Digital marketing for contractors doesn’t have to be rocket-science.
Today, I’m going to discuss the 5-pronged attack we use to help our clients get more consistent leads.
It looks like this:
- A fast, lead-generating website.
- A dedicated local SEO strategy.
- Automated weekly social media posting.
- Cost-effective (ie. profitable) Google Ads.
- Automated email follow-up sequences for leads and customers.
It sounds like a lot… and it is.
The truth is, online marketing for contractors has evolved in the past few years. It’s no longer enough to have a great website or social media presence. You need to be everywhere your customers are online.
Using this system, we were able to help a local paving company average 44 free quote requests per month (not to mention a drastic uptick in phone calls).
It’s also how we increased a home builder’s phone calls by 98% in less than a year.
This 5-pronged digital marketing attack will help you completely dominate the online space.
Whole-Hog Online Marketing for Contractors
In order to compete in 2023, you need to be everywhere your potential customers are searching.
Part of the reason this 5-pronged attack works so well is because it’s so comprehensive.
With this strategy, potential customers will find your business when they:
- Search popular directories and review sites.
- Use Google to find local companies.
- Browse social media platforms.
- Look in their email inbox.
- Check reviews online…
… and more.
Now, lets take a deep dive into each of these aspects to understand how to make each work.
1. A fast, lead-generating website.
Not all contractor web design is created equal.
In order to have an effective contractor digital marketing strategy, you need a great website.
But what makes a great website? Is it the color schemes, font choices, logo design, or fancy graphics?
Sure, those things help, but they don’t move the needle when it comes to getting more leads.
Here’s what does:
- Speed. Your website needs to load quickly on mobile and desktop devices. Not sure where you current website stacks up? Pop it into Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out right now for free.
- Structure. Your website needs a coherent structure for all the content you’re going to have (hint: it’s going to be a lot). A better structure means a higher time on page, lower bounce rate – and most importantly, more conversions (ie. leads).
- Content. You need loads of it. I’m talking at least 50 pages – likely more. Why? Google loves content (and so do your users!). You should have pages for each service you offer and each location you offer them in. You need pages for your team members and your wonderful project portfolios. You need tons of blog content that helpful and relevant to your SEO strategy. Speaking of…
- SEO. Your website needs to be built with SEO in mind from the ground up. Part of that is having a solid website structure and content. The other part is the actual optimization of individual pages coupled with geographical targeting, SCHEMA inclusion, and more.
- Offer. You want leads, right? Well – what are you offering in return? A free quote or consultation is fine, but you need a way to effectively convey that offer to your audience, gather their information, and automatically follow up with them (we’ll get to this later).
Doesn’t all that sound better than five pages, a photo gallery, and a list of services?
I’ve listed this first because your website is the backbone to all of your other digital marketing efforts. Everything you do online leads back to this one amazing asset filled with useful information, lovely project pictures, head-turning social proof, and enticing offers to delight your audience.
If you’re not sure where your current website stacks up, book a free strategy session with us today.
2. A dedicated local SEO strategy.
Hands down, local SEO can provide the highest ROI of any digital marketing effort for contractors.
And it’s not as hard as you may think.
Local SEO is all about getting your Google Business Profile (GBP) to show up when someone in your service area searches for a service you offer.
So the question is… how can you influence Google to show your profile?
First, lets look at what Google really cares about when users search for a service locally:
- Relevance. Is your business relevant to the query?
- Distance. Is your business a reasonable distance from the user searching locally?
- Prominence. Is your business prominent enough for Google to show?
Now, let’s take a look at how you can influence each of these ranking factors.
How to make your business relevant.
Remember when we talked about how important content is on a website?
Content is one of the ways you tell Google that your business is relevant to a user’s search. It’s also why a simple list of services won’t suffice – you’re not giving enough detail on each service that’s actually useful to someone searching for it.
- You need dedicated pages for each service you offer. If you’re in the remodeling industry, you might have separate pages for: kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, basement finishing, etc…
- You also need blog posts that support each of those services. Using the above example, you should have blog posts dedicated to each service page. Topics like “5 Bathroom Remodeling Trends of 2023” or “How to Prepare for a Full Kitchen Remodel” should link to the respective pages.
That takes care of making your website relevant.
Now, we move on to your GBP.
In a nutshell: fill it out completely.
- Categories: Start specific, go general. Don’t try to stuff irrelevant categories, but be sure to include every category that makes sense. Here’s a list of all categories in 2023.
- Service area: Start with the city in which you’re located, and then spread out. Google allows counties, too. List as many as are relevant to you.
- Description: You have 750 characters to work with. Use them all.
- Products: Do you sell them? If so, fill it out.
- Services: Your selected categories will automatically show up as services. However, you can provide more. If “kitchen remodeler” is your primary category, you can add custom categories beneath it such as “cabinets” and “countertops,” along with descriptions.
- Images: Your logo and cover image are first. Put some care into this – people will see them when your Google Business Profile shows up in Google. “At work” photos are for when you’re on the job. “Team photos” are of, well, you and your team. “Identity photos” can be of signage on trucks or vans, office signage, business cards, etc… Fill out every category.
As an ongoing basis, you should work to do the following:
- Add regular updates: The “updates” feature of your GBP is a great way to add blurbs, project photos, blog posts, events and more.
- Respond to reviews: You should respond to every review you get. While not a huge ranking factor, it does help with conversions.
- Respond to Q&As (or post them yourself): The Q&A feature is a great way to provide additional information about your business.
Only after all this is done is your profile fully complete.
Don’t have time to do this all yourself? You can always book a free strategy session with us :)
How to influence proximity and location.
Here’s the rub: your GPB likely won’t show up outside the city your business is located in.
In smaller cities, it’s sometimes possible… but not always.
Still, by targeting different geographic locales on your website, you can show up organically for those searches. These are the listings directly under the “Map Pack.”
To do this, you’ll need:
- Pages for each city you want to target. These are all individual pages with unique content. They’ll link to all the pages we create next, which are…
- Pages for each service with that city you want to target. Remember when we talked about having a great website structure before? Without one, this gets messy really quick.
To give you a quick idea, here’s how this should be structured:
- www.yourwebsite.com/kitchen-remodeling/ —> this is one of your primary service pages targeting your primary location.
- www.yourwebsite.com/secondary-city/kitchen-remodeling/ —> this is another unique service page targeting one of your secondary locations.
Of course, content on each page needs to be unique and optimized.
How to make your business prominent.
Are you the best contractor in your area? Prove it to Google and your potential customers.
Become more prominent in your local area by:
- Having a dedicated review-gathering strategy. Email marketing is a great way to automate this. Or, you could manually email/text each customer, asking them to leave you a review on Google.
- Having a large digital footprint. Are you on all the social media profiles? Are you on common contractor directories like Angi, BingPlaces, and more? The larger your digital footprint, the more prominent your business becomes in the eyes of Google. Here’s a list of 267 free places to build a large digital footprint to get you started.
I could go on and on about this topic, but why not get some detailed, personalized help with your local SEO strategy instead? Book a free strategy session today to learn more about how we can help with your local SEO strategy :)
I don’t think social media marketing is the best way to get clients as a contractor by itself.
It does, however, compliment all of the other digital marketing strategies for contractors.
The problem is that most business don’t have a dedicated social media marketing strategy. They use the “spray and pray” approach, posting to Facebook or Instagram whenever they remember to.
That won’t build a following, and it certainly won’t generate any leads.
In our monthly digital marketing program, we post once a week to two different social media platforms like clockwork. We use Buffer to help automate and schedule our posts, and you should too.
With a free profile on Buffer, you can:
- Schedule your posts in advance. This is insanely helpful for small business owners. Using their calendar, you can schedule out dozens of posts to go live at the date and time of your choosing.
- Cross-post to multiple platforms. Again, insanely helpful. Instead of manually posting to each platform, you can send out one message to up to 3 platforms for free. We recommend Facebook and your Google Business Profile at the very least.
Marketing yourself as a contractor is about being everywhere your potential customers are online.
But wait… what the heck should you be posting?
Here are some sample social media post ideas for contractors:
- A day in the field: show your crew hard at work on a new project.
- Before/after pictures: show the quality of your craftsmanship.
- Project progress posts: keep your timeline up to date with what you’re working on.
- Team member spotlights: highlight a hardworking member of your team.
- Share your blog posts: put that website content to good use.
- Give helpful tips: answer common questions about your industry.
- Memes: who doesn’t love a good meme?
- Controversial news: not for the feint of heart; your mileage will vary.
Those ideas alone should yield dozens and dozens of social media posts.
Whatever you do, just keep on posting. You’ll attract a larger audience, your profiles will become more active, your business will look busier, and heck – even Google might show you some love.
4. Cost-effective (ie. profitable) Google Ads.
It’s no secret that good marketing takes time.
Marketing your business is like rolling a snowball down a hill. Sure, it starts off slowly – but as it grows larger and larger, it starts to gain momentum. Once it’s running full-blast, nothing can stop it.
But what the heck are you supposed to do in the meantime?
Google Ads are a great way to get near-instant leads into your business.
However, you have to be extremely careful.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars paying for clicks from people that either a) don’t want what you have to offer, b) aren’t even in your service area, or c) aren’t given an easy way to give you their contact information.
In all likelihood, you shouldn’t run these ads yourself – you should hire a contractor marketing agency to do it for you. But if you are going to take the risk, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Only use the search network. Adding the display network gives you more reach, but it also makes it way easier to screw up your targeting and pay for clicks that aren’t relevant. Keep it simple.
- Use geo-modifiers heavily. Telling Google that you only want your ad displayed in a certain radius around your city isn’t enough. Each of the keywords you target should have some type of geographical modifier, such as a city name or zip code.
- Use exact match types most frequently. Sure, you might have to create more ad groups, but you’ll save a ton of money on clicks that aren’t relevant to your business.
- Use negative keywords liberally. Keywords like “blogs” or “free” don’t represent someone looking to hire someone for a service. Use negative keyword liberally.
- Drive traffic to individual landing pages. Yes, you’ll need to set up individual landing pages for groups of keywords you’re targeting. Someone search for “bathroom remodeling” shouldn’t land on a page that includes information about kitchen design.
- Utilize business extensions. Namely, the phone number, location, and sitelink extension would be great candidates for you to explore.
Okay… but what about a budget?
In our monthly packages, we encourage businesses to allocate $200-$500 monthly.
If you’re running these ads yourself, your mileage on that investment will vary.
Why not leave it up to the professionals and book a free strategy session to see how we can help?
5. Automated email follow-up for leads and customers.
If you’re not getting results for email marketing, you’re likely doing it all wrong.
When used correctly, email marketing is a great way for contractors to gain more reviews, activate unsold leads, and automatically follow-up with leads to pre-sell them on your services.
When used incorrectly, companies just send out… newsletters. Whatever that means.
Here are some great ways to use email in your contractor digital marketing strategy:
- Send an automated welcome email to new leads. As soon as someone submits a form on your website, they’ll get a “welcome” email that tells them when to expect a callback. Bonus points if you share some of your awesome testimonials while you’re at it :)
- Send an email blast with a promotion or discount. Maybe you’re an HVAC company offering Spring/Fall discounts? Who better to contact than your current customers?
- Send an automated sequence asking for a review. Review ratings are a key part of contractor SEO. You could set up an automated email sequence to go out to each new customers the day after you’ve finished the job, providing a quick and easy link for them to give you a Google review.
- Send an email blast to unsold leads. Maybe you’re a bathroom remodeler with a list of lost bids. You could send a quick blast to your list asking them if their job was ever completed – or if they’re satisfied with the final product.
We offer a number of these automated sequences to our contractor clients.
Why not book a free strategy session to see what we can do for you?
Internet Marketing for Contractors
Contractor digital marketing is all about being everywhere your potential customers are searching. That means having a strong website, a dedicated SEO strategy, an active social media following, a cost-effective Google Ads campaign, and an automated email sequence to follow up with leads.
You need it all.
At Local Sight, we build websites that make the phone ring. Part of our success is that we understand that an effective website is only the bedrock of a digital marketing campaign – you need SEO, PPC, social media, and email marketing to complete the picture.
We do all of that and more.
Book a free strategy session with us today and we’ll have a quick chat to see get you more consistent leads with whole-hog digital marketing for contractors.