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Writing for our sister site, Replacement Contractor, Gary Thill breaks down some of the biggest marketing mistakes, that could leave you high and dry.

Roughly 15% of gross sales is spent on marketing by contractors. However, are you using that 15% effectively? Here are just a few of the most common marketing mistakes, sourced from experts, that you might be making — and how to avoid them.

As Thill’s writes,

1. Allowing sales to dictate marketing. It might seem that your sales people are naturals for marketing ideas, but often their goals are at odds. “The sales guys are focused on how can we get the sale in the house?” Ryan Shutt, marketing director for Southwest Exteriors by Andersen, a 2016 Remodeling 550 firm, said. “From my point of view, it’s ‘How can we get the phone to ring?” For example, Shutt said commission-based sales people wanted to focus marketing on high-end neighborhoods. But his research revealed that mid-range neighborhood actually lead to more sales. Additionally, sales wanted to market low financing over 12 years. That’s a great sales tool in the home, but Shutt said to a prospective customer it signals a long pay off period. Instead, he went with $100 off per window, which is more enticing.

2. Trying to sell the product or service in the ad. “The ad should just peak the customer’s interest to call,” Shutt said. But too many contractors think an ad’s end goal is to actually sell themselves or their business. That’s the equivalent to walking up to someone at a bar and asking them to marry you without ever dating, said Mike Agugliaro, co-owner of Gold Medal Service and CEO Warrior. “To get customers, it’s never a one-shot deal,” he said. “It’s a frequency play. You’re saying, ‘I want to give you value. I’m here, and if you’re interested, I’d love to have a conversation with you.’”

3. Failing to target the ideal customer. Many contractors use what Shutt calls the shotgun approach to marketing in which they try to blanket a neighborhood with postcards or other ads. A more effective approach is to identify your ideal customer — who do you like to work with and who has produced the best sales? — and go after that person. Today, data mining companies make it easy to drill down to those types of demographics in a way that was never possible before. Agugliaro said it’s as easy as giving a data mining company a list of your last three years of customers who spent more than $5,000 and getting a report that shows how to reach similar people. “It’s like getting the DNA of the perfect customer,” he said. “When you know that, it’s easy to do the marketing to attract them.”

To read the full list, click below.

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