Why PR Should be a Part of Your Marketing Budget

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By Heather Ripley

If you’re like most home service business owners, you understand the need for a strong marketing budget. Getting your company’s name and services out in front of potential customers is a necessity if you want to grow and scale your business.

But if you’ve never considered how adding a powerful public relations plan to your budget would sharpen your marketing message, 2024 might be the time to consider it.

Solidify Your Brand

While advertising your services helps get your name out to your target audience, nothing solidifies your brand in their eyes like a steady and consistent message. Whether you’re telling your company’s story or simply creating campaigns that boost your reputation, PR helps you refine your presence.

Public relations, simply put, is the art of building relationships so that you can tell your story to the people you want to hear it. A marketing campaign is great for telling others about yourself, but it takes a PR campaign to get others to talk about you.

For example, you may be running a special on furnace installations for the winter months, and you’ve purchased several ads that promote this special. People might be attracted to your company because of the special but they’re more likely to hire you based upon your brand reputation.

If you want people to trust your team with their HVAC needs, you need an expert PR team who can pitch your expertise out to your local media. Imagine how much consumer interest you’ll obtain if you’re seen on the local news talking about the energy efficiency of new furnaces.

Maintain a Positive Reputation

If you’ve worked in business for any length of time, you know that a crisis could happen at any time. It’s really a matter of “when” instead of “if” one occurs.

And it’s during these business crises that many home service companies hire a public relations professional. Having an expert in communications is often the best move if you’re trying to regain public trust.

But it’s even more appropriate to hire a PR team or have a communications strategy before you have a crisis.

Ongoing PR can help you build a relationship of trust within your community. Whether you’re asked to share tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing during a cold snap or you are working locally to support a worthy cause, associating your home service business brand with good news builds a positive reputation.

If you’re already seen in a good light, it is easier for the public to forgive any transgressions. This makes your job much easier when a business crisis occurs.

In-House or Agency

No one knows your business like you do. That’s just a fact.

But, just because you know your team, your business budget and the way to get your customer service representatives to charm the customer doesn’t mean you understand PR.

Public relations is about building relationships and it’s a multi-faceted task. It requires media outreach, well-written press releases that have a news angle and a flair for reputation management.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. If you already have some established relationships within your local media or within the trade publications that cover your market, you can always pitch yourself. Just be sure that any communications you send to the media use proper grammar and, preferably, are written following Associated Press style.

No matter if you decide to handle your own PR or if you decide to hire a public relations agency, the fact remains that PR should be a part of your marketing budget.

Incorporating PR into your existing marketing strategy should never be considered an expense. Good PR is as much an investment into your company as purchasing new equipment or hiring trained technicians is.

So, if you’re looking to grow your home service business to reach the next level in 2024, make sure there is a healthy line item in your business budget for PR.

Heather Ripley is founder and CEO of Ripley PR, an elite, global public relations agency specializing in the skilled trades, franchising and B2B tech industries. Ripley PR is recognized as the top PR agency for the home service industry. It also has been listed by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise PR Agency six consecutive years and was named to Forbes’ America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021. Ripley is the author of “NEXT LEVEL NOW: PR Secrets to Drive Explosive Growth for your Home Service Business,” which is now available on all audiobook platforms. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com.

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