How Much Of Your Contractor Marketing Should Be Done In-House?
Many contractors want the most efficient and cost-effective marketing option they can get. While certain contractor marketing tasks, like tracking lead sources, customer follow-up, and project photo management, can be handled in-house, other key tasks are better outsourced to a contractor SEO agency.
Let's discuss how to divide your contractor marketing tasks between your admin and your marketing agency and some key considerations for contractors.
For highly competitive industries, contractor marketing is crucial in helping home services businesses connect with potential customers. When people actively seek home services, like painters, plumbers, roofers, or landscapers, they often turn to local search results. Contractor marketing, specifically contractor SEO, allows contracting businesses to climb to the top of search results and win those leads.
While most contractors understand the importance of contractor marketing, the question often arises, “How much can we do ourselves?”
Let’s discuss how much of a contractor’s digital marketing should be done themselves and how to split up the work for the best results possible.
Hiring A Contractor Marketing Agency Vs. In-House Marketing
Before deciding how much of your digital marketing will be in-house, contractors must understand that marketing will never be a “set it and forget it” task. Contractor marketing is an ongoing responsibility that requires constant monitoring, research, and revision.
As a result, it’s generally more cost-effective to split up your marketing efforts – handling some key tasks in-house and leaving others to the experts.
How you divvy up the work will largely depend on how many resources you have available and your overall marketing goals. While this is a highly individualized decision, below are some suggestions from your friendly neighborhood contractor marketing agency on how to divide key marketing tasks:
Key In-House Marketing Tasks for Home Services Businesses
Regardless of how much of your digital marketing you outsource to a contractor SEO agency, there are still some tasks that are best done in-house, as it will better improve your customer service and increase your lead flow and conversion.
The good news is that most of these tasks can be handled by your admin team once they’ve had the proper training. Though the following items are not part of our contractor marketing services, Projects Plus Marketing would happily train your assistants in these areas.
1. Track Lead Sources
First up is tracking your lead sources. It’s important for home services business owners to wholly understand which marketing tactics are working, which aren’t, and where to focus more attention. You’ll also want to know where your leads are coming from, how many converted into customers, which cities or zip codes perform the best (and the worst), and your most popular services.
It’s relatively easy to track your lead sources - you or your administrative assistant can create and maintain a simple spreadsheet with valuable data about each lead. Or you can track this information through CRM software, such as Zoho, Hubspot, or Salesforce.
2. Customer Follow-Up
Reaching out to each customer after the job is complete is an excellent way to improve customer retention and turn negative customer experiences into positive ones. This task is better done in-house by your assistant as it conveys a more personal touch.
Simply thanking your customers for their business, getting feedback on your services, and taking the time to alleviate concerns can show people that you care about them individually, and they’ll surely keep you in mind during their next home project.
3. Responding to Customer Reviews
Many contractors are unaware that simply responding to your online reviews can increase revenue, customer satisfaction, and improve search engine rankings. It’s a quick task that generates big results.
Many of our clients have their assistants handle this in-house marketing task after equipping them with some scripts and best practices for responding to positive and negative reviews.
For the best results, respond to all reviews within 2 - 3 days. This goes for reviews across various platforms, including Google, Yelp, Facebook, BBB, Angi, Houzz, and Home Advisor. For more tips, you can also check out our blog post about leveraging online reviews.
4. Grow Referral and Repeat Customer Lead Flow
Once you’ve gained that customer, don’t ever let them go! It’s much more cost-effective to retain existing customers and entice them to hire you for another project than to build up a new customer base from scratch.
Keep in touch with your past customers, inform them about any special offers or new services you’re offering, and consistently ask for referrals. Many of our customers prefer using an email autoresponder such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber, and having their assistant maintain it.
5. Social Media Management
Most contractors either outsource their social marketing or don't do it at all. However, it’s a great way for home services businesses to reach out to their customers and increase brand awareness. It’s also an inexpensive in-house marketing tool.
Again, Projects Plus Marketing would happily guide you in the right direction with social media marketing.
6. Project Photo Management
If you're not already taking before and after photos of your customer projects, it's time to put the tools and a process in place.
Project photos are not only great content for social media posts, but it also proves to your potential customers that you’re well-equipped to solve their problems. For contracting businesses that rely heavily on visuals, like painters, landscapers, or flooring contractors, project photos are especially effective in making a good impression.
You can handle this in-house marketing task in a few different ways, but most of our clients have found success in adding this task to any processes they already have in place. For example, some have their assistant take pictures of the work at the end of each project. Then, their assistant manages and distributes them in ways that bring the business credibility, visibility, and, yes, more leads.
Bonus: Documenting In-House Marketing Procedures is a Profitable Investment
The team at Projects Plus loves their contracting clients, so we’ll throw another in-house marketing tip your way: documenting your procedures can go a long way. Your assistant can even draft these procedures for you after they’ve become familiar with the task at hand.
For each marketing task you wish to delegate, write a step-by-step instruction document. You’ll be better equipped to train your staff and ensure that tasks are consistently completed. You’ll also streamline your training in the future if these marketing tasks ever need to be assigned to another team member.
Key Marketing Tasks Contractors Should Outsource To A Contractor SEO Agency
Who would you rather entrust your vehicle to – a qualified mechanic with years of experience or a friend who saw a few YouTube tutorials? Some things are just better left to a specialist, wouldn’t you say?
Similarly, working with a reputable, experienced agency for certain contractor marketing tasks is generally a more cost-effective and time-efficient way to get results. When choosing a contractor SEO agency, look for one that emphasizes long-term strategies instead of promising overnight results.
What services should your marketing agency provide? While agencies vary greatly in the services they offer, contractors should look to hire one that can, at minimum, manage the following tasks:
1. Website Design and Optimization
A top-notch website is the foundation of any successful contractor marketing campaign. However, your home services business needs more than just a fancy-looking website.
Instead, what you really need is a contractor website that is optimized to acquire more traffic and generate more leads.
To that end, your website should be fully-functional on all types of devices, especially mobile phones and tablets. It should also be technically stable and secure at all times.
Those requirements are just the bare minimum, however. On top of that, you’ll want your website to include high-quality content that appeals to your target audience and conversion features like clear navigation and call-to-action buttons.
Managing your website is a full-time job that is never one-and-done. The internet and the way people use it are constantly changing, and you’ll need to make sure your website changes with it. An expert development or marketing agency can help you do just that.
2. Online Directory Listing Management
Potential customers want to make sure your business is credible before they’ll ever consider calling you. Online directory listings are a way to promote trust in your business, so make sure that your contracting business is listed on trustworthy directories and updated regularly.
A marketing agency dedicated to contractor SEO will have both the expertise and the resources to get this done efficiently.
3. Content Creation
A solid content marketing strategy will establish trust in your business, build customer loyalty and retention, increase conversions and leads, and shorten your sales cycle. In short, content marketing is an amazing investment.
However, content marketing is just that: an investment. Content creation takes a lot of time and effort. First, you’ll need to understand what type of content your audience wants and what form they want it in. Then, you’ll have to go through the process of researching the topics, writing the content (or script if it's a video), editing it, and publishing it.
Most contractors will admit that they aren’t writers or actors, or if they are, they don’t have the time to commit to content creation. So, if you want to take advantage of the huge benefits of content marketing, you’ll want to ensure that your marketing agency specializes in it.
4. Google Business Profile Management
A Google Business Profile is the best way for contractors to get bigger and better online leads because they make your business stand out when customers need your services most, whether they visit your website or not.
But this aspect of contractor marketing is also highly competitive, so it’s important that your listing is always up-to-date and you're continuously improving upon it. The right contractor SEO agency must be up-to-date on Google Business Profile guidelines. They must also strategically monitor your and competitors' listings to find ways to improve how your profile fairs in search results.
5. Google Ad Management
Advertising is a crucial part of a well-rounded marketing strategy, especially for contracting companies that need a constant influx of new customers.
Compared to other advertising methods, Google Ads is one of the best choices. It’s relatively inexpensive, highly targeted, and offers access to tons of data to ensure your ads are as effective as possible.
Google Ads are also complex, and those new to the platform often find it confusing or frustrating to navigate. To use resources wisely, many contractors opt to have someone manage their Google Ads for them.
Outsource Your Contractor Marketing To The Experts at PPM
Digital marketing is vital for contractors to reach their target audience effectively, establish a strong online presence, and maximize their chances of attracting new customers. While some marketing tasks can be handled in-house, the complexity and ongoing nature of contractor marketing make it more efficient to outsource certain tasks to a reputable agency.
Take the next step in growing your contracting business by partnering with a contractor SEO agency that can tailor services to meet your specific needs and goals. Projects Plus Marketing has worked with contractors for nearly 30 years and fully understands their needs and goals. Contact us today and embark on a journey towards enhanced online visibility, increased lead generation, and overall business success.