MARKETING YOUR CTI DEALERSHIP:
The development and delivery of a consistent message to the public pertaining to your company’s product or service for the purpose of generating sales.
This definition should constantly be held in your mind as you develop your marketing and advertising plan.
The Marketing mindset
The way to view advertising within your business is as an investment. A good example would be: If you had a way of investing $900 so that in 60 – 120 days, you would recoup over $2000, would you consider this a good investment? This is what advertising does for your business.
Now let’s explain the paragraph above. Let’s say you invested $1320 in your business by sending out 2000 direct mail cards to homeowners you know would have an interest in the CTI products. Out of these 2000 cards you generated 20 leads to follow up on, and of these 20 leads you closed 5 sales (these are average numbers we have experienced on a national basis with our Dealer network.) Let’s also say that your average job is 400 s/f and your average price per square foot is $5.50. That’s $8,800 in total sales. Now let’s take your overhead charges out of the equation with approximately $2,400 in product cost, another $700 in labor, your $1300 spent in advertising and your general overhead cost (phones, insurance, etc.) of $2,400. After all these costs are absorbed, you will still end up with $2,000 in net profit. This is the power of your advertising investment. With this in mind, let’s look at how to develop a plan and spend your advertising money effectively.
Who is your primary customer?
The typical residential customer for the CTI System is a homeowner who owns a home in the “above average” range for your area. The price will vary depending on where you are located. This home normally has 4-5 bedrooms and is 2500 to 4500 square feet in size. These homes are normally five to fifteen years old (the concrete is starting to show signs of wear and tear). The household income for these potential customers is also above average. The breadwinner(s) for the home normally have incomes in the low six figure range. There are many other markets you can explore with the CTI System ranging from home and pool builders to commercial property managers to restaurant and hotel owners. A little imagination and the ability to recognize opportunities are crucial in maximizing your market potential.
What is it you provide?
The first question you want to answer is what are you providing your customer? CTI offers two main benefits to its customers. The first is the ability to take a concrete area that is starting to look bad and restore the original concrete without having to rip out and replace it. The second benefit is CTI’s ability to provide a beautiful new service in areas where there was once just plain gray concrete. In addition, CTI offers many customers a cost effective alternative to many of the other types of answers to plain concrete. Alternatives such as tile, stamped concrete, and stone can be two to five times more expensive than achieving the same look with the CTI System.
What are the features of the CTI System.
Features are facts about the products you offer. These are the selling points you can concentrate on when you are speaking with a customer:
- The CTI System is twice the strength of normal concrete.
- The CTI System can be installed in an unlimited number of designs, colors and patterns.
- The CTI System is freeze and thaw resistant, oil resistant, mildew, salt and UV resistant.
- The CTI System is cool to walk on when applied in lighter colors.
- The CTI System is a cost effective alternative to tearing out and replacing existing concrete.
- The CTI System can be applied to any number of surfaces ranging from steps to walls to driveways, patios and pool decks along with many other areas around the home and office.
- The application process includes the most effective crack repair system in the industry where epoxy is injected into the crack and actually “welds” the crack back together making the area stronger than the surrounding concrete.
- The application process includes designed tension relief cuts to relieve tension in the concrete surface that may cause cracking in the future.
A wise man once said that running a business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark…you may know what you’re doing but no one else will.
Daniel S. Kennedy in his book The Ultimate Marketing Plan writes that the formula for successfully marketing your business can be summed up with the acronym:
This stands for “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass” Mr. Kennedy states that to run a successful business, you must constantly have your message in front of the customer. Too many businesses pull back and don’t expend any time or money on their businesses when the going gets tough. This is the worst thing you can do when your business is at this point.
If you are unable to identify areas where you know for sure people would like to buy the CTI products, your advertising should begin with a medium that covers a large area, or contacts a large amount of people for a smaller amount of money; this is mass advertising. Mass advertising’s advantages are a lower cost per exposure or you can spend less to contact more people. The drawback is that mass advertising normally has a much higher “wasted” exposure than targeted advertising. Wasted exposures are when your ads reach people who will not buy the CTI products for some reason.
The best way to use mass advertising is to identify various markets for you to target. This is done by tracking the lead flow from your mass advertising geographically. What you will find is that your leads will begin to show a pattern of coming from various “hot” locations around your territory. Once this begins to happen, you can change your advertising mix to better target just those areas so that your advertising will work better and cost less. With this in mind, let’s look at the most popular choices the elite Dealers use when mass advertising:
Home and Garden shows: These shows are normally held during the Spring and Fall months at such places as fairgrounds, civic centers, stadiums, etc. The cost will vary depending on how big the show is but a rough number is in the neighborhood of $800 – $2000. Shows such as these that are held in major areas such as Dallas, New York, L.A., etc. can generate an astounding number of leads. Many Dealers share the cost of the booth as well as the advertising cost strictly for the fact that they cannot keep up with the amount of interest generated. Smaller shows can still be very effective. The power of these shows stems from the fact that your introduction of the product to your customer is face to face with samples of the product with you. This type of meeting will answer all the questions the customer may have concerning the product and will bring them further along the sales cycle. Most home and garden shows will generate enough leads for you to sell at least 5-10 jobs with a 50% closing rate. This will make the return on your investment very attractive even if you just have minimal interest.
Website and online: This has become a crucial element in any Dealer’s advertising arsenal. A well designed website can not only provide a great resource for your customers to find out more about your company and the CTi product line, but it can also generate initial interest via the various search engines. Today’s website needs to look good across a number of different media; phones, pads and computers are some of the ways people browse the internet. In order for a site to be effective, it needs to customize its look depending on how the customer is coming to you. In addition, there are ways to point good customers to your website via such vehicles as pay per click advertising with the search engines as well as other online portals. Portals such as Home Advisor, Thumbtack, and the Concrete Network provide homeowners who are in the market for the goods and services offered by your Dealership.
Val Pak mail: This is a great way to saturate a certain area of your market to identify smaller pockets to target advertise. The Val Pak mailing is designed to offer the power of direct mail advertising to a mass audience while keeping the cost in line by sharing the mailing expenses among a number of different advertisers. CTI has established a nationwide relationship with Val Pak and can offer you a corporate rate of $2000 for 50,000 four-color advertisements sent to your customer’s mailbox.
Other Dealers have used TV, radio, mall billboards and other types of mass advertising. These other media have worked well in certain parts of the U.S. and not so well in other parts. The best advice is to do some research on the media in question, and call other home improvement type vendors who have used this type of media and ask them what their results have been.
Once you have identified the neighborhoods, sections of town or other specific markets, then it’s time to aim your advertising at these markets. Here are the main items used by our elite Dealers:
Direct Mail: CTI can help you target the type of market that normally buys this type of product. The lists we generate for our direct mail program are homes that are above average in price, coupled with household incomes within these homes are also above average. By consistently targeting these type homes within the neighborhoods identified by your mass marketing, a response rate of ½% to 2% is normal. The average number of homes targeted by these Dealers ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 homes per mail drop. These drops then generate anywhere from 10 to 100 leads.
There are other types of targeted advertising that costs little to no money or is a one-time investment that you can use throughout the life of your Dealership.
Truck lettering: Having your company name, phone and our elite Dealers even have large four-color pictures put on their trucks. These are travelling billboards that not only help with exposure for your company but also will generate leads.
Lawn Signs: Our elite Dealers leave these signs on job sites for anywhere from one week to 30 days. They use the right to leave the sign as a bargaining tool with the customer (they normally give a 5% discount if the customer will leave the sign up for 30 days.) These signs are mini billboards that advertise your company in an area where you know will generate more work.
Knocking on doors: This is a very effective, yet often overlooked avenue of advertising. If you put a couple of jobs down in various neighborhoods, handing out flyers is a very effective way of getting more work in that area. If you knock on the doors you are putting the flyers on and answer any questions that may come about, you’ll find this form of advertising much more effective.
Shirts, jackets, T-shirts and hats: Making sure that you and your crew are dressed appropriately also means that you need to have your company name on your apparel. The more exposure you can generate for your company name and what you do, the higher closing rate you will start to experience with the leads you generate. This is because the customers start seeing your company as a “known” entity as opposed to the questions of “what exactly do you guys do?” being asked all too often.
Press releases: Your local newspaper is always looking for unique products and services that are being offered to its readers. If you deliver a press release announcing your company’s opening as well as what your company does, you’ll be amazed at the free advertising you may receive. CTI Dealers across the nation have received ½, ¾ and even full-page editorial write-ups about their companies FREE OF CHARGE. If you need help writing these editorials, we have a number of examples that can be mailed to you.
They Talk to Everyone: Our elite Dealers all have one thing in common, and that is they have set in their mind that they are CTI Dealers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This mind set gives makes them always aware of opportunities of how to increase their Dealership even if they are in such mundane places as waiting in line at a check out stand or sitting around in a car wash waiting room. They talk to people about what they do constantly and this alone generates a number of leads. They are always on the lookout for chances to network within their community, this sometimes leads to big things because you never know if that person who is sitting next to you on an airplane is the decision maker for a chain of hotels.
Two main things you need to do while you build and adjust your advertising is 1) Be consistent with your main forms of advertising. Most small businesses will advertise to a certain clientele only if every ad works extremely well. What they fail to understand is that most people buy a product only after they have seen the product or its advertising a minimum of five times. This means that if you advertise in a certain neighborhood two or three times and then start to see your advertising drop off, keep your ads in that area for another couple of times before pulling the plug. The response you received in your first advertisements were from what are called “market leaders” these people like to buy the new products or services and want to be the first on their block to own the latest greatest things. Most people buy products only after they are comfortable that the company and products are here to stay. 2) The second important point is to ask a very fundamental question to every person who expresses an interest in your company. This question is “where did you hear about us?” Tracking the source for your leads will give you a better sense of what advertising is working and what is not. The adjustments you make to your advertising plan will be more effective and will come from a much better knowledge base if you ask that simple question.