Here are my Predictions and Recommendations for Pool Companies in 2020…
This is always one of my most favorite newsletters to write – offering “fresh advice” at the beginning of the year, regarding what’s changing in marketing, and where you should focus your attention in the year(s) ahead.
And of course, it’s also the beginning of a new decade, which means theoretically I should be offering advice of what we should all be doing for the next 10 years.
Well that’s not gonna happen.
If there’s one thing I CAN predict, it’s that because of constant changes…
NOBODY knows what marketing is going to be like 10 years from now.
Except for some fundamentals, of course.
I took a look at my recommendations from last year, and the year before, and all the way back to 2010, when I made the clever comment that “I want to have 20-10 vision”. I am relieved to see that MOST of those recommendations are still valid.
Here are some key marketing fundamentals that remain unchanged…
…and are as important as ever to the foundation to your marketing:
YOUR STORY – You’ve still got to communicate to the world why you are the superior choice. And you’ve got to do it in a way that is interesting, believable, and compelling.
NO PLATITUDES – Empty, hollow statements that sound great but don’t really say anything unique (e.g. “We’ll make your backyard dreams come true!”) are the antithesis to a compelling and believable story. If you’re still using platitudes, please stop.
A FAST AND POWERFUL WEBSITE – In this industry, where we are selling high cost items, your website will continue to be the “hub” of information for your prospects. Whether you are advertising on Google or Facebook or billboards, or just relying on referrals and organic search, most of these people are going to go to your website (and your competitors’ websites) before they make a final decision. Your website needs to be fast, classy, attractive and easy to navigate. And of course, it should tell a compelling story, with no platitudes.
AUTOMATED FOLLOW-UP – In this industry, we are selling complicated, high-dollar stuff. For most people, it’s not a quick and easy decision. Prospects typically spend MONTHS if not YEARS evaluating their options. So it’s imperative that you have some sort of automated “drip, drip, drip” marketing system in place to nurture them while they try to make their decision.
Now here’s what’s CHANGING as
we step into 2020 and beyond.
PPC Advertising Is No Longer a No-Brainer.
10+ years ago, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was the place to invest. 5+ years ago, Pay per Click (PPC) advertising was the place to invest. But now, that’s starting to change.
PPC is still perhaps the most powerful advertising tool out there. But there’s a problem. It’s getting crowded. Five years ago, you might have 3 to 5 pool builders doing PPC advertising in your area. Now you’ve got 20 or 30 crowding into the same limited space.
And the cost per click has gone up. In the old days, $2 was a typical cost per click. Nowadays, $20 per click is not at all uncommon.
That’s a 10X increase in cost!
If this trend holds true, then going forward:
- Whatever your monthly budget is, you should expect 1/10th of the results you used to get.
- If you want to get the same results as five years ago, you’ll need to increase your budget by 10X. So your $2000 a month budget is now $20,000 per month.
- If your average cost per sale was $500, you can now expect it to be $5000.
Suddenly, PPC doesn’t look as attractive as it used to. It’s like Yogi Berra’s old cliché – “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
Of course, I’m not saying you should give up on PPC.
But I am saying you need to go into it with both eyes wide open, and make sure you are working with a PPC agency you can trust intimately.
Leads are precious.
This 10X increase in cost per lead means every lead is 10 times more precious.
Now it’s vital that all other aspects of your marketing (described above) are solidly in place. For example, if you’re going to spend $10,000-$20,000 on advertising:
- Don’t send them to a website that isn’t fast, clean, attractive and easy to navigate.
- Don’t bore them with platitudes that make you sound like everyone else.
- Don’t ignore them after they leave your website. Use remarketing and automation to stay in touch.
Also – don’t think that Google is the only place for PPC advertising. Facebook and Pinterest leads may not be as “ripe” as a Google search lead, but they can both still be a cost-effective source of new leads. (They just require more long-term nurturing.) Bing should also be on your radar.
The Best Automation Is Video-based.
Sending emails and postcards in an automated “drip, drip, drip” fashion is smart. But offering a series of video-based messages is even better. They are much more interesting to watch, and much easier to digest. And they tend to have a much higher “open rate” than regular emails.
Now this is not easy nor cheap. Video-based automation requires a lot of talent in:
- Script writing
- Video production
But when done right, it’s highly persuasive, which means you’ll have a better closing rate with those precious, expensive leads.
This is also a potential vulnerability for any builder who has not automated their marketing. If one of your competitors makes an investment in a “CyberFunnels” type of automated video system, you will be at a severe disadvantage. Everyone will want to watch THEIR videos, while you won’t have anything near as interesting or appealing to offer.
So who are they going to remember? The company with the cool, informative videos.
Sales Skills Are More Vital Than Ever
If the cost per lead is going up, you’ll want to make sure your closing ratios are as strong as they can be. You don’t want to spend $20,000 on marketing and advertising, only to find out that your salesperson came in second place.
If anyone on your team needs a little sales boost, or coaching to knock them out of their slump, give us a call. Our sales training is quite good, and it’s guaranteed.
While other prognosticators are likely talking about what a great, rosy decade we have ahead of us, I am here to tell you that there is danger lurking on the horizon. The business is out there, but you got more competitors today than a year ago, and this rising cost of customer acquisition is a genuine concern.
The seas could be rough. It’s time to get your marketing ship in order.