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In business and life, it’s easier to hit the bullseye if you’ve set a target. When it comes to home service contractors, setting targets should be second nature. Every day you’re aiming to hit important goals to keep your business running, whether it’s closing a percentage of inbound calls or the cost of the average service ticket.
Have you thought about your public relations goals? Do you have any? It’s important to start setting your PR targets as soon as possible, even if you need some additional time to decide exactly how to quantify them. Preferably, this is the day you open your doors for business, but the next best time is right now.
Start now, not later
As a home service business owner, you’re more than busy on a daily basis trying to grow your company. There are teams to motivate, an amazing company culture to nurture, and technicians to recruit and train. Not only that, but you’re fine-tuning your marketing efforts to keep the phones ringing day after day.
With so much going on at once, it can be easy to think of public relations as something that can wait to think about when your business is “big enough.” But it means losing the opportunity to boost your reputation and brand awareness from the start.
As a home service company, your path to success should be theoretically simple: Just keep the calls coming in and the vans on the road more often than the competition. But the reality isn’t quite so cut and dried. With the potential customers you’re trying to reach just a click or a Google search away from booking a call with your competitors, it’s harder than ever to stay top-of-mind and maintain long-term customer loyalty in a crowded marketplace.
While the goal of marketing is to keep those calls coming in through paid advertisements or email drip campaigns or direct mail, public relations is about building your company’s brand image and reputation as the trusted, go-to home service contractor in the market. When an emergency strikes, you want homeowners to automatically think about your business as the local expert — even if they’ve never seen your latest TV commercial or gotten a postcard in the mail.
Building your image
Advertising is all about paying for the opportunity to say great things about yourself. Among other things, public relations is the art of getting other people to say those great things for you. Consumers can appreciate a funny TV or radio commercial, but they don’t put as much stock into the content as other forms of media.
The building block of a great reputation is earning media coverage for your business. Getting an objective third party to write or talk about your business in a newspaper story or a TV interview can confer more legitimacy than a paid advertisement.
So, make it a goal to cultivate relationships with local newspapers, broadcast news organizations and other media outlets. Learn their needs, what interests their viewers/readership and support them through advertising (when it makes good sense for your budget).
Pitch yourself as a home service expert to offer helpful tips and interviews. It takes a lot of consistent effort to develop solid media relationships, but they will pay off in the long run.
Ultimately, successful public relations is about more than scoring TV appearances or being quoted in the newspaper. Those are both components of a successful strategy, but PR is also about:
If you don’t have the in-house expertise or capacity to build and manage those relationships on your own, partnering with an experienced PR team can provide the expert help to do so.
Whatever their size, all businesses need to set clear goals and objectives to keep growing and thriving. Successful companies never stop evaluating and rethinking their public relations goals. While today’s most urgent goal might be to become known as the top home service expert in your market, tomorrow’s goal might be to increase your company’s reputation with potential buyers.
Setting public relations goals is fundamental to business planning. If you need help, a trusted PR partner can help you refine these objectives and develop a strategic plan to reach them. It’s not too late to start doing so, but it’s definitely not too early to begin.