How to Use Texting to Grow Your Contracting Business

By: Julie Crisara

In the contracting industry, you use the latest tools to make your efforts the most effective. It’s all about taking advantage of the best technology. Why should marketing your company be any different? The basic principles of marketing may remain constant but the platforms we use change over time, and sometimes rapidly. It wasn’t all that many years ago, that Internet advertising seemed like a wild new frontier. Many folks in our industry questioned this weird, far out “World wide web,” saying that they would stick with the old tried and true methods like newspaper advertising in the Yellow Pages. Nowadays, what contractor working today doesn’t have a website, and how many established contracting businesses only spend their advertising budget online?

We’re in the same kind of evolutionary period right now with another cutting-edge technology- texting. That’s right, the same text messaging you use to send notes to friends and family from your phone can be used to significantly improve your contracting business!

The first thing you need to know about text messaging (technically known as SMS) communication is that you need to make sure that those receiving your messages have subscribed to your marketing list. They need to have “opted in”. Don’t just blast text messages to any and everybody because besides being highly frowned upon, there are actually laws against this.

To start building your text message marketing list, include a brief opt-in code, or “Text ‘Start’ to this number” on all your existing marketing and customer communications- flyers, print ads, business cards, invoices, receipts, coupons, in-house signage, vehicle signage, website, emails, social media, etc.  

Sign up with a CRM (customer relationship management) company, such as Signpost, which will track your subscribers, send out text blasts, monitor results and give you an opt-in short code.

When sending out mass texts to your subscriber list, keep it brief and snappy! There’s usually a 140-character limit, but even besides that your customers have limited patience or attention span- as does everyone these days- so make the message heavy on “bold” and “underlined”-strength words. For instance, “$20 Off Air Conditioning System Diagnostic with Fritz HVAC!” or “Save 15% on Home Security System with Installation from Maystar Tech” or “Get a Free Furnace Tune-Up and Safety Inspection with Any House-wide GFCI Installation”.

Take advantage of the interactivity of texts by creating a message that demands an answer from the customer. Make it fun and involving and they will want to reply. It could be based on your informational online blog- for instance, have a pop quiz wherein you ask a relatively simple question based on your field. Reward the first few who answer correctly. For instance, “What do you call the paste applied to copper pipes before soldering? First 5 right answers wins a free system inspection.”

Make your texts extra relevant and attention grabbing by tying them to the time of year. For instance, “Heat wave means your AC will be cranking! Get the system cleaned and inspected”, “Cold snap equals lots of home heating. Consider a super-efficient new furnace!” Or “It’s Spring! Get the leaves cleaned out of your gutters!”

Use links within your texts to instantly connect your customer to your web page, social media page or YouTube video. Your text is very limited in size, but these other online marketing tools have a wide range of information and visuals to engage the customer.

In addition to marketing to get new jobs, texting is very effective in the management of current client jobs. Send a text reminder about an upcoming service visit. It’s a great way to assure that the customer is ready for your service man, and you can also reiterate any important facts about the job.

When a project is all finished, that’s a great time to send a “Thank you” text, in which you can ask for a brief evaluation of your services to assess their satisfaction level, point out any future work they may want to get done, and link to an online reviewing site, and maintain a strong presence there.

Remember, Text (or SMS) messaging is extremely cost effective. In other words, it’s really cheap! You hit a much narrower base of customers than with other marketing methods, but since they are all already “bought in” and invested, or at least open to receiving your messages, the rate of response and closing sales is much higher. The top platforms for sending business texts can cost as little a few cents per message. Bulk deals allow thousands of text messages per month for a very affordable flat rate. While it may be new to your marketing wheelhouse, for any enterprising contracting business owner, text messaging offers the best bang for the buck!

To start using texting to grow your business, you can try our new field service software, jobi. Jobi comes with an app for homeowners to connect directly with contractors using several marketing tools including text messaging. Try our 30-day free trial at www.jobi.pro/trial.

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