COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on many businesses, including roofing companies. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 62% of small businesses have seen drops in revenues since the pandemic began. Using roofing marketing to increase your customer base has never been more important.
The downturn in the economy has reshaped the business landscape for contractors in America, but here's how to increase market share so you can thrive during these challenging times.
Get Clear About Your Goals
Even during a pandemic, it's important to set targets, advises business consultant Jon Paramore, who spoke to roofers during a webinar as part of GAF's Expert Value Speaker Series.
"Nobody gets on an airplane with a pilot who doesn't know where he's going," he says. "Tell people exactly where you're going, or they won't stay on your plane."
Rather than diminishing sales goals due to COVID-19, consider mapping out a different direction by aiming high, he adds. You can then capitalize on the opportunity to seize a bigger proportion of market share.
"Ask yourself: How are you dealing with adversity? All the guys that are quitting or closing down have given you the opportunity to take more market share," he says. "2020 could end up being the greatest gift you were ever handed as a business person."
Tap Into a Larger Pool of Job Seekers
Now may be a great time to find and recruit incredible new team members, suggests Paramore.
"In 20-plus years, I've never seen this level of sales talent come into the market," he says. "Part of the reason is companies that were not able to withstand what we're going through right now furloughed some of their sales, marketing, and operations teams. These people are right there, ready to roll and hungry. You can benefit from just one of them joining your team."
Show Up for Your Customers
Whether you send out email updates, a newsletter, or post short blogs on your website with photos of successful projects, customers appreciate positive messaging and your efforts to stay in touch. Set up a customer engagement strategy that includes offering promotions or tip sheets, and make yourself available by telephone or video conferencing to answer any questions potential clients might have.
Relationships formed with people in your community help roofing company leaders stand apart from their competition, says Paramore.
"Empathy is what people are looking for right now," he explains. "Anyone can put on a good roof; what are you doing to be different?"
Find small ways to help, such as easing the stress of not being able to go out to eat by dropping off gift cards and saying, "Have some pizza on me," suggests Paramore. Follow up by asking if they know anyone in their neighborhood who needs a replacement roof.
Build Buzz About Your Company on Social Media
In 2019, more than 240 million Americans engaged on social platforms. That's a big pool of potential customers, so why not market to them?
Be active, authentic, and engaging on social by joining conversations, posting useful information for homeowners, celebrating your team, and sharing your core values. Doing this builds trust and shows you take your roofing business seriously. Bonus: It doesn't cost anything except your time.
Using social media to build up virtual networks is another great roofing marketing tool. Paramore suggests connecting with real estate and insurance agents, commercial property brokers, and other tradespeople on LinkedIn.
"Tell them what you do and set up a networking event via Zoom for coffee and to talk business," he says. "Exchange referrals and see if you can help each other during these tough times. Ask your team to connect with 10-12 new people. It's really powerful."
Build Strong Relationships.
Rather than collecting new sales leads in your customer acquisition strategy, seek to build authentic relationships, advises Paramore.
While it can be challenging to not make as many house calls due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can boost your potential client list virtually. Your roofing marketing strategy depends on strong relationships. The more you connect with and learn about past, current, and potential customers, the more word-of-mouth referrals or repeat business you'll get.
"You're not just 'a roofer'—you're a people developer that happens to put roofs on houses. So stop making your company a transaction business. Make it a people business," says Paramore.
Strengthen your community goodwill by reporting on any volunteer work your team has done, and share kudos for other local businesses that are supporting people in your neighborhood, too.
While you may have faced unprecedented challenges this past year, you can still find business success by becoming creative with your roofing marketing.