In the world of home improvement, advertising opportunities are endless. There are countless magazines, digital newsletters, online publications, sponsorships, social media platforms (Facebook, anyone?), and many more options if you’re willing to pay to play. But what if your budget is a little tighter, or what if traditional marketing/advertising hasn’t produced the best ROI for your business?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that is becoming more and more commonplace. Inbound marketing uses content creation, whether with your blog, social media, or other avenues, that pushes your customers naturally toward your company. For example, you write a blog post on the advantages of metal roofing. You share that post on your Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, and Twitter. You also share it among your employees and current or previous customers. Those people in turn share it with people they know. Now, when a prospective customer searches for “metal roofing”, they read your blog post. Then they visit your website. Maybe they download an e-book that you’ve written on the subject, and they reach out to you directly for more information or a quote. That potential customer has now willingly given you their contact information and expressed interest in working with you. They “raised their hand” and asked for help. The brilliance in inbound marketing is that it’s ongoing—you keep creating quality content, and the customers keep coming to you. It’s also a minimal cost compared to more traditional advertising.

But let’s not neglect outbound marketing (where YOU initiate the conversation) entirely. While the days of buying email lists are (hopefully) over, a healthy mix of the two marketing strategies may be what’s best for your business. Below are several outbound tactics that could work for you:

  • Tradeshows—For many of us, tradeshows are a good way to get your name out there and promote amongst your clientele. Unfortunately, tradeshows can be very expensive and difficult to prove ROI. Make sure you enter with a solid strategy and spend your money wisely.
  • Print Advertisements—Again, be aware of what you spend. If you’re going to participate in direct mail advertising or magazine ads, make sure you know your audience. Don’t advertise in a home improvement magazine where 90% of the subscribers are interested in kitchens and baths if you’re a roofing contractor.
  • Email Blasts—Build an email list the right way; don’t buy it. Use inbound marketing strategies to reach your potential customers and have them voluntarily submit their information. Then, send them quality information based on their needs or interests. No one likes spam.

What has worked for your business? We often speak to contractors or manufacturers that focus primarily on advertising and outbound marketing, rather than inbound. What’s your strategy?