In the latest of our trade Pro interviews, we cross back over the ocean to the USA and find ourself in the exiting city of Philadelphia, or “Philly” as the locals call it.
We had the opportunity to speak to Darren Slaughter, one of the web’s top marketing consultants for contractors around the English speaking world.
Darren’s unique, clever and proactive approach has won him many fans, supporters, and of course clients, over the years and speaking exclusively to Never Paint Again UK, we share some of his tips and his wisdom with you.
This is a genuine interview, NOT an advert, and no money changed hands!
If you work in the building, construction or home improvements industries, this will undoubtedly be especially useful for you, although from the same point of view, if you are involved in SEO and marketing on-line in today’s post Google Panda and Penguin update world, then you could sure learn something too.
Hi, Darren please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Darren Slaughter, President and founder of DarrenSlaughter dot Com. A boutique digital agency that focuses on website design and social media management and marketing to the home improvement space.
I’ve spent 15 years developing marketing and advertising strategies for home improvement contractors before building DarrenSlaughter dot Com into a full-service web design and social media agency in 2005.
Where do you live and what are the best things about living there?
I live in Philadelphia Pa, cradle of liberty and home to our founding fathers.
There are many things that make Philadelphia great, history, culture and the opportunity for businesses to develop and thrive.
Why did you start your current business? What motivated you?
My business started offline, doing traditional marketing and advertising for contractors. You know, things like direct mail, Yellow Pages and advertorials.
But all of the marketing we were doing was driving prospects to crappy websites. Always being a natural-born geek, I thought, let’s make the contractor’s website THE online showroom, regardless of their offline setup.
What advice can you give to people on how to market their business effectively online?
- Avoid what the latest and greatest think works.
- Catering to your client or customer comes first.
- Write for them, design for them, because last time I checked, Google isn’t paying you, your clients are.
- Write good content that caters to all types of readers.
- Don’t list a single feature unless you tie it back to a benefit to your reader.
- And finally, always, always always keep things simple. It’s easy to gum up a website with clapping monkeys and waving flags, it’s hard to design simply.
What should internet business contractors NEVER EVER do?
[They should not] Focus 100% on organic traffic for new business development.
What opportunities and challenges do you think will arise over the next 5 years for online marketers?
I think, where it pertains to contractors, because that is my area of focus, the longer contractors take to adopt social media the harder it will be for them to win new business in 5 years.
The reason is, once a contractor realized in the past that he needed a website, in a week he could have a website, putting him on the same level as his competitors.
Social media on the other hand is going to be so much harder. You can’t develop 5,000 followers overnight (naturally) and you can’t build a base of people talking about your business who you didn’t have to pay.
Where do you see yourself, personally, in five years time?
I want to continue to grow past the 3 people I currently have, but stay inside the contractor space.
I like working with contractors.
There is no bullshit, everyone speaks their minds and we all get things done
In the short-term, I am getting ready to roll out a new product that could really have a massive effect on the contractor space. It will help contractors have piece of mind at a monthly cost that makes the product a no-brainer.
Finally, do you have anything else you want to add?
Well, I appreciate you having me of course.
“If there is one takeaway I can leave your audience with is this..”
I lose more projects to apathy than any other reason.
I mean, we build bespoke websites and content for contractors instead of cutter-cutter site design with content used on 10 other sites, so it isn’t price.
But the point is, you can’t put off your website.
If you have a site that isn’t converting but you figure you will get back to it later, I want you to realize this; just by the law of large numbers, your website will be seen by more prospects than any other marketing you do.
So if you feel putting your site on the back burner is the thing to do, you are actually saying you are ok putting your business on the back burner.
So take some kind of action to improve your site; new content, new design, something to move the needle forward.
To visit Darren’s contractor marketing site, start learning now by visiting http://www.darrenslaughter.com
Thanks Darren, it was great to speak with you today.
Darren was interviewed by the me, editor.
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