats what this forum is all about anyway.

        Thanks.

        Lenny

        Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

        I know, it doesn't make sense.


        http://www.hebertdraincare.com

        Comment


        • #94
          Re: Marketing Fundamentals

          For Mike and others:
          Been in the business for 22 years
          on my own for 8 years
          track every call!!!!!
          keep track of ever customer!!! (missed some the first 4 years though)
          one call came off the truck (if you don't count the guy I pulled out in front of)
          two calls off a YP add I tried for one year (what a waste)
          Note: did not get any thing from these three!
          I reward referals with a drawing (and they know it!!!)
          I have tried magnets, flyers, pens, sweatshirts, and shirts all at such a small cost because I enjoy it. I would say that I have given out 288 shirts, 40 sweatshirts, 500 pens, 500 magnets and 3000-4000 cards for under $1000 total. Other than some of the cards I can't say I ever got any calls from these, but I found it fun anyway,
          I know every person who has referred me in the past ? 4 years!
          They know I know!
          I think Mike is right!
          I am excited to hear from every customer, and I think they may just call so I can make their day. I am sure I have had no less than 100 customers tell me they loved my message or laughed their a$$ off when they heard it. (this may not be in most business plans but screw them)
          Love them, treat them right and CALL THEM BACK!
          Mike I have one question. I have people call me at home because someone who they told to call me can't find my number... I don't mind at all, but I wonder how many may be missed because they can't find my number..thus the cars magnet ect.. What is your best way of keeping your number in front of them?
          Sorry this got so long!

          Comment


          • #95
            Re: Marketing Fundamentals

            PART 1

            Mstrplmr

            Everything you said is correct. Pens,magnets, etc. can supply branding or as some call it awarness . I'ts kind of like the billboard theory, yea it's marketing but it's a weak approach compared to what can be achieved by other methods. Tracking is the foundation to any great marketing program. Over the years, because of good tracking, I have complete records of what works and what doesn't. I put 100% of my effort into the marketing that offers the best yield. This is the beauty of having a marketing system. Every week I review my efforts then it tells me what,where, and how to market for next week. Then each month I do an overview of the month and determine if I'm on the right track. If profit margins drop my spreadsheet tells me why. Marketing is totaly integrated with cost and profit. Look at it this way, you can spend time marketing to everyone or spend time marketing to the jobs you know make the most profit. I'ts all hard work and thats the point. If I have to work hard I plan on working hard and generating the most profit for the effort. My marketing works on it's own these days. Because I have done the hard work early on and over time tweeked it to where i want it, my month to month statements stay the same and very little time is now spent on marketing. That's another benefit of systems based marketing. This is the basis for everything that I do.

            As far as you question I will answer it this way, I don’t want strangers to call me anymore. My market might be different than yours so the system is the same but how you handle it is a little different. The system ( tracking ) will tell you month to month where to make improvements. When the changes are made then track and see what happens. The worst thing a company can do is do something dumb over and over again to produce little results. The truth is companies that lack a system ( tracking ) have say five marketing vehicles all of which are floating around the general population and have know idea of which specific one not only works well but which one creates the most profit.

            I have many different vehicles but through my system I have found that my gift certificates work the best for me. It's not enough however to just give out certificates. Through a good system ( tracking ) my spread sheet has tracked many different efforts with my certificates. I'll try and explain.

            The first round of gift certificates I handed out to just about anybody. The certificates all have a tracking code on them so when someone calls I know how they got the certificate in the first place. Now I can measure the success of this effort through my spreadsheet.

            The second round of gift certificates were different than the first. This time I gave them to people after I had done plumbing work for them. This worked really well. I know this because of my system ( tracking ). Again this certificate has a different code.

            The third round of gift certificates work like this. On 100% of consumer service calls I give them a gift certificate for $50 when I am done. This insures the high rate of return customers. About 60-70% of these customers I give them 5 $50 certificates and ask if they could give then away to only good quality friends and relatives. This makes them feel special and everone passes them out. THis alone has givin me an unbelieveable word of mouth business. Because of this I have no need for yp's, truck lettering, newspapers, etc.

            Comment


            • #96
              Re: Marketing Fundamentals

              PART 2

              It took a while to compile the numbers in the spread sheet but once I figured it out I now have a system that yields me maximum profit and maximum results.

              The amount of the gift certificate was also dirrected from the system ( tracking ). I experimented with different amounts and learned that the $50 ones had the highest yield.

              Now, another thing I tracked is the message on the gift certificate. As I changed the words the results changed also. Again, I tracked it so when I found the message with the highest yield I stopped and now use it knowing it works the best for my market.

              As you can see the certificate had just of ton of work in it to tweek it until I had the best results. Hard work but in the end very profitable.

              But still I'm not done yet. When talking about profit different people yield different profit. My spread sheet is built to track that. I'll explain.

              Passing out marketing material to any body is the least profitable. This is largely because the user group lacks loyalty. The highest profit is from word of mouth. When I do work for a customer they are happy and not only know me but trust me, right! Understanding this is important because this trusting customer passes out certificates to people they are friends with, and these friends trust his judgement, so when they call me trust is already there, I don't have to convince the customer to trust me. It works well, and creates kind of a club, so to speak.

              My worst fear in business is to get the STRANGERS calling. With a good system past CUSTOMERS, turn STRANGERS into CUSTOMERS for me.

              You can see now, why I try and prevent STRANGERS from finding my number. Instead I spend my time dealing with PROSPECTS.

              And just think, Iv’e only talked about certificates. I do the same thing with other marketing vehicles. Mike
              Attached Files

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              • #97
                Re: Marketing Fundamentals

                I'd have to charge roto rooter prices to give a $50.00 gift certificate.

                And if I raised my prices to compensate for the $50, I'd lose all of the customers who didnt have the coupon.

                May work at a lower price coupon though.

                Maybe you're on to something though, nothing makes people happier than a discount.

                I was at a grocery store the other day for my wife who is ill, and didnt have her reward card. For some reason the phone number wouldnt work. I told the cashier dont worry about it, I cant call my wife cause she is sick. The lady behind me in line heard me and offered her reward card to the cashier for me. I thanked her and then thanked her again when the cashier told me I saved $8 with the reward card. The people without reward cards get screwed.

                Same thing with my Shell gas card. I get 5% off of any Shell gas purchase I make. So the people without Shell cards should never get gas from Shell because they're getting screwed. While I pay $1.90 with my Shell card, the guy without the Shell card is paying $2.00. I pay in full every month to avoid fees.

                Once again for the negative nancy's out there, my business is not in trouble, I'm just looking at marketing as another way to grow my business.

                Lenny

                Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                I know, it doesn't make sense.


                http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                Comment


                • #98
                  Re: Marketing Fundamentals

                  If I gave $50 gift certificates for work, I'm going to have to charge higher than balls on a giraffe to make up for that loss leader.


                  You're going well over that 10% rule, and you'll have to make it up somewhere to make it a worthwhile method.


                  Like an idiot I used to bring the coupons, printed out on my website to customers who never saw my website first.


                  Why am I making it so easy to have people pay less?


                  People started abusing my $10 anytime coupon and then I got rid of it.


                  Guess what...people still call me, people still spend money with me and the majority are not asking for discounts. It's the select few that maybe, maybe I'm taking a risk just working for them.


                  Nothing worse than giving discounts to people that you know would pay outright for your time and effort without discount.

                  I've had just that happen, wondering why I'm devaluing myself and my work. ???


                  Lots of way to skin a cat on "discounts" to the consumer. I use the time clock deal very well and works good. I tell them I cut my time off 15-30 minutes earlier, but I've adjusted the bill somewhere to make sure I'm not dropping the prized goal I'm there to begin with; make money.
                  Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                  • #99
                    Re: Marketing Fundamentals

                    What i'm thinking about is last year I paid 12% of gross to advertising, and did not get all of that money back.

                    Why not cancel the advertising and pay my customers to advertise for me.

                    Refer a friend type thing. Give them a card, write their name and address on it, then send them a check for, lets say $10, when the new customer they referred uses my service and gives me the card showing who referred them. Also give the new customer a discount.

                    So the 2nd person would get two discounts when they refer me, but it may get the word of mouth going faster than normal if they're getting paid to recommend.

                    I'm in the thinking stage of this and I'm sure there are problems with this idea that I haven't though of yet. Your thoughts?

                    I'll read tomorrow, got to go to sleep.

                    Lenny

                    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                    I know, it doesn't make sense.


                    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                    Comment


                    • Re: Marketing Fundamentals

                      Originally posted by HebertDrainCare View Post
                      Why not cancel the advertising and pay my customers to advertise for me.

                      Refer a friend type thing. Give them a card, write their name and address on it, then send them a check for, lets say $10, when the new customer they referred uses my service and gives me the card showing who referred them. Also give the new customer a discount.

                      So the 2nd person would get two discounts when they refer me, but it may get the word of mouth going faster than normal if they're getting paid to recommend.

                      I'm in the thinking stage of this and I'm sure there are problems with this idea that I haven't though of yet. Your thoughts?

                      I'll read tomorrow, got to go to sleep.
                      I kind of like that idea. I also give a bonus to the client that refers paying clients to me. Not sure about the discount to the new customer though. I always tell my customers about my referal program, and I keep reminding them. I still don't have a large enough client base that I can cancell all of my advertising, but I'll be getting close in the next two or three years. I picked up a $6500 job from a new landscaper last year. Gave him $200. Now he is telling everyone that he works for to give me a call. Already have two more jobs from him to look at as soon as some of this fricken snow melts.

                      If you do great work, people will tell 10 others. If you do bad work, they'll tell 200!

                      Mick

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