Historically, a contractor’s success was largely driven by quality of work, personal relationships, and word of mouth. Growing your business on word of mouth alone, however, is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s now more important than ever to have an effective online presence. Studies show that 92% of people look up and research a small business before deciding to work with them. The same study found that 71% of commercial buyers begin their research online. We’ve put together our best marketing tips for contractors to boost their online presence to bolster your standing in a competitive marketplace.
Identify a target market and understand what sets you apart
Improving your online presence starts with addressing some marketing basics. Identify your target market and develop a unique selling proposition: i.e., who is your ideal customer, and what makes you unique?
Take the time to carefully answer the following questions and use what you identify as the foundation for your marketing efforts.
|What do you do?|
|How do you do it?|
|Who is your ideal customer?|
|What makes you different, and why should someone choose you over your competitors?|
These questions may seem obvious, but. it’s important that you have a well-thought-out answer for each question. Knowing the answers to these questions helps ensure a cohesive brand identity that will strengthen your overall marketing efforts.
Let’s run through an example: if you specialize in repainting, do you want to target only commercial buildings? Neighborhood homes? Are you best at tackling interior-only jobs? No matter your trade, it’s imperative that you determine who you can help the most and why you’re the right business for helping them. Once you know who you want to target, look to understand what is most important to them. Architects will have different needs than that of a homeowner, who will have different needs than that of a business owner. Marketing is not a one size fits all process; you need to be intentional.
What works for one contractor probably won’t work for another. Taking the time to know your ideal customer will help you communicate in a deliberate and genuine tone that resonates with potential customers. One of the best marketing tips for contractors is to remember that good marketing will make you look better as a company, but great marketing will make the customer feel better for choosing to do business with you.
Create an effective website
Creating a useful website can understandably seem overwhelming, but the importance of a well-constructed website cannot be overstated. In fact, 62% of customers will completely ignore a business if it does not have a web presence. A website that is useful and easy to navigate will build your reputation, boost visibility and improve communication with potential leads.
What’s most important, above all else, is that your website provides up-to-date and accurate information about your business. Ensure addresses and contact information, such as email and phone numbers are easily accessible and easy to find on the site. Make it easy for people to contact you. Consider adding a clickable phone number so people can call you immediately on mobile devices. When people do reach out, try to be as responsive as possible. A speedy response can go a long way in building trust with potential customers.
From there, list and detail the services you provide. People won’t know what you can do for them unless you tell them. Not all contractors will provide the same services, even within the same type of trade. For example, if someone is looking to remodel their kitchen, they may need new flooring installed. However, not all flooring contractors will offer kitchen flooring services. Be explicit in the services you offer and don’t leave anything up for interpretation. This will ensure that you are driving quality leads to your site. Highlight your main services on your homepage, and consider having a dedicated site page for every service you offer.
You should also support your service pages by providing plenty of photographs and imagery. Provide before and after photos or pictures that highlight finished projects. It’s worth investing in a photographer to provide high-quality and professional photos. Don’t just tell people but show people the quality of your work you can do.
Use your site as an opportunity to tell your story and show what’s important to you. Build out an “About me page” that details your journey from how you got started in the industry to why you decided to start your own business. Highlight your expertise and experience and tell people why you care about your work. A good about me page is honest and personal.
Remember that your website is a reflection of your company so keep it updated and professional. Fortunately, there are many website creation services out there that make the process easy and intuitive. Consider using wordpress, squarespace, or godaddy to get a professional website up and running in short order. These sites have a slight learning curve but there are many resources online that provide step-by-step guides for launching your site. Check out how other businesses are constructing their websites and use an aesthetic that appeals to you. Use your site as a supporting tool for your business that educates people on your services, highlights what makes you unique, and gives people tangible examples of your work.
Create a Google Business Profile account and interact with past customers
Now that you have a great website up and running you need to help people find it. Ignoring online marketing is equivalent to opening a shop and not telling anyone that you are open for business. Taking advantage of Google’s infrastructure and reach is key to telling people that you exist.
To help increase awareness you should create a Google Business Profile account (formally known as Google My Business) and ensure it mirrors your website with accurate and up-to-date information. Google Business Profiles are how people find your business on Google Maps, which a recent study revealed that 86% of customers use to find local businesses. Fortunately, it’s fast and easy to get a Google Business Profile account up and running.
When setting up your profile, pay close attention to what category you select for your business. Most people search for broad terms such as “roofers near me” so be sure to select all relevant categories that you fall into as a contractor especially if your company name does not explicitly state what kind of work you do.
Another great advantage of a Google Business Profile is that it helps facilitate reviews; which are key for any business, especially if you’re a local contractor or have mostly residential jobs. Online reviews are in a way the next step in the evolution of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s how people share the good or bad experiences they have.
Encourage past customers to leave reviews on google and you’ll soon have many testimonials coming in that highlight the quality of your work. Be sure to engage with these reviews and directly respond as often as you can. Especially if you get a review that is less than stellar. Responding to negative reviews in a professional manner can drastically improve your online reputation and shows people that you care about the experience you deliver. It can seem time-consuming, but taking a few minutes each week to respond to reviews gives you a unique opportunity to see and address direct customer feedback, further improving your reputation and brand identity.
Don’t be afraid of social media
Social media is something that many contractors seem to ignore. It can be daunting to get into, or even seem gimmicky at times. In truth, you can use social media strategically without any gimmicks to increase awareness and connect with your community in meaningful ways. It is one of those marketing tips for contractors that shouldn’t be ignored. A brand is a collection of stories, experiences, relationships, and expertise that all come together to influence what businesses people choose over another. Social media is your opportunity to show your personality and to show off the people that make your business run.
If you are not sure where to start, try highlighting your crew and the great work they do, or post a great review you received that highlights a positive experience a customer had. Post photos of projects (before, during, and after completion), and awards or accolades your business received, short how-to videos, or any good news about your company.
Look at sites like LinkedIn to share advice with others in your trade and to demonstrate your expertise. Consider using Instagram to post before and after pictures and photos of your crew and worksites. If you use social media in a sincere and personal way people will recognize your authenticity and you’ll be seen as a brand that people can trust.
Invest and learn basic SEO strategies
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of getting your website to rank higher in search engines such as Google. When someone searches “plumbers in San Francisco” on Google the sites that show up first have most likely been optimized to improve their rankings. How you optimize your search rankings is an art form all its own but you don’t have to be a tech wizard in order to make simple changes to your site in order to improve your SEO. You can find keywords relevant to your website by using tools like ahrefs, semrush, and moz.
Start by focusing on local SEO. When people search for services they are searching for businesses in their immediate area. They will type in a “keyword” such as “flooring contractors in Denver”. Use keywords on your website that include the exact area that you service and the exact service that you provide. For example, if you are a roofer in Billings, Montana, be sure to use terms like “roofer in billings” or “roofers in billings montana” on your site. If you need help you can hire SEO consultants or digital marketing specialists to help set your site up with proper SEO elements.
You should also ensure that Google is indexing your site. You need to let Google know that your site exists and that it is useful for people. This sounds more complicated than it is and Google has a lot of great resources that give a step by step instructions on how to index and crawl your website. If you are going to invest in your site then this is an important step to get the most out of it.
Luckily creating a useful website and updating and engaging with your Google Business Profile will improve your SEO. Everything you put online that is associated with your business will build off each other and help your search rankings. That is why it’s important to be intentional.
Engage with your local and professional community
What you do in the physical world can greatly improve your presence in the digital world. Take every opportunity you can to join and interact with the circles and communities of the trades you work in. Attend conferences and job fairs as much as possible. Join associations and be on the lookout for events and meet-ups. Consider sponsoring charity events such as 5Ks or golf tournaments. These are all great opportunities to get your brand in view of more people and will inevitably drive more people to research your company.
Attending conferences and events will also serve as great subject matter for social media. If you are struggling to think of things to post, attend a conference or local event and post pictures of your experience. Or write up a quick description of the event and what you learned from it. This can serve as great content for your online efforts and will show people that you are engaged in your local community.
Having a strong online and digital marketing strategy is essential for growing and staying relevant in an ever changing market. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to improve your online efforts and stand out from the competition. Know your target market and what is important to them. Create a useful and informative website that makes it easy for people to contact you, use social media to demonstrate your personality, and stay visible in your local community by attending and sponsoring local events. With our marketing tips for contractors, you’ll build a strong foundation on which to build a solid digital presence.
|Know your target market and know what is important to them|
|Create a useful and informative website|
|Use social media to demonstrate your personality|
|Stay visible in your local community by attending and sponsoring local events|