“Marketing is a game that a lot of people don't like to play.”
Working in her family HVAC business in East Texas, Crystal Williams became quite the marketing superstar. After helping McWilliams and Son Heating and AC triple annual sales, she started her own trade-focused company called Lemon Seed Marketing.
On the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, Williams chats about branding tips, finding your marketing niche, and business owners who are confused by the components of marketing.
Here are Crystal Williams’ best marketing practices for any home services company:
Key TakeawaysMarketing is a game.Take a holistic approach to marketing.Have internal capacity for successful marketing. Strategize your Unique Selling Position (USP). The real power is when you’re a household name. Build authority before you sell deals. Have fun, don’t sell, on social media. Bring everybody into the marketing loop. Marketing means spending money. Recommended research and reading
Marketing is a game.
Williams likes puzzles and challenges, which is why she says marketing interests her.
“Marketing is a game that a lot of people don’t like to play,” she says. “There are a lot of great ideas out there, but not all of them are designed for your company. Some tactics are specific to certain markets, to the size of your company, or even what part of the United States you’re in.”
Take a holistic approach to marketing.
She adds that marketing is not something to be feared. Rather, it’s something to be conquered.
“When people say ‘my marketing,’ they’re really talking about their PPC, their website, Google Local Services or whatever little caveat they’re doing,” Williams says. “But when I talk marketing, I’m talking about your holistic approach to branding and brand awareness, frequency, and consistency.”
Have internal capacity for successful marketing.
She says that if your CSRs, techs, and sales teams are already exhausted, those issues will be “lit on fire” when you start marketing.
“One of the first things I ask people when they call me for a consultation is: ‘Tell me about capacity, tell me how you’re preparing internally to market this,’” Williams says. “We’re going to find a secret sauce that works for your company in your area of the country, but if you want to grow by 50%, tell me what you are doing on the internal side.”
Strategize your Unique Selling Position (USP).
Figure out what makes your company unique and make that the basis of a marketing campaign, Williams says. For McWilliams & Son, there was a need for weekend and evening service.
“So, we launched 7-7-7,” she says. “The campaign talks about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, no overtime charges. It’s in all of my branding. As one example, I launched a radio campaign around ‘no matter if it’s 3 o’clock on a Tuesday or 3 o’clock on a Saturday, give us a call, same great rate.’ The (unique selling proposition) is 7-7-7.”
The real power is when you’re a household name.
A lot of companies are looking to make the phones ring right away, but Williams says the best approach is a marathon strategy that infiltrates the market.
“Yes, there’s the power of Google, Bing, Facebook, direct mail pieces, or whatever you want to do,” she says. “But you want to be blanketing people with brand recognition and awareness. Branding is such a smooth way to constantly be known by everybody.”
Build authority before you sell deals.
Williams says a call to action only works when people trust you and know who you are.
“You can’t just give away a coupon to Sandy’s Tacos and say here’s $100 off your next office catering,” she says. “I have no idea who you are or what kind of tacos you have. You’ve built zero authority.”
Same with contractors, Williams says.
“If you have no authority, you can’t say ‘get a free diagnostic when you make a repair,’” she says. “People don’t know the name of your company, nor do they have any relationship built with it.”
Have fun, don’t sell, on social media.
Nobody wants someone trying to sell to them on social media, Williams says. “Sell to people on everything else, but make social media fun and engaging,” she says.
For example, McWilliams and Son does an annual Facebook campaign that promotes its’ Daddy & Daughter Dinner. Williams says people wind up sharing their own photos and videos and it turns into a positive image campaign.
Bring everybody into the marketing loop.
One of Williams' worst nightmares is when a company has a successful campaign running and potential customers call, but the person answering the phone is unaware of the promotion.
“This why you have to have a morning huddle,” she says. “You have to be intentional about educating your team. Don’t let it be low on your priority list.”
Marketing means spending money.
One of the most common questions Williams gets is about marketing spends.
“It really does depend on your market,” she says. “For the most part, I tell people that to maintain what you did last year you need to be spending 5%. But if you want to grow by 50%, you’re going to have to pump up the marketing budget.”