Rehab and restore your business
Full Contact Project Management
As mason contractors, we almost always think in terms of restore and rehab, but in the context of the buildings on which we work.
Buildings have their own “circle of life.” It’s not just a Lion King phenomenon. Structures get old; sometimes they become unsafe. In California, where I live, reinforced masonry has been required for over 80 years. Hard to believe that there ever was a time when it wasn’t! But it was. Restoration or rehabilitation or…dare we say…raze the building?
That’s how we understand codes and requirements in our industry. Those things change, so our practices must change along with them. And it’s generally better for society. It’s definitely better for those of us who help building owners to get the restoration and rehab help they need.
But what about your business, the guts of it? Is your company completely up to the codes and standards of modern business? Today’s buzzword for this is “best practices.” Could it be that your own company needs some rehab of those practices, or even that the reputation of your outfit needs some restoration? There’s a buzzword for that one, as well: reputation management.
Things are happening in the business and marketing worlds whether we like it or not. The ways in which we’ve always gotten new business are changing. Our choice as business owners — and survivors — is to figure out the best way to live with these changes. Hopefully, we learn to thrive within an industry hard bent on changing the face of masonry construction. And so, instead of turning the ol’ blind eye to this phenomenon, let’s develop a plan.
Fortunately, I, Coach Gary, have the plan you need to deal with the rehab and restoration that will help your business comply with all the crazy Internet marketing that has overtaken masonry construction.
Right off the bat — and I hate to even mention this one, because it seems so obvious to most of us in this day and age — you need a website. Not only that, but it has to be decent. If you built your own, chances are that it’s not. I’m just sayin’….
Beyond a website, there are zillions of things you could do, so I’m going to start you off with three of the most important, which will give you the most bang for your buck.
- Here’s a freebie: make sure you claim your spot on Google Maps. How? Just type your company name into Google and you should see an entry on the right side of the page showing a map to your business and maybe a photo of it or a project of yours. Very important: if, in the middle of the Google Maps listing, you see a sentence that says, “Claim this business,” it means that Google is looking for you! It also means that you have some “rehab” work to do there.
- How’s your reputation? On that same Google results page with your Maps listing, there will be pages and pages of review sites. Everything from Yelp to YellowPages will be there, and you may have reviews on some of those. Find out, because if you have bad reviews, you need to fix things, or it will cost you. Plus, you have the opportunity to say something positive on your behalf, which just might help you out. I’ve got a free report for you, “Reputation Management for Mason Contractors.” Write me at the address below, and I’ll send it.
- Video reviews. How do you use video to help with managing reputations? Video is an incredibly powerful tool for communication. Unlike a text-based marketing system, such as direct mail or even websites, video allows businesses to touch on emotional cues with individual customers and consumers. Video marketing has become even more powerful now that more individuals are gaining access to handheld video cameras, but smartphones can be equally effective for this purpose.
It comes down to this: does your business need the rehab and restoration of reputation management? For many contractors and business owners, one of the most difficult decisions made on a daily basis is how to affordably promote their business, and in a way that is both cost-effective and gives a positive return on investment.
While there are many different avenues that a business can take to advertise online, there is perhaps none more powerful than in starting an online reputation management campaign.
Online reputation management is, in a nutshell, the culmination of every aspect of online marketing compiled into a single brand-driven push to create a positive and socially powerful image of your business. In other words, online reputation management is the capitalization of one of the most important aspects of business, which is social proof.
You may already know about social proof, but it is an important aspect to review. Social proof is simply the influence that peers have on one another in purchasing decisions. If you want to dramatically increase your sales, then simply find your potential customers and friends and turn them into believers. They, in turn, will play a larger role in potential customers and buying decisions than you ever could.
The Internet has dramatically increased the importance of social proof by allowing peer-to-peer review of businesses on a global and ever-increasing scale. Almost everyone has heard of Yelp, a review site. But there are hundreds of review sites, most of which are lesser known, but oftentimes are more accepting of reviews. So take advantage.
It wasn’t that many years ago that we scoffed at the idea of doing a materials takeoff on a computer screen, having always gotten our own set of plans to color code. But that’s nothing. When I was a kid in college, I remember seeing a full-color ad on the back cover of a national business magazine, showing a four-function handheld calculator for $395. No kidding! I really wanted one, but it remained just a dream.
The simple point is that things change, and we need to keep up. Sometimes that change means keeping up our good name.
About the Author
Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.