Residential Metal Roofing System-Lead Generation
The purpose of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report is to bring helpful ideas to contractors who specialize in or are considering specializing in selling and installing residential metal roofing. A large focus of these monthly e-newsletters is on building systems into your business which can be repeated, tracked, evaluated, and, when necessary, adjusted for greater levels of success. Our information is based upon years of experience from working with many of the pioneers, best minds, and most successful leaders of the ever-growing residential metal roofing industry.
One critical element of any successful contracting business is the ability to generate leads. Without a steady source of leads, the business will continually struggle with instability and lack of growth. Recent years have seen lead generation change dramatically. It is becoming more difficult to generate leads. Response rates to most types of advertising are down while at the same time the costs for advertising have increased. The bottom line is that lead costs are higher.
Our advice is to not put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to generating leads. Do a variety of things to help create interest and then drive that interest through your website as much as possible as well as your company’s internal lead capture and cultivation systems. Future issues of this newsletter will look more at those internal systems but, for now, let’s take a look at some of the methods of lead generation which we see being successfully used in the residential metal roofing industry today. Here are some of the things that are working well for contractors. How many of these do you utilize?
- GUERILLA MARKETING. This was a great series of books a few years ago on how to cost effectively generate leads that your competitors are not also generating. We highly recommend checking into guerilla marketing concepts that still work today!
- HOME SHOWS. These seem to be very well attended this year and we hear of dealers setting record numbers of appointments coming out of them. Make sure that your home show strategy allows you to cultivate leads with immediate interest as well as leads for folks who can be cultivated into being future customers.
- SPECIALTY SHOWS. Gun Shows, Art Fairs, Wine and Lifestyle Events, County Fairs … there is an event for just about everything out there. These events are typically pretty inexpensive to exhibit in and are great ways to get in front of people without a lot of competitors present. Remember — at these types of events about 5% of the attendees who own homes will be re-roofing this year! And another 10% over the next two years after this year!
- METAL ROOFING ALLIANCE. At $1000 annual membership, this is still one of the most cost effective lead sources you will find.
- FACEBOOK. Now is the time to develop your Facebook presence, while you can still do so relatively inexpensively. Facebook is increasingly being used as a search engine. You want to build as many “Likes” as you can now, and then use those as a community to market to in the future.
- RADIUS MAILINGS. Whether it’s your job or not, if a metal roof is going up in a neighborhood, people there are talking about metal roofing. Consider a radius mailing around every metal roof you see going up.
- TARGETED MAILINGS. Do you have a history of successful sales to certain “types” of people? Pilots? Engineers? Retired Teachers? Create very targeted mailings that will appeal to those individuals.
- CHURCHES. Mailings targeted to churches can be helpful but personal contact is usually best. Consider some sort of program for your past customers to encourage them to talk to their churches. (It could involve a donation to their church, as an example.)
- CULTIVATION. Re-work old leads. Many homeowners who are smart consumers do their research long before they buy. There are jobs in your old leads.
- E-NEWSLETTER. A regular monthly or quarterly e-newsletter sent to your database of prospects, past customers, and friends will help you maintain presence of mind with them and ensure that they think of YOU when they think about roofing.
- PREVIOUS CUSTOMERS. Do you have previous customers you sold other products (perhaps even asphalt roofs) to? They already know and love you! Reaching out to them for metal roofing business can be very beneficial.
- REFERRAL MAXIMIZATION. Consider taking a part of your normal marketing budget and focusing it on maximizing referrals from past customers. These dollars can go much further than traditional advertising dollars do! Referral leads usually already trust you and have some price conditioning.
- CONDOMINIUMS. Consider developing relationships with managements companies as well as HOA’s and ARB’s. Developing those relationships now can put you in the running for their roofing projects in the future.
- STORM FOLLOW-UP. Many people delay roofing decisions, waiting for the next storm. You want to be there when that happens. Canvassing. Billboards. Radio Advertising. Direct Mail. These are all great ways to follow up after storms when many folks will be thinking about their roofs.
- NEWSPAPER SUPPLEMENTS. Most papers run Spring and Fall Home Improvement Guides. If you advertise, you can usually get them to include an editorial article on you — great opportunity!
- HOME IMPROVEMENT TALK SHOWS. Have one running on the radio in your area? Advertising on them can be very inexpensive. If it’s a local show, get yourself on as a guest!
- SUPPLIER LEADS. Make sure that you’re getting leads from your suppliers when they generate them. And, what’s the best way to keep those leads coming in? Let the supplier know when you follow up on the lead, and let them know what happens.
- KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF SERVICE. Make sure that your entire organization knows that their interaction with your customers can create referrals. And you want referrals!
- WEBSITE. This is critical and we could talk a lot about it. There is good technology out there to make your site perform even better. But, don’t forget, your website is more of a conduit than a generator. Most of your marketing efforts will funnel people to your site and you want them to have a good experience once they are there.
No matter how you generate leads, tracking those leads is critical. You need to know your response rate to advertising and your success rate in order to truly know your marketing costs. You also want to keep marketing to leads you don’t sell to today – there are specific strategies you can use to increase your chances of selling those leads in the future. (More on those in future issues of this e-newsletter.)
The stakes are high. Marketing-oriented contractors will have lead costs of 10 – 15% of their total sales volume. By carefully tracking your leads, you will stand your best chance of minimizing those costs but, more importantly, you will be able to ensure the profitability of your company by allowing for those costs when you quote jobs.
If you have marketing ideas you’d like to share, or if you’d like more information on any of the lead generation ideas listed above, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 1-800-543-8938, ext. 201.
Good luck out there.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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