A Google study revealed that 7 out of 10 users who performed a local search visited an establishment within five miles of their location. As more people rely on the internet to find service providers such as contractors, you should be making your online marketing efforts a top stop for getting contractor leads. Online marketing helps you attract new clients and engage existing ones, which could be instrumental in the growth of your contracting business.
In this article, we explore everything that you need to launch your own online marketing campaign.
Thanks to Hibu for sponsoring this article.
Step 1: Set Up Your Website to Generate Contractor Leads
A Clutch study revealed that almost half of small businesses polled do not have a website. This means that you can give your business a significant advantage over your competitors by marketing it online.
To get your website up and running, you have two options:
- You can build it yourself. This might sound like a daunting task, but there are many tools available that make it much easier than it used to be and we walk you through all the steps below.
- You can hire a professional. Just like building it yourself, the cost of hiring a professional is much lower than it used to be, but hiring a freelancer will likely still cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars. However, Hibu can build you a website that’s integrated with the rest of your marketing efforts starting at $99. This has the added benefit of freeing up your time to focus on what you do best — managing your business.
Here is an example of a contractor website designed by Hibu:
If you prefer to do things yourself, then here are the steps you will need to follow.
Buy a Domain Name and Hosting Plan
A domain name is the address that internet users enter into their browsers to access your website. For example, “google.com” is the domain name of the website Google. Almost all companies use their company name as the domain name so their customers can easily find them online.
Hosting is the service that powers your website online and makes it accessible to your customers. There are many companies that offers hosting services, but we recommend investing in reliable service provides like Bluehost. Reputable web hosting companies offer fast loading pages, advanced security, and unlimited bandwidth use.
Install a Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is an application that lets you create and modify the content on your website. Think of it as your website’s operating system. With a CMS, you have a platform that enables you to design your website, organize and create digital files, and publish the content online. For a contractor website, we recommend WordPress.
WordPress powers over 75 million websites. It has a user-friendly interface with thousands of available design templates, called themes, and features you can add, called plugins. More importantly, WordPress is free of charge and it is easy to install. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to make a WordPress website.
Purchase a Theme
A WordPress theme is a library of files working together to create the design of your website. A theme modifies the design elements of your website, such as fonts, color schemes, and layouts. Many companies purchase a pre built theme to serve as a template for their own customized design.
There are thousands of available themes on websites like Themeforest. Choose one that you can easily customize to reflect your brand. A quick search on Themeforest reveals many themes for contractor websites, such as:
These themes cost less than $60 each, which includes future updates and six months of customer support.
Add Essential Website Elements
Now that you have a theme, the next step is to add elements that feature your company’s unique identity and highlight your business’ information. According to a Chartbeat study, 55 percent of users spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. This is why it is crucial to remove distractions and showcase the specific elements of your company that you want to highlight. Here are the most essential elements that you should add to your website:
- Featured Projects – Display some your biggest projects and your proudest accomplishments. Include before and after photos so website visitors can see the impact of your work.
- Description of Services – Provide a detailed description of the services you offer so your customers will know what your company is capable of.
- Client Testimonials – Showcase positive client feedback to add social proof.
- Contact Information – Clearly display your company’s phone number and email address so customers can contact you for any question.
- Social Media Icons – Your website visitors may not be ready to contact you now but give them an option to stay in touch by providing icons that link them to your social media pages.
Your website visitors are most likely looking for these details as well. Draw attention to these elements, and make it easy for your potential customers to learn more about your business. This would help you generate more contractor leads.
For more help, you can follow this step by step guide: How to Make a Small Business Website.
Get Help from the Pros
Experts at Hibu can take care of the process for you. The online design and web development services company can create a custom website for you for as low as $99.
Here is an example of a kitchen remodeling website designed by Hibu:
Step 2: List Your Business in Local Directories
There are two primary reasons to list your business on local directories:
- Your potential customers are using local directories to find services in their area, so you want to be visible where and when they’re most likely to make a decision; and,
- Maintaining accurate listings in local directories will help improve your overall search results on search engines like Google.
As with your website, you can take on the work yourself or you can hire the pros at Hibu to review and manage your listing on over 60 of the top websites, directories, and apps related to your business. Some of these listings include Google, Yelp, Search Your Business, Homestars, and many others.
If you decide to do it yourself, here is what you are going to need to do:
- First, we recommend registering your business on Google My Business and Yelp.
- Next search for terms related to your business as well as your city — for example, “bathroom renovations Boston” — and make note of all of the directories that show up on the first few pages of your search results. Follow up to complete your listing with each of them as well.
- Lastly submit your business to this list of general contractor directories.
Let’s take a look at each of these steps in more detail:
Google My Business
Google My Business is a tool that helps you manage how your contracting business details appear on Google Search and Google Maps including your contact details, website, directions, reviews, and photos. Saving these details on Google My Business provides the search engine giant with essential information about your business. As Google seeks to provide the most accurate results to local searches, it uses the information that you saved on Google My Business to put your business in front of customers who are looking for your services online.
Google My Business can help your contractor marketing efforts by maximizing the exposure of your business to the people who are most likely to visit it. To learn how, read our full guide here.
The business recommendation network gets an average of 145 million unique visitors per month. Registering your contracting firm on Yelp to increases your visibility online. In addition, you generate a new backlink when you save the details of your business on Yelp including your website. Since Yelp is considered as an authority website, adding a link to your website on Yelp can boost your rankings on other search engines.
And while we’re on the topic of recommendations, the next step discusses how you can get reviews on Google My Business and Yelp and any other directories where customers are looking for businesses like yours.
Step 3: Get Reviews
Close to 9 out of 10 consumers report that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is why many businesses make it a point to get online reviews as well as respond to them. They know that positive reviews can help them score another contract while a negative review without prompt response can turn off potential customers.
There are a few instances where your customers might be particularly motivated to write a quick review for you.
- Ask for a review right after you complete the project. Assuming that you did a great job, your customers would most likely be in a positive mood and would be happy to show their appreciation by writing a review.
- Ask for a review after resolving an issue. By addressing a problem, you relieve a pain point for your customers, and they’ll be more likely to write you a review to return the favor.
Hibu Reviews can help manage this process for you by collecting and distributing your customer reviews. Hibu takes compiles your customers’ feedback, from your phone to your inbox, in real-time and encourages your customers to post positive reviews to your online review pages.
Step 4: Start and Promote a Blog
Companies that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a return on their marketing investment. Blogging is an effective contractor marketing tool because it connects your website to people who are looking for answers and helps to establish your business as a leader in your field. Visitors who read your blog may not be ready to contact you for your services, but they will remember you when they are.
In recent years, blogging has grown in relevance as Google cracks down on spam websites. In addition, Google’s recent search updates focus on ranking websites that produce high-quality and relevant content. People who have extensive knowledge in a particular area can share their expertise through blogging and help their website rank on search engines. As you produce more quality content, you increase your domain authority which helps you appear on top of search results. SearchEngineWatch reveals that websites that rank on top of search results get 36.4 percent of the traffic from that search.
In addition to higher rankings, blogging positions you as an industry expert. By publishing articles that offer solutions to issues your customers face, you establish yourself as an authority in your field. People are more likely to trust you and recommend your business to friends and family who are seeking your contracting services.
Now that you know the benefits of blogging, let’s look at a few ways you can start.
Look at Your Core Services
The Pareto Principle states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your inputs. In other words, you have a set of core services that generate most of your income. Based on those services, you can come up with a list of ways you can add value to your audience.
For example, if your contracting business often works on home improvement projects, then you can come up with a series of articles that offer home improvement tips. You can write an article on topics such as how to landscape gardens, add storage to your garage, prepare a bedroom for your newborn, renovate your bathroom, etc. Consider using photos from your projects to illustrate your tips.
To help you generate more blog post ideas, head on to Buzzsumo. The online tool helps people find out the most trending articles on a certain topic. Searching for “home improvement” revealed the most shared articles on the topic on various social media platforms.
With this strategy, you spend less time working on article ideas and more time writing content that’s proven to drive traffic.
Step 5: Optimize Your Site for Local Searches
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an area of marketing that’s focused on improving how your website ranks on organic or non paid search engine results. When a user types in a query on a search engine like Google, websites that are optimized for search engines have a better chance of ranking higher than those that are not.
Contractors marketing online must implement SEO strategies, particularly focused on local search, to improve their chances at getting a greater share of organic search results. 46 percent of all searches on Google are local. This means that many people in your location are looking for businesses like yours. Without local SEO, it will be difficult for search engines to match your content with relevant queries in your location, causing your business to miss out on potential sales opportunities.
Optimizing your website for search engines like Google is the single most important thing you can do to attract new business online, other than the quality of the content on your website itself. As with the other steps in these guides you can do it yourself, or you can take advantage of Hibu’s expert SEO services.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool
SEO keywords are words or phrases in your content that help match your website to relevant search engine queries. For example, if your website is optimized for “contractor florida” keywords, your website has a better chance of ranking when users enter the same phrase on search engines. To optimize your content for search engines, you need to know what your audience is searching for. Enter Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
The Keyword Planner tool helps you generate keyword ideas and get search volume data by using a phrase, website, or category. To access the tool, go to Google AdWords and click on the Tools tab. Once you’re on the Keyword Planner page, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase website or category.”
Fill up the form that appears. Input your business type and your location in product and service. If you run a contractor business in Florida, enter “contractor florida” then click get ideas. The Keyword Planner tool will reveal the average monthly searches for the keywords you used plus other relevant keywords that you might want to use.
Use the number of average monthly searches to determine which keywords to use in your website. In the example above, the most searched term is “bathroom remodel.” If bathroom remodeling is part of your services, you should promote that heavily on your website as a lot of people search for those terms.
Optimize Your Contractor Website
One way Google ranks your website is by looking at the text on each page of your site. The search engine scans your website and looks for keywords that offer hints on what your website is about. Make it easy for Google to understand what your website is all about by using the keywords that you want to rank for multiple times within your site. It also helps to be specific. If you are a residential contractor, you should use the terms “residential” and “contractor.”
To further optimize your website for Google’s local search, follow these tips:
- Include your business name, address, and contact number with local area code in every page of your website
- Use text, not images, when including the information above so it can be read by Google
- Invest in Yoast SEO plugin so you can easily edit the descriptive title tag and meta description of your website
- You’d want to include your business name and its location in the descriptive title tag
- In the meta description, include your primary keywords along with your location, contact number and brief description of your business
If you want to learn more on how to optimize your website for local search, please follow this link: How Small Businesses Can Rank on Google.
Hibu can take your SEO to the next level by implementing on-page and off-page SEO as well as social media SEO. Click here to learn more about Hibu’s SEO services.
Step 6: Promote Your Site on Social Media
Businesses are taking advantage of social media marketing because it offers numerous benefits, such as increased website traffic and improved engagement. With close to 2.5 billion users, social networks drive nearly a third of all traffic to websites. Social media marketing complements SEO in driving traffic and email marketing in nurturing leads.
As a contractor, we recommend having social media accounts on the following platforms:
- Facebook – Create your own Facebook page where you share blog posts and other content forms so you can grow a following and engage your audience
- Instagram – Share captivating photos of your projects, employees, and company activities to advertise your work and get your audience to find your company more relatable
- Twitter – While you can also share content on Twitter, you can also use it as a customer service platform where you respond to your followers’ questions and concerns
- LinkedIn – Connect with professionals and other businesses to expand your professional network
- Google+ – Getting positive reviews on Google+ can help improve your Google ranking when users search for contractor businesses like yours locally.
A little investment in terms of money with a firm like Hibu that specializes in marketing contractors on social media can pay off big. If you prefer to go it on your own here are a few tips on how you can use the various social networks to promote your business.
Marketing on social networks is mostly about engaging customers and building relationships with them. Social media gives you a platform where your followers can learn both the personal and professional sides of your business. While you share articles that show your expertise, you can also post photos of people behind your company.
Putting your employees front and center on social media makes your company more relatable to your customers. It can spark a connection between you and your audience as they see that your business is made up of people. The more relatable your business is, the easier it is for people to like you. In business, being liked is important because it increases your chance to get contracts.
As you show the personal side of your business, feel free to take photos of your projects and feature them on your social media pages (with your customers’ permission, of course). Beautiful images of your work can inspire ideas in your customers, which they’ll then look to you to build.
You can also post before and after photos so your audience can see the full extent of your work. If you have a big project, share images of different areas and spaces. By posting your best work, you get to advertise to your audience for free.
Step 7: Run Paid Advertising
Retargeting is a technique that advertisers use to market your business in front of people who already visited your website. This is a powerful targeting approach as it only displays your ads to people who have already shown interest in your services by visiting your website. Research shows that 98 percent of website traffic does not convert. Retargeting helps bring visitors back to your website and keep your business in their mind.
You can use retargeting to advertise your business on Facebook. Go to Facebook Ads Manager and create a Custom Audience, then choose Website Traffic. Facebook will create a unique pixel for you to install on your website. This pixel will track your website visitors, so your ads only show to Facebook users who visited your site. This increases your ability to generate new contractor leads as you target people who have shown interest in your business.
If you’d rather focus your time and effort on your business and leave the marketing of it to the experts, consider delegating the work. Hibu gives you a strong social network presence to help you reach your audience.
The Bottom Line
The contracting business is growing and so too is your competition, which is why it is important to explore all of the contrator marketing avenues you can to help you reach your potential customers. Put your business in a better position to generate and nurture new leads as well as engage existing customers by setting up a website, writing a blog, implementing SEO, leveraging email marketing, and advertising on social media networks. As more people rely on the internet to find contractors, having an online marketing strategy in place for your contractor business helps you get a larger share of that $1.731 trillion construction annual revenue.