The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide for Contractors

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Marketing has become increasingly sophisticated and necessary for all types of business over the past few years as technology and customer expectations have evolved. Potential customers expect you to have a presence. Construction companies and contractors without a digital footprint can lose out to their heavily-marketed competitors, which is why strong digital marketing for construction companies is so important. Here is contractor marketing simplified, to help you understand what contractors need to thrive in this digital arena.

PPC For General Contractors

When it comes to promoting a brand online, all contractors should be familiar with pay per click. Pay per click, or PPC, is the most common form of paid advertising. It allows brands to target prospective customers based on searches or other online behaviors and then display ads that may be relevant to them.

PPC can be used on several platforms, including search engines and social media. When setting up ads through search engines, contractors will need to take into account the keywords that the brand would like to target and then create an ad landing page that aligns well with the likely user intent of the person searching.

Setting up successful PPC campaigns should follow this process. First, you must determine the goal of the PPC campaign. For example, does your brand want to promote a short term event or promotion? Do you want to test consumer response to new types of content before investing the time in optimizing it? Then:

  1. Based on the goals for the campaign, you should then determine the platforms that align best with your needs.
  2. Now, determine the keywords or the demographics that will help you find the audience you seek.
  3. Create an ad that abides by the rules of the ad platform and entices users to learn more.
  4. Pair the ad with a landing page that aligns well with the user intent.
  5. Measure the success of the campaign to see how people respond. Use this insight to guide future campaigns

Content 

Contractors who want to help with content production should make sure they understand the best practices that come with our increasingly sophisticated digital world. Consumers today research topics and businesses that will help them solve their pain points. Content that brands produce, therefore, must be tightly aligned to the needs of these customers.

To create this high-quality content, contractors need to work closely with their clients to identify the client personas and the buyer’s journey of the customers you want to reach with the content.

The personas supplied by the client should carefully outline the average demographics of the target customer as well as the pain points that they will want to solve. This will help them understand what matters the most to this particular customer. The buyer’s journey then outlines the typical process that this customer will go through as they move closer to making a purchase. Contractors must work to understand the terms that matter the most to customers at each stage so that they can be there to answer questions that arise from leads and nurture the prospect closer to conversion.

Once you have the buyer personas, you can use keyword research and competitive analysis to better understand the content they should use to target the customers. Keyword research will help you see which terms and phrases have the highest search rates, and therefore the best chances for attracting traffic. Competitive analysis will help you see where the competitors have worked to optimize their site, which might give them ideas about where to improve your own content.

Creating content focused around project spotlights will be some of the most engaging content for potential clients, especially when including original images of past projects. These posts can then be shared on relevant social media platforms to reach a larger and more targeted audience. 

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SEO

When writing this engaging content, it is important to remember SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. When a well-written and optimized article or blog post has keywords organically placed into the copy, Google views this content as thought leadership and will bump it up when a keyword is searched. Additionally, many contractors value “areas served” pages. These are not seen on a website but have copy for a specific city that your business serves. These pages specifically target potential customers in these areas and are likely to generate real leads near your business. With Google’s new updates, the latest trend for effective SEO strategy is Q&A content blocks within a post. These can help you achieve a featured snippet, which is a text box above all other search results directly answering the user’s query, on Google when people are searching questions. With the level of exposure, it can bring your business, the featured snippet ranking should be the goal of every blog post and article for 2020 and the foreseeable future.

Social Media

Social media has become an increasingly important part of the digital conversation over the past few years. Seventy-four percent of the customers rely on their social networks to help them with purchase decisions, while 71 percent of consumers are likely to make purchases based on referrals they receive through their social media network.

With social media sites like Facebook and Houzz, marketing contractors will target ads more towards particular demographics, like targeting people in a geographic area or who fit certain criteria– such as interests or jobs.

Brands who understand how to engage with prospective customers through social media can place themselves firmly within this conversation. They have the chance to speak with their customers on a more personal level. Contractors, therefore, should understand the best practices of engaging with prospects through social media as well.

  1. Build a platform that focuses on helping customers. Users do not want to engage with an advertising soapbox; they want to follow brands that seem to genuinely want to help them.
  2. Use images in the posts created. Facebook posts with images, for example, receive 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments than those without.+
  3. Track important KPIs through social media. Like any other form of marketing, make sure progress is measured. Measure engagement metrics, click-throughs back to your website, and the number of followers your social media amasses as you begin to build your profiles.

Reputation Management

Reputation Management refers to influencing and controlling the reputation of a business or group. As a digital marketing strategy, this can be done through social media platforms and google reviews. For contractors, the website Houzz is a useful combination of a social media platform and a crowd-sourced review forum. Users can upload photos, respond to reviews and create ideabooks to share any user-generated content they come across on the platform. You should encourage customers to write positive reviews for you, focusing on Houzz, Google and Facebook. Additionally, a useful tool is the whitespark google review link generator. Whitespark is an online marketing service provider, focusing on SEO and web development. This free tool provides a short URL to share with customers to grow your Google reviews:   https://whitespark.ca/google-review-link-generator/

Video Production and Advertising

Video has quickly taken center stage in digital marketing, thus making it an important part of any general contractor marketing plan. Fifty-one percent of marketers would say that video marketing has the best ROI of the strategies they use.

Video can be used in a variety of different ways. For example, a construction contractor can use videos for the following purposes:

  • Demonstrate a certain technique, style or tactic
  • Before-and-after of a project
  • Interviews with real clients, providing testimony to how the service helped them
  • Insight into the leaders of the business
  • Behind-the-scenes or in-progress shots

In addition to these types of promotional videos, brands can also produce advertisements. These short videos can be displayed at the beginning of other popular videos that support advertisements.

With all videos, contractors should focus on:

  • Creating engaging openings that encourage people to keep watching
  • Not making the video too long to improve watch-through rates
  • Making sure that the video is shot with high-quality cameras so it is clear and professional-looking

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Email

Email remains an important part of keeping potential leads engaged so that they continue to progress through the buyer’s journey. A quality email campaign will target these leads based on their past interests and what they will want to see from the business. Additionally, it is a wonderful tool for cross-selling to your existing clients. One of the best marketing strategies for contractors is to take full advantage of email marketing. You can reach out to potential customers or partners via email. Here’s how to start: 

  1. Segment the email list as the leads come in. As you collect information from the lead, try to identify what buyer persona they fit into. Also, collect information regarding the content they seem to be most interested in.
  2. Send out emails that target customers based on their past interests to improve the chance of engaging with them.
  3. Track what the customers do engage with so you can see how they move through the buyer’s journey.

Direct Mail Integration

As you work with clients to engage with customers through a strong digital presence, it is also a good idea to keep in mind how you can magnify your efforts by integrating with traditional marketing strategies such as direct mail.

Direct mail can be used to complement these other strategies, boost brand recognition, and offer people promotions that encourage them to take action and visit a business.

Every Door Direct Mail, or EEDM, is a mailing list that allows you to reach potential clients without having their address. Leveraging EDDM and mailing out a postcard can increase the overall success of the campaign. Postcards will stand out from the junk mail someone receives, and more than 60 percent of people are influenced to visit the website after receiving a postcard, which seamlessly integrates your digital and print marketing efforts.  

You can also upload your direct mail list of contacts to Facebook to run ads in the news feeds of your existing direct mail contacts. However, this cannot be done with EDDM as it uses postal routes.  

In Summary

Digital marketing for contractors continues to become increasingly sophisticated as customers engage with brands across multiple platforms. Contractors who want to grow and thrive in this environment must make sure they familiarize themselves with these various strategies so that they can reach the largest audience possible.

Contractors should focus on understanding:

  • PPC
  • Content 
  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Reputation Management
  • Video production and advertising
  • Email
  • Direct Mail Integration

Need help with any of your digital marketing strategies? Those interested in learning more about contractor marketing should speak with us at Ballantine. We can make your contractor marketing easy with our proven digital marketing strategies for construction companies.