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new hire“Onboarding” is the process of teaching a new employee what’s expected of them, what their job duties are – in short, how to fit in with your company and be a successful and productive team member.

The work that goes into reading through resumes and job applications, scheduling and conducting interviews, and then beginning with a new employee can be exhausting. You don’t want to go through all that work, then have the employee fail because of a poor onboarding process. Here are just a few of the reasons proper onboarding is so critical.

 

 

 

Why onboarding is important

An effective onboarding process will result in an employee that is knowledgeable about:

  • The masonry industry in general
  • Masonry products installation procedures
  • The specific products you sell
  • How to accurately answer customer questions
  • Your business’s brand, culture and procedures

When onboarding is successfully accomplished, you save time and money in the long run because your new employee will help sell your business and increase your profits. But if onboarding is not a success, you either have to go through the hiring process all over again, or struggle with poor performance from your new employee and hope it improves. The benefits of getting onboarding right include:

  • Improved employee performance: Employees with a strong knowledge of their job, accurate, supportive feedback about their performance and specific measures of success will perform at a higher level than those who have learning gaps or feel like they don’t fit in to the company culture.
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction and retention: Employees who are successful in fulfilling their job role will be happier and much more likely to stay on the job, saving you the headache and expense of having to go through the hiring process again. Studies by Deloitte show that the cost of replacing a salaried employee, including advertising, interviewing, screening, training, lost productivity and management time, can amount to 20% of the annual salary. An employee making $40,000/year, for example, would cost $8,000 to replace.

How to onboard your new hires smoothly

Onboarding doesn’t just happen by chance. You need a written, detailed and specific onboarding plan that you follow with every new employee. If you take a “learn-as-you-go” approach, you’ll be likely doing a lot of damage control or at very best picking up the slack for an underperforming employee. Why settle for that when you don’t have to. Here are three tips to secure successful employee onboarding.

Write out your plan

No plan is effective unless it’s written down. Chances are if you try to keep mental track of how it’s going with the onboarding, you’ll forget some things. Writing brings legitimacy to the plan, so take time to write down every step in onboarding new hires.

Map out measurable goals

When writing out your goals for the onboarding process, be specific. For example, you may want to have the employee watch specific videos related to the masonry industry such as “How to install BlockFlash.” Or you may want the new hire to read product overviews, review detail drawings, and read specifications for BlockFlash and the other products you carry. Provide accountability by writing down the goals and ensuring they’re met.

Add a socialization component to your plan

Getting your employee up to speed on job tasks is only one aspect of onboarding. You want the employee to feel fully integrated with the job, management, and other employees. Socialization allows your employee to feel like an integral part of the company family. This involves emotional bonding which leads to loyalty – an important but often overlooked element. Make sure you take the time to introduce him or her to all the other employees. Help the person feel welcomed. And if they’ll be dealing with manufacturer’s reps and key customers, be sure to introduce them when they come in.

At Mortar Net Solutions, we offer a comprehensive library of articles, videos, and product samples to help your employees learn about our products during the onboarding process. Equip them with the tools they need by visiting our website, and click here for free product samples.

mason studentAs a masonry contractor, you’re advertising to a highly specific audience: general contractors and design/build firms who are looking for masonry subcontractors. There may only be a handful of them in your area, you’d probably rather work with some of them more than others, and your competitors are also trying to get their attention – and their business.

To market yourself specifically to the firms you most want to work with and beat your competition, try account-based marketing (ABM). With ABM, you’ll market specifically to the companies or accounts that you most want to hire you, rather than sending out mass marketing campaigns. These five tips will help you increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and generate more business.

 

 

 

  1. Learn Who’s Responsible for Making Buying Decisions

Who’s responsible for deciding which subcontractors will be used on a specific project? It’s often not the company owner who should be targeted, but rather the individual project superintendents. You can also target specific superintendents who are known for maintaining a great project environment or getting the job done in a timely manner. Take the time to find out who is responsible for making subcontracting decisions at the construction company, then target them directly. This will help prevent you from spamming every member of the company or targeting your marketing efforts to someone who doesn’t have anything to do with the hiring process.

  1. Personalize Your Marketing Communications

What is it that this specific general contractor or superintendent is looking for in their subcontractors? Do they want subs who are able to complete the project quickly and efficiently, or are they seeking the lowest price? Is there a certain type of work that they’re most interested in, such as the ability to build multiple arches? By taking the time to examine exactly what they’re looking for, you can personalize your marketing communications to show how your masonry firm can fill their needs. Don’t just make generalized statements like, “Quality work you can trust” or “We’ve been in business for 25 years.” Be specific about how your skills and experience match your target audience’s needs.

  1. Pre-Target Construction Firms

Is there a firm in your area that you’d love to work with? Have you struggled to get your foot in the door in the past, but been unable to make the connections you need? Don’t wait until there’s a big project on the table to put your name out there – pre-target them! Pre-targeting means getting in touch with the firms you’d really like to work with, sharing information about your company and building their trust in you. Look for networking opportunities with these specific companies, including going to industry events and joining common interest groups on Linkedin and other social media sites. Send marketing communications that display the elements they’re looking for in a contractor, and connect with them on a regular basis. These regular communications will allow them to warm up to your company and increase their familiarity with you–both good things when the time comes to make a hiring decision for a big project.

  1. Keep Nurturing

Connections won’t immediately turn into sales, especially during your slow seasons. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should forget about your account-based marketing efforts! Keep nurturing those important connections. Send cards or promotional goodies over the holidays, check in via email, or follow other common methods to keep your name out there and increase the odds that when the time does come to make a purchasing decision, you’ll be on their minds. Keep in mind that general contractors often play a long game. They’re thinking about upcoming projects, not about the ones they’ve already started–and those are the ones you need to think about, too. If you have access to industry databases like Dodge Reports, find out what masonry projects are on the drawing boards and start referring to them in your communications. Demonstrate in advance of the bid process that you know how to bring in the best results for the individual project.

Developing an account-based marketing strategy is a great way to connect more effectively with general contractors and help put your company out there for the work you most want to do. Looking for more ways to reduce labor costs and for someone to give you expert bid help on all types of masonry projects? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

architect account based marketingOperating as a small or medium-sized firm means you may struggle to get noticed when it comes to being considered for large, high-value projects. To keep your business healthy and help it grow, you need to get the attention of big clients while using a much smaller marketing budget than your larger competitors. If you want to improve your chances of attracting larger, high-value customers using a limited marketing budget, you should try account-based marketing.

Account-based marketing, or ABM, means you’re marketing to specific companies you’d like to work with, instead of blasting out a single, more generalized message to your entire target market. Think of it as a 100-percent personalized approach to marketing. But ABM isn’t for every situation. It works best for businesses-to-businesses, or B2B marketing.

Why Use Account-Based Marketing?

While ABM requires more time and energy than general mass marketing, it produces a higher return on investment (ROI), in part because it creates a relationship that generates familiarity and trust. For example, if a small architecture firm uses ABM to create a relationship that leads to preferred vendor status with a general design or design/build firm doing large projects, it can produce much more revenue over a longer time compared to one-off jobs with two or three smaller clients that low-cost marketing efforts might attract.

Although all the content you’ll create for ABM is personalized and not directly reusable, nothing goes to waste. You’ll find that you can frequently re-purpose the basic content for multiple targets. For example, a proven track record of on-time, on-budget product delivery, including case studies, is a key selling point you can use with multiple target customers.

Companies often prefer ABM to traditional marketing tactics because ABM communications focus on how you can solve your client’s specific problems, not you trying to sell them your product. ABM should feel to your targets like you’re a trusted consultant offering a personalized solution to their problems. Give your leads the royal treatment – in the form of valuable content and tailored solutions – and they’re more likely to respond.

Does ABM sound like an effective approach yet? If so, here are six steps to help you get started with effective account-based marketing:

1. Identify Your Accounts.

Start by making a list of high-value accounts. These accounts should be companies, not individuals, and must be worth pursuing seriously. Eliminate companies that are too small – in name or budget – from this list. You can reach these smaller companies through general marketing, but high-value, hard-to-reach companies require ABM. But be sure to target individuals within these high value companies. Sending your marketing pieces to “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To the person in charge of subcontracting” isn’t going to get the results you want.

2. Conduct In-Depth Research.

Once you’ve identified your target accounts, start learning about these companies. You can consider their history and growth, any recent changes, and more importantly, their pain points. Then, spend time on their people. Map out the company structure. Identify key personnel within the company, especially influencers and decision makers.

A company website might be all you need for your research, but if it’s not, branch out to tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn allows you to search by company, and search within a company by job title or even seniority level. Facebook may tell you more about each individual’s interests and personal information that will help you understand what their individual priorities are and will help you more accurately tailor your message to an actual person instead of a “customer”. Also be sure to do a general search for the company’s name to see if there have been any articles written about them. For example, if you find an article that says the company plans to expand, a piece of ABM might mention how you can help them with the increased demands of more business without having to hire more internal staff.

3. Create Valuable, Customized Content

In this step, you must first inventory the strengths of your company, see how what you do best dovetails with what your client’s needs are, then draw on what you learned about the company to create targeted material that describes in detail how you can solve their problems or reduce their pain. Be sure to include soft-skills strengths such as excellent customer service or a proven ability to interface well with other subcontractors.

Produce content that has the goal of directing the company back to you. You can tailor your content for specific decision makers or make it applicable to the company as a whole.

4. Prepare Your Content for the Best Platforms

After you’ve created your content, you need to find the best place to post it. Emailing the individuals in the target company is one way to share your message, but it may be seen as intrusive or never be opened, so it’s vital to use multiple platforms.

Social media is an invaluable tool with which to reach companies and individuals without requiring an opt-in. Consider which platforms your account uses, as well as the platforms that the company’s influencers and high-level employees use. Join LinkedIn and other industry user groups your target customers belong to so they can get to know you a bit before receiving your marketing materials. But be sure not to market through these forums, which are designed primarily for information sharing, not as sales tools. If your potential customer has a Twitter account, sign up to receive their tweets. You never know when they may tweet key information about an upcoming project that allows you to customize your communication or get to your client before your competition.

According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of American adults who use the Internet are on Facebook. In contrast, only 25 percent of the population is on LinkedIn, but the age demographic is higher than any other online platform, so you’re more likely to find senior management personnel there. Architect and design firms may also be on Instagram, due to the highly visual nature of the work.

And of course, you can always use old-fashioned snail-mail to get their attention. A catchy postcard may get more notice than plugging your pitch into the firehose of electronic communication most executives deal with every day. Because it’s so seldom used, snail-mail can really stand out.

5. Coordinate with Sales to Execute Your Campaign

Account-based marketing requires an approach very similar to sales. Both departments work with the goal of obtaining a specific client. Coordinate with sales to ensure that your content is complementary and not repetitive, and ask your sales staff for information about the prospective client you can use to tailor your approach. Sales staff can also be instrumental in helping you develop your list of ideal accounts.

6. Keep Track of Analytics

Don’t forget to measure your success. Record what works and what you can do better in the next campaign. Trying a marketing strategy for the first time always involves an element of trial and error. As you develop your ABM methodology, aim at just one client at a time until your have your system in place and feedback indicates it’s effective. It’s much better to make a mistake with only one client than with lots of them. Make adjustments as needed and continue to go after those high-value accounts.

Net Solutions is a leader in moisture management for masonry walls. All our products are designed to reduce installation times compared to comparable products and methods, and to ensure that masonry walls remain dry and trouble-free. We help you build projects you can be proud of for a lifetime. Contact us for free product samples and visit www.mortarnet.com for more information.

 

Group having a contractor project management meeting going over blueprints and making a planContractors around the country are always trying to save money, improve their process and meet client demands. They need to meet tight deadlines while producing high quality results and maximizing worker productivity. These competing pressures make sound project management stressful and a challenge to achieve. However, a few tips will help contractors get the most out of their process so they can achieve their goals and stay profitable for the long term.

  1. Create a Road Map

Mark out all the steps from project origination to completion. The steps should include, among other things, every major project evaluation threshold, the standards that need to be achieved, the square feet covered and the teams involved. Each step along the way must also have an estimated completion date. There are project management software products that can help map out the entire process. Construction Pro Manager is one of these software products.

  1. Perform Constant Performance Review

Workers, subcontractors and other professionals on the project management team need constant performance review. While this is not meant to be overbearing, a review of work procedures, finishes and craftsmanship is a must.

Workers want a clear definition of success and appreciate guidance and feedback to help them achieve it. Negative criticism can generate resentment and actually reduce productivity. Placing the feedback in a constructive light helps them do a better job, work faster and improve overall performance.

You can help performance by creating smaller teams with leaders on each team. Those leaders are responsible for the feedback in their group and then pass the information up the chain. By getting continually updated information from the jobsite, you can aggregate the feedback and get a sense of how the overall project is going.

  1. Acquire the Latest Tools

Project managers without the latest tools and equipment are doomed to be slower, less productive and more costly than competitors. In addition to traditional hand tools and powered equipment like mixers and fork lifts, technological advances are rapidly advancing that can improve productivity. For example, DeWalt has a new job site WiFi system that allows instant communication across an entire job site, including real time video monitoring. SAM100, which stands for Semi-Automated Mason, is a bricklaying robot that can lay brick six times faster than a skilled mason with greater accuracy. Whether you opt for these new high-tech tools or not, you should be aware they’re out there so you can see if your competitors are winning work from you because they’re using them and you’re not.

To make sure that companies are keeping up with the latest tools, someone from the company should be attending the major conferences, reading content from trade publications, and doing periodic searches online for new trends, tools and technologies. Additionally, speaking with buyers and distributors about what they are seeing in the market can help you know where you are in relation to your competition.

  1. Require Competitive Bidding

Contractors themselves often have subcontractors and equipment purchases. Getting the friendliest subcontractor or the one that you have known the longest works to some extent since you trust them. On the other hand, they may not be the cheapest or most skilled option and can end up reducing your profitability. And equipment suppliers may be willing to give you better pricing or more favorable financing terms if you ask, but they’re unlikely to volunteer them.

To really get the best performance from your subs, it makes sense to always use a competitive bidding process. This includes RFPs or at least blind bids. Letting your subs know you expect them to keep their pencils sharp helps you make a much more informed decision on your subcontractor or equipment purchase.

  1. Provide Transparency

Although it may sometimes be uncomfortable, transparency with all members of your team is crucial. Workers, subcontractors, developers and skilled masons all want to know where they stand. They want to see the road map and the evaluation schedule. Creating an open and honest process leads to better performance and a better project.

One way to improve transparency is to write out all of a project’s milestones at the beginning of the project. Post them in a location where all the workers can see them every day. Make sure that all employees and subs are on board with the schedule, and require them to inform you immediately if they can’t meet the schedule. They will know they are being held to the timetable just as you are. This produces a better overall process and much better communication.

Mortar Net Solutions is an industry leader in moisture management for all types of masonry walls. To learn more, go to www.mortarnet.com. For free product samples, email samples@mortarnet.com or call 800-664-6638, Ext. 509.

hurricane-irma-destruction-damage-floridaIf you’re a contractor who’s part of the rebuild process in the Texas and Florida areas devastated by hurricanes, you can improve your level of customer service and your reputation by educating yourself about ways to reinforce masonry buildings so they’re much more wind-resistant. Reinforcing steel in vertical sections of the wall, solid bond beams at the top of the wall tied to the foundation by rebar, and an extremely strong connection to the roof all make the entire building more wind resistant.  Don’t just rebuild to original standards. Help your customers understand that if they’re in a hurricane-prone area, they need to spend a bit more money to ensure their homes and businesses can survive hurricanes with minimal damage. A few extra dollars spent during the rebuild process not only prevents major rebuild costs the next time a hurricane comes through, but may save lives by preventing a building from collapsing on its occupants. Learn more about how to build a hurricane-resistant structure at the link below.

http://www.floridadisaster.org/hrg/content/walls/masonry_walls.asp

hurricane damage windAccording to an article published in the August 30, 2017 edition of Masonry Construction, the immense destruction caused by the recent hurricanes will have a wide-reaching effect on masonry construction. There simply are not enough skilled masonry workers to rebuild in the most devastated areas. Texas is traditionally a very strong state for masonry, and some parts of Florida use masonry too, including single-wythe construction. While demand for masonry workers means those who have the skills can get jobs easily, it also means that designers and builders will, out of economic necessity, start converting to construction methods other than masonry. And once a designer finds design options that work just as well as masonry, such as wood, tilt-up, and rainscreen systems, but which can be built by the available worker pool, masonry jobs will disappear forever. If the masonry industry is to continue to be healthy, it is vital that industry associations and mason training schools significantly increase their efforts to recruit and train the next generation of skilled masonry workers. Read the Masonry Construction article at the link below.

http://www.masonryconstruction.com/business/historic-masonry-labor-shortage-abounds-as-hurricane-harvey-batters-houston

Masonry contractor sitting on giant bricks doing social marketing on a laptopEvery year, industry professionals get together for the World of Concrete. Managers, designers, masons and other professionals meet and greet while learning about industry trends and new products hitting the market. The upcoming event in Las Vegas in January 2018 promises to be an amazing gathering of the top players in the industry. Anybody that attends should be sure to check out 5 highlights that will improve their experience.

 

1. Continuing Education
Masons need to continue their training every year to keep up their certification and master certification. This enables them to validate their knowledge and credibility. The conference will have over 150 continuing education opportunities for masons and designers. These include concrete production, concrete fundamentals, concrete repair and many more. Masons with interests in slabs, granite and other stones will have an opportunity to find the course that fits their needs. All topics have industry renowned speakers teaching courses.

2. CIM Silent and Live Auction
The Concrete Industry Management association is one of the largest industry groups. CIM also loves to give back to support the next generation of masons enter the industry. Already, the group has provided more than $5 million to four designated universities that are actively teaching the best and brightest. The auction will have cool and innovative prizes with all proceeds going to support education.

The CIM has a tradition of meeting at the World of Concrete to help plan events, education and major initiatives for the coming year. The annual silent auction is the culmination of this planning.

3. ROI Center
Entrepreneurial masons and concrete companies are always trying to improve their business. While costs are going up all the time, getting new business continues to be difficult. Executives have to determine where they want to place their investment dollars to get the biggest bang for the buck in their business. They have to determine which marketing efforts work, which supplies produce the greatest value and which cost structures are optimal. The World of Concrete has a special ROI center and education series to help concrete company management teams get the most out of their businesses.

4. Skills Challenge
Everybody wants to prove that they are the best mason in the business. The Bronze Lot Mason Skills Challenge gives attendees the chance to prove their worth. There are a number of different levels and competitions in the skills challenge. First of all, there is an apprentice challenge where new masons are given surprise projects to complete on the spot and then receive judging.
There are a number of other competitions depending on the different specialties. These include MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block, SPEC MIX Toughest Tender® and finally the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®.
The competitive area also has demonstrations of new techniques and products. It includes demonstrations and public lectures.

5. Mortar Net Solutions in the Innovation Zone Gold Lot
Mortar Net Solutions has an amazing assortment of new products that really set them apart from many of the other vendors. They have a first-rate R&D team that are bringing products to the market that are truly differentiated. Their team will be set-up in the Innovation Zone Gold Lot displaying products installed in full-size walls. One product is the DriPlan Rainscreen Drainage System which allows continuous drainage and drying behind adhered masonry. Another product is the Custom Cut Drip Edges which make an exact fit around architectural details which is much more efficient.

Overall, the World of Concrete should be an amazing event that brings together the leaders in the industry. Masons and managers will learn about the top new products and solutions in the industry. They should be especially cognizant of the 5 highlights mentioned above.

Businessman standing between different climates, global warming effecting businessBeing a mason is a hard job. You need to make sure every measurement is as accurate as possible, and even in this technologically advanced age we live in there’s a great deal of grunt work to the job. As if that wasn’t enough, though, masons now have to grapple with climate change. If you’re in the field, trying to make sure your buildings last, this isn’t some theoretical thing that’s going to happen in some vague future… this is something that’s impacting your business now.

Here are five ways that climate change is going to burden your business.

#1: Harsher Working Conditions

We all know how tough it is to get the job done when there are record-breaking temperatures making the day unbearable. Heat, especially when combined with hard work and long hours, can complicate any job. Especially when you consider that regular breaks, hydration, and keeping workers cool are necessities, not conveniences. Climate change means it will be hotter than ever before, and that the heat may last significantly longer than it did in the past.

#2: Changes in Material Supply and Demand

Climate change isn’t a single drop of water falling in a select area. Everyone gets wet in this rainstorm, and sometimes that can have unexpected results. Such as, for example, changes in the cost and supply of basic building materials.

Take lumber, as an example. Lumber is often seen as a lightweight alternative to masonry, but how will logging and forestry concerns change when the climate alters? Will there be more restrictions on when wood can be harvested, and by whom? Will there be additional taxes and tariffs put on lumber as a way to curb deforestation and fight greenhouse gases? Alternatively, will fossil fuels become more expensive, making it costlier to ship heavy materials like stone and brick? If green vehicles become more common on the roads, will shipping costs drop?

These are all potential concerns masonry businesses have to consider when it comes to the potential effects of climate change, and how humans choose to fight it.

#3: Changing Environments

You have different concerns when you build a structure next to the sea-shore than you do in the desert… but climate change can change the types of methods and materials you need to use in the very near future. As weather patterns change they can bring rising sea levels, droughts, and other issues that are going to impact the jobs you receive in the future, and which will alter how effective your work has been in the past.

#4: Public Perception

In today’s business climate it’s not enough to offer a good product, or provide a good service; customers want to know where you stand. When it comes to climate change, that means customers will want to see your green credentials up-front. They’ll ask where your products come from, and how your process helps in the fight against greenhouse gases. So it rests on you to be able to answer those questions, and to explain to your future customers that by supporting you, they are supporting a greener mason than they would get by hiring someone else.

#5: Extreme Weather

Climate change makes extreme weather not just possible, but probable. That means areas which were considered safe from things like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires will have to cope with these events. This could mean your work will be held to higher, or entirely different, standards than it would have been before climate change became a serious problem.

Climate change affects all of us, and we all need to step up to the challenges that come with a changing world. If you’re looking for more advice on how your business can provide what your customers need, simply contact us today!

masonry marketing

Technology has shrunk the world, and as a result today’s markets are more competitive than ever. Customers have more choices than ever before about who they buy from. And if you’re a masonry contractor, you need to compete with all the other masons out there to get yourself in front of customers’ eyeballs. That means you have to have a marketing team that’s constantly putting you and your service in front of building owners, general contractors and designers so they’re aware of you and invite you to bid at just the right time in the design or construction process. To that end, here are five ways to use technology to sell 24/7/365 and get more customers asking for and accepting your bids.

Tip #1: Be Active on Social Media

There’s a big difference between being on social media, and being active on social media. If your business has a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a YouTube channel and a Twitter account, that’s a good start. However, you need to consistently make quality posts and videos that engage your followers, and that encourage them to like and share. You need to interact with people, and have dialogues. Those things endear you to followers, and make you seem more human, which can make the difference between someone following you, and someone moving along to a different page. Post about your latest projects, and be sure to include pictures and video. If people have questions about masonry problems, answer them. Remember the old sales saying, “A confused mind always says no.” If you can remove your customers’ confusion about masonry or the building process, you’ll create a buying customer.

Tip #2: Embrace Content Marketing

Content marketing has grown in popularity over the years, and the idea behind it is relatively simple. A business creates content, such as blog entries, white papers, videos and webinars, and that content attracts an audience by giving them value. Then, once the audience is attracted, you market yourself to them.

As a masonry contractor, you might run features on your blog about the problems with exposed brick walls or how to properly install flashing around a window. You could also write posts about the most common terms contractors use and what they really mean, so that potential customers don’t get taken advantage of. Think of common problems or concerns customers have and provide ways to solve them. Be the person who removes a potential customer’s anxiety and you’ll be their preferred contractor, plus they’ll recommend you to others.

Be sure to use photos and video, not only of finished projects but of projects in process. Include interviews and testimonials with satisfied customers. Post your videos on YouTube and be sure to include a written transcript of each video so the search engines can find your video. They don’t see video content, only words. And don’t rely on YouTube’s transcriber, which is frequently laughably wrong.

Using content to establish your bona fides as an honest professional goes a long way to bring you to the attention of building owners, general contractors and architects. Once you have people regularly tuning in for your updates, you can give them a call to action such as “Call to request a free quote,” “Let us help you with your masonry design or bid” or “Take a tour of our latest project” to get them to hire you.

Tip #3: Attend Networking Events

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Or, more accurately, it’s who knows you. Local networking events might be hosted by the Better Business Bureau, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), International Masonry Institute (IMI) or Brick Institute of America (BIA), or even one of the large masonry distributors in your area. National events are huge conventions where everyone in your field gathers once a year. Both local and national events are great places to make the connections that will keep your business growing. Shake hands, volunteer, and plug yourself into your business community so that people think of your company first. If you’re not comfortable networking, search “Networking skills training” on YouTube and you’ll find plenty of help. Remember, if your competitors aren’t comfortable with networking and you are, you’ve got a big advantage.

Tip #4: Create A Cool Giveaway

Whether it’s a discount on someone’s next order, or just some swag with your business’s logo on it, a giveaway almost always increases your standing in someone’s mental list. We like people who give us stuff, and even if it’s relatively cheap stuff like a tee-shirt, a pen, a notebook, or something else, it doesn’t take much to buy someone’s good will, at least temporarily. For a longer-lasting impression, think of what your target customers would actually use on a day-to-day basis, which means your logo is right in front of them for a long time. At Mortar Net, we’ve gotten away from giving away lots of branded swag but still give away branded gifts with real value, like hats, safety vests and work gloves. We’re also selecting who we give it away to instead of giving it to anyone who asks. Consider gifts your customers’ spouses, kids or grandkids might like too. Gift with care, and you will get many returns on your investment.

Tip #5: Maintain an Email Marketing List

While it might not be the most glamorous form of marketing out there, email marketing still works. That’s why you should make sure you send out email regularly. But make sure they include important messages, offers, news, and deals. Remember, people don’t care about your business, they only care about what you and your business can do for them. If you give people a reason to stay on your email list, they’re more likely to read the messages, and remain active customers. If you have staff who can create a regular newsletter or the cash to hire an outside service to create one, they can be a reason to communicate with potential customers regularly. And make sure your mailing list is up to date and complete. It’s a good investment to buy a list of building management companies, general contractors and architects in the areas where you want to do business. Companies like Hoovers and Pinpoint are reputable list sellers. Never buy a list from an unsolicited email.

These are just a few, simple ways for you to market your business. If you need bid or design help with Mortar Net Solutions products, please email Steven Fechino, sfechino@mortarnet.com, 219-850-4514. If you’d like free product samples, click here.

Stucco Installation Problems

Just read an excellent article by Charles Wardell on the Journal of Light Construction website: “Avoiding the Most Common Construction Defects”. Among other problems, Mr. Wardell outlines four very common issues with stucco installations:

  1. Lack of control joints per ASTM standards that require control joints every 144 square feet
  2. Improper detailing at points where stucco meets window frames or other materials that can create cracks where water can penetrate behind the stucco
  3. Using the wrong stucco mix
  4. Poor hydration during the curing process that causes excessive cracking

He also makes it clear that it’s vital to use weep screeds with stucco and stone installations. We recommend ClarkDietrich weep screeds such as the one at this link. http://www.clarkdietrich.com/products/vinyl-weep-sill-screeds/vinyl-3-1-2-weep-screed

Stucco brought tight to a window will crack as window expands and contracts, providing an entry point for water. Photos: Dave Haines

A stucco bead should be installed around windows, doors and other points where stucco meets different products with a gap that can be filled with a backer rod.

The gap between the stucco bead and window filled with caulk to allow for expansion and contraction without cracking the stucco

Importance of a Drainage Plane

He recommends installing a “rainscreen mat” behind stone and stucco. Also called a drainage plane, this is a mesh drainage mat that creates a thin “plane” or space behind the adhered veneer. It is similar in function to the cavity in a masonry cavity wall. A drainage plane allows water behind the veneer to drain through holes in the weep screed, and also allows air to circulate behind the veneer to provide rapid and complete drying. Mortar Net’s DriPlane mesh drainage plane and the mesh drainage plane that is a part of the LathNet metal lath/drainage mat system both meet his recommendations. Learn more about DriPlane and LathNet under the Products dropdown menu above.

Read the entire Wardell article at the below link.

http://www.jlconline.com/how-to/exteriors/avoiding-the-most-common-construction-defects_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Feature&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JLC_073017%20(1)%20B&he=127062f63a5a72f67ecb229ff4dd56f32fa4392a