Lessons for Home Inspectors From South By Southwest

We’re bringing lessons from one of the largest business conferences in the country to your inbox. Here’s what we picked up.

1. Give Before You Get

By far the best advertising and networking strategies involved companies providing something to customers before touting their own name. Some of them were truly innovative. AT&T set up free cell phone recharging lockers, Chevy provided a few vehicles that could taxi conference-goers from one part of Austin to another, FedEx provided lunch to anyone who followed their Twitter or Facebook accounts and Intuit sponsored pedicab rides for those who needed a lift.

While you may not be able to pick up the tab on transportation, you can apply the get-before-you-give principal to your own marketing campaigns. Instead of running ads that promote your company name, create a home buyer’s guide future clients can pass on to their friends or a video that walks real estate agents through why they need a home inspector like you.

2. Your Ads Aren’t Working

At least not statistically. But the good news is that happy customers who are willing to write a lovely review are making a tremendous impact for your home inspection business. According to research from Jeffrey Dachis, co-founder of the digital advertising agency, Razorfish, 78 percent of internet users consider consumer recommendations to be the most credible form of advertising. 67 percent of shoppers spent more online after seeing recommendations from their friends and contacts.

Instead of throwing money away, examine whether your ads are paying off and¬†invest some time in asking repeat customers to write something nice online and post it to various sites.¬†Also, check out Dachis’ presentation for yourself. His slideshow is¬†available¬†right here.

3. Social Media Matters

Home professionals are oftentimes reluctant to use social media, but who do effectively will be rewarded with more clients and more customer engagement. Customers who reach your service through a social media link will be 10 times more likely to do business than someone who reaches it through traditional advertising.

How you portray yourself online counts too. In a panel on NASA’s online strategy, Social Media head¬†Veronica McGregor stated that she was incredibly careful with the organization’s @MarsPhoenix account because, “You cannot have mistakes on the Internet. You just can’t, especially not NASA.” (Here’s¬†a full write-up¬†on NASA’s social media panel).

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