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Direct Marketing to A&D Community11/9/15
I am considering a direct mail campaign targeting Architects and Interior Designers within a 50-100 mi radius. Was wondering for those who have actually bid & won projects as a result of your campaign, what % of time does the Architect/Interior designer actually take the time to visit your shop as part of their vetting process?
I have a small shop and feel it is a weak point in my presentation. Thanks for any input.
I'm more inclined to hire a US based telemarketer on a contract basis to make some cold calls. Obviously, that's more expensive than a mailer campaign, but I think you're ROI would end up being better.
I wouldn't use either method - mail or telemarket. These are for MASS and I mean MASS markets. Response rates (not close rates) of 1% are considered good. How many thousands of prospects are within 50 miles of you?.
Maybe you, as in yourself, should reach out to 5 or 10 a week. Research who they are, what they do, who is the procurement person. Check out their portfolios - figure out how you may fit. Then strike up a conversation. Follow them on social media. Kudo their work. Ask them why they went with Brand X USB chargers in the granite counters. Build a relationship. Somewhere in there mention how you'd LOVE to get on their bid list. Or how willing you'd be to help them with some value-engineering solutions to building cabinets in the ceiling or whatever.
Point being, if you take an easily forgettable cold approach you will be easily forgotten and your ROI will be negative.
Cold calls. It's old school, yes, but believe it or not many contractors and architects have been very receptive of mine in the past. Out of 50 calls, I average 2 very interested and 1 hard hit...meaning work. Meaning bidding their projects and landing some of the bids. Snail mail takes a lot of $ for postage and printing..it hasn't worked for me ever. Email marketing works, but usually for low end jobs in my experience. I get emails from every town in my area (that offers this) from the permit department for permits pulled in a month... I cold call those people every 4-6 months (contractors) and introduce my services to them.. Most are amazed at my ambition and some send me jobs to bid. My 2
My suggestion is that he hire someone to do the cold calling for him. Gather up the information, weed out the 90% that aren't a good fit, and send the 10% (or whatever the number happens to be) of solid targets on to him to follow up on.
I've done a small amount of cold calling myself. It's not enjoyable work. But the ROI seems to be a heck of a lot better than any other method I've tried.
Good insight here on marketing tips. Thanks. But can anyone address my primary question?
re: "Was wondering for those who have actually bid & won projects as a result of your campaign, what % of time does the Architect/Interior designer actually take the time to visit your shop as part of their vetting process?"
Don't worry about the small shop, sell it as a strength. Something like, "Since we have a small and efficient shop, we can provide a level of service and attention to detail that you can't get at a larger shop". Make sure that the shop is spotlessly clean and organized, get the machines all shiny, wear a shirt with buttons & clean pants. Don't be afraid to turn down a job that is too big for you to handle in a reasonable amount of time. Screwing up their deadlines will put you on the blacklist. I turned down a big restaurant build out years ago for this reason, and the architect came back and gave us the job to make all of the macassar ebony table tops for the job and some other smallish things. We still work with the architect and have since grown to the point where we can handle the large jobs.
If you're specifically asking how many architects and designers will personally come to your shop because they received a postcard from you in the mail, the answer is going to be zero no matter how many you mail out.
If you get the high end design and home magazines you will see articles with photos from various designers and architects. I write those that are not my customers a personal email with a photo of one of our pieces and offer a tour of my shop. it has paid off a lot better than when i would make cold calls and give them a bottle of wine.
As a business owner and employer, there are always a few unpleasant tasks that may be out of your comfort zone. It sounds like you are avoiding making personal contact with the A&D community, but you think you may want their business.
As succinctly as I can put it, the A&D community wants the same things most other clients want...projects completed as specified, on time and on budget. They don't want excuses. They don't care if you work out of a garage, basement, shed or the most modern, up to date facility. They want and expect results.
The very last things I would do is mail an unsolicited piece of mail and expect results from it and hire a person to go through the dirty work of eliminating the prospects. You need to know what these targets need and want, and how they respond to your messages and inquiries personally so you can shape future marketing plans to this group.
While I appreciate everyone's input on marketing angles and do's and don'ts, that is not what I was looking for.
Maybe worded better than my previous posts. Here is the question again:
When you've been awarded your very 1st job from your new A&D client, (however they came to you) what % of times did they make the effort to visit your shop beforehand?
Hope that may be clearer. Please no more marketing stuff unless others are interested and can benefit. Thanks
When I had big jobs on the line, before they went with me they always visited my shop.
I started with the cold sales call, they followed up with a shop visit.
80% visit before signing on for big jobs.
Great. Now I'm getting an idea of this. Although I suppose if one had a really nice shop, then a visit may have been encouraged one way or the other. But good to get everyone's response. Thanks!