So you’re ready to go full blast with marketing your contracting services to prospective customers. You understand that you need a website and social media accounts, but not exactly how all of these things interact to form your marketing funnel.
But even before the question of how all these pieces fit together, it may be beneficial to face the elephant in the room.
Namely: “Do I need to market my services at all?”
The answer, of course, is a resounding yes. And we’ll tell you why without all the fancy talk and the B.S. that you may find elsewhere on the web.
Why Contractor Marketing is Necessary
There is just one basic reason to get into any marketing: to gain more customers.
Because while word-of-mouth is a gold mine when done correctly, there are many more people out there who need your services — if they only knew about you.
And if you break down that goal into smaller objectives, you get four goals:
- Educate people
- Establish authority
- Engage prospects
- Generate awareness
The best marketing for contractors shouldn’t just bring in new prospects, but nurture them into paying customers, and communicate with them consistently throughout their tenure as your customers.
1.Educate People About Your Trade
You’ve been doing this for a while now — whether it’s building homes, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, or landscaping — and you’re the expert in your field. Prospective customers won’t have the knowledge or experience you have.
One of the best ways to market your services is to teach people about what you know best — your trade — and answer their most important questions.
For example, you may want to publish articles or post videos on:
- How do I upgrade my faucet?
- How often should I clean my AC?
- How do I add a new overhead light to my ceiling?
- Can landscaping increase the value of my property?
- What are the signs a contractor is trustworthy?
Content marketing is the writing and publishing of blog posts, articles, or videos to your website (aka “content”) — and is a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal. As you publish these pieces, you teach readers something helpful about your trade while showing exactly why it’s worthwhile to hire professionals to do the job.
Contractor Marketing Ideas: People Love DIY Tutorials!
The content you produce and publish must genuinely be valuable.
Go out of your way to share tips and tricks — even tutorials! How-to videos are the third most viewed category of videos on YouTube behind commentary and product reviews.*
That’s because people often refer to tutorials as they embark on a DIY project at home.
If you catch yourself thinking:
“But then why would they need my company if I teach them how to do it themselves?”
You need to realize that this content helps establish a positive relationship with your prospects: you build goodwill and help them understand what they want to know. You get your brand in front of them when they do their Google searches, or scroll their feeds on Instagram. You show them you’re the expert and your brand is genuinely helpful. So that when the day comes that they need actual help, they’ll think of your company.
Contractor Marketing Ideas: Outsource Content Production
Since you’re the expert in your trade, you should already have an idea of what topics should be produced for your company. But if writing or video are not your forte, you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Content can be produced by a contractor marketing agency or by freelance writers/videographers. Apart from knowing how to craft content that readers will want to read or watch, these professionals can help you generate topics to write about.
In fact, the best marketing for contractors should help you not just in creating the materials but also in getting your website found on search using SEO (more on that in #2).
Tip: How to Find Content Topics for Your Website or Blog
- The easiest way is to go back through your customer list and recent conversations to recall what their most frequently asked questions were. What are the things you wish new customers understood going into a project?
- Other tools exist online such as: SEO keyword research tools (more on this below), and using search engines to find the top questions asked about your trade.
- Look at your competitors’ websites as well — what are they writing about?
2. Establish Authority on Search Engines
As mentioned above, creating and publishing your articles will establish credibility with readers. You’ll be seen as an expert in the field by being able to answer their questions.
But there’s an even more crucial authority you’re looking for: and that’s domain authority.
Domain Authority, SERPs, and SEO
Search engines like Google and Bing automatically comb through all websites and assign ranks to each one based on how relevant it is to a specific subject area or industry.
This ranking is called domain authority.
If your website has it, it rises to the top of search engine results pages (a.k.a. SERPs), and prospective customers find your website much faster.
The goal of search marketing is to get your website as far to the top of the SERPs as possible, so that when John Doe searches Google for “best HVAC contractor in San Diego,” your HVAC website is within the first ten results.
The marketing service you will need to do this is called search engine optimization (SEO).
How SEO Gets Your Website Found By Prospects
SEO is basically a process by which you engineer your content and your subsequent marketing efforts (emails, ads, and more) in order to get your brand to the top of the SERPs.
Here’s the problem:
Since search engines don’t make public how their algorithms work, we’re left with the experience of SEO marketers who have seen results from their work. Which is to say, it’s not an exact science but is still controllable by those with expertise in it.
Contractor Marketing Ideas: Look at Search Volumes & Relevance
SEO professionals typically start by looking at the volume and relevance of specific keywords (the words or phrases you input into Google) to your trade. And then pinpointing which search terms express an intent to actually pay for your services.
For example: “best landscaping service in Austin” will probably be a better keyword for a landscaping company in the Texas Hill Country region compared to another keyword like “landscaping do’s and don’ts.”
These keywords are then used as the basis for planning how to improve the content you have produced (or will produce) so that your links show up at the top of search engine result pages.
Use tools such as SEMRush or Ahrefs to look up search volume and relevance of specific keywords around your contractor business.
The next step is to seed your chosen keywords across your website, or to purposely create pages or articles for keywords that relate to your work.
That way, when someone searches for “best landscaping service in Austin,” your website makes it to the first page of Google results.
3. Engage Prospects
The third objective of contractor marketing is to engage your prospects and turn them from followers to paying customers. There are several ways to do this.
Contractor Marketing Ideas: Nurture Prospects Using Email
What happens when someone lands on your website and clicks through some of your content?
Here’s an idea:
Capture their contact info while they’re actually interested! You can offer them a pop-up inviting them to subscribe to your email newsletter.
This is ideal for two reasons:
- You capture their email so they can be marketed to in the future
- You let the email newsletters “nurture” them — by communicating with them about new products, new services, or newly completed projects
Nurturing, in the marketing context, simply means to build a deeper relationship with a prospect over an extended period of time. This translates to consistent communication with them, making them aware your service exists so that when they need you, your brand comes to mind.
Which goes to show:
If you don’t have an email list yet, get one going. It’s an important channel for communicating with prospects who come to your website. Don’t let those readers get away.
But also, email is more cost-effective than other channels just because it’s all done in the digital realm, foregoing physical mail and postage.
Tip: Direct Mail Still Works
Although it may surprise you to know direct mail still makes an impact.
US advertisers spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail. And they earn an average $2,095 worth of goods sold through direct mail — per person! *
People consider direct mail much more personal than digital communication.
And here’s another thing:
People still tend to open direct mail — mail has up to a 90% open rate!
Why not invest in a high-quality direct mailer that showcases what services you offer and how delighted your previous customers have been with your business?
Tip: Talk With Them on Social Media
We’re willing to bet that you’ve got competitors already on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and LinkedIn.
They’re out there, showing off their latest projects in gorgeous photos and videos, and you’re wondering:
“Is it worth all that effort?”
Yes, sir, it is.
There are 3.48 billion users on social media, which means 79% of all Internet users are on it.* Your prospects are as well as your competitors.
And if you’re not part of the conversation, you could be losing out on prospective customers who are looking for inspirational photos of custom homes or DIY videos of HVAC upkeep or tutorials on how to properly wire a ceiling light fixture.
4. Generate Awareness for Your Brand
The last key objective of your contractor marketing strategy is to build awareness for your brand. This means getting your company name out there not just on the world wide web but also in the physical realm.
Contractor Marketing Ideas: Invest in PPC Ads
The previous process we talked about for establishing domain authority is rooted in organic search. That means it’s people typing a keyword into a search engine. But there is also paid search — and that means buying ads.
The most common type of paid advertisement online is the PPC ad, where PPC stands for pay-per-click.
As the name implies, every time your ad shows up in a search and a person clicks on it, you pay a specific amount of money for that click. But in exchange, you get someone into your website who searched for a keyword related to your trade and you get the opportunity to market to them directly.
How much your PPC ads cost will depend upon how many people are searching for the keyword you’re bidding on.
The more companies competing for the same keyword, the more expensive the PPC ad, and the more difficult it is to be seen. Sometimes it’s better to find a keyword that has a little less volume but still captures your intended audience.
Why bother with paid advertising at all?
Because it works.
75% say paid search ads make it easier to find the information they are searching for on a search engine. And 33% of web users click on a paid search ad because it directly answers their search query.*
Tip: Get a Branding Kit That Captures What You Stand For
But the other way to generate brand awareness is with a good set of branding materials.
These will include not just your brand and your logo, but also the physical materials you can use to promote your company — everything from t-shirts to vehicle decals, to letterheads, job site signage, and printed brochures.
Why is this so important?
You only get one chance to generate a great first impression.
That brand design has to encapsulate not just your company name but also what you stand for, and what services you bring to the customer. That website design has to look and feel like it’s been handcrafted with the same care and concern that you build your customers’ houses, or do their plumbing.
Partner with the right contractor marketing agency or with the right designer to craft a logo that is quality. Because you don’t want your logo looking like an 18-year old intern put it together using Microsoft Word.
Contractor Marketing Services to Consider
There are many types of contractor marketing services you can outsource to build up your company and improve your brand.
Here are some of the more popular and effective ones employed by trade professionals today:
- Content marketing: to conceptualize, outline, and write your articles, video scripts, and blog posts
- Videography and photography services: to capture your projects graphically
- SEO services: to draft both an organic and a paid strategy revolving around search keywords and phrases that will bring traffic to your website
- Social media marketing: to engage with prospects and generate brand awareness using organic posts as well as ads on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and more
- Email marketing: to nurture prospects into paying customers by sending them regular updates via email
- Design services: to create your branding system, including a logo, letterheads, business cards, and so on
The Best Contractor Marketing Agency for Trade Pros
If all this sounds overwhelming for a company that has its hands full just completing the current project, then don’t worry.
There are contractor marketing service providers, and many more experts ready to help you create content, bring content to the top of the search engines, and execute your paid ad campaigns.
How do you find these contractor marketing services?
By doing the same thing you expect your prospects to do: run a search on Google.
Take a look at their portfolio and the projects that they’ve done. Read the websites of the service providers you find to see if they know what they’re talking about. Look up the names of their clients and see if they vouch for the service providers you’re looking up.
In the end, the most important thing is to find a company willing to guide you through the process and educate you, so your brand achieves authority in search results, and eventually brand awareness on the web and beyond.