Digital marketing agencies and remodeling contractors don’t have all that much in common (unless you partner with one, of course). One focuses on remodeling homes, while the other remodels your online image. One thing that both have in common, however, is the need for tools.
As a marketing agency, we use tools every day to get our job done. We wanted to give a shout out to some of our favorites — the ones that help us help our clients the most.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
We’ve had many home improvement clients tell us, “I’m really running a sales and marketing company that sells windows (or baths) on the side.” At least that’s what the successful ones say and it’s how they’ve structured their business.
We strongly believe you literally can’t run that kind of business without good CRM in place.
Below are a few of the CRMs that we log into every day as we serve our clients:
Our favorite home improvement CRM is MarketSharp. Why? Partly because we have the most familiarity with it, but also because it’s tailor-made for the remodeling companies. The folks at MarketSharp really get this industry, and they love sharing their knowledge. Check out the MarketSharp website for upcoming webinars on sales tactics, digital marketing, lead tracking and more.
If you’re already using MarketSharp, and you’d like to partner with us as your digital agency — good news! We’re listed “custom lead source” in the MarketSharp system. So, tracking the leads we generate is super easy to see and report on!
Improveit 360 is a total sales, marketing, and business software solution (thus the “360”) built on the SalesForce platform. While it’s undoubtedly super powerful, we find that it’s not quite as user-friendly as MarketSharp.
Just like the two above, LeadPerfection is another home improvement CRM in our “tool belt.”
In fact, we’ve recently helped a few clients create new website contact forms that automatically send new submissions to LeadPerfection.
This has been a great time saver for our clients used to capture lots of “paper” leads at field marketing events. So, now instead of coming back to the office with stacks of paper to manually enter, the field marketers are able to use a special form on an iPad to capture leads in the field.
We understand that LeadPerfection plans to roll out some mobile friendly updates later in 2019, but until that time comes, we’re always happy to help engineer solutions that save our clients time (and money!!)
While the MarketSharp, LeadPerfection, and i360 target the larger home improvement and remodeling industry, Acculynx specifically focuses on roofing and exterior contractors. Acculynx also offers a mobile Crew App for managing and coordinating labor crews.
Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing is about more than sending out coupons and sale notices. It’s about finding another way to connect with homeowners by sending super-targeted messaging. This way, your company is the first that comes to mind when they’re ready to remodel. We have two email marketing tools that we recommend to clients.
MailChimp is a great email newsletter management tool, and one that we’ve found has a lot of advantages over its competitors. MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use and track your results.
In the past, we used other services but found once we switched that it is just so much easier to use. Plus, MailChimp has committed to integrating with lots of other online tools (like WordPress, SurveyMonkey, Evite, and others).
Constant Contact is a great choice for companies using MarketSharp. Why? Because there’s a nice integration between the two that lets you export a filtered list from MarketSharp into Constant Contact with one button click.
The small downside is that the integration does not go the other way. What do we mean by that?
If a prospect opens a Constant Contact email, you don’t see that info in MarketSharp (which would be really nice!!) Maybe one day our 2-way integration dreams will come true, but for now, we’ll continue to be grateful that we can easily pull a custom list from MarketSharp into Contant Contact in seconds.
Website and Hosting Tools
Where would we be without tools to help us manage websites and hosting? They’re vital to the success of our business, and they’re the backbone of yours as well.
In the most simple terms, WordPress is software that enables people to manage words and images on a website. The core of WordPress is not front-end graphic design & layout. Instead, it’s a web-based user interface that lets authors and editors manage their Pages, Posts, and Images in a database.
What makes WordPress so powerful is that it’s easy to use from both an editor’s and developers perspective. And, as a result, the developer community has grown. This means there are more plugins, more integrations with other online software (like MailChimp), more support forums to help us troubleshoot problems, more training resources, more YouTube videos, more books, more local programmers, more themes, and, well, more everything.
WP Engine is a hosting provider that’s proven to be extremely reliable with dozens of our clients who have used it over the years. We’re not shy about why we love it, or why our clients should switch to it. Some of our favorite things about WP Engine are the fact it runs automatic daily backups, it’s easy to revert back to an old version should something go wrong, and all sites come with three environments (live, staging, and a development site). Plus there are a ton of other really handy features for a super low cost that are available to our clients.
Our Project Management Tool of Choice: Asana
As we’ve grown over the years, the need for a more efficient, scalable, and easy-to-use project management tool has become absolutely essential. Enter Asana.
Asana’s power comes in it’s simplicity. It’s a great task and project management tool that’s dead simple to learn and actually fun to use.
Over the past 17 years, we’ve used at least 5 other online project management tools. All of them claimed to be specific to creative agencies like ours. All of them had more sophisticated settings, in-depth reports, and tons of features. And all of them were really painful to use. In every instance, the same features that originally attracted us to each system were the ones that never got used.
Asana was the opposite. No feature bloat. No grueling training sessions. Just simple, easy task management in a great looking interface.
We switched to Asana earlier this year and we’ve never looked back.
Website Optimization Tools
In the home improvement industry, your website is only as good as the leads it generates.
If it looks great, but nobody can find you online, then you’re dead in the water. On the flip side, if you get lots of web traffic, but very little of it converts to leads, you’re still dead in the water.
With Ahrefs, it’s less of a question of what it can do and more of what it can’t. This all-encompassing SEO tool allows us to track and monitor SEO rankings, perform keyword research, research competitors, perform technical site audits, and much more. What makes Ahrefs so valuable for us is that we get so many different features wrapped up in one powerful tool.
HotJar is an incredibly handy tool that provides valuable insight into how people are interacting and using our clients’ websites. How? It literally records visitor actions on your website, like little mini-movies. It also captures “heat maps” and “scroll maps” that show us where people click and how far they scroll down the page. That’s cool, right?
What’s even cooler is that we can learn from these insights to figure out where people are having issues with a website. Then we optimize it to generate more leads. What could be better than that?
Last but not least on our tool roundup is SpyFu. This handy tools lets us “spy” on our clients’ competition. We can see if those competitors are running paid search campaigns, how much they spend and what keywords they’re targeting. We can also see copies of competitors actual ads. If you’re running PPC campaigns in a highly competitive market, the insights you gain from SpyFu can be extremely helpful.
Pat graduated from the University of Missouri, where he studied Sports Management. After graduation, he worked in marketing for several years in his hometown of Chicago, before making the move to Raleigh in late 2018. A diehard sports fan, you can find him cheering on the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Cubs, and the Mizzou Tigers football team.
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