Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most valuable forms of advertising. The main reason why it works for contractors is because people often ask the individuals they trust for advice about remodeling, building and home repairs. Even when they do not ask for advice, they are still more likely to trust what family, friends or colleagues tell them than what ads tell them. For example, if a woman hires a contractor to fix her roof and is pleased with the result, she will likely tell people she knows if they mention that they have a damaged roof. It is important to know why this form of advertising is essential for construction companies and how to approach it.
Why Word-of-Mouth Advertising Is Essential for Contractors
While no construction company should limit its entire strategy to this form of advertising, it is a powerful component for these reasons:
- It reduces the cost of marketing over time.
- It strengthens brand loyalty.
- It creates positive feelings and good impressions.
- It helps position a company as an industry leader or authority figure.
The cost benefit is easy to appreciate for all construction companies. Construction is highly competitive, and staying ahead of competitors requires a strategy with multiple tactics. One powerful component of that strategy is building a strong brand that puts meaning behind the company’s name.
When a construction business maintains a strong brand image, it inspires confidence and other positive feelings in people. As customers tell people about their good experiences, they help others develop trust in the company’s brand. Building trust is difficult without word-of-mouth advertising, and that is one of the biggest advantages of this tactic that cannot be under emphasized.
How Construction Companies Can Master Word-of-Mouth Advertising
One of the reasons why many construction companies overlook the importance of word-of-mouth advertising is because they tend to focus most of their attention on ways to reach new customers. The main reason is the variability of customers and projects. Unlike some service-based businesses that provide regular or scheduled services, many construction jobs are one-time projects with results that last for years.
However, more than 80% of small and midsize business owners say that word-of-mouth advertising is one of the top ways to get more customers. This is an insight that construction companies can use to maximize the value of current customers and create new ones without investing as much in the years to come. These are some ways to encourage word-of-mouth advertising and enjoy its benefits.
Feedback & Testimonials
Research shows that testimonials or quotes from customers on a company’s website can boost sales. Positive testimonials show customers what to expect. Since some people want to be able to verify customer testimonials or previous construction work, it helps to have a page with references and photos of past projects. For construction businesses, it is especially helpful to ask other business owners or commercial space owners for permission to post testimonials and photos of work. The reason is because people can go to these businesses to see the results for themselves. It is still helpful to put up photos of work in homes if customers give their permission. However, also seeing business names that people may recognize makes them more confident.
Requesting feedback at different stages of the process also helps improve business practices. For example, a construction business may realize that multiple customers are happy about the speed of the project and are unhappy with the customer service. Perhaps they tried to call with questions and did not receive a timely response. Being able to identify and address such issues is an extra benefit.
With many types of businesses, more than 50% of new customers come from referrals. However, no construction company can rely on customers to tell their friends or colleagues about their experience without proving some form of useful incentive. Although referral incentives can come in many forms, they should reward both the existing customer and the new one.
For example, imagine that a customer schedules a kitchen remodeling project. The company tells the customer that he can earn a $50 gift card or prepaid debit card for referring a new customer who schedules a project, and the new customer will receive a 5% discount. The existing customer refers two friends who also schedule remodeling projects with the company because of the discount, so both he and the new customers earn attractive rewards.
The reason why this works is because people are more motivated to remember to tell others when there is a potential reward. Also, it makes them feel special or more powerful to offer a discount for friends. Since existing customers tell people who likely trust them, those individuals are more likely to use the advice when there is a discount as well.
Most people today use online review sites to make their purchasing decisions. Although website testimonials may help, most people tend to trust what they read on third-party review sites more. It helps to submit business information to Yelp, Google and other common sites. If a customer expresses satisfaction with a project, encourage that individual to leave a review on multiple sites. Be sure to also link social media profiles and review sites to a main website.
When these tactics are blended with a marketing strategy that includes social media, paid advertisements and local options, it can give new or existing construction businesses a boost. It is also important to review the strategy periodically and revise it as necessary.