In listening to roofing contractors, it is becoming obvious that the trends of just selling customers through pay-per-click and social media ads as a sole strategy is not working. It is not about “selling” customers, but it is about educating them about the best solutions for their home or building.
In an article on LinkedIn, February 19, 2019, Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite (leading distribution website for social media) shared, “Back in the ‘70s, the average consumer in the U.S. saw around 500 ads per day. That number has since increased by a factor of 10 to upward of 5,000 ads per day. If there’s a breaking point, my best guess is we reached it long ago.”
Holmes continues, “The backlash is already evident. Concerns over how Facebook shares user data and targets ads has landed it in the crosshairs of Congressional investigations and Parliamentary hearings. Ad blocking software is more popular than ever, with 86 million users blocking $20 billion worth of ads each year in the U.S. alone. Retargeting has grown so invasive it’s drawn comparisons to online stalking. Research shows that we’re sick of ads and we’ve also grown increasingly adept at tuning them out.”
That brings us back to the difference between ads and education. Blogs, e-news, public relations and guest columns are all ways of offering education to your customers instead of just ads. Just like RoofersCoffeeShop has highlighted roofing professionals as influencers, in your local area you can position yourself, the people in your company or the company overall as the expert in roofing.
Here are some different ways of educating your customers:
Ask a lot of questions.
Good roofing company owners and salespeople are able to develop questions that get to what the customer needs and what they hope to receive. Good questions lead to the opportunity to educate customers on what a good fit may be for their home/business. Those questions and answers can then be relayed to other consumers through an FAQ or blog on your website. At the end of the day, most of your customers have the same questions.
Blog about it.
If you do not have a blog on your website, you need to. Customers look for information that is not always about product sheets and facts. They want to see how finished installations look on other people’s homes or businesses. They want to be educated on what questions they should be asking (see #1). A blog is a great way to position employees in your company as experts who customers can trust and provide the education they are looking for.
Write a column.
This is old fashion, but most towns have a couple of newspapers or magazines; maybe even a home décor publication. Offer to write a column for them on roofing. There is so much content on the web and on RoofersCoffeeShop that you could get enough ideas for many years. It educates the community and positions your company as the expert.
Be a speaker.
It is a great way to get in front of the community. Whether speaking to homeowner or building owner associations, chamber of commerce or vocational schools, you have a chance to share best practices and potentially new and exciting options in roofing systems. By speaking in schools, you are also sharing the professionalism and coolness of roofing which those kids who will share what you said with their parents. It is one of the best forms of education.
Lead with education.
By simply keeping an educational spin in your mind instead of always selling fast and furious, it starts to create a sense of trust with your customers. They know they can come to you to fix their roofing problems and you will be there for them. Keeping long term customers means more referrals and better business.
Heidi J. Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here.