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  1. #1
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    Default YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Hey everybody I hope your inspection schedules are full and things are going well. I am curious if everyone wants to give some insight into what there most effective marketing tool has been over the years that has brought in business for them. I would like to see if we start to see a trend and if so what that trend might be. I think this would be helpful to all in the profession including newbies. For our company I think the most effective tool we have used has been direct mail to RE agents and advertising in the local paper. Please post your response.

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    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    My opine: Your communication skills, which is paramount in most professions dealing with the public. If you're good, that's great, if not so good, consider Toastmasters International.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Aside from my website, my inspections are my most effective marketing tool. When clients are happy with my work, they remember me and pass my name along to their friends and relatives when they need a home inspection.

    Like Jerry said above, being able to communicate effectively (both verbally and in your reports) is critical to your success. With this in mind, how much time do you spend with people on the phone when they call to inquire about your services and price? If all you give them is a price, you need to rethink your approach. I have a long winded shpiel I go through when I get a caller on the line for a couple reasons. First, I want to set the expectation as to what I do for them and what they will receive. Second, I want to open a dialogue with the caller and get their feedback on the house. The longer you can keep them engaged in conversation, the better your chances are of getting their business. I often talk to people who said all they get when they call other companies is a price and nothing else. Taking the extra time when you have the caller on the line will pay dividends.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Advertising - Direct mail to agents, sellers some targeted group. Magazine ads, radio ads and any other advertising to the general public is a waste of money. Even the Yellow Pages seems like a total bust these days. I can't remember the last time I got a call from them.

    As for overall marketing, I agree with the others. Taking the extra time, doing a good job and communicating clearly will get you further than anything else.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I sprung for a larger Yellow Pages ad this year and it's been a bust. I've gotten one job from it in 8 months. I will not be renewing it. I tried pay-per-click ads in the past and while I feel they do work, I was getting ridiculous monthly bills for the click activity so I dropped them.

    My website is my bread and butter.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I sprung for a larger Yellow Pages ad this year and it's been a bust. I've gotten one job from it in 8 months. I will not be renewing it. I tried pay-per-click ads in the past and while I feel they do work, I was getting ridiculous monthly bills for the click activity so I dropped them.

    My website is my bread and butter.
    Nick - I scaled way back on my Yellow Pages ad this year. It was getting more and more expensive and I just couldn't justify it. I thought the poor YP girl on the phone was going to start crying. She sounded so depressed. The Web is destroying their business.
    My main sources of new inspections are referrals and my website, and probably my listing on the NAHI website.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Being good looking is a great marketing tool.

    But if your like me, your not and need to have a great internet presence.

    Secondly, I stay in touch with all of my prior clients and ask them for those referrals. Don't be afraid to ask for referrals.

    Of course a great inspection report says it all.

    rick


  8. #8
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    This is awesome gentlemen as you can see already we are starting to see a trend. Keepthe post comin!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quick question for all of you guys who have websites. How many inspections are you getting directly from your website a week, month etc. For guys who keep track how many hits are you getting in comparison to inspections booked? 1%, 5%?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    MOFWIW: Yellow page ads are a waste of money, truck signs and the all time worst is dropping off brochures at real estate offices. Get a really good web site and they will find you. Six billion people use the internet search engines every day, and thatís only in California. Yep, kidding, but seriously, a really good web-site will get you far more work then all the pavement pounding, open houses, realtor PR, and producing fancy brochures.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I have some luck with a web based search engine called service magic . com. pay as you get leads, you got to be one of the first people to respond


  12. #12
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    My best marketing tool outside of client referrals would be my website. No frills and it pulls up very well organically in the areas I work in. My website generates about 75% of my business.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I have a plain Jane down to earth site. Honestly I use to keep track on the hits I received but I have not in a long time. Sometimes I will go a week or 2 with all my work from then Internet. I do not pay someone to do my site for me (yeah I know it shows) but it seriously works and keeps me in the top few in a multiple city market place in Google The only thing that hurts sometimes (depending on the search words) is that damn Google map that takes up most of the page (by looks) with ten inspectors from the area on it. I guess being inn the top 3 most of the time makes it look like you are in the top ten. I do not and have never done the pay per click or pay someone to get me on the first page.

    Bottom Line, other than the first off and on weeks of June I stay busy all the time. From what? the top placement on Google. You can not beat it. Period. The other things I do is to fill holes. A hand full of good Realtors and some that only sell a house every couple months and some email and service magic (no, I am not a spokesman for SM)

    Not boasting, next week might be a bust but! 3 inspections from Realtors this week and 7 from the internet, plus I tried to give 2 away because I could not do them and I sat on my but crying on Monday because I had nothing solid for the week yet.

    Ted

    Minimal out, great return.

    I just have to figure out how to sabotage everyone else's website


  14. #14
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    ...it seriously works and keeps me in the top few in a multiple city market place...
    Speaking of cities, Ted, could you fill out your profile so we know from whence you hail? It really can be helpful at times.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Ted, you have not filled in your location or listed your website. Would you mind letting us know? It helps when others know your location. Sounds like your are near me the way you are booking inspections! We are blowing and going in the Nashville area.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  16. #16
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Sorry folks. I will get back to that profile.

    Texas, Fort Worth, just south of Keller.

    The battle ground for cheap inspections. I win over price a good portion of the time. Sometimes I will get a half dozen calls or emails that are "How much" period. Below is an email today for a joke of a price. Obviously I had to delete the buyers name and home inspectors name (I know the home inspector, been around a long time, multi inspector company). This is for a 3400 square foot home. Add the garage and it is a minimum of 3800 sf.

    "Hi this is D----l, well, you quote is high ------- quoted me 250 if you can beat that let me know

    Thank you"



    I will get the profile fixed later, maybe tomorrow.

    Ted


  17. #17
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    "Hi this is D----l, well, you quote is high ------- quoted me 250 if you can beat that let me know

    Thank you"

    Ted,

    The best way to respond to someone like that is to reply with something like this:

    "You mistake me for someone who gives a crap about your cheapness.

    I hear there is a place on the internet which will do your inspections for $50, you take the photos and send the photos to them, they will tell you what they see in the photos. *I* do quality inspections for a fair cost, not that you apparently care about quality inspections."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  18. #18
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Stop inspection report. Answer Jerry. I am breaking the rules here. I always do reports on site but I somehow found myself 3 reports behind.

    Jerry

    He was, lets say, from one of the bartering countries. I told him, not word for word but pretty close to what you said. He has not responded to my snide reply.

    The second part of your post was about the guy wanting you to work now, get paid later but does not want to tell anyone anything. I talk (very briefly) to people trying to sell me something every day of the week. They believe that if they can get you on the phone they can sell you anything. Clear glass, not opaque



    Ted


  19. #19
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The second part of your post was about the guy wanting you to work now, get paid later but does not want to tell anyone anything.

    Ted,

    No, the second part of my post was about a home inspection service someone posted here a few months ago (I could not find it here or from searching Google) where you (the buyer) takes the photos and sends them to 'the inspector' who interprets the photos and tells you (the buyer) what is in the photos. Sort of a Do-it-yourself home inspection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Oh yeah. That was the nice Hispanic gentleman about taking pictures and sending them off. He was looking at where the work was and what it was about. That was a week ago or so. My responce to that was.

    Whaaaaaat??????


  21. #21
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I am glad I found forums like this one. The advice I have gotten has helped me save money by not spending on things that don't work so well.

    Most of my action is coming from the internet through my website. I wrote it, built it and manage it myself. It's far from perfect and it probably never will be. I have more tweaking to do.

    The latest part I am working on is a photo gallery page. I'll post pictures of problems I have found from various inspection jobs. I plan to caption the pictures with the standard observation, concern, recommendation approach.

    I did spend about $700 on two yellow page listings and have not had a hit from them yet. Probably wasted money.

    Last edited by John Dirks Jr; 06-28-2008 at 08:35 PM. Reason: spelling

  22. #22
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    .
    The latest part I am working on is a photo gallery page. I'll post pictures of problems I have found from various inspection jobs.
    .
    Welcome Again John,

    Be careful about Pictures with problems if the problems are not noted.

    Like water heaters without drain pans.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    The Yellow Pages are dead... Long live the internet.

    However, if your telephone is listed as a business phone, you will get a one line listing in the "yellow section" of your phone book.

    You then have to ask your local phone co. to request that your phone # be included in the "local" section of yellowpages.com

    At least, that's what I had to go through to get listed on yellowpages.com

    tried newspaper ads in the real estate section ... zip, zero, nada.
    tried direct mail to RE agents.... same result.
    tried e-mail campaign .... more of nothing...

    Web presence and happy clients is the way to go.

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I just have to figure out how to sabotage everyone else's website
    I know what you mean... There's a Moron (capital M) that advertizes in my area using the tag "Avoid the Blind Home Inspector" Myrtle Beach Home Inspector

    Apparently this guy has no virtues of his own to extol, therefore, just like adversarial political campaigns, he decides to climb on the backs of others by creating an illusion of their worthlessness.

    People like that just upset me.
    I'd like to show him the peace sign and what Moe used to do to Curly with it. Then we'd see who the "blind Inspector" is.
    Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck..

    I wonder if his marketing method is part of his "National Association" code of ethics.

    Last edited by Victor DaGraca; 06-29-2008 at 11:15 AM.
    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    So I think we can all agree a website is def. a good idea; but with that being said have most of you had someone create a website for you or have you created it yourself and if so how? With a program? Website creator online, etc.?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    That depends on your expertise. But get something you can be proud of and gets your message across clearly. Stay away from too fancy that takes to long to load. You are not trying to win design awards for your (or your designers) artistic creation. This is a sales tool that may be the only chance you have to introduce yourself to a prospective client. Make sure you maintain the site. Continual tweaking to get higher search engine ranking will be needed as times and search engine parameters change.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  27. #27
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Yellow pages was a waste of money.
    Referrals from past customers generates business.
    Web site generates business.
    BBB membership generates business.

    Direct mail marketing has generated business. I am sending letters to homeowners who closed 11 months ago on homes 2500 sq ft or larger reminding them their builders warranty expires soon. Use a home inspection to find all the problems and have the builder repair under warranty. Averaging 3 warranty inspections a week. Crawlspaces are clean and dry.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  28. #28
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Bruce,

    Thats great man. I've been telling others for years that warranty inspections are not hard to get with just some marketing.


  29. #29
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy King View Post
    So I think we can all agree a website is def. a good idea; but with that being said have most of you had someone create a website for you or have you created it yourself and if so how? With a program? Website creator online, etc.?

    Randy. My wife and I designed our own;well she did most of it as I am no tech guy. We used Network solutions. I have my Domain name with them also. Pretty reasonable price and my wife says the templates they supply are pretty easy to use and edit. Domain Names, Domain Name Registration and Web Hosting | Network Solutions


  30. #30
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Randy;
    Go to Nameboy Ultimate Domain Name Generator, search, creation, domain name lookup and domain registration and search for available web site names.
    Once you find whats available buy it and register it for 5 years.
    It'll cost you about $75,
    and, Google gives higher pagerank to longer ownership.

    Next, buy the book SEO for Dummies. It is an easy read with a wealth of information on how to get your web site ranked on the search engines.

    next, buy server space from godaddy.com, their service starts at dirt cheap.

    next, get a hold of Microsoft Front Page to design your own web pages. It too, is easy to use and frees you from the limitations of of "cookie cutter" templates.

    Once your pages are created, up-load them to godaddy using their FTP client program and you're in business.

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  31. #31
    K Robertson's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    The internet is my biggest percentage but I is also my biggest pain in the.... Every time I get on page one and God forbid up in the top 3, some yahoo (no pun intended) pays someone to move him up, then I'm back on page 20. I spend way too much time getting my site back to page one, especially google. I could pay someone, but then I'd just be paying all the time and price keeps going up as some new inspector pops in and ups the anny.

    I get about 5 calls a month from yellow pages, 2 of which usually turn to an inspection so that's been worth the money since there is zero maintenance unlike the web.

    I get about 15 calls a month from advertising in local magazines of which I get about 6-7 jobs.

    I spend and have spent zero time advertising to Realtors. If I bump in to someone who says they are a Realtor I may hand them a card if I'm in a good mood. I get about 3 jobs a month from them.

    Everything else comes from past clients referring me to their friends and family which is my second most (and hopefully soon first most) referral source. Considering I've only been in the business 2 years, and spend about 25% of my year on the coast fishing or or at the lease hunting with my son, I think that's pretty good.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I manage my own site. One good thing about doing it yourself is not having to depend on someone else every time you want to make a change. Believe me, you'll want to go back and change, change, change, untill you finally get what you think is good. Then, low and behold, more change, change change.......

    There are drawbacks of having someone else design and build your site. One of them is, many times you'll end up looking the same as so many others that had their sites done for them too. You need to find a way to stand out and look different. The search engine crawlers like that.

    Hey!, aren't marketing ideas supposed to be secret?


  33. #33
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Most of the hosting companies offer a website builder. They all limit you to a point. With mine I created the website and when I want to go in and optimise it I just go into the source code and tweak this and that or add a link.

    You have to watch out with it though. If you have gone into your file manager and tweaked your site, copy that source code and save it for every page. The reason I say this is because the website builders are limited on what you can do. If you go into the website builder to change the looks or add items and you have already made changes in file manager. Those changes you made will disappear back to the last time you went to your website builder. Until you get familiar with changing or adding source code in file manager, be careful. I accidentally deleted half my pages. Thank God I had copied the source code or I would have had to start from scratch.

    Key words at the top of your page and throughout is the key. Unfortunately my first page looks like a key word advertisement at the top but for some reason people like it. I get the calls from it because it is not a carbon copy of everyone else's site. They like the self made homey look. Oh yeah, they like the castle pic as well. After all it is a large portion of women that call from the website. Please the women. Hmmmm, isn't that the way of life anyway.

    Ted

    Oh yeah

    Please Google. Don't forget Yahoo and MSN and the like but seriously, you can just about forget the other search engines but Google. I tried optimizing for all and finally gave up. Please one, hurt the other. Google will bring you the traffic you need.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    When I'm willing to do it....

    Going out and meeting RE people and Mortgage people face to face and saying hello.

    Just like a singles bar :-) sometimes you make a connection and sometimes you don't.

    Also, asking for permission to "come by and talk with some of your co-workers" when your client's Realtor is present at the inspection.


    Just a couple thoughts,

    Tim S.


  35. #35
    Thomas Mackelburg's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I thank Apple and GoDaddy for making it easy to publish a website in minutes. Getting it out there is the headache, but you can make a pretty nice site with a Mac which will help out in many ways.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I remember some years back that Steve was working with Amerispec in Santa Clarita, is he still around?

    Tim


  37. #37
    Wilson Hash's Avatar
    Wilson Hash Guest

    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    My most effective maketing tool is to visit Realtor Open Houses on Sundays and take them a bottled water and a large chocalate chip cookie and introduce yourself. It opens the door for discussion that you do quality inspections and would appreciate any referrals.


  38. #38
    John McKenna's Avatar
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Web site pictures and online TV.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    I found joining a professional group like LeTip or BNi has been my best source of work. Agree with others, yellow pages and meeting with realtors isn't effective.


  40. #40
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Wink Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Your most effective marketing tool is in the mirror. It's you. I've tried almost everything. Bottom line, do a good job and pass out business cards to EVERYONE at your inspections. I've had people hold on to my cards for 3 years and then pass it on to a friend or relative.

    As for my website, I find that it helps get sales. Not so much generate sales from searches. Once I make contact with someone, I always refer them to my website. I include my website address on everything I do. I periodically send email newsletters and interesting articles to agents I work with. It keeps my name in front of them, even if they don't read the email.

    Do a good job, keep in contact with clients and agents and pass out business cards. Simple.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    SEO - Search Engine Optimization VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY Important for a website if you want prospective clients to find you and you want to get placed higher up on search results. You really want to be on PAGE 1 of a serach result. I'm working on it.

    Open a website - okay mine if you want to. If you have IE, right click on an open area of the page and select "View Source" in the dropdown menu. You'll see "Title, Description, Meta tags, and keywords. You definitely need a meta tag <Meta name="robots" content="All"> or I have seen content="index,follow"

    The other thing is a LINKS page. This is where you list URLs of websites that may be of interest to the person browsing. Some say they should be relavent others say it doesn't matter. BUT - big but, you need back links, lots of them. A back link is a link to your website from other websites. Search engines use this to rank your site. IT IS RECOMMENDED TO NOT USE SITE FARMS. The search engines recognize them and may either ignore the result or put any sites listed on a blacklist. A site farm is a place that you pay to have your site listed.

    Best way for us to get back links is to exchange our website URLs and a short blurb phrase. You don't have to list nearby competitors but across country or across state shouldn't bother most of us.

    For instance, my website url is vainspectionservice.com The short blurb might be: "Home Inspections and Radon testing in the Northern Piedmont of VA". And let's say, Scott P, said, "Okay, Post me. Heres' my url and blurb. I'll Post yours". I would add his url traceinpections.com as "Trace Inspections, Home Inspections in Middle Tennessee" (or what ever his blurb line was)

    That's one. Now, I just need another 100 or 2 to make an impact. I build and maintain my own web page making it simple for me. I use SiteSpinner

    Anybody want to trade site links?
    EmaiL: InspectorStu@VaInspectionService.Com

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 07-31-2008 at 10:12 AM.
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  42. #42
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    Thumbs up Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Best way for us to get back links is to exchange our website URLs and a short blurb phrase. You don't have to list nearby competitors but across country or across state shouldn't bother most of us.

    For instance, my website url is vainspectionservice.com The short blurb might be: "Home Inspections and Radon testing in the Northern Piedmont of VA". And let's say, Scott P, said, "Okay, Post me. Heres' my url and blurb. I'll Post yours". I would add his url traceinpections.com as "Trace Inspections, Home Inspections in Middle Tennessee" (or what ever his blurb line was)

    Anybody want to trade site links?
    EmaiL: InspectorStu@VaInspectionService.Com
    Remember, all InspectionNews member are welcome to place their site/link in our inspector Search section.

    Just click on the yellow "Inspector Search" to the left, click on your state and near the top of the page you will see something like....

    Home Inspectors In - New York Home Inspection Resources Home Inspectors In - New York Links Category Directory &#187; Home Inspectors In - New York &#187; Add your link

    Click on the "Add your link" for your state and follow the directions.

    If you have any trouble please let me know.

    See InspectionNews' Secret To Getting More Inspections

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  43. #43
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Talking Re: YOUR most effective marketing tool

    Brian,

    Thanks for the useful link directory. I've signed up. I've also noticed when I checked with Google that my link from postings on this site (my website link is part of my signature) are considered "organic" links. So the more activity we have on this bulletin, the more indirect benefits we get. Go figure. Thanks again. : )


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