Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:
If you’re looking to market your construction company and do it yourself -take heed! We’ve done it for 10+ other construction and home services companies and I (along with 7 other experts) give you every last secret I can extract from my head! You ou don’t have to be a genius to get endless construction leads on autopilot – what it does take is 10-20 minutes to sit down and study these hard-fought construction marketing secrets.
But first, watch us give some marketing tips and CRUSH A CAR 😂 in this video:
Table of Contents
- Reputation Management
- Do-it-yourself Website Design
- Custom Website Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Paid Ads / PPC
- Social Media
- Video Marketing
- E-mail / Automation
- Direct Mail / Brochures / Yard Signs
- Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, etc.
- Referrals & Other methods
Do you like the way it looks when you Google your companies name?
If you don’t love it (not enough reviews, other company’s with a similar name come up before you), don’t worry! There’s ways to improve the way it looks when people Google you.
It all starts with reputation management-take control of your reputation! These 3 steps will help you do it yourself-Enter your e-mail to the right to get the perfect script for sending to your happy customers.
Do it now: Take control of your Reputation
1. Do good work
If you find yourself getting negative reviews online – the first strategy is the most important. Do better work – even if you have to charge more. That’s why it’s best to get your processes down, have clear communication with clients and stress a good relationship before working with someone. If expectations are clear, you charge enough to offer top-tier service and wait for good clients you know you can exceed expectations.
Hit up people you did good work for and have them write reviews
You can even provide links for where to leave the review – I suggest at least Google and Facebook. Extra credit for Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Yelp – but always let people know they can copy and paste a brief review to all of the above.
Respond to all reviews (even negative ones)
There’s evidence to suggest positive reviews on Google are even good for your ranking on Google… and will help you get more traffic. But even for just the optics of the situation, responding to all reviews – negative or positive in a measured, positive tone is important for the reputation of your company. Let your best self come up when responding, and don’t get mad when someone leaves a negative review – ask what you can do to fix it, and remember everyone that finds you online will look at reviews, so don’t be an idiot.
Create a system for getting more reviews
1. Ensure you have a systematic approach to getting more reviews on a regular basis. Hook Agency has partnered with Podium – to offer a systematic approach. Our system on Podium allows you to:
2. Build a reputation on the review sites that matter most to you
3. Improve local SEO to more easily get found
4. Gain insights to improve business operations
5. Manage, report on, and track all of your reviews
Have a Stellar Website That Represents the Level of Quality You Offer
Should you use a website template or have a custom site made?
Try to go it alone – until it’s time to crank up the professionalism
Even though we make websites – I don’t mind telling people to try something like Squarespace or Wix, if they’ve never had a website before (and perhaps are under 200k revenue yearly) – if you can’t hire a team yet it might not be the best time to be spending 5-25k on a website.
The next step up from Squarespace or Wix is a WordPress theme – sometimes you can get lucky and find a cheap freelancer or a certain savvy someone to wield a theme for you quickly (from anywhere from $500 – $5,000) or find a theme you like on ThemeForest and some basics about setting it up.
You’ll want to set up dedicated WordPress hosting on GoDaddy (more basic at $3.99-$13.99 monthly) or WPEngine (premium at $35 – $290). What I really like about WPEngine is that there’s a staging site you can make changes on before rolling them out to the main – and there’s a lot of elements in place for uptime, and speed.
The best part about WordPress is that there are a lot of awesome tools for SEO – meaning you’re more likely to be building for the future, not just people you send there with your business card. Also – if you need something custom – even the most professional marketing companies and developers will be able to build onto a WordPress site. Squarespace and Wix are awesome for getting something quickly (and to start with them you really don’t need a lot of ‘How to’ content) but have a limiting ceiling of what you can do with functionality because they are a closed system.
How to get started with a WordPress site today
- Pick out a theme you feel like you can make do what you want (in general) on ThemeForest.
- Set up WordPress hosting on GoDaddy or WPEngine.
- Upload your them under Appearance > Themes.
- Install any recommended plugins that the theme alerts you to and activate them. Appearance > Plugins.
- Find the main theme settings (different for each theme), and if the download file for the theme included ‘placeholder or sample content’ (usually in the form of an XML file) upload that where the theme instructs you to. This will really help get the theme looking closer to the demo site.
- After you upload placeholder or sample content, you may need to go into Settings and under the Homepage setting > select the homepage the theme has provided in the sample content, and under the Posts page > select the blog page the theme has provided in the sample content.
- After you do this click the site name at the top left to view the front end of the site – and see how it looks, before then going back to the theme settings and inputting colors, fonts, and base style settings.
- Then start swapping out titles, images, and text on the pages by going to Pages > and choosing the page you want to edit, or by navigating on the front end and selecting ‘Edit Page’ on the top bar when you get to the page you want to edit.
- Besides theme settings – one other key area you may need to edit is the ‘Appearance > Widgets’ section which often houses the header (top of the site) and footer (bottom of the site) widgets for a theme.
If the theme doesn’t have placeholder or sample content – it’s a little harder, so it might be something you look to make sure the theme has it before you purchase. Without it, you’ll need to play around with theme settings from scratch and try to reproduce the way their demo site looked – or tweak to your desired effect.
(Pro-tip just pay $49 for the theme setup if you’ve never set one up before because it can kind of be complex if you’ve never done it before. In total you’ll spend $100-$120 but it will likely save you some time in the rest of the setup.)
But what if you want your website to get the most leads possible?
Custom website design will allow you to leave it to professionals. (because being a pro in your industry – a business owner, or the rest of your work is hard enough already.) If you’ve passed a certain revenue mark – your time is becoming more valuable, and perhaps you’ve tried making a website before and you came up against roadblocks to making it exactly as you’d like it. At a certain point – it’s smart to have a professional design your website. Some things that may make paying a pro worth it:
- They’ve been through the process before many times – so they understand certain pitfalls and opportunities in the process and thus can help smooth those out.
- They’ll provide an outside perspective – sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in your companies own internal politics, and an outside perspective can ask important questions to clarify what really matters like what really makes you special, and bringing you always back to what the main action we want people to take on this site is.
- Ideally – they’ve been monitoring sites after they were made as well – so they can help guide you to what’s going to help drive traffic too. If a company has helped many companies drive traffic to many sites through Google organic traffic, paid ads and social media – they can help guide you to make good decisions for the long term as well.
The Magic Bullet for Turning Your Website into a Traffic Magnet
Have you heard of Search Engine Optimization?
No – I’m not talking about the shitty auto-dialer people that tell you you’re Google listing is about to get taken down.
Search Engine Optimization – or SEO, is the process of making technical tweaks to your website to make it more attractive to Google and other search engines, getting links back to your site from elsewhere on the internet, and building on content on your site in key areas (otherwise known as ‘content strategy’.)
It’s the #1 strategy I’d suggest for construction companies that service local areas, because it allows you to compete with the big boys (because they often can’t tend to local areas as heavily as you – you has only one or a few geographic regions you can push on with LOCAL SEO.)
Local SEO – means, creating landing pages – using your google maps rankings, etc. and everything I outline in the next 2-3 sections you can do yourself, and can do in a few days if you really push on it. SEO is a long game, but you can also get some serious gains quickly if you do the right things.
Do It Now: Go heavy on Search Engine Optimization
- Spy on what your competitors are ranking forThis tips is incredibly invaluable. All you do is pop your competitors website into a tool like Ahrefs.com, or SEMRush.com and take a look at what is getting them the most traffic. Ask yourself – if I got traffic for these terms, and the page gave people reasons to work with me, would I make money for ranking for these terms in the first page or two of Google?
- Create landing pages and blog posts going after those topicsIf there’s enough traffic for that term – and the answer is yes (to the previous question,) create a blog post or a landing page for that term.
- Get links back to your site – here’s 5 ways to do it quick:The big heavy-hitter tip to really rank fast on Google and stay there is to get links from around the web.But how do you do that?1. Use Yext.com or Moz Local to get 100+ local directory listings that link back to your site quick.2. Write a press release for SEO purposes, and distribute it cheaply and get 350+ links back to your site.3. Get a verified profile on Inc.com for a nice solid link with a 91+ Domain Authority quick. (Domain Authority or DA is a SEO metric that says ‘how trustworthy is this link’, and although it’s not perfect, it’s an easy way to check how effective a link might be quickly. (you can use Mozbar. to check sites on the fly.)
4. Write 3-5 Guest posts on decent ‘domain authority’ sites in your niche with links back to your site. It’s as easy as e-mailing people in your industry and asking if you can write a blog post for them!
5. Let us do 1-4 for you. Our first 3 months of SEO covers all these linking methods + an initial competitive analysis of 7 competitor websites – 3,000 words a month written for your site on your behalf / and all of your technical SEO / and on-page SEO.
(We have a limited number of slots available for this deal at 6k for your first 3 months – just use the words 6KSPECIAL and message us now to get on the waiting list)
Otherwise, keep reading!
We’re going to explain in detail, how to implement every single one of these methods, in detail for yourself now.
D.I.Y. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
There are tons of ways to take steps in the right direction without a pro SEO specialist.
First you have to recognize the value of SEO.
Any worthwhile marketing effort – is going to take time (and/or resources.)
But if you get that being higher on Google in the organic search results will get you more customers – it’s pretty motivating to regularly be making tweaks and be experimenting with SEO. Especially when the leads start to come in more regularly from seemingly simple changes.
Here are 3 Beginner’s guides to SEO I might check out:
- Moz – Beginner Guide to SEO
- Hook Agency – SEO Basics / Beginner’s Guide
- Backlinko – SEO in 2018: The Definitive Guide
If you studied these 3 guides and experiment with the techniques inside, you would be a pro. SEO really is somewhat ‘magical’ – in that it works seriously well. But I suppose the trade-off is that it takes a good amount of time. That’s why I want to share with you 6 easy ways to get started with your SEO today.
6 Easy ways to get started with your SEO today
- Install Yoast SEO on your website (or similar SEO tool if you’re not on WordPress)
- Go through the initial setup, making sure things like ‘sliders’ and individual ‘testimonials’ are de-indexed.
- Write your meta-titles and descriptions for all of your main pages, looking at competitors in search results and thinking critically about what people would be searching and using those words where possible.
- Install WP Fastest Cache or similar caching plugin to help increase your website speed (Speed plays a big role in SEO.)
- Ideally – make sure Google Analytics, and Google Search Console are both installed on your site, connected and collecting data (this way you’ll be able to track your progress.)
- Write at least 500+ (and ideally 700+ words) for each of your main pages – and add service, and sub-services pages where appropriate.
GOOGLE PAID ADS / PAY-PER-CLICK
Quick results for when you need leads A.S.A.P.
Google PPC is a beast…
..even still to this day, when it may feel over-priced to people that have used it for a long time.
You can get nostalgic for the good old days – or check out these powerful ideas for getting more out of your PPC ads in 2018.
Don’t get mad – get scrappy.
Remarketing: The One PPC Strategy to Implement for sure today
No matter what – I think contractors (and all small businesses) should be doing remarketing – or ‘retargeting’, which you’ve likely noticed before.
An example is when you went to buy a pair of shoes or another item, and then that whole week you’d see paid banner ads trying to sell those shoes to you. The best part about remarketing – is that the clicks you get from it are super cheap, because people are much more likely to click your ad when they’ve already visited your site. Here’s how to get started with re-marketing today:
Principles for Effective PPC Campaigns for Contractors
- Dive into your customer’s mindset for keyword research really think about what your ideal customers are looking for.Make sure you’re choosing keywords with high volume.Make sure you’re choosing keywords that would indicate an actual intent to buy (not just D.I.Y. or looking for products you don’t sell.)Consider of course, the affordability of the keywords you choose.
- Look at your competitors ad copy, take what’s good especially if you see a competitor spending a lot of money on Adwords, take a look at what landing page they are sending people to – the nature of their ad copy, and what they are spending the money to get the top slot on, and what they spend less money on.Copy what’s good about their campaigns – and leave the rest. Likely if they are spending a lot of money on certain PPC keywords, it’s paying them back significantly, but you have to do the math for yourself as well.
- Compare your costs with your budget your max cost-per-click depends on the percentage of people that actually submit a contact form or call on your site, profit per customer/job, and your profit margin on your jobs on average. If you don’t know the exact numbers on these things yet, you need to come up with a general estimate for each and do a little guesswork. Track your campaigns – and soon you’ll have more precise numbers. In the meantime, here’s the formula you should use: Max CPC = [(profit per customer) x (1 – profit margin) x (website conversion rate)]/100 Suppose your profit per customer is $200, with a profit margin of 50 percent and a conversion rate of 10 percent. By using the above formula, you can easily calculate the Max CPC: Max CPC = [$200 x (1 – 0.5) x 10]/100 = $10
- Get clear on your Unique Value PropositionIf you are the fastest contractor in town – if you get in and finish a roof job in 24 hours – say it. If you have the friendliest staff on this side of the Mississippi – or the best relationship with insurance estimators, be CLEAR about your ‘unique value proposition.’Being really explicit about what it is that you do that’s so special in your ad, will attract eyeballs, clicks, and the right customers.
- Make an offer they can’t refuse – this might be somewhat generic occasionally – like ‘Get a Free In-home estimate’.But take your best shot. make sure it’s clear and to the point.Offer value.Make it believable.Reduce risk.
Give a clear call to action. (Call now – or -submit a form) Make it dead simple, and obvious. Put it front and center on your site, don’t make people dig around.
How do you put together a social media strategy?
You don’t want to just jump on social media every 12 days and throw up something miscellaneous. You need an actual social media strategy – which can start with these 4 simple guiding principles.
- What is your tone of voice? Write down a list of adjectives you want to describe your company on social media, and keep it around to help guide your team in posting on social, without getting too disjointed.
- How often will you post? 3 time a week is fine! Once a day is even better – but it is weird when a company posts 3 times in a row, and then doesn’t post again for a month. If you have a schedule for how often you post – that’s perfect. Use the tool Buffer to make it easy to stay more consistent (and post at the best times of the day on auto-pilot!
- How often will you ‘pitch your services’ vs. just share value? I strongly suggest a ‘Jab, jab, jab, right hook,’ strategy meaning 3 times sharing value for every one time you pitch your services, but you need to find out what the best strategy is for you.
How to get more social media followers and likes for your construction company
You’re going to need some people that have liked your page, or followed you on Instagram and Twitter!
But where do you start?
I’ve built our agency’s followers to OVER 50,000 on twitter, and over 10,000 on Instagram – but to be honest, it’s all vanity.
Why? Because what really matters is ENGAGEMENT. So I strongly suggest working on posting amazing content AND systematically growing followers by following others, and engaging regularly across social media.
- This means actually becoming familiar with the platforms if you’re not already, and interacting with people in a way that feels natural.
- Following people that have followed your competitors or accounts that are similar to yours. You’ll want to focus on quality – and – quantity, if you’re really going to grow your followers, somewhat fast.
- Some companies employ automatic liking tools on Instagram, or automatic following tools on Twitter, and I don’t begrudge anyone any method of growing their social following, but the absolute best way is to take a genuine interest in people and comment and like their stuff regularly.
- Use hashtags, and really look at competitors and similar types of accounts and figure out what hashtags they are using. Hashtags are one of the biggest discovery tools on Instagram – and Instagram is ripe for construction companies (especially remodeling companies, and companies that do really good-looking stuff.) You can even use this Hashtag discovery tool – to find new hashtags to use. I will often put a note in my phone so I can use the same list of Hashtags over again like this:
#construction #generalcontractor #remodeling #cityname #remodeler #interiordecoration #kitchen #bathroom #renovation #homes #constructioncompany #subcontractor #building #smallbusiness
And then I’ll post this in the first comment after an Instagram post – the dots allow the hashtags to be out of sight, but still, include the image in discovery tools for those hashtags. I tend to get 10-30% more engagement on my Instagram posts when I use a well-curated list of hashtags on the first comment like this.
Boost your posts, and put serious Paid ad money behind your best social pitches
You should be using Facebook’s promoted posts.
The best part about Facebook’s ad platform is how granular you can get with your targeting.
You can say you want to target new mothers with a home value of over 500K for instance.
You can also use re-marketing on Facebook (which I love), or say you want to promote to ‘People who like your page, and their friends’ – meaning ideally similar people to them as well!
Ways to get started on your paid social ads today
- Share a blog post and use $15 dollars to promote it to ‘People who like your page and their friends’ – Facebook really is pay-to-play at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relatively cheap in comparison to other types of ads if you work it right.
- Use the full add platform to set up an A-B test between two different images, two different audiences (young mom’s vs. empty nesters for instance), or two different sets of the copy. Copy – or the creative words and images you use to catch people’s attention is the #1 most important aspect of your ads – targeting is amazing, but you really need to catch people’s attention and get them to WANT what you have.
- My favorite way currently to use Facebook paid ads is to have a short 1-minute video, with copy/words I know that work. Persuasive, powerful language that actually catches people’s attention. In $250 spent and 5 days, I got a new client! Even if I just get 10-second views (which are cheap to free), my brand and the 3 things I want people to remember are all in that first 10 seconds.
Here’s the video I’m referring to for your reference
Notice I start with the brand, so even people that scroll past and skip the ad will be exposed to my logo for a brief moment (which makes my brand seem familiar when they are ready to make a purchase decision.)
Build rapport with prospects with video: the closest thing to face to face
Why is video persuasive?
Because it’s so easy to consume!
It barely takes any thought to sit down on a couch, open a bag of potato chips and flip on the T.V.
Now people are staring at their phones more than their television!
So Youtube, Facebook video, Instagram and Snapchat / Instagram Stories are taking over some of the space that T.V. use to occupy.
With a little bit of work, you can be that content that they sit down to consume. With a combination of useful/educational series, and pure fun (when appropriate), you can be the content provider.
It’s all about shooting the first video… (Stop resisting, this is going to be massive for your business!) then getting systems in place to put out video regularly.
Shooting your first video
- You don’t need professional equipment! In fact, I encourage you to get a relatively cheap camera like the Canon 70D, which has a swivel screen so you can see yourself while filming.
- Get a little tripod like Joby GorillaPod, which can double as a ‘selfie stick’ when necessary.
- Get lights to illuminate the picture if you really want to do in-home or sitting videos. Skip this step if you just want to do on the job/action/ in the truck videos.
- Outline your first video: Write down the general value proposition of the video, then break it down into 3-5 easy to remember bullet points, and if you want to hang the bullet points by tape from the camera so you can glance at them during the recording if needed.
- Test the lighting of the camera once, and adjust as needed. Direct sunlight is ideal, but two of the above lights off to either side and one illuminating the wall behind your chair for sitting videos will work if you can’t get direct sun.
- Confidently look in the camera like you’re talking to a good friend or ideal prospect and share value from the heart.
- Trim the video and add titles on free Apple iMovie on Mac, or Video Editor Master on P.C. – unless you want to graduate to more pro ‘Adobe Premiere’ which has a nice blend of professional-level tools and ease of use.
- Publish with the suggested setting for Facebook video, and Youtube video – share with the world, and get ready for video two!
In the end – you want to consider your first couple videos (or maybe your first 10) as practice, in a discipline that will be super useful for your business long-term if you can make it a habit.
E-MAIL MARKETING & AUTOMATION
If you don’t have an e-mail list – start one now
E-mail marketing is still up at the top of the list for perceived R.O.I. in marketing
Meaning people feel like when they put money into e-mail and automation, they feel like they are getting a significant return back.
The easiest way to get started is by giving away a white-paper, a guide, or your favorite suppliers on your site – in exchange for someone’s e-mail. If you can make the giveaway good enough, you can make it once and not have to switch it out all the time. You can use a plugin like ‘Hustle‘ for slide-in e-mail captures and make a little mockup of your giveaway cover, so it feels real/valuable.
Experimenting with the right kinds of e-mail captures (besides contact form submissions), will lead you to find the ones that work for you – but the clincher here, is that you should be collecting e-mails, and have a list in Constant Contact, or my favorite – Mailchimp for sending out newsletters.
Creating your newsletter
What do you do when you get all of these e-mail addresses?
For one: You can write an awesome monthly or weekly newsletter (it’s super easy to get this hooked up with Mailchimp, and use their templates.)
Remember – you’re landing directly in someone’s inbox so your message has to be:
A. Super interesting. From the headline, down to the last sentence – you want to make sure you grab people’s attention and give them at least one undeniable piece of value, or a laugh.
B. Totally about You – with a capital Y, as in the other person on the other end of the e-mail. Don’t try to talk about why your company is amazing. Give them the information that can help them now. Tell them about your services that will make THEIR life better.
Don’t add random unsolicited e-mail addresses to your list – that’s how you get marked as spam.
Creating automated follow-up e-mails when you have regular leads coming in
Using a tool like Drip, Emma – or my favorite, InfusionSoft – you can create a sequence of automatic useful e-mails that go out to people that subscribed, downloaded a free resource or submitted a contact form.
Why would you want to do this? Well… people work with who they remember to think of when it comes time. Sometimes they are checking in with 5 companies, forget about their construction project or something else comes up.
If you’re the company that is always giving them value, like clockwork – every 3-4 days… then you’re the one they’re more likely to call back or move forward with.
What I love about these programs is that you can plan out – 5 key things you know are helpful to your ideal prospects and keep giving them value (though you only have to write the e-mails once (and make them epic.)
Let’s say for a home remodeler – they could be:
- 3 Ways to find the right home construction company for your project
- The best deals from your favorite local suppliers.
- How to prepare your house for a remodel or renovation.
- Ways to Maximize your budget when for your home remodeling project
- How we got into remodeling, and why that matters to YOU
You could also use your knowledge of what stage they usually come in as a contact form submission (early, middle, late) and pace out your e-mails in accordance with where you think they’d be 2 days after, 4 days after, 10 days after, 20 days after and 45 days after they opted-in.
As long as you focus on the value to them you should be good – but you can end the e-mails with a sign-off, and a compelling call-to-action like ‘If you’d like to get started on your project – we offer a free no-obligation consultation, respond to this e-mail or call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX.’
DIRECT MAIL / BROCHURES / YARD SIGNS
Spend money on having really professional materials made when appropriate
Anything you buy for your company that you’re going to print your logo on – you want it to be somewhat high-end.
Because the product and service are currently invisible to a prospect, if you’re in person – or staking a yard sign out in someone’s yard, you want to be the ‘representation of the quality that you are committed to.’
Some tips for particular paper product routes:
- Have a clear value proposition – from the very beginning.
- Be really intentional about the list you use, and the locations you choose.
- Make sure the images are compelling, and the copy grabs people’s attention.
- Make the mail lumpy (include something that pushes out the envelope) – or creative in some way so it stands out.
- Use a stamp – it feels more personal than ‘machine sent’.
- Include a picture of you
- Make the content all about them.
- Have a tailored, ultra-focused message that sticks in people’s minds
- Use white space to make the brochure more high end
- Make them want you, by including as many clear succinct qualifications as possible.
- Include a ‘My promise to you’ and a visual representation of your guarantee.
- Have a definite, obvious, and unmissable offer
From a contractor: “Yard Signs are an easy inexpensive marketing tool. I would recommend putting them out at all job sites. Treat them right and you can have them for a while. One order and it more than pays for them.”
- Only use one or two signs.
- Make sure your signs match your work vehicle wraps.
- Consider using Coroplast which is lightweight and functional
- Leave some space on the sign, don’t overcrowd it, and make your phone number and web adress the star.
- Consider using Coroplast which is lightweight and functional
5 Tips for Referrals + Partnerships
- Creating several regular, systematic approaches to getting more referrals is the holy grail of lead-generationCreating regular systems for referrals is one of the most overlooked ways to earn new business – because some people still think of marketing as separate from our humanity. But if you’re a small business owner, you understand very quickly – it’s a great idea to start with your base of power. The people that already like, know and trust you. Regular systems for referrals means for instance- every Saturday you reach out to 5 happy customers you’ve had and see if they could give you 2 names of people that might need some work done. You support that system by putting a reminder in your calendar that alerts you every Saturday at 10pm. That’s one system – if you can get to 3-5 you are waaay ahead of the pack, and I strongly suggest it.
- Find the people that own your ideal prospects attention and partner upIf there’s a magazine, blog, podcast, or organization that people that buy what you’re selling pay attention to… that is the organization you should be buddying up to, talking to their leadership + devising some kind of mutually beneficial partnership with that allows you to have access to their audience’s attention, and in some cases sell directly through them.
- Offer an incentive where appropriateThe old 10-15% referral rate may not apply to your particular niche – particularly when cost of goods is high, but finding some non-superficial way to monetarily reward them – so they want to refer business to you again and again. This is why it’s important to have profit margin – so a small percentage of a job’s fee going to to a referral partner doesn’t kill ya!
- Honor those relationships, feed themNo seriously – actually feed them. Take people out for dinner every chance you can. If they are legitimately referral partners, you can take a new one out to lunch every day and pay for it legally within your business and decrease that taxable income while getting fed. 😉
- Practice makes perfect – it’s not immediateNEVER think that you’re going to nail it on your first couple go-arounds with referral relationships and partnerships. Always assume you’re practicing – but learn your lessons, and get better. The principle is sound – if you have other people out there, who want to bring you business, it’s way better than being the sole promoter. Wield other people respectfully, but learn how to do it, and honor those people – over time, you’ll get better and find some partnerships that actually stick and bring in consistent business.
Should construction companies be on Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, Angies List, etc?
Just keep in mind:
- Experiment a little, but generally resist their aggressive sales tactics on these platforms (alot of people consider HomeAdvisor leads to be a scam for instance, because they give them to so many people and charge them all.)
- Really pay attention to what works on that particular platform – what works on one doesn’t always work on all
- Be lightning fast when responding to leads. (I’m talking first 5-10 minutes)
Wrapping up: The only thing you need to know about construction marketing.
You have to work at it.
Stop acting like you’re going to find the magic bullet. I’d absolutely love you to hire me to do web design and Search Engine Optimization for your construction company – but I’m not a magic bullet either.
You have to get obsessive about your own companies lead generation – try a ton of different things, and find and hire or contract smart people to help fill in your ‘knowledge gaps.’
But stop looking for the magic beans. That’s how you get suckered into paying Houzz 30k for almost no real value. The hard stuff is usually the most effective stuff… and yes, if you’d like us to do some of that hard stuff for you (since our specialty is web design, SEO, and social for construction companies), feel free to send us a message!
This expert round-up for general contractor marketing/construction company marketing will dive deep into several strategies that will help your company get more traffic to your website and more business from your website. Study it, bookmark it – and don’t take it for granted – because, with the seven experts strategies below, your construction/contractor business will grow by leaps and bounds.
IDEAS FOR CONSTRUCTION COMPANY MARKETING ONLINE:
- Overview of Construction Marketing – Tim Brown – Hook Agency
- Integrate your Newsletter – Monica Pitts – Maye Create
- Join an Association – Mark Buckshon – Construction Marketing Ideas
- Use Local SEO to Rank in Maps – Alex Genadinik – Problemio
- Invest in Your Branding – Dennis Michael – Wake Creative
- A Contractor’s Perspective on Marketing – Robert Robillard – ConcordCarpenter.com and ToolBoxBuzz
- Get Local News Coverage – Maggie Aland – Fit Small Business
1. OVERVIEW: SOME KEY COMPONENTS OF GENERAL CONTRACTOR/CONSTRUCTION COMPANY MARKETING
Tim Brown – Hook Agency
Effectively marketing a construction company online requires an overarching understanding of how your website, social media, and search engine traffic all play together. The general principles are as old as when the first service business passed the first brochure. It’s all about giving people the right information about your services, reasons to trust you, and showing some interest in them. This is the strategy. But yes, the way those things manifest themselves on your website, written content, and social media marketing – may be a bit different these days when doing construction company marketing. These are the tactics. You can’t just pass out 500 brochures to 100 prospects these days and expect to see a serious return, the print is dying – dead, or will just reach less individuals because it’s not the way most people make purchase decisions these days. You need to be available for them on Google – when they are searching for you, or someone like you. That’s why my number one strategy is building out content on your site and links to that content.
BUILD OUT CONTENT ON YOUR SITE ABOUT YOUR CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, AND EARN LINKS TO THAT CONTENT ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET.
Google prefers web pages and articles with 500+ words, and I shoot for 700+ words on individual service pages, your home page, and about page. It’s silly not to write this out because it also helps customers understand all of the services you offer and what those services entail. Win-win.
- Write 700+ words for each of the services where you want to get more business
- Create local directory listings
- Create a press release and distribute it
- Reach out to niche websites in your industry and guest post on their website and link back to your site
- Continue sharing useful content on your blog for commonly asked for information related to your industry
We also handle this when we do SEO for construction companies.
SHARE USEFUL TIPS AROUND DO-IT-YOURSELF ASPECTS OF YOUR CONSTRUCTION WORK, AND ENTERTAIN PEOPLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT.
Not everything is meant to create a sale – half of being seen on social media is just curating the best of your industry, positioning yourself as the expert, and reminding people that your construction company or general contractor company exists. Be helpful, be seen, and be available.
- Do Instagram Stories with “in process” shots from your work sites.
- Share the best tips in your industry, even from other blogs, and use a service like Snip.ly to add a call to action to the posts you share from others blogs.
- Post regularly and systematically with a tool like Buffer.
- Add your logo in the corner of shots of your work with the tool Pablo.
We also handle this when we do social media for construction companies.
SET UP REMARKETING WITH PAID ADS ON GOOGLE ADWORDS, AND PROMOTE YOUR BEST CONTENT WITH FACEBOOK PROMOTED POSTS TO SPECIFICALLY TARGETED DEMOGRAPHICS.
Remarketing is the low-hanging fruit as far as paid ads go. (Learn how to do it here.) I like to set this up with 5-10 dollars a day because it helps remind people that have visited your website that you exist. Plus, the chance of someone who’s already visited your site coming back is much higher than someone who never has visited. Facebook promoted posts are the other form of construction company advertising that I feel are a no-brainer. If you share useful content to the people that follow your page, you can also just throw 30 dollars at each of the best posts you put out and target the types of people most likely to work with you. Another form of this that I use often is just promoting to people that follow the page and their friends to drive up interaction or remind past customers to potentially do repeat business with your company.
If you don’t evolve to sell your general contractor business better, or neglect your construction company marketing because you’re busy – you might find yourself in a period in the future where you don’t have the amount of business you want or the kinds of business you want. Effectively marketing yourself as a construction company, means positioning yourself to get ideal customers more often, and being more particular in the kinds of business you’re getting.
2. INTEGRATE YOUR NEWSLETTER WITH YOUR CONSTRUCTION WEBSITE
Monica Pitts – Maye Create
You do great work. You pave roads, build buildings, plan out structures to make them stand the test of time. You put just as much effort into your construction company’s website as you do your business. And you may be asking yourself, “Does anyone know it’s there?” How can I make sure people see it? Do something about it. Check. Maybe you’ve gone as far as to set up and maintain an email newsletter system. If so, the odds are good you’re manually sending emails with your new projects and blog posts to your prospects and clients. Let us just stop to say, go you! Pat yourself on the back for understanding the value of email marketing! Though with all of the template creation, the content development, the copying and pasting, the photographing, the scheduling…it’s a process. It takes forever. At the end of the day, it’s yet another thing on your list of crap you have to get done.
WHAT ABOUT THAT THING CALLED AUTOMATION?
Your equipment uses GPS, and you are manually creating emails? That’s so 1998. So what if you could add something to your website and have an email newsletter that generates automatically and sends to your list? An automated system, like GPS for your website that takes your email and BAM, makes it for you? Now that’s 2017.
Drum roll please….there is away!
You should have seen the happy dance we broke into when we discovered this capability. It was intense. We employed a human intern whose whole job was dedicated to manually building our email newsletters. After implementing the magic of automated newsletters, all she had to do was get us coffee, like a real intern is supposed to do. Just kidding. We make her file…and spellcheck things, gotta earn your keep around here. Get your own coffee.
INVENTED BY BRILLIANT HUMANS, OR POSSIBLY MONKEYS.
Some brilliant person who must have been as pained as you are with the labor intensive task of creating email newsletters must have thought, “Maybe we can create an email system that pulls in information from RSS files and adds it to an email, so humans don’t have to do it themselves!” These smart people are employed by MailChimp. And man did these guys pull it off. Well, it’s possible they’re not guys or even people. They might be monkeys. Really smart monkeys. Either way, kudos to you, MailChimp. Kudos.
So how does the magic happen?
It begins with your RSS file.
If you have blogging functionality incorporated into your website, it has what’s called an RSS file. (Real Simple Syndication) The file is essentially a text output of the content on your blog that automatically refreshes as the site is updated. Sort of like GPS does for navigation. GPS navigation can’t tell you where to go next if it doesn’t know where you are. The RSS feed tells the email system the most recent movements on your website so the email can tell everyone else. Right now you’re probably thinking, “but I don’t have a blog, so this is not for me.” Don’t stop reading yet. Stick with it! If your web developer isn’t a total tool they likely set up your Completed Projects or Portfolio section using a blog-like system, because that makes it easier for you to update. If this is the case, your Portfolio information is added to the RSS file every time you update your site.
DO YOU WANT THE MAGIC?
In an attempt to skip over the long-winded explanation of what RSS files are and how you can use them, you can tell your RSS feed what to include and automatically generate into your email newsletters using MailChimp’s RSS campaign feature. This is all sounding pretty unbelievable, right? You’re about ready to do this thing, and we don’t blame you. There are just a few things you’ll need to do to capture the magic for yourself.
Access your website’s RSS file.
Your feed may be located at www.yourdomainname.com/rss/, check there first. It could also be at www.yourdomainname.com/feed/ give that a try, then if you’re still not sure it’s time to talk to your web guru. Ask your web developer for a link to your RSS feed. If that scares the living daylights out of you, your web developer should be able to take care of this whole email integration deal. Just outline for them what you want to include in your automatic emails. If your web developer doesn’t know how to do this, we know a good one who can give you a hand.
Make sure your projects and blog posts are added to your RSS feed.
Make sure when you add a project or make a blog post it’s added to your RSS feed. Remember earlier when we talked about the potential relationship between a tool and your web developer? You’ll need to do some detective work to uncover their tool status. Look at your RSS feed, search for a tag that looks like this: <title>. The title of your most recent blog post or project name should be next to it. If this is the case, you’re in business. If not, your blog posts or projects are not being added to the feed so they also can’t be included in your newsletter. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever automate your newsletters; it just means you have to adjust that part of your website first so you can.
Sign up for a MailChimp account.
This part’s easy. Go to MailChimp and get started with a free account. What’s great about this service is you can use the RSS email newsletter feature with all their subscription plans, even the free one. When you’re in MailChimp building your campaign, there’s a button, you click it, add your RSS and recipient information, and you’re done. It’s that simple and bonus, they have step by step instructions on their website. Here’s to wishing there were more vendors out there doing this, but we hear it’s hard, so hard humans couldn’t even do it. We had to rely on a group of monkeys to pull it off, once again kudos monkeys.
HARNESS THE MAGIC.
Handling website code of any kind in conjunction with starting a new service is enough to unhinge most people and send them off into the deep end. That’s why we’ve included a handful of useful resources to guide you through integrating your email newsletter with your construction website.
- RSS-to-Email Feature in MailChimp This page provides a general overview of the MailChimp feature you can use to automatically share your new blog posts and projects automatically via email.
- Share Your Blog Posts with MailChimp Here’s a step-by-step guide for using an RSS campaign to email your latest blog posts and projects to your subscribed contacts.
- All the Merge Tags Cheat Sheet This lovely page features all of the merge tags MailChimp offers for pulling in all kinds of dynamic information into your emails. Grab a snack and prop your feet up–there’s a lot of good stuff in here.
- Featured Images in RSS & MailChimp Email If you’re on WordPress, images aren’t going to be pulled into your email automatically the way the text is pulled. We use a plugin called Featured Images in RSS Feeds. Check it out, because pictures make things pretty.
Additional useful resources for RSS tags:
GET GPS FOR YOUR EMAIL, AND YOU WON’T REGRET IT.
Automation. It’s where the world seems to be headed, isn’t it? Don’t get left behind by letting website and newsletter integration become another task for another day. We get it–change is hard. We’ve been in this place, remember the human intern who just made newsletters? Say goodbye to hours spent each week gathering content and updating your email newsletter template with new words and pictures. Say hello to gobs of time opening up on your calendar, which you can use doing more important things for your business.
3. JOINING A CLIENT ORIENTED ASSOCIATION
Mark Buckshon – Construction Marketing Ideas
Looking back over more than 25 years in business, one common and simple theme for marketing and business development success emerges. It is elegantly simple, and on the surface, entirely selfless. Your voluntary contributions to the community and individuals in your marketplace will pay dividends for decades.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Consider joining and actively participating in a client-oriented association. If you are wondering which association(s) to join, consider the groups closest to your best current clients. In our case, since most of our clients are engaged with relevant construction associations, we participate in several of them. You’ll quickly learn that virtually every industry and client group has an up-market group. If you are a residential contractor, you’ll also find neighborhood/community groups, sports leagues, and other community organizations relevant to you. You may also find online groups or communities relevant to you and your potential clients. The next stage is to put your self-interest aside and purely focus on how you can contribute to the group and its individuals. Usually, this involves volunteering your services/time, ideally by applying your specialized knowledge and experience. If you are into sales and business development, often the group will appreciate your help in membership attraction/retention. I’m a writer by trade, so I often volunteer to help out with the group’s newsletter and publicity. Then, when the time is right, the business will almost drop in your lap. It’s almost crass for me to brag about the biggest marketing and business development wins, but consider the magazine contract I won by actively working with the local home builders’ association (easy enough to do because through earlier contributions, the association granted me the contract to publish its internal newsletter.) I was given the opportunity to do some business with the relevant committee chair, and after completing a project with him, he decided that I — and not an outside competitor — should get the magazine contract. I initially declined the job, because it was outside my scope of experience at the time. He insisted, and I finally accepted; and set up a separate joint venture corporation to draw in the relevant expertise and deliver the contract. Here is the bottom line: Over seven years, the project has netted my business more than $150,000 — and this is without spending massive hours of time or energy to fulfill the responsibilities. As your involvement grows, you’ll likely get invited to participate in relevant committees, and then become a member of the board of directors. You can take things further, and be elected to the regional and national executive committees. In another example, a good client asked me to help volunteer for a cycling event for cancer research at the local hospital. I accepted instantly. (The client gets the community/voluntary service concepts, of course, and has done really well in business as a result.) Various business/sales opportunities have cropped up through the years of voluntary work here, resulting in many thousands of dollars in revenue. I also discovered I rather enjoy cycling and the exercise has certainly helped my health. As a final example, a few years ago, I started answering questions on a Google help forum focused on the company’s ad serving program, AdSense. A year later, after a nasty crisis, I received a fateful email asking if I would like to become a Top Contributor (moderator) on the help forum. Then the invitations to expense-paid meetups and summits at Google headquarters started and I discovered I had been invited to a rather influential international networking group.
ARE THERE ANY RULES FOR THE VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS?
I could summarize three:
- You must start the process with selflessness and not worry about business results. If you are expecting immediate reward/gratification and results, you will likely be disappointed (though sometimes the results are truly rapid).
- There are times when the concept doesn’t work. This happens when competitors have already entrenched themselves with the group/association. They are insiders, and you are an outsider. However, the story here may be more nuanced. I connected and ended up on the board of a local construction group and have earned business as a result but could not make progress at the national level because of the competitive barriers. Still, there have been tens of thousands of dollars in a local business.
- It is best to contribute time rather than money and if you are providing time, to support the group with your sweet spot where you combine passion and talent. If you don’t enjoy your time volunteering, it will be painful, and that isn’t good.
This idea obviously isn’t a magic bullet or quick fix. I can recount many stories where we brought in the biggest and easiest sales by applying the concept. The reason for its effectiveness is simple: If you actually contribute to the community and get known for your passion and support, you’ll earn the trust and access to the people and organizations that can give you business. And they will.
4. USE LOCAL SEO TO RANK IN GOOGLE MAPS
Alex Genadinik – Problemio
Since construction is a local service, you must leverage local SEO. A local SEO search is something like a “construction company in Boston.” There are only four types of results that come up in local searches.
2) Google map listings
3) Local service listing sites like Yelp
4) Construction company websites
It is effortless to do the first three. In fact, for most businesses in most areas, it will only take a few weeks to begin showing up higher on the first page of Google. Your website will probably take the longest to rank.
Dennis Michael – Wake Creative
In the very competitive construction industry, perception is everything. How you market yourself visually is essential to attracting the clients you want but to also build trust, credibility, and charge what you are worth.
The best piece of advice I can give ANY construction company is to invest in your image. That means you hire someone good to create a logo and identity for your business. All of your supporting materials – brochure, business cards, folders, vehicle wraps, etc. – are consistent in look, feel, and messaging.
The construction clients I have worked with have seen increased profits due to their investment in branding themselves the right way. I cannot stress the importance of visuals. Humans are visual creatures, and they will pass judgment on you in a matter of seconds. So if you are running a business with no logo (or a terrible one), a bad business name, poorly designed support materials…you are hurting your bottom line in a big way.
Robert Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, and operates a remodeling company located in Concord, MA. He is the editor of, and has a weekly column in the Sunday Boston Globe. Rob is a recognized leader in tools and how-to information for building professionals. On his website, Rob uses his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. His motto: “Well done is better than well said!”. Contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a remodeling contractor who has been relatively busy during the economic recession, I can attribute my good fortune to a good work ethic, reputation, and pro-active marketing efforts.
A huge reason I have been able to stay busy is I have a plan in place to generate consistent lead opportunities. You can sit back and wait for the phone to ring but it just will not happen. Having a marketing plan does not cost a lot of money, but it does take work. This effective and pro-active marketing plan will give you steps to take to help with lead generation.
- Get a website, a business Facebook page, and LinkedIn page up and running. I use WordPress as my blog platform.
- Take progress pictures of your jobs and post on Facebook several times a week. Make sure there are links back to your website.
- Write a minimum of four times a month and send out links to your clients and circle of influence. Write about how you are solving a current client’s problem or something unique.
- Update your website monthly with new and relevant content. If you are not inclined to do so outsource this work to a professional.
To be successful generating leads you need to have a marketing plan, be pro-active, and put yourself out there. The phone will not ring on its own.
7. GET LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE
Maggie Aland – Fit Small Business
As a local business, one of the best ways construction companies can market themselves is by getting local news coverage. One great way to get press is by giving back to your community. People love feel-good news stories, and construction companies have the perfect skill set to help around the community — whether that be helping a family rebuild their home after a storm, helping the elderly with chores around the house, or by fixing up a neighborhood playground.
By offering your services for free, you can help people while at the same time getting press and spreading the word about your business. Consider hiring a photographer or videographer to capture the project so you have good quality videos and photos that journalists can use as part of the story.
Thank you for reading this Expert Roundup “Ideas for Marketing a Construction Company Online”! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or other ideas for effectively marketing general contractors or construction companies! If you need help marketing your construction company, let me know by contacting one of the above experts at their respective websites or myself – at email@example.com.