Episode 19 | February 14th, 2024

How to Grow Your Business with Brand Recognition

A2O Digital meets with special guest Tim Wakefield, the business owner for a successful garage door franchise in South Florida. Tim has built a strong brand presence in his market area of Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. In this episode, we dig into what other sources of marketing can be utilized to grow your business and brand. Strong branding along with paid advertising can help your business grow tremendously.

Doug 00:00

Hello, my name is Doug, the owner of Precision Garage Door in the Tristate area. I also own A2O Digital. Today I have a guest, Tim Wakefield, he's a owner for Precision Garage Door in the South Florida area. And Tim was up visiting for the last couple of days. And we asked him to come and join us on a podcast today. And we wanted to talk a little bit about branding. And Tim, first of all, thanks for coming in. Appreciate it. And welcome to A2O Digital.

Tim Wakefield 00:49

Thanks for having me. Excited about this.

Doug 00:51

Good. Good. So, Branding, you've been a customer of A2O Digital now for how many years?

Tim Wakefield 01:00

11 years, since the inception. Yeah.

Doug 01:02

So we've been doing things like pay per click for you and search engine optimization, Google My Business, and LSA and that type of stuff, but different type of advertising that we want to talk about today. We want to talk about what you do to build your brand. What do you do to make it so that people can reduce the cost of your PPC because they're calling and they're looking specifically for you Precision Garage Door. So tell me a little bit about like the importance of this deal.

Tim Wakefield 01:38

So I think it's, it's paramount. It depends again on where you are in your business, you know, branding may not be as important off the start. And I don't want to say important but feasible. When you're just trying to get the phone to ring and you're just trying to get your trucks out there and build a staff, you don't really have the revenue or the extra money to spend in Branding. But as soon as you are able to get to that point, which I feel like we're trying to launch that campaign in the past year or so, to really start Branding and to get it to where something you said the other day where they start Googling Precision Garage Door instead of garage door repair near me. You know you want to be when you think of garage doors, you want Precision top of mind.

Doug 02:26

Yeah, and I agree with you, when you're starting out, you only got so many dollars to spend, you got to put them into things that deliver instantaneous results for you. Otherwise, you're not open for the next day.

Tim Wakefield 02:39

You're just trying to get the phone to ring at that point, and get your guys in garages.

Doug 02:44

Exactly. So tell me what you've been doing. Like what what types of media have you been doing to try to build your brand.

Tim Wakefield 02:50

So we started probably about five years ago, we went into TV, and I feel it was a little too early in our company's growth to go that route, I think it was a little more ego driven at that point. And for the money we're paying, I don't think we had the infrastructure to handle the exposure that we were getting. Like our phones were ringing a lot, I didn't really have the trucks or the manpower to run those calls. We didn't really know what we were doing. We signed with the first TV station that came and showed us attention, and we were happy just to be on TV and you know, see your commercials and things like that. So there really wasn't a target or an objective other than we saw the bigger Precisions doing TV and we thought, "hey, that's what we should do a TV." You know, and we quickly realized that it's pretty expensive, and there's not really, there wasn't really a direct ROI to be able to track on TV. Especially when you're that early off, and your systems aren't in place. I think we're in business for six years at the time, and we're nowhere where we are today and we can handle a little better now. We're a little better equipped.

Doug 04:02

So when you first started, were you using an agency or were you dealing directly with a TV station? Was it broadcast TV or was it cable TV or what?

Tim Wakefield 04:12

We went directly with CBS at that point. Channel 12 it was.

Doug 04:18

Okay, and they helped develop the commercials for you?

Tim Wakefield 04:21

Yeah, we came out and I was the actor. I wore one of my guys, I remember they made fun of it. "Hi, my name is Jeff" was one of our techs at the time Jeff's pinstripe so, went and did a quick commercial for that and we ran it. I think we're doing book ends at the time, which is like the 15 seconds before and 15 seconds after.

Doug 04:43

And they let you be the actor, with that that kind of mug like that?

Tim Wakefield 04:47

Yeah. I don't know. I think that they've used a lot of creative editing to try to make me look good.

Doug 04:53

So how long did you want to start with? When you started with CBS, months, years?

Tim Wakefield 05:01

I think we let it go for probably six to eight months.

Doug 05:04

And you weren't able to tell a difference of any type. So you abandoned it and now you want to come back to and you started coming back to it recently?

Tim Wakefield 05:15

Yeah. So we just, and when I say we it was it was my business partner at the time, Jim Migani and myself. I was more operational at the time and Jim was more in the advertising aspect of it. So we had almost a full schedule to begin with, right. And I don't know if we didn't really understand what it takes to grow the business and, how much foresight you have to have with your technicians and having availability, schedule, availability and trucks available. And people available behind that to handle the influx that you get when you open a TV campaign or something. So it wasn't really that measurable to us, because we already had a nearly full schedule turned on TV, then our schedule was full, we're booking days out. And that's counterproductive, because our business model is to be there first and have availability on the schedule, get there right away and help the customers and we weren't able to do that. So I feel like we're wasting a lot of money and actually making customers upset that we are having to book these new jobs three and four days out.

Doug 06:22

I think that's a quality problem. That means you need more, more employees more techs or whatever. Right?

Tim Wakefield 06:28

And I definitely agree and I think that had we had the foresight to really ramp up and prepare for the TV. When we had turned that switch on. I think we'd have been a better position we would probably grown a lot faster, but we really didn't know what we're doing.

Doug 06:44

Okay, so today, you're not using CBS anymore, or are you?

Tim Wakefield 06:48

No, we haven't used TV at all. Right now, with our branding, we do iHeartMedia we do radio. We are doing billboards. I just started billboards this last year. And we're doing obviously ASO. Print Magazine, we're doing a home mag and things like that Val pack and things along those lines.

Doug 07:16

Okay, so you're not back in TV. Your radio and billboards for now?

Tim Wakefield 07:20


Doug 07:21

And how long have you been running them now?

Tim Wakefield 07:23

So billboards has been a year, radio we've been into for about five years.

Doug 07:28

Are you are you buying your billboards on a contract basis? Or are you buying remnant? Are you familiar with that term?

Tim Wakefield 07:36

I am, I am. So the first billboard that I launched, we put in a very specific location that was right by the Office of our lead competitor. And we kind of did that you know, there's a little ego twist to that as well. So we ran that for I think about six months, but with the plan that I was going to go to a remnant after that. So right now I have three rotating billboards on the remnant program that seem to be doing pretty well. We get a lot of feedback from customers, and friends of ours and technicians that reach out and say, "Hey, I've seen your billboard" and they send you screenshots, and so on, so forth. So it seems to be working so far.

Doug 08:16

Okay, and maybe I missed that. Are you remnant or a contract?

Tim Wakefield 08:21


Doug 08:22

Remnant, okay. Just explain that to the crowd, what remnant means. Or, I can explain it or whatever.

Tim Wakefield 08:31

Yeah, so remnant and contract is different, you're still kind of on a contract with remnant, you have to pay them to develop your prints. So they'll take your however many billboards you want to do. So we chose three. And then they look for availability, where billboards are not booked, and they'll rotate you out at a lower rate. So if somebody wants a prominent billboard, they may book it for a six month period for a Home Show coming to town or something like that. But the rest of the six months, it's not booked out. So you'll get a very discounted rate by putting your billboard there. It may be there for a month, it could be there for three months or whatever the availability is, and they'll rotate you on that basis.

Doug 09:11

Yeah, and I've heard about that. I don't use billboard myself in the New York metro area. But I heard that if you buy it that way, you can stretch that dollar a little further and get more for your money at least.

Tim Wakefield 09:25

It seems like it, it's almost probably about 33 to 40% of the cost of a billboard to do it in the remnant style. So you in an ideal situation you can have just about three billboards up for the price of one.

Doug 09:39

Good, good. Tell me a little bit about the radio.

Tim Wakefield 09:41

So the radio we started small with that with a station that we listened to, on the way in, in the morning show. Developed a relationship with the radio station people and Iheartmedia, and then they would make suggestions over time of how to spread out and how to hit different demographics and target different audiences. So I think we're currently on four different stations right now, and it's going pretty well. We get a lot of a lot of customers say to us that they heard us on the Mo and Sally show or one of the other radio shows.

Doug 10:21

Are you telling stories on the radio? Are you familiar with what I'm saying there? Telling stories, like, so I've looked at radio in my market, and having, you know, trying to build your brand around, I'll say a storyline, like, what do you stand for? And make additional radio things, continuing your story. Have you ever heard about this before?

Tim Wakefield 10:52

I'm vaguely familiar with it. But I'd like to hear more.

Doug 10:55

Yeah. So it's something I haven't done myself. But I did look into radio, there's a company called The Wizard of Ads, and they recommend radio. And they have you build your brand around a storyline of some type. And they help you actually develop your storyline. So that people that are in drivetime radio, hear your radio commercial, you're serving that up during drive times. But it's in a storyline where they keep learning more about you. And the story kind of continues about your company. And it's expensive to contract them, I know that they're not cheap. But I have heard they get some very interesting results from it. And they actually tie themselves to some of your revenue. And I didn't actually move forward with it. And I was asking, because I don't know what you're doing on radio, is it just like spots, and you just run the same spot over and over again, at a repetition type thing? Because they don't, they're changing your story. You might run a commercial on radio for a week, or maybe two weeks at most. And then there's kind of the next chapter of that story. And it's to build your brand. And that's why I was asking if you've experienced that or have ever looked at it.

Tim Wakefield 12:24

We have not. We try to keep our content fresh so that they are cutting new commercials probably several times a month. Two to three times a month, we're changing it up. But yeah, it's not not a story.

Doug 12:39

What's your theme that you're trying to portray yourself as through your radio? Is it a trust theme about you can trust us? Or expertise?

Tim Wakefield 12:48

Absolutely, trust is in there, expertise, availability, quality parts, things like that.

Doug 12:59

So, tell me a little bit about how do you track your results. You're doing billboards, you're doing radio. Is it a feeling? Do you feel like you're doing better? How do you track the results that you get from it?

Tim Wakefield 13:06

That's a great question. And I don't know that there is a magic formula to be able to directly track things like that, I guess you would have to look into customer feedback. You know, we try to ask, where did you hear from us to try to see where that's coming from. And I guess you track overall growth to determine whether the branding is getting out there and it's working.

Doug 13:35

You've been doing billboard for a year. I didn't hear how long the radio has been going. Have you been feeling that growth?

Tim Wakefield 13:40

The radio is about five years. I could say that we stuck with it. And it fits in our budget as far as advertising and from the feedback we get the customers the growth, we've experienced, I could say that it's working.

Doug 13:53

Do you have in your budget? Do you say I'm going to put X % of my revenue towards the radio, or X % towards billboard? How do you decide what that budget is going to be?

Tim Wakefield 14:06

So we want to keep, I've always been told and talking to a lot smarter people than myself who've run these Precision businesses that I should be keeping my advertising budget between 10 and 12%. Total advertising, and as low as 8% sometimes, and I've heard stories of some of the guys, I think the Kales for example, who had a really low spend on advertising. In my market, I feel like I'm doing around 10 to 12% has been pretty effective and successful for us. So I think that my Google budget my pay per click budget dictates how much money I have to spend on other things. Because that's the given you got to be in pay per click, you have to be a strong internet presence and then you get that and around 8% where we're at right now. So that gives me 4 to 5%. to stretch on branding, basically.

Doug 15:01

So are there any metrics that they can share with you about that?

Tim Wakefield 15:08

Impressions is what I get. Or how many target audience are going to see it.

Doug 15:15

And they can tell you that before you even start right?

Tim Wakefield 15:17

Or hear the commercial? Yeah.

Doug 15:20

Yeah, and they tell you that even before you start.

Tim Wakefield 15:22

For the most part yeah.

Doug 15:23

It's not like there's any kind of feedback. So this is what makes it really hard to do branding. Because you don't have cold hard facts come out of it.

Tim Wakefield 15:32

Not at all.

Doug 15:33

Yeah, you're trying to get a feel for how your business is doing. Right? Are we booking our schedule up? Are all the guys busy all the time? Whereas like other things like, for argument's sake, pay per click or other types of advertising, you know how many jobs you've got from it, you can tell them how much you've got from it.

Tim Wakefield 15:52

Yeah, I mean, we try to do the same as, as we do in our paper advertising, where there's an individual phone number attached to everything so that you can track how many come in and get an ROI, or somewhat ROI on a level playing field. I mean most of it drives them to your Google page, right, almost every form of advertising. Nowadays, it's just going to drive them to your homepage, or to Google Your Business or anything along those lines. So it's really hard to track individually, but you got to have a feeling for how your business is growing before you start that advertising and where you're at. And then once that turns on, really try to pay attention to the changes. And I think asking the customers is a big part. I mean, you're not going to ask everyone and everyone's not going to be and then not necessarily truthful or really know or care or remember how they heard of you or why they did but you can get a general sense I think by listening to your customers or clients.

Doug 16:44

Do your technicians tell you that the customer said, "Hey, I heard your radio commercial."

Tim Wakefield 16:50

Yeah, we asked that a lot. We do Wednesday's meetings, and we tried to find out, especially when it's new. When I tried billboard. It's like, "Hey, do you guys see the billboard? Do you hear it from your friends? Do you hear from customers? How effective is it?"

Doug 17:06

Yeah, I got you. I think one of the hard parts for me, as an owner is trying to put a number on like your spend and put a number on, like the result that you're getting. It's hard as a business owner to spend something when you don't know what it's doing. That's my frustration. I'm working a branding campaign myself right now, using social media. I look at the world right now in the New York metropolitan area, TV, radio, billboards are extremely expensive in my market area. To me the eyeballs of the world are right, hold on one second, I have to just check my social media. Right? I mean, that's where they are. That's where people are going. They're looking at this. Of course, they see billboards, of course they listen, they hear the radio, of course the TVs out there. But this is where the obsession is of the world. And can I get this media like at a better price? And I'm not trying to say what you're doing is right or wrong. I'm not an expert at you know, branding on the radio or whatever. I've heard good things.

Tim Wakefield 18:30

And I would like this to go on record that I'm not an expert in any way, shape, or form as well.

Doug 18:34

Yeah, and we're talking today, because we're all trying to figure this out. We're all trying to figure out, how do we brand ourselves? I look at it like this. And here's a question for you. Do you ever look and see how much your branded search is on on PPC? Are more people typing in Precision Garage Door? Instead of garage door repair or garage door openers or new garage door. Do you ever check to see whether that's going up or down?

Tim Wakefield 19:02

That's a great question. It's something that part of this seminar that I came here for this week, something that I'm going to look into when I get back. And I think that would be a good metric to be able to determine if branding is going up or not. If some of your campaigns are successful, that branded search. I never really thought of it like that. And it was something a part of the seminar that you had set and it's in my notes here to bring back with me.

Doug 19:32

Yeah, if you can look at what you did before you started something and then see where you're at today. That will probably give you an indication because that's what we're trying to do.

Tim Wakefield 19:41

Probably, as a matter of fact, I don't have to go too far to find out the results of that, you know, it's almost like I'm on the same floor. But it'd be interesting to find out for sure.

Doug 19:53

Yeah, I think that is an indication of people are looking for your brand rather than looking for a generic search. If we can increase that, the clicks obviously, on the name Precision are a lot cheaper than when they're searching garage door repair. Precision Garage Door is a much cheaper click. You know, clicks can, I don't know what they are in your market, but clicks can be $50-$100 every time someone clicks on your ad, and doesn't guarantee you're even getting a telephone call. So if you can figure out how to buy a click at maybe $1, or $5, or $2, or whatever, it's a big difference, right?

Tim Wakefield 20:33

So it's funny. A quick story about that, that pay per click, I was with a couple of friends a couple of weekends back and we were hanging out. And I was telling them because they brought it up on their phone. Like you're saying eyes are there, right? They brought it up. And I said, you see this little box up top here as again, anytime you click on that it's going to charge me I think at the time, it was like $56. And they said, Oh, really? And they thought it was hilarious, right? So they're like, are you going to pay the bar tab, and they'd hold the phone up and like try that would do my pay per click. But you know, most people don't know that though. That those top boxes, even though they say ad, they don't know how much money it costs a company just to be in that spot. And for you to click through and you may or may not even get a lead out of it. But just for you to click through that right there costs, like you were saying $50, $75, $100. I mean, I remember first starting and it was at like $9. And I thought that was a lot of money. But it's incredible.

Doug 20:33

Yeah, I don't know if you know what the richest company in the world is. But probably has Google in its name. Think about how much money they make. Because of their pay per click program. It's, it's very expensive. And, and if we can get that, so they're typing in Precision Garage Door, that's a big win for us, big win for you as a business owner. And I guess that's exactly what you're trying to do, they still gotta reach out to you, they might not remember your number from the billboard. But if they can remember your name, and they type in Precision, it's a big win for you.

Tim Wakefield 21:53

And it's a, I guess, what it takes to be a Precision or a successful business to have a pay per click campaign that costs $56-$75, is we're willing to put together all these trained employees and do everything that we do in the market so that we can deliver this exceptional experience. And then for customers to not understand the difference between us and somebody who doesn't do all those things. You know, it's kind of not fair to a certain extent. And I think branding and awareness, and all those things lead to customers, understanding who you are and what you represent. What else do you do, Tim? What other things, are you involved in any other branding type campaigns for Little Leagues or anything like that? So yeah, we had, in the past two years, I'm sorry the past three years, we had a company goal is to get better and not bigger, we haven't focused on growth whatsoever. So branding, other than the radio that we already doing. We weren't concentrating on it. We wanted to have better employees better systems in place, make sure that we had everybody trained and ready to go, to focus on 2023-2024 to be able to get bigger. And that's when we started the branding, we're going to enter into TV. We've been a part of the opening doors campaign, which we give back to veterans, we've given away 2 free garage doors to veterans who couldn't afford it.

Doug 23:38

Explain that a little further. What do you do exactly?

Tim Wakefield 23:40

So we went out, and the first one we did was a helicopter pilot. He was in a wheelchair. And we were called out for a door estimate. And we came out. And he was having all types of trouble with a VA because the VA was supposed to help pay for the door, one of our doors salesmen, door designers came back and said, "Hey, this guy's a veteran. He's handicapped and he's had some trouble affording a door. He really needs a garage door." We all came together, put our heads together, and said this is a perfect opportunity for us to give back. I contacted him and told him that, "Hey, we're going to come out. We're going to install, we're going to pay for your permit. We're going to sell a brand new door, we're going to give you a new opener." So we came out and took care of him and they were pretty thrilled about it.

Doug 24:25

That's a great story. Were you able to capture any of that moment for that person?

Tim Wakefield 24:32

So we did come out and take some pictures? We didn't want to make it necessarily too big of an event like we wanted to do it sincerely so that it wasn't this "call the news stations" and try to benefit off it too much. It was a sincere give back for us. We do want to have some recognition or being able to capture the moment as you call it, but we don't want to just try to overly publicize it you know.

Doug 24:58

I like it. I like it also from a perspective of culture things, for your guys know you're doing as a company, they feel part of something too.

Tim Wakefield 25:06

Absolutely, we left it up to them to come back to us and bring in the cases and if they come back and see somebody is in a bad way or we've discounted we've given away for free, we do all things that we can to give back and help in the community. And I hope that that goes a long way in branding so that people understand that we genuinely care about our customers and our people and not everybody is in a good place. And if we can reach out and do something to help and make somebody's life better, then we're all about doing that.

Doug 25:37

Nice. Anything else that you're doing like that?

Tim Wakefield 25:39

So any employee of mine who has a kid on a soccer team, or their school has sponsorship or anything, if they bring it to us, I'll sponsor it. I sponsor my kids cheer teams, we do their elementary schools, several of my employees have come back and we do their schools or their kids soccer team or whatever it is. And any of that we're all about it and we've just started. We are now in 9 out of 30 Chamber of Commerce's aroun. There several, the woman's Chamber of Commerce, we're kind of spread out in between Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin County. So we're in several of those as well. And our goal is to be in as many as we can.

Doug 26:17

Great. I heard you did something with the Children's Hospital?

Tim Wakefield 26:24

Yeah, so that's, that's something that we've been doing for I think about eight years now. So we do a toy drive every year, and we asked for customers for donations, we donate a lot to provide for the kids that are in the Children's Hospital of Palm Beach. And we've gotten it big enough to where in the past couple of years, we would have been able to go in and actually hand out the toys, which a lot of my employees were really looking forward to doing. But because of COVID, we haven't been able to, but this year was the first year we were able to actually go in and pass out the toys to the kids. So I let all of my office staff and a couple of the technicians go in and do it. I wasn't a part of that. I am not a part of it because, I have two little girls of my own. And I think it's just a lot for me to see kids in the hospital like that.

Doug 27:22

I can understand that.

Tim Wakefield 27:23

Yeah, so I'm glad to help but it's just a lot for me to be able to see that. But I'm so glad that people were able to come in and do that. And they had a great time with it. So it's a more and more for us to give back. You know.

Doug 27:37

Interesting story. I know you are an extremely successful Precision Door location. I've been friends with you now I think for over 10 years. I'm really excited you came in to join us. I'll let you finish up with anything else that you'd like to add that you do or regarding Branding yourself. Is there any final remarks you want to add?

Tim Wakefield 28:03

I think this year, one of the markets to the South of Miami was in TV for a little while. And we found out that the TV was kind of bleeding into my southern market. And it inspired me to, because I saw some success from it. I was hearing that they were seeing his TV commercials and doing that. So Q1 of this year, Q2 of this year. I think we're going to restart that TV campaign for Branding purposes and get back out there. I think we have the infrastructure now to be able to handle it, we have this schedule availability. And I just think it's the next step for us. So I look forward to hopefully that taking off and being successful and adding to us and building a better year.

Doug 28:04

Yeah, who's going to do the TV for you?

Tim Wakefield 28:23

So I think we're gonna probably reach out to Focus Media Strategies and see what they can offer us. We were doing it all on our own before, I'd like to talk to people who have been doing it for a while and can kind of steer me in the right direction, maybe?

Doug 29:03

What do you see your mix is going to be? Ultimately, if you start doing TV and some of the other things you want to do here. What do you think your mix is going to be on spend on what I would say Branded campaigns as compared to direct response like pay per click and stuff.

Tim Wakefield 29:24

So I think I have some money to free up with my paper advertising, my print media, things like that. I just see that my ROIs continually get lower on that. I think it's a kind of a dying form of advertising. So I have some money to free up there. I still see my Google spend.

Doug 29:44

I'm looking for percentages. Are you going to spend 50% of your advertising budget on Branding and 50% on direct response? Like how do you see that working.

Tim Wakefield 29:55

Probably 60/40. I'm gonna try to be in the 40% on the Branding, and 60% on direct response. As of now, if the numbers hold true to what we've been doing, and I can allocate the funds to start TV, and that feels safer to me. I don't think I can ever go over 50% on the branding campaign because I still need to directly make the phone ring. But it's all a learning process for me, you know, and I try to learn from some of you guys who have been doing it for a while and share your successes and try to mold my own market in our way after that.

Doug 30:32

Yeah, I think branding is unique to each individual market. What you're going to do in each market, could be a little different. I was saying to you, TV is not an option for me. It's too expensive in the New York metropolitan area. You know, you're not going to get enough view time. Without spending tons and tons and tons of money on TV. It's just very expensive, especially broadcast TV. The huge number of people that we cannot service for garage doors in the city. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, there's such a high concentration of people, it's very expensive and we don't even service that area. It makes it impossible for us to do TV, but I know that other Precision locations have had great success with it. I think it will work well for you if you find the right TV commercials to put together.

Tim Wakefield 31:31

Yeah, I think it'll definitely be something we're gonna have to adjust and work with and figure out what works best. But you know, in South Florida, we have a large retirement community who may not be at their phone like this all the time who still watch broadcast TV, and especially in the Boca and the Delray areas. And I think a lot of our customer base in those areas would see us on TV, and that may be a good way to reach them.

Doug 32:00

Thank you so much for coming in today.

Tim Wakefield 32:02

Thanks for having me.

Doug 32:03

We appreciate you taking the time out. While you're visiting us today, and we're looking forward to hearing some of the results Awesome.

Tim Wakefield 32:13

Thank you for everything.

Doug 32:14

If you enjoyed today's episode, please like and subscribe.

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