Remodelers Research: Marketing and Social Media

Traditional methods still rule, but websites, social media quickly catching on with remodelers, survey says

May 03, 2011

Repeats and referrals continue to be the most important part of marketing, but websites and social media are becoming an increasingly important part of doing business, according to the latest Professional Remodeler research.
About 85 percent of remodelers reported receiving less than half their business from sources besides repeats and referrals. Still, only 94 percent said they didn’t get any business from other sources and 72 percent get at least 10 percent of their business from those other sources.

Websites, signs most effective
A company website is the most popular marketing technique, with 67 percent of remodelers reporting they currently use one to promote their firms. That was followed closely by the 64 percent who report using jobsite/truck signs.
The only other methods used by more than 25 percent of remodelers were print advertising (37 percent), Yellow Pages (31 percent) and social media (29 percent). Social media saw the biggest jump in usage, increasing from 18 percent a year ago (and not even being on the radar in 2009). Direct mail had the biggest drop, with 24 percent of remodelers saying they use it, compared to 35 percent last year and 40 percent two years ago.
Signage and websites were also the most effective marketing tactics, with 83 percent of remodelers saying job/truck signs were at least somewhat effective and 80 percent saying the same thing about their website. The Yellow Pages and print advertising were rated as the least effective, with 20 percent of remodelers saying those methods were not effective at all.
Company websites are also an important part of remodelers’ 2011 marketing plans, with 54 percent saying it was very important and 82 percent saying it was at least somewhat important – the highest mark in the survey. Other e-marketing tactics also scored well, with 42 percent saying social media is important to their 2011 plans and 39 percent saying the same about e-mail marketing.
Amongst more traditional marketing methods, job and truck signs (67 percent said they were important) and print advertising (45 percent) lead the way. Many old standbys aren’t an important part of remodelers’ plans. More than half of remodelers said Yellow Pages are not important at all to their 2011 marketing, while 47 percent said the same about direct mail and 45 percent said that about home shows and parades. The least important was, not surprisingly, telemarketing, which only 7 percent said was even somewhat important to their marketing strategy.

Growth in social media
One of the most obvious trends in this year’s survey is the rapid growth of social media. When we surveyed remodelers last year, 49 percent said they didn’t use social media at all. That number dropped to 27 percent this year.
“I think they are a great way to keep our previous customers, and other fans, informed about current projects or activities,” said a Massachusetts-based remodeler and builder.
The number of remodelers who use it for marketing to potential clients almost doubled from last year, jumping from 18 to 35 percent.
“Being seen, noticed and having it sell for you 24/7 is great,” said the owner of a handyman business in Washington.
Those who use it to communicate with other remodelers and professionals increased from 25 percent to 45 percent. And a year ago, only 12 percent said they used it to keep up with what building product manufacturers and suppliers were doing. That number was 40 percent in this year’s survey.
Still, not everyone is a fan. Many remodelers expressed reservations about using social media in their business.
“Social media will survive, not thrive, and social media marketing is only a fad,” said one a remodeler, a kitchen/bath specialist in Colorado.
“Social networks are for playtime, not for serious work. I choose not to get involved in that cesspool,” said a design/build remodeler in New Jersey.
Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular sites, with 39 percent of remodelers reporting using each of those sites for business. Only 15 percent said they use Twitter for business, but all of those numbers are up from a year ago (see chart p. 35).
Remodelers are also using social media more: 33 percent said they visit social sites on a daily basis for business, up from 19 percent in 2010.

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