Personalizing Your Brand: Creating a Brand Identity That Resonates with Customers

By Katie Mientka

Who am I? No, we are not about to wax philosophical about the meaning of life and our place in it… but we are going to talk about the meaning of brand identity and our place in the consciousness (and wallets) of consumers. In a world where they are deluged in choices, you need to stand out as the design or construction solution. Personalizing your brand puts a “face” to your company – and it needs to be one that customers can trust.

What Is Brand Identity?

It’s you. It is what makes you recognizable to leads, prospects, and customers, and which allows them to associate your brand with your service/product. Your brand identity holds the key to forging a connection between your company and your customers.

This connection is vital; it:

  • Conveys your brand’s personality and values
  • Shapes consumers’ perceptions of you
  • Makes a promise of quality, service, and reliability
  • Builds trust and loyalty with customers/clients
  • Differentiates your business from the crowd
  • Influences purchase decisions

This doesn’t just happen. When businesses are proactive, they take the time to strategically craft a compelling brand identity. If they don’t? Well, then, consumers will fill in the blanks themselves and create your identity for you. You want to be the one guiding the narrative, the one telling the story. And when you do it well, consumers are eager to listen.

Personalizing Your Brand: 5 Tips to Get You Started

This is where our existential question comes into play: who am I? The first step in catching the attention of consumers, and retaining current customers, is to clarify why you are different from competitors. Who are you? And to be blunt, what’s so special about you?

Let’s say you sell and install beautiful, safe, efficient, high-performance windows and doors. There are a dozen other companies in your area promising the same products/service to consumers. Why should they choose you?

Because they know you. Because they trust you. Because you have already provided them with information and education through your website. Because you helped their neighbor or best friend with a project, and they had a great experience. Because you offer something else, something different, something better than the others. And because you have a strong, personalized brand that resonates with them.

Now, to get there:

1. Get Nice and Clear

Start by reviewing your mission and vision statements and ask:

  • Why do you do what you do?
  • Why did you start this business, and why do you continue on?
  • What’s driving you?
  • What beliefs and values form the foundation of your business?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • What makes you special?

While we listed them in bullet form, it is worth spending time answering these core brand questions.

2. Be Consistent

Have you ever walked into an Apple Store? You could be in Montreal, Tokyo, or Indianapolis, and yet, you know you’re in an Apple Store. The brand identity is so consistent and so cohesive that there is no mistaking it. This is how your own brand identity should be across all touchpoints, from your website to your showroom to the signage on the trucks carrying your crew to jobs.

Inconsistent branding elements, such as your language, tone, colors, fonts, and, less tangibly, your values, makes it difficult for consumers to recognize or remember you. It can also create a discordant experience that erodes their trust in you. It takes between five and seven impressions for people to remember your brand. If you show them a different “you” on each impression, you won’t grab them.

3. Allow Yourself to Be Human

No surprise that a key to personalizing your brand is being human. Consumers don’t want to do business with a faceless company. They want to deal with real people; this is particularly true in the construction and design business because they must place an enormous amount of trust in you. Make sure your brand is both human and approachable. For example, if you have a blog on your website (and you should!), “speak” to prospects and customers as one real person to another.

4. Infuse Personality into Your Brand

If your brand were a person, what sort of person would it be? What type of personality would it have? Would it be steadfast and reliable, like your favorite neighbor who always has the tool you need? Would it be fun and fresh, like a friend who’s always ready for an adventure? Would it be glamorous and sophisticated? Rugged and refreshing? Competent and practical?

Professionalism is always front and center, but let some personality shine through in your branding and in your marketing assets (e.g. website, blog, social media profiles, etc.). Take Geico as an example. This company is renowned for its funny (often absurd) marketing and brand identity. Their 75+ year track record and terrific customer satisfaction score, though, ensures consumers take them seriously as an insurance solution. Personality and professionalism can get along quite nicely!

5. Prioritize Transparency

Resolve to be an open book to consumers. You may be dealing with customers who have lived through design and construction “horror stories.” Or they may be fearful that the project budget will explode because of constant change orders or less-than-savory practices. They may just be hesitant to entrust their homes to someone else. When you operate with transparency, you build trust.

Imagine that you are rewiring an older home and the current owner doesn’t know when it was last updated. You say, “Easy! We do this all the time.” It reassures the customer, and it gets you the business. But you know that there’s no telling what’s behind those walls. You could find knob-and-tube. You could find Thomas Edison tinkering around in there. Far better is to explain that there could be hidden surprises and then detail a plan for how you will address them. Transparency is ultimately the only way you are going to win business in the long run.


A Customer Experience to Remember: Engaging the Empowered Consumer

By Katie Mientka

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”  

Maya Angelou 

Now, when it comes to their homes, you can be sure that people will, in fact, remember what you said (especially your quote!) and what you did (especially on cold, windy days when they are safe, warm, and comfortable). They look at and interact with your work every day. But what really separates you from the competition, what keeps customers coming back, what makes them refer their friends and family, is how you made them feel. The customer experience is everything. 

What Is Customer Experience – And Why Does It Matter?

Your customers interact with you through a variety of touchpoints: your website, your Yelp or Angie’s List reviews, your Facebook and Instagram profiles, your showroom, your office, your people in the field, your signage, work vehicles, and marketing assets.

“Customer experience” refers to the impression that they have of your brand throughout each step of their journey. This encompasses everything from “I have a problem/need/challenge” to “I found the professional/company to solve it” to – ideally – “I’m going to refer everyone because this was the best experience!”

Here’s why customer experience, or CX if you want to add another acronym to your life, matters:

  • Customer experience has overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator.
  • 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience.
  • 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people.
  • 13% of unhappy customers will share an experience with 15 or more people!
  • Only 1 in 26 dissatisfied customers actually make the effort to complain. This is not good news: the rest just leave. (In other words, the absence of negative feedback is not always a positive.)

Perhaps the most telling statistic of all: 90% of businesses compete mainly on customer experience.

Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

If you are focused on what you do and how you do it, great! Mastering your craft and honing your skills is critical to maintaining that competitive edge. But also ask yourself key questions:

  • How does your product/service make people feel?
  • How do they experience your process?
  • What makes the experience memorable?

The G&G Custom Homes team, for example, builds stunning homes – and strong relationships. Owner Joe Garcia limits the number of houses he builds each year so that he can focus 100% on his clients. The service is personalized, one-on-one, and designed to minimize and eliminate the stresses of the average build. Clients feel valued, heard, and empowered as they go through this process.

How do you improve your customer experience? We’ve identified best practices to guide you:

Make the Process Knowable

When people are going through any type of home improvement, renovation, or build process, they typically feel as if they’re in over their head. It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and frustrating. It is important that you make the process as transparent as possible. One incredibly effective way to do this: feature helpful, educational resources on your website. Whether it’s a how-to post on selecting the right flooring for your home or a side-by-side comparison of high-performance windows, you can shine a light on the process and empower customers to proceed with confidence.

Offer Helpful Tools

When you deliver a great customer experience, they have no need to go elsewhere for information, guidance, or support. Tools, such as budget calculators, further engage them in your process and reinforces the message that you are the solution for which they have been searching.

G&G, for example, utilizes a platform called BuilderTrend that allows clients to check on the progress of their project, track their budget, categorize expenses, view and approve change orders, access and share photos, and message their team anytime, anywhere. This is over and above, and it creates a positive, streamlined experience.

Make Their Lives Easier

If you can do anything to deliver greater convenience and ease, do it! ACo, for example, promises a “worry-free kitchen, bath, or flooring renovation that allows homeowners to love where they live.” Customers will even love the process! One way that ACo eliminates worry is to offer virtual consultations. In the age of COVID-19, putting client’s minds at ease and showing that you care about their health and comfort is essential. Of course, it is also convenient and, in many cases, preferable for those juggling busy schedules!

Create a Cohesive Presence

As mentioned, customers interact with your company across a variety of touchpoints. It is imperative that you maintain a cohesive, engaging brand presence. For a business like Franklin Window & Door, this means offering a beautiful, helpful website that reflects the quality and value of the brand; it means having a consistent presence at the Indiana Design Center; it means inviting customers into their impressive showroom; it means showing up on the job with the same sense of professionalism that customers have already placed their trust in.

All of these “presences” should be seamless, so customers can move through them and enjoy consistent – and consistently exceptional – experiences.

Build on Your Customer Experience Strategy

Your customers will certainly remember the services you have performed and the products you have delivered. When they remember how you made them feel, they will return to you for solutions; they will refer their friends, family, and colleagues; and they will become your best marketing asset!


the haven difference

The Haven Difference

By Katie Mientka

Construction and design professionals are thinkers, dreamers, fixers, innovators, makers, and doers. When you see a problem, you solve it. When you see a need, you meet it. So, when we saw that dynamic businesses and leaders in our industry were struggling to effectively market their brands, we built a solution.

Haven was created by and for design and construction professionals; as a local company, we have unique insight into the challenges — and frustrations — of growing and thriving in today’s market. Our process empowers brands to tell their story of expertise and connect with the clients who matter. What’s different about Haven and how we approach marketing and advertising? Everything.The Haven Difference

Streamlining Your Marketing Journey

Whether you are building a custom house, wiring a business, or designing the perfect space for a family, you know that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution. You strive to meet the unique needs of the client and ensure they achieve their goals. You can expect the same from Haven. Our process brings your story to life.

At-a-Glance

Step 1: Initial Meeting

Let’s talk. We’ll start with an overview of Haven and our process — but enough about us; we want to hear about you.

Step 2: Discovery

Here we cover the big three:

  • Where are you today?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How do we get there?

With these insights as a starting point, we conduct a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to fuel your brand for the marketing journey, clear any roadblocks, and get started towards your destination.

Step 3: Strategy Creation

It’s all about branding and planning to connect with your target audience. At this phase, we develop your compelling anchor statement, build and flesh out buyer personas, create a search engine optimization strategy, map out your buyers’ journey, and create calls to action that resonate.the haven difference

Step 4: Development and Implementation

Nuts and bolts time: our team builds out or updates your website to create a seamless user experience, while introducing high-quality content that delivers value to your audience. We integrate results tracking tools to make sure you stay on course.

Step 5: Analyze and Optimize

When you pour your heart into designing or building a space, you don’t just throw your clients the keys and wish them the best. You make sure they get the best. This is why your Haven team establishes weekly scorecards, monthly virtual collaboration meetings, and continually adapts your marketing strategy to results. Rinse and repeat. We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere.

Destination: Results

Our process integrates expansive knowledge and experience in the design and construction fields with insight into what works — and what doesn’t — in marketing and advertising. Haven inhabits both worlds, and we help you navigate them for maximum impact.

Where are you? Where do you want to go? How do we get you there? Whatever your unique answers, the Haven Difference ensures that you embark on the path that leads to enhanced results, sustainable growth, and relationships that propel your business forward.

When it comes to marketing, are you doing the same things over and over again expecting different results? It’s time for a different approach. A different process. A different kind of partner. It’s time for the Haven Difference.


trade show

Don’t Ignore the Opportunity Trade Shows Present

By Katie Mientka

According to American Express Global Business Travel, trade shows were the single most popular type of business meeting activity in both North America and Europe.  That’s as true for those in the design and construction industry as it is any other vertical. Understanding whether trade shows are the right way to maximize your budget and how to select the perfect one to reach your target audience is key before you book a booth.  

Is It Worth It?

For most companies, trade shows are the right opportunity. One Exponents study found that 90% of the attendees at trade shows were there to learn about the products and services that would fulfill their requirements. Four out of five attendees are authorized to make buying decisions at the show, according to the same study. For you, that can translate to qualified leads who are ready to make a purchase.

As important as those leads are from a trade show, they can typically offer you additional benefits too. They’ll let you take a closer look at the other construction and design professionals that market similar services. They may also mean press coverage you may not otherwise have access to. You can also usually pay an added entry fee for product and service awards that could mean a level of validation customers will really love.

How to Choose the Right Trade Show

If you’re convinced trade shows are worth your time, the next step then is to select the right one. With hundreds of options both in the United States and abroad, it can be tough to select one that is the perfect fit. Start with some research. Look at the speakers and attendees, as well as the lists of the other exhibitors. Think about who you want to reach and what step you want your target audience to take. Match those objectives to the shows available. If possible, visit the show the year before. Is it a valuable outlet for a company like yours? Also, think about location. You’ll want to factor this in for two reasons. First, most attendees won’t travel more than 200 miles to attend a show. If your distribution area is limited, you only want to select shows within that radius. Almost as important, though, is the travel costs involved. You’ll not only want to consider the cost of travel for personnel, but also for the equipment you’ll need at the show.

When You Book A Spacetrade show

Once you’ve decided on a trade show, the next step is to start planning. A good trade show can mean months of pre-planning. Start with some goals. What do you hope to get out of the show and how will you measure success? That can help lead you to the right booth design. After all, if you’re showcasing a new product, that needs to be the first thing individuals see. If you’re hoping for one-on-one meetings, you’ll want to ensure you have enough space to do so.

Then begin promoting your show presence. Find the social media information from the show and incorporate it into your own marketing plan. Finally, train your staff to run the booth effectively. Share your overall goals and help them learn more about how to best engage visitors.

While you and your employees are at the show, this is your opportunity to build brand awareness, so make the most of it. Take photos and videos and post them in real time on social media, encouraging your followers to stop by your booth. Better yet, do a Facebook Live video demonstration, and be sure to promote it ahead of time on your social channels. Bonus points if you can involve trade show attendees. A thoughtful and distinctive giveaway or a new product launch can make your booth memorable as well.

Promotion doesn’t stop after the show is over either. Be sure to add any quality photos or videos to your website, write a blog or two summarizing the experience, and most importantly, follow up on your leads. Qualifying leads at the trade show is often the main objective of exhibiting, so reach out to them with a well-planned campaign. Trade shows can be the ideal way to market your company, but there are a lot of steps involved in the process.


cross promotion

Cross Promotion: The Marketing Idea You May Not Have Considered

By Katie Mientka

Actor Leonard Nimoy once said, “The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have.” Sharing and marketing aren’t terms that are typically paired, and yet there are examples of shared marketing, better known as cross promotion, everywhere.  

In 2006, Nike CEO Mike Parker wanted athletes using his running shoes to be able to access performance intelligence in real time. He reached out to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, creating a cross promotion that helped develop the Nike + iPod campaign that attracted an incredible amount of attention from both brands. The more the two brands shared, just as Nimoy had said, the more customers they had. It’s cross promotion at its best, and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to be two of the world’s biggest brands to take advantage of the same relationship. Instead, cross promotion could be the perfect opportunity to have your brand perceived by new customers and in an entirely different manner.cross promotion

Cross Promotion: The Basics

Cross promotion, sometimes called co-marketing, is a fairly simple concept. It’s two or more brands, for example a home builder and a window dealer, collaborating on a strategic marketing campaign. Both brands achieve their marketing objectives through a single campaign and improve the value proposition involved.

Wondering why it matters? There are actually a few reasons to consider cross promotion. First, it can help you build a new audience. Depending on the company with which you partner, you’ll be accessing an entirely different group of people who may not have been previously exposed to your product or services. You’ll find your brand instantly has broader visibility thanks to this shared campaign. In our example, home builder can introduce the window dealer to a client audience who are building a new home and may want custom window designs. While the window dealers’ clients may consider building new instead of replacing old windows.

Almost as important, though, is the fact that you’ll be saving money. It just takes one graphic designer, one marketing manager, and one material production company to launch the campaign for both companies. It’s economic efficiency at its best. You may even find there are co-op marketing dollars available to help offset the cost of the campaign. While there are typically strings attached to those dollars, they’re incredibly valuable, and they could help round out your marketing budget each year.

Making Cross Promotion Work

If cross promotion seems like the ideal way forward, the single most important step to take is to find the right partner. You’ll want to select someone who has a similar audience type and wants growth. In the design and construction industry, vendor partner relationships are the logical place to start. Analyze their audience. Understand the potential number of leads you might get from the arrangement. Some cross promotions may not be worth the time, effort, and money you invest.

cross promotion

More than that, though, you want a company that already has a good brand reputation. The last thing you want is one that may injure the credibility you’ve tried so hard to build. This collaborative relationship should build trust between brands and loyal customers, as well as helping to establish each company as a knowledgeable authority in their industry.

Once you find a partner that seems like a good fit, it’s time to develop the pitch. Take your time to learn more about their company and understand what kind of cross-promotion might appeal to them. You’ll need to help demonstrate the value you’ll be providing.

When the two of you are ready to get started, develop a co-marketing agreement that works well for both of you. You may consider starting small, for example, with a collaborative article in the next issue of Haven. Set clear goals and timelines, then develop your plan forward.

Cross promotion means sharing your business resources in a way you may never have considered, but the chances are good that this kind of sharing is going to be incredibly beneficial for your company. For more guidance on overcoming the frustrations of marketing and connecting with a loyal audience, contact the team at Haven.


Improve Your Social Media with 3 Easy Steps

By Katie Mientka

Everyone is on social media. Your best friend from elementary school, your coworkers, your grandma. Your customers and competitors. It can be a powerful way to connect, build your brand, and tell a compelling story. If you are not seeing the results you want and need, try these three easy steps to improve performance: 

1. Think Quality Over Quantity

We have an insatiable appetite for social content; Facebook alone, for example, has 2.41 billion active monthly users, and 1.59 billion log in everyday, spending an average of 20 minutes on the site. But at the same time, when you post for the sake of posting — cluttering up their feeds with fluff or irrelevancy, they’ll either scroll right past or unfollow your business.

Create high-quality, meaningful content for every post. This is far more critical than posting every day (or as some brands do, multiple times a day). While there is more than enough fluff (and cat memes), people are also using social media for substantive discussions, information, and research. Whether you share a link to a helpful article on your website or carefully curated from an authoritative source, post a clear, compelling picture of your team, think about your content from the point of view of your followers: will they like it, share it, comment? Would you if you were in their place?

social media

2. Cross-Promote

Make sure that all of your social media platforms (and your website) are integrated. For instance, when you post a video on YouTube, add your website link to the description and add social buttons so viewers can easily share to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., or via email. Links not only allow your prospects and customers to easily navigate your web presence, it benefits your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts

Don’t forget to link your online presence with your offline presence: Add links to social profiles on your invoices business cards, and other marketing collateral; if you’re at a trade show or industry event, invite people to like your page(s). You can even incentivize it if you want (e.g. a discount, exclusive content, etc.) for those who do.

3. Be… Social

It’s amazing (and not a bit ironic!) that the social aspect of social media is often neglected by brands. Interact with your community. It is as simple as starting to respond to those who comment on your page or seeing where you’ve been tagged and participating in that conversation.

Show an interest in those who follow you and in your space in general. On Instagram, for example, you can use the Explore page to find content that aligns with your likes and follows. Follow, like, and comment on these relevant pages to begin building a more extended network.

You’ll get follow-backs from those who are genuinely interested. Again, this is great for both creating a strong social presence and a cohesive SEO approach.

Bonus Step: Test

If at first you don’t succeed… figure out why. Consider adjusting the days or time of day you post; analyzing which posts perform best and creating more of that type of content; seeing which posts are underperforming and shifting your strategy. It takes time to build a solid following, so don’t make changes before you have some solid analytics with which to work.

Social media is a tremendous force, and when you leverage its potential, you can build trust, relationships, and authentic connections. You can also build your business!

Need help? Haven is here to take away the pains and frustrations of marketing so you can tell your story of expertise — in a way that resonates with your prospects and customers.


resource

How to Become a Trusted Resource for Your Prospects

By Katie Mientka

How do you become a trusted resource for your prospects – and why do you need to? 

Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants… so long as it is black.” Oh, the good old days. Decisions are easy when there are limited (or no!) options. When it was a choice between this brand and that, price or quality was the deciding factor. But today, consumers are confronted with hundreds of brands; the options are overwhelming. Price and quality are not the primary differentiators anymore. What is? Trust.

Brand trust is a competitive advantage; when your prospects and customers trust you:

  • You’re top of mind when it comes to purchasing decisions
  • Customers are more loyal
  • Customers advocate for your brand

In fact, 62% of consumers say they are loyal to brands they trust – and never discount the power of loyalty. It can increase lifetime profits per customer by as much as 85%.

resource

To build that loyalty, you need to become a trusted resource for your prospects and customers. You need to become the answer for which they’re looking and the voice they need to hear. How?

1. Understand Them

Who do you want to reach? What do they care about? What do they need or want? What are their pain points, their interests, their concerns, their questions? Developing a fully fleshed concept of your target audience is an essential component of any marketing strategy. Leverage this information and insight to plan your approach.

2. Deliver Relevant Information and Education

The best way to become a resource for your prospects… literally become a resource. Create and promote relevant, authoritative blog posts, articles, whitepapers, infographics, videos, and other content that answers their questions.

Do they want to know the pros and cons of steel entry doors versus fiberglass? Do they need to know how to choose the right custom home builder? Are they wondering whether to go with Marvin or Pella windows? Teach them!

The goal is not to sell yourself; it is to provide your prospects with the education they need to make informed decisions. You are the resource: they need to trust that you have the best interests in mind. And remember, when they trust you, your brand becomes top of mind when they make their purchase decisions. It’s selling without selling.

3. Meet Them Where They Are – And When They’re There

Content marketing is like that invaluable employee who happily works late. In fact, it works 24/7 (and you don’t have to pay overtime!). Many people conduct their research in the evenings, at night, or on the weekends – when they have a few extra minutes. Online content empowers you to become a resource for prospects any time they need.

Make sure you can also reach them anywhere they are. Multi-channel marketing means you can be in multiple places at once – Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, your website, review forums, Quora… If your prospects are there, you’re there.

4. Align Your Physical and Digital Presencesresources

You build trust through consistency. Prospects need to know exactly what to expect when they interact with your brand. If the experience they have in your physical location, for example, is wildly different than that they had online, it is disconcerting. It is jarring. It leads to questioning: which is the real Brand X? And if they don’t know, they can’t trust. Stay consistent in terms of messaging, personality, language, tone, and style elements.

5. Follow Through

When you deliver information and education, you make an implicit promise that you can provide a solution (whether or not they take you up on it). You need to take the next steps and follow through: do what you say you’re going to do.

If, in your content, you talk about the importance of transparency and communication in home builders, for example, it doesn’t reflect well if you take too long to respond to inquiries, fail to return calls or emails, or present a confusing invoice.

Say what you do, and then do what you say. This is a fundamental pillar of trust.

Build Brand Trust with Haven

Haven is committed to taking the worry and anxiety out of marketing so you can focus on what you do best: satisfying your customers and running a thriving business. We can help you become a resource for your prospects and leverage the power of trust. Contact us today, and let’s tell your story of expertise in a way that resonates with prospects.


Lead Generation and Automation

Lead Generation and Automation: Why It Matters - and How to Amp Up Your Results

By Katie Mientka

You put your heart and soul into your business – and leads are its lifeblood. If we break it down to its simplest components: Leads = customers = profits. But, of course, it’s never that simple! Traditional approaches that silo marketing and sales and traditional techniques that rigidly follow an obsolete, linear “sales funnel” are no longer effective.

Today’s consumers are more educated and savvier than ever. Lead generation strategies must keep pace. The good news: lead automation can seamlessly integrate marketing and sales in a way that aligns with 21st century buyers.

How People Buy Today

The concept of the sales funnel was developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, and it followed a linear, predictable path: awareness to interest to desire to action.

Lead Generation and Automation

Many businesses are still using a process conceived more than a century ago! Not only did 19th and early 20th century consumers not have the mind-boggling array of choices we do now, they didn’t have the technology to research, learn, and make informed decisions right in their pockets. They didn’t have the voice they do now or the expectation that businesses would cater to their journeys.

Here’s what the consumer journey might look like today:

Lead Generation and Automation

Add a few loops and drops, and it could be a rollercoaster. Consumers are aware. They may be interested; they conduct some research. They wait and mull. They comparison shop. They read some articles and watch videos. They ask friends and family for recommendations. They make a decision. They buy. They go back and look at other service or product offerings; maybe they purchase again. Maybe they start researching again, based on their experience.

The point is that it is not a straight shot from awareness to action. Prospects and leads interact with multiple touchpoints throughout their journey and keeping them engaged throughout is essential – especially as they will travel most of that way without reaching out to sales. Lead generation and automation can help you keep up with the twists and turns of the 21st century consumer.

How?

  • Collecting Leads Automatically. People enter the consumer journey via various touchpoints, whether a pay-per-click ad, a landing page, a blog, a social media post, or during retargeting (i.e. they’ve left the sales cycle and you want to reengage). Wherever consumers enter – or reenter – the sales journey, lead automation is there to “catch” them.
  • Integrating Sales Organically. When you generate and collect leads, they are automatically diverted to the salesperson who has the best shot at converting them. If you’re marketing, you’re a hero. If you’re sales, you don’t have to wade through cold leads to get to the best prospects. Win-win.
  • Prioritizing Leads. Qualifying and scoring leads ensures that salespeople don’t have to waste time and energy closing. They can get an at-a-glance look at their best opportunities and serve up a better experience. Not-so-good leads can be punted back for nurturing.
  • Retargeting. It happens people show interest, they take steps along the journey… and then they take a detour. With lead automation solutions, you can retarget them and prompt them to come back.

Making Lead Generation and Automation Work for You

Some actionable steps you can take to put lead generation and automation to work for your design/construction business:

  • Optimize Your Content for Search. Because consumers travel most of the sales journey on their own, it is critical to have helpful, educational, and authoritative content. But that’s not enough; you must optimize that content with targeted keywords that capture your company’s identity and offerings – and reflect what people are really searching for when they hit Google for help.
  • Create Lead Magnets. Offer something of value in exchange for contact information. For example, you can create a downloadable eBook or an interactive quiz. To access the insights, they provide their email address.

Lead Generation and Automation

Haven’s interactive Marketing Quiz is an effective lead magnet.

The key to making lead magnets work is to offer value to your prospective buyers. Make it worth their while to give up their email address or other information. They should solve a real problem, be quick and easy to digest, and position you as the solution.

  • Start or Strengthen a Referral Program. In our industry, referrals are worth their weight in gold. They can generate four times higher conversions and net you a 25% higher profit margin. What will motivate your existing customers/clients to recommend you? And how can you ensure that your referral program is easy to use.
  • Raise the Voice of Word-of-Mouth. Share what people are saying about your brand on social media and in reviews and testimonials. Like referrals, word-of-mouth is tremendously effective when leveraged.

Leads = customers = profits. But remember to factor in the marked change that has occurred in consumers and how much power they have to direct the conversation. Lead generation and automation techniques need to catch up to the 21st century, and when they do: sustainability, growth, and a strong pipeline of people who see your company as the answer.


call to action

Writing a Strong Call to Action: Why It Matters

By Katie Mientka

It’s a sad reality, but many companies don’t effectively use a call to action (CTA) to engage potential customers. One Small Biz Trends study found that 70% of small business sites completely lack a call to action.  Wondering why it matters? It is the one chance you have to compel potential customers to take the right action. It builds the urgency often needed to sway customers from clicking away to picking up the phone or otherwise engaging your company to meet their needs. How do you create a solid call to action, though, and where do you even put it? The answer all starts with your goal.  

I Want to Motivate Customers To . . .

call to action

Take a moment to think about the marketing content you produce right now. If you’re like most companies, you likely have a mix of blogs, print articles, social media posts, and your site itself. That mix of content is aimed at different stages of the buyer’s journey. During the awareness phase, they’ve only just realized that they want to connect with your company. Maybe they found you through a social media post. Maybe it was a print article. Either way, they’re still looking for information. As they move to the consideration phase, they have a clearly defined goal in mind, and the information you’re delivering through your blog or website is still critical to a potential buyer. Finally, they reach the decision phase. At that point, your content is still important, but it needs to change. Maybe it’s a comparison chart or a free trial. No matter what it is, what you’ve produced means the difference between a sale and someone heading for your competitor’s site.

Your call to action choice at each of these phases matters. In that first phase, you simply want them to reach out. Using words like prevent and troubleshoot are key to getting the initial lead to make contact with you. As they approach a decision, though, they help instruct your potential customer what to do next.

No matter which phase you’re crafting a better call to action for, there are many things you can do to make yours stronger.

  • Be clear and compelling. There’s a myth that suggests your CTA can only be a sentence. That’s not necessarily true. What is true, however, is that potential customers need direction, and your call to action should provide it.
  • Build urgency. The closer to the expiration date something is, the more likely you are to act on it. No one wants to lose out on a great deal, and building urgency, even in the earliest stages of the buyer’s journey, is an absolute must as you create a CTA that works.
  • Show them the benefit. You want them to reach out? They need to know why they should. The best CTAs help customers understand what unique qualities you have that your customers just don’t.

Where Do I Put a Call to Action?

Once you’ve crafted the right CTA, you may be unsure of exactly where it should go. As with the call to action itself, it depends a bit on the material. Blog, website text, or print article, you should always have a CTA at the bottom of the page. If someone has made it through your entire text, they deserve to know what to do next.

Beyond that, though, there may be times when you want an additional CTA near the top of the page. Think about your website. Placing your call to action above the fold means visitors on a laptop or desktop computer will instantly be able to see it. Given that they may be visiting your site on a phone or tablet, try to put one halfway down the page where they can access it with very little scrolling necessary.call to action

You’ll also likely want to place one where your readers’ eyes will naturally end up on the page. We tend to read from top to bottom and from left to right. Don’t fight that natural visual progression.

A quick note about social media. The call to action is often the first thing to go in social media posts. After all, when you only have 140 characters to spend, you may not want to use them saying “Click here.” That’s a serious mistake, though. Social media posts are as deserving of a CTA as any other marketing you may be doing, so make certain your readers know what to do next.

Crafting the right call to action for a given piece of the marketing puzzle can be difficult, but without it, you might just be wasting your time and money. Connect with Haven today for guidance on creating content and powerful calls to action to help you get in front of the right audience, or download our 9 Steps to Effective Marketing eBook for tips on creating a successful marketing strategy.


boot camp

Improving Sales Performance: 3 Reasons You Should Consider Boot Camps

boot camp

By Katie Mientka

According to Harvard Business Review, a salesperson needs to possess two qualities to be effective: empathy and ego drive. The first one puts him or her in the client’s shoes. The second one makes him or her want and need to make the sale and not just for your bottom line.

Is your company looking for ways to increase sales? What can you do to ensure goals for sales reps are met?

In the design and construction industry, many businesses rely on representatives to drive sales, and you need them to be effective to keep your business afloat. Keep reading to learn how boot camps can improve your team’s sales performance.

Sales Performance Boot Camp

You think you have hired the right people. They have great social and verbal skills. The question you need to ask, though, is, “Can they close the deal?”

When relying on your salesforce in addition to social media strategies, a well-trained sales division is your key to success. Here are a few reasons you should consider boot camps as a way of increasing sales strategies.

1. Tailored Training 

The training can be tailored to be specific to your organization. For example, does your team need some training for staying on top of the latest design and decor trends?

What about learning how to exhibit their construction expertise to assure a client that you are the right company for the job?

Boot camp training covers learning to recognize what makes customers buy certain products and how to connect with customers to form lasting relationships.

2. Increase Your Bottom Line

boot camp

Improved service and a well-trained salesperson will benefit your business immensely. Do you go back to businesses that have inadequate or unknowledgeable staff?

On the other hand, are you more likely to do business with a company that has knowledgeable, well-trained employees who deliver quality service?

With home services, design, and construction clients will shout from the rooftops if they’re pleased with your work. They’ll be repeat customers and will recommend you to all of their friends and colleagues.

3. Learn New Sales Techniques

With an ever-changing world, new sales techniques are developed to keep up with the times. What worked even a few years ago may not work today.

The methods used to reach customers change and customer needs also change.

People spend a lot of time on social media. Being able to browse what’s new in design, decor, and construction is important to potential clients.

Best Practices for Training: Dos and Don’ts

Training is a big part of improving any business. Here a few dos and don’ts when engaging employees in training.

Do:

Don’t

  • Forget to tailor it to the needs of your company and clients.
  • Use outdated methods.
  • Use unstructured training efforts.

Follow these rules for positive results.

How to Drive Sales

Understanding how boot camp can improve your sales force and sales performance is only the first step, next you’ll want to find the right training for your team, and help incorporate what they learn into your everyday business practices.