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Developing a marketing budget for your plumbing or heating company isn’t easy. Online marketing has to adapt to an ever-changing roster of social media platforms. Marketing budgets are stretched thin to keep up.
So, where are your marketing dollars best allocated? The savviest contractors dedicate a portion of their marketing budget to public relations. Without a comprehensive public relations plan, your business risks being left behind by the competition.
Earned media exposure benefits any business. It’s a fact that potential customers view an article by a credible third party as more trustworthy than an advertisement. Public relations is a way to generate this kind of earned media exposure, cultivating the image of the business and its owner as experts in the market.
Ensuring that your contracting company is known as the subject matter expert in the market is important. Creating and maintaining that reputation is valuable in ways that can’t always be strictly measured but may pay off in the long run.
Defining the brand
Marketing is about selling your services. Public relations is all about selling (and telling) the story of your company’s brand. Although many people think the company’s brand is the logo, it’s much more than that. Brand identity encompasses everything about your company — customer service, the impressions your employees make in the field, online reputation, core values, vision and even charitable works.
Public relations is about infusing marketing efforts with one vision: Promoting your brand's visibility, enhancing its reputation, and making sure it is top-of-mind with potential customers in your market. This can be through releasing regular press releases about company news, securing earned media coverage and television appearances, and producing blogs and engaging social media content.
A successful public relations strategy should also include reputation management, an important but underestimated component. Word of mouth is just as powerful as ever, but it now takes the form of online reviews. Ignoring what people are saying about your business online means losing control over the narrative and letting someone else define your company — often in negative ways.
All these PR techniques are useful, but the question then becomes how many news releases can your business produce on its own? How much media attention can it secure?
It’s no secret that successful public relations strategy means a significant investment in time and energy in boosting your company’s messaging. Developing the skill and relationships to land television or newspaper coverage doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why it can make sense to leverage the services of a trusted public relations partner to ensure success.
A PR partner takes the burden of public relations off of your in-house team and allows them to spend their time on serving customers and building up the business. Meanwhile, the home service public relations agency works to increase the visibility of your contracting business.
The right investment
Public relations should not be considered a replacement for paid advertising, but it increases marketing effectiveness in the long run. Keeping your business top-of-mind as the best, most dependable contractor in the market is half the battle when it comes to reaching and retaining customers.
PR makes your brand more than a logo on a van or a commercial on television. It makes it a living presence in the market, distinct from your competitors. Increased visibility helps generate more visibility and helps potential customers quickly answer the question, “Who am I going to call?” when an emergency strikes or they need other services.
In the end, public relations should be an integral component of your marketing plan and budget. It is a tool to unlock your home service business's growth potential and outclass your competition. Promoting your brand through PR will pay dividends in the years ahead.