What is Marketing?

We all get so many marketing tips all the time. It doesn’t apply to us. It doesn’t work for us. It’s often a completely different business model. Here we really want to be talking about, what’s in it for you. And the big picture, the big picture that everything else will fill up between foundations.

Marketing is the word. Everyone thinks he knows, and almost nobody really does understand. Most people think that marketing is another word for advertising. They think marketing is about getting your name out there doing promotions, that kind of thing. That isn’t what marketing is. I like to explain it in classic business, you often invented something somebody wanted to buy it, and you made more, and then look for more customers. Marketing turns that backwards. 

Marketing is the scientific approach to business. It’s just being sensible about business, instead of hoping.

The Foundation

The way that people consume information has changed a lot in 30 years. Years ago, inspectors got 90% of business from talking to realtors. Now, this shift to the online presence is that business comes 80-90% from your business online. 

It’s important to make sure that even if the product demand stays the same, stay aware of shifts in demand and where their origins are. People understand that a lot of people are already buying products online at Amazon, but they’re starting to buy a lot of services too. It’s time to be aware that, in a service business, people find you online.

There are things we look for when we’re making a purchase. Let’s face it. A lot of people are first-time buyers. These buyers don’t really know what the market is. They don’t know what’s out there. So they look for extra clues. How do they know that you know what you are doing?

They can look for past recommendations. They can look for writings by you and about you. They can look for bodies of trust like trade organizations or a market service listing like Inspect.com All of those things help them know that it’s not just your opinion that you’re a nice guy. There’s something to back that up.

Marketing Builds Trust

Trust drives business. If you’re doing your job right, recommendations are social proof. Other people have experienced your service and took the time to write a review. New prospective clients we don’t know what they’re going to get. Recommendations come from somebody who’s already gone through an experience with your business. What did you buy? Was it good? 

That word of mouth is part of your marketing. It’s essential for building trust with people who haven’t used your service before. 

Modern Strategy

Business owners are doing two big things wrong. Either they’re over-hyping because their idea of marketing is too big, so they try and sound like one. And, of course, it comes across as pushy. It comes across as hype. It comes across as fake. It’s not your authentic voice. It’s not you. You’re not showing them you.  You’re showing them this idea of what you would be if you were in a cheesy ad. It’s not helping. 

And the other one is that people feel like all marketing is too pushy for them. And so they don’t do it at all. And that’s not marketing, that’s bad advertising. Marketing is building up those recommendations. It’s giving people that good experience. Because, that’s one of the things to drive business. 

Marketing is having a great relationship with several other realtors, who are going to want to use you again and again because you’ve built up that trust. It’s about being able to demonstrate what you know instead of just telling people that you know everything.

The Four Ps of Your Marketing Mix

Everything that you can do to build up reputation is a huge part of your promotional effort. When we talk about marketing, the traditional thing is the four Ps of marketing. These are the foundation of your marketing mix. 

Marketing is more than just advertising. The four Ps are: product, price, place, and promotion. Promotion, like advertising, is only one quarter of the mix. And that’s all kinds of promotion. 


Your product is your service. And it consists of all your services. You may be a home inspector, but you may offer other services. Do you also want to do commercial buildings? Do you want to do in restaurant inspection?  Do you serve construction sites? Inspect pools? Offer pest inspections? Roof inspections?

All of that mix affects your product, what you’re selling, and who you’re sending it to.


Most likely you set your fees (price) based on your expertise, square footage, and what the local market. Do you want to be more than that charge a bit more? 

Are there going to be extras that you’re delivering that basically just can’t be done at the same price as everybody else. Or, do you cut corners to get the price down to be the lowest available? That’s not always the greatest idea but it can be very good for people who deal in a lot of volume. Do you offer volume discounts? Once you start playing with price, there’s leeway. 


Determine your service area. You can use this to extend just your radius. Before business were online, customers had to drop by your office or pick up your service from directory. You were limited. But the internet is available everywhere. Say somebody in New York is moving to Dallas. He could hire an inspector in Dallas without having to leave in New York. That was difficult before the internet. 

Inspect.com facilitates a network of independent inspectors that can just be independent, but can trust each other and if they have someone in a different location they can refer locally. 


Promotion is all the ways people learn about your business. If you’ve got ads out there, great. If you’ve left your card with a local realtors, that’s cool too. But that’s not marketing. Reputation is a huge part of your marketing. What people read about you. What people see on your website. Wherever people find a reference to your business is part of your promotion. Make sure you have consistent messaging wherever people find you. 

Are You Really Marketing?

Marketing goes that step further. Are you touching the right person? Let’s face it, if you are an inspector, your ideal customer is going to be a first time, single person getting their first home. How you serve them now pays it forward, because there’s a high chance that they’re going to meet somebody, and move into a place together. There’s a high chance that within a few years of that they’re going to have kids and want a bigger place, maybe getting three or four moves out of this one.

You’re getting them again and again. This is called customer lifetime value. Customer lifetime value is making sure that they know you would like them to recommend you to others. Make sure you are the one they recommend. Go the extra distance for them. Build out that relationship. That relationship can become generational, when their children come to you for their first home.

Trust and quality build relationships that last. 

As the market changes, they’ll realize that there’s more demand for you.

Looking Ahead 

This session, we’re letting you know what’s coming, and why it’s important, and what marketing is. Next session, we are talking about the real framing question which is: really knowing what you want to achieve, getting your brand right, building that that foundation so that every customer you drive sticks. 

If you’re paying $10 a lead through some advertising methods, you want to be sure that you’re converting as many of them as possible and that they’re the best possible leads, the ones with the big jobs, repeat business. 

We’ll be talking about social listening, which is one of the main uses of social media. It’s what people are saying. Like they’re not able to find you. People complaining about service and what they couldn’t get. That listening gives you ideas of what to add to future proof, because things change. Everything changes. The technology changes, the expectation changes, ways that people do business change, and you’ve got to always be listening.

Getting a listing on Inspect.com is just one way we help inspectors with online presence. Take advantage immediately to build a website or start a targeted ad campaign at Inspect.com. Let’s talk. Email us at support@inspect.com.


The first in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States.  He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing.  He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status.  Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.