For independent businesses, getting the word out can actually be quite difficult. This is especially true of a general building contractor, whose focus is usually getting the job done right and on time, rather than marketing. Because of their limited budget and resources, smaller businesses may find it intimidating to compete with large companies. Unlike the fortune 500 companies, independent businesses often do not have an outside marketing firm to help them create, implement, and sustain strategies for improving their marketing efforts.
Many think that smaller businesses are operating at a considerable disadvantage because of this, but in reality, effective marketing is not all about budget. With the right comprehensive marketing plan and some strategic and creative planning, you can overshadow your competition, increase your name recognition, and find new customers. Here are some of the best contractor marketing ideas for the independent business.
Building Your Brand
Before you invest in a marketing plan, it is important to know what your personal brand is all about. If you are a bathtub repair company, for instance, you should know and be able to explain clearly what your business does and what sets you apart from others in your field. Also think about who your target audience is and tailor your branding towards them, such as what will grab their attention, keep them engaged, and make them returning customers. After you take the time to think about building your own personal brand and how you will communicate it to your customers, you can then begin to incorporate that branding into your marketing plan.
Once you have built and established a brand, it is important to update and refresh your brand every once in a while. You do not have to reinvent your brand from the ground up, but you should do simple things like updating the design of your logo and the appearance of your website or business cards.
Coming Up with a Business Plan
You should also consider your overall business plan before investing in a marketing strategy since the one should coincide with the other. Your comprehensive business plan should include what services you offer, pricing, your financial goals, and expenses such as staff, overhead, and equipment. If your business is hauling heavy equipment, forklift rentals would be ideal. How your business will distinguish itself from others in your field should also be a part of your business plan. Taking this type of information into account will allow you to cultivate a long term business strategy.
Increasing Name Recognition
Once you have come up with a few contractor marketing ideas for your business plan, you can begin to think about your budget and other details more in-depth. Advertising is often considered the best way to get the word out and increase your name recognition. However, advertising for contractors is different than for other businesses because contractors generally only work locally. In addition, if you are an industrial roofing company, for instance, the chances of a customer returning are much lower than other services. Other than advertising, word of mouth can help you increase your name recognition since popular contractor services such as home improvements and renovations are common topics of conversation. Referrals are an often overlooked aspect of marketing a business. When a potential customer is referred to a business by someone they trust, it increases your business’s credibility significantly.
A lot of your marketing will also be accomplished through personal networking. Handing out business cards is an easy and fast way to get your contact information out there. Make sure you are carrying your contractor business cards with you at all times and that they are professional looking. Another great way to network is to get involved in your community through volunteer projects or local business groups. You also have a few options for paid contractor advertising through local outlets, such as the sponsoring programs for kids or the local paper, which can get the word out among your target audience. These are a few contractor marketing ideas you should consider when you are trying to improve your business’s name recognition.
Building a Professional Website
Making a website is one of the best contractor marketing ideas that will help you get the word out about your business and increase your name recognition. Potential customers will usually always search online first when trying to find a company or learn more about the services they offer. Therefore, you want to make sure your presence is felt online with a well-built website.
Having an online presence will help you establish an identity, build your personal brand, and increase your name recognition. A website that is optimized for search engines will even help you appear before others in search results. In the United States alone, over 14 million small businesses have invested money and time in search engine optimization because of its value. There are many free resources online such as designs, templates, and follow along guides to help even a novice build a professional-looking website on their own. To ensure that your business has a reliable connection to the Internet, telecom solutions are available to help.
Another one of the best contractor marketing ideas is to market through email, which is a great way to foster and maintain relationships with current and future customers. You can create a form on your website for visitors to have the option to sign up to receive emails from you. There are plenty of email services available to help you with this process. These programs will help you write, track, and send emails to a list of contacts that you have accumulated over time. You can send out emails like a weekly newsletter that includes information or updates about your services or industry insider tips. The option to opt out of receiving emails will also be appreciated by your clients. Direct mail is also a marketing option that is still alive and well.
Starting a Blog
One of the most effective contractor marketing ideas is to post regularly on a blog, which is one of the best ways to reach your target audience, demonstrate your expertise, and communicate with your current customers. Posting blog entries on your professional website will also help drive new customers and traffic to your website. Creating a content calendar will help you stick to a publishing schedule and regularly post quality content, since visitors to the site may come to expect it. When creating content for your blog, remember to emphasize the quality of your posts over the quantity.
If you need ideas for your content, you should first off stick to what you know. You can also give your audience updates and advice related to your industry or information about why they should choose your business for their next project. You can also look to other relevant blogs, websites, or publications with a similar target audience and look for similar topics that you care about.
If you have not already, consider experimenting with video as a medium for content. For your target audience, video can be a more genuine and effective format for getting to know you and your business. For instance, if your company provides masonry renovation, that would make for some compelling visual content. For your videos, you can use your expertise to offer advice, answer frequently asked questions, or interview other experts in your field to assist in your marketing efforts. Starting a blog and regularly posting content is one of the most effective contractor marketing ideas.
Other than creating a professional website and starting a blog, there are few other contractor marketing ideas for advertising online. The advent of social media has provided many unique and exciting advertising opportunities for independent contractors. Because so many customers use Facebook to find recommendations for contractors and service providers, having a Facebook business page to complement your professional website is crucial. Your Facebook business page will likely get more views and in turn more business for you if it has eye catching photos of your work, customer testimonials, up to date contact information, and an overall professional appearance. If you are too busy to manage your social media presence, there are a few services online that will schedule and publish your content for you at the right time. There are also plenty of opportunities online for paid advertising. Google and Facebook ads are two affordable options that can be used to target local customers.
Doing Good Business
While there are good contractor marketing ideas for advertising and increasing your name recognition, none of them will be very effective if your business is not doing good work. Marketing by word of mouth relies on people recommending your services to people they know. If they are not satisfied with your work, they are unlikely to recommend your service. Therefore, you should think of every job you do as a potential marketing opportunity. Providing an honest, professional, and efficient service will greatly increase the chances of a customer recommending your business to others. One way to simplify how you interact with customers, as well as subcontractors, is to automate price quotes, billing, and scheduling. There are a variety of applications and software available for contractors to help with these tasks and many more, such as design, inventory, and managing finances.
There are a few other aspects of your business you should have in order to be able to provide an efficient service. Ensure that you have fulfilled all the necessary legal requirements, such as insurance, licensing, and preparing contractors for a customer’s signature. You also must make sure that all your subcontractors are properly insured. Subcontractors such as electricians, flooring installers, a plumbing repair service, and many other types of contractors require special types of insurance. Contact an insurance lawyer if you have any questions or need any help with this process.
Networking and Partnerships
These online contractor marketing ideas are incredibly helpful for building your brand and increasing your name recognition, but it is important not to forget about networking offline and in-person as well. Attending local promotional events, meetups, and conferences are the best ways to spread the word about your business in person. There are plenty of other seminar opportunities to get involved in the industry, such as training events, home product shows, and civic-minded organizations are all great ways to show off your knowledge of the industry and network.
Some of the most well known civic-minded organizations include the Lion’s Club, the Chambers of Commerce, and the Rotary Club. These professional networking groups all share an interest in bettering the community but are also good for finding business connections. You could also get involved in the industry by mentoring someone who is new to the field. While computer networking is crucial to your success as a contractor, marketing offline and in-person is just as important as online because you can add your own personal touch that you could not add otherwise.
Professional partnerships are another great form of in-person marketing. You can form a partnership with a local supplier or home furnishing company and hold a seminar at their location. Many local home builder associations are also a great opportunity for networking and forming professional partnerships. These associations usually host tours which are fantastic opportunities to showcase the work your company is capable of doing. You will also be able to engage with participants in the tour and spread the word.
Another effective in-person marketing strategy is to invest in job signs. This is actually a tried and true marketing strategy that is often overlooked. When you are finished working on a house, ask the homeowner if it is okay to leave behind a yard sign. This is a great marketing strategy for home renovation contractors or concrete paving services. The best contracting businesses will tell you to never leave a job site without leaving behind a mark on the project in some way.
With a solid business plan and these contractor marketing ideas, marketing your contracting business will be a breeze.