Leading up to the installation, it’s important to keep the homeowners in the loop. This will give them peace of mind and make the process smooth and easy for everyone involved. Every job is different, so there is no one size fits all plan for approaching the installation. But keep these must-dos in mind to keep your project on track.
Discuss the job with the homeowners.
Talk to them about what kind of install you’ll be doing. For example, are you going to be doing a pocket install or a full frame tear out install? They may be curious as to why you are simply removing the sashes versus cutting out the entire frame and vice versa. They also might want options. If keeping as much daylight is possible is their goal, a full frame tear out might be more ideal to avoid losing out on glass size. But since that option is more expensive, it’s important to have these conversations. Additionally, let them know if the windows will be installed from the outside in or the inside out. This just gives them more information as far as what to expect the day of the project.
Homeowners appreciate knowing that this project is customized to meet their needs. Let them know that every window and patio door is custom made for the openings in their home. Discuss custom trim options as well. Before installation day, talk about the custom Infinitrim package for the interior of their home. They may not have realized they can have the casing perfectly matched. People love having options, so giving them these choices can further cement their trust in your business.
Let the homeowners know what they can expect on the day of the installation. How many crew members will be at their home? How long it will take? Explain the process for taking out a metal window vs. a wood or vinyl window, and how metal takes longer.
Ideally, the installer will take the homeowner for a walk around the home after they are finished. They should show the homeowner how to operate the windows, including opening and closing, locking and cleaning. Different windows operate differently, such as double hung vs. casement, and they should give the homeowner a quick tutorial. Once the installation is complete, it’s always great practice to follow up with the homeowner. This is just to check to make sure they were shown how to operate the windows and thank them for their business. This really buttons up the whole job nicely.
Keeping the customer involved in the window installation process and following up to ensure they were satisfied is a surefire way to get yourself referrals in the future.
A successful in-home estimate begins before you even step foot through the homeowner’s door. Before you go into your meeting, you want to understand the homeowner you’ll be talking to as well as you can by doing some pre-meeting research. This is where the who, what, where, when, why and how come into play.
Who? Know about the person you are selling to. Their personality, profession, needs, desires, etc. should all be evaluated before you arrive for the estimate.
What? What are you planning to sell? Make sure you have the right literature and samples ready in order to talk about the products with the homeowner.
Where? Make sure you know exactly where you’re heading to ensure you arrive on time. Learn about their area too; maybe you’ve sold to a neighbor that would make a great reference.
When? Nail down a time and then arrive 5 minutes early. This gives you time to collect your thoughts and shows that you value the homeowner’s time as well.
Why? Understanding why you are there to sell is important. Are they a referral, a past customer or a lead that called in because of a specific sale or special?
How? How do you sell and close the sale? Being prepared and punctual and creating a great experience tailored to the individual homeowner all plays a part in closing the sale.
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time for the in-home presentation. Follow these 10 steps to ensure the in-home presentation process goes as smooth as possible for yourself and the homeowner.
Remember to always:
After the sale is over, reflect on how it went. Think through any wins or losses. This is a huge step for a champion to continue being successful. Know WHY you won or lost. If you don’t land the sale because they can’t make a decision to own what you’re selling (i.e. they want more references and to check out the company more) – then you now know what steps are in trouble and what you need to work on more, such as the company presentation. You need to essentially have a follow-up call with yourself. Look back on that appointment critically. If it was sold – why? If not – why? The better you understand the better you can be in the future.
Having a general understanding of online advertising is important to your business. This post is not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to go into great detail about each of these solutions. But we want you to know what options are available to you when it comes to growing and expanding your business and giving it an online presence.
Paid Search Advertising
You know when you type something into Google and you get those Ads at the top? That is paid search, or pay per click (PPC) advertising. These companies or advertisers bid on particular keywords so that when people search for a certain product, their website shows up. PPC involves strategically selecting keywords and spending money to bid on them. You’ll need to have a budget in mind for this form of advertising.
If you want to learn more, HubSpot offers a Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising.
If you’re ever browsing through a blog, or reading a news site, you may have noticed a banner ad that goes across the top of the page. It will usually include an image, text and sometimes video. This is an example of a display ad and is achieved by a piece of HTML code that instructs a Web server to bring up the banner ad when a user clicks on a certain piece of text.
ClickZ provides a Beginner’s Guide to Display Advertising to learn more.
Social Media Advertising
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming major channels for businesses to advertise on. These ads are typically a form of display advertising, but because these social networks know so much about their audiences, they are excellent at targeting ad messages that actually generate leads. These ads can enhance your social media platforms and help you market to your followers and beyond. Here you’ll find a deeper dive into what social media advertising entails.
Sponsored Content Advertising
Networks such as Outbrain and Taboola are also options for promoting your business. The only caveat is that you can’t promote an actual product or service, you can only promote a piece of content. So if your website has a blog, this is a good option. You may have noticed ads at the bottom of an article you’ve read, found under a heading such as “You Might Also Be Interested In” or “Content from the Web” – that’s Outbrain and Taboola. Outbrain is significantly less expensive. Learn more about advertising on these platforms.
The graph below from Salesforce.com; MarketingCharts portrays the leading metrics for digital marketing success according to marketing professionals worldwide in 2015.
Choosing one or a few of these digital advertising methods can bring your business to a whole new level. While these ads aren’t free, they will help drive more business to your site, ultimately helping with brand recognition, customer acquisition, and sales.
Many sales professionals walk into a home visit with blinders on. They are afraid to upsell and lose the customer by seeming to salesy or pushy. But the truth is, customers only know so much, they depend on you for your expertise and product knowledge. If no one they speak to suggests anything new, they’ll keep on searching because they haven’t received the kind of guidance they need yet. Never be afraid to offer your suggestions, they want to hear them! Just always be mindful that what you suggest makes sense, and you aren’t suggesting it only for the sake of making a sale.
Upsell vs Add-On
Upsells and add-ons aren’t quite the same thing. An upsell is when you build upon what the customer is already purchasing, such as upgrading their window package to a more premium option. An add-on is identifying opportunities that the homeowner may not have thought of, but may make sense, such as a new patio door to go with the new windows.
Before attempting to upsell a customer, establish a baseline of what they want, need or are looking for. This will help you wrap your head around what you can/should offer them. You can’t try to upsell to a better window – whether that be a custom color, higher energy efficiency, etc. – without understanding what they are looking for.
The most important part of an in-home consultation is that first time you sit down and identify what the customer’s needs are.
Never rush in and try to upsell something. If you do so, chances are you won’t be successful. Find out the homeowner’s interests, inspiration, etc. first – ask them what they imagine the project looking like. This sets the baseline.
Once you know what they are envisioning, you can begin to add on. Discuss the differences between the ecoSmart, ComfortSmart and HarborLight lines. Let them know what makes one more premium than the other, as well as the different aesthetics that they all offer. This way you aren’t just trying to get them to choose one package over another, you’re simply letting them know their options.
Appearance and Efficiency
Appearance and efficiency are probably two of the biggest topics that come up during consultations. Be sure to listen in for upsell opportunities. Is the customer talking about style? Are they more interested in energy efficiency? List out the features related to functionality and design so that the customer can envision how the product will work or look in their home.
Take a Look Around
Take advantage of an in-home visit by getting a tour of the room(s) that are getting new windows. This is a great time to get a better idea of what their home looks like and what window options make the most sense.
You get the idea. Many people have a basic window in their mind, but when you present them with all of their options, you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to choose more premium options. Keep these upsell opportunities in mind on your next in-home visit:
In this scenario, the homeowner has already decided they are going to replace their home windows. The windows might be rotted, need paint, inefficient, fogged up, or be in any other state of disrepair. While you’re there, look around for add-on opportunities.
The bottom line is, you’ll never know until you make the suggestion. Just be mindful that your suggestions make sense and add value. Offering the homeowner something they haven’t been offered by previous sales professionals just might be what ends up getting you the job.
Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. It’s time to start thinking about getting a plan together so you’re prepared for the busy season ahead. Have your marketing materials, social plan, direct mail and website ready so that you don’t have to scramble at the last minute!
You probably already know that when done right, a direct mail campaign can be very effective. According to the US Census Bureau, the revenue from direct mail advertising in the U.S. is projected to reach $11,639 million this year. When creating your direct mail campaign, keep these tips in mind:
Advertising is a big part of getting your business out there. You can advertise on TV, in newspapers or magazines, on the radio, via social media and online. Depending on your budget, you can pick and choose where you want to focus your advertising dollars. A study by Hearst Television shows how often people do further research on a product or service based on where it has been advertised. You’ll see in the graph below that search engine sites, local TV news, newspapers, magazines and radio are the top 5 mediums that resonate with people enough for them to take the initiative to learn more.
The beauty of email is that you don’t have to pay to have anything printed, and it’s a lot more affordable than TV, radio or print ads. Another bonus is that you can keep track of who is actually reading your emails – you have no idea who is watching TV commercials or listening to the radio. You can also include links in your emails. Use links to direct customers right back to your site or share helpful blog articles with them. Include a very clear call to action, such as your email or phone number. With email, you can make it extremely easy and convenient for homeowners to get in touch with you.
Website and Social Media Updates
Make sure your website and social media channels are up to date before the busy season ramps up. Homeowners will likely check you out online before making any attempt to contact you. Highlight any current specials you’re running and provide them with helpful product knowledge.
Before you start marketing, make sure you have a budget worked out. That will help you decide where to focus your efforts. Creating a calendar in advance can help too. That way, once you’re busy scheduling home visits and answering questions, you won’t have to stop and develop your marketing strategy, you’ll already know exactly what to do!
Tax season is an excellent time to promote your business. Not only do customers have a little extra cash to spend, but spring has arrived and summer is right around the corner, meaning many homeowners might be ready to upgrade their windows and patio doors before the hot weather arrives.
Remind homeowners that putting their tax return toward new windows is a worthwhile investment. The 2016 Cost vs. Value Report states that homeowners can receive a 73.3% return on investment for vinyl window replacements. Emphasize the upcoming weather changes and point out the money they could save on cooling costs during hotter months.
Implement a direct mail campaign: Postcards, flyers, brochures and more can all be used to send targeted messages to your audience.
Utilize social media: Hop on Facebook to connect with homeowners in one of the quickest ways possible. Let them know if you are running any special tax season promotions or simply post info about ways to spend those tax return dollars.
Provide helpful info on your website or through email: Write an article that helps homeowners better understand the perks of investing in new windows. Or, borrow any of the articles from the Great Lakes Window blog to share with clients via email.
Revisit previous conversations: Reach out to homeowners you may have spoken with in the past that weren’t quite ready to upgrade their windows. Now that they have some extra money, they might consider putting it toward new windows.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few tips for creating emails, as well as some guidelines to keep in mind when you are contacting customers.
Don’t make your message too long or complicated. Stick to the point: It’s tax season and spending some of your return on windows is a great investment.
Remember to keep your messaging relevant and timely. Take advantage of this time of year when homeowners are ready to invest in their homes.
There have been changes to ENERGY STAR qualifications and we want to make sure our customers are kept informed. These modifications could affect the way you sell home windows and doors, and we want you to have the knowledge you need in order to sell products that meet the ENERGY STAR criteria.
In 2016, ENERGY STAR v.6 requirements are now in FULL affect and the new numbers for the North zone are now active. You can see a climate zone map of the regions at Great Lakes Window along with the corresponding ENERGY STAR ratings. We encourage you to share this information with your customers as well to keep them informed.
Keep these changes in mind when planning your sales tactics moving forward to make sure that if a homeowner is looking for ENERGY STAR certified products that you are prescribing the right products for them. Choose from our different glass packs and window options to provide the highest quality products to your clients now and into the future. Please reach out to your Territory Sales Manager if you have any questions about these changes and what your business should do to properly prepare.
ENERGY STAR is currently not offering any new tax credits for 2016, but they have reinstated the tax credit for any purchase made in 2015. This tax credit will extend through the end of 2016. According to ENERGY STAR, the tax credit amount is 10% of cost and there is also a total credit limit of $200 for windows/doors/skylights for all years since 2005. For purposes of figuring the credit, you should not include labor costs. (This is only applicable to ENERGY STAR certified products.) If you are looking for the Great Lakes Window 2015/2016 Manufacturer’s Certification Statement for the ENERGY STAR tax credit, you can download it here.
When working with homeowners in selecting the right energy-efficient glass package, let them know that their state or city may offer local rebates or credits for using energy efficient products. Send them to this website to learn more.
For a copy of the Great Lakes Window Manufacturer’s statement, click here.
Keep in mind that the Great Lakes Window website is full of content that will be beneficial to homeowners. You will find easy-to-digest information on energy efficient windows, as well as helpful videos such as our Glass Packs Video. The Learn About Windows blog is always a great option for finding material to share with homeowners, reminding them that you are a thought leader in the industry and keeping your business top of mind.
As a local business owner it’s important that you focus on ranking well in local search results, especially if you don’t work out of an actual storefront property. With the majority of shoppers using the internet in order to find and learn about local businesses, not having yours come up in those search results can be extremely detrimental to your business growth.
According to an article from Search Engine Land, “6 Local SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know,” Google’s research found that local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. Based off of this statistic, shoppers who search for local businesses are looking for a reason and actually plan to visit one of these stores. Because of this, it is crucial that your business shows up on this list.
Brands, organizations, artists and other online-only businesses should create a Google+ Brands Page instead of a local page. Brand pages follow the Google+ page content guidelines. Including a website and detailed description in the “about” section of your local page can help customers find you across Google.
We’ve shared before the importance of setting up a Google My Business Account, but it never hurts to emphasize this point again. Set up your account here and make sure your profile is 100% complete.
In addition to registering on Google My Business, use local keywords throughout your website whenever possible and also make sure your business name, address and phone number is the same across all of your online mediums – including your website, social media accounts, directories, etc.
The same study from above also found that more than 60% of consumers have used local information in ads. They discovered that 67% of smartphone users prefer ads that are customized to their city and zip code, while 61% want ads customized to their immediate surroundings. Be sure to use location extensions and Google My Business to ensure your ads appear the way you want them to.
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant or hired someone to work on a task around your house. Did you check out the ratings online first? BrightLocal found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews are HUGE for your business! Consider listing your business on sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, and Angie’s List.
comScore found that the majority of local searchers are looking for the details of your business location. This is yet another reason to make sure your site and social profiles clearly list your business address and contact information.
Not only are customers finding your business on their mobile device through local search more likely to stop by, but Google found that 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale.
By now you know the importance of having a mobile friendly site, but did you know that 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile site? Check out this study from BrightLocal, and make sure your site is mobile friendly. Test it using this tool.
Bottom line – make sure your business is listed on Google My Business and that all of your contact information is relevant and up-to-date across your website and social channels. It’s always a good idea to use local keywords when you can and your site really should be mobile friendly!
As you probably already know, where your website lands in the search rankings directly impacts how many visitors check out your site, which can influence the amount of calls and forms you receive, ultimately impacting your leads and sales. This is why it’s so important to be conscious of your keywords and content. Creating content that answers your users’ questions, along with some keywords sprinkled in, is the ideal formula for high rankings. First, install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Then, check out the checklist Business 2 Community has compiled of 15 things you can do to improve search engine ranking. We’ve summarized some highlights from that list for you here.
Give it time for your SEO strategy to kick in. As long as you are following this checklist and creating optimized, helpful content on your user and mobile friendly site, you should begin to see a rise in rankings over time.
High consideration purchases (furniture, windows, houses, cars, etc.) require a lot of time, thought, cost analysis, and estimating before a decision is made. When it comes to making these big purchases, cost, timing and status-quo are typically three of the biggest hesitations that sales professionals face when speaking with buyers. Here we will discuss a few ways to try and overcome these common objections.
Cost is the number one objection seen in sales with almost all products and services. Buyers use cost to justify other factors like need and timing because usually in the end – it all depends on if they think they can afford it or not. It’s important to calculate an ROI or cost savings analysis to justify the purchase. This puts the buyer at ease knowing that their large upfront investment will eventually lead to a return on spend or cost savings.
“I understand this is a big investment for you John, but the investment you make now to purchase new windows will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run on energy costs, when compared to not purchasing new windows.”
NOT THE RIGHT TIME
Timing is also critical for buyers, but timing is a tricky animal because the buyer has usually pre-determined when they “think” the right time will be. Timing can be determined by the sales rep during the sales process if they do it right. This can be changed by expressing urgency to the buyer, or enticing them with a deal that only lasts a certain amount of time. Persuading a potential customer to change the timing of their purchase is a tactic used every day in sales.
“I understand this month is tricky from a timing perspective John, but keep in mind – the (express monthly deal) only lasts until the end of August and I’d hate for you to miss out on a (%) discount if you wait too long. I’d also hate for your current window situation to lead to (express common error or hurdle) and by that time it will cost double what it is now.”
This is probably the hardest objection to combat…mainly because we deal with buyer inexperience. The status-quo is simply the desire to KEEP THINGS THE SAME despite obvious reasons to change. People naturally fear change – and throw in a big investment and this fear can grow substantially. The thought of the process: getting measurements, an estimate, a quote, the construction, the length of project, and the cost, is sometimes enough to make people think, “You know what, forget it, I don’t want to deal with that so I’m going to just stay where I’m at.” Buyers will do this even if they KNOW the change will be for the better in multiple areas. All you can do here is reiterate the benefits they will experience after a brief disruption. Lay out step-by-step exactly how the process will go and answer any questions to put them at ease. You can also share some before and after stories to demonstrate just how beneficial a window replacement can be.
If you go into a sales meeting armed and ready with a few replies to the more common objections of the sales process, you are already one step ahead. It is important to reiterate the benefits that the homeowner will experience immediately and long-term.
How many times have you gone on a website to buy something or searched a local company’s services online and there weren’t any pictures to look at? Very rarely do you find a website without any pictures, and it’s likely if it doesn’t have photographs you are left feeling unsatisfied and not willing to pursue your next step with that company. Customers in today’s world are very visual; they learn by seeing, not just by reading information.
As a window dealer you can claim all you want how your windows will transform the look of a home, but if you really want to win them over, showing them visuals to back up these types of statements will help solidify a relationship with these potential customers. Our brain retains and transmits more information when it’s given to us visually; it processes visuals 60,000X faster than text, and 40% of people respond better to visuals. So it’s important that you make pictures one of the single most important aspects on your website and social media efforts.
Here is the What, Why, When and How of taking pictures for your digital marketing efforts…
What is the easiest way to add photos to my marketing plan?
Create a high quality image gallery so homeowners can see your vinyl windows and other products in a real life setting. Don’t forget to not only put the gallery on your website, but include these photos on your other social media platforms as well. Your website might not be the first point of interaction a homeowner has. Many times if they search you using Google, your Google Places page will be the first item to get promoted and the photo gallery always shows first. So, having detailed information and pictures across all your social media outlets is really important. Don’t have a Google My Business Account? Learn more about the importance of having one with in this post.
Why would it be important to include pictures as a MAIN focus for my marketing plan?
The more eye-catching and holistic your photos are, the more confidence homeowners will have in pursuing your services. People retain and understand much more information when it’s visual. Think about how you can tell a story through a series of photographs; this could be your installation process or steps you take during the in-home consultation. Think about how you gain a homeowner’s trust by putting their mind at ease about the common things they may be anxious about. Lots of times photography and video can be the most effective way to do this.
When is the best time to take photographs?
While taking pictures at the end reveal of a job is the most exciting, don’t forget to take a few photos before you even start the project! When you add before and after photos to your gallery homeowners will be able to see the dramatic change in curb appeal from their new vinyl windows, roof or siding project. This will increase homeowners’ confidence in your products and services, which gets you one step closer to transitioning them from a lead to a customer.
How do I go about taking good quality photos?
You may be thinking, “I don’t want to spend the money or energy going to get a fancy-schmancy camera.” But you’re in luck! For the internet, you don’t need a high resolution photograph, digital pictures taken on your smartphone typically are high resolution enough for the web. Be sure to tell your contractors and sales people to use their phones to take pictures. Start out slow and give yourself a goal of taking 5 pictures a week, you will be surprised at how fast you can build up a great image library for your business.
While whole house glamour shots are nice, make sure you take time to get more detailed close ups. This will give homeowners a clear view of the product itself, and if you can catch a hand or face examining or installing the product, this can really show off the craftsmanship of your business.
It pays to make photography a KEY part of your marketing plan. By incorporating media into your marketing strategy it will help you keep your content fresh for your website and other social channels. In the end, Google and other search engines, reward websites that contribute to helping searchers find the information they are looking for. If you are regularly making updates and adding content, Google sees you as a valuable partner in furthering the World Wide Web and that means seeing your site rise in search ranking! If you want to dive deeper into how to get your photo gallery noticed on search engines, read this article about photo optimization and SEO.
Has the main focus of your business always been on window replacements? Have you ever considered taking a step back from windows and thought of patio doors as their own separate product? Instead of patio doors simply being an add-on to your window sale, they can fall under a wide umbrella of other home renovation categories: a new deck, a kitchen remodel, a patio and yard project and more. Getting your foot in the door as an expert in these areas can vastly increase your business, and expand it in a whole new direction.
People use their patio doors more often than they probably realize. Since patio doors tend to be right off the kitchen, they are a convenient way to get to the deck, yard or patio, as well as a way to let ample fresh air into the room while cooking or dining. Because of the location, when a homeowner is ready to replace their home windows, a new patio door might not come to mind. However, when they are updating their kitchen or focusing on improving their deck or backyard, a patio door is more likely to be a part of that mix.
So, how do you get involved in these kinds of projects that go beyond window installation?
Home improvement and gardening tradeshows are ripe with homeowners looking to make some changes to their homes. This is also a great way to meet other industry experts that may need the assistance of someone that can provide and install patio doors, such as yourself!
Network with people in these industries
Landscapers and deck builders all need professionals to help them with installation requests like patio doors. They often look for partner businesses to take care of these kinds of jobs if they don’t have the resources on their staff. Becoming a trusted partner to these people will ensure some repeat business.
Work on a strong online presence
Use social media and online forums to not only connect with the kinds of industry experts above, but to also make your patio door capabilities more well-known. Share photos of kitchen remodels or patio projects you have been a part of. Share some outdoor design ideas with your audience to demonstrate your thought leadership in that area.
Sign up for sites like Angie’s List
You may already be on here for your window business, but there is also a “doors” category that you could be listing yourself under. Don’t sell yourself short!
Once you have successfully networked with industry professionals on your patio door capabilities and made yourself known as an expert online, watch the requests start rolling in. Stepping outside of the ‘windows only’ box can open up many more opportunities for your business.
Have you ever considered how selling more patio doors could improve your overall business? The industry average window to patio door ratio is 18 windows to 1 patio door. Does this sound like the ratio for your business? If not, you could be leaving money on the table! While windows are typically the more popular choice when it comes to home improvement projects, patio doors are also a great addition. It’s easy for windows to become such a strong focus that doors end up being more of an afterthought, but they are an integral part of any home and a great way for you to break into a new market. Try thinking beyond windows, and open up your potential for more sales by putting a focus on doors.
When you visit home improvement shows or are meeting with potential customers, instead of just being a window specialist, try talking up the benefits of vinyl patio doors as well. Let homeowners know that you can be a single source for all of their window and door needs. If you only have “windows” in your business name you may be doing yourself a disservice. Many homeowners don’t know that window companies also sell doors – and they likely will not ask about doors if they assume you only sell windows. Making yourself known as an expert in patio doors can provide additional sales opportunities.
Simply put, a patio door is more expensive than a window. Which is why they are a great add-on opportunity. On average, it takes roughly 5 windows to equal the revenue of 1 patio door. So, if an average home of windows is about 14, if you add a patio door, you are able to increase your revenue by a third just for that one job! You will be able to increase your margins and make more money on every single job.
Once a customer has installed fresh new windows it is likely their old patio doors will pale in comparison. Make sure homeowners know that you also offer patio doors. They may only think of you as a window supplier, but once they know you also offer doors, they may be interested in getting all of their materials from the same, reliable place.
Try reaching out to homeowners that you sold windows to in the past. They may not have been ready for a door when they installed their windows, but now that some time has passed, they may be wanting to update their patio door. It couldn’t hurt to send them a mailer or quick email reminding them that you also do patio door installation.
Aim to keep the focus on the value as opposed to cost alone. Work to get yourself known in the industry as a window AND door expert, and never hesitate to keep in contact with former customers. In the future, they may be interested in a patio door if they weren’t before, or know someone else who is.
Let’s be honest, even though we love our jobs we really work for the time off and to be able to participate in fun activities like the ones you’ll find below. You don’t have to go on an extravagant vacation with your free time, you can save your money and have just as much fun right at home. Of course if that European vacation has been on the agenda, we won’t steer you away!
Try a new activity. Maybe you’ve been dying to get your buddies together for an intense paintball game, or want to take the family to a laser tag facility. Planning ahead to finally get the group together and go will ensure that you actually make it happen.
Visit your local theater. The local theater likely has a website that will have a list of upcoming plays, musicals, concerts, comedy shows and more. Turn it into a romantic date night or find a kid-friendly show. Just check for dates and tickets in advance because the more popular shows do sell out fast.
Go on a camping trip. Pack up the tent, sleeping bags and the whole family and head to the nearest camp site. Tell ghost stories while toasting s’mores and roasting hotdogs. Don’t have time to travel to a campground? You can even camp in your own backyard! You’ll have easy access to your grill, and even better, the bathroom!
Take a tour of a local brewery or distillery. Think of yourself as a craft beer connoisseur or do you love a good glass of bourbon? If you have a brewery or distillery nearby they most likely offer tours that show how they brew or distill and usually the tour is complete with samples!
Simply unwind. Whether you want to kick back with a good book, work on crossword puzzles, binge watch Netflix or finally watch the movie you’ve been dying to see, just taking time to unwind with one of these low-key activities is a great way to relax.
Look for local festivals. State fairs are always fun for the whole family and the summer months are filled with carnivals. Once the weather is in its prime there is often an event almost every weekend.
Head to the zoo or amusement park. These activities aren’t just fun for the kids, adults can enjoy them just as much. Dare yourself to jump on the scariest rollercoaster or coast down the tallest water slide.
Take the family to a museum. If the weather isn’t cooperating for a fun outdoor activity, try something indoors. Whether you choose a children’s museum, the science museum or a history museum, there will likely be an exhibit for everyone. Check to see if your science museum has a planetarium for a really cool treat. Follow this link to find museums in your area.
Put on your jerseys and head to a sporting event. With spring comes baseball season and what is more fun than sharing a bag of peanuts and watching your favorite team? Often times Friday night games include a fireworks show, so check out the schedule and look for games that include that added bonus.
Host a lawn game tournament. Whether you want this to be kid friendly or just the adults, everyone can have fun with this. Set up a corn hole tournament, ladder golf station, and a water balloon battle. The adults will probably get just as into the competition as the kids. Check out this post of a bunch of DIY lawn games to try.
OK we get it, you aren’t selling awesome Great Lakes® windows ALL the time. You have families and friends and other interests of course. While you may have too much going on right now to take some time off, once the busy season is over and you have earned some well-deserved vacation time – what kind of trip or fun activities do you partake in? Finding ways to make the most of your time off is important to refreshing and maintaining a good work-life balance. You never want to feel like you blinked your eyes and your time off is over, without anything to show for it. These are some fun and interesting ways to spend your time off. Whether you want to participate in them alone, with a spouse, friend or the entire family, these ideas can work for a quick weekend adventure or an extended period of time. There is only one rule – HAVE FUN!
Have you established yourself in your community as a window expert? Are you ready to start really building your clientele and solidifying your advertising plan? Having a fully functioning and easy-to-use website is likely a major part of that plan. Your clients are going to want to check in and see what you have to offer, how best to reach you, and learn as much as they can about the services you provide. They will likely want to do this before they schedule an in-home consultation with you to make sure you are a reliable and trusted source. A major concern for many business owners is a lack of traffic to their website. The good news is there are lots of simple ways to boost visitors checking out your site.
Understand who you are writing for. This is probably the most important thing to fully understand before you start creating content for your site. What kind of posts are they likely to read? What social media channels are they on? Consider posting a survey to get a better idea of what kinds of content they’d like to see from you. Resources like SurveyMonkey.com allow you to build your own survey for free as long as you don’t go over 10 questions. You can even have it be specifically for Facebook. They will walk you through the steps of creating it. If you already have a following and a newsletter, send it out to the contacts that you already have, many of them will be happy to help.
Promote your website everywhere you can. If you have business cards, put your website on there. Put it at the bottom of your email signature. Make sure it is on all of your social media outlets. Make it as easy as possible for people to get to your site.
Start a blog. Blogs are a great way to constantly add relevant and fresh content to your site. They are also easy to promote on social media channels. It is important to be active in the community that you are writing for. Comment on other blog posts that relate to your industry and link to fellow bloggers when they are contributing information that would be relevant to your post. Offer your opinions and give customers a better understanding. Building relationships within your industry can be a great way to have traffic sent back to your site from other resources.
Promote your site on social media. Nowadays everyone is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and these are excellent portals to drive traffic to your site. Promote a recent blog post you wrote, a current promotion you have going on, or a hot new item that you are selling. Link back to your website for the full story. In order to promote a post, log in to your social media account. Write a status update that explains what you plan to promote and then copy and paste in the link that goes back to your website. This way you catch their attention and then send them back to your website to learn more. You should have a business oriented social media account that is separate from your personal one.
Put your videos on YouTube. If you have videos of product demonstrations, how-to videos or any other videos you wish to share, get those on YouTube as soon as possible. YouTube drives the most engaged social traffic and will be a major help in driving traffic back to your site. Make sure you take advantage of the description space and give a brief and concise summary of what your video is about. Make sure it includes keywords and a link back to your site.
Be active on other sites and blogs that relate to your industry. Check out Yahoo and Answers and answer questions from people that are relevant to your industry. Comment on other social media connections that are talking about something you understand and where you can provide good insight on. Once you have started building connections you can ask people that are high up in your industry to contribute to your blog or ask them to share a recent post that you wrote. Being active in your community online will get more visitors to your site.
Set up a Google+ account. According to a Forbes article, Google+ pages have an advantage. When you post through Google it means they have already verified the validity of your page in addition to having direct access to the social signals around that page and your company’s posts, meaning Google+ content is favored over any other content on the Internet.
What methods are you using to attract more visitors to your site? Share below.
Your website is probably one of the most critical tools you have for your business. In the eyes of consumers, having a website is a measure of stability. When consumers review websites they are looking at the quality and professionalism which helps them determine whether your business is successful or not and if you will remain in business.
What are you doing in 2015 to ensure your site is lending credibility to your marketing efforts and giving you the leads that you deserve? If you have on your list this year to update or improve your existing website or to create a new one, you will want to consider these 5 tips for creating a great website.
Managing your website does not have to be difficult, there are many web designers and local search firms that are available to help you. If you are hiring someone to create and manage your website, a good way to make sure you have the right partner is to ensure that the above tips come out while you are interviewing them. These tips are BASIC to web design and any educated and knowledgeable web designer or marketing expert should advise you on these five things when talking about websites.
Does your company manage your own website or do you have a marketing partner to help you?
This article is part of our Social Media 101 series. For a complete overview of different social networks you and your company should utilize, check out our previous articles in this series where we covered Facebook and YouTube.
Google is likely to be the place many homeowners will turn to, to start their search for replacement windows.
Previously known as Google Places, Google My Business is a social network tool you should have in your toolbox. With the help of an optimized account, your company can prominently appear on these Google searches performed by homeowners.
With the opportunity to list your company, address, phone number and hours of operation directly under paid searches, Google My Business can help you reach more homeowners to grow your business.
Just like YouTube, you’ll need a Google account to set up a Google My Business profile. Once you’ve set up your Google account, you’ll need to register your business with Google. Once Google recognizes where your business is located, it’s important to fill out all of the available fields.
Remember, you want homeowners who are searching for window dealers in your area to be able to find you. Listing your address, phone number, website and hours of operation can help make this happen, as this contact information will appear on a Google search and will entice interested homeowners to contact you.
Once you’ve added your contact information, make sure to sync your Google My Business account with your YouTube channel and Google+ page. This will help with your company’s online search engine optimization, or how you appear on a Google search.
You want to make sure you invest in practices that are worth your time. By setting up and managing a Google My Business account, you will be able to effectively grow your business.
You don’t run your business blindly, right? The same mindset should be used when managing social media platforms.
Google By Business is worth the time and effort because it delivers valuable insights to help you improve your online presence and reach more potential homeowners. For example, its View Card enables you to see the number of views your business has received. If a homeowner has a Google+ account, you’ll even be able to see their location, gender and age.
Maybe it’s a female homeowner who is searching for her family’s new windows or the younger couple who just moved into the neighborhood. This personal information you’ll gather from your account will be the insights to help best market your business.
By registering your business, customers can easily add their ratings and reviews by simply googling your company.
Reviews are important in growing your company, as they help with referral business. Google My Business will make receiving reviews even easier, and these testimonials will give you and your company credibility in the eyes of potential homeowners.
Don’t be anxious about receiving a bad review; it’s bound to happen. Be proactive by commenting on negative ratings to show you care and will take action. Remember to say please, thank you and go above and beyond.
A new technology you might want to consider is Google Hangouts, which allows you to talk with 10 to 15 people at one time. In addition, a Hangout on Air can stream directly to YouTube so other homeowners can watch you now or in the future.
This is a great way to promote your business. Perhaps you schedule a Hangout with a happy customer who’s willing to talk about your service, or you can hangout with someone on your team to discuss your company’s installation approach; there are lots of ways to take advantage of Google Hangouts. This feature provides a great approach where you can be transparent with current and future homeowners.
For those of you who are using Google My Business, what strategies have you used to best promote your business through Google? Share below!
Whether you enlist in advertising, get involved in your local community or have a window exhibit at a local home show, connecting with homeowners is essential in the industry.
While you do a great job at attracting new business, we have some valuable homeowner research to share to help you become an even better window dealer.
To better understand the replacement window selection process, we conducted a survey with 500 homeowners who had purchased replacement windows within the past year. This data, which was collected in April 2014, can help you improve how you sell to homeowners.
Here are four insights for your company to consider.
You can say you’re a good company, but if you get a homeowner to vouch for your service, this referral is considered more credible.
According to our research, when indicating what sources homeowners use when buying new windows, roughly 30% of homeowners indicated word of mouth or referrals from friends/family as the most used source in finding a window specialist.
Though investing in advertising and making sure you have a ranked website is important, most homeowners value most what other consumers say about you.
TIP: Make it a goal to get a referral after each job. Ask these individuals to write a testimonial, commenting on your work. In addition, find the happy homeowners who are willing to be references. These advocates can help spread the word about your work by talking to other potential homeowners.
Our research indicates the majority of homeowners begin the window buying process about 3-6 months before installation, with approximately 40% beginning their researching and 30% deciding where to purchase during this time period. When it gets closer to the time of the installation, less than 3 months, approximately 60% either decided where to purchase or reached out to a dealer.
This means that you, the Authorized Great Lakes® Window Dealer, need to start developing relationships with interested homeowners about a half a year before they purchase their replacement windows. You must develop a reputation in your local community so your company can be top of mind when homeowners are considering new windows.
Our research also indicates how extensive the Window Buying Process is for homeowners. This graph below shows that at least 50% of people take all of these actions when purchasing replacement windows.
As a dealer, it’s your responsibility to make this an easier process for your homeowners by being the source of information to answer all of their questions.
TIP: Once you receive a lead on a homeowner who’s started the window buying process, stay in touch with them. Don’t wait on them to call you when they’re ready for an in-home consultation. Instead, check in with them on a regular basis to see how their buying process is going. Whether it’s answering questions about a window’s efficiency or giving them information on different window styles, be a valuable resource from the start.
While the price of replacement windows is an important considerations for homeowners, other factors also influence their decision making on who to buy their windows from.
When selecting a company, roughly 40% stated overall comfort with the company, highest quality, knowledgable/informative or a positive in-home consultation as major considerations. While the lowest price received less than 30% of homeowner votes.
This homeowner research indicates the importance of being relatable, personable and credible in the eyes of interested homeowners. If you are able to prove the quality and expertise of you and your company, this is likely to have more of an effect than the price tag of the homeowner’s windows or your services.
TIP: Make sure to spend adequate time getting to know a homeowner. In-home consultations provide the perfect opportunity for relationship building. Yes, getting them a quote on how much the project is going to cost is important, but you will be more likely to get the job if you showcase your personality, experience and knowledge.
Because a person purchases windows only once or twice during their lifetime, we all know the window business is known as a “once and done” type of industry.
But why not take advantage of the other home improvements most homeowners are interested in?
From roof repair, flooring, front entry door replacements and other common remodeling jobs, those that completed our survey told us that now that their windows are done, they hope to complete the following projects in the next 2 years.
TIP: Whether it be during the in-home consultation, on the job or after the installation is complete, make sure to notify homeowners about the other services your company provides. Or, if you know of another good handyman in your community, consider partnering with them to help both of you with referrals and increased leads.
What insights have you learned through working with homeowners? Share your experiences below.
This article is part of our Social Media 101 series. This month, we’re covering YouTube. Stay tuned during the next few months for a complete overview of different social networks you can and should consider utilizing for your business.
From cat videos to the next hip-hop sensation to Jimmy Falon’s notorious lip sync battles and more – YouTube is the online hub for videos.
Yes, you may not have the best Bruce Springsteen karaoke voice or you still don’t know all the moves to the Macarena, but when used effectively, YouTube for business is a social media network you should add to your marketing toolbox.
After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine. People turn to YouTube because they want to learn by watching. They’re searching for ‘Do it Yourself’ presentations, tutorials and other helpful videos because they know YouTube hosts this kind of content and more.
With over 6 billion hours of video being watched each month on YouTube, which is almost an hour for every person on Earth, as an Authorized Great Lakes® Dealer, you have opportunities to reach new homeowners by creating your own video account.
Creating a YouTube account is both easy and free! Because YouTube is owned by Google, you must have a Gmail account to begin. Gmail accounts give you access to email, YouTube, Google+ and other Google platforms.
Once you’ve signed up through Google, you will then be able to access your YouTube channel. Just like the setup for Facebook pages, it’s important to complete each section of your channel, filling out all the copy to provide information on your business.
Don’t forget about channel art. Your logo and other branded images make perfect profile and header photos.
The thought of producing videos may make you feel a bit intimidated. But don’t fret, we’re here to help! Keep in mind that anyone can create a channel and upload content, so you don’t need to be a Hollywood producer to manage a YouTube account.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you produce and upload your video content:
The key to good video is finding the right camera that allows you to not only capture the photos and videos you want, but also one that doesn’t overwhelm you. Depending on your YouTube and photography goals, a simple camera may be your best bet. Do your research to find the camera that’s right for you.
Believe it or not, but your iPhone or iPad can be the right choice. Check out this video that was shot entirely by a smartphone for some inspiration and tips.
To best keep the attention span of your current and future customers, you want compelling, interesting videos that are short and fun to watch. Though you may be able to talk for 20 minutes about why your business does a great job at window installations, your videos need to be short in order to get views. A good rule of thumb is to keep your videos under 60 seconds.
To continue on point #2, most videos lose viewership over time. Because of this, to keep the interest of your viewers, the beginning of your videos need to be strong and engaging. Perhaps a shot of a noticeable before and after is a way to start a video. When in doubt, start with the good to keep the viewers throughout your video.
Because you are a personable individual and dealer, you want these characteristics to come alive in your videos. Don’t invest in a teleprompter of any kind. By reading off a script, not only is this distracting, but it will lose the personal element, immediately.
You have years of experience and a vast knowledge of window materials. Be natural. Talk from the heart, like your homeowners are sitting across your dining room table with you. Design a script that you can read effortless, without the aid of a teleprompter.
From installation jobs to in-home consultations to homeowner testimonials and more, there are an unlimited about of video opportunities out there for you. Showcase the range and expertise of your business through your YouTube channel.
Consistency is key to all social media. Because YouTube requires a bit more work than other social networks, start with a schedule that’s both manageable and allows you to visually capture the work of your company. Start small, perhaps one video per month, and grow overtime, as you develop your video producing skills.
After editing it’s time to upload! To optimize your video for search engines, make sure you fill out all the copy that accompanies each video, such as the title, about video section and tags. Once you’re satisfied with your video, make sure to select the ‘public’ options versus the unlisted or private settings. You will want your videos to look like this screenshot.
Once you follow these steps, you wi be producing YouTube videos in no time!
For those of you who are using YouTube for your business, what videos have received the highest numbers of views for you? Leave us a comment below!
You’ve confirmed their first in-home consultation for next week. You know the Great Lakes® Window products like the back of your hands and have installed replacement windows for years. You’re confident in your ability to showcase the available products, but can you promote your business to the interested homeowner?
The client is going to ultimately select the window products they like the most and fit within their budget.
But the sale isn’t solely based off of the materials – the dealer and his or her services are also big determining factors. But how does one go about accomplishing this?
Great Lakes Window Sales Manager, Lee Davison, offers some clarification.
“Homeowners are going to buy from who they feel the most comfortable with. It’s up to the dealer to build rapport with the client.” Davison said.
A recent survey of roughly 300 homeowners who had purchased replacement windows in the last 12 months shows that approximately 80% of respondents state they select a company based on a positive in-home consultation experience.
The key takeaway from this research for you, the Authorized Great Lakes Window Dealer, is while the credibility of the Great Lakes Window brand and products is important — it’s absolutely critical for you to talk about your business and sell your company during the in-home consultation.
So, how on earth can you do that? We’ve got your back with a list of 6 actionable tips listed below.
Products and company aside, find something that you have in common with your client. Davison stresses the importance of spending adequate time on the ‘warm up.’
“Where a lot of companies fall short is they skip the warm up,” Davison said. “They go straight to the window, measure the window space and then give a price. Spend time getting to know your client.”
TIP: Find a way to relate on a personal level. Your client is most likely anxious about their remodeling project. Whoever can put them at ease will have a better chance at getting the job.
“[A dealer] may say they’re a good company, but they don’t spend time explaining why they’re good,” Davison said.
Communicate your longevity and experience. How long have you been in business? Where is your office located and how long have you been headquartered there?
TIP: To show credibility, identify the factors unique to your services and company. This will result in a better final project and happier clients.
Explaining the installation process, Davison said, is a missed opportunity many dealers don’t take advantage of.
“If you’re given a puzzle that has 100 pieces, but you only use 75 of those pieces, you’re not going to have a complete picture when you’re done,” he said. “The same holds true when installing a window. If you don’t do it right, your homeowners aren’t going to be satisfied.”
TIP: To increase confidence, explain to clients how their windows will be installed so they’ll know what to expect.
“Whether you chose a local or national charity, it shows you care about more than just a sale,” Davison said. “It shows you’re also [invested] in helping people in your community.
TIP: Consider donating a portion or your sales to the charity of your choice. This way, your clients have the opportunity to help support the cause your company is passionate about.
As a dealer, it’s very unlikely you’ll become a household name. If your budget can afford it, you should consider hiring a marketing partner or investing in local advertising.
“Sometimes advertisements take longer to yield benefits,” Davison said. “It’s important to develop name recognition, so clients can make a visual connection to your business, which helps boost their confidence to purchase. Be prepared to not get any kind of benefits from your advertisement until name recognition has been established.”
TIP: If you don’t have a large dollar amount at your disposal, another option is to attend national and local community shows, events and fairs. As a cost effective method, you’ll get great exposure and prospect new clients. It’s also a great way to get involved with your community.
We pride ourselves on being there to help you and your business. Our sales team can easily be reached if needed.
TIP: Call your Great Lakes Area Sales Manager to get information about available tools and training to help you and your business succeed.
To garner new business, you cannot rely on your knowledge of just the window replacement process. While this experience is important, it’s critical that you sell your business to the prospective homeowners. By following these strategies during your next in-home consultations, you’ll easily be able to promote your business.
Share your thoughts. What strategies have you taken to help promote your business during the in-home consultation?
It’s likely that one of the things you don’t have a lot of time to do is market your business. And, when it comes to marketing tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), graphic design and copy writing, you may not know where to begin.
But, marketing is important. It’s marketing that keeps your business name out in the public and your sales pipeline full.
With all that said, you may already be considering outsourcing your marketing to a local agency, consultant or freelancer. Before you make any decisions, be sure to ask these six questions when you’re talking to potential marketing partners.
Keep in mind that the age of the marketing business, or even their size and pricing, doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of work they will deliver.
For instance, younger, start-up firms may have lower pricing and the ability to give your business more attention, but they may lack critical experience in your local market or building products industry to be able to deliver results.
On the other hand, larger, more seasoned firms may have the experience you need, but may view your business as a small, second tier account, which may limit how much attention you receive. They also typically have higher overhead, which will result in higher hourly rates.
TIP: When you are selecting marketing partners, make sure to explore the middle market of small boutique agencies that use a mix of full-time employees and sub-contractors. Don’t be afraid to ask about the other clients they’ve worked with.
The size of the company will determine who your contact person will be. With a small agency, you’re likely to communicate with the owner or a senior representative, whereas with larger agencies, you may be directed to a salesperson or junior-level associate.
Whoever you talk to, make sure you get all your questions answered. If the person you’re directed to can’t provide adequate information or educate you on their process and approach, it’s a safe bet that they may not fully understand it themselves.
TIP: You want to select a marketing partner who will involve you in their strategic process and educate you on the craft of marketing along the way. Said another way – make sure to choose a partner that makes you smarter.
You want to hire a marketing partner who understands your work and your business in the regions where your prospects and customers live. The right partner will ultimately generate higher results if they’re deeply engrained and understand the local and regional market. Over time, you can always educate them about your business and industry.
TIP: Be sure the marketing partner demonstrates their understanding of your target neighborhoods, municipalities, as well as local events and press. If they can show you local marketing results for other related business, such as analytics of an advertising campaign they helped execute, resulting with increased website traffic, then they are a safe bet.
You probably win a lot of new business by showing prospects positive testimonials from your existing customers. The majority of marketing agencies, consultants and freelancers win their clients exactly the same way.
It’s important to do some research and go beyond the face value of the testimonials they show you in their sales presentation or pitch. Every marketing partner will show you his or her best stuff, but what about the clients that didn’t turn out so well?
TIP: Ask for contact information for the client case studies and testimonials the prospective marketing partner presents. Make some calls to their clients and ask hard questions like: “Can you tell me about a time when XYZ Agency missed their mark?” By having these conversations with other paying clients, you’ll feel more confident when signing the contract.
Remember, an agency may be good at selling the work, but in the end, they must deliver on those promises or you’ve wasted your marketing budget. Regular reporting is a critical component to your success as well as theirs.
TIP: Start by approaching your marketing partner with crystal clear goals. Examples might be greater awareness in a local market, increase in leads or even shorter sales cycles. Early on, find out how, why and the frequency they plan to report your business’s marketing progress. In addition, make sure the analytics they report stay tied to your business goals.
In the end, you need to know what you are paying for in terms of the actual marketing strategies, tactics and creative elements. Without clear objectives, you may end up receiving less than you paid for or asking for more than your budget can allow.
TIP: Make sure the marketing partner explains all of the elements they plan to deliver, their revision process and how your marketing program will evolve over time from phase to phase. If they created a logo for you or a ValPak ad, make sure you ask for all final files on a disk or jump drive, so you have them on file for future projects.
It’s best to stick with a partner who will work for you on an ongoing, monthly basis. By hiring them for a longer period of time, you’ll be able to get more marketing success and services because they will have more experience understanding your business.
What questions have you asked when hiring marketing partners? Leave us a comment below.
This article is part of our Social Media 101 series. This month, we’re covering Facebook. Stay tuned during the next few months for a complete overview of different social networks you can and should consider utilizing for your business.
With more than 900 million people on Facebook, constantly liking, commenting, sharing and posting, it can be overwhelming to tackle the Mark Zuckerberg beast.
Though it can sometimes be hard to see past the Facebook clutter, when used correctly, this social network can be an effective tactic to engage with customers and ultimately garner and grow your business.
With 57% of American adults using Facebook, this online network remains the most dominate social networking platform and should play a crucial role in your marketing efforts.
Every Facebook business page has the same general layout. It’s important to go through and complete each section of the page, filling out copy about your business. Don’t forget about the visual components. Your logo and other branded images make perfect profile and cover photo images.
Facebook likes to change things frequently, but to save you some time, you can download an infographic cheat sheet on the most recent Facebook page specifications for 2014.
You’ve set up your page, now what? Here are some important things to consider when posting content.
The shorter you can make your posts, the better. The majority of people are going to skip your content if it’s written in large bodies of text. Posts that are one or two lines of text, or between 100 and 250 characters, get 60% more likes, comments and shares than ones totaling in 250 plus characters.
An example could include:
Thanks to Sally and Jonathan Burrell for allowing us to transform their home with new Great Lakes® windows this week! See their story at www.XYZWindows.com/Burrell.
Text is great, but photos and videos are better. This is a perfect opportunity to include pictures of your work or videos of your team replacing existing windows with vinyl windows. By adding visual elements, you’ll be more likely to capture homeowners’ attention.
Posting once a month will get you nowhere. Design a schedule to make sure you are consistently posting. Consider posting times. You’ll want to reach homeowners when they’re online.
Yes, Facebook is a great place to promote you and your work, but your page shouldn’t be devoted to promotion. In addition to offering testimonials and information on your services, consider posting useful information to strike up conversation with your fans. ENERGY STAR® ratings on the most efficient windows could be an example.
It should be no surprise that Facebook wants to make money off of your content. According to the latest research, organic reach – or the content that is seen without being promoted or paid for – reaches only 1-2% of your total fans. Because of this, you need to leave money in your marketing budget to put towards Facebook advertising. For just a few dollars a day, your promoted posts will get you more results than organic posts.
Facebook is a great strategy to help gather referrals. If you post photos of a homeowner’s new windows and that homeowner is on Facebook, ask them to tag themselves in the photos or share them with their friends. They can also be encouraged to write a review on your business’s Facebook page.
Both of these options give you the opportunity to promote your work without having to rely on self-promotion. If a customer comments on your service, this will hold more weight than you saying you’re a great company.
For those of you who are using Facebook for your business, what strategies would you recommend to your fellow Authorized Great Lakes Window Dealers? Provide your feedback by leaving a comment below.
One of your most powerful referral tools lies in keeping your customer relationships warm after you’ve done great work. But, simply asking them to refer you to their friends may not be the most effective approach.
Your business needs to create remarkable experiences for each and every customer.
Why? At its core, being remarkable is simply being worthy of remark. Remarkability then, is the key to generating word of mouth. In the eyes of a marketer, this is the desired “buzz” between customers and their family members, neighbors and friends about the replacement windows and your services.
As consumers, we tend to trust the advice of the people close to us. During the course of casual conversations, we also often hear stories that reflect our own experience as a customer. This social transmission spreads from person to person, and can have long-term impact on your lead generation through referrals.
On the opposite side however, consumers choose to not talk about experiences that don’t stand out as something special.
Therefore, remarkability happens when an experience you’ve worked to create is so striking to a customer, it becomes worthy of being talked about by those who have had the privilege of experiencing it first-hand.
Here are 3 simple, cost effective and easy to execute ideas that will take a great experience and turn it into one that is remarkable and worthy of sharing.
Simple hand-written cards get noticed. But they can also take a lot of time and effort, and during busy sales months, hand-written notes may not be possible. Online services such as Send Out Cards provide an easy to use online dashboard, which allows you to create and save custom, personalized cards. You can even include photos of you and your installation team so customers remember your company and the team who installed their replacement windows. Make sure to always send your card within 24 hours of the sale.
After making a big investment in their homes, customers will want to make sure they know how to maintain the quality of their new windows. After the installation is complete, offer to schedule a follow-up appointment with customers in their home as a way for you and your team to answer any questions and make sure they understand how to operate and clean their new replacement windows. Sharing this information will help solidify customer relationships and will provide more face time with your customers. In addition, these additional educational sessions are also another opportunity to leave information about the other remodeling services you provide.
It’s likely you’ll have multiple customers in the same neighborhood. Take advantage of this opportunity by organizing a customer appreciation event during the spring or summer months when the weather is nice.
Many housing developments and neighborhood associations have community centers and parks shared by residents. By hosting a simple appreciation cookout, you can create another opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with your customers. These events also give your customers a chance to invite their neighbors to join the fun, which can ultimately lead to new referrals.
Quality products and services will keep your customers happy with their purchase. But in order to encourage them to tell their friends and family members, you need to create a remarkable experience with your business and your associates. These three ideas will take you and your sales team one step closer to generating referrals. Give them a try this month and let us know how you did!
Do you have a “brag box” of letters and printed-out emails from happy customers sitting in your office? Or do you have customers singing your praises on review sites? Don’t let these golden reviews collect dust. Instead, design an organized way to use positive customer comments to enhance and grow your business.
Here are some easy ways to maximize the power of reviews for your business:
Most people will be flattered you want to use their words and will agree to your request. Simply call the customer who sent the letter or posted the review and tell them how appreciative you are for their nice words and thoughts. After thanking them again for their business, ask for permission to use their comments and/or images of their home in your marketing efforts.
Some customers may be uncomfortable about disclosing some contact information, such as last names or home addresses. Keep this in mind when asking for permission and suggest to only use a first name, make sure the customer knows where and how their endorsements will be used.
Here is an example of a simple lead in statement that you could write before showcasing imagery and a review quote from a customer.
The homeowners of this Ranch-style home in Crossroads suffered every time the wind blew and rattled through their 45-year old aluminum windows. Once the homeowners replaced their old windows with energy-efficient Great Lakes® windows, they saw an immediate decrease in their energy bills. Plus, the wind no longer blows through their home!
“We’re so pleased that we made the investment in Great Lakes windows with XYZ Window Replacement. Start-to-finish the team was easy to work with, respectful of our property and extremely professional. We’ve recommended XYZ Window Replacement to all our friends!” – Sally and Jonathan Burrell, Crossroads, Texas
When it’s time to reprint flyers, door hangers or other printed pieces, update each piece with a quote from a reference. Make the remarks short and direct to illustrate support for your company and work.
For example: “I threw away all my painting supplies after XYZ Window Replacement put in our vinyl Great Lakes windows. Never again will I spend weeks scraping and repainting wood windows!” – Bob Jones
Homeowners are a lot smarter and they are getting more quotes and doing more research to help them feel more at ease with big purchase decisions like windows. After conducting a survey to homeowners that have purchased windows we have found that reviews are being used more often to help them finalize a decision. If you don’t have reviews that are readily available for a customer to read, you may be losing out.
Reviews can be a great way to showcase the quality of your company’s work, create happy customers for life and market yourself and your team for future projects. With a few easy steps, it won’t be long until you’ve developed a system to garner new reviews.
Window replacements are a big investment for homeowners, and with so many options for them to consider, closing the sale quickly can be a challenge.
However, using some of the tactics detailed below can help create a sense of urgency with your customer to close sales faster, encouraging homeowners to move out of consideration and into a purchase.
Promotional offers with a short-term expiration date can help capture a homeowner’s attention and motivate them to act quickly. Consider some of these options when creating your limited-time offer:
You can structure your promotion in a way that helps you to easily track its success. For example, using coupons with unique promotional codes allows you to know which promotions are effective with customers and which are not. You could also make an offer available to anyone who mentions that they saw your ad in a specific publication. This lets you know not only which promotions are working but which advertising channels are working as well.
Tying your offer to an occasion, season or theme can add relevance to the promotion and help make it more effective. Check out the ideas below to get started:
|Types of Themes||Examples|
|Cultural Events, Sports, Holidays, etc||Independence Day Sale-a-bration|
|Seasonal||Smart Fall Fix-ups|
|Energy Savings||Warm up to Lower Heating Costs|
|Lifestyle||Easy Living (promoting low maintenance production)|
Once you choose an offer and a theme, get the word out with marketing communications like postcards, emails, door hangers and advertisements.
Linking your promotion to local events or initiatives could potentially earn you some free publicity. For example, if your offer revolves around National Safety Month, the media may also be planning to talk about the occasion. You could offer a local TV station some free, easy content by inviting them to try to break a window made with laminated glass during their broadcast to demonstrate the strength and safety it provides. In exchange, just ask that they mention your company on the air.
Anytime you offer content to the media, make sure you’re available to answer questions, and capitalize on all that free publicity!
Search engines try to match searchers to businesses that are near their location, so it is important to let search engines know exactly where you are. The best way to do this is to start a Google+ Places for Business page. It’s a simple process that takes only about fifteen minutes to complete and offers many benefits to you, including:
You can start your own Google+ Places for Business page at: www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/.
97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Your local Google+ page connects you with customers on Search, Maps and Google+, no matter what device they are using.
One of the most important factors in how a search engine ranks a page is the page title. Page titles are not visible to the person visiting your site, but they do show on a search engine’s results page and let the reader know what your page is about.
Every page on your site should have its own unique page title – think of it as a short summary statement of what a user can expect to find on that page. The more descriptive the page title, the more beneficial it will be. For example, your site’s About Us page could have a simple page title of “About Us.” This would be a poor choice.
That page title could be improved by adding your company’s name, details about what your business does and your location. An improved page title would be:
“About ABC Windows – Vinyl Home Window Specialists in Toledo, OH”
These additional details will make it easier for search engines to find you and should help improve your search ranking. Make sure every page on your site has a unique title that is relevant to that page. The process of changing your page titles will vary depending on the way your site has been created. Contact your web administrator for assistance. Nevertheless, it’s important to take steps to maximize your site’s SEO.
While page titles are not visible, headlines will be displayed on your site and should tell users what they should expect to find on each page. These headlines are also a heavy factor in how a search engine ranks your site, so having detailed headlines is essential. Every page on your site should have a headline. If any page is missing one, make sure to add one, and make sure it is unique to that page. Headlines should be direct and should be no longer than six or seven words.Additionally, headlines should be displayed in HTML text and not as part of an image. Search engines cannot read any text that is embedded in an image, so your headline text should be coded as part of the page. Your web administrator should be able to help you out with this as well.
You can add sub headlines to your page to help break up content and make it easier for users to scan the page
for information and increase the SEO value of your page.