General Contractor Advertising
General contractor advertising is a necessity in today’s marketplace, and general contractor websites keep the phone ringing.
People are more likely to search online than pick up the phone. That’s why having a website that works helps general contractor advertising be effective.
More than a placard, general contractor advertising needs to be informative and professional.
But what does your advertising say about you now?
General contractor advertising is like a car dealership. How? When you go to a car dealership to buy a car, the salesperson shows you the nicest car on the lot first.
Most people think this is a trick to convince you to buy a more expensive vehicle without looking at the less expensive one, the opposite is actually true.
The salesperson wants you to see the less expensive car after you drive the better model. That’s why so many general contractors do home building AND renovations, or additions AND remodeling.
Why? Because you’ll compare the two cars. There’s nothing wrong with the cheaper model (in fact it probably fits your needs better than the more expensive one).
But when you compare the features of it to the other car, it pales in comparison. This comparison is natural and inevitable and it plays directly into the salesperson’s hands because you will want to spend more money on the nicer vehicle.
How this affects general contractor advertising today
The above is just an example; you unconsciously make this comparison with everything you purchase. That’s why electronics stores offer demos of nicer products and why commercials highlight products with more features.
This is the law of compare and contrast, and it applies to more than just your business-it can apply to your website as well. Before diving into exactly what comparisons do for your website, consider what your website represents.
How do websites fit in general contractor advertising overall?
Your first contact with people will be through your website, and as the old axiom goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.
And that first impression begins quickly; before a person even clicks on a link, they have already made a snap decision about your company based on your website’s appearance.
A company with an old website tells your customer one (or more) things about your company:
You don’t understand the way the modern world works
You have no pride
Your work isn’t anything spectacular
Regardless of whether or not any of this is true (and if you are building a successful company, none of them should be), your company will look bad in front of potential customers.
You don’t understand how the modern world works
A website that looks like it was made around the turn of the century using a Geocities template is the equivalent of selling a car without seatbelts.
A good website is expected in this day and age, and it shows that you are up-to-date with technology and if you are up-to-date with web technology, your customers will reason that your work is performed using cutting edge techniques.
Technology and general contractor advertising
Even if you are using the best technology to do your work, your customers will never get to know this because they will move on to another company before they can see your work-the same way you would start looking for a new car no matter how great the engine on the car without seatbelts actually is.
You have no pride in your brand
There’s a reason that car companies talk about how pumped they are to bring you their new car-they worked hard on its design and want to share it with the world. In short, they are proud of what they accomplished.
A crappy website shows your customer that you aren’t proud of your company because you don’t want to show off your quality work to the world.
A general contractor with no pride leads to poor morale, which generally leads to poor work performance. And why would anyone want to work with a company that has no pride?
Your work is just adequate
All a car really needs to do is get you from point A to point B, and there’s always that car on the lot with minimum features that does just that. The same holds true for general contractor advertising; No one thing that makes customers say, “I really want that car.”
The low-grade car gets the job done, but nothing more. A website that is simply ok, but doesn’t stand out, sends this message to your prospects.
They might go with you, but if they can find a competitor that looks like they provide more service (even if they don’t), they will work with them.
Don’t make your advertising resemble a bland, beige, mid-size. Make it a red sports car with yellow flames painted on the side.
Creating the Cadillac of general contractor advertising
If you take all things into account, it becomes clear that you not only need great advertising, you need a way to get customers to take action. So how do you do this?
Identifying a need
This is the first (and most difficult) step of the process. You need to create advertising that is better than your competitors. To do this, look through some of their ads and websites and identify anything they lack.
Mercedes did this when they developed a car that could parallel park by itself; they asked people what they hated about driving and found out that most people disliked parallel parking. Then they developed an innovative technology that allowed a car to park itself-and attracted customers because of it.
You don’t need to make a technological breakthrough for people to like your business-you just need to figure out what the people want and give it to them. No matter what you do, the important thing is that people like it-and your competitors don’t have it.
Getting people to see your general contractor advertising first
In order for the comparison theory to work, you need your customers to view your advertising and website before your competitors. In the same way that a car company can’t control which car ad a customer views first, neither can you control a person’s browsing habits.
Luckily, there are ways to make yourself more likely to be viewed first that’s why companies pay more to advertise during prime time TV and pay astronomical amounts of money to run ads during the Super Bowl; lots of people are watching and are likely to see them.
It’s a bit less scientific with websites, but you can increase the likelihood that customers will see you. Examples of this include paid placement, blogging, a larger social media presence or even social media advertising or a website redesign for your construction business.
General contractor advertising is a simple tool that will drive traffic to your business, engage your customers in your products and services, and create new leads.
That’s where the company blog comes in. Studies have shown that company websites that include a blog receive 55% more visitors, so developing a blog is well worth your time and effort. To get started, here are ten things to put on your website to make sure it meets the minimum consumer standards in today’s marketplace.
When people have a question, the first thing most of them do is go online and search for an answer. Your website (and your advertising) should provide the information that your clients will be looking for.
A general contractor website should include articles on renovation, home maintenance, and other relevant homeowner issues. You want customers to think of your website as a place where they find answers.
Offer your service or product.
While your website should be more than a sales pitch, it should also remind readers that you have a product or service available that can help them with their problems.
The best general contractor advertising (and websites) offer tips on DIY projects and seasonal maintenance and also offer to be the one to take care of their problems for them.
In order to generate leads from your general contractor website, you will need prospects to interact. If they visit your site for information, encourage them to subscribe to updates with their email address.
These email addresses will help you build a database of potential customers for email blasts regarding new services, sales, and promotions.
Ask for comments.
Another great way to have clients and potential customers interact on your site is to encourage comments. End each blog post with a question that motivates readers to add their input in the comments section. Require an email address in order to participate in the comments and this becomes an effective lead generator.
Share your new content on your social media platforms and encourage your followers to do the same. Increasing your presence in each of these venues will create potential client contacts within the social media setting and also direct more traffic to your site.
Remember to reshare articles as the topic becomes relevant year after year. Make the most of each entry by sharing it on multiple occasions.
Use different blurbs to attract followers to click on your link so that you attract different people each time.
Also, create backlinks within articles to related items on your website to increase your SEO.
Your blog should have quick share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you include a picture with each entry, you can also provide buttons for Instagram, Tumbler, and Pinterest.
Another feature that encourages readers to share is catchy “Tweet This” statements that you can include at the bottom of your post.
Create a regular schedule that your readers can count on. Become a part of their morning routine or weekend reading.
However frequently you decide to post, stick with it and compile some extra articles to have on hand in case you occasionally do not have time to prepare a new one.
Be patient. It may take time to build a readership. Also, keep in mind that far more people read than a comment.
Create quality content.
For your general contractor website to attract readers and generate leads, you will need engaging content that informs and entertains.
In order to build subscriptions, comments, and repeat visits, give clients what they are looking for.
Original articles, interesting facts, and impressive statistics are likely to earn you social media shares and additional web traffic.
Give your company a voice.
A business website allows you to create a personality for your company.
Interact with your clients through your blog and give them the feeling that your business is more than a company, it is a helpful friend.
They can comment, ask questions, and express their feelings on your blog just like they would in a conversation with somebody that they know.
This relationship-building increases company loyalty and new business leads.
Today’s internet user loves to watch short videos and share those that they enjoy the most with their social media followers.
Create videos that demonstrate your services, give relevant tips or share an amusing anecdote related to your business.
This is also an ideal way to emphasize your involvement in the community. Share videos of sponsored events or teams with your company signage visible as a backdrop.
These tips should help your blog really become a source people will turn to when they look to do something to their home.
Now, I know coming up with the content for a blog is tough, and that’s why we offer it for you. We can write posts tailored to your services that are exclusive to you.
If you want to find out more about our blog campaigns for contractors, click here.
Now I am going to talk about creating separation with your general contractor advertising
Like you, we work in a crowded field. There are a lot of companies that offer services to contractors like you.
Some of them offer similar services, some completely different.
Some have different philosophical approaches, some the same.
The one thing we’ve always had as an advantage, and where we plan to focus on this year, is that we’ve always only worked with contractors like your….guys and girls who swing hammers for a living.
People who get dirty and messy. People who try to figure out how to market themselves and their businesses while trying to keep a project on schedule.
Basically, contractors from the small-time operator up to $100 million dollar general contractors and home builders.
I think separation is a great way for you to create some space between you and your competitors too.
For us it’s easy. Either you only work with contractors or you don’t.
You can create all the dummy companies and construction-specific websites you want, but if you treat construction marketing the same way you do a doctor’s office or a pizza shop, you aren’t being “authentic.”
If you say you only do construction marketing and you do other work, you then are in fact, just plain lying.
For you, it’s just as easy. Being as specialized (authentic) as you can, will grow for a few reasons.
Becoming the standard-bearer in your community for that one thing, makes you the expert. For example, I consulted a client during a website redesign to go all in on basement remodeling and leave the other stuff to the 100 other contractors in their area to fight for.
Just focus on doing what you love, basements. And the world, over time, will beat a path to their door.
Reduced sales cycles equals easier selling. When you are the company that the homeowner is comparing everyone else to, your sales cycle becomes a lot shorter.
Once they realize that everyone else is playing catch up to you, you will win the business a lot faster and get more referrals too!
Lastly, you will make more money. When people are doing business with the “expert” in the field, they EXPECT to pay more, so your negotiating position improves.
All these benefits come out of being authentic in what you do. By simply reducing all the clutter and getting at what you are really good at, you improve your overall business and you are happier just by focusing your general contractor adverting plan.
Do you think the companies we compete against feel good about themselves saying they only work with contractors, when deep down they know they are full of it?
So, when you hear about being authentic and true to yourself and to your clients or customers, this is what they are talking about.
Stick to your roots, do what you are good at, and if you have the gumption, calling out all the posers in your market who “think” they can do what you do.
Why go through all this? Because general contractor advertising is about know, like & trust
Know Like Trust
What is it and how do I use it to grow my business?
General contractor advertising is about increasing the popularity of your company, and one of the best ways to do it is through the “know, like, trust” factor.
The secret sauce to your business’s success.
How will they know you exist? Will they like you? How can you build trust into a relationship between buyer and seller?
That is the “know, like, trust” factor, and mastering it will take your sales to the next level.
Getting to know you.
Some excellent blogs and websites exist out there, but nobody is reading them. Why? Because people don’t know they are there.
If people have never heard of your business, they are not likely to magically stumble across it, regardless of how well Google is at guessing what we’re looking for.
Great advertising is a vital first step, but then you need to be willing to market your business to the people who will want to read it.
There are several ways to do this, but they all include being willing to market yourself online and become involved in conversations outside of your own area of expertise.
Focus on your target audience.
Your prospects will have an easier time connecting with you and getting to know you if it is clear that your business is intended for them.
You can’t please everybody all of the time, so focus on pleasing those that your advertising is specifically directed at attracting.
Not only is this approach more pleasing to the people with who you hope to build a relationship, but it establishes you as an expert in your field.
Get a little help from your friends.
You may not have a large following yet, but they can be a huge help toward changing that. Your followers will feel like VIPs when you ask for their help in spreading the word about your business.
Consider holding contests for the most shares or referrals. Their word of mouth recommendation to their friends is more valuable than any piece of marketing paraphernalia that you can create.
Do you like me? I mean really like me?
This is the stage of the game when you begin building a relationship with your prospects. They will not only read your content to be informed but because they simply enjoy it.
You can maintain professionalism while letting your personality shine through in your general contractor advertising.
A blog is a great way to increase the popularity of a company, so make the most of it. Don’t feel forced to sound like a company drone. Your readers will appreciate getting glimpses of the real person behind the company name.
But don’t make it about the sale. You wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing if you weren’t trying to sell something. This fact is always hidden just below the surface, and that’s where you need it to stay.
If you make your posts a sales pitch too often, you will lose trust and reader interest. Keep your interactions about building relationships and the sales will follow.
Let your customers tell their story.
Testimonials are a powerful marketing tool that involves nothing more than letting your best customers take over.
They will enjoy being given a voice, and prospective clients will be much more convinced by their word than yours.
Reward your prospects, readers, clients, customers, and followers.
Your advertising should be for the benefit of your prospects, so give them the information that they need. Make it clear that you are happy they have taken the time to choose your business out of the many they may visit today.
Manage the outcome for better general contractor advertising results
If, from day one, you don’t manage your customer’s expectations, at some point in the process, you are going to live to regret it, even if it’s something small.
You have all the control over customer expectations, you just give it away as the sales process moves forward.
Remember, no matter what, there IS ALWAYS a sale, either you sell them on something, or they sell you on something.
General contractor advertising 101: Forget pictures, it’s all about words
When people visit your website or consume your advertising, how long do they stay? Do they take the time to read your blog, and if so, do they keep coming back for new posts?
If you have not thought about this, you should, because these factors help to determine your ability to convert the traffic into sales.
Many general contractors make the mistake of thinking that just having a web presence is enough.
Sometimes they think that the focus should be on getting more people to come to their website. They are wrong on both counts.
If people are visiting your website without choosing a service, you are missing some excellent opportunities.
Using your content to create conversions
There are no tricks to traffic conversion, only proven techniques that can improve the profitability of your construction business. Here are some tips you can use to increase your conversion rate for existing web traffic:
Focus on developing content: Your content, whether it is on your website or your blog or your advertising, must be relevant to your market.
Most people don’t have a lot of time to spend looking for information.
If they don’t find what they want on your website quickly, they will go elsewhere. Some business owners underestimate the value of good content.
Refine your content: What exactly is it that you want your content to do? Think about it for a minute. Do you want content that informs visitors, or that encourages them to buy or hire?
This is important because general contractor websites can sometimes fall short of one or the other. Content developers should help you create the right mix of content that educates visitors.
Learn more: Understanding the different types of content that attract readers will help your company gain its footing in the market.
The ever-changing tech landscape has presented new ways to package your information for evolving tastes. Content now takes the form of videos, blogs, and infographics to name a few.
Use content as a tool: Your content can do more than just providing information. Many people who visit general contractor websites want answers to specific problems.
Shape your content to reflect public perceptions about the industry itself, and offer ways to combat negative ideas.
Go social: Using social media is a great way to link a wider audience to your content. This is particularly ideal for people who want access to information quickly.
Content developers help with research to determine which social media platforms will suit your business.
Regardless of the size of your business, getting more traffic does not mean more sales.
Once you build a website, you have to start thinking about how you will get visitors to become buyers.
Online marketing is much cheaper than more traditional methods, but you still have to understand it to reap the benefits.
Many websites have traffic but few leads, so do not put your business in that position. Leverage your hits for potential sales leads by sharpening your focus and your strategy.
The secret sauce to selling with your website is through the navigation
What is website navigation?
As with everything else, planning is important when you develop your general contractor website. Without the proper approach, it will be difficult to convert readers into buyers.
The navigation acts like a sales funnel that provides access to all the important information.
If your navigation is done right, visitors will not even feel like they are being sold.
That’s why we so much time on the navigation during construction website design.
There must be conversion
Your website should not be a brochure. It should be effective in converting traffic into loyal customers.
The entire success of a website revolves around conversion. A substantial number of people who visit your website must be converted to regular visitors and then clients or customers.
Successful sites have an effective navigation strategy and execute on the number one goal of converting traffic from a visitor into a full-blown customer.
Avoiding the well-known pitfalls in general contractor site design
Most people expect to find horizontal navigation situated at the top of the page. Sites that have the navigation situated on the left-hand side of the page are starting to show their age.
The secret is to keep the navigation simple and as reader-friendly as possible. This allows for a significantly better user experience and a lower bounce rate.
You can get creative and use more imaginative descriptions. The more generic labels such as services or products can get boring.
Selling off-line services to homeowners
Getting your reader to think about their house while using your website is important. It implants an impression on them that your business equals their house. You do that by saying the right things on your website. But the navigation has to get them there first, so this feature of your site becomes pretty important.
Use a layout like the one below for better conversion.
So that about does it. Four thousand and some odd words later, we hope you are better and general contractor advertising and web design. If you still need help, we can help.
The Contractor’s Toolbox
We provide social media for construction contractors for $99/month. We have three construction marketing campaigns, Apprentice, which is social media management, Journeyman which includes social media and blogging, and Master, which gives you social media, blogging, and a fantastic website. Click here to find out more about The Contractor’s Toolbox.