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7 Signs You Need a Marketing Expert

From having a passive website to actively managing targeted online ad campaigns, every business needs to promote itself in some way to get the word out to potential clients.

Hope Dorman

AUGUST 19, 2020
marketing

A do-it-yourself approach to marketing may make sense if you are just starting your business and are short on budget but have plenty of time in between projects to do things like upload photos, write blog posts, and create email marketing messages. However, having an expert on your side can transform the performance of your marketing efforts; they’ll know the most effective channels to use and what sort of content to promote.

Do you feel like you lack sufficient funds to spend on marketing? The US Small Business Administration recommends that businesses with less than $5 million in gross revenue spend 7-8% of their gross revenue on marketing. If that seems steep, you’re not alone; a study found that small businesses actually spend an average of 1% of their gross revenue on marketing.

But if a business is spending less than 1%, it increases the risk of sacrificing leads and sales to competitors who are dedicating the average 1% or more to marketing. How do you know if your business can benefit from a marketing professional? In this eBook, we’ll cover seven scenarios that indicate your business would benefit from a marketing professional and highlight positive experiences from fellow Houzz pros when they hired a marketing team member, consultant, or agency.

“I suggest that business owners invest in a marketing team member as soon as they can afford it. If I had to go back in time, my marketing person would be my second or third hire.” -Ryan Herd, 1 Sound Choice

Sign 1: Your Business is Marketing for the First Time

Creating high-quality marketing materials for your business can give you a strong start right from the beginning. If your business is new or is just dedicating efforts to marketing, hiring an expert will lay the groundwork for future marketing efforts - whether that is creating a logo, brand identity, website, or online presence.

A survey of marketers revealed that the elements that have the biggest financial impact on their business include content marketing (20%), social media (10%), marketing automation (9%) and SEO (4%). Since there is such a variety of channels and marketing efforts, instead of trying to master them all, save your time and let a skilled professional handle it from the start.

“I was in business for 25 years before hiring a marketing person. I suggest that business owners invest in a marketing team member as soon as they can afford it. If I had to go back in time, my marketing person would be my second or third hire. Home renovation pros think they can do marketing because they can take a picture or post to social media, but their photos may not look good. A marketing expert can teach contractors what potential clients are looking for and how to get the right content to attract homeowners. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment.” —RYAN HERD, 1 SOUND CHOICE

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Sign 2: You Don’t Have Marketing Training

Just as homeowners hire design and remodeling professionals like you for their home projects, you should entrust your marketing to a professional if you don’t have marketing training. If you don’t know how to make the most of a marketing channel, you might spend more time than it’s worth trying to teach yourself. By getting your marketing efforts right from the start, you save yourself from potential issues with wasted time, inconsistent branding, or generating insufficient or low-quality leads.

You may be surprised that your company might have the budget for the services of a marketing professional. Glassdoor reports a wide range of salaries for marketing staff based on location, company size, and industry. For an entry-level ‘Marketing Coordinator’ the annual salary may be in the mid $30,000 range in some parts of the country, whereas a ‘Marketing Director’ with 15 years of experience can command a salary closer to $150,000. For pros looking for a consultant, Upwork reports that the price range for a small business marketing consultant is $25-$100 an hour.

Whether you want to bring someone on in-house or on a consultant basis, it’s possible to find someone within your budget to advise - even if you’re spending just 1% of your gross revenue on marketing.

Sign 3: There’s Not Enough Time for Marketing

According to a report from Statista, in 2017, 23% of marketers spent 6-10 hours a week on social media marketing, and 45% of marketers spent 11 or more hours per week. Once you factor in other marketing efforts like email marketing, blogging, direct mail, and/or video, it becomes clear that marketing takes a significant amount of time. If you’re not a professional marketer, you could spend a lot more time trying to replicate the same results.

It’s easy to accidentally fall behind on marketing if your schedule is full from taking on client work. The value of having a dedicated marketing team member or consultant is that they can keep your content up-to-date and posted regularly.

“As we became busier and content marketing gained more traction, it became harder and harder for us to keep up with marketing in-house, especially our newsletter, so we hired a consultant. She helps us save time in facilitating the entire newsletter process which is a benefit to us to allow us to get a consistent soft-touch of our past and future clients.” —JASON GETTUM, GETTUM ASSOCIATES

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Sign 4: You Want to Generate More Business
According to a 2018 survey about digital marketing, the top goal marketers have for online advertising is to generate more sales and revenue, cited by 24% of respondents. Another 15% of respondents said their goal was to generate more leads from their marketing efforts. However, only 66% of respondents reported that they advertise online, meaning that one-third of companies are missing out on connecting with and generating more business from people looking online.

Online advertising is a good way to grow your business and get in front of homeowners looking to hire a design and remodeling professional. If you’re looking to advertise with the hope of getting more inquiries, a marketing professional will help you by knowing the most effective channels, saving you time from guessing which will work best for you.

With Houzz’s local marketing program through Houzz Pro, members work with a Client Success Manager who can advise on best practices for their Houzz profile, such as which photos to feature prominently, how to write an ad for an offer, and how to best position themselves to reach their target market. To learn more, contact sales.

“I was using Houzz as a homeowner. It was the best place for remodeling ideas I had ever seen, so when I started my company, I decided to use Houzz as my main source of advertising. My first year on Pro+, I received 60% of my business through Houzz leads. The majority of leads from Houzz are serious buyers who want custom work. You can do everything you need through Houzz to grow your business.” —PAUL SCHLAFMAN, EXQUISITE LIVING

“As a small, relatively new business I like that I can target the areas that I want to work in. It made sense to advertise where I already had a presence. It generates leads and has already paid for itself this year.” —RAY WHITAKER, RS WHITAKER INC.

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Sign 5: You Need to Do Substantial Updates

Is your website mobile friendly? Does it look modern, and load quickly? Do you need a new logo? If it’s time for a major overhaul of your brand or your website needs a refresh, an expert can guide you so your website and all marketing channels fulfill the current best practices and can carry out the legwork. It can take weeks or months to carry out substantial marketing updates like a rebranding or website overhaul - time that you could be spending working on projects that will bring in revenue.

Houzz can offer a website solution through Houzz Pro. We’ll provide professional mobile friendly template-based websites with your custom domain. We’ll populate photos, reviews, and copy from your Houzz profile, and host and maintain the website for you.

Sign 6: You Have No Marketing Plan

Those pros who don’t have a marketing plan (for example, an editorial calendar for promoting content, or a strategy for new channels to explore) will most likely let a lot of time pass before taking any action on marketing - if they do anything at all. When businesses have a blog with no new posts in years, no recent client reviews, and no recent project photos, it may leave potential clients who come across the website or Houzz profile wondering if the company is still open for business.

A study from Hubspot found that companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more website traffic than companies that published four or fewer monthly posts. The study found that a higher posting frequency is especially relevant for very small companies; companies with one to 10 employees that post on their blog 11 or more times per month notice a huge jump in website traffic compared to those that post 10 or fewer times per month.

These numbers may seem daunting, especially for those who currently have no marketing plan in place. If you’re not prepared to plan and execute multiple posts across your online presence each week, an expert can create an achievable plan that will help your business achieve its goals.

Sign 7: You Want to Increase Performance

Your business may already have some marketing materials, such as an email newsletter, videos, a website, or written content. But are they performing well in relation to other companies? Here are some benchmarks:

Constant Contact reports that for emails sent from companies in Home & Building Services, the average open rate is 16.23% and the clickthrough rate is 5.67%.

• In an article from TIME, Chartbeat reports that 55% of people visiting a website spend less than 15 seconds on a page.

• A report from Akamai Technologies states that 53% of users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Formstack reported that the average conversion rate of lead generation website forms was 11% and contact forms was 1%.

Great marketing involves knowing how to target your audience, write for your audience and coordinate visual materials that interest your potential clients. If you have marketing materials but they are not achieving the results that you want, or are not meeting these performance benchmarks, a marketing professional can identify what needs to be changed or updated.

“Before we signed up for Pro+, our marketing efforts got a low return. We signed up for Pro+ to cover a larger territory. We’re now seeing more consistent, good quality leads coming in. Compared to other marketing methods, with Pro+, I have more control over the types of jobs I want to pursue.” —LISA WIELGUS, FLOORS COME TRUE

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Business Growth & Management

Your business may very well be showing one or more of these seven signs that you need guidance from a marketing expert. If you know you need guidance but aren’t able to commit to hiring an employee, Houzz Pro’s business growth program could be a great solution.

With Houzz’s local advertising program, you will receive enhanced exposure so you can generate business inquiries. You’ll work with a Client Success Manager who can advise you on best practices and update your Houzz presence, collect reviews from clients, and upload photos. Houzz can even create, host, and manage a mobile-friendly, secure website with a custom domain.

If you’re looking to update your portfolio with high-quality images of recently completed projects, the Houzz Professional Directory can help you find a great, local professional photographer.

Houzz’s marketing offerings are designed to help home renovation and design businesses that are looking to initiate marketing efforts or aiming to supplement their existing marketing mix, all while saving time by allowing us to handle the legwork. For more information, contact sales.

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Hope Dorman is a Content Marketing Senior Associate based in Orange County, California. She loves timeless design, creative space solutions, and getting inspiration from Houzz to keep crafting her home.

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