If you’re like many contractors, you’ve probably thought about marketing your business online, but haven’t taken the plunge as of yet for a variety of reasons. If you find yourself on the fence, this beginner’s guide will help make the experience less daunting and much more rewarding. Many contractors choose not to venture into online marketing because they think they need technical computer skills, or they aren’t sure who to hire when researching marketing firms that are both expensive and lacking a clear return on investment. If this sounds like your situation, don’t worry. I am not a tech person by any means, so if the thought of learning web design or computer coding is a deal breaker, truthfully, it would be for me as well. You do not need advanced technical skills to market your construction business online successfully, nor do you need to hire an expensive marketing firm. You will, however, need a basic understanding of universal online marketing concepts that we will discuss through a series of blog posts, as well as basic computer literacy. If the topics discussed seem too basic at first, we’ll begin to explore more advanced marketing strategies contractors can utilize in follow up posts.
Why Market Your Construction Business Online?
The behavior of consumers purchasing construction services has changed dramatically over the last decade. No longer do customers look up their local remodel contractor in the phone book for prices and ideas regarding their next project. Contractors in prior decades often experienced great marketing success with business names like “AAA Construction Services”, that showed up first in the alphabetized phone book. Today’s customers will generally bypass the phone book and go online to perform extensive research and gather ideas on the type of work they want done, as well as to see what contractors in the area specialize in the trade they will hire for. While anything is possible, it’s not likely the internet is a fad and the trend of potential customers performing research online before hiring a contractor is likely to increase sharply over the next decade and beyond. Fortunately, very few contractors market their businesses online today, so the financial returns for early adopters can be phenomenal.
Marketing a construction business online begins with a quality website that shows exactly what a construction business is about with examples, pictures and descriptions of completed projects. Setting up free account on social media sites such as Pinterest, is a great way for many contractors to show off their prior projects to potential new customers. In our next post, we’ll talk about what a general construction website should look like as well as options for having a website built including helpful resources. The goal of your website will be to generate leads by way of completed contact forms from individuals or businesses that are interested in hiring you for your specialty trade.
Many, if not most contractors rely on referrals as their primary source of business leads. While word of mouth will result in the best quality leads in general, it is entirely unpredictable, making the prospect of consistent work opportunities nearly impossible. Having a quality website/lead generation system will supplement your referrals and provide a steady stream of new work opportunities. It will also strengthen the closing ratio of your referrals who can review examples of your work prior to contacting you, selling themselves on hiring you in the process.
Final Thoughts – Beware Of Online Marketing “Gurus”
As a last piece of advice for today, be very careful when considering hiring any firm that contact’s you regarding marketing your construction business online. If you hear the words “we’ll make sure your business is at the top of search engine results”, be very leery. Many firms that claim they can successfully market your business online will fail to live up to expectations, while some can actually cause substantial harm to your online brand. Many of these “marketing gurus” employ short term tactics that can produce immediate results in some circumstances, but ultimately at the expense of medium and long term success. Not all business marketing tactics are equal to search engines and businesses that that engage in manipulating online marketing tactics are routinely severely penalized, sometimes being removed from search engine results altogether. The ideas discussed here are intended to benefit your online marketing efforts today and years down the road while positioning your business as a professional expert for your construction niche.
By Jeremy Schaedler