Marketing

Ep.60: How to Manage Your Online Reputation Using Google Reviews with Russell Fuller

Your reputation is your most valuable business asset — but don’t think for a minute that doing high-quality work and providing top-notch service is enough to make and keep it spotless. The Internet has made it all too easy for people to publicly tarnish your good name — quickly.

Take the initiative, and manage your reputation proactively. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk online reviews with Russell Fuller. Russell concentrates on the power of Google reviews, discusses how to get great ones, and what it all means to his business.

Russell owns Fuller Living Construction in Seattle, WA. He’s passionate about small business and marketing. Fuller Living Construction is Google’s highest-rated construction company in Seattle.

Russell starts laying the foundation for reviews during the Sales process, sends a mid-project survey to head off problems that may have cropped up, and systematically follows up after the job is finished to get consistent five-star Google reviews. He explains how he settled on Google, what it means to his business, and how he does it, including:

  • Getting your message out
  • How Yelp chooses to show reviews
  • Strategies to make it automatic and easy for clients to leave reviews
  • How to handle bad reviews online
  • The ripple effect of good and bad reviews
  • The power of a good lawyer
  • Speaking honestly with clients — and listening
  • Following up with past clients
  • Being specific in your review requests
  • The “review insurance account”
  • Soliciting reviews from Trade Partners and team members
  • Where reviews are going next
  • And more …

Building and managing your online reputation is more important than ever. Planting the seeds early for great reviews and making the most of them will lay the foundation for a successful business for years to come.

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.

 

Improve Your Remodeling Business in 2019 & Beyond

The Extreme Business Makeover Event is coming up in 2 weeks and seats are filling fast. Come learn from some of the most experienced, well-respected speakers, presenters and panelists in the North American remodeling industry. Click here for more information & registration.

  

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.

Ep.40: Website Best Practices with Mark Harari

Your website could be the first time a prospective client encounters your remodeling business. What they find there may get you the job or send them off into the ether, never to be seen again.

In this episode, Victoria grills our own Mark Harari on how to make a remodeler’s website into a lead-generating machine. Mark’s fresh off his engagement at CoCon‘18 in San Diego, where he presented his popular seminar “Website Punchlist: A Live Blue-Tape Experience.” 

Mark’s the chief marketing officer and vice-president of Remodelers Advantage, and the president of our sister company R/A Marketing. He’s an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience (18 years in construction), and specializes in translating strategic vision to tactical execution. He’s also the facilitator of the R/A Marketing Roundtables groups, which bring together top marketing pros from across the US and Canada.

To design an effective website, you have to determine its purpose. Some remodelers only want their sites to act as an online brochures — they send prospects to it. Mark makes the case that all remodelers, though, should have a lead-generating website — one that searchers find themselves. Then, you have to get actionable information out of them. Mark explains what works in marketing, especially digital marketing, including:

  • Why an email address is the most important information to get, and the easiest to get
  • How to integrate offline marketing and advertising with your online efforts
  • What a call to action is
  • Why growing your email list adds value to your company
  • How capturing leads future-proofs your business
  • The top technical mistakes in website design
  • Why you should make your photos searchable
  • Where not to put your social media icons
  • And a whole lot more…

Including just what a lead magnet is, and how to use it. Want to learn more about lead magnets? Get The Remodeler’s Guide to Lead Generation, which is not only a fantastic resource for getting more business, it’s a great example of a lead magnet, its landing page and the kind of information-gathering form that will convert. It’s all so incredibly meta, as the kids say.

Want Mark to look at your website?

If you’d like to submit your own website for a live blue-tape walkthrough, Mark will be presenting his popular seminar at KBIS on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in Las Vegas!

 

Ep.38: Learning from the Trucking Industry To Solve Your Labor Shortage with Natalie Putnam

So many remodelers can’t reach their production potential because of the labor shortage. With the unemployment rate at a 20-year low, the struggle to find and retain good people is curbing business growth for small-business owners, across industries.

In this episode, Natalie Putnam tells Victoria and Mark about the hiring and retention strategies that have worked for her company in the trucking space, another industry struggling to find great people.

Natalie’s the chief commercial officer at Verst Logistics in Walton, KY. She’s a an industry expert, with 35 years of experience in supply chain, logistics, and trucking. Verst is growing at 24% a year, so Natalie regularly recruits employees and drivers for warehousing, fulfillment, and truck driving — in an area dominated by Amazon, FedEx, and DHL.

While wages play a significant role in recruiting and retention, it’s not the only lever you have, Natalie says. Your company culture can be a bigger factor in making employees accept your job offer. She shares other tactics that have worked for her in hiring and retaining good employees in a highly competitive market, including:

  • Expanding your target market — especially toward women
  • Using marketing for recruiting
  • The power of listening
  • Relaxing your requirements — how and why
  • Creating a Mentorship program
  • Why respect goes farther than cash
  • Job-site recruiting
  • The rise of robots
  • And much more…

Finding good people to work for you is a struggle. But taking some tips from another industry can help you prosper.

Ep.36: How to Make Your Photo Gallery a Lead-Generating Powerhouse with Tanya Bamford

One of the most powerful sales tools your remodeling company has often lies fallow on your website — your project photo galleries. With a little creativity, those photos can be transformed into compelling client success stories. This will boost your organic search rankings, super-charge lead generation, and result in more sales.

The power of storytelling, and a few tricks, can make all the difference.

In this episode, Tanya Bamford shares her insights about connecting all the dots to make the most of your online marketing efforts.

Tanya is the managing director of R/A Marketing Inc., our new sister company serving the needs of the remodeling industry. Tanya has been helping remodeling companies prosper for the better part of the last decade as the owner of a boutique marketing firm in southeastern Pennsylvania. Her work for two Remodelers Advantage members first brought Tanya to our attention.

Your galleries are fallow — to borrow a farming term — because they’re not particularly productive, but hold immense potential. They are the basis for telling a story from your clients’ perspectives, which are more compelling to prospects than technical details. You need to find the “why,” says Tanya. “You removed a wall and added a load-bearing beam, but you need to tell why that mattered to the client,” she says. Other ways to make your galleries work for you include:

  • Using the photos to tell a story on your blog and social channels
  • How to tag photos for better search engine rankings
  • Why the size of the photo also matters
  • What photos to take
  • And more…

Online marketing is getting more complicated all the time. Using the photo content you already have — in the right ways — can turn your website into a lead-generating machine.

The R/A Marketing website is under construction, but will be up and running soon — bookmark it and check back in!

You can also reach Tanya at Tanya@GetRAMarketing.com

Ep.34: The Evolution of SEO with Spencer Powell

Marketing is getting more complicated, and search engine optimization can seem like voodoo or black magic. The SEO landscape is always changing, as Google adjusts its algorithms every day.

The goal remains the same, though — growing your organic traffic online to rank higher in the search listings, so you get found by the people who will become your clients.

Spencer Powell joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to maximize your SEO, and share the recipe for a successful SEO strategy. 

Spencer is the founder and president of Builder Funnel, a digital marketing agency that helps remodelers improve their marketing and sales systems. They help you generate more leads and sales by putting the right technology in place to measure what’s working and what’s not so you can improve over time.

SEO matches up with the way people shop and buy. Users ask questions and do research, and you want your site to be there with the answers. But a successful SEO program is more than just choosing keywords and topics. You have to know what else comes into play. Learn more about:

  • Good content vs. junk content
  • Understanding what questions to answer
  • How to drive traffic using social channels and email
  • The keys to A/B testing, and how to do it
  • Calls to Action and where to put them
  • The importance of fresh content
  • And more…

Including this link to the 200 SEO ranking factors Spencer talked about. If you’ve got questions for Spencer, shoot him an email at spowell@builderfunnel.com. There are more resources for you at Builder Funnel’s website.

Meet Spencer at Summit
If you want to ask Spencer questions and meet him in person, no better way than see him at the 2018 Remodelers Summit in New Orleans on September 25-27! Spencer and Builder Funnel will be one of our sponsors, so make sure you stop by their booth to meet his team.

Ep.26: How the Media Business Can Transform Your Remodeling Company with James Carey

With so many new media and communication outlets, it’s hard to know what channels to use for your own marketing. But that also means there are opportunities — and getting your message out to an audience is easier than ever. Taking the plunge into media can change your business.

In Episode 26, Victoria and Mark tackle the new media and marketing landscape with James Carey, who transformed the remodeling business he owns with his brother Morris when they pitched a radio show about home improvement in the 1980s. That led to a national syndication deal, a TV show, and book publishing.

James is the president of Carey Bros. Remodeling in Brentwood, CA, and is the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program On the House with the Carey Brothers and of their pro podcast CareyBrosPros.

While James made his splash in old media, he continues to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by just a wifi connection. From podcasting (which we love) to social media, James leads you through ways to get your message out, including:

  • Finding your unique outreach
  • Harnessing the power of the media
  • What you can learn from Mommy-bloggers
  • Helping homeowners make informed decisions
  • Access vs. competition per channel
  • And a whole lot more…

It’s a fascinating episode, and will inspire you to think about your marketing — and your business — differently. For more about James (and Morris), check out CareyBros.com to learn about the remodeling company. Their radio program site for homeowner advice is OnTheHouse.Com, and their site for professional remodelers is CareyBrosPros.com.
 

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