Let’s face it. You’ve got competition. Period. There is no way around it. But in today’s ever-tightening home improvement market, standing out from the competition is absolutely critical to success. Far too many companies are simply copycats of the business down the street. Homeowners want to know why they should pick you over another business. Here are six simple ways to make sure you are the obvious choice for homeowners.
- Pick a target audience and get inside their heads. The most common mistake small businesses make is to assume they can be everything to everyone. The most successful home improvement companies, however, focus their efforts on a specific demographic or target audience. If you’re not sure of who you want as your target audience, start by looking at your current customer base. Which are the best, most profitable customers? Why were they great? Look for threads of connection between these customers and start to develop a profile. Conduct interviews with these customers to find out more about why they liked your company. Continually refine and adapt as you gather more data.
- Understand your own unique value. Once you know who you want to target, you need to make sure you will stand out to these customers. You don’t want to just be better. You want to be different. Take a good, hard look at what you are doing and make sure you are doing something that sets you apart from everyone else. Is your work higher quality? Do you have more affordable prices? Are you faster? Do you offer more customization options? Do you offer eco-friendly options? Are you community-minded? Do you offer niche services?
Again - you should develop unique value propositions that will resonate with your specific target audience. If you find that you do not have anything special to offer, start now. Once you’ve honed in on what makes you different from the rest, make sure to communicate that clearly in your marketing - on your website, social media channels, marketing materials, sales emails, and more.
- Be upfront and honest. We all know that things happen. Supplies get delayed. People get sick. One of the biggest ways to impress your customers is by the way you respond to these challenges. The evidence is overwhelming - your home improvement customer wants you to just be honest with them. In fact, a recent study found that 94% of consumers say they would be more loyal to companies that practice transparency, with the majority (56%) saying they would be "loyal for life." So don’t try to cover up when problems happen. Own them and let your customers know how you’ll deal with it. It really will set you apart from the rest!
- Offer the technology consumers expect. Americans are incredibly tech-savvy these days. They expect the same from businesses they work with. If a lead comes in through a lead site or a form on your website, it is critical that you reach out to them immediately using the technology they prefer. The vast majority of the time, this means text message. In fact, 85% of consumers prefer texting with a company over both email and phone calls. Even crazier is the fact that nearly two out of three (63%) Americans would be willing to switch businesses to one that will contact them via text message. To learn more about the best practices surrounding the use of text message, check out this free ebook.
- Provide outstanding customer service. Studies show that 90% of Americans take customer service into account when selecting a business to work with. This is especially true in the home improvement industry where you are working directly in their home. What are homeowners looking for from a home improvement company? Transparency (see above!). Responsiveness. Collaboration. Technology (see above!). Think what you would like from a contractor and make sure you’re providing those benefits. Ask your customers what they’d like. An incredible side effect of providing amazing customer service is that you’re actually just making life easier for you later on. This is because (even if you make a mistake!), 78% of people say they would do business with you again if you had great customer service.
As the economy tightens and Americans are a little more cautious about opening their wallets, it critical that you take time to look closely at your business and make adjustments where necessary. Doing so will help ensure you stay ahead of the competition.
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