Posted by: nedpelger | March 20, 2010

Facebook Revisited

A few days ago, I encouraged you to consider opening a Facebook account and connecting with people, including perhaps some client or boss type people. Jeff Gambill commented on the post that he’d never considered doing that, but probably will sign up for Facebook as a possible way to get some more work for his small construction business. Jeff recently discovered ConstructionKnowledge.net and has been a long time fan of learning and improving his skills and understanding of other trades.

As I thought more about Facebook and marketing in general, I remembered an “Ah Ha” moment I had 20 years ago. I was running a General Contracting firm with about 80 people. A past customer started a project with another GC. Our sales guy called on the past customer to find why he hadn’t come back to us. Had we done something wrong that we didn’t know? Had there been problems with the last project that he never told us?

The customer answered, “No, you guys did a great job, but it was a few years ago. When I started thinking about this new project, I just didn’t think about you. I’d been hearing things about this other firm and just gave them a call. Things went from there.”

We need marketing becuase customers forget. They have their busy lives and don’t think about us much. So whether you run a business or your own career (and I’m convinced there isn’t much difference between the two), you need to remind possible clients or bosses of your existence.

Imagine setting up a Facebook account and friending most of the people in your email directory. Only the ones currently on Facebook get notified, and most of them will probably accept your friend request. Now you have some people who see your posts. You may post on your wall that you’ve been calling around for work, never having seen it quite this bad before. Not whining or begging, just commenting on what you are doing and thinking.

A potential customer (or boss) may see that post and be spurred to action. Lots of projects are happening right now because the customers have been thinking about the project for years, but no one expressed much interest in taking them on. Now the call requesting a quote gets promptly answered and the bid given. The starting time becomes as soon as the permit clears.

Besides getting you remembered, marketing motivates customers to take action. Wendy’s doesn’t advertise because they’ve got money to waste. They spend all those dollars on ads because the ads encourage customers to act in ways they wouldn’t have. Adding some offices differs from buying a Frosty, but the advertising works the same.

So, as you manage your career or your business, think about marketing as a way to make customers remember who you are and what you could do for them. Make the time and take the risk.

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Responses

  1. Great post Ned. Outta sight, outta mind!

  2. You are indeed correct Ned, as I definitely get a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from learning about my chosen profession. My only regret is that I wished I would have devoted more time during busier periods to continue to develop and grow. But that is certainly not the case during this current economic downturn, as I find myself with more than enough time to devote to bettering my knowledge and skill sets. And I am now doing just that, particularly with currently available sites such as yours Ned – constructionknowledge.net (which is by the way quite awesome and tremendously helpful). Needless to say, I’m very thankful I was able to have “stumbled” across it.

    In regards to what you’ve said about Facebook and marketing; I am now considering the feasibility of my own web-site but know little to nothing about it. Just wondering if anyone here had any info on such and/or where to point me in the right direction to explore? Also, I just opened an account at Facebook and hope to fine tune it and explore every available tool there to effectively market my small construction business. I was hoping to see you there Ned (as well as anyone else here) and add you as a friend, but haven’t seen you as of yet.

    I can certainly relate to your story of keeping your company in the minds of previous/potential customers. When working as a project manager for a mid-sized construction firm in Memphis TN, we would twice a year mail out our own little newsletters we printed up ourselves and mail them to all our customers, just to keep our name in their mind in the event they wanted to engage in another project. We simply included a few tidbits of what we’ve been doing recently, services offered, personnel info (B-days, weddings, etc), with a few photos tossed in of recent jobsites and completed projects. It seemed to go a long way in reaching the desired effect, particularly for the little time and money invested.


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