- Looking at exact tactics of HOW you will put your plan into action
- Setting clear goals and performance indicators or KPIs
- Putting in place a contingency plan
- Evaluating your plan and refining what’s not working
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We know you are waiting with bated breath for the final portion of this series on getting your shit together for your marketing planning for 2024. We’ve covered a lot. We went over the analysis, we went over to finding the audience, setting your goals, your budget, your timeline, all that stuff. And now it’s time to talk about how to execute and make sure that all that work is not for not. That it’s going to go to something positive and it’s going to have a positive impact on your business in 2024.
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So I guess this is where you can start to really look at the tactics of how the plan will be executed. And for example, maybe you have a publishing calendar every month and you know that you’re going to post to Facebook and maybe LinkedIn or whatever it is twice a week. And this is where you can start to plan that out. You know you’re going to send a newsletter once a month. This is where you really start to plot out the tactics of how you’re going to execute your plan and assign the who, what, when, where, and your planning should have given you the why.
But yeah, I think a marketing calendar is one of the cleanest ways I’ve seen it. You can document on there when you’re going to do award submissions for those top electrical contractors. They have the three best or the top-rated or Roofing World they have the roofing contractor of the year, they have Asphalt Roofing contractor of the year. I know there’s home builder of the year. There’s all kinds of awards. So having a calendar where you know you’re going to submit for those awards or if there’s trade shows or home shows that you go to every year, plotting that out, having it all on a calendar is nice because you’re like what’s coming up ahead? I better start to order signs and schwag and prep for the home show. Or if you invest in the community and you do…
I’ve seen contractors where they adopt a teachers Amazon wishlist. So if that’s coming up in August, back to school, whatever marketing you need to do around that. So I think a clean way is having that calendar and literally having the tactics and due dates and stuff like that just mapped out for the year is so helpful.
Well, and I think it’s just really good too because it lets your entire, whoever is involved in that marketing calendar can all share that same document and it’s a quick, easy way to figure out to assign things out and make sure stuff’s getting done. So hopefully you as the business owner aren’t the only one that’s managing said calendar, that there’s plenty of other people that are helping execute on it, whether you do have an agency or you’ve got somebody in-house that’s helping you. Having that clear roadmap of what’s to come is great. And then that way if maybe you’re in slow season and somebody on your team is really helping with social, they can start to plan ahead.
Sure, they’re not going to be able to plan every post because plenty of them need to be timely and whatnot, but they can get ahead on a lot of that stuff. They can get ahead on some newsletter planning and things so that when business picks up that calendar that you guys are setting such great goals for right now doesn’t fall off on the other side because something else took priority over it or because nobody realized who was supposed to be doing it and then come this time next year when you’re analyzing it, you’re realizing that some of those well-laid plans went to waste because they weren’t clearly defined.
I think laying it out in the calendar format gives you a great view as to how many of these marketing activities are passive and how many of them are really lead gen driven and more active. I think it sets the expectation if you know that, I don’t know, sending a newsletter for example, that’s a top of mind awareness play. How many of these tactics are top of mind awareness versus really a direct sales, like direct lead gen marketing activity.
You want to make sure you have a healthy mix of both and maybe you lay it out and you’re like, I mean I know all of these work and they all play together and they combine to have a really great marketing plan and strategy, but maybe too much of it is passive for what your business needs are and you need to throw something in there that is a little bit more aggressive, like a home show where that’s a lead gen based activity right there. Yes, top of mind awareness, but everything else you do are going to help people trust you at that home show to then give you their contact info and move forward.
So anyway, it gives you a good idea of what’s a passive marketing activity and what’s really a lead gen activity. Do you have a good mix of both? And then with that, how do you know you have a good plan? Well, what KPIs do you have in place? Every marketing activity should have those key performance indicators in place or else you’re back to that place where you’re just throwing something on the wall to see what sticks.
Absolutely. So looking to that same point where if you’re looking at everything on your calendar and you can say, I know that’s a little bit passive, it’s an email. I want to stay top of mind. What am I hoping to gain out of that? What’s our goal open rate? What’s our goal click-through rate? What would we consider successful so that we can feel like we need to continue completing that activity? And some of it, the metrics you might need to see how stuff performs and then go from there. You want to think about what engagement rates you’re hoping to get on some of those social posts.
And if you’re running get ads. Like you said, much more direct. You’re really trying to drive direct leads from that. So if you’re spending 10 grand a month on Google Ads during your busier season, what does that need to equate to that it’s going to make sense for your bottom line? What does success look like? So maybe you’re not looking at it later and being like, I just don’t know if this is working. But if you’ve already backed into it knowing I need two of those leads each month to close to just break even, then at least you can look at it with some good metrics rather than just going in and making a knee-jerk decision and turning off your display ads one day and then turning them on the next day or whatever it may be.
And I would say to your point, this is where I think a marketer’s expertise really comes in because they can make connections to the data that maybe you as a business owner you’re not making, because your job is, you’re a contractor, you’re working on remodeling a kitchen, you’re working on installing a pool or landscaping, whatever it might be. So the connections to the data that we see as marketers can tell you whether something is successful or not. For example, if you put up a billboard, you might think, I didn’t get any phone calls. Or if you were smart and you’re like, I have a QR code on there that goes to a landing page that’s designated, they can only get there through the billboard, but nobody’s clicking on it. There’s all kinds of things a smart marketer could tell you to do.
You could do some geofencing with some targeted ads within the area, but something else to look at is also like your click through rate on your Google business profile. Because now they’re looking at your brand, you’re getting Google, so people are clicking through to your ads. So now your CTR is going up, and that’s a metric that is tracked. So a smart marketer is going to help you make connections with the data and of each piece, each of the tactics in your marketing plan and tell you you can learn from it. So don’t say I want 56 leads. I keep saying 56. I want 70 leads a week, and I am only getting 20. A smart marketer is going to say, “Let’s look at this. Let’s look at where they’re coming from,” and they’re going to be able to help you talk through those KPIs. So not having a knee-jerk reaction to what initially might not look good.
Especially we’ve uncovered some money keywords, but they have such a low search volume that it’s really hard if you’re looking at just the graph, you’d be like, we’re not making any movement. Well, if you get one lead from this specific keyword in an entire year and it covers the cost of your SEO contract, that’s successful right there. So just make sure you’re really talking through the data that you’re seeing and understanding it before just deciding something isn’t working. Contingency plan.
You lay this whole calendar out, this is what you’re planning for. You have X or Y expectation, and then a wrench gets thrown in your plan. Maybe if you are a home exterior company, maybe the last three summers you’ve had big storm events and you you wait for that big storm to hit at the beginning of this busy season and it carries you through. It is a good idea to have a contingency plan in place. What are you going to do if that storm doesn’t hit or maybe it hits super late in the year and you’ve got to get your crews out there working. What else can you turn up in your marketing plan that can really help you continue to drive those really critical leads?
Yeah, you’re going to be paying for them at a higher dollar amount than you’re probably comfortable, but being prepared to pivot so that you’re not just stuck with no idea what to do and a team of people looking at you needing work, having that plan in place ahead of time and being prepared to swallow that jagged pill that might be, mean you have to open up the purse strings and spend a little bit more on marketing than maybe you were hoping to have to do.
Exactly. So yeah, good contingency plan is just looking at potential risks, potential threats that the year might hold and having a plan should those things happen. Maybe you don’t have a storm, so you’re like, okay, we’re going to tighten up and we’re not going to spend in whatever area it might be. Maybe we won’t do that billboard. Maybe we won’t go to this industry trade show. We’ll save those, that four grand on doing something else. Or maybe you need to put it toward filling the pipeline and you can’t send people on that continuing education and you’re going to have to find a free webinar or a $200 webinar versus going to the full on trade show. Just things like that.
So I think that’s part of any smart marketing plan or any strategic plan, really having just a contingency plan in place. What’s the economy expected to do? I know interest rates right now, they’re still up, so nobody’s doing a refinance, so no one’s taking that cash out to do those home remodels. So what’s that going to look like next year? I don’t know. But that’s just things to assess when you’re creating this contingency plan, I think will better prepare you for what’s to come in the year. And you’ll feel more comfortable too. You won’t feel like you’re putting all your eggs in this one basket.
And I really like that point too, that you could maybe just have a few expenses earmarked throughout the year that are nice to haves that you’re hoping to invest in as a company, but you know that those are expenses that could be cut out if suddenly you had to fill your pipeline. So even just having that comfort level so then you’re not making a knee-jerk reaction and cutting budget someplace that you might decide later wasn’t a good idea. Just having the idea in place for where you can skinny things up.
Yeah, definitely. I think with that, the last piece of this three part series is, as with anything, this marketing plan is not set in stone. Every maybe three months, every two, three months, stop and review and then refine as necessary. It’s not inflexible as a plan.
Well then, ideally in the first part of this series, as we were talking about really just analyzing where you are, your best channels, where your quality leads are coming from, all that stuff. If you can continue that practice, like you said, every two to three months moving forward, you don’t have to wait until this time next year to do it. If you’ve been doing it throughout the year, it’ll help you make those smart decisions and it’ll just ensure that where you are investing is making sense for your business. And also, it points to what we were saying earlier too about tracking.
Get that tracking in place, have it there so that you’re continuing to watch your progress throughout the year. And then you’re not surprised this time next year. Hopefully you find out and maybe right now you analyze it and your strongest acquisition channel is organic, and then you put all this marketing in place and you do a bunch of stuff and suddenly it’s Google Local Services Ads or whatever it may be. As long as you’re continuing to stay on top of it and refining throughout the year, this marketing plan is going to continue to work for you and ultimately help you reach those marketing goals that you’ve set.
Very well said. I completely agree. Sweet. So yeah, I think that’s it. If you have any questions or topic ideas for us, like did something spark a thought that you’re like, I would love if they would dive in a little bit deeper on something. Yeah, find us online and message us, and we would love to hear from you.
That was today’s trade secret. Thanks for listening.
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