First, Let’s Talk About Your Marketing Problems
Do any of these sound familiar?
If you’re an established contractor with projects worth $100k-1M or more:
You have a lot of employees, and you need long-term projects lined up to keep everyone employed.
Your competition already has great branding and an effective marketing strategy, and you see their ads on Google and social media.
As a result, you are losing larger, long-term projects to your competition, which forces you to take on less than ideal smaller, short-term projects, and all the headache of project turnover.
If you’re a mid-sized contractor business with projects worth $30-$100K or more:
You have a crew of guys, and you have the responsibility of keeping them busy with steady work.
You would like to grow your business by taking on more and bigger projects, but you’re limited by the type of projects you’re currently getting. (such as renovation work when you prefer new construction)
The projects are not coming in consistently, and you wish you had a couple months or more of work lined up at any given time.
If you’re just starting out and it’s just yourself or a helper or two:
You are taking whatever work you can get, instead of the type of projects you really want.
You find it hard to present your business professionally so potential customers take you seriously and hire you for the job.
You’ve done some really nice work, but you don’t have an easy way to showcase these finished projects.
No matter what size your business is right now, there’s one thing every contractor needs: a steady flow of incoming calls & emails (or “leads”)
Without a steady flow of leads, you will be stressed while wondering where your next project is coming from, and if you’ll have enough work to keep your crew busy.
I used to bang nails for a living myself. I get it. 🛠
What you need is a solid contractor marketing strategy. Let’s look at the four most effective ways of getting new leads for your contractor business:
1. Physical Marketing
2. Your Website
3. Online Ads
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We’re going to go into detail for each method, and help you decide which method or combination of methods will work best for you.
Table Of Contents
1. Marketing In The Physical Environment
Your business is essentially a set of promises of what you can do for your customers. But what does your business visually look like?
Every contractor business, big or small, should have professional branding. If you’re just starting out, this should be your first step, and even if you’ve been in business for years, your branding may be outdated and it might be time for a rebrand.
Here are several ways people in your local area will view your business visually…
Your Logo & Branding
This is like the uniform that your business wears. Why do people in authority wear special uniforms? —because uniforms command respect, and your business is the local authority on the services you offer!
Your branding is important because it is the visual representation of your business, and will be applied to all other physical and digital elements.
These are printed on corrugated plastic sheets, and can be placed anywhere in your local area, on telephone poles or wire legs that can be pushed into the ground.
Job Site Signs
This is a more sturdy sign, often printed on an aluminum sheet, and placed in front of any job site you’re working on.
All these items should lead people to one destination: your website.
Most potential customers won’t dial your number the moment they see it, but instead they’ll first want to check out your website to learn more about what you can do for them.
Every physical marketing item should have your website URL in large letters. This is also why having a short URL is best: easy to read and easy to remember.
Clever tip: If your signs, cards, and vehicle decals all have a QR code as part of the design, people can easily scan it with their smartphone and go directly to your website without typing anything!
2. Your Contractor Website
Your website is the salesman that works for you 24/7 without taking a day off, and without you being there to manage him or tell him coffee break’s over.
Your business cards, signs, and other physical items can have only a limited amount of info, and their main purpose is to clearly display your phone number and website URL. Some customers are more inclined to pick up the phone, but many people will want to know more before talking to you.
Your website is the perfect method of displaying all your business information, because your website can be viewed on any smartphone or computer at your customer’s leisure. They can take your business card home and look up your website on their own time.
Here’s how your website can effectively present your business to potential customers:
Explain Your Services In Detail
No need to stumble over your words while explaining what you do. You only need to craft your explanations once, and your website will display the same information to every potential customer who is scrolling through your site.
Make sure you use your keywords and keyphrases throughout your text content so the search engine algorithms can find your website and show it to the people who are actively searching for your type of services.
Showcase Your Finished Projects
Photos are worth thousands of words! Your text descriptions fulfill the intellectual need, but it is the photos that fulfill the emotional need in your customers. When they see photos of some of the beautiful homes you’ve built, and they have a similar vision for their own future home, they will feel an instant emotional connection.
Research shows that humans subconsciously make emotional decisions, and then justify their decisions consciously with reason and logic after the fact. This is why good design and great photos are so important!
Your website should have a photo gallery of your best finished projects, or even a separate portfolio page for each finished project.
Here's a couple client sites we recently built...
Edit Anything Anytime
One great feature about digital design is that you can edit anything on your website at any time. The only element that must remain the same is your URL (domain name), which is why you will want to choose your domain name carefully and then have it printed on all your physical marketing items.
Your physical marketing is not the only way to get eyeballs on your website. In fact, the Internet is the most effective way to get your website in front of the right people.
There are two main methods of sending visitors (traffic) to your website:
1. Paid online ads
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Here's how digital marketing works…
3. Paid Traffic To Your Website (Online Ads)
You don’t need to wait for potential customers to discover your website. You can place advertisements on the web, and get traffic to your contractor website right away.
One of the most powerful features of digital marketing is the ability to show your ads only to specific people who have already shown interest in your services.
This is a much more intelligent method than paying for an ad in a local newspaper, where only a very tiny percent of the readers might be interested in your services.
Here are the most effective online ad platforms:
Google is the most widely used search engine on the Internet (We’d prefer to use Brave instead, but they’re still catching up), and most people turn to Google to search for services like yours.
At this time Google ads are the most effective method of digital advertising.
Google has several different ad types, but here are the main ones:
Google Search Ads
These are the sponsored results that appear above the organic results for almost any Google search. Google Search ads appear in text-format only and look very similar to organic results.
Try typing in “construction contractor in Vancouver” (or whatever your industry and city are) and look at the sponsored ads that appear above the results. These businesses are paying a marketing agency to create and manage those ads.
Google Display Ads
These are image-based ads that appear on any website that has signed up for Google Ads. These image ads appear as banners between content, in the sidebar, or anywhere else on the page.
What’s interesting about Google Display ads is that each image ad is actually an empty container that loads an ad specific to you. This means that someone else viewing the same website will see ads that are different from the ones you’re seeing.
Google has several other ad types, which we cover in much more detail in this article.
Now let's have a look at some other ad platforms that your potential customers are using every day...
Facebook & Instagram Ads
People spend hours each day on their social media, including the folks who need your services. If they scroll past an ad that is offering to solve their problem, this is a shortcut to the solution instead of searching for the answer themselves for hours on the Internet.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, so all ads created in the Facebook Ad Manager will appear on both social media platforms. Nice!
How do Google, Facebook, and Instagram know who to show your ads to?
When you use any of these platforms, they gather anonymous data about the things you search for, the type of posts you create or interact with, and the type of websites you’ve recently visited.
This means that someone who has recently been searching for “modern house design” and browsing through websites that focus on house design, will most likely be shown your Google ads offering your home contracting services.
We dive deep into Google Ads for contractors in this article.
Wanna see something interesting?
Go ahead and do a search for services in your area, and then click on those ads and see what websites they link to. Even though many of these websites look great, there are just as many or more contractor websites that look downright terrible!
If these cheaply designed websites are getting new work for these contractors, imagine the work you could get from a website that is professionally designed with your new branding, and your portfolio of finished projects.
Opportunity knocks 🙂
4. Organic Traffic To Your Website
The visitors who find your website naturally (without clicking any ads) are referred to as organic traffic.
Organic traffic is the most preferred source of traffic because you’re not asking people to come view your site through sponsored ads, but instead they are finding your site all on their own.
So how do visitors find your website organically?
The most common method is when your customers search for keywords and keyphrases using Google or any other search engine, and then click on your website in the list of results.
The big question is, how do you get your website to appear as one of the top results in that list?
Ah my friend, now you’re asking the million dollar question…
The good news is that it’s not magic or super secret tricks, (or whatever it is those emails with poor grammar in your spam folder are trying to sell you)
Instead, it’s a step-by-step process that starts with research, followed by performing certain scheduled tasks every month. Over time, this consistent effort will start to affect your website’s ranking, and it will begin to climb into the top results and even the #1 spot for specific keywords!
Here are the two main methods of getting your website in the top results:
This is an entire topic in itself, but it basically means optimizing the content of your website so it can be easily discovered by the search engine algorithms.
These optimizations include:
Using specific keywords (the ones your customers are searching for) throughout your website.
Expanding the content of your website so there are ten pages or more.
Adding new content to your website on a regular schedule, such as blog articles and new pages.
Making sure your website is structured properly so the algorithm can easily crawl your pages and understand what your business is about.
Your website will rise up to the top of organic search results for keywords in your local area. Being #1 on Google is a huge benefit to your business, and will generate phone calls and email form submissions for years to come.
Google Business Profile
Facebook (your business page)
Instagram (your business page)
Any other online list of local businesses.
Other websites in your industry.
This process is called backlinking and if done correctly, can go a long way in helping your website rise towards the top of search engine results.
There are several different methods of marketing your contractor business, so what method will be best for your specific business?
We've got some answers for you!
What Marketing Method Is Best For Me?
It depends on how much income each of your projects will typically bring in, and how fast you (and your crew) are able to complete each project.
Each stage of building your contracting business will require a different marketing method. Below are three main methods, described in detail!Each stage of building your contracting business will require a different marketing method. Below are three main methods, described in detail!
If you are an established contractor with projects worth $100k-$1M or more:
If you are making $100k+ per project then it makes sense to spend $5k per month to generate these incoming projects. This steady, predictable flow of projects will allow you to grow each year, without layoffs or losing larger projects to your competition.
This marketing method will include these items:
A Custom SEO-Optimized Website:
10+ pages of content.
Separate pages describing each service.
Projects portfolio section with individual project pages.
Blog section with 10+ posts for SEO value.
100% SEO Focused Marketing Campaign:
Regular monthly new content written for your website.
Regular monthly blog posting on topics in your industry.
Apple Maps & Google Maps management.
Google Business Profile setup & monthly management.
This marketing method will place your website at the top of organic search results in your local area. Being #1 in Google search will position you as an authority in your industry and give you an edge over your nearest competitor.
Your website will become a long-term, standalone asset that will continue to generate a steady flow of high quality leads every month for years to come.
A predictable flow of leads means a predictable flow of income for your business, allowing you to make data-driven decisions, hire as needed, and expand into the surrounding areas.
If this is too much of an investment for you at this stage, fear not, you have other options!
If you’re a mid-sized contractor business with projects worth $30-$100K or more:
If you are making over $30k income per project (after all expenses) then you may find it well worth it to spend $3k per month to keep these projects coming. It takes money to make money.
This marketing method will include these items:
A Five-Page Website:
Home page - to introduce your business.
Services page - to explain your services.
Projects page - to showcase your finished projects.
About page - to explain who you are.
Contact page - to display your phone number & contact form.
Google Ads, Facebook Ads, & Instagram Ads Campaign:
Google Search ads.
Google Display Ads.
Google Local Ads in Google Maps.
Google Discovery Ads.
Facebook & Instagram Ads.
This marketing method will show a variety of online ad types to potential customers when they search for your services in your local area.
Clicking on any ad will link to your nicely designed website, where potential customers can learn about your business and what services you offer them, and view your portfolio of finished projects.
As the algorithm learns about the type of users who click on your ads, your ad campaign will get more and more efficient, and you get more leads per month for the same ad spend!
If monthly marketing is still too much of an investment at this time, you still have a lot of options for marketing your business in the physical environment.
If you are just starting out and it’s just yourself or a helper or two:
At this stage of your growth, the income you get from each of your projects might not be enough to justify the monthly expense of Google Ads and SEO. Not to worry! There are other methods of marketing your business in your local area, it will just take some initial legwork on your part.
This marketing method includes:
Branding — First, you will want professional branding, which will position you as a professional in your trade. Presentation is everything!
Business Cards — You may need to get out there and shake some hands at the start. You will want some nicely designed business cards to help you with that first impression.
Road Signs — These are affordable, simple signs printed on corrugated plastic sheets, with minimal info that is easy to read. Get a bunch made and put them up in high traffic areas and at stoplights.
Contractor Sign — When you’re working on a jobsite, you should have a sign out front that lists all your services (like a large business card).
Mailbox Flyers — Simple one-page flyers that you can place in mailboxes in your local area. Yes this takes a bit of legwork but will place your business top-of-mind.
One-Page Website — If possible, you should get an affordable one-page website built. All the items mentioned above should feature your website URL so people can quickly look up your website on their smartphone, and later on their computer.
Keeping track of your Return On Investment:
As you start to get incoming projects, make sure you ask each customer how they first heard of you. If they saw one of your road signs or flyers, and they hire you, that project counts towards paying off your initial marketing investment. Depending on what type of work you do, one project alone may pay off your entire investment!
Each project you get after that pays off your marketing investment over and over again!
Your Next Steps
You know your business best. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do potential customers see your business as being professional?
Does your current logo & branding represent your business the way you want it to?
Where does your branding show up? On business cards? The side of your truck or trailer? Any marketing material such as flyers or contractor signs?
Does your website accurately represent your services? Does it display finished projects that you’re proud of?
How many projects are you currently getting per month?
How much income are you making on each project (after paying employees and expenses)?
How many extra projects would you need to justify monthly marketing?
If you got a steady stream of calls and emails every week, how many of those leads can you turn into customers?
Marketing your contracting business doesn’t have to be rocket science. Yes it takes some effort, but once your business is branded to look the way it should, you can start placing your marketing material in front of local eyeballs.
Once you know your numbers, you can launch an online advertising strategy and grow your contracting business into a 6 or 7 figure enterprise!
Need some help figuring this out? Start by selecting your industry from the list below!
🛠 🛠 🛠
Hey I'm Clark Aaron
I used to bang nails for a living, and now I run Bucksaw Creative along with a small team of talented people. We create branding, websites, & online marketing for businesses just like yours!
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Want to know which marketing method is best for your business?
Select your industry from the list!