Tag: <span>Marketing Tools</span>

How to market your roofing company in a digital world

By RT3 member Art Unlimited/Kandi Hamble.

We are living in an increasingly digital world. I can still remember life without the internet, and my how things have changed! Art Unlimited has been around longer than the World Wide Web, and now we find ourselves fully immersed in this fascinating, always changing digital space.

It seems like every day there is a new rhythm to learn, and we often see companies fail to thrive when they don’t keep up. This may seem like a scary monster to fight off, but it can be easier than you think to join the circus without going crazy. All you need is a plan. We’re here to help you with that plan!

Step one: Go digital.

Living in a Digital World

First impressions for your brand were once limited to yard signs, vehicle wraps, flyers, and direct mail – also known in the marketing world as ‘traditional marketing.’ However, when the first website launched in 1991, the marketing world began to shift. Having a presence online is no longer optional—it is necessary to thrive and grow.

Here are four areas we will discuss:

  • Internet Presence – having your own website and having company profiles on third-party websites (such as GMB, Yelp, BBB, etc) is an essential way to manage and share your brand.
  • Fresh Content – major search engines, like Google, give priority to websites which are always updating. Paying attention to your SEO and posting regular, quality blogs can assist in keeping your website ahead of the pack.
  • Social Butterfly – choosing 1-2 social platforms to have a strong presence in can give your brand visibility, and give you a leg-up on your competitors.
  • Paid Ads – having digital paid ads geared towards your dream customer can help you grow your brand and change digital interactions to in-person customers.

Benefits of Going Digital

We must continue to learn new things or risk becoming stagnant. A solid marketing strategy is no different. In the movie Tron, Dumont says, “All that is visible must grow beyond itself, and extend into the realm of the invisible.” Adding digital components to your marketing strategy may seem like growing into an invisible world, but they will give you enhanced visibility to potential customers and raise your brand awareness. Greater brand awareness can then bring you more leads while also lowering the cost to gain them.

Extend Your Internet Presence

If you don’t already, having a presence across the internet is a must to thrive in the competitive landscape of hardworking, talented roofers.

  • Your-domain-dot-com – A website with your company name as the domain is like a business office which is always open. Having your contact information, hours, available services, and photos of previous projects can help a person choose you over a different roofer. Adding one of the many AI bots means searchers can even ask questions – whether you’re manning the phones or not!
  • Third-Party Websites – Creating or claiming your company’s profile on websites such as Google my Business, Yelp, and BBB will give your brand an even further reach. Your information should be the same on each site, as well as your own. This will let search engines know you’re trustworthy so they start sharing your information in searches. It allows previous customers to leave reviews for potential customers to form a positive impression of your business before they even pick up the phone.

Creating Fresh Content

Search engine bots are constantly scanning websites to see what new information there is to be consumed by the billions of people entering queries. According to stats compiled by an internet statics company, Google processes over 7-10 billion search queries a day worldwide, and 15% of those queries have never been searched for on Google before. The algorithms used to find content to answer these searches are changing almost every day.

Is it any wonder that a website drops in search ranking when it is not publishing new content regularly? How can you stay on top of keeping your website current and relevant? The good news is you don’t have to make changes every day! Publishing 2-3 blogs each month about topics you are an expert in can go a long way. If you don’t know where to start or are crazy busy, you can hire someone to write and publish blogs for you.

Working on your website’s SEO value a little each month can also help immensely. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can seem tricky, but let me explain it this way: Search engines are always on the lookout for answers to the questions they receive. SEO is making a website visible to the search engines (by updating relevant pages with the keywords and content people are looking for)…much like introducing friends at a party!

Becoming a Social Butterfly

Being a social butterfly generally means flitting from event to event, interacting with whomever you meet, and being an asset to the lives you are interacting with. Now, owning that strong social presence could include having profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest, to name a few. We have seen how building a brand on social media isn’t often used by roofing contractors.

What does this mean for you? If you build your brand on one or two social platforms (no need to spread yourself thin!) you could have a presence and be an asset to your community in a place where your competitors aren’t focusing – giving you the upper hand and a pool of leads for your company!

Paid Ads

There is a right way and a wrong way to do paid ads. Knowing who your dream customer is and what they are searching for when they need roofing help can help you dial into where to place your ads and how to word them. As they are tooling around the vastness of the internet and seeing your brand in strategic places, they will start thinking of YOU when their roof springs a leak.

Growing your brand and converting digital interactions to in-person customers is a long-term process. Patience is a virtue, even in this digital age. If you want to learn more about how to include digital marketing in your strategy, give us a call today. Art Unlimited has the experience needed to assist roofing contractors across North America to help them create a solid digital presence and surpass their goals.

Stay up to date on the latest roofing industry trends when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief e-newsletter. 

Source: Art Unlimited

5 Reasons To Harness The Tremendous Power Of WordPress

By RT3 member, Art Unlimited.

The Art Unlimited Programming Team has over 29 years of combined knowledge of building websites to fulfill our clients’ needs. We make our websites with WordPress, one of many website-building and content management platforms.29

Currently, WordPress is the largest website builder platform, holding 60% of the market share, which transfers to about 33% of all websites on the internet today. In fact, WordPress’s next closest competitors only hold 6 and 4% of the market, respectively (Joomla and Drupal).

WordPress sites host some of the biggest names, including Sony, Disney, PlayStation, and BBC America, but can handle your small businesses website as well.

There are probably a million reasons for WordPress domination among programmers, but here are the top five reasons the Art Unlimited Programming Team prefers WordPress.

1. Community Keeps it Free

“Free, you say? How can that be? Doesn’t someone need to make money from this?”
WordPress is more than a company; it’s a community. While this may sound hokey, it is very true. WordPress isn’t owned by one single person or business. They like to call themselves an “open source community.” It’s a group of tens of thousands of people who contribute to making the software. Anyone with a programming background can join the community. This community is also readily available for support and questions by its users. They even put on conferences multiple times a year! Once the software is made, it’s free for anyone to use and it is made to be copied.

2. A Plethora of Plugins To Do Practically Anything

The advanced features plugins add to a website are pretty cool. Most are free, but some have a minimal charge. Do you want to sell merchandise on your website? There’s a plugin for that. Do you want to put forms on your website? There’s a plugin for that (we really like Gravity Forms!). How about an event calendar? Yup, there’s a plugin for that also. WordPress has about 20,000 plugins made by the community, and you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try 3rd party plugins!
Before you install a plugin into your website, check the reviews and see what people are saying about it. Look for plugins with 4 stars and over 100,000 downloads to know they are good. You also want to check if the people who made it have a support team for questions. Some plugins are made and forgotten about, so make sure the plugin you pick is still being supported and is occasionally updated (within the last year) by the creator.

3. Own Your Website Files

This is the most exciting feature for our Art Unlimited peeps and something we’re most proud to offer. When we build you a website, we don’t own the files—you do! This is not something offered on any other website building platform. We will gladly host the files on our servers for you, but if you should at some point decide you don’t want us to host them, you won’t have to start from scratch! We can easily transfer them to you so you can continue to have your existing website. Other website building platforms insist on owning your files.

4. Easy to Optimize for Increased Ranking

Keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are always on our minds. When a website is lacking good SEO and the right keywords, search engines have a hard time finding it — which means customers have a hard time finding that website. WordPress includes an assortment of tools to help you incorporate keywords into your content. They even offer advanced features (plugins) which allow you to write specific metadata and descriptions for your pages. This will help the search engines find your pages, and even possibly move your website up in the rankings.

5. Google Prefers WordPress

According to digital.com, search engines like Google and Bing tend to rank websites which use WordPress higher than those which don’t. At one of WordPress’s conferences, Matt Cutts from the Web Spam team at Google presented, and says “WordPress is a fantastic choice, and solves ‘a ton’ of SEO issues, taking care of 80-90% of the mechanics of SEO.”

WordPress is a tried and tested website building platform we are proud to use! It helps us give a higher level of customer service to our clients. We can build custom websites which they own after we have built them. To learn more about our website building and hosting services, give us a call today!

Get the latest roofing technology news delivered right to your inbox when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief enews.

Source: Art Unlimited.

How To Manage Your Social Media Marketing

By Art Unlimited.

Did you know that for 45% of consumers, social media is one of the first channels they go to if they have questions or issues?

This fact alone makes it essential to have a strong social presence and digital marketing strategy (after all, they need to see you’re active and engaged). We’re here to help you through the first steps of launching a successful social presence.

Social Media & Your Website

If you’re starting your social media journey because you want it to drive tons of website traffic and conversions, be patient! Social media is, by definition, social. Badly presented sales content won’t make people like you, especially if they don’t know you yet. It’s wiser to start with a focus on brand awareness, customer relationships, and showing your values.

It’s true that connecting your social channels to your website (and vice-versa) will strengthen your website’s SEO and increase website visits, but a successful social media strategy takes time, effort, and consistent engagement to grow.

Get a Handle on It

When you’re ready to start, even if you’re launching only one social channel at a time, try to claim a good username (handle) on any social media platform you may later want to use. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., are all good places to have a presence. As your brand or business becomes more popular, people are more likely to snatch up the good names and leave you with a long, messy handle.

Why Social Media?

Social media is not only another way to ‘be found.’ According to PwC, “Social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases, with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel.”

If you’re marketing to a younger audience, it’s worth knowing that social is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials.


The channel, or platform, of social media you use greatly forms the outcome you will receive from your marketing tactics. Places like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can allow you to send indirect messages to long-time customers as well as prospective clients.  The key is knowing what your message is! When you’re creating an account and planning out your content (whether for a week, a month, or a quarter), use this as your starting point:

[Social platform] is where {target audience} can find {what content}. 

A rural resort could fill it out this way:

{Instagram} is where {adventure-seeking 25-35-year-olds} can find out {about our fun vibes and local attractions/activities}

This can be the same for more than one channel, or it can be different for each one! As you watch your audience’s engagement rates, you may find the people you’re picturing aren’t the ones loving your content, and that’s okay too. In the world of social media, where a post rarely matters more than 24 hours, it’s vital to be flexible in your game plan.

If you don’t know which channel (or channels) to choose, start with this general guide:

  • Facebook –  97% of social advertisers chose Facebook as their most used and most useful social media platform in 2018, and Facebook is the second favorite platform for consuming videos after YouTube! Have a lot of video content and a slightly older demographic? Start here.
  • LinkedIn – Recognized as the top-rated social network for lead generation, LinkedIn is especially useful for B2B (business-to-business) companies. Why? It’s chock full of decision-makers.
  • Twitter – How many times have you heard Twitter is going out of style or that people don’t really like it? In truth, Twitter is still growing rapidly and becoming increasingly popular as a customer support channel! Twitter is more of a niche platform than some others, so it may be wiser not to favor this channel if you don’t have a schedule which allows you to engage with your followers in the moment.
  • Instagram – This platform is becoming increasingly popular for all ages, but over half their user base is people from ages 18-24! If you’ve got strong visual content (Instagram is all about photos) and a younger demographic, get started now! 80% of Instagram’s users follow at least one business account. Better brush up on your hashtags!
  • Pinterest – This visually pleasing, unique channel is usually the odd one out in a social media line-up, but 90% of weekly active users are utilizing Pinterest to make purchasing decisions. Also, it’s actually the 4th most popular social media platform in the US! They’re still growing, and they recently expanded their advertising options to make them more versatile for marketers. While your average tweet is relevant for about 18 minutes, content on Pinterest can often last 1-3 months!


Your account is set up, you know your ideal audience, and you’re ready to roll! Except, what do you post? In your social media work, it’s important to strike a balance between fun, educational, and more business-oriented content.

Many social media professionals employ the 5.3.2 rule: for every ten posts you create, five should be interesting content from other sources, three should be educational, non-salesy, relevant information for your follower base, and the last two should be fun company-culture posts.

Unless you have a great deal to deliver to a warm audience, an outright sales call is almost never the way to go. Gain your followers’ trust, teach them how your product can solve their problems, and nudge them in the right direction so they’re free to seek you out when they’re ready.


The number of people who have seen your posts and updates is commonly called the reach of the post. Reach is tied closely to engagement; if people are engaging with your content, the social platform rewards it for being interesting by giving it better reach.

The more people see you on social media, the more people will be drawn back to your website. And even if they don’t convert off the first visit from social, or the second or the third, you’re in the front of their mind. They’re likely to Google your company by name and convert later!


Engagement is when someone interacts with your social media account beyond looking and scrolling by. To engage, they click a link, like a post, retweet, swipe through photos, or comment on your posts. People are on social media to be entertained, so make sure your content appeals to them and encourages them to interact.


You want to post when the most people are online, or just before they get there so your post is already nestled in the newsfeed. On most platforms, you’ll be able to find these activity metrics somewhere in the platforms own insights. While your social channel is new and hasn’t collected enough data to display these metrics, follow a guide, or in general, plan to post in the afternoon between 12 pm and 5 pm (stick to later times on the weekends).

To maximize the flow of traffic to your social media page, get in touch with Art Unlimited to help give you the right marketing techniques to get ahead of your competitors on the web (and on social media!).

Source: Art Unlimited

Ways to Build a Strong Digital Marketing Strategy

By Steve Eastlack, Surefire Local.

Ever wonder why so many businesses struggle with their online marketing? If you think you’re one of those companies implementing tactic after tactic but not quite seeing the results you expected, then you’ve come to the right place. The reason many companies fall short of achieving excellent results from their online marketing is because they lack a clear, smart digital marketing plan. That’s it, plain and simple.

In our recent webinar, ‘LIVE Q&A: Building a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy’, we answered some of the common questions business owners have when it comes to planning and establishing their digital marketing strategy. Below are some of the key takeaways from the webinar:

Learn how to diversify.

Running your business on referrals? Consider this as an accomplishment in itself because it speaks to your brand. However, you don’t want to run your business on a single channel. The solution? You need to diversify. Start by investing in Google Advertising. It is the channel where your ad dollars are best spent on, especially in the first stages of your business growth. It’s the only channel where people are proactively searching for you and the services you provide. Once you start, you’ll find it’s easy to use, easy to learn, and easy to see if it makes sense with regards to your business growth and lead generation.

In addition, don’t forget to invest in a comprehensive, mobile-responsive website. Make use of a content strategy, using blogs, videos and other types of content, to lure leads in and turn them to actual customers.

Identify the platforms that will work for your business.

To know which platforms are best for your business, you need to determine your goals, identify your target locations and know your audience. Some of the platforms you can use depending on your objectives are:

  • Websites
  • Local Search
  • Lead Generation
  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Directory Listings
  • Google Ads/Facebook Advertising
  • Content
  • Social Media
  • Rising Trends and Platforms

Note that not everything might work for your business. Be sure to consult your trusted digital marketing expert to identify the right solutions for your marketing efforts.

Reach out for help.

Contrary to what some people might think, creating a foolproof digital marketing strategy isn’t a simple task. Much like a home improvement project, it requires careful planning, in-depth research and active cooperation with a specialist. Assuming you’ve recently hired an expert to help you with your digital marketing, it pays to know you’ve hired the right team for the job. Here are some of the questions you should ask to your digital marketing partner:

  • How am I doing based on the key metrics we’ve established?
  • How many leads am I getting and how is that progressing?
  • Can you show me the processes you implement to make sure I’m meeting my goals?

By this time, you should already be prepared to build a winning digital marketing strategy for your business. You have the knowledge you need, the assets, and a rough structure in mind.

Source: Surefire Local

Why Data Privacy Just Got Serious for American Websites

By Bekkah Anderson, Art Unlimited.

We have seen pretty much every app developer or corporate business send us an email saying they have recently updated their privacy policy. We’ve even seen those new annoying pop-ups telling us they have cookies, but now, consumer data rules are hitting your business.

As a business owner, is data privacy something to think about?

Two months ago, many people were saying, “Naw, just change your settings to block other countries from viewing your website.” But since California rolled out their own data privacy rules on June 28th, 2018 via the California Consumer Privacy Act, this isn’t something to sneeze at. As we start to see more initiatives to protect Americans’ privacy, big data should respond accordingly.

What do I have that could be considered private information?

You might not think you have any “big data,” but if you have a list of past customers, newsletter subscribers, a mailing list, online payment options, or use Google Analytics, you technically have possession of data that has privacy rights. Some privacy rights have always been out there, but most businesses had to make the ethical choice to use the information at their discretion because enforcing compliance on every business was obnoxiously hard for anyone to do.

Caveat: Unless one of two things happened to you that got people worked up:

  1. You had a ton of people you were contacting without permission that all decided to complain together and make a class action lawsuit against you.
  2. You got hacked and all of your customer data was stolen

Most of the rules for the new data protection, honestly, just made good marketing sense. Such as, if you send a previous customer 27 emails in one day, you’re going to get marked as spam and email providers will block you. This also has probably happened to you if you tried to include 60 people in the same email and you accidentally locked down your email account.

What can I do to ensure I’m compliant with the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act?

Step 1: Ensure you have an updated privacy policy that clearly lays out how you use the data such as (but not limited to):

  • If you do remarketing with this data
  • If you keep their data to contact them later with promotional content
  • If you sell their purchase habits to a 3rd party provider
  • If you record their device location
  • If you track their last click to leave your website
  • If they like your page on Facebook
  • If you share their contact information with any of your affiliates in order to target users better
  • If you collect their information to use for marketing purposes via sweepstakes, trade shows, or drawings (or any other paper form)

The list could just keep going. Anything that collects information about your users on your website should be listed in your privacy policy or anyone who has access to this information should be listed. If you do it, name it in your privacy policy. You should probably get this reviewed by your legal adviser as well to make sure it has everything.

Step 2: Clearly provide an opportunity for customers to “opt-out” of how you are using the data

Website users now have the right to request that you stop collecting their data, and you need to make sure this option is provided loud and proud.

Tip: be careful with how your program your pop-up though, especially on mobile. If all your users can see is a pop up that blocks your homepage navigation on mobile, it could affect your ranking because of a poor user experience.

Step 3: Have a process for actually following through on the users that request to be removed from your data uses.

This is where my heart hurts for business owners because this is rarely enforced well. If you say you’re going to stop talking to them after they ask you to, ACTUALLY DO IT. In the past, I just marked you as spam, but now (if I was a California resident) I could just report you to the Attorney General’s office or go after you with a personal lawyer. Have a process the thoroughly removes their information from your system and documents when the user requested to be removed.

Step 4: Don’t target people under the age of 16 unless they have specifically given you permission to or their parents have agreed to consent (if under the age of 13).

Bottom line: You have to disclose how it’s used, who has access to it, and how users can choose to not be a part of the data.

Having a data control officer who knows where the information is, where it’s going, and how it can be removed is good to have for your business. The more you know, the safer you can make your business for your customers.

What happens now if I accidentally do something I shouldn’t with customer data?

Under the new California laws, you could have to pay a civil penalty of $7,500 per incident AND pay for the cleanup/recovery of any person that had actual damages affect them OR pay out $750 a person for the violation to their privacy (whichever is a larger payout).

How long do I have before I need to make these changes?

The California Consumer Privacy Act unleashes its fangs of consequences for non-compliant business owners in 2020. You have some time to start planning your implementation strategy. Don’t get nervous, but have a clear plan of action steps to get you to where you need to be. It’s also important to keep an eye on the changes that might happen to the data rules in the months ahead. If the laws get extended to other states, there might be some new changes that make things more detailed as to certain industry or specific platform compliance.

I don’t do business in California: Do I still need to change my privacy policies?

For the present, yes and no, if you want to block your website from being searchable by any of your customers within California you could just avoid this all together….But it’s going to limit your reach, hurt your ranking ability, and if some of your customers have a beach home in California, you might be losing some of your client base because they can’t find you.

More Data Privacy Rules Are Inevitable

No matter how much money Amazon and AT&T pump into lobbyists, the passing of new laws usually has a domino effect in American legislature. If it works out nicely for California, you can expect it to either start rolling out in your state soon, or becoming a federal initiative.

We’ve already seem rumblings in Washington to push this into a federal compliance law. So, it’s always better to start being privacy complaint sooner rather than deal with the consequences of doing it later. Rushing things in the last minute to avoid penalties is never a fun spot to be in as a business. Plus, who wouldn’t want to gain a higher level of trust with customers by being respectful of their data?

Note: This article first published on Art Unlimited’s website and can be viewed here.

Photo credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What is Your Out of the Office Message Marketing Strategy?

By Shashi Bellamkonda, Surefire Local

As part of a Burger King Belgium ad campaign, the company built a website so that people going away on vacation could give their colleagues or anyone receiving their Out of Office message a coupon for a free Oreo Shake or a burger. The video has gotten a lot of attention in advertising circles and we think it is a great idea.

This is also the season for a lot of hardworking business folks to be out of the office. Here are some ways that people have been creative with their Out of office messages:

  1. Existing customers: For any urgency provide a contact that customers can reach out to in your absence.
  2. Be creative: Our friends at RAM Driveway Sealing said in their out of office message – “At present, we are giving our squeegee-brushes a much-needed rest”
  3. Direct them to your website: There are many things that prospects can do on your website. They can schedule an appointment or send you details through the website. Let them know where to find you online.
  4. Give them an offer: One creative company offered free fireworks debris removal from roofs. This was excellent since most roofing contractors offer a free roof inspection, this gave them a foot in the door and cheers from homeowners. You could let them know they can get a free inspection or other offers. Make the offer as part of the Out of Office message at the beginning. In many cases, people don’t open “Out of Office” messages unless you hook them with your first few words in the message. “Open for a free Burger” 🙂

Note: This article first published on Surefire Local’s blog and can be viewed here.


Using social media to market your roofing business

By Heidi J. Ellsworth.
As roofing professionals, many contractors look at Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as something from another planet. But contractors are finding that going forward social media will be one of the most important tools in their marketing program.

Upfront, don’t try to conquer all social media at once. There are some trends that are helping contractors decide where to start. It really depends on your type of business. For residential contractors, Facebook continues to grow in popularity. It is a great referral tool, letting your customers speak for you.

There are some great partners already on social media that can help jump start your efforts. One organization for residential contractors that has taken a unique and altruistic approach to social media is No Roof Left Behind (NRLB). This organization was started by Jay and Dena Elie of Ridgecon Construction with the vision that by working to provide help to those in need they would be able to help their business too.

“It is really about everyone winning,” stated Jay Elie, president of No Roof Left Behind. “We wanted to understand social media but we also wanted to help our community. Living in Detroit there is a lot of need. We were able to combine the two and have seen extreme success.”

Now, NRLB has been sharing their success with contractors across the country teaching them how to leverage the promotional value while also helping their local communities. And for the residential roofing contractors, that is the true power of social media, creating buzz and interest in your own community. Facebook continues to drive that success.

For commercial contractors, many have found better opportunities on Linked In. Linked In is a professional, networking website that allows contractors to connect with other businesses, facility managers and property owners. It is a great way to offer educational articles from manufacturers, technology providers and distribution. Showcasing successful and difficult projects along with awards will only verify and build a strong reputation.

The site is also an amazing research tool. Take the time to look through Linked In locally and see who can become a contact. Read the articles that are being posted. Join the same groups that your potential customers are a part of. It is just the type of business intelligence that can make a huge difference for that next commercial bid.

As noted, don’t leap into too many social avenues at first. In all honesty, depending on your business there are several that you may never be involved in. But, one medium that is becoming critical for not only social media success but for website search engine optimization is Google+. Google+ is a social networking site owned and operated by Google, Inc. Google is giving Google+ content a higher ranking than the websites that have similar content. Google+ is indexed immediately for search. So whatever avenue you choose – Facebook or LinkedIn – take a few extra minutes and post your content in Google+ also. It will also help to register your business with Google+ Local in addition to other online directories.

“Google Plus is imperative,” says Vickie Sharples, owner of Roofers Coffee Shop, an online community for roofing professionals. “It is amazing for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, when you post in Google Plus you are hitting the top of Google searches. Creating strong content is the key.”

“You need to do a couple key things every day,” continued Sharples. “A great practice is to get your sales team to take pictures with happy customers, with approval of course, and post it. It makes it personal. If the homeowner is willing to let you post to their Facebook you have instant referrals.”

Sharples, who has seen great success with www.rooferscoffeeshop.com and supporting the site through social media, has gathered some key items that can make a large difference when it comes to social media success.

  • You need interesting content and the best content a contractor can find is in the everyday things their company already does. First, think about the questions people ask when they phone in or write a post on that question. Just as you answered a question to your caller you are answering a question for your social friends.
  • Among the most interesting things are photos and the king of all content is video. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg and please don’t make it long, but almost anyone can shoot a video with today’s technology. Send your employees to work with a camera.
  • Use a photo or video to show how you put paper under your truck to prevent oil leaking on a client’s driveway. Show how you care about your client’s safety by putting cones behind your trucks. Show a unique item from a roof that your team worked on and what is causing leaks. This is your chance to talk about your company values through photos.
  • Remember that people don’t want to hear from “You” on how great your business is, they want to hear from past customers. They want to hear from others that your company offers high quality that it stands behind. Post testimonials and encourage happy customers to give the company a nice review and then share it.

These are all good content ideas that you generate every day without realizing it. Interactive content to spur active responses is key but it is also important to let current and past customers know you are on social media. As they “Like” your company, word spreads that, in turn, not only makes the telephone ring but increases your social media presence.

Social media is all about sharing what you already are doing well. Traditional marketing can be very expensive. Social media offers the opportunity to send a message out to the public in a new way that is currently highly regarded. Social media marketing brings them to you and all it costs is a little time.

Photo by Freestock.org on Unsplash.

Marketing Technology Tools for Contractors – Part 2

By Heidi J. Ellsworth, HJE Consulting.

For residential and commercial roofing contractors, there is an ongoing need to not only attract customers but to sustain them over long periods of time.  Marketing automation provides contractors with a way to nurture leads and customer to ensure their business stays top of mind.

There are multiple buzzwords in the marketing world and currently one of the biggest is Marketing Automation.  The question many are asking is “What is it?”  Marketing Automation Times, http://marketingautomationtimes.com, an online publication states that marketing automation is a subset of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on the definition, scheduling, segmentation and tracking of marketing campaigns. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient and makes new processes possible.

That definition is just the tip of the iceberg.  Yes, it is about automating processes such as email, blog, and web tracking but it is also about building relationships with customers and potential customers that change the dynamic from chasing leads to attracting leads.

For residential and commercial roofing contractors, there is an ongoing need to not only attract customers but to sustain them over long periods of time.  Whether it is homeowners or building owners, they need to be nurtured to stay top of mind when customers have roofing needs or referral opportunities.  A strong, up-to-date list of customers maintained through software automation is critical.  Contact information including emails that are sitting in filing cabinets and not in an up-to-date CRM are useless.

Once a CRM program is in place and information, past and present has been loaded it is time to begin thinking about marketing automation.  What needs to be communicated to customers?  What are the profiles of customers, i.e. residential, exteriors, commercial?  If both residential and commercial services are provided by the roofing company it is important to segment the customers.  For example, a commercial-oriented newsletter needs to go to building owners and will most likely be wasted on a homeowner.  It could even be labeled spam by that homeowner, hurting communication efforts.  In reviewing the communications plan, it becomes increasingly important to make sure the company is sharing information the customer cares about.


Social Media

The groundwork is crucial before starting any marketing automation project.  One popular tool for communications is social media.  Different social media works best for specific audiences.  Facebook has a stronger following amongst homeowners while LinkedIn is preferred by business.  Remembering that a building owner most likely is also a homeowner creates dual opportunities for exposure at both the home and business.

There are cloud-based software systems available such as Hootsuite where all social media can be controlled from one dashboard.  This type of automation is being used by businesses, non-profits and large enterprises to manage messaging and timing.  Time management is important when managing social media.  With one dashboard, multiple social mediums can receive company messaging, cutting down on the time that it would take to update each medium separately.


Marketing Automation Software

Online companies such as HubSpot, Marketo or Act-On are just a few of the companies that offer a full software solution for tracking activity on websites, sending emails and linking it all with social media.  In looking at this type of technology, be sure the company is ready for new processes and increased lead generation.  There is a learning curve to connect the CRM to the marketing automation system and understand how to correlate the content that is being sent out through email, social media or web to sales efforts.  Leads will increase with this type of marketing so it is important to put time and resources in place to handle the return.

There are agencies who offer marketing automation services.  Again, make time to vet their services and ensure they understand the roofing business.  Often marketing organizations outside of the construction industry do not understand the difference in marketing between homeowners and building owners, residential or commercial.  In talking to other contractors, associations or vendors, contractors can get recommendations for good service providers that have delivered results for other companies.

Marketing automation is a strong software tool to communicate with customers electronically.  But, it is just one part of building good relationships through sales and marketing.  Some companies have allowed technology to swing the pendulum too far away from personal relationships.  Marketing electronically is about staying top of mind but it is only a small part of building strong relationships of trust with customers.  Combining electronic communication with person-to-person communications can create exceptional customer satisfaction, referrals and highly sustainable business for roofing companies.  Using marketing automation as one of the tools in a marketing program and linking it to the overall goals and strategies is the winning combination.


Customer Portals

For current customers, it is important to continually delight them by creating exceptional customer experiences.  Leading contractors are using CRM programs that offer customer portals where they share data, photos, job progress, inspections and invoices with customers at their convenience.  This type of CRM can be used for initial customer contact and sales along with the ability to track customers over time while storing all projects and related data.

Customer portals create an excellent user experience for customers.  Innovative, web-based software systems are utilizing relational database programs to efficiently help contractors manage everything from project data, work order/invoicing processes and most importantly customer communication and document storage.

Many facility managers are asking for this type of communication.  It offers a 24/7 ability to see what is happening with service, maintenance, and reroofing projects.  Maintenance portals play a significant role for facility managers, allowing them to see exactly what is happening on their roofs.  Understanding that very few managers will have the opportunity to walk all their roofs, portals provide a view of the roof that inspires confidence through ongoing communications, documentation and visual review.  Data storage and the ability to upload unlimited photos or video to the portal is essential in providing real-time documentation for customers.

Portals are also used for more than review.  Facility managers can report a service request through the portal and track the status of the work.  Email alerts can be used to help to keep all parties aware of updates or repair requirements.  As noted earlier, the future is in the speed of delivery using mobile solutions.  Mobile devices on the roof provide expedited communication, the ability to send succinct inspection reports and easy service reporting when linked with the right CRM.

By utilizing custom inspection checklists, roof service teams can quickly communicate roof issues or concerns along with the progress of the repairs.  Custom inspection reports include photos from the roof that correlate with early imagery or even satellite imagery to create a visual timeline for the facility manager.  All of this is shared through the online portal providing an easy way to distribute information to management, purchasing agents or building supervisors.  It creates an ongoing customer experience that leads to referrals and long-term relationships.

There is a strong opportunity for residential contractors to offer the same portals to homeowners.  By making home repair information available 24/7 to homeowners they can be active with the contractor and their home improvements.  Implementing technology that retains all data on a property over time provides an excellent means of retaining homeowner business with ongoing repairs, yearly inspections and potential upgrades.


Take the Time

The most important part of incorporating any technology is to take the time to evaluate.  Talk to other contractors through roofing associations or networks and see what has worked for them.  Look at online reviews and utilize free trials to try out and understand the technology.  There is a large commitment in time whenever there is a change or adoption of new technology, so be sure it matches the goals of the company.

Also, be aware that many types of software adoption will have a cultural effect on the company.  Processes will need to be updated, personnel trained and data uploaded.  It is not easy to change software, so create a relationship with the software provider upfront, and develop a high degree of comfort and confidence when initiating the new technology and processes with employees.

It is worth the time to find the right systems to not only grow your company but improve productivity and profitability.

Marketing Technology Tools for Contractors – Part 1

By Heidi J. Ellsworth, HJE Consulting.


In today’s world where efficiency and precision take precedence, technology is a key component when it comes to doing business within the contracting community. Technology comes in many shapes and sizes but leading contractors are realizing that if they are not progressive in their use of technology they are going to be left behind.


Technology is not just software, it is using services and cloud-based solutions to help increase productivity for the company and employees.  Exploring multiple types of technology and evaluating their effectiveness for a roofing company, no matter the size or type can play an important part in the growth of a business.  In this technological age, it is essential to incorporate technology into the business’ processes and culture.  In fact, contractors are finding that they can get more done, faster by using technology while staying ahead of the competition.

New technologies and applications are introduced literally every day.  Understanding what is beneficial for a roofing business and more importantly, the best technology for the size of the business is critical for success.  Here are a few important sales and marketing technologies that can make a difference in growing sales and profitability in 2017.



The number one, most important marketing technology is a website.  It needs to provide enough information about the company so potential customers will act by requesting estimates or additional information for projects.   A customer wants to feel confident in the vendor’s experience and professionalism.  By validating the company’s expertise concerning high-quality work, long-term service and excellent responsiveness along with strong knowledge of the latest products and technologies, customers will be enticed to respond.  This can all happen on a website.  The quality of information will speak to the customers long before they pick up the phone.

A website should be dynamic, meaning that the content is fresh and always up to date.  It should feature a section or blog on the site that provides short articles and information that customers will find interesting.  Press releases and other news should be shared regularly on the site.  A good website will have a prominent button or link on every page that a visitor can click on to request an estimate.  Ask them to complete a form that captures their contact information (name, address, phone, and email) but also use the opportunity to try to gather some basic qualifying information.

Finding a good website developer can be challenging but there are several options.  Everything from do-it-yourself, to leasing a website, to finding a knowledgeable internet marketing agency are available.  Before hiring a company to update or develop a website, take the time to look at other websites and note what is impressive.  Often the name of the company that developed the site is noted at the bottom of the homepage.  By pulling information together ahead of meeting with developers, it will save time and money when working with a new web development company.  Lastly, look internally first.  Often there are employees who can create websites or work on marketing projects who are already on the payroll.


Smart Devices

It does not seem possible to survive in today’s world without a smart device and that is especially true when it comes to business.  Smartphones allow contractors to be in touch immediately with their customers giving them the edge when it comes to customer service.  The agility of utilizing smartphones makes sense for communication with other employees while providing the overall benefit of informed customers.

It is important to use phones in a way that works with customers, so knowing their preferences concerning email, text or phone usage is beneficial for creating enhanced communications.  As part of the sales process, ask how the customer would prefer to receive their project communications.  A critical part of utilizing technology is understanding how customers want to interact with that technology.

Smartphones and or tablets make day-to-day business easier on the road, hopefully eliminating some of the late-night work.  Asking vendors, such as manufacturers and distributors, about their technology offerings and especially finding out which apps make working with them easier helps both businesses.  To be able to order materials, reports or services through the phone or tablet can lead to efficiency and time savings.

In deciding which smart device to use, take the time to coordinate the company’s phones, tablets, and computer system with cloud-based software in a way that all devices can speak to each other.  This creates an easy, efficient means of transferring data and documents while also documenting customer discussions.


Customer Relationship Management

There are several Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems designed for roofing professionals.  CRM systems have evolved significantly over the years from server-based systems such as ACT to simple contact management solutions such as Microsoft Outlook or Excel to cloud-based, enterprise-level software like Salesforce.  In the roofing world, there are many contractor CRM software systems that help manage customers.  They are often also connected to project management and/or accounting software.

Questions to ask when looking for a CRM system include how the program works for residential vs. commercial business. Ideally, will it handle both.  There are companies that are very focused on residential projects with functionalities that track canvassing, sales and overall leads.  Commercial roofing software may focus more on inspections, service, and maintenance and may feature a customer portal that allows property owners to access service records and to request maintenance online.  Depending on the business model of the roofing company, residential, commercial or both, the CRM needs to fit the business.  As roofing companies continue to grow and gain sophistication, an important element for any CRM systems is the ability to track customer’s overall data and retain that data for long-term use.

No matter the CRM chosen, the key is to maintain a strong, up-to-date customer database that becomes not only a historical view of customers and projects but also a strong database for future sales and marketing.  By using a CRM software instead of an Excel document or a Rolodex, customer contact can be automated and shared including notes, past correspondence, property data, material preferences and/or potential future projects.