6 Ways Your Home Improvement Business Can Dominate After Covid-19
Are you returning to “business as usual” after the Covid-19 pandemic is over? I hope not. If you’ve kept your eyes and ears open, you should be eager and ripe for new ways of looking at life and conducting your work. The landscape has changed significantly, and this “new normal” everyone is talking about should be taken into serious consideration, my friend. We are in the midst of a major shift, and you should be taking advantage of this “free time” if you want to hit the ground running after the social distancing restriction is lifted. For those in the construction and home improvement industries, this could be an exciting and very productive opportunity for you–if you use it wisely.
If your business has been deemed “non-essential” and forced to shut down, how are you presently keeping your connections with current and potential customers? Is everything at a standstill while you take an extended vacation? If you don’t have a professional website, social media presence, or effective digital marketing techniques in place, this may be a challenging time for you because your customer engagement tools are limited. Use this crucial time to “level up” and improve your work practices because the new normal will demand progress and change - ready or not.
If you are part of the home improvement industry, I’m sure these unprecedented times have been a revelation for you in many ways, especially as it relates to computer technology, virtual solutions, and finding ways to work and connect with employees and customers remotely. And let’s not forget about the digital marketing component which is the lifeblood of your business. So, what are you doing to be ready to move forward when the flood gates open?
After the crisis is over the playing field will be geared up with new, innovative, and efficient ways of getting things done-all due to technology. Virtual tours using smartphones are changing the way real estate companies are doing business and there will undoubtedly be other industries who adopt this system in some form or another, including construction companies and general contractors. Additionally, video conferencing software like Zoom has taken off significantly and is being used by a variety of industries as an alternative to meeting clients and potential customers face-to-face. Many of these practices will continue long after the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Embracing innovations in technology and getting on board with the new “virtual” landscape is good for business growth and sustainability. According to an article in Engineering News-Record, written by Craig Tooey Courtemanche, he states, “It’s in moments like these that we see the true potential construction technology has to keep teams and projects connected and moving forward. The need for tech to uphold our industry has never been greater. In a relationship-driven industry like construction, the lack of face-to-face communication makes virtual communication essential. That’s exactly what we’re witnessing, teams and businesses coming together online to collaborate and find solutions.” Let that sink in for a minute while you think about your own business. Ask yourself, “What can I do better?”
Want to dominate after the Covid-19 pandemic has passed? Here are 6 ways to breathe new life into your contracting or home improvement business:
1. If you don’t have a professional website, get one. This is a no brainer. It’s 2020. Over 60 percent of consumers shop online and if your business doesn’t have a strong, professional, online presence you’re losing out – big time. You may think that your Google or Facebook pages are enough. Wrong. Not if you want to look like a true contender.
2. Get social on social media. If you’re a person who feels that social media is an unproductive use of your time (I was guilty of this myself), you’re missing out on connections and sales. Simple as that. Get yourself out there and let the world know your company is here and available to serve their needs.
3. Automate work processes with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. If your company is flourishing, you know the importance of keeping things organized and running smoothly. It makes your company look good, and believe me, your customers can feel the difference when you’ve got your act together, and when you don’t.
Some of the biggest complaints I hear from customers are that some contractors don’t arrive on time, don’t show up at all, or have poor customer service. Utilizing a great CRM solution can help your business run more efficiently, not just for customers, but for your team as well. Find a software program that provides tools for lead generation, sales, marketing, and day-to-day workflow.
4. Stop relying solely on lead generators and create your own leads through relationships. If you’ve been at this for a while, you surely know that many lead generation companies sell the same leads to you and your competitors. Your lead is not “exclusive,” and if you drag your feet about getting back to that prospective customer you may have lost your shot. Although reaching out quickly is important, keep in mind that other contractors will be bidding on the same job which may mean lowering your price due to the pressure of competition. Paid leads are fine, especially in the early stages of your business, but strive to strengthen your marketing efforts to generate your own leads. Work on developing exclusive relationships with your customers that are long-term to encourage repeat business and referrals.
5. Invest in continuing education. Consistently hone your craft. If you are unwilling to learn new things you stagnate yourself and your business. Technology is constantly changing, so keeping an open mind to new ideas is the way to go. If you’re a seasoned owner of a contracting company and have younger people around, tap into the benefit of their knowledge. If there’s one thing millennials know about, it’s technology and social media. Don’t be embarrassed to pick their brains about these things if you don’t understand how something works. Will they tease you about it? Yes, but get over it. Ask questions and listen. And, if they provide you with successful ideas or useful hacks, financial incentives are always appreciated.
6. Use the right content to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Some business owners feel they don’t have time to bother with eBooks, blog posts, videos, or other types of digital content. I remember reading a story online about the owner of a swimming pool installation company who created a pool care eBook for existing and potential customers. Someone involved in a lawsuit needed expert testimony in connection with a pool. While searching online they came across this company’s eBook, and the author was contacted and asked if he would provide testimony about swimming pools as an “expert witness” in court.
I’ve never forgotten that story because it taught me the power of harnessing your specialized knowledge and showcasing it through eBooks, videos, podcasts, online courses, etc. You never know where it will lead or what opportunities will open up for you.
The bottom line is that competition will be tough when the pandemic is over and, due to speculation that it may return at some point, you need to explore more creative ways for getting things done, staying connected with customers, and tapping into new ways of showing your expertise and skills.
Unprecedented times mean unprecedented measures – time to level up!