- E-mail Signatures: Create standard e-mail signature for all employees. When an e-mail comes from your company, it should always be consistent.
- Create policies: Create policies about formats, fonts and how documents are to be created. Creating standard polices ensures that each employee knows what the company image is and how to use it when creating new documents.
- Editing: Make sure there is a system for editing all marketing materials. The quickest way to decrease your professionalism is to send out material with mistakes.
- Implement into software: Insert your logo and any verbiage into all accounting, estimating or other software.
- Website: Make sure website is professional and updated regularly. Your website can be your best marketing tool but it takes work. Updating your company website should be a bi-weekly or monthly task. It's a key piece of your marketing mix - make sure it represents the level of professionalism you wish to project. I see many construction companies with horrible websites yet they do great work. We are in an industry were photos of completed work can sell our business - make sure to showcase what you do and how you do it with your website. I guarantee it will pay off.
- Proposals/Estimate: We took our proposals very seriously. Take a look at your current proposal package. Is it professional? Could it look better? We used glossy folders with a logo sticker on the front. Very professional but cost efficient as well. We then made sure each piece inside was consistent and professional. We they clipped a pen and a notepad inside. Clients were impressed immediately with this folder and often kept it through the entire process.
- Jobsite materials: Even the materials you have on the jobsite for reporting and client communication are important. We used a three-ring binder for each client. A cover sheet with our logo, job name and address was inserted into the cover and the inside contained 5 sections for important project information. The binder was used during the estimating process and then the binder was switched to another color when the project was sold. This binder allowed us to track all project info and present a professional image while on the job site. Pay attention to all materials used on the jobsite and with clients - each item is important.
- Foreman box: We gave each of our foremen a plastic file box with important client and employees documents in it. They kept this in their trucks, so they had aces to any information they wanted. If a client need a change order or their neighbor wanted information about our company, our foreman had access to our professional materials and could cooperate with our marketing efforts. This took some training to implement but in the end it was worth it.
- Signage: Signage is important whether it is on your company trucks or on the jobsite. The more professional your signage - the more professional you appear. And signage is one of the best ways to sell future projects in the area you are working in. Never let a jobsite be without your sign unless you have more work than you want. Also trucks, trailers and other vehicles are great for signage. We received many calls from someone on the road who saw one of our trucks. An important point - make sure your vehicles are clean and look professional, otherwise signage may work against you.
- Employee uniforms: We choose to implement and pay for employee uniforms. It worked well for us and it helped to promote our image of professionalism. We supplied t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and hats to all our employees. They were required to wear these items while on the job. It was an investment, but one that was worth it. When you show up and look professional, people take notice.
- Promotional products: Companies often overlook the importance of promotional products. We used many different products with great success. In order to create great products, work with a promotional products consultant. We worked with a woman who helped us created our company uniforms, pens, coffee mugs, etc… We used these as giveaways at trade shows, thanks you gifts to clients and with employees. It was always interesting where our products would show up.
When creating or expanding your marketing materials you must repeatedly ask yourself if your materials reflect who you are as a business and what could you do to present a more professional image. You may not be able to update all your materials at once but if you take the time to get an overview of what you have and what you need, you can create a plan for upgrading your look.
Creating excellent marketing materials is an area that we often overlook as owners. Yet it's extremely important. Take time this month to assess where your company image is at and where you'd like it to be.
Michelle Neujahr is a business consultant, national speaker and author. Michelle currently works with businesses who want to develop excellent business practices. Prior to beginning Neujahr Development Company, she owed a large construction firm, specializing in both residential and commercial construction. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her website at www.michelleneujahr.com.