Top 5 Online Marketing Tips for Contractors
To a lot of small construction business owners, online marketing seems like a whirlwind of confusing terms, conflicting advice and snake oil salesmen. When faced with this, some contractors opt out of online marketing altogether, instead sticking with more familiar, safer channels. Follow these tips to get the most out of your construction business' online marketing:
Tip #1 - Optimize Your Site
It's no secret that in the land of online marketing, search results are king. When potential customers search for contractors in your area it pays to be the first result they see. But how do you get there? The not-so-secret secret is backlinking.
Search engine giants like Google determine your site's ranking by how many other sites link to you. The quality and content of these sites matters as well; .edu and .gov domains gain you the most search engine favor but are also the most difficult to obtain. Likewise, sites related to construction or your trade are more valuable than blogs about the latest fashion craze (it's denim keffiyehs if you must ask).
Partner up with people in the industry to try and gain more backlinks. It helps when your site has useful, fresh and linkable content, which leads us to our next tip..
Tip #2 - Start a Blog
Blogs are the easiest way for contractors to generate content from their construction company's websites. Blogs are easy to set up and, since you want sites with similar interests to link to you, the content should flow easily.
Post frequent updates containing useful information (like the best way to repair water damage) or unique and interesting experiences (like last week's "Christmas Vacation"-esque nailgun incident). Soon your blog will be the latest internet sensation and your page ranking will be rocketing you towards retirement! Or..something like that.
Tip #3 - Use Localized Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Many contractors shy away from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising because of the fear that they can't control the campaign's geography. Who wants construction leads from Urgut, Uzbekistan? However, most PPC campaigns now allow you to designate an area like a city or state that you want your ads shown in. Likewise, by including those terms in your ad's keywords (say, "Construction companies in Santa Clara California") you can avoid non-local leads easily.
Tip #4 - Get Those E-mail Addresses
E-mail addresses, especially those voluntarily given to you by interested parties, are a valuable thing. Even if they don't turn into jobs now, a timely newsletter or friendly reminder of your services might peak a lead's interest down the road. That's why you should collect e-mail addresses. Lots of them.
Common methods include newsletter sign-ups and "Request More Information" boxes throughout your site. Perhaps the best way is by offering an incentive, say, a PDF guide for homeowners wanting to renovate their kitchen, that first requires the user to cough up an e-mail address. This "carrot on a stick" approach has the added bonus of providing an easy sale when that homeowner realizes that kitchen renovation is tougher than it seems on T.V.
Tip #5 - Have a Clear Sales Pipeline
If you're still not seeing the kind of results you want, it might be because of a confusing or non-existent sales pipeline. Your website should be a tour bus, not a walking tour. "On the left we see photos of Mike's recent projects. And here on the right are some testimonials. Oh, look! Contact information!"
Users of any site have little patience for feeling confused or lost, and they're certainly not going to expend their own efforts on finding out what makes you great. Give them a helping hand with a clear tour of your services, photos of your work, your accolades and finally a sales contact form.
Online marketing is a different animal than traditional advertising, but we hope these tips will give you construction industry professionals the courage to jump back into the online marketing game. Use the comments area below to give us your thoughts about marketing in the construction industry!