Adobe stock

Many factors can limit a contracting business’s ability to effectively acquire new clients. Marketing should not be one of those. However, it can be when contractors use “ego marketing,” a combination of messages and practices that transform your precious marketing and sales efforts into a detractor for your business.

Effective marketing communicates your unique value to homeowner prospects. It builds recognition and credibility for your services and creates a steady flow of interested homeowners and new customers. Ego marketing can make you feel good at the expense of effective communication. It’s a self-inflicted, costly burden for any business to bear. It reduces the effectiveness of your communication, and can actually turn contractor’s homeowner prospects off. However, most businesses don’t even realize they are engaging in ego marketing.

How to spot ego marketing
Ego marketing stems from the belief that if homeowners and prospective customers knew enough about you and your business, they’d see you’re the best choice. That might well be the case, but it can pay off to shape these messages carefully so that your marketing isn’t all about you.

Ego marketing usually contains more than one of the following attributes:· Photo of the owner in an advertisement whether it’s on a website, in a newspaper ad, or on a billboard.
· Extensive use of “we” or “I” in written form about the business
· Marketing copy that includes references to “we will,” “our company,” “we have,” “we can,” with few references to “you will,” and “you can.”

There are several ways that you can optimize your marketing and messaging to avoid the trap of ego marketing.

1. Tune your marketing messages to focus on your homeowner customer and how you’ll solve their problems, not about yourself and your business. Many contractors focus on how long they’ve been in business or how many locations they have. Some convey how excellent their services are and show photos of the owners and employees. While these can be important and have their place, it’s best to focus the majority of your business message on the homeowner’s needs. The bottom line is that your customers want their problems solved. Your prospects care much more about how you’ll help them with their home projects than they do about learning all about you. The most effective marketing copy is written from the reader’s perspective. Once homeowners believe you have the basic qualifications to do the job, they may compare you to other contractor options. This is where showing empathy and understanding of the homeowner’s fears, needs, and problems will serve you much better than continuing to talk about yourself and your business qualifications.

2. Develop content to help solve your prospect’s problems. Learn what keeps prospects from moving forward with a project, and create content that helps remove those barriers through education and case studies. For instance, only about one third of homeowners feel confident about understanding the costs of a project. Up to 64% of homeowners depend on online resources to learn about the projects they’re interested in. Over half use Google to search for information and solutions. If your helpful content shows up in searches, you’ll be viewed as an expert on the subject. You have the opportunity to help them get a better understanding and to convey your unique perspective. But remember, this is not the place for a heavy sales pitch. It’s okay to provide basic information about your business as an aside, but the primary purpose should be to benefit the reader. This content can reside on your website, social media, or within editorial content. It can be on your blog or on a complementary company blog. Once you’ve developed helpful content, you can reference it multiple times as a customer resource during the sales process.

3. Avoid using technical terms in your sales and marketing. Always talk to your homeowner prospects using language they understand. Many contractors lose track of whether they are using technical jargon in their marketing. The bottom line is that if the customer isn’t using technical words, then you shouldn’t either. You can feel free to explain the concepts. Just do it in a way that doesn’t make customers feel intimidated. When this happens, some prospects tend to shy away from the conversation altogether. This can drive what would have been a perfectly good customer to another contractor who makes them feel smarter and more comfortable.

4. Give your customers more. Everything you do in your business should be focused on serving your homeowner customers at the highest possible capacity. Look for ways to create unexpected bonuses that homeowners receive just for being your customers. These can be small things like a congratulatory growler from a local craft brewer, a bottle of wine to celebrate the end of the project or extra communication about timing and costs during the project. These small touches of consideration can create a loyal fan base for your business. And, this can be the foundation for customers who will refer others and come back to you later. Data from Modernize surveys indicate that two thirds of homeowners would be moved to action by a rebate or coupon. Partnering with manufacturers to provide rebates can deliver that extra motivation your prospects need to become customers without cutting into your bottom line. While rebates and discounts save your customers the same amount of money and may increase your job volume, utilizing rebates instead of discounts allows you to maintain your revenue per job. They’re a win-win for you and the customer.

You can use all of these methods to increase your company's appeal to homeowner prospects without the need to discount your prices or spend any more on marketing than you are today. It’s really about making the most of what you’re already doing. In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s hard enough to stand out from the crowd without handicapping yourself with inefficient marketing.