Survey: Social media more important than ever for remodelers

New world of marketing mixes traditional and cutting edge

January 12, 2012

Marketing is becoming more and more a mix of the old reliable and the high-tech for most remodelers.

Repeats and referrals are still the most common source of business for the industry, but social media and websites are more important than ever, according to the latest Professional Remodeler research.

“In today’s market it is expected by the customers that you have social media as a marketing tool,” said a Pennsylvania full-service remodeler.

“Social media allows us to target and reach the people we want to work for,” said a Wisconsin design/build remodeler.

From yard signs to social media

Most remodelers are doing some sort of marketing — only 9 percent say they aren’t. Barely 5 percent of remodelers report getting all of their business from repeats and referrals and 18 percent said they get at least half of their work from other sources.

Replicating the results of the 2011 report, company websites (used by 74 percent of firms) and job/truck signs (70 percent) were the most-used marketing methods. Sixty-two percent of remodelers are using in-person networking, an increase of 13 percentage points from the 49 percent in 2011.

The biggest increase, though, was for social media, with 49 percent of remodelers saying they reach out to clients through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. That’s up from 29 percent last year and 18 percent in 2010.

“Social media is good to get your name out there and be seen,” said a Washington, D.C., full-service remodeler. “It is also essential for SEO.”

Still, despite that increase, half of remodelers aren’t using social media for marketing. Many remodelers said they don’t believe it is a useful marketing tactic.

“I am not very impressed,” said a New Jersey remodeler. “I don’t believe these methods are taken very seriously with my type of customers.”

Others are concerned about the time it takes to market effectively through social media.

Social media “requires an inordinate amount of time for return on investment,” said one remodeler. “Social media that is not updated is more of a negative than if it had not been started at all.”

Of those remodelers that do use social media, most estimate it is delivering only a small (but growing) portion of their business. Eighteen percent say none of their business comes from clients they reached through social media, but that’s down from 33 percent in our last survey. Seventeen percent of remodelers are getting more than 10 percent of their work from clients they’ve reached through social media, up from 4 percent last year.

There was strong growth in all aspects of social media over the last year (see chart below)

• 62 percent of remodelers have a Facebook fan page, up from 35 percent last year.

• 36 percent have a company Twitter account, up from 19 percent.

• 35 percent of remodelers have a company blog, up from 20 percent.

• 24 percent have a company YouTube channel. (We didn’t ask this question last year.)

Most other marketing methods have stayed relatively steady, although some — print advertising, the yellow pages, print newsletters and canvassing — decreased slightly from last year.

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Website, signage most effective

Websites are not only the most popular marketing methods — they’re the most effective, too, according to those remodelers that have them.

Half of remodelers said their website was very effective in driving business and 87 percent said it was at least somewhat effective. Jobsite and truck signs have been effective for 83 percent of remodelers, and very effective for 33 percent. Networking was also an important source of business – proving effective for 75 percent of remodelers.

Social media (54 percent) and print advertising (53 percent) were the only other marketing tactics that more than half of remodelers have found to be good sources of business. (Although home shows/parades weren’t far behind at 48 percent).

Billboards and telemarketing were the least effective marketing methods, with only 2 percent of remodelers finding those two be very effective, and 10 percent (billboards) and 7 percent (telemarketing) finding them to be effective at all in creating business.

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