Commercial and Residential Real Estate Development Marketing in Alberta
Since January 2015, David Howse Marketing has been developing the marketing plan for Waterford Station at Sylvan Lake. In these past 12 months we have also executed the marketing strategy for this commercial and residential real estate development.
Like all marketing, the core areas to properly run a marketing program in a major commercial and residential real estate development are (a) an understanding of the product and (b) properly identifying the target audience.
One area outside of the scope of marketing but critical in the marketing process are the feasibility and land use studies. Our marketing efforts are largely benefited by the fact that Blackstone Developments Inc. commissioned three land use studies. Also to our benefit is that David Howse Marketing has partnered with several of Calgary’s largest land developers for the past six years. The combination of strong product knowledge and being directly connected to the target audience should lead to a successful marketing campaign.
Regardless of who and what you know, nothing is ever guaranteed. With our usual level of 100 percent commitment to a project we expect Waterford Station at Sylvan Lake to be a success from a concept-to-development perspective.
Watch this three-minute video for the core of the marketing proposition.
Some of our marketing efforts will be visible on WaterfordStation.ca but the most important efforts will happen behind the scenes in our B2B marketing strategy. We’ll update this page in Spring 2016 as some of our activities become more public.
It is likely that the B2C side of marketing will be taken over by various leasing and residential developers.
When you have 400 employees and a growing company make sure your annual day off is special
Earlier this week I had a power meeting with Bill Borger. What is a power meeting? Imagine you have 15 minutes to discuss seven challenges, picking out the challenges that you are capable of handling (which for me happened to be three of them), giving a one-minute pitch then-and-there on a solution for each of those challenges, and then being told – “Okay, they’re yours. Next week give me a two-page proposal on each of your three areas.” Meeting Ended. That is a power meeting.
Good Presidents of large companies don’t try to solve every problem. They try to surround themselves with people who can. What’s as important as a good team is the health of the members of that team.
Bill is known for some amazing accomplishments which often require him to take a day off. In 1996 he took a day off and cycled across Canada. Four year later, on a day off in 2000, he swam the English Channel. His next day off didn’t come until May 11, 2011 and on that day he climbed Mt. Everest.
Lately he has been using his day off for more relaxing adventures such as today’s American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Pictured below Bill accompanies Jaime Rasmussen at Microsoft Square for the red carpet walk to the American Music Awards. No one knows where Bill found the time to find a perfectly fitting Versace jacket but I’m guessing Jaime picked it up for him while she went shopping for YSL – on her day off.
David Howse would like to thank the Onion for the inspiration to work on his satirical writing – which still isn’t very good. And thank you to Bill for giving me a job at Borger… and the many days of vacation that I get.
This week I was asked by a cleaning company to offer some advice on marketing. I decided to offer the advice here on my blog. Here is my take on what is missing in the Calgary cleaning industry. I have seen the following at both the residential and the corporate cleaning contract level.
The biggest inhibitor of revenue growth for most cleaning companies is that most cleaning companies’ ownership do not take full ownership of their operations. For the most part, a cleaning company’s operations creates the best marketing platform.
A cleaning company can try to create new business by (to name a few)
sending out fliers
telemarketing / lead generation
ranking their website at the top of Google (SEO)
promote itself on social media
run radio spots, or do print advertising
Long-term, none of these tactics will work unless the other side of marketing, customer satisfaction, is the top priority. The rules of marketing are generally the same for all businesses but some business owners forget that there are two sides to marketing. Marketing is about attraction and retention. Some business owners focus on how to get customers in the door but forget to focus on what to do after a sale is made.
Clients will love a cleaning company’s services if it has a sound operations plan. Most cleaning company owners have no idea what is happening on the ground level. This week I watched one of my top clients dump their cleaning company because, for a year or more, the cleaner did a poor job. The change came about two weeks after I asked my client’s management who the cleaner was (because the floors, desk, and out of direct site areas never seemed clean). I didn’t think much of my comments but they sparked a bigger conversation that resulted in acknowledgement that the service paid for was not the service provided. This cleaning company could have retained my client if the owner of the cleaner was more hands on in his business’ operations.
At the residential level I personally have tried many cleaners. After going through five different cleaners I finally found one that was actually interested in doing good work.
If ownership doesn’t take ownership of its own mission – which I hope is “to provide a clean workplace” then they are in the wrong business. How difficult can it be for a cleaning company to live up to such a simple mission statement? In Calgary, very difficult it seems.
Once a cleaning company gets its operations in order, then and only then should it turn its attention to a good marketing plan. The marketing plan should focus on (and probably in this order):
word of mouth marketing management (the key here is management)
I am shocked at how few marketing companies enable their clients to spread the word. Where are the referral bonuses of 50% of the first month cleaning? Where are the cards saying “just be a nice guy/gal and give me a damn referral! (for illustration purposes, please don’t actually say this)” Provide branded trash cans, get your name in the workplaces you serve. Connect WOMM with sales management.
personal sales based on relationships with happy customers
leveraging happy clients with social media, seo and a good website
Feel free to respond if you have some insights to offer.
Calgary Roofing Company Marketing and some thoughts on B2B Industrial Marketing using SEO and Social Media
Calgary Roofing Company Marketing
In early July I began marketing for PDQ Roofing of Calgary – as the name states, one of the many Calgary Roofing Contractors. After the initial consultation we decided I would focus on SEO and Social Media Marketing. My first work in construction marketing started four years ago for Borger Group and to this day, I find marketing for B2B in an industrial sector to be a good challenge. The biggest difference, from say retail marketing, is the target audience. Marketing is marketing regardless of what we do; the fundamentals never change. The secret in construction marketing is understanding the audience, the message, and the appropriate channels of communication. The difference is not a subtle one such as the difference in marketing a BMW M5 versus a Ford Focus. In construction marketing exercising common marketing tactics add little value to plan.
Image may be one of the most important aspects to consider. In social media marketing, image can be tarnished by unthoughtful visitor posts, or careless or poorly informed posts by the social media manager (who may be someone without significant marketing experience). Social media image can also be enhanced with a polite and helpful dialogue. See this exchange below on the Borger Group’s Facebook page. I set up this page as a human resources service.
Image should be thought of as a synonym to Brand. Another way to help your image in the construction world is through trust. The market is getting to the point that if you are not on social media then it means you are not trustworthy. A boring or neglected social media presence, at the very least, means no one is saying anything negative about you. The inference from not having the channel in the first place is negative. There is a catch. Yes, it is a little negative to not have these channels, but it is worse to have these channels and ignore posted comments. Don’t show up to the party unless you’re willing to have a conversation.
In B2B Industrial / construction marketing, think of SEO as a form of crisis management. No company’s president is going to hire your company to build a skyscraper because he or she googled you – traditional SEO purposes have tend to not have a place in B2B industrial marketing. How then, can ranking on the top of Google be useful? Tyson Foods found themselves in a misinformation crisis (the case was described at Social Media Marketing World 2015) and used SEO to get their side of the story to the top of Google and minimize damage to their brand. There are a couple good niche reasons to have SEO such as hiring (imagine your company ranked on the first page of Google for the search – Calgary Construction Jobs), crisis management, and ??? (if you know of others please comment below!).
PDQ Roofing is a little different in that they are both B2C and B2B (they work with developers and individual home owners). Even though I only manage social media marketing and SEO, I found, buried in their website’s text, that they had been in business since 1956! The first thing I did was to create social media banners that helped to create trust.
Content marketing can also be helpful. Creating traffic in a saturated market through blog posts, social media marketing, directories, and boosting SEO requires content. Technical content marketing can be difficult because you need skilled writers who understand the technical side of the industrial product or service.
The longer I find myself in construction marketing the easier it gets to write content but even this (see below) is going to be thoroughly edited by my new client. I hope you found this post useful.
Roofing Considerations for Custom Homes
If you are in the market for a custom built home, one thing you will realize is that there are different kinds of roofs and the cost of new roof will wholly depend on the materials used, size of the roof, and labor. Some of the most important factors to consider when installing a new roof include:
Heat restoration – when heating is controlled, air circulation in the attic and other room is ensured just to name a few
There are a lot of technical issues that take place at the construction level. Custom roofs are not a one-day affair and a lot of preparation must be put in place.
Roof installation is undertaken by roof contractors. The contractors go through intensive training and ought to be certified. If you want a custom roof then look for a company that has certified contractors who, among other things, understand the technical aspects of custom roof construction.
September 21, 2015 Update: We did a few tweaks of the above content and then I created three videos to promote PDQ’s excellent testimonials.
Calgary Marketing and Public Relations Assistant Wanted
I’m looking for a well-rounded Public Relations assistant to work on a project-by-project basis
– Preference for Mount Royal PR degree or diploma but not essential
– Experience helpful
– Intelligence and Quick Thinking even more helpful
– Graphic Design and Website Design skills a plus
– Strong Social Media Marketing skills an even bigger plus
– Superb writing and creative writing skills essential
– You can have a current job, five babies, two left feet, and a nose ring – I don’t care, I just want a good person with integrity, a love of marketing, and some good references. I want someone committed to seeing a project completed and a happy client.
– Send your C.V. or website link with the workload you are capable of taking on to firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting in November of 2015 I will teach Social Media Final Project: XSUB 10021 at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
One thing I am learning is that developing a course is no easy task. I’ve worked professionally with social media since 2008 but downloading from my brain the complete 360 of how to design a social media marketing plan is a challenge.
Previously I had guest lectured twice at Lethbridge College and once at Mount Royal University so the classroom is not foreign to me but writing a course for the first time is like learning a new language.
Most of my marketing clients have a high degree of trust with me so documentation was usually in the form of emails. Many of those clients were so busy with day-to-day operations that, for them, reading a social media marketing plan was something they preferred to leave in my hands. The expectation was that I would personally guide their social media and only when needed my client would personally add content.
Often, the social media content for the week comes in the form of an email that reads, “David, X-event coming up next month, here’s the What and How much – you take care of the rest. Email me when it’s done.”
I run social media marketing for five businesses, my style is a little different than other social media marketers. First, I don’t post a lot. A lot of marketers are paranoid with relevancy, i.e. posting 5 times a day to stay in people’s minds. While this may work for some businesses for my clients it is too much. Q Haute Cuisine, for example, only has postings a couple times a month. The events they hold have limited seating, are top-tier priced, and I doubt their clientele want to see five updates a day from a single Facebook page.
One thing I hope to bring to this class (which is outside of the scope of the class and program) is an understanding of the connection between a business’s finances, its marketing budget, its target market, and providing a good return on the investment the business is making in social media marketing. David Howse Marketing doesn’t do a lot of social media marketing for itself because my clientele are company Presidents and CEOs and these relationships come almost entirely from referrals. Understanding the time, place, and intensity for each element of the marketing toolset is an art. These elements create solutions. The ability to communicate and implement the correct marketing solutions for my clients is the only reason they have me around. For every one of my clients I do recommend a social media marketing strategy.
I don’t expect to deliver a lifetime of marketing knowledge in 21 hours but I do hope I can give the class an understanding of marketing that they could not find anywhere else.
The main thing I am enjoying with this course creation process is the amount of reviewing I am doing and putting much of my knowledge in to one place (the broad strokes at least).
The other advantage I foresee in teaching is the interaction and sharing of knowledge within the class. I’m almost certain that if I instruct this class again next year the course content will be greatly improved.
I’ll update this post in the coming months with my new experiences in the classroom.
Below are some course materials I am setting up for the students.
If you know anything about business then you know sales are the backbone. If you know anything about sales then you know lead generation is the backbone.
CalgarySalesTeam.com was set up two years ago on the recommendation of my clients. I’m the David Howse of David Howse Marketing Ltd. The problem with the site is my phone rang too much and I couldn’t focus on my main business (see www.DavidHowseMarketing.com).
Over the past two years this site has added about $30,000 in revenue. The site has two revenue streams (1) people who just want a list or new list built (2) people who want a list and someone to call on their behalf.
There is actually a third revenue source…
When we complete a lead generation project sometimes the relationship with the client has grown and we can pitch them other services. These other services can be website design, SEO, video production, and other marketing services. CalgarySalesTeam.com is an excellent way to start a new marketing business. If you have a good business imagination and understand that business owners calling you to ask about your services is only a dream for most aspiring business people then you will see the asking price as a very good deal.
Why does my phone ring?
Almost all of the marketing for CalgarySalesTeam.com is great SEO. Google Calgary Lead Generation or any relevant terms and you’ll see the site ranked #1.
I’ve done almost zero marketing or business development with this project. The site is a challenge for me, as I just don’t have time to take many of the calls from people wanting my services. I’ve even added some tough qualifiers at http://calgarysalesteam.com/faq/ to try to slow the number of people calling me for this service.
What you get for $18,000
The website and domain for www.CalgarySalesTeam.com built on WordPress and hosted at Godaddy
Website contains about 300 business list databases
About 20 new Alberta, BC, and Sask business lists (50-1500 in size)
An introduction to Cherylle who is my main caller. She is based in the Philippines, has a degree in psychology, a super hard worker, and works for $11 USD/hr.
An introduction to my business contact list builders/online researchers who are 20X more efficient than anything you or I could do.
Three hours of my time to understand the current process of how I manage clients.
Around Dec. 2014 I took two calls in the same week that created $10,000 in revenue.
If I had employees and wanted a larger marketing company then this would be an awesome asset for me.
Buy it before I change my mind and take this ad down.
The $18,000 can be discounted to $10,000 if you give me a top banner ad on each page 100px x 960px to market my other services. You already have your first client!
(1) Can you explain the $30,000 Revenue?
The $30,000 is in two years but it’s not an important number to focus on. I only take about 50% of the calls/emails from people wanting my services from CalgarySalesTeam.com. I operate DavidHowseMarketing.com, MatterhornPR.ca, FancyCufflinks.com and a couple others so I just have no time to maximize the revenue from CalgarySalesTeam.com.
(2) How much I can make per month/year if I was to buy this business?
What you can make from this website or any website depends on three things: the site operator’s skill, the time he or she puts in to the site, the customer’s demand for the business.
(2) How much time do I have to put in to this business?
I don’t ever recommend that you buy a business where you expect to put every waking minute of your life in to it – for the first few months at least.
How much time you need to put in to the business depends on what you want from the business. I put about 3-4 hours a week. If David Howse Marketing could scale more easily I would assign a staff member to run it and turn it in to a much bigger business.
A case study of relationship building through social media
I’d like to share a great social media story with you (this is the two-minute version).
Q Haute cuisine is one of the top restaurants in Calgary (and Canada!). I manage much of their marketing including social media. Anyone who visited Q’s Twitter account can see about a one-year gap in its use. In 2014 we focused on a lot of things but Twitter wasn’t one of them.
Yesterday I was given control of the twitter account. After reviewing the account I found a mention on Twitter and a beautiful photograph from a local photographer who had just finished shooting a wedding reception at Q Haute.
Social Media Marketing isn’t an island. Think about how one marketing tool can help another.
The day before I had chatted through the Q Haute Facebook page with the photographer after she mention Q Haute on Facebook. I reached out to her with an idea that Q Haute had never tried before. Q agreed to let me add a “featured photographer” page to their website. Once a month we will host photos from within Q by local photographers who had worked wedding receptions there.
Everyone is on board with the idea; Q’s owners love the idea, as does the photographer. The photographer reciprocated with an offer of her own to create a print booklet of Q Haute featuring her photography that Q can hand out to engaged couples looking for a wedding reception venue.
This is a good case about employees who may know exactly what is happening day to day but just don’t have the time to sit around and think of marketing and business development ideas. I’ve worked with over 100 businesses in Alberta and I think this story is typical in business. Giving your employees their normal task load and then expecting them to come up with great ideas for your business is a difficult proposition. Q Haute and most other businesses have an outside marketing consultant helping them do the things business owners just don’t have the time for.
Feel free to contact me to inquire about my marketing and business development services.
The opening ceremony for Century Downs in April 1, 2015 at 10 am. After the press conference and ribbon cutting I will post more photos of the event. For now here are some photos of the casino as of March 31, 2015. The horse racing starts late April and I’ll add more photos then as well.
(This may only be useful when your typical projects are $250 – $10,000 and comes from my experiences in Calgary, Canada)
In 2008 I had a business owner not pay me $250. Today, experience allows me to pick out these kinds of people and I just don’t do business with them. In 2008, I would take any marketing project that came my way; I would solicit to anything that moved. In 2008 I was a marketing hustler.
Seven years later I find it much easier to be a marketer; all of my clients come from referrals or through Calgary SEO.
There might not be anything more demoralizing than not getting paid for your work. When a client refuses to pay you for your work and that amount is under $1000 or so, there’s not much you can do. Small claims court can be a hassle so these losses are usually eaten by the service provider.
Getting to the point where my phone just rings took A LOT OF WORK. But having clients come to you is the best way to always get paid for your work. When a client comes to you can deal with payment in one of four ways.
Retainers, Upfront Payments, Milestone Payments, Payment on Delivery
When I didn’t get that $250, I immediately switched to a 100% in Advance or Retainer for all new clients. In the B2B world, getting clients to agree to this is connected to your brand (trust/track record) and ability to sell the payment method. Retainers also serve as a good qualifier for a client who is serious about your services.
In the first year of your business getting a client to pay 100% in advance or accepting a retainer might be a difficult sell. Any reasonable business owner knows the difficulties of starting a new business so another good qualifier for a client is their willingness to pay 50% upfront. If they can’t do 50% – walk.
Breaking down projects in to milestones is also very useful. Say, for example, you have a client who wants a website, video, and SEO. You can treat these as separate contracts and bill “separately”. Really what you want is the first element of the project to be paid 100% in advance. Set you timeline and delivery dates to allow each element to be paid in advance.
If a project has three elements with a total billing of $3000 ask for $1000 up front, $1000 on deliver of element one, and $1000 on delivery of element two.
New business owners may not realize that their personal brand is a trust mark. Having a good brand or ability to convey trust to a prospective client means having fewer billing issues, better cash flow, and the confidence in pushing this model to retainer-based transactions and 100% upfront billing.
Having now helped hundreds of business owners with their marketing and businesses in general, I have found that the best way to collect is to stay busy. Being busy means you can be selective in which business you choose to take on.