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Advertising Budget

Brad Manor

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I agree it should be $0 but then I do something stupid every 3 years and spend a bunch a money and see nothing in return in the hope that this time it might work for some reason.

It seems like the best advertising money I have ever spent is on business cards.

I get hits on my web site but thats only after someone was refered to us.

Imagine your god himself meaning you have all the best credential and all of the certifications up the yin yang and all of the high tech thermal cameras that money can buy and you get your big shot at impressing that realtor and at the end of the dog and pony show he or she says sounds great uh leave me some cards and maybe I'll try you out on the next one. And so you shake hands and leave with a big smile on your face cause you think you did something and as soon as you are gone that realtor gets up and strolls over to the office adjacent and says "hey joe, can you give me a referal to a good home inspector?"

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Just spent $700 on van graphics for the first time in seven years. Also, spent $800 on professionally designed postcard type mailers (also first time in seven years).

We'll see how they pay off.

Up until now, just biz cards and a handful of handmade flyers - probably max of $1000 in seven years.

Kind of ironic - why am I spending more money now after my business has been established yet I didn't spend much money when I started out?

Hmmm . . .

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Randy, I spent a ton of money as a newbie and a franchisee. Hell, I was literally strong-armed into participating in a $2,000+ a year piece of a 3 quarter-column Y.P. add that never got me a single job in more than 4 years and the damned candy used to go for $130 bucks for a box and then I had to spend money on the special little boxes and labels and then label and pack them and then drive them around and drop them off and......bleaaaaccchhhhh!

Finally decided that I'd had enough and if word-of-mouth in a people-type business like this wasn't going to support me I didn't want to be in it. I've managed to hang in there another 6 years though without all of that marketing cost.



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Yellow Page Adds = Useless

Mass Mailing = Useless for direct referals..only marginaly efffective for a branding effort.

Mortgage Company Pamphlets and the like...might pay for themselves in the one or two you get but thats about it.

Newletters and Handouts at brokers office..about as useful as the yellow pages.

Best advice market to your client base be it newsletters or greeting cards. Get out and be in front of people pressing the flesh as one would say...ie. golf outings, board of realtor meetings, conventions either realtors of home, your own local home inspection organization.

You can't by-pass time. It just takes time to build a referal based buisness.

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  • 5 months later...

we finally talked my grandfather(owner of the company) into dropping the $15,000...yes you read it right, in yellow page ads. He had used them since the early 80's and had to come to grips with the fact that very few people use them nowadays. My mother, who runs the admin, tracked them all year to show that we received exactly ZERO clients from the YP out of the 1200 inspections we performed.

we pay nothing for marketing now, and really have no need. It al comes with longevity and performing above expectation on a consistent basis. The 15k we saved will probably go towards paying health insurance, paid vacation time etc. for us.

some free advertising that has worked is getting recommended on "angies list". we now have 4 reviews there and have picked up some additional inspections as a result. My mother does a wonderful job of tracking where the stray clients(not recommended by an agent) come from.

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Here's a trick,

Find out who the largest corporations in your area are and then get your satisified clients to post a glowing recommendation for your services on their company's message board. As an example, around here, we've got Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. My name is regularly mentioned on those boards.

OT - OF!!!


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As much as you might want to by-pass time, Carl's right, you can't.

Mike's strategy is a good one - it's similar to Kurt's appreciation of Angie's List. I have benefitted from school teachers. They have an active bulletin board that loves me. This cost me nothing but time. Time for the word of mouth to develop. Time is money.

(Les, you forgot the Yo-Yos!)

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If you have the following you are marketing:

1. Business cards

2. Website

3. Signs on you vehicle

4. Logo or uniform shirts

5. Sponsor youth sport teams

6. Belong to a national or local association with a web search feature

7. BNN, LeTips or similar marketing group.

All of this falls into marketing, and if you create a budget they should fall under marketing.

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