Home Industry News REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: Marketing On A Budget


Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, a dealer may have answered something like this when asked where he spends his marketing budget: “Its important to be everywhere, so we advertise in all three places: newspaper, Yellow Pages and radio.”

“For us, the most effective has been direct mail. But we rotate through all over a few years period of time. Again, we try to qualify the results by coupon or another method.”

“Spreading it around within the electronic media can help stretch a budget.”

“We receive the most feedback from our simple, inexpensive jobsite signs. Customers will comment, ‘you must be really busy, I see your signs all over town.’ No one has ever come in and commented that business is either good or bad based on a newspaper or radio ad. I believe in ‘top of mind advertising.’ You do need to hit many media to reach different audiences. I once had a businessman tell me that two things in business are true, you can advertise and insure yourself right out of business. “The other way to get some of the best advertising return on your investment is to get involved in your community, especially if you’re in a smaller community. Get involved with the local Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus groups and make those connections. Encourage your staff to do the same. It takes time to build these relationships but it’s worth it in the end. Of course, your reward will be great whether you increase your business volume or not because you’ll be helping those in need. If you do get involved with a service group, be active. Don’t just sit on the sidelines and expect great things to happen.”

“We use our website and we sponsor many events with our local Builders Association. We also advertise in their newsletter.”

“Depends on your market and the media you are looking at. If you want to use radio, for example, it can be expensive if you are in a major market and the message may be reaching too broadly for your service area (the same can be said for newspapers though they are less expensive). But typically, we see better name recognition and penetration if we stick to one medium and keep a presence there for a period of time. Social media takes a lot of time to maintain, but can be inexpensive beyond the time investment.”

“It really depends on what type of operation you have and what market you are in. We are in a small, resort-oriented market and cater to the higher-end customer when it comes to building and remodeling. We looked at several avenues to spend our dollars; TV, radio, print, social media, website, etc. After much discussion, we decided to do our own thing with the website and social media, as there are great tools out there for a small business. We teamed up with our local newspaper for a print media package that included newspaper, online editions, and featured spots in their lifestyle magazine. That way, we can reach a broader audience of the kinds of customers we would like to have. “Generally, I have always found the ‘rifle’ approach to be far more sound and fruitful than the scattered or ‘shotgun’ approach to advertising. Figure out who your potential customers are, and then get advice on the best way to reach them. It may be radio, it may be TV, it could be simply word of mouth. For a contractor-oriented business, Bill Lee said the best advertising that business could have is a well-trained and knowledgeable sales force, and that I truly believe.”

“We are struggling with the same problem!” “Our marketing person spends a lot time trying to understand exactly the group of customers we are trying to target and comes up with ways to get to them without spending money on advertising, which may or may not get to the right audience.”

“It depends on the market. Radio and newspaper in some markets, like ours, have very limited reach. With so many people using the internet more and more, perhaps that is where the focus should be.”

“This decision should be based on the objective. Is it to build/reinforce the company’s brand? Is it to get the phones to ring? Is it to introduce a new product or service? For limited funds, a rifle approach is always better than a shotgun approach, I think.”

“We spread it around to try to reach as many different markets as possible.”

“Focus. Focus. Focus. We are lucky to have the builder contractor business. It is very easy to target them.”

“Social Media first and foremost is the least expensive and most widespread method of advertising. Target your audience with some of those forums that relate to our industry like Houzz or Pinterest. If you have a local shopper that is put out weekly in your area, they seem to work well as people seem to read them for the ads, and newspapers only for the news. Use customers as testimonials, showing them and their projects. Radio can also be effective as well. Give your ads a ‘local’ touch by having one of your employees who isn’t shy to read the ads. We have gotten a lot of good feedback with that.”