When I was 17, I started working with tile. Almost daily, when our crew would walk into the local sandwich shop or taqueria, we would get asked, “What do you do for work?” When we replied “We install tile,” nine times out of 10 the person behind the counter would reply one of two things: “I’m a tile installer too!” or “My neighbor/brother/uncle/son/daughter is a tile installer!” We would always get a chuckle and look at each other and say, “Yep, everyone is a tile installer!”
Seventeen years later, things haven’t changed much, and every third person seems to claim that they’re God’s gift to tile; it doesn’t seem to matter that they are currently hanging drywall or pouring overpriced lattes to hipsters.
So how will you stand out among this massive crowd of “tile installers”?
See, you and I understand that you’re different. For one thing, you’re reading the April issue of TileLetter. You also know what the TCNA Handbook is and have EJ171 memorized. You dream about tile and spend your free time hanging out online discussing best practices and sharing photos of your favorite work. But unfortunately Mr. and Mrs. Jones don’t necessarily understand the difference between you – the professional who has devoted your life to tile – and the weekend “contractor.”
Market what sets you apart from the crowd
So on top of memorizing the TCNA Handbook and spending all your free time thinking and discussing tile, you also need to be focusing on your marketing and selling skills. In fact, it’s your duty as the professional to educate your potential customers and your community on the proper ways to install tile that can last a lifetime and add major value to their home.
Unfortunately, you can’t just claim to be the best and expect results. You also don’t typically get to show off your knowledge of codes and “geek out” on an unsuspecting homeowner.
So what helps people see the difference? What motivates people to choose the right contractor for the job?
In this modern world, people have less and less time. Instead of researching books and instruction manuals, they are researching photos and videos of tile on their smart phones.
The good news is we all have the capability to produce the type of content they are looking for.
These days it’s very easy for consumers to collect all the pretty photos of tile work they love, and they do this during the weeks and months prior to picking up the phone and calling a contractor. When it’s finally time to call someone, who do you think they’re going to call first?
That’s right, the contractor that they already like, know and trust from that social media app.
I want to encourage all of you to embrace the latest social media trends and find out where your ideal customers are hanging out online. There are many social and photo sharing apps but for now let’s just focus on Instagram (IG).
Focus on Instagram
I’ve gotten dozens of jobs from my presence on IG. I’ve done this by being consistent, showing my personality, creating a buzz by introducing new ideas and products to my followers – and above all interacting.
Just yesterday I was out to dinner with my family and a group of strangers came up to me and said they loved my tile work on IG!
What are other examples of great IG content?
Carl Leonard of Cutting Edge Tile in Florence, N.J., and his business partner Dani Ganix have been creating Hollywood-quality promotional videos for their YouTube and IG pages. These are the type of videos a potential customer would watch and find entertaining and educational. @cuttingedgetile
Jason McDaniel of Stoneman Construction, LLC in the Portland, Ore., area, has been using his IG account to showcase his scribes, letting potential customers know that if they want a custom design, they need to call the Stoneman! @stoneman1273
I could go on and on and wish I had the space to mention all the amazing tile work I see on IG daily. If you’re new to IG or social media and don’t know where to start, feel free to reach out to me, I’m happy to help in any way I can.
Luke Miller founded Tile Money and launched the podcast in September 2018. With nearly 20 years of experience, Miller observed way too many skilled people working late into their nights, weekends and holidays because they failed to operate a profitable business.
Miller felt this method of operation was detrimental to the tile and stone installation industry and there had to be a better way. Driven, despite the tremendous struggle, he has developed a fundamental education body of work and presented it publicly in an entertaining way to support his colleagues in the tile and stone contractor industry.
In less than two years, Tile Money has grown to a social audience of followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Tile Money Podcasts are released in weekly episodes featuring a mix of interviews and solo episodes.