Public Relations

Ep.80: Bridging the Skills Gap from an Economist’s Perspective with Mischa Fisher

An aging skilled workforce is retiring, and there’s a shortage of younger people taking their place. It’s a hot topic among remodeling companies, who are still searching for the right answers to solving their labor shortage.

In  this episode, Mischa Fisher, Victoria, and Mark discuss what you can do to bridge the skills gap, and how to change deep-seated perceptions around joining the home-services industry. 

Mischa Fisher is the chief economist at ANGI Homeservices, representing the HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List brands. Prior to this role, Mischa was chief economist for Illinois, where he served as the economic policy advisor to the governor; he is also a former legislative director for the United States Congress in Washington, DC, and is currently an instructor in applied quantitative analysis at Northwestern University. 

Mischa says the labor shortage starts with s a simple fact of demographics, where an aging workforce is getting ready to retire, and the Millennials and younger Generation Z aren’t in the pipeline to replace them. Compounding that, there’s already a shortage of skilled labor. An internal HomeAdvisor poll showed 65 percent of their members could not fill a position, says Mischa, and it’s getting worse. Mischa shares his insights into what’s causing the labor shortage, and how we can all go about fixing it, plus bonus advice from his dad, including:

  • Why talking about it is a great start
  • Raising awareness inside and outside the industry
  • Best practices to fill your open positions
  • How to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z with a rewarding workplace
  • The importance of building a real team
  • Recognizing generational differences and how to work with them
  • How to create a clear pathway to learning
  • Recruiting older, experienced people
  • Using the student loan crisis to your advantage in recruiting
  • Appealing to the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Working with industry, government, and educational leaders
  • Educating parents about the advantages of learning a skilled trade
  • And more …


Mischa says you can find more resources to help at the Home Advisor Pro Center. Keep an eye out for a new research portal that will be live in a couple of months at www.homeadvisor.research.

Ep.74: Pheel the Love — How the Most Powerful Force in the Universe Builds Great Companies with Tom Burgoyne

Everyone would love to have raving fans — and today’s guest is the most popular mascot in sports. 

Tom Burgoyne has had a 30-year career as the best friend of the Phillie Phanatic — the most popular mascot in sports. 

In this episode, Tom talks to Victoria and Mark about what the Phanatic has taught him about the importance of customer service in business — and how it can be the difference between being a good company and being a great one.

Tom has applied what he has learned in costume and talks about how the love people have for the Phanatic can be applied to your everyday working life. He’s also the author of Pheel The Love!: How the Most Powerful Force in the Universe Builds Great Companies — Phillie Phanatic Style! 

Tom was working in sales when he answered a blind ad to become the backup to the original Phanatic. He was the backup for four years before stepping up into the primary role. He realized the power of the character and the love the Phanatic generates and has applied the principles to boosting customer service and your company through love and fun, including:

  • Being authentic
  • Deciding to be loving
  • Noticing opportunities to share the love
  • Acting on the opportunities
  • The big smooch — making people feel special
  • Being optimistic consistently as a company
  • The Love 15 evaluation
  • And more …

Tom shares some of his most enduring memories as the Phanatic, including leading the 2008 World Series parade, and hot it gets in the costume, and what the Phanatic and Remodelers Advantage have in common.

Tom also has a podcast called Phillies Backstage with Brazer and Burgoyne. And you can check out his page on LinkedIn.

Ep.57: How to Capture Cost-Effective, Exclusive Leads by Blogging with Mike Foti

We’re big believers in the power of blogging to generate interest and business. Today we’re talking to someone in the trenches who’s also a believer, because it’s helped him in growing his business, gaining credibility, elevating customer loyalty, and  — most importantly — generating cost-effective, exclusive leads.

In this episode, Mike Foti discusses his business case for blogging with Victoria and Mark, and tells you how you can do the same.

Mike is president of Innovate Building Solutions of Cleveland, OH, a regional remodeling and nationwide wholesaler of grout-free shower and tub wall panels, wet room systems and glass floors, and also of Innovate Home Org, a designer and installer of custom home organization systems. In the eight years he’s been blogging on his News from the Block blog, it’s grown to 85,000 visitors per month and 19,000 email subscribers — and he has two other blogs. Mike is a self-described DMG (Digital Marketing Geek) and loves learning how to increase traffic and leads without forking over big bucks to “Mr. Google.” He’s also a crazy one-hour-a-day runner – even after suffering two heart attacks over the last two years. Finally, Mike is a reinvigorated Cleveland Browns fan and says (just like Baker Mayfield) he’s feeling a little dangerous today.

Mike started blogging after a digital marketing consultant told him how it would help his business, and he admits his first attempts weren’t so good. Mike shares his five reasons to blog, tips for finding the time to do it, and the benefits, including:

  • Avoiding pay-per-click costs
  • Why he doesn’t do Facebook ads
  • Becoming known as an expert and building a following
  • Why it works for project-based businesses
  • The importance of being consistent
  • Attracting tire-kickers and turning them into leads
  • The power of information, influence, and education
  • If you can’t write, finding someone who can
  • Giving yourself permission to not be very good at first
  • How to generate ideas — taking questions from your sales calls and answering them
  • Why the weirdest jobs make the best stories
  • Writing awesome headlines
  • Sharing who you are for a personal connection
  • How to entertain while educating
  • And more …

Including Mike and Mark talking the Odell Beckham trade, while Victoria stares at the ceiling. Also, for all those wondering, capers are flower buds that are pickled in brine. It’s a wide-ranging and high-energy conversation that will convince you to start blogging if you’re not doing it already — or make you better at it if you are.

Ep.55: Why and How to Start Your Own Podcast

In an extremely meta podcast today, we talk about podcasting — and the top reasons you should start your own. We were prompted by an email from a Roundtables member asking why and how to do it.

Podcasting is growing by leaps and bounds — 51% of the population has listened to a podcast. Of those listening, 45% are likely to have an income of $250,000 or more — the kind of affluent demographic you want.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark kick around the reasons you should start your own podcast, with some tips on how to get started.

First thing, don’t get swayed by the idea that a podcast is too global to target your own local area. You don’t even have to cover remodeling in your podcast, as long as it’s sponsored by your company. Other things to consider include:

  • Making the time commitment
  • Being consistent
  • Deciding on a format
  • Writing a script
  • Equipment, set-up, and the costs
  • Content creation and what to cover
  • How to target the right market for you
  • The value of an internal podcast for your employees
  • The launch and initial push
  • How prepare your guests and make them comfortable
  • And much more …

Including Mark springing the lightning round on Victoria (completely ignoring what he just said about preparing guests, but whatever). If you start a podcast, or are already doing one, let us know in the comments below!

Ep.47: How Social Proof Can Ignite Massive Growth with Josh Kelly

Reviews are the lifeblood of any remodeling company. But are you getting the best social proof of your company’s performance from your clients?

Social proof is simply getting credit for what you’re already doing, says Josh Kelly. But it can spur your company to massive growth when done right.

In this episode, Josh talks to Victoria and Mark about social proof, how to use it in your business, and how it can help you weather some big changes coming to the remodeling industry.

Josh is a principal of RevuKangaroo.com, a review collection and distribution company. Before starting RevuKangaroo, Josh used the power of social proof, reviews, and referrals to grow his residential services business, Parker & Sons Inc., Phoenix, AZ, from $6.5 million to over $100 million in just 13 years.

The best way to grow your business is to keep and make more money with the customers you have — and have them tell others about their great experiences. But big changes are coming — Amazon and Google continue to make inroads into the remodeling space. If you’re not prepared to play with them, and not against them, you could lose out. And one of the ways to work with them is to show your social proof. Josh breaks down the three components of social proof, and has great tips on:

  • Making it easy for the customer to give you a review
  • Why you want an employee reviewed, not your company
  • How to ask for referrals in a personal way
  • Why “referral” is a dirty word, and what to use instead
  • How to screen reviews
  • Why identical reviews on multiple sites are bad
  • Why he spells Revu that way
  • And more…

If you’d like to learn more about RevuKangaroo or pick Josh’s brain, you can drop him an email at josh@revukangaroo.com.

 

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Ep.43: The Power of Public Relations with Jim Zack

As remodelers, public relations is often an overlooked part of your marketing mix. We spend so much time and money on online marketing, PR is an afterthought. But with the web’s insatiable need for content, placing projects to get publicity should be a part of your strategy.

In this episode, Roundtables member Jim Zack tells Victoria and Mark how and why his firm gets up to 30 articles about projects published per year, creating an overall brand awareness in his market and beyond. His projects have appeared in such print and digital outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Dwell, and archdaily.com.

Jim’s president of Zack | de Vito Architecture + Construction, an Architect-led design/build company in San Francisco. His goal is to be the No. 1 design-focused design/build company in the Bay Area. The company’s work focuses on high-value residences, renovations, and new construction with a consciously modern focus.

The push to get published comes from his Architectural background, where getting published is always a primary goal. It translates well into driving the PR side of his design/build business, with PR as part of the overall marketing strategy. Jim shares his proven method for getting great PR coverage, including:

  • Capitalizing on awards
  • How to submit work to print and digital outlets
  • Finding your project niche and the outlets to use
  • Industry vs. consumer outlets
  • Why to pay for professional photography
  • Making your projects newsworthy
  • Choosing the right project to promote
  • Getting your clients on-board
  • Putting the right to publicize in your contract
  • And more…

To get an idea of just how much Jim’s work has been published —and publicized — check out this list, which only shows a part of his PR footprint.

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