Marketing Your Building Inspection Business – Some Old Fashioned Tips

As a building inspector you will most likely be in charge of marketing your business, unless of course you can afford to hire a marketing consultant. I write a lot about social media to market your business however there are  a number of other ways that are effective, and will have that little bit of a WOW factor. Here are a few tips:

Keep a Database. 

Even if it’s an Excel spreadsheet it’s always good to keep a database so you can send out marketing emails and keep notes of your clients and prospects. Your clients can be your biggest advocate and once you have finished your property inspection it’s always good to keep in touch. There are a number of ways to do this including a weekly or monthly email campaign.

I personally prefer to keep an electronic database and one affordable ‘in the cloud’ system is www.zoho.com which you can sign up for and add your clients, prospects and suppliers. Here you can also add when your customer last purchased from you and information that you can use to nurture your customers and prospects, i.e. writing down their birthday if you know it, or sending a card to them on the anniversary of purchasing their new home. These sorts of databases or (CRM) as they are called are the best way to keep up to date information on your clients. As well you can set yourself tasks to do and reminders i.e. as mentioned before to send out a Happy Anniversary card on your client’s new home.

Send a handwritten thank you card

Most of us are inundated with email and electronic communication, and it’s rare to actually receive anything in the mail anymore. One tip you can do is send a card to your clients thanking them for their business. I have had branded postcards made up in the past as thank you cards. It’s a nice touch and is memorable.  Here’s an example of something you can design a personalised postcard with room to write a handwritten message on the back (see below). I created this one in www.canva.com for this blog post.

 

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Referral Program

What better way to get new clients than referrals from happy customers? Create a referral program that offers a discount off your client’s next property inspection or send a gift card for referrals that turn into paying clients. For example: Refer a client and if they become our customer we will send you $50 voucher to spend at (name a store). You will need to add terms to your website for doing this with the conditions.

These are just a few little tips that could help you grow your business by making your clients feel appreciated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deb Carr is the publisher of a popular Sydney Lifestyle Blog and Social Media Marketer as well as the Marketing Consultant for Housesafe.

www.debcarr.com

 

Marketing Your Building Inspection Business on Instagram

By HouseSafe’s Marketing Consultant: Deb Carr

Instagram is a great tool for any business owner to help market their business. The trick is not to make your account all about your business, it’s about showcasing amazing photos, using clever hashtags and building a following. Personally, my instagram is also linked to both my websites so as soon as I’ve posted something on Instagram it’s automatically populated to my website. In fact, I have ensured that all my social media platforms are also posted straight to my websites.

Building inspectors may think that instagram would not help their business, however I’d like to challenge that thought becuase there are many ways you can build a following.

Before you create your Instagram account it’s important that you have a really good profile set up with your website. If you would like to see how I’ve done it go please have a look at my Instagram.

HouseSafe InstagramYou will note that I have used a separate line for each of the points I want to get across. I have also included an emoticon on each line for more interest and finally my blog url. NOTE: You can’t actually do the separate lines in each Instagram itself so with my iPhone (and I’m sure Android would have something similar) I wrote my BIO with the emoticon’s in NOTES which does allow me to create separate lines and then I copied and pasted it into my Instagram BIO. This only shows up on the phone though, not when you actually use a computer to check out the profile.

Another important first step is thinking carefully about what the name of your Instagram account will be. It’s getting harder to actually find good names on social media these days, as many are taken however do try and keep it close to your business name as you can. For instance I could not get “sydneychic” so I had to go for “sydneychicblog”.

Once you have established your account think of the #Hashtags you will regularly use. There is a good APP you can download called “TagsForLikes” which you can copy and paste popular tags. I try not to put too many tags in because it can look spammy. Think of tags as ‘keywords’ or words that other Instagram users will look for that may help them to follow you.

Next is to think of a way to make a really unique Instagram account. One example of a Tradie friend of mine is www.instagram.com/tradiefit – Andrew is a carpenter who has built a good following by taking photos of himself as a tradie in his fitness. I’ve seen his Instagram account skyrocket in a short time because he takes great photos and sticks to his theme.

Some ideas you could go with as a building inspector are:

  • Great Gardens
  • Amazing Houses in Your Area
  • Your Hobby
  • Foodie
  • Best Sunsets
  • Cars

These are just a few examples, what I am saying is you don’t have to post “building inspection” create a great theme and build from there.

To gain a great following post really good photos. I post one or two a day and I try and do it in peak hour commuter times. I also use a number of APPS to enhance the photos one of those is called “Studio” available in the app store. Your photos can also be enhanced using the many filters that come with Instagram.

One word of warning, never buy followers, it’s so easy to see who buys followers and likes and it instantly screams ‘not authentic’.

Once you start posting on Instagram, the best way to organically grow your following other accounts that you like and start liking and commenting on their posts.

It may not bring you a flood of customers, however it’s another way of getting your brand out there.

If you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask me on the Forum.

Deb is the Marketing Consultant for Housesafe and Editor of Sydney Lifestyle Blog; Sydney Chic.

www.debcarr.com

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Networking to Build Your Building Inspection Business

The Golden Rule for networking is “It’s not about me, it’s about YOU”. I cringe thinking back about when I first started to network and thought of myself as being someone who could really ‘work the room’. I was so busy telling everyone what I did without taking the time to first learn about the person I had just met. These days when I network I go with the attitude of contributing to others. I take an interest in who I’m chatting with and ask questions about them, and their business.

Not everyone you meet will be a potential client for you, however you don’t know who they know, and who they could refer you to! Let’s face it; people do business and refer business to people they know and trust.

I realise it’s not easy for people to attend networking events because some are dreadfully shy, so think of it as part of your marketing and growing your building inspection business.

If you are shy, there are a number of ways to get chatting:

  • Ring the organizers to see if someone can meet you and introduce you to other people
  • Stand alone – someone will come to you
  • Approach someone who is standing alone
  • Introduce yourself and then ask questions about the other person
  • Spend more time listening
  • Make sure you are up to date with current affairs and news

As a building inspector it’s a good idea to have a really good ‘elevator speech’ telling your story in a memorable way. This is your first impression to get across what you do and how you help people in 30 seconds. I have given a formula below on crafting an elevator pitch, and have used myself to explain how I crafted my own elevator pitch.

Here is mine:

My name is Deb Carr I’m a blogger & social media marketer and I help small business owners tell their story in the most effective way through social media and blogging. I do this by teaching them social media or looking after their accounts for them. I’m looking to connect with anyone who needs to have the WOW factor online.

Yours could be:

I’m Joe Bloggs and I’m a building inspector specialising in pre-purchase inspections. I help homeowners to avoid the pitfalls of buying a new home that could have costly defects. I do this by doing a thorough independent inspection and report on the home. I’m looking to connect with property buyers who want to be assured that their investment is the right one.

My name is ______________________________________________________________

I’m ______________________________________________________________
consider sharing your company name, your personal brand, role or specialty

I help ______________________________________________________________

who/what kind of clients do you like to work with?

to ______________________________________________________________
State your value proposition: What value you create for people?

I do this by ______________________________________________________________
What kinds of problems do you help solve for them and how?

I’m looking to meet
__________________________________________________________
Specifically who would you like to connect with (optional depending on circumstances)

Remember:

  • Always check you have a good stock of business cards with you. It’s a good idea to always write a note on a business card that is given to you with important things to remember about the person you just met.
  • Be a good listener
  • Follow your new contacts on social media

NOTE: You can use this in your marketing material too, you may want to use just one line as your tag line e.g. mine is “Let me help you tell your story in the most effective way” whereas yours could be “Let me help you avoid the pitfalls of buying a new home that could have costly defects”.

Deb is the Marketing Consultant for Housesafe; a popular Sydney lifestyle blogger and Social Media Marketer.

 

Using Social Media to Market Your Building Inspection Business

By Deb Carr

Many inspectors are busy trying to get new clients and forget about one very useful way to get their name out in the marketplace; I’m talking about utilizing Social Media

I’ve heard it so many times; “I don’t have time and I’m not sure how to do it”. So I thought I’d start a series on the Housesafe Blog on what you can do to get an online presence. I will post a range of social media topics in future and today we will look at Twitter.

What I love about Twitter is it is a great way to meet potential clients online. Basically you have only 140 characters to get a message out.

Here is an example of a Tweet that is under 140 characters.

Buying a new property is exciting; finding defects after the purchase is heartbreaking. Building inspections help prevent this. #property 

You notice that I have hashtagged the word property. This is because anyone who is interested in property and searches Twitter on the topic can quickly find tweets about it. You will see in the sidebar of your Twitter account a range of “Trending Topics”. By joining in conversations on Twitter on trending topics you are more likely to make connections and get noticed because millions of Tweets are made daily from all around the world and getting noticed isn’t easy.

Personally I have been on Twitter for a number of years and have 4700 followers, however it is impossible for me to see 4700 people’s Tweets that follow me so I build lists. Twitter enables you to build list of people that you want to particularly keep an eye to see what they have recently Tweeted. I have created lists of journalists and companies in the construction industry for Housesafe to quickly search and engage with potential clients or media.

Now you don’t have to be on Twitter all day to Tweet. You can schedule your Tweets to go out during the day or even weeks or months ahead, and we will talk about tools for this in another post.

So what do you Tweet about? Rule number one is to recognize that Twitter is about sharing valuable information that your followers are interested in, and that doesn’t mean all about your business. My rule is for every 5 Tweets, make one about your business and the rest something else. There are so many places to find content online to share that you will never run out. It could be a news item that you can comment about; a great photo you have found on the net; a funny cartoon; a video; a quote.

Personally I use a range of tools that helps me to find content quickly to share and I do this for my own social media and for other social media accounts too.

One of the best ways is to subscribe to industry newsletters like Sourceable.net  or set up Google Alerts. Type in “Google Alerts” and create an account, then type in the topic you want to receive information about which will be delivered to your inbox for easy sharing. Not only is it a great way to share information, it can keep you up to date on the latest industry news too.

Most news sites and blogs these days have easy sharing buttons to share on social media which shortens the link for you, just by pressing  the Tweet icon it will take you straight to your Twitter account to post it. If you are sharing long URL’s just hop on to www.bitly.com to shorten them to share. For example this url is:

http://housesafetraining.com.au/using-social-media-to-market-your-building-inspection-business/
to this:
http://bit.ly/1SPdUiR

Not only does it give you more room in your small 140 characters, it looks better than the long URL above.

Retweeting (RT) someone else’s Tweet is also a great way to build rapport with people, and these days Twitter allows you to add a comment about why you are Retweeting. On the subject of Retweeting if someone does a RT for you then it’s good manners to thank them over Twitter.

Sometimes you may not want to RT something somebody has posted but you still want to acknowledge you have noticed their tweet. Simply use the ‘favourite’ icon to do this.

There will be times when someone might say something negative about you online, my rule is to not engage with them at all because it can escalate out of control. Before I Tweet or RT anything I think about it carefully, because once it’s out in Twitterverse there is no getting it off, even if you delete it someone could have seen it and screen-grabbed it.

SHORTHAND FOR TWITTER

RT = Retweet (you repost something someone else has Tweeted)

OH = Overheard (something you overheard and are repeating but not naming)

FF =Follow Friday (a shoutout to your mates on Friday’s)

HT = Hat Tip or Heard Through (i.e. via)

@ = sends a message to a user’s handle i.e. @DebCarrNetwork

# = Hashtag – used to ‘tag’ tweets on certain topics think of Keywords

DM = Direct Message (personally I never look at them…very rare..it’s mostly spam)

Tweetup = A real life meetup announced on Twitter – usually a group of friends

SM= Social Media

LTM = Let Me Know

ICYMI = In Case You Missed It

MRT = Modified ReTweet, when you modifly a RT to fit into 140 charactors

MT= Modified Tweet (as above)

NTS = Note To Self

NP= Now Playing

 

Deb Carr is responsible for the Social Media Marketing for Housesafe. If you have a question please hop on the forum and she will answer it.

 

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