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Contractor Marketing: From the Funnel to the Flywheel

Marketing Flywheel TH style

Let’s go back to the basics of physics for a moment. Visualize a funnel, start throwing water in at the top of it, and of course water flows out the bottom. What happens the moment you stop pouring water? The flow stops too. And that’s the life of a marketer, particularly a marketer or business owners who’s key KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is to generate leads. This rings particularly true for contractor marketing, an industry that the Treehouse is very astute at serving.

What occurs is that you need to keep topping off the funnel with prospects to generate leads. The moment you stop topping, no leads. This is a very challenging and stressful position to find oneself in on a continuous basis, don’t you think? Generating no leads, means salespeople stand idly by and trucks are off the roads.

Next, let’s think about a wheel. It’s round, it turns. You apply some pressure and it begins to rotate. Think of when you ride a bicycle, you push the pedal, initially it’s a little tough, but then the tires begin to turn.

After a while, the peddling becomes easier, yet the rotation still incurs. Heck, you can even stop peddling for a moment to catch your breath, and still, the tires will turn, and you’ll move forward. You won’t come to a screeching halt. If there’s nothing providing any form of friction or resistance, you’ll keep moving forward. How fast, well this is up to you.

Now what if we applied this same law of physics to marketing and lead generation. How can that be? Sounds impossible since all we know is the funnel. No action, no outcome.

How could it be that there is a model that provides momentum and ongoing outcome. Well look no further contractor business owners and marketers alike, the “Fish On Marketing Flywheel”, was launched in September 2019 at the annual Contractor Nation Convention (“Fish On” is the comprehensive contractor marketing program successfully taught by Contractor Nation to our clients since 2011, to ensure contractor success, hence the extension of this unique name for the flywheel) and since the Treehouse is a division of Contractor Nation, focusing on all things digital marketing for our contractor network, it is important to talk about this, explain how it works, and then over time, we can dig in deeper to illustrate which marketing tactics can be applied to help generate that marketing momentum.

Katherine Gulick, Director of Marketing Services at Contractor Nation, whom was key to the development and launch of the contractor marketing flywheel explains, “What is the fundamental change in marketing you might wonder that has given us the ability to shift from the funnel to the flywheel. Well, quite simply, with the advance of technology and media platforms, advertising and marketing are no longer one directional. We are no longer broadcasting our messages to homeowners, in fact, now, we generate conversations, build relationships. And most important to note now, is that the homeowners have a voice too, and they can communicate very loudly out to the marketplace, and without a doubt, the preference would be that of a positive message all about you, and your contracting business, allow your customers to become your ambassadors.”

So, this has developed an invigorated focus, a key focus, that becomes central to the entire new concept, which is to create champions for your brand, brand ambassadors if you will in the form of customers. In effect, we have taken the age-old referral program, which was always a nice to have, that required extra effort, and we have turned it into a key outcome.

Because think about it, if you stop pouring into a funnel, at least there will be help by brand champions pouring into it as well (referrals), so instead of a tag team approach, why not drive the business to be primarily driven by happy homeowners.

The flywheel is not an entirely new concept, in fact, both Amazon and HubSpot have shifted their marketing practices to this new concept. Our business at the Treehouse and Contractor Nation has now reached the point where the shift too is required, and the “Fish On” flywheel was developed, an adaption of that already in successful practice by the above mentioned large, successful companies, an adaption that speaks more specifically to the contractor and home improvement industry.

Specifics of this will be shared with each new blog, be sure to click on “Marketing Strategy” below, to filter out all the relevant publishing’s pertaining to this exciting new direction, not only will we be sharing the strategy, but all the tactics and tools available to carry this out.

So, let’s turn our attention to the wheel itself, and we can begin by reviewing the two outer bands of the flywheel, this is important to take note of because we always need to be aware of which stage of the buyer’s journey homeowners are in when trying to decide to purchase.

For the most part, especially if your company or brand is starting out, people are strangers to you. They do not know you. Now there are ways to get around this from a content point of view, so be sure to keep following the blog to understand what kinds of content are best suited to move homeowners along in that customer journey, to eventually become your champions, but not before they are prospects and then your customer.

There is a lot to outline in the transitional phases of this journey, which we will get to. But for this moment, it is important to understand that homeowners have access to a great deal of information, all the time. They have options. And they are trying to figure out what is the best solution.

So how do you as a contracting business owner or marketer, best attract them to the business, convert them into a sale, and then most importantly, how do you inspire them so that they can become your new champions?

A lot to think about, right? There are many ways to do this, and we will take you through different steps and tactics to be able to accomplish this. But for this moment, the key takeaway is that the focus is shifting from the one-dimensional funnel, to an ever-rotating flywheel, and everything that we set out to do should always do 2 things:

  1. Create a brand champion who can then apply further momentum
  2. Limit or remove any friction that dares to slow the rotating motion

For a comprehensive explanation on this exciting marketing concept, click here to watch Katherine Gulick as she explains the entire Contractor Marketing Flywheel, to clients who attended the online Marketing Super Training, hosted by our parent company, Contractor Nation, in 2019. For information on the topics addressed specifically, view carefully from 1m18s to 10m09s.

About the author

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Brigette Benson-Muller
SEO Strategist
Brigette is a brutal distiller of thought and a seasoned connector of dots. If there is a trend, she will find it. Born and bred in Sunny South Africa, she comes with nearly 20 years of Marketing, Product, and Advertising experience, and is always excited to bring a mix of strategic directional and methodical implementation to new challenges. She is an ocean loving, backpack travelling gypsy at heart, with a passion for Global Developments, Technology, and any 4 legged companions. She also enjoys sarcastic humor, a gripping TV series and sunsets.

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