RoofViews

Residential Roofing

How Contractors Can Use Marketing Tools and the GAF WeatherHub During Storm Season

By Satta Sarmah Hightower

October 05, 2016

Large lightning storm clouds over a road and a field

Storm season can be hectic, yet profitable for residential contractors; therefore, it's crucial that they're able to provide homeowners with the guidance and services they need to be prepared.

But without timely, accurate insights and effective lead generation strategies, it can be difficult to identify homeowners who may need services. To solve this challenge, contractors can use social media to advertise their company and educate customers, launch direct response campaigns, and use weather information portals, such as WeatherHub, to surface potential storm jobs.

Provide Best Practices on Social Media

Consider using social media advertising to boost inbound leads for your company during storm season.

Though you can use paid or sponsored ads to attract customers, developing educational content may provide more value for your target audience. Consider developing content with tips for how to protect their roof from damage ahead of storm season, how to choose the right roofing contractor, or how to file a claim with their insurer after they experience damage.

Creating this content doesn't have to be a heavy lift. You can record short videos on your phone and upload them to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also use Instagram stories and create a multiple-post thread on Twitter or Facebook with tips for homeowners. Or, have someone on your team create a few blog posts around these topics so that you can promote them via paid campaigns on social media or link to them in your email newsletter, if you already have one set up.

Offer Incentives via Direct Response Marketing

While often considered old-school, direct mail campaigns still work. Not every customer engages with digital content, so repurpose some of the social media content you'll create for physical mailers.

If you want to keep things simple, create a flier, postcard, or brochure that offers a new customer discount or time-sensitive offer, like 10% off for customers who book their repair job during the month of September.

When it comes to engaging homeowners during storm season, a one-size-fits-all approach may limit your reach, so doing both digital and print outreach can expand your marketing and make your messaging feel a bit more tailored to potential customers.

Use Weather Information Portals to Gain Insights

Data-driven insights can also benefit contractors during storm season.

Jason Kennedy, owner of Midnight Roofing and Restoration in West Chester Township, Ohio, says he's benefited from using the GAF WeatherHub. Similar to other contractors, Kennedy previously relied on tips, or hail and wind damage reports from distributors, to generate leads. However, these sources were often vague and lacked historical information. Over the last year, he's used WeatherHub to identify potential customers.

WeatherHub, a weather forecasting and historical reporting tool powered by Accuweather, helps storm contractors generate leads and better plan for roofing jobs. The tool provides information on wind, hail, and snow events for each state, allowing contractors to do granular searches by street address and get a three-year history report on hail, wind, and snow swaths at that location. They can also use WeatherHub to access real-time and updated information, such as hourly forecasts, minute-by-minute rain start and stop times, and extended 45-day forecasts.

Kennedy says contractors can use weather information portals to support their field inspections and provide accurate information that homeowners can use to help identify the date of loss when communicating with their insurer. Contractors can also take advantage of weather-related information to schedule crews and determine the best day and time for them to be on site, keeping jobs on track to completion.

Streamlining the information-gathering process in this way—along with engaging customers on social media and tailoring your marketing approach—can help you stay organized, be better prepared, and accelerate your sales cycle during storm season. For more tools and resources to support your business, go to gaf.com/getthere.

About the Author

Satta Sarmah Hightower is a freelance writer who covers business, healthcare and technology topics for a wide range of brands and publications. A former journalist, Satta holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School.

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