When it comes to contractor marketing there are many online strategies a construction business can implement to be successful. There are also many mistakes that can happen when marketing your construction business online.
Here is our list of Do’s and Don’ts that can help you achieve better results with your contractor marketing in 2015.
Have A Well Designed Website
When it comes to marketing your business in the twentieth century a well designed website is a must have. If you haven’t made the investment to bring your business online you are missing more than you know. Even if you don’t plan on marketing your business online, I guarantee you every potential client you give an estimate to looks you up online. And guess what… When they can’t find you it reflects poorly on your company and often ends up costing you the job. Websites are crucial and there are many factors one must consider when having a web presence. The good news is the majority of construction trades are off season right now with winter here, this is the perfect time to start investing in your online presence so come April you are ready to attract new customers through your website.
Create Your Own Website
Do get me wrong, if you have web design experience and you know what you are doing then by all means create your own website. Far too often we come across websites that are built by a contractor themselves and far too often we see how much these websites are hurting their business. You may feel proud and think your website looks good but chances are when you put your ego aside the website looks bad and doesn’t get you any results. Don’t be misled by the low cost website builders thinking you can use their easy tools and gain results. It is very rare that website builders will give you all the tools and proper SEO you need to attract new customers online. We would never try and remodel a kitchen ourselves and contractors should always look to the experts when it comes to web design. Think of your website as an long-term investment, that will, over time create residual revenue for your construction business.
Generate Your Own Leads Online
When it comes to construction lead generation there is no better approach than to do it yourself by hiring an expert to do your online marketing. We are not talking about buying leads from lead generation companies, we are talking about doing search engine optimization, social media marketing, local search marketing, content marketing, paid search marketing and other various local marketing strategies. Some of the above mentioned marketing strategies will have long term, residual impact and some will have short term impact on your business. Depending on what your goals are will determine what’s the best marketing channels for you. If you are serious about your construction business you should at the minimum be implementing SEO, local search, social media and content marketing strategies. If done properly, all of these marketing strategies will have long term impact and returns for your online presence. If you need business fast and can’t take the time to invest in long term strategies, (mistake) PPC advertising on Google Adwords is the perfect approach to immediate results. These results don’t always come cheap though and if you don’t have a professional search marketing company running your campaigns it could cost you more than help.
Use Lead Generation Services
With our team having hands-on experience with third-party lead generation companies we recommend you avoid them. Yes there are some rare good lead gen companies out there but in the end most of them have the same flaws and you are better off investing the same money you would spend on leads into your own marketing. Most lead generation companies charge you on a per lead basis and also sell the same leads to 3 or 4 other contractors. Which means you pay a one time shot to compete against other contractors. When you pay for leads from a third party and you can’t bid the job or get a hold of the leads you are still paying for them in most scenarios. Another tricky part about third-party lead generation companies is you never really know how the leads are generated and if the person on the other end of the lead actually has real intent to hire a contractor. What these lead companies have to offer is appealing but when you do the math it only makes sense to generate leads on your own. For example, lets say a bathroom remodeling lead costs you $75 from a lead gen company, you can generate that same lead for $75 or less with your own PPC campaigns and that lead is exclusive and not sent to other contractors. Lead gen companies are generating the leads through PPC, so why cant you? You can and you can do it in many different ways.
Implement Proper SEO Strategies
SEO, the holy grail of marketing for some and the death of a business to others. If you don’t implement proper search engine optimization strategies from the start you may end up never digging your website out of the black hole. SEO is no longer about implementing optimization tricks on your website and buying backlinks. Today SEO is all about quality content and fundamental basic optimization techniques. SEO is broken into two major strategies onsite and offsite search engine optimization. Offsite SEO refers to SEO strategies that do not involve anything on your actual website or code. For example: backlinks or social media. A backlink is another website linking to your website. Onsite SEO is all about what you do on your website for your SEO strategies. This involves many things like meta title tags, keyword research, link structure, content and so on. No one strategy is more important than the other as both are somewhat connected, but you have to begin with onsite before you can do offsite SEO. The first step in SEO always beings with keyword research. Not all keywords have the same value, some are common searches with no commercial intent and some search phrases lead to actual sales (commercial intent). You don’t want to optimize for a lot of keywords or search phrases (no more than 3 keywords per page at most). You want to focus on keywords that have commercial intent, good search volume and low competition, these are the hidden gems. You don’t want to over optimize your site and keyword stuff your pages. When thinking about your onsite optimization the rule of thumb is to create pages with the user experience at the forefront and SEO last. SEO takes time so if you are planning on doing it, now is a good time to start so you can possibly have some rankings when the summer comes around.
Attempt to Do SEO On Your Own
If you know what your doing and are confident in your search engine optimization knowledge then by all means go ahead and do it on your own. If you have been reading about SEO on some forums and marketing articles but have no real-world experience, we recommend you study for 2 more years or higher a professional SEO firm. The reason we say this is there is so much conflicting information floating around the web about SEO, you may not be getting information from a credible source. SEO is constantly changing but the web lives forever, so if you read an article about SEO tips from 3 years ago those tips will potentially harm your efforts now. Once you get penalized by Google its hard to recover and takes more time to be successful. This is why its so important to do it properly from the start. Here are the most common things you should avoid doing. Creating duplicate content or copying other website content and publishing it on yours. Purchasing bad backlinks from other websites or backlink companies. Thinking that an SEO company can guarantee you first position rankings. If an SEO company ever says they can guarantee you first page rankings or your money back, run for the hills. A real SEO company knows they can’t guarantee rankings and would never offer such a thing. The reason for this is Google is constantly changing their algorithm on how they rank websites, one day you could be on page one and the next page 2. SEO is an ongoing process that takes time and if you do it right you will be more than satisfied with the results. The key to a contractor’s SEO is to be able to see past the initial cost to do SEO and understand that if they achieve results the returns will be much greater than the marketing cost. The second key is to think realistically about SEO and how long it takes to produce page one rankings and continue the efforts for long enough to maintain your results.
Be Active On Social Media
Social media marketing has been the buzz for some time now and its evolving and getting even better for local construction businesses. When it comes to social media marketing you want to approach it with the idea that you are using social channels to create connections with consumers that evolve into relationships and overtime these relationships produce leads and sales. Social media marketing is not just about getting the most followers, its about establishing your construction business as an authority in your trade and providing helpful and educational content that gives your audience real value. We recommend for construction businesses to have a Google+, Twitter and Facebook page. Instagram is another good channel but you need to be able to take really good photos to have success with Instagram. You want to post helpful information on your social media channels, avoid over doing promotional content and selling. The more you can prove you are an expert in your trade by publishing great content the more people will potentially contact you. It’s a simple concept yet it still takes time and effort to achieve success. You want to post to your social pages no less than twice a month and the more quality content you publish the better. You also want to be active in responding to people, so if someone comments on your post respond to the comment, if someone asks a question answer it… A great way to start gaining followers once you have some great content on your social media pages is to simply start following others and they will follow you back. If your content is great, it will get shared and more people will begin to connect with your company through your social media efforts. Social media also has impact on your search engine rankings but we will save those details for another article.
Share Bad Content On Social Media
Now that we’ve gone over what you should be doing here’s some tips on some social media pitfalls. Time and time again we come across social media pages that are sharing the wrong content. People aren’t looking to see you post pictures of what you had for breakfast or your awesome Ford F-250. The fastest way to not gain traction with your social media is to always post promotional content and bad content. When your on Twitter and replying to posts remember everyone else can see them, these are not private conversations so don’t start a rapid @ session talking to your buddies about the Sunday football game. If you want to do this have your own personal social media accounts separate from your business. If you are posting pictures of your work, which is a great idea, make sure they are good pictures. When we say “good pictures” we don’t mean they need to be professional, but maybe the beer can on the floor in the kitchen remodel photo shouldn’t be there. You also might want to think twice when you post work photo’s and make sure they are reflecting your craftsmanship. There is nothing worse than your amazing work looking bad because of a bad picture. Avoid any posts related to religion, politics and personal opinions not trade-related. People aren’t following you for this and these topics could strike up a disaster. Not all social media sites are created equal, and you need to think about this when posting content. People interact differently on Twitter than they do on Google+ and Facebook. Think about it this way, you could never be successful posting horrible pictures on Instagram because photos are the core of Instagram’s social experience. As you spend more time building your audience across different social media sites make sure to nurture them and don’t abandon your audience because you’re to busy to keep up with your social media. You want to treat your social media followers as if they are paying customers.
We hope these contractor marketing tips help you with your 2015 goals and we wish everyone a great success this year. If you have any questions about this article please post them in the comments below.
Entrepreneur with 18 years experience launching and managing successful tech companies. As seen in New York Times, Inc.com, Smashing Magazine, Home Advisor and other various mainstream media.
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