Are you wondering what is the best advertising for contractors? There are so many options out there: online, social media, print ads, newspapers, events, etc. How do you know which ones will be most effective?
Let’s cut through the mess and we’ll show you the best online sites, events, and publications to advertise your contracting business. As a bonus, we’ll also show you how to write a simple marketing plan that can help you get the most from your advertising dollars.
Online advertising for contractors
One of the best ways to get to the top of a Google listing is to pay to be there. With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, your company appears at the top of the list when an online visitor searches for keywords that you select. Both Google and Bing, the two largest search engines, offer PPC advertising. With this type of advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. So, in essence, you only pay when the ad is successful. You must come up with the engaging content to keep the visitor reading, but this type of ad can get people to visit your site.
How much does PPC advertising cost? It depends on what keywords you are using for your advertising campaign. The more competition there is for a keyword, and the higher the number of searches for it, the more it will cost per click. A keyword like “best roofing contractor,” gets searched for 320 times a month, and costs $26 per click. A more specialized keyword such as “best roofing contractor Minneapolis” receives only 10 searches a month, and costs $27 per click. You want to focus on keywords that show up in the most searches, as they will increase the number of times your ad appears.
Social media advertising
Social media advertising is an effective advertising method for construction companies. The key is to focus your ads on the platform your customers use most. It can be difficult to know exactly where to concentrate your efforts, so keep these demographics in mind:
Facebook – 183 million US users. Used by people of all ages and genders, mostly in urban areas. Posts consist of photos and written words.
Instagram – 116 million US users. A mostly female, younger audience. Focused on visual posts, such as photos or graphics.
LinkedIn – 160 million US users. Focused on professionals and businesses, users are spread across age groups and genders, and are mostly urban. Posts are mostly written words.
Pinterest – 300 million users worldwide. Almost exclusively photo or graphic content. Users are mostly females 18-64 years old.
What do these demographics mean to you? If you are a commercial contractor whose target audience is businesses and business owners, LinkedIn would be a good platform for you to use to catch the eye of your next client. If you are a home remodeling company specializing in kitchens, Pinterest would be a good place for you to start. By targeting your ads to the social media platform that your potential audience uses most, you can improve your success rate and make your advertising dollars work harder for you.
The average cost-per-click for social media advertising will vary, like it does on search engines, by the competition for the keywords you select. Here are some price averages for the four platforms above:
Facebook – $0.97 per click
Instagram – $3.56 per click
LinkedIn – $5.26 per click
Pinterest – $1.50 per click
Again, you only get charged when someone clicks on your ad and producing the content to keep them on your site is up to you.
Specialized online directories and apps
These are directories and apps specially designed to help people find contractors or builders in their area. They include sites like Thumbtack, Builder Central, Houzz, and Angie’s List. These sites usually allow companies to set up a profile for free. However, if you want to boost your listing and advertise to potential clients that are looking for your services, you will pay extra.
The key to success on these sites is to completely fill out the online profile. You want to be sure to explain all the services you offer and provide complete contact information. The more information you provide about your business, the more reputable you will appear. Some platforms allow you to add photos of your work, which can be a good way to attract clients.
Once you are listed on these platforms, encourage your clients to leave reviews on one or two of them. Reviews carry weight and the more you have the higher you will appear in search listings.
General online directories
Directory listings such as YP, YellowPages, and Dex are still useful in marketing your company, even though phone books have pretty much gone extinct. When you set up a presence on these sites, it increases your total online presence, making you more attractive to search engines when potential clients are looking for your services. All these directories offer free listings, as well as ads or sponsored listings for an additional cost. It is important to complete your profile with as much information as possible, as this makes your company look more reputable and established.
Events to advertise at
Events are great places for contractors to advertise, especially if you can be at the event to meet potential clients. You want to be where your potential clients will be, so think carefully about what events they might attend to find your services, and make sure you are there.
Trade and home shows
Depending on who your potential clients are, other businesses or individuals, there are bound to be trade or home shows in your area that you can attend or purchase advertising at. Most metropolitan areas have at least one home show in the area, which is great for residential contractors looking to connect to potential clients.
Commercial customers can be found at home shows, and at professional trade shows and conferences. For example, if you work on medical and dental offices, a dental convention would be a great place to meet potential clients. Larger companies can benefit from attending regional or even national shows focused on their segment of the market.
To get the most bang for your buck, add a sponsorship to your booth rental fee. That way you will be found in all the show literature and even if people miss your booth, they’ll see you in the flyers they receive at the show.
Sponsoring local community events and supporting local charities is one of the best ways to get your name out. You get to do something good for the community while increasing your marketing reach. Marathons, 5k races, charity dinners, auctions, etc. are all great events to get involved with. Many of these events offer sponsorship packages that include advertising at the event. This may come in the form of event literature, banners, your logo on the website, etc.
Sponsoring these types of events will give your company a reputation of supporting the community and doing good. This can be important when people decide who they want working on their home or business. Many people will see that you support good causes and feel better about asking you to work on their project. Clients like to know that companies aren’t just in it for the profits, but they give back as well.
Despite what you might think, direct mail is a great way to spend your marketing money. The recipient is guaranteed to see it, and in today’s technological world, direct mail stands out. Local mailing lists can be purchased by demographics, making it possible for you to specifically target potential clients in your area.
There are services that will take care of the whole direct mailing process, from design to mailing, for you. You simply provide the information on who you want to target, assist with designing the mailer, and sit back and watch the leads come in. If you don’t have time to do a mass mailing, hiring someone else to do it may be a good investment.
Several regions of the country have publications that highlight life in that area. They may include travel magazines or other publications, like Sunset magazine. If your company provides services regionally, it may be beneficial to purchase advertising in these magazines. You can choose online publications or printed ones. With so much advertising online, having an ad in a print magazine can be a nice change of pace.
Simple marketing plan for contractors
Writing a marketing plan can seem overwhelming. There seem to be so many options for how to promote your company. A marketing plan helps you to narrow down those options, so you know what to focus on for the time being. No one plan will fit all companies, so we’ve provided some guidance to help you get started on yours.
- Start with where you are now. List your company name, service or product provided, marketing advantages or challenges, and who your competitors are. If you know of any upcoming issues that will affect your business in the next year, list them here as well.
- Describe your target audience. List the demographics of your potential clients, including age, gender, and anything else you see as important. If your clients are businesses, include as many characteristics as you can to describe them.
- Write your marketing goals for the next year. Be as specific as possible, and make sure your goals are realistic and measurable. “Increase sales” isn’t a specific, measurable goal. “Increase sales by 10% in the first quarter” is a measurable goal.
- List the marketing strategies and tactics you want to use to reach your goals. Marketing strategies are broader than tactics. For example, “Start social media advertising” is a marketing strategy. A tactic would be to “Register for a Facebook page and post to the page two times a week.” This tactic supports the overall strategy of social media marketing. Another tactic would be to “Start Facebook ads focused on keywords ‘home remodeling’ and ‘kitchen remodeling.’” Not all the tactics have to be started at the same time, so include a timeline for each one.
- Provide a budget for each of the tactics selected. Gather information about the cost of each of your tactics and compare it to your overall budget for marketing. If your tactics are too expensive, you can make revisions or spread them out over time, so they fit into your budget. Be realistic about costs. Remember that some tactics, such as posting on social media, come at no cost.
Final Thoughts on Advertising for Contractors
The key to good marketing is knowing as much as you can about your potential customers. You need to know where they live, where they shop, what social media platforms they are on, and what events they support. Once you know this, you can target your marketing efforts to these locations and begin engaging with your audience.
Remember that it takes several exposures to a company or brand before a person will buy from them. Using multiple forms of advertising, such as online, print, and event advertising, will help you reach your target audience and begin developing a relationship with them.