Contractor Marketing Tips & Articles – Marketing for Contractors
Below you will find useful tips and articles about online marketing and contractor marketing principles.
The times they are a changing! Without any notice or warning, Google is implementing their Home Service ads through multiple areas and it appears that it will be covered everywhere by the end of the year. Though we have seen many bugs, limited documentation, and issues, this may be where the Local Pack goes to die.
Unlike other Google tools and features, Google isn’t announcing where they plan on rolling the Google Home Service ads out. Currently, there isn’t even an updated help article. Google’s signup page is also inaccurate, as it only lists cities in California, even though they rolled out to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix and Seattle over a month ago.
So far we are aware of the following cities/areas having Google Home Service ads:
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Phoenix Area
- Seattle Area
- Tacoma Area
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- Northern New Jersey (though Google currently has not announced it, we do see it appearing in certain towns in Northern New Jersey)
Also we are aware that by the end of the year, the following cities/areas will be added:
- Boston, MA
- Dallas, TX
- Detroit, MI
- Inland Empire Area in CA
- Baltimore, MD
- Charlotte, NC
- Cincinnati, OH
- Denver, CO
- Las Vegas, NV
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- Orlando, FL
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Portland, OR
- San Antonio, TX
- St. Louis, MO
- Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL
So what does that mean to the local contractor? So far we are aware that the following industries are affected:
- Cleaning Company
- Garage Door Pro
- HVAC contractors
- Roadside assistance service
- Auto glass service
But we have also noticed that if they are in a specific area already they are affecting all industries when it comes to your local places listing. Also for some reason at this point, if you are listed as a remodeling contractor, the home service ads are not appearing. This may soon change, so all Footbridge Media clients need to be aware.
You Work From Home or You Have Your Address Hidden
Within your Google Places Listing, if you have your address hidden because you work from home, this will have to change ASAP. It appears that when Google’s Home Service Ads are introduced into a market that all service businesses are removed from the local-three-pack. Specifically, those that have an address hidden, use a virtual office or P.O. Box or a home office.
What appears to be happening is that Google is monetizing the local-three-pack by converting anyone who appears there to only display the Google Guaranteed as well as people using their new lead service.
If you currently have your address hidden, then you need to change this ASAP by logging into your Google My Businesses Listing. Though Google currently states that this is a bug, we are unsure of when it will be fixed.
Making Your Home A Storefront.
According to Google’s guidelines, here is what you would need to do to be eligible to show your address (aka be a “storefront”) on your Google My Business listing:
- The location must be staffed (your staff, not someone else’s) during office hours.
- The location must have permanent, onsite signage that is viewable from the street.
As mentioned in the Google forum as well as a Search Engine Land article there are ways to get around this:
“When I contacted Google and explained my situation, they told me it was fine to display my address as long as there was signage outside which there now is, I also am now fully equipped to cut keys out of my location and uploaded pictures of my workshop and signage. Between my son or wife or myself there is always someone here. I don’t see how any guidelines are being broken as I serve people out both my location and their location. Just yesterday I cut mailbox keys for a client that stopped by here along with a few other random customers who have stopped by here in recent days to get safety deposit boxes opened and miscellaneous projects. I am here, I am real and staffed.”
This may be a temporary solution with Google, and as easy as putting one of your Yard Signs out in front of your house. If you’re worried about showing your home address for privacy reasons, the only option would be to open up a physical office or pay for Google Home Service Ads or start using PPC forever.
Get Google Guaranteed Today
If Google Home Service Ads are already in your area, I would strongly suggest that you go through the process of getting “Google Guaranteed” regardless if you plan on using their Adwords lead service. This will help with your local places listing, plus display you within the Home Service Ads:
The cost of becoming Google Guaranteed is up in the air based on the background checks and what Google states. For example, they claim there is no cost in their Help section here. But in a Google answer section, they claim, “You must fully cover all costs associated with background checks (unless Google works out an alternative arrangement with you).” Which leads me to believe if you are willing to utilize the Google Home Service Ads as a lead service then they will most likely waive this for you.
Ready To Sign Up for Home Service Ads & Get Google Guaranteed?
The first thing you need to do is complete Google’s online request form to show that your company is interested in their Home Service Ads. If Google is going to launch Home Service Ads in your area, they then will allow you to go through their process which includes:
- Background Checks: Your contracting business will need to submit to background checks by a third-party security and risk-management firm.
- License Checks: As a contractor, you are legally required to hold certain professional licenses according to your jurisdiction. So these will need to be provided to Google.
- Insurance Checks: Your company must carry appropriate insurance for all work carried out.
- Testimonial & Review Assessment: Google will also monitor and evaluate your online reputation. So if you currently do not have reviews or bad reviews, this may be good time to invest in a reputation management system.
If you have questions about Google Home Services ads or want to increase your digital marketing leads please contact us today.
Managing your online marketing presence is much more than getting a website up and running. How people talk about you online shapes your business persona; that’s why getting clients to commit to contractor reviews should be a major part of your marketing efforts.
Good reviews can be cyclical – You get a positive review, you get more customers, they leave more reviews. As contractor review count grows, more potential clients with no previous context about your business will see some great social proof that you can be trusted with their hard-earned money.
Bad reviews or a lack of reviews may send prospective clients to the inbox of your competition.
Part of our full service online marketing includes a new contractor website build from the ground up. For new companies, that means a totally new domain name, writing, and photography is required. For companies that already have a contractor website, the idea of getting a new website is sometimes upsetting and off putting. Sometimes, the feedback sounds like…
- “But I already paid for Wix for 2 years!”
- “I paid my old web guy $5000 for this site just a few years ago”
- “I like how it works now, can’t you guys just fix this one?”
So the issue here is really two fold. 1) Why does Footbridge Media need to create a new contractor website, even if you have a pre-existing site and 2) What really is the value of your old contractor website?
Your contractor website is made up of many moving pieces. Any web company can throw up a site for you – but it takes some critical thinking and online marketing expertise to ensure your website is converting prospective users into leads and clients. Let’s go over 5 things that your contractor website gets wrong – and how to fix that.
The postcard has taken on new prominence as a kind of “anti-internet” agent. Homeowners are paying more attention than ever to postcards they receive in the mail, and are responding to offers at high rates.
87% of mail recipients claim to at least scan postcards that they receive. So it is very important that the design of the postcard.
When it comes to contractor postcard marketing, there are many factors to its success. Postcard marketing for contractors is an affordable marketing tool that gets directly into your customers hands.
10 Factors For Quality Contractor Postcard Marketing Design
Listed below are the 10 most important factors when it comes to a home improvement contractor and their postcard design.
- A Bold Headline – The headline should explain in what you are offering. Many contractors make the mistake of using their logo or company name as the largest aspect of a postcard, but the headline should be what you are offering to the homeowner.
- Bold Colors – If getting noticed is the primary goal of postcard design, it stands to reason that you would select bright, attention getting colors for your postcard design. In the sample design color can trigger emotion as autumn colors.
- Graphic or Photo That Supports Headline – A strong photo that details what the headline is stating.
- Benefits – Many contractors display a list of services or industry jargon. Instead always put a clear benefit for the homeowner.
- A strong Call to action on both sides of the card – How do you want people to contact you? Phone number and your website should be prominent. Always direct people to what they need to do next.
- A second headline on the back of the card which leads to call to action – Either your phone number or web address or both. Encourage quick action. Give homeowners a good reason to act now, perhaps a fast action bonus with a deadline.
- Offer or discount – Make sure that your offer has an expiration date, this way the homeowner may be more likely to use.
- Company Name and Logo
- Return address
- Contact information highlighted or in bold
Postcards can be an effective and affordable part of your contractor marketing program. So don’t let a lack of writing experience stop you from using them. View the latest in contractor postcard designs at: https://www.footbridgemarketing.com/collections/postcards
Marketing is a constant endeavor. It’s not just about getting in front of new people – it’s about getting in front of the people repeatedly. Multi-Touch Marketing is about presenting your company’s image and selling the benefits of using your business to prospective customers multiple times.
The “Rule of Seven” is the original multi-touch marketing. The idea is that the more often you get your message in front of a customer, the greater the chance you have on closing a deal. It’s why salespeople don’t take the first no for an answer. It’s why you see or hear the same commercials over and over again.
Running a small business means you have to wear a lot of hats. If you are a sole proprietor or the owner/operator of a small crew, that means you have to do it all. Billing and payroll, training, supply orders, the whole nine yards. And that responsibility extends to how your business is presented to the world.
Don’t want to deal with that whole marketing thing? Too bad. If you operate a small business – then you’re in the marketing business too, whether you like it or not.
A business cannot rely solely on word-of-mouth or a single method of obtaining leads. You need to have a strategy with multiple fronts; and that involves active participation. Marketing can not be a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. If you run a business, you must run a plan to actively market your business – even if you have an online marketing company working with you.
I’m sure that a fair share of your emergency service calls start with “I found how to do this on YouTube, but then something went wrong.” While DIY’s gone wrong are great for your business, in the end – your client is taking a small scale problem and turning it into a bigger (more costly) mistake.
Why does your customer bother to DIY then? Because, to do-it-yourself-ers and DIY weekend warriors, there is a potential cost savings. Instead of paying a professional for their years of experience, it is possible to save a few bucks today. And sometimes, for some specific situations, they can get by.
The same is true for businesses. Thanks to the resources of the internet, there are ways to DIY contractor marketing and your overall business operations. The same potential pitfalls apply, too. Let’s talk about what you should and should not DIY – and some guidelines to help you decide what you should in your particular situation.
Thanks to the internet, anything you or your business ever does now has the potential to live forever. Managing your business social media presence means keeping a hold on your personal and business social accounts. It doesn’t matter if you think you deleted it; it’s likely still out there somewhere. Nothing dies on the Internet – and that’s important to remember when your business exists in that same world.
With the ever increasing presence of smartphones in the hands of potential clients and contractors like yourself, are you taking full advantage of mobile technology? Let’s discuss a few ways you can best market your business using your smartphone.
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