The New Marketing for Contractors
Social media is the new marketing for contractors
Marketing for contractors really comes down to this one thing; social media. Added foot traffic to your “store” (website) in the huge mall called the internet is crucial today. In fact, it is one of the key marketing strategies for contractors. People who pass right by your store are people.
The New Word of Mouth Marketing
When people are looking to purchase something big, they get opinions from everyone they know. Have you noticed your friends on Facebook asking if they should purchase the latest iPhone versus an Android device?
What about people who post about a new movie that they loved, a restaurant they can’t get enough of, or a deal they found on Amazon? If you’ve poo-pooed social as a marketing strategy for your construction business, here is what you need to understand:
Social media referrals are the new word of mouth and they can do wonders for a home improvement company’s sales and conversion rates.
A recent study showed that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. This statistic makes perfect sense because these consumers are basing their final decision on the opinions of people they know and trust. You can tell Mrs. Jones all day long how great your business is, but if she hears it from Mrs. Smith across the street, that’s a referral you can’t put a price tag on, and a way that marketing for contractors works, but doesn’t get measured.
So, what marketing strategies for contractors work to their advantage? Here are a few simple suggestions:
Ask for referrals: When a customer tells you how happy they are with the work you just completed at their home, ask them if they’d be willing to write a quick recommendation on your Facebook page or mention you on Twitter. Perhaps you can start a contest at work for the sales or crew member with the most online referrals in a month to add a little motivation. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to talk you up, especially if you’ve gone above and beyond!
Post before/after pictures: Just about everybody these days owns a smartphone with a camera. When you’re out at a job site, snap a quick picture before the work begins, and then again once you’re finished. Place the pictures side-by-side using a simple collage app such as Canva (more later) and include a brief description of the work completed. Chances are your customer will be thrilled to show off his/her upgrade to their friends online.
Create video testimonials: Remember that smartphone we just talked about? Don’t be afraid to ask customers if they wouldn’t mind doing a quick video interview about the work that was just completed at their home. This is one of the best marketing tools for contractors that you can use today. Ask a few basic questions and how they felt about the quality of craftsmanship and the people from your company. Upload it to YouTube and share on your social media channels. Think about the prospective customers will get to hear when it comes from real, every day, satisfied homeowners.
Try out one or more of these ideas today to help increase your qualified leads, as well as your closing and conversion rates. With millions of people using social media every day, if you’re not capitalizing on this way to connect and share, you’re missing out on perhaps the biggest opportunity to grow your business and a strategy on marketing for contractors that are working.
What are the advantages of social media advertising vs. traditional marketing strategies for contractors?
No matter how much you may have thought the Internet was a fad, you were wrong. The Internet has invaded all aspects of our lives and has now become the main channel of communication for everyone.
With accessibility becoming easier in the form of smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi hotspots, marketing for contractors has never been easier. With the proliferation of constant access to the web, online marketing has become the go-to source for advertising budget allocation. This has given birth to a new trend known as Social Media Marketing.
As you can see, the dollars are pouring in online, so below are five key benefits to marketing for contractors!
Cost: Advertising through social media platforms is cheap compared to many offline platforms. In fact, many platforms are still free to engage apart from the costs of designing and production. You certainly don’t need a model, a voice-over artist, or an actor to create ads online the way you do through traditional means like the TV, print media, and radio advertising needs.
Reach & Focus: One of the key drivers or advantages of social media advertising as a form of marketing for contractors is that traditional advertising is who it reaches. Reaching your audience, and more importantly, targeting and focusing on the right kind of prospect has become much easier compared to the “shotgun” approach you had to use as a marketing strategy for your construction marketing.
Your message gets a second life when it is shared with others in their circles. Also, something as simple as a mailing list becomes a bit obsolete when you consider the cost savings of not having to pay for postage…which is always rising!
Real-Time Analysis: A real-time analysis is almost impossible to get through the traditional forms of media; and even if it is done, it is done in the long term. On the other hand, measuring the efficacy of advertising through social media can be done almost instantaneously.
Future-Proof: Last but not the least, advertising on social media is the future. As mentioned earlier, with the rise in ad dollars spent on online marketing and the ‘constant hot’ connection to the Web, more and more companies will want to be where the eyeballs are…and that’s online.
Democratization: The Web provides no cover for companies that don’t perform offline. If you have trouble in markets where below substandard operators exist, then the Web is WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. Trunk slammers and home scammers can’t exist online because they are flushed out too quickly. That’s why you want your message heard loud and clear, so you rise above the rest of the competition when people are ready to buy.
There are countless other reasons you should focus online, but let’s just call a spade a spade, social media isn’t going anywhere. If you don’t have the time or the budget to build your brand online, you WILL be washed away by companies who make the investment.
But what page should you put your social media links on your site?
The About Us page. The about us page is a junk drawer page that collects all the tidbits about you and your business that you want people to know. Things like:
Listing your credentials helps convince the reader you know what you are doing and have the skillset to do it. But don’t turn your about us page into a resume, just answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how for both you and your business, and you will be good.
Your social media links are perfect for this page because it gives your reader a chance to go follow you, but it doesn’t jump right off the page like it would on the homepage, subtlety is an important part of marketing for contractors.
You want people to get to know you a bit, to understand what you are about and why you started the company. These details will keep them around longer and limit the chance they bail and go to Facebook. Why? Because they have invested their time in you, so they continue reading.
You see, people are looking for reasons to leave a page
It’s a sad truth but people look more for a reason to leave a page than they do to stay. All you can do is create content that speaks to them and keeps them on your site…you hope. Giving them the idea on your homepage to jump over to Facebook and see what the latest cat video is is the kiss of death to any contractor website.
Limit your links to platforms you actually update regularly
You don’t want to make the mistake of linking out to a social media profile that hasn’t been updated in 6 months, that’s called digital tumbleweeds and no one will be impressed by your absence on that platform.
You HAVE to keep your best stuff on your site
I know people will tell you to create content specifically for each social media platform, and for the most part, that’s true. But you always want to give them a reason to go FROM a social media outlet TO your website, and that’s where the goods are supposed to be. Your site is the destination, make sure your content is set up to educate and inform, not sell and solicit.
You want to make them want to keep coming back to your site; to look at your pics, your testimonials, the page you wrote about the latest kitchen designs. Whatever it is, make them want to come back to your site because that’s where the selling happens.
But I can’t edit my pics!
Use Canva to edit your social media images
Marketing for contractors on social media is a great way to attract customers. Using social media is generally a lot easier than learning to design complicated websites.
This is especially true if you plan on using a lot of pictures that showcase your work…something I’ve been screaming from rooftops for years! After all, people use images to confirm what you tell them you can do and want to see examples of past work to provide visual confirmation before they let you start ripping their friggin’ walls apart.
While social media is easy to use with a bit of practice, creating designs and pictures is a bit trickier, especially if you are using a complicated program like Photoshop.
Luckily, there’s a cool site out there called Canva.com, which is basically a web-based designer for images that allows you to create a professional look for your pictures at the touch of a few mouse clicks.
Canva offers multiple templates for social media designs, each tailored towards a specific aspect of social media (Facebook banners and posts, Twitter pictures, Youtube banners, etc.). This ensures that your design will seamlessly integrate with whatever purpose you are creating it for while Canva keeps up with proper image sizes for each platform. Canva is a key tool to marketing for contractors because of its ease of use.
While Canva is generally easy to use, some users (especially those with little to no experience designing social media pictures and banners) may have a bit of difficulty with a few of the components, so here’s some help:
Layout: The layout serves as the anchor of your design; think of it as the foundation. Be sure to choose a layout carefully, as everything else you add will be dependent upon the colors and theme you choose in your layout. Once you begin your design, click the layout button on the left side of the screen (it’s the second button in the row, below the search bar and above the elements button). Scroll through the options until you find one you like.
Remember, you can delete components of the layout and still keep the general design, so if you like the background but want it to have hammers around the edges instead of flowers, you can edit that later. Once you find a layout you like, either click on it or drag it into the blank design box in the middle of the screen.
You may be tempted to use one of your own pictures to form a layout. While some situations (such as creating a banner for Facebook with a picture of a renovated home on it), in most cases you should try using a layout first and superimpose a smaller picture of your project. It looks more professional and gives you more control over things like color and text.
Background: Remember the white canvas you started with? That’s called the background of your design. The background is only visible around the parts of your layout that are “cut” and not connected to each other. For most layouts, the background is essentially a “frame” going around the outer edge of the design. Some layouts, however, have space in between their components, meaning that more of your background will show.
Backgrounds are available in either solid colors or “textured” in which a pattern is placed over a solid color-kind of like a granite countertop. Solid colors are the circles at the top of the screen, under the search button. Textures are shown as square blocks below solid colors. To add a background, click on a design you like. One of the great parts about choosing a background is that you don’t have to delete the old one before testing out a new pattern; just click on another background and Canva will automatically replace the old design.
You can also use backgrounds instead of a layout, although this involves placing text boxes and ensuring symmetry, so you may want to wait on this until you have a little more experience.
Elements: Elements are very important to your design, as they are what really make it “yours.” When you click on the elements button (it’s the third one, right under layouts), your options will pop up. There are several different categories of elements. Some of these, such as frames, are self-explanatory, however, you may need help with the following:
Grids: Grids are used to help divide your design into multiple areas, and can be inserted in horizontal, vertical, or combination patterns. Grids are good for ensuring symmetry between objects or for showcasing different photos.
For example, if you want to create a social media picture that showcases a home renovation, you could add a picture of each room to each area of the grid. This saves you from the hassle of creating multiple designs and gives your customers a quick look at your work.
Illustrations, lines, and pictures: These are essentially “clip art” and can be added at will to give your design some flair. Click on one of these buttons to get a range of options. When you find one you like, click on that, and resize it to your liking. You can place as many pieces of “clip art” in your design as you want. You can also use one of your uploaded pictures. Since many of these elements (aside from pictures) are very abstract, you may want to use a picture or two of a project you have done to really catch a customer’s eye.
Icons: Icons are similar to “clip art” except that they are very abstract in nature. They are best suited to provide “links” for your customers to click on. For example, if you are creating a Facebook post, you may want to have an icon that sends redirects people to your website or to a photo-based site such as Pinterest. If you’ve tooled around with Canva, you realize just how easy marketing for contractors can be.
Social Media for The Home Improvement Contractor Today
Marketing for contractors begins and ends with making use of social media. Home improvement contractors are using social media to grow their businesses in numerous ways every day, and you have to too. Here are a few big pictures of ways to look at social media.
Provides interaction and support to current clients: When all is said and done, word of mouth is the best form of advertising, every contractor knows that. Social media is word of mouth on STEROIDS! By engaging and interacting with clients on social media, you keep them happy and informed. It helps you stand out, so your clients will want to share your services with all their friends because they know, like, and trust you. Easy and outstanding recommendations, Check!
Draws in new clients: People still use search engines like Google, yes, but searching for recommended businesses through social media has become a common practice. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn all see massive search traffic for goods and services. If you are not there, potential clients cannot find you, but they are finding your competition.
Shows off your best side: Home improvement lends itself tremendously to social sharing. From educating and teaching your followers to posting pics of that awesome makeover you’re so proud of, social is where you share them! Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic tools for marketing for contractors. Picture posts even get lots of interaction on Twitter.
You can also shoot a behind the scenes video of your work. Youtube, Facebook, and even Instagram. Visual media and social sharing allow you to show both the business and human side of your company.
People want to see not just your services, but what drives you as a company. Showing, rather than telling, the quality work you do, is far more engaging and convincing. Someone can discount you in a consultation, but they cannot argue against “seeing” the results of your work.
Hiring experts to represent you and your home improvement company on the social media landscape can provide long-term rewards for years to come! You cannot beat brand awareness and customer loyalty. Nothing provides both social media.
As Clay Shirky said,
“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”
Either get on board or be left behind! But, if you need some help or want an agency who has spent 20 years doing marketing for contractors, send us an email, we’ll answer all your questions!
he Contractor’s Toolbox
We provide construction marketing for $99/month. We have three 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.