3 potential Builder marketing traps that could ruse a homeowner. Before inviting the top three Builders from your shortlist over to quote, you should be aware of three potential Builder marketing traps that could ruse an unsuspecting homeowner; For-profit accreditation sites, quotation websites and customer reviews. Some of these considerations have already been mentioned, however their importance is deserving of further conversation.
Find-a-Builder websites (and apps)
These types of platforms (Rated People, Trust-a-trader, Check-a-trade et al) have exploded in popularity over recent years because they provide homeowners with a shop window to look for Builders straight from their smart phone. Pair this with the single biggest anxiety homeowners have about hiring Builders – whether they are letting someone trustworthy into their home – and you have yourself a potent combo.
The secret source of find-a-builder sites is the credibility factor. They give their customers (traders) beautifully designed membership logos that are used on the side of vans, clothes, cards and online, as well as space on their platform to showcase their work and post reviews. They almost look like bona fide accrediting bodies. These are for-profit companies that spend a lot on marketing to get eyeballs on screens and new members through the door.
However, the barrier for a Traders to sign up are low and it isn’t difficult to provide flakey references, feign reviews or take screenshots of sexy interiors to include as part of an online portfolio.
At the heart of quotation websites is the speed at which they return results. In the digital age, we consumers are conditioned to expect information at our fingertips, wherever we are, at any hour of the day. Anything is archaic. Quotation websites (Bark, My Builder, My Local Toolbox to name a few) understand this need for speed and cater for it.
Such sites are search engine optimised and pay big money to get top search listings for people looking for quotes online, and they know exactly who they are looking for. In fact, it’s devastatingly simple. By punching in search terms like ‘get building quote’, ‘instant building quote’, ‘estimated cost of…’ (and any number of similar variations), homeowners are effectively putting their hands up and self-identifying themselves as folks who want specific information and want it fast. These sites exist to provide you this in exchange for your time in filling out a basic form about your project; type of property, type of project, approximate size and a few other data points.
Here’s the thing. The information they give you is incomplete and therefore misleading. It is not possible to provide an accurate quotation without physically assessing the nuances of the building or an accurate design brief…fact. Instead, the project cost information they provide serves as a hook to get you in and in front of their fee-paying clients, Tradesmen and Builders, for whom they are lead-generation machines.
Humans are social animals. We like to be in the company of others and in the company of others with whom we share interests. If others like us are doing something, we tend to want to do it too. If people similar to us have something, we tend to want to have it too. So when people like us know something, we tend to listen to what they have to say. Robert Cialdini was the first to name this phenomenon, he called it social proofing. In social proofing, people will follow the actions of the masses. If lots of people are doing something, it must be right.
That’s the power of customer reviews. Reviews give homeowners the foresight of knowing a bit about a person even before they meet them. This breeds familiarity and familiarity breeds confidence. For that reason, genuine customer reviews are fantastic for both a homeowner and a Builder.
Except reviews can be dubious. There is little to stop anyone from faking a review. Genuine online review sites, find-a-trader platforms and quote aggregator sites provide a very useful repository of client reviews. However, it is up to the homeowner to check out the source and sincerity of this information because a review is only as good as it can be checked in the real world.
Find-a-Builder sites, quotation sites and online reviews are legitimate platforms that help Builders market themselves, but they can be leveraged for abuse by unscrupulous Traders. Their success in subterfuge comes from the glossy sheen they give Builder’s online presence, so always check the provenance of the information they are providing, or risk falling into a marketing trap.
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