How to Get Started with Contractor Marketing
The world of contractor marketing can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve just started your business. What types of marketing are most effective? How much should you spend on reaching new people versus re-engaging previous customers? Is it worth it to advertise on social media?
Before you answer any of these questions, the first step is to create what marketers call your value proposition. What makes your contracting business both unique and relevant to your target customers? This combination sets you apart from your competitors, so your marketing strategy needs to stem from this.
Successful marketing depends on connecting your business to customers who (a) want your service, (b) are willing to pay your price for it, and (c) find that your service meets their needs better than your competitor’s does. As a contractor, you are running a service-based business. Products might be part of your business, but ultimately, you’re selling a service.
This means that your marketing strategy needs to focus on solving your customers’ problems. Your ideal customers aren’t shopping on a whim or buying products to fill their homes. They want to know that you have the expertise to complete their project, and that they can rely on you to do it within their budget.
Service-driven contractor marketing focuses on building trust while providing convenience. By sending out cold emails or running radio ads, you can raise awareness about your company, but you likely won’t reach people who are ready to book a service. That’s why contractor marketing works best when you position yourself in the right time and place for people who are seeking someone like you.
” All great marketing is about great preparation. It’s the ability to ask the right questions, make the right deductions from the answers and carve a path that will move your business to where you want it to go. It’s about positioning your business effectively in the marketplace. ”
Digital Marketing Strategies
Familiarize yourself with the primary digital marketing strategies. These fall into two main types: inbound marketing, in which you attract potential customers to you, and outbound marketing, in which you pursue potential customers. Advertising is an outbound strategy.
Inbound marketing is much more versatile. Email newsletters, blogs and ebooks (often called content marketing), social media marketing, and search engine optimization are the 4 main inbound digital marketing strategies. These tactics allow customers to come to you, so you can engage them and show them why they should choose your business.
It’s worth noting that outbound marketing works best when you have a large budget. Cold tactics such as sales emails and ads have low conversion rates. This means that of all the people you reach, only a few will take action and become a customer. With a large budget, you can run enough ads and send enough emails that even with a low conversion rate, you still get enough business.
Know Your Digital Marketing Budget
If your budget is small, though, you won’t have this advantage, and you could be sending money down the drain. Many businesses benefit by starting with an inbound approach. This can be much more effective because you’re focusing on building relationships with potential clients. Learn how to plan your digital marketing budget.
Remember, the secret to obtaining customers is to get them to “Know, Like, and Trust” you. This key marketing tenet highlights the problem with outbound marketing. Many cold outreach tactics fail, especially for service-based businesses, because they rely on what’s called “interruptive marketing.” In other words, you interrupt a potential customer’s day to tell them about your offering. That may work if you’re selling trendy clothing on Instagram, but if you’re trying to convince someone to invest time and money into your business, you need to start with engagement, not interruption. Your goal is to take them from knowing you to trusting you — enough that they will book your contractor services!
” Your total marketing budget should usually be between 5% and 15% of your total revenue. The calculator uses a rough estimate of 9%. “
Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Contractors & Construction Companies
Because people want to “Know, Like, and Trust” a business, most people who are seeking contractor services are looking for companies that seem credible, affordable, and available. Your marketing approach uses your value proposition to show why you’re a good fit. That’s why the following digital marketing strategies are ideal for promoting your contractor business:
Your business website.
Studies show that 75 percent of people judge credibility based on website design. Even if potential customers find you via social media, they’ll still visit your website to assess your company. People do not spend a lot of time on websites. They rely on their first impression, so if your website doesn’t resonate with them or looks clunky and out-of-date, you’ll lose them forever.
Make sure that your website revolves around your value proposition. In fact, it’s recommended to craft a value statement for your homepage so potential customers can immediately tell what you’re all about. Be sure to include detailed explanations of your services, a portfolio of past work, and testimonials on your site. The more your site answers prospects’ questions, the more conversions (customers) you will get.
” People make snap judgments. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. Websites are no different. ”
The first thing that anyone does when they’re interested in a topic regarding building renovation, repair, or construction is to Google the issue. If you can create blogs, e-books, and videos that answer their question, you could show up in search results (assuming that you’ve done SEO, which we’ll go over in a moment).
When they read your content and see that you know what you’re talking about, you’ve already positioned yourself as a trustworthy source. Your content is also a great way to show what your brand is like and how you work with clients. Think of it as the first conversation with a potential customer. This is your moment to make a good impression! Once a reader is hooked, you can encourage them to contact you and, hopefully, book your services.
Social media marketing.
More consumers than ever are using social media to find information and answer their questions. Many people use Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor to find local businesses. They enjoy the opportunity to see other users’ reviews. Some believe they’ll get a quicker response if they contact you through social media.
Without a social media presence, your company is likely missing out on customers. Take the time to build a social media presence. As a business that serves a specific geographic area, social media platforms with location tagging and local recommendations (Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Nextdoor, Reddit) are good options for building a community around your business.
As a plus, you can use social media to direct people to your website and other content. Try to post a mix of linked content (your blogs, relevant news, etc.) and engagement content (requests for your audience to engage).
” While some people still think social media is mainly for young people, that’s not the case with Facebook. As of 2019, 69% of Facebook users in the United States were over 18 years old and 52% of adults use the platform to get their news. ”
Search engine optimization.
If your website is not optimized for search engines, you won’t appear in search results. Or if you do, you’ll be far down the list. SEO involves adding target keywords to your content, ensuring that your website links to high-authority sources, and making your website mobile-friendly.
Contractors especially need to focus on local SEO, which is how you show up in Google searches such as “plumber near me.” This includes creating content with local keywords and using schema markup to help Google show information about your business.
” Put the schema markup code on your site, and help customers find more descriptive and informative results from the search engines. ”
Putting It All Together: How to Complete Your Contractor Marketing Plan
To choose the best strategies for your contractor business, revisit your value proposition and compare it to your company’s position. Do you primarily offer quick, inexpensive repairs or luxury remodels? Are you focused on residential or commercial properties? Is your business a family company or do you bring in teams for large-scale projects?
Your unique brand profile impacts how you’ll market yourself. For example, contractors that handle large, high-risk projects need to demonstrate their expertise and experiences. Those that provide custom remodels and refurbishings should emphasize their artistic side. All these brand elements play out in your marketing material, such as before-and-after photos for Instagram or technical ebooks published on your website.
Once you’ve decided upon content themes and types, choose which ones you’ll use with each primary digital marketing strategy. As a rule of thumb, social media marketing is ideal for visual content, blogs are best for explanatory content, and your website is where you can be more promotional and “sales-y.” Bring it all together with search engine optimization.
Don’t Overlook The Power Of Marketing For Your Contractor Business!
Above all else, treat marketing as a way to start conversations with potential customers. Your goal is to nab their attention and immediately resonate with their interests. From there, you need to quickly establish that you can (a) solve their problem (b) within budget and timeframe, and (c) in a way that meets their needs. Digital marketing allows you to make this message clear, especially if you use inbound tactics that focus on engagement rather than interruption.
Word-of-mouth advertising is good to have, but you sometimes need to seek out clients on your own. With a strong digital marketing strategy, you can attract potential customers to your contracting business and clearly demonstrate your expertise.