The Ultimate Marketing Checklist for Home Contractors
If there’s one thing you know, it’s your trade. Home contractors can tackle any home project from kitchen remodels to gutter installation, and create strong, long-lasting, and beautiful results.
You know your value. But do you know how to prove it to potential customers?
Read through our comprehensive marketing for home contractors checklist and see where your home services business stands.
How Do Home Contractors Get Customers?
Yes, your trade may be competitive in your local area. But that doesn't mean there isn't work out there. Potential customers are always looking for contractors to help improve and renovate their homes.
If you want new leads for your contracting business, you need to use a variety of different marketing tactics and channels to get your name out there. Once potential leads have found you, you'll want to ensure that they have a positive experience from start to finish so you can gain referrals and repeat business later.
How To Market Yourself As A General Contractor
Word-of-mouth and referrals are traditionally strong strategies to get new clients; however, pairing those strategies with the right digital marketing for home contractors, like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and social media campaigns will take your contracting business to the next level.
Over time, you have a diverse mix that is MAKING you money, without the constant hustle.
Whether you're a new start-up or a seasoned home contractor, contractor marketing will help you position yourself as an expert in your service area, grow your customer base, and gain more leads easily. It is essential for every contracting trade, and it shouldn't be a burden on your budget.
It works like this: you try different strategies, analyze the results, fine-tune for improvement, and if you're not getting a positive return, you try something else.
Marketing for Home Contractors: Your Complete Checklist
Run through this list of marketing strategies and see where you stand.
Step 1: Physical Location
Is Your Physical Business Address Located Where You'll Get The Most Leads?
Google Business Profile is your most valuable 'free' real estate in search results. But there are only a few spots on the front page and lots of competition.
Distance is one of Google's biggest ranking factors here. That is - how close the person searching is to your business location.
It's rare to rank in local results more than 10-20 miles beyond your company address, no matter how good your marketing is. That's just the way Google designed it.
It is also against their guidelines to use a P.O. Box, UPS store, or similar virtual office. If they catch it, they'll suspend your listing.
Most small business contractors operate out of their home addresses. If your home address is not in a good location, or you don't want that information public, you might consider renting a small office space or shop.
Step 2: Branding
Are You Recognized and Highly Visible In Your Community?
When it comes to marketing for home contractors, branding is key. There are standard branding elements every home contractor should have in place like a logo, business cards, branded clothing, yard signs, and a wrapped or marked vehicle.
Once you've established your brand, you need to shout it from the rooftops. Place your brand strategically where your target audience will see it.
The ideas are endless, free and paid, to get your brand out there. The goal is to make you and your business known as a trusted expert in your community.
Step 3: Contractor Website
Do You Have A Contractor Website That Generates Leads?
Building a high-quality website and regularly adding new and updated content will go a long way to generating leads for your contracting business. Your contractor website should be mobile-friendly and include the following:
- Company Name and Logo
- Address, Phone Number, and other Contact Information
- Description of Services
- A Form to Request a Quote or Consultation
- Social Proof, like Testimonials and a Project Gallery
- A Frequently Asked Questions section or page
Your Website Platform Matters
It's important to put thought into which website platform you'll choose, too. DIY website platforms like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, GoDaddy, and others are better suited to hobbyists, your neighborhood dog walker, and other small businesses that will always be very small.
These types of websites come with many limitations that will suffocate your growth.
If you want a website that will grow with your contracting business, you need a WordPress site designed and managed by someone experienced in building contractor marketing websites.
Step 4: Answer The Phone
Are You Losing Leads Due to Poor Customer Experience?
It may seem obvious, but effective marketing for home contractors relies on exceptional customer service.
How and when you answer the phone makes a huge difference in turning prospects into leads, and leads into customers. We hear hundreds of customer phone calls through our client call centers and phone tracking. And here's where so many perfectly good leads are wasted.
Give your prospects the best possible experience:
- Make sure the phone is answered and estimates can be scheduled from morning to evening (ex. 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.).
- Document every possible reason for a call: is it a schedule, reschedule, cancel, wrong number, question, complaint, or referral?
- Write down a procedure for each reason a customer calls you and update this document often. Train everyone who answers the phone on these procedures.
Step 5: Close The Deal
Do You Have a Strong Sales Process?
Don't waste time and money generating leads only to lose them at the estimate.
Your contractor marketing strategies won't be profitable without a good closing rate. A solid sales process is specific, customer-focused procedures to follow that are proven to increase your close rate and get the job.
Customers are not buying your services at this point. They are buying you and your sales process. Don't leave easy money on the table for your competitors by not honing your sales process.
Step 6: Leverage Customer Reviews
Do You Have a Process in Place That Assertively and Actively Acquires Reviews?
Online customer reviews are a high-value Google ranking factor. Not to mention the credibility they provide your business.
Reviews have a huge influence on whether your website visitors will choose you over a competitor. These days, review acquisition should be a top priority in marketing for home contractors. Potential customers can drop out at any stage of the process - from search to research to requesting an estimate - if they are not completely convinced of your trustworthiness.
Put a process in place to proactively and consistently ask for reviews. Reply to your reviews on platforms that allow you to do so, positive and negative, in a professional customer-focused way. This will build up your reputation online and get you more leads.
Step 7: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Do You Understand Contractor SEO Basics? Do You Have an SEO Strategy In Place That Works?
You might have a pretty website, but is it performing to maximum potential? Everyone wants cheap SEO. There are so many scammers out there selling $99/mo - $399/mo packages that do not and cannot, perform.
They play on your inexperience about what SEO is and how it works. Then you're left with a bitter taste for it; you've been burned, and it's frustrating.
Regardless, contractor SEO is NOT optional if you want to experience growth online. So be sure you understand what it is and how to determine whether your SEO services are working for you.
It's important to find an SEO marketing agency you trust with this. Marketing for home contractors is Project Plus Marketing's specialty, and we've got the credentials to back it up.
Step 8: Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
Are You Tracking PPC Results for Return on Investment?
Perform a search for your service + location. (Example: house painters in Boston, electricians in Minneapolis, flooring contractors in Austin.)
Your search results will typically display three or four PPC ads, also known as Google Ads, at the very top of the page and a few more at the very bottom of the page.
When a web user clicks your ad, Google charges you the 'per-click' cost. You can't control who clicks, why they click, or whether they will request an estimate. Without the right strategy and know-how, you're going to pay for plenty of clicks that don't convert.
But PPC can be tracked almost to the penny. You can calculate a clear return on investment to see if this strategy is working for you. This tactic has become essential when marketing for home contractors in competitive markets.
First, determine if PPC is right for your niche and local area. Then, hire PPC management services that don't automate the process and provide full transparency.
PPC service providers come in all shapes and sizes. If your Google Ads aren't performing, don't write it off. It's most likely your service provider, not the strategy itself.
Step 9: Be Careful of Paid Lead Generators
Did You Know Lead Generators Are Actually Your Local Competition?
Paid lead generators include Home Advisor, Angie's List, CraftJack, Networx, Yelp Advertising, Houzz, and many more.
They actually hurt your web presence and compete against you using some sneaky tactics you're probably not aware of. Just check out Yelp's own review page, which has a 1.9-star rating!
Understand the risks and how to maximize both lead quality and your costs, should you choose to use them.
Be sure you're squeezing all you can get out of those paid leads, and keep plenty of other marketing tactics in place so you don't become dependent on them.
Step 10: Ask For Referrals
Are You Asking for Referrals Consistently?
Some referrals happen naturally without your involvement, and you might think that's enough for you. But you're actually losing easy revenue if you do not proactively ask for referrals.
Marketing for home contractors should always include a referral system. Combine it with your customer retention marketing, and you'll easily triple or quadruple the number of referrals you receive.
Let's say you work with 100 customers each year. In five years, that's 500 people in your network. Each of them has a minimum of 25 people in their own network, so now your business can be exposed to 12,500 people! All at a very low cost.
Step 11: Get Repeat Business
Your Past Customer List Is Gold. Are You Working It?
You might think you're getting a healthy amount of repeat customers, or that past customers will contact you when they need your services without any prompting. However, this just isn't the case. Simply put, you are losing out on revenue if you don't keep in touch.
You shouldn't expect or assume past customers will remain loyal. So many choices are available; your competitors are marketing to them, and their friends are making recommendations. You'll need to continually remind them of your services if you want a fighting chance.
While you'll need to keep marketing to existing customers, it's good to know that it is so much cheaper to maintain existing relationships in your contractor marketing than to build new ones. So, keep a past client list and continue to reach out to them with new offers and services.
Step 12: Facebook
Are You Using Social Media to Your Benefit ... or Theirs?
There's a reason Facebook is last on this list. It is a secondary strategy, a lower priority, yet can still be effective for home contractors. Do you know why nearly every business, in every industry, is on Facebook? Because Facebook is good at marketing its own product.
Not only does Facebook ask you to invest your own time and expense in providing them with free content (i.e. posts, photos, etc.). Then they tell you to pay them for the privilege (boost posts, display advertising) if you want anybody to see the free content you're giving them.
There is a place for Facebook and other social media in marketing for home contractors. But leverage it to your advantage, not theirs.
Expert Marketing For Home Contractors From PPM
Follow the above checklist as it makes sense for your trade industry and business, and you'll soon find a diverse mix of leads coming in and an increase in revenue. But many home contractors cannot do their marketing alone - they need a team of seasoned professionals to guide and assist them.
That's where Projects Plus Marketing comes in. We'll help you find the right way to reach the right people in your local service area and turn them into customers. We engage our clients in the marketing process with strategy calls, manual reporting, and coaching. There's nothing cookie-cutter; everything's customized!