The 2020 Yellow Brick Road

Well…where do we even start for 2020? I suspect, similar to most reading this blog, you are thinking what a roller coaster of a year it has been! It feels a bit like 2020 has just landed in Oz, met the ‘Wicked Corona-Witch of the West’ and journeyed down an unknown ‘yellow brick road’ hounded by the wicked witches’ cackle – muffled by her face mask (of course)!

But are we finally in sight of the Emerald City and a Coronavirus cure, and will 2020’s ‘ruby slippers’ tap together and ‘maybe’ give us something more like normal in 2021? Well…if you can answer that one, you clearly have a better crystal ball than mine, so get in touch and let me know! In the meantime though, let me describe our ‘yellow brick road’ and update you on what has been happening from a PCA marketing & comms perspective and what you might see in 2021…

When things went crazy! – During Covid

When Covid-19 hit, our marketing and communication focus was very much ‘turned on its head’. Our main aim now focused on ‘what could we do to support our members and help them through this tough period’.

Hopefully some of you reading this blog may have come across some of these activities, whether it be from watching our online webinars or our ‘Tune in Tuesdays’, to the increase in emails, blogs or news and activity across social feeds and YouTube channels. In a nutshell, we tried to do everything we could to help inform and help members as best we could with the resources we had!

It seems to have helped!

Well…wouldn’t you know it…it worked! We were pleased to see our increased communication activity to a large extent did what we hoped it would do…to help inform and assist our members through the tough period.

Interestingly however, was the positive unexpected ‘ripple effect’ of all the activity also producing unexpected results by attracting a lot of attention from other professionals and industries that we would not normally have seen.

Local member searches still booming

Going by the stats from our local members searches and the actions and enquiries to members from these searches, things don’t seem to be slowing, but it is only the 2nd week of December.

Along with a steady incline of web traffic, searches on the PCA local member search certainly seem to have ‘gone through the roof’ over the last 4 months when comparing to the same period in 2019 with

  • 40% increase in searches (17,000 vs 11,500 searches – Aug to Nov)
  • 81% increase in actions from local searches (calls, click to emails and website click throughs)

But it’s not just us!

As I mentioned, I know it is not just us. It is also really pleasing to hear that so many of our PCA members are seeing a lot of opportunities and business right now

TrustMark also recently reported a HUGE surge in damp, waterproofing and invasive weed enquiries. This unsurprisingly has come from the huge jolt of interest in the Green Homes Grant Scheme (GHG). But to give you an idea what I mean…

For Damp specialist searches:

  • Prior to GHG launch: approx 400 searches
  • Post GHG launch: 2040 searches in Oct (an increase of 410%)

For Waterproofing specialist searches:

  • Prior to GHG launch: approx 60 searches
  • Post GHG launch: 217 searches in Oct (an increase of 261%)

For Invasive Weed specialist searches:

  • Prior to GHG launch: approx 30 searches
  • Post GHG launch: 86 searches in Oct (an increase of 187%)

With the Green Homes Grant Scheme now extended to March 2022, at the PCA, we very much see this as an opportunity for you. I suppose the message here is, if you haven’t checked out your TrustMark listing…check it out! Also, check out our Green Homes Grant Information hub.

So…What’s happening now

We know there will be challenges ahead for 2021, but we are in a better position and we know this is also the case for many of our members too, especially within our damp and waterproofing sectors. The backlog of work over lockdown seems to have created a mini-boom in business, compared to the traditional ‘Christmas enquiry and business drought’. But will this traditional drought ACTUALLY happen this year??

What will 2021 look like?

Well there is a little bit of a contrast of suggestions/opinions here. If you look online, Google trends and keyword analysis tools are suggesting a more similar pattern of search enquiries related to PCA member sectors when compared to previous years. When you also review the property transactions taking place month on month, this seems to support the suggested patterns Google trends and predicted keyword analysis trends.

However, will this be the case? Personally, I am unsure. From my experience, when we generally have a buoyant property market, many PCA members typically get a steady stream of opportunities coming through. But going by some recent articles from the RICS & BBC, there is a prediction of a slowdown in activity within the property market in early 2021. I suppose my words of advice here are store some bread made in December for what MIGHT be a tougher February & March (but let’s hope not).

What’s 2021 looking like for PCA comms?

From my perspective, it looks like it is going to be another busy year for the PCA comms team and the PCA in general. Along with all our usual blogs, news, videos, newsletter webinars,etc; the plan is basically a balance between comms to help and assist PCA members moving forward while restarting our original marketing development plan that will include a start towards developing a new website.

But we also have some new and exciting developments to come including the launch of our NEW Online Learning Platform in Jan 2021 and the hopeful return of our conferences and PCA Awards (check out our recent 2020 winners).

As towards other activities, well…you have to let me keep some things secret for now! As you might suspect however, we do have plans in the pipeline. It is very much a case of ‘watch this space’, but as always, the association will be working hard for you!

The End bit…

Prior to signing off for the festive period (as I have a couple of ‘cheeky’ holiday days to take), I just want to say that all this continuing success would not be possible without the continued support and contributions of you…our PCA members.

Many of you have helped us over the last few months, whether it be through presenting webinars to writing blogs, and I just want to say a big thank you to all.

As always, the PCA is here to support you…our members. 2020 has been a ‘hell of a year’. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a steadier ship and for some, a possible year of lots of opportunities!

Have a great time over the festive period all.

Andy

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