The pervasiveness of smartphones, coupled with easy internet access, allows local businesses to promote and connect with a larger number of potential customers outside the areas they typically service. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, companies have reconfigured their marketing strategies, while many homeowners decided to refurbish and renovate their homes as a result of being forced to work from home.
According to a study released by Harvard University, the home improvement and repair industry grew by 3% to $420 billion in 2020 and is set to increase by another 4% in 2021. Currently, 97% of users search online for local businesses, most of whom use their phones. So, even though establishing a digital marketing strategy as a contractor can feel a little out of depth, considering your profession is hands-on, research indicates that business is profitable. However, competition is rising as more contractor businesses ramp up their marketing efforts online.
Even if you’re from the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” school of thought and business is going well, it’s still important to embrace digital marketing tools, which can build brand awareness, future-proof your company, and aid business growth. No business wants to become irrelevant or fall by the wayside, which is why it’s critical for you to have an online marketing plan.
Home improvement and repair industry grew by 3% to $420 billion in 2020 and is set to increase by another 4% in 2021
Today, you can target new customers based on their physical location, age bracket, and what they look for on Google Search. When properly implemented, the return on investment with digital marketing is virtually guaranteed. As experts in the field, we’ve put together a guide that covers contractor marketing basics to inspire you and demonstrate how effectively it generates business leads.
To quote American author and former dot com business executive Seth Godin: “Not everyone is your customer.” And when it comes to digital marketing, they don’t need to be. The effectiveness of your digital marketing performance dramatically improves when you narrow down your target market or ideal customer. An ideal customer is the type of person who will most likely want and benefit from your services. For example, if you’re a residential contractor, you wouldn’t waste time marketing to commercial clients.
Before you embark on developing a digital marketing strategy, you will need to identify your ideal customer. Your existing local customers are a great place to start and a good indication of future business growth. You may wish to hone your marketing efforts to focus more intensely on them, or perhaps, after review, you’ve concluded you want to weed out certain types of clients in favor of others. To build your ideal customer profile, you should ask the following:
Even social media marketing encourages refined demographic targeting to ensure your content reaches the right target audience. When online users receive internet marketing adverts that are made for them, they have a better user experience. So, it’s in your business and marketing interests to capitalize on a specific group of people.
Sometimes contracting businesses fear narrowing down their ideal customers, but remember, there are different segments within an ideal target market. So, if you’re deciding to focus on residential contracting work, for instance, there are still many types of clients you can appeal to within this audience segment.
The golden rule of marketing is understanding that you’re not selling a product or service, but rather providing a solution. So, from a contractor marketing perspective, if you’re an electrician, for instance, you’re not just fixing an electrical fault. You’re ensuring the power always stays on. When developing your marketing strategy and ideal customer profile, you should always approach it from a solutions-provider perspective.
Customers judge a company’s credibility based on its website. More than 50% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile, never mind desktops or tablets. In today’s world, if you don’t have a functioning website, it’s almost as though your business doesn’t exist. A website is like a business card, storefront, and advertisement rolled into one. It plays a massive role in search visibility and lead generation.
A professional contractor website has two main functions; to convert potential customers online into more leads and to make it easy for search engines to rank it on results pages. Let’s backtrack a bit. When users type phrases into Google search like “HVAC contractor Chicago,” Google’s algorithms search thousands of websites containing those keywords. According to several criteria, they will rank those websites depending on how well they match those keywords.
Google strives to answer users’ queries as accurately as possible, so websites that are optimized to do so rank the highest. The goal of any website is to turn a profit, and investing in an optimized website design is the first step towards a contracting business generating leads. Why? Because the higher you rank on Google search engine results pages (SERPs), the more traffic will come to your site.
A performance-driven contracting company website should have a consistent design theme and be easy to navigate with visible contact information. When designing it, try to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contact you and understand what services you provide. The HVAC company Four Seasons Heating and Cooling is a good example. It’s clear from their home page what their services are about. Their contact numbers are readily available, and they have a call to action (CTA) encouraging customers to schedule a service.
90% of the global internet population use a mobile device to go online, so your contractor business website should be mobile-friendly too. This means that it should look equally good and work just as well on a desktop, tablet, or mobile. For example, a pop-up advertisement may work on a desktop but just delay the loading speed on a mobile, causing users to leave your website (this is called a bounce rate). According to Google, bounce rates increase 32% as a website page load time increases from one to three seconds. Therefore, the quicker your professional website loads, the more likely your customers will hire your services.
Aesthetics and design are just one part of website development and contractor marketing. In addition to looking good online, every contractor marketing plan needs to have a solid SEO strategy. Emailing marketing automation company MailChimp asserts, “search engines recommend SEO efforts that benefit both the user search experience and page’s ranking, by featuring content that fulfills user search needs.” This includes the use of relevant keywords in titles of web pages, meta descriptions, headlines, and URLs.
Search engine optimization is a long-term process that yields results over time. It requires significant strategy and planning, and it’s best to hire a marketing agency if you want optimum results. Of course, it’s possible to do your own search engine optimization, but most businesses in the contractor and construction industry prefer to outsource this specialization, so they can focus on doing their work. However, there is one aspect of SEO called local SEO that is low-risk with high reward, and something you should definitely take the time to set up.
Between 2016 and 2018, Google noticed that searches for the term “near me now” grew by 150%. Customers searching for contractor services near them demonstrate a strong intent. From a customer perspective, these searches are about finding a specific thing, in a specific area, within a particular period.
Data suggests 88% of searches for local business on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. So, it’s well worth your while to have local SEO as it helps you to rank higher on Google Maps and gain visibility on search engine results.
88% of searches for local business on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
Once you set up a Google My Business account, you can begin optimizing local SEO. After you’ve provided all the requested information, Google will add it to your Business Profile, which appears in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps. To increase online visibility in local listings, be sure to:
Local SEO helps improve the quality of traffic your website receives, as leads are from users who are specifically searching for the products or services your construction business or company provides. It’s especially useful for smaller construction companies who need a competitive advantage over larger companies who have larger online marketing budgets.
Pay-per-click advertising, also called PPC advertising, is a marketing strategy where businesses develop search campaign ads and bid on specific keywords that appear in their ad’s copy. Every time a user clicks on a company’s ad to visit its website or call its business, the company pays a small fee to the search engine provided.
Paid advertising appears in Google’s search engine results and on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is used to achieve all types of marketing campaign goals, such as promoting a business’s online presence, increasing sales, and generating leads.
Successful pay-per-click advertising centers on relevance. Your contracting business can show a targeted ad with a product or service at the exact moment that potential customers are searching for it. For example, if a user searches “plumber in Austin,” you can display an ad with that exact keyword.
Paid advertising, like all contractor digital marketing, can be measured. Unlike putting a poster on a neighborhood lamppost or community noticeboard where you can’t truly measure its success, with PPC, you can track every single dollar spent, and detail changed. Essentially, you can continue to improve your ads until they produce a positive return on investment. And more than that, you get to decide how little or much you want to spend, so your efforts will never be fruitless because ads that don’t work can be tweaked immediately.
Pay-per-click advertising also offers a wealth of data that tracks impressions, clicks, and conversion rates for each keyword, which can be used to enhance your organic SEO strategy. Through PPC, you can test which keywords are most successful before committing to using them long-term. According to Tech Jury, PPC campaigns have a 200% ROI, making them an incredibly effective marketing tactic.
Social media marketing is an important component of contractor marketing. Potential and existing customers already interact with brands through social media, so if you’re not speaking directly to your customer base on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then you’re missing out on countless opportunities to procure more clients. Data released by the Pew Research Center indicates that seven out of ten Americans use social media marketing to connect with each other, share information and entertain themselves.
While social media marketing includes using different platforms as a marketing channel to advertise products and services, it’s also good to build community and brand engagement. Construction marketing companies will typically post text and image updates, videos, and other contractor marketing material to drive audience engagement. The Bechtel Corporation’s Facebook page frequently updates their followers on events and initiatives they have been part of, as opposed to directly advertising their services, for instance.
Why? Social media helps build brand awareness, identity, and positive brand association. Due to their participation in climate change initiatives and community outreach, they’ve established a positive reputation, which makes them seem reputable and like the sort of company you’d want to do business with. On a smaller scale, you can see how electrician company Wizard Electric uses Facebook to promote their specials and services. Other marketing ideas include social media posts that share valuable content in the form of blogs or videos to drive traffic to your website and establish your company as an expert in the construction industry.
93% of businesses gain more customers as a result of branded video content. Besides being a preferred content consumption medium, video marketing adds a human face to your business, offers social proof, and proves the expertise of your contractor marketing services. Videos that do well online are usually no longer than two minutes and succinctly communicate one idea.
Your contractor marketing has to generate leads by engaging your client base in different ways at multiple touchpoints, meaning that each video has a specific purpose. Some will be to raise brand visibility, while others may be a hard sell to make a purchase. Contractor and construction companies can use videos to:
When it comes to video, there are loads of contractor marketing ideas that can help your business grow. Just remember to set out clear contractor marketing goals and ensure your videos are suitable for each social media platform. For example, posting a video to your Instagram feed should only be 60 seconds, but it can be fifteen minutes long if you upload it to Instagram TV.
A large construction company or small handyman business won’t typically service the same client regularly. However, it is always advisable to follow up on old leads so they don’t turn into missed business opportunities. The best way is to meet them where they are. 99% of consumers check their email every day, which explains why email marketing has one of the highest contractor marketing ROIs.
Of course, you can utilize different email marketing ideas depending on the type of business you have. Let’s say you have a HVAC business. Now, you might decide to send a quarterly newsletter to your client base that offers seasonal specials, updates them on new products, and contains a link to a piece of content marketing from your website that offers valuable marketing.
99% of consumers check their email every day, which explains why email marketing has one of the highest contractor marketing ROIs.
Through one email, you remind old clients of your services, advertise new products, and send more traffic to your company website, automatically improving your Google ranking. This makes an email marketing campaign incredibly effective because it can fulfill multiple contractor marketing functions at once.
Whether it’s tracking SEO, planning social media posts, setting up paid ads, or editing videos, here is a list of contractor marketing tools that can help improve your business listing on SERPs and convert a hot lead into a paying customer.
Effective review management is essential for good business. For example, suppose a customer stumbles upon your construction company through a local SEO search. In that case, they have no idea, apart from the reliance on your reviews to gauge whether you’re a reputable business. And nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase. They showcase to prospective customers that you’re confident enough in your professional abilities to ask for a rating, which builds credibility and trust.
Skyline Electric in Chicago does an excellent job of review management. The numerous reviews on their website provide social proof of their excellent service. While there are over 200 factors that influence web page ranking, online customer reviews signal to search engines that your business is credible and has online authority. In this way, Google Reviews can also help with improved SERP ranking and SEO efforts.
The main objective of any contractor business is to make a profit, and digital marketing is an essential channel to achieving that goal. Despite the many tactics used, it always strives to help businesses grow through marketing their solutions to common problems and creating a legacy of happy customers.
As digital marketing experts, Comrade Web has managed many high-performing marketing campaigns, increasing quality leads and businesses. Whether you’re entirely new to digital marketing or need to finesse your current strategy, we can help. Request a contractor marketing proposal for free by calling (312) 265-0580 or contact us here to get started.
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