Marketing Ideas, Strategies, and Tips for Contractors
Is your contracting business growing? If the answer is no, you need to get your HVAC, electrical, plumbing, or construction contracting business ready for a big year in 2019, because this year is set to be a money maker for a few big reasons. The American Institute of Architects projects increased spending across all sectors of the construction market including a 4.4% increase in non-residential building, 3.5% increase in commercial building, and more.
What does this mean for your contracting company? It means that there is an awful lot of money to be made in 2019, but plumbers, roofers, HVAC companies, and other contractors across the board are learning that an increasing amount of their business is coming from online customers. This trend is set to grow in 2019, and an online presence has become so important that the owners of most contracting companies realize that having an effective online marketing strategy is a critical element in any contracting company’s business model. Failing to keep with the times will inevitably lead to increased business for your company’s competitors, and this fact is demonstrated by the unparalleled amount of people using search engines like Google or video platforms like YouTube every day.
Contractor Marketing Tips
Right now, Google is processing an estimated 63,000 search queries per second on average, which equates to about 5.5 billion searches per day and 167 billion searches per month! Moreover, YouTube touts that it has over one billion users and that YouTube reaches more users on mobile devices alone in the U.S. than any TV network. In addition, the creation of these platforms gives business owners an unmatched access to more data than ever before. For example, if you view the search term “Contracting Companies” on Google trends you will find that this search term has most often been fluctuating in popularity on a consistent basis between 50 and 100 on a scale of 0 to 100 with some of the most popular geographical areas being Maryland, Virginia, and New York. What does this mean for your business? These statistics can give you insight into new potential markets or the overall health of the contracting industry in general from an SEO perspective, but more importantly, it gives you insight into how should structure your online marketing strategy based on searching trends.
At On the Map Marketing (OTM), we recommend that you focus on five key elements to your digital marketing strategy:
- Website Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay Per Click (PPC or “Paid Advertising)
- Social Media Marketing
- Video Marketing
Clearly, potential customers are searching for contracting companies, so the first step in your digital marketing efforts needs to be creating your own website that is structured and formatted for SEO, ease of navigation, and increased lead generation.
1. Make your Website Fast, Secure, User-friendly and Mobile-friendly
A fast efficiently designed website that is optimized for mobile and desktop users as well as search engines is the cornerstone of a growing contracting business, but in order to design your contracting company’s website effectively, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Your website should load as quickly as possible: You want your website to load in one to three seconds, and keep in mind, each seconds matters. A one second delay in page loading speed could result in a decrease in your conversion rate, and if your website loads slowly for mobile users, it can hurt your company’s ranking on Google.
- Your website needs to formatted for SEO: You need to make sure your website is formatted for search engines to easily determine what your website is about, which is commonly referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). This involves creating proper headers, optimizing images, title tags, and SEO-friendly meta descriptions among other things.
- Your website needs to be mobile-friendly: In 2018, more than 50% of all world wide online traffic was generated through mobile devices. This means that more people are viewing websites from mobile devices than traditional desktops or laptops. So, your website needs to be coded to accommodate traffic from mobile users, and this can be accomplished by designing a website with responsive coding, coding that identifies the type of device the user is using and adapts web page size and structure to accommodate the user’s screen size.
- Your website needs to be secure: You may have noticed that most websites have “https” attached to their URL. This is a security measure taken by websites to encrypt information transmitted between the website and the user. Google uses https as a ranking measure, and about 30% of all first page ranking websites had an https certificate in 2017. Moreover, recent updates to Google Chrome now cause this web browser to display “not secure” next to the website URL of a site without an https certificate, which can hurt your website’s performance significantly.
Another factor to consider while designing your contract company’s website is user navigability. Have you ever visited a website that was so complex that you couldn’t find what you were looking for? The frustration that occurs in this scenario is what leads users to leave a website quickly. As such, your contracting company’s website needs to be designed to allow users to navigate it quickly and efficiently. Google measures how users interact with your website for ranking purposes, and users that can navigate a website easily are much more likely to convert and turn into a lead.
2. Invest in SEO for Contractors
If there is one word that could describe the type of company Google is, it would be secretive. Google and other search engines are constantly changing the algorithms they use to rank websites and generate search results, but there are a number of factors we know have an impact on a company’s website’s ranking in search results on Google and many other search engines. Formatting a website to maximize the site’s ranking factors is known as search engine optimization or SEO.
The fact is, over 51 percent of all online traffic comes from organic search results, and 91.5% of individuals who use Google click on one of the listings in the first search results page. As a result, there is a strong correlation between SEO ranking and increased business. Moreover, structuring your contracting company’s website for SEO by utilizing Google’s ranking factors allows your company to:
- Create an online footprint that defines your area of expertise and target market
- Increase the size of your company’s marketing audience
- Generate leads for specific services by creating a targeted keyword campaign
- Ensure that the leads your website generates are of a good quality and have a high likelihood of conversion
The big thing to remember about SEO is, it takes time, and it is an ongoing effort. If you are like most contractors, you realize that you have an obligation to your customers to continuously improve your business model. The same premise applies to SEO. You have to continuously add new fresh content in various forms of media to be successful, and each element discussed in these marketing strategies is interconnected. Meaning, all of your marketing efforts contribute to your company’s ranking on Google.
Moreover, Google’s ranking factors are constantly changing, but the whole point of Google’s ranking strategy is to increase the value each website offers to its users. As such, engaging your customers through videos, social media posts, blog posts, and other online content will increase your company’s ranking on Google, and the good new is, it’s cheaper than advertising on TV and most other forms of advertising.
3. Use Pay Per Click Advertising for Contractors
How much is the average lead worth to your company? $10,000, $20,000, or maybe $30,000? Regardless, most companies have found that generating a lead from an advertisement that often costs the company a fraction of the lead’s value is a good deal. Pay Per Click (PPC) allows your company to receive a first page listing on Google immediately, and PPC advertisements can have some impressive lead generation results. This is demonstrated by the fact that paid search is responsible for 10% of all website traffic, which equates to millions of users.
PPC ads typically pop up at the top of the search engine results page. There is a tiny icon that says sponsored, but you may have noticed from your own experiences with Google that the more prominent information displayed on the ads are reviews, location information, phone numbers, hours of operation, and the text of the ad itself. Google uses a bidding system through a platform called Google Ads to determine the cost of each ad-click, and your company only gets charged if a user clicks on your ad. Companies bid on certain keywords that are unique to their industry such as “plumbers near me” or “electricians in my area,” and factors such as your maximum bid, the quality of your landing page, and the quality of your ad can all have an impact on which position your advertisement takes in the ad results.
4. Join Google’s Local Pack and Capitalize on Local Markets
When you use a geographic locator in a search such as “general contractors in Miami, FL” or “plumbers in Los Angeles, CA,” you will normally see organic search results that include a section with a map and a list of three local businesses. This is known as Google’s local pack, and there are a few different ways to optimize your website’s content to increase your chances of being listed in the local pack.
3 Ways to Improve your Contracting Company’s Local SEO Results
There are three key elements to improving your website’s local SEO results, and the good news is, utilizing these strategies is easy.
- Optimize your Google My Business account (According to Google, you need to make sure all of your location, hours of operation, address information, etc. is complete in order to utilize this tool effectively)
- Make sure the content on your website is optimized for your local service area.
- Get reviews on Google My Business and other online platforms and directories
Optimizing your website’s content for your local service area includes formatting elements of your contracting company’s website such title tags, meta descriptions, and headers to reflect your business’ geographic location. Moreover, you need to claim and update your company’s listings in online directories such as:
- Yahoo Local
Keep in mind, all of the information that you list on your company’s Google My Business account should match all of the information listed on any online directories, because Google will use this information to verify your company’s location(s).
5. Drive Traffic Through Social Media Campaigns
As it stands currently, Facebook has 1.52 billion users that use the platform daily as of December of 2018. Using social media platforms to increase your company’s brand awareness and speak to your target audience is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. The most popular social media platforms include:
- Google My Business
To be effective, your contracting company should create profiles on each of these platforms, and you should incorporate social media into both your website and your business model by utilizing tools such as:
- Social media buttons on your website
- Placing social media icons on marketing materials
- Placing social media icons on your business cards and email signature blocks
- Placing social media icons on promotional materials
One of the key factors to any social media campaign for contractors is consistency. Creating and posting content about your contracting business on a regular basis will keep your customers engaged, and it will ensure that your brand is always at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Moreover, every social media platform has an advertising option for corporate customers that is normally competitively priced. Google and other search engines analyze social media engagement from your customers as an SEO factor, and social media posts or advertisements can serve as an effective way to drive traffic to your website.
6. Video Marketing for Contracting Companies
Have you ever watched a how-to video on YouTube or heard of a video getting over a million views online. The fact is, video marketing is an excellent way to not only diversify the content on your website, which is a positive factor from an SEO perspective, but also, reach a large diverse audience that is starving for interesting content. In fact, video marketing campaigns help your company:
- Actively engage with your customers through comments, likes, and sharing your videos online
- Define the position your brand takes in a consumer’s mind. What do they think of when they hear the name of your company? Quality? Prestige? Video marketing can help answer this question through a focused message.
- Drive traffic to your website and customers to your business
Video Marketing Tips for Contracting and Construction Companies
Video marketing can also give your company the ability to garner its own unique following on video platforms such as YouTube and social media platforms that allow users to share videos. Rember, your company builds things that consumers are interested in, and this aspect of video marketing can allow you to use videos in multiple areas of the content spectrum as a way to attract and engage potential customers. Here are few tips to get you started.
- Make your videos brief, about two minutes, to increase the likelihood your customers will watch them
- Put videos on high traffic areas of your website
- Incorporate videos in blog posts and social media posts
Worried about the price? The cost of creating good quality videos is relatively low, so you can still effectively market your company online without going over budget. As such, the next time your company is working on an interesting project, wanting to showcase some of the work you have done in the past, or simply getting involved in the community, make a video about it that can be used to speak to potential and existing customers.
7. Implement Analytics, Measurement, and Tracking Software
Good data is the cornerstone of any business, and when you are conducting a marketing campaign, data can provide you with the information you need to see if your marketing strategy is working.
Track your Sales and Revenue Increases
One of the easiest ways to track the effect your marketing efforts are having on your business is to look at the impact your campaign has had on sales and revenues. However, it is important to account for other factors that can impact these numbers negatively, because many elements of your contracting business can hurt revenue generation.
Lead Measurements for Contracting Companies
How many customers visit your contracting company’s website and never actually contact your business? All contractors must realize that although website traffic is a good thing, it is useless if the traffic is not converting into actual leads for your sales team. To ensure this isn’t a problem, you need to formulate an SEO strategy that includes a measuring your company’s lead analytics. Here a few quick tips:
- Define and track your website’s qualified traffic. Qualified traffic is generally defined as internet users that visit your website and are qualified to be potential customers, not just website viewers
- Calculate your conversion rate (total conversions/total number of visitors)
- Use conversion rate optimization to maximize the value of your website’s existing traffic
Conversion Rate Measuring Tactics
There multiple factors that can lead to poor conversions rates, and there isn’t a single solution to the problem. Rather, the key is to constantly optimize your website to convert more traffic into leads. At OTM, we refer to the process a customer goes through to convert to a lead as a conversion funnel, with multiple steps leading to the ultimate conversion. You need to determine the step where the majority of your customers leave the funnel in order to optimize that step for increased conversion. This could be changing things such as the format of a submission form, inputting calls to action, or even modifying the size or color of a submit button.
Utilizing conversion rate optimization techniques will cause your company to consistently update, modify and improve on existing and new content on your website, and as a result, increase the number of leads your website generates.
Call Tracking for Contractors
Call tracking can be a great tool to track who is contacting your business, and how they received your company’s contact information. Moreover, call tracking allows you to:
- Track the amount of new business your company is receiving
- Track the amount of repeat business your company is receiving
- Determine which marketing campaigns are working by identifying the lead source
- Determine which marketing strategies are producing the best quality leads
Measuring your website’s conversion rate and utilizing call tracking software can give you the information you need to maximize the amount and value of the leads your website generates, and it can give you data that allows you to determine any tweaks you need to make to your marketing strategy or website in order to increase the number of leads your contracting company receives from online advertising.
Does your Contracting Company need more Marketing Advice?
We got you covered! Give OTM a call to speak with some of the best online marketers for contracting companies in the business. OTM offers SEO, website design, PPC, and more to contracting companies of all types. So give our office a call today to find out how the marketing team at OTM can help your company grow.