2024 Contractor Marketing Trends And Best Practices
The small business world in general (and the construction and home services industries in particular) is a constantly shifting and evolving space.
While some core marketing tenets hold true, other big changes in the contractor marketing space can make a difference in growing your business or closing your doors.
So, what should your business focus on in 2024 and beyond to build your company's success?
How Your Google Business Profile Can Make Or Break Your Business
Your Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business and Google Listings) can potentially transform your lead generation for home service companies and contractors.
Proper GBP Set Up Is Vital
Properly setting up your GBP is hugely important. When you first create your Google Business Profile, you need to make sure that you have correctly set up your vital details.
- Business Name
- Address and Phone Number
- Service Areas
An accurate Google Business Profile setup ensures that Google best understands the context of your business and properly informs any potential customers who are vetting home service company candidates.
The Importance of NAP
When it comes to NAP (Name, Address, Phone), it is vitally important that your business information is consistent across the internet, not just on your website. That includes all other citations - basically any places online that feature your contact information, like BBB, Yelp, or any other listings.
Even if you don't actually have a brick-and-mortar location (as is the case with most contractors who work in people's homes), Google still needs to have an understanding of your NAP as part of the prominence component of your local optimization. This is a key component of your company's local optimization marketing plans to rank better with searchers near you.
Maximize Your Google Business Profile Value By Pushing For Reviews And Posting Consistently
This isn't the type of thing you just set up once and leave alone. A Google Business Profile only performs at its best when actively used.
How well your Google Business Profile ranks is based on relevance, distance, and prominence.
Your actions can directly and indirectly impact your Google Business Profile visibility and effectiveness.
Some tactics, like gaining more Google Reviews, can directly influence your prominence. Getting more reviews than your local competitors will give you an edge in visibility.
Other tactics, like Google Business Profile posts and pictures, can influence the look of your GBP and entice users to interact further. You can use Google Posts to feature special deals, show off projects, and target seasonal promotional content.
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The Core Of Your Online Marketing Presence: Your Website
Your website is the backbone of your online marketing presence. Directly referred customers and Google searchers alike will visit your website as the first step in engaging with your business. So, your website needs to achieve a few things to ensure it works well as your 24/7 salesperson.
Flaunt A Great Looking DesignYour website must look great and work well for mobile, tablet, and desktop users. It's important that it should look great from the standpoint of your website visitors, not necessarily your personal preferences.
Be A Good StorytellerYour website shouldn't be a place where you bore your visitors with technical information. Sway your customers with your story - your journey of how your company came to be and tales of how you help homeowners solve their problems.
Answer A Homeowner's QuestionsWhen visitors land on your website, they have an objective in mind. They are seeking an answer, and your website needs to guide them to the answer. Your website's layout, navigation, and content need to help escort your visitor through the appropriate pathways to answer those questions, assure that visitors are in the right place, and gather their contact information once that prospect is satisfied with their visit.
Show Off Your Good WorkYour image galleries and project pages are there to sell your business. From a search engine optimization and visitor conversion standpoint, showing off examples of your work helps new customers find you and better understand your expertise.
Load Quickly To Retain VisitorsWhen we start to talk about "technical optimization" for websites, we know you start to fall asleep. We get it - technical website improvements are one of the least sexy parts of your marketing efforts. But that doesn't mean you get a pass on having to care about it. If your website is slow, people aren't going to stick around. They will leave your website and head to a competitor instead.
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Social Media: Making Sure You Look Good Online & In Your Community
The thing that most contractors and small businesses get wrong about social media is that they use their Facebook page for 100% sales.
Imagine you had a friend that, every time you saw them, they were trying to sell you something. Instead of saying hello, they wanted to ask about your car's warranty or push their candle line. How often would you want to meet up with that person for coffee?
The same thing goes with who you choose to follow on social media.
Why Should I Care About Social Media For My Business?
The purpose of your social media activity is to maintain top-of-mind awareness first, with sales as an added benefit that you sometimes bring up. Your goals should be education and information, not straight sales.
So, how should you use your company's social media accounts?
Post On A Schedule That Works For You
- While there are lots of resources out there to tell you how many times to post per day or week for every different type of platform, the first key is to find what works for your business.
- You probably shouldn't prioritize manual daily posting on ten different platforms over other marketing endeavors if it is just you.
- Start with weekly posts on Facebook, and expand your platforms or increase your posting frequency as you get more comfortable.
Lean Into Posting Photos And Videos
- Most contractors and home service pros we work with aren't super comfortable writing posts and crafting messages for social media distribution.
- Thankfully, social media platforms thrive on multimedia content.
- Minimize the text you need to put together by taking pictures and videos of your work and sharing them on social platforms.
Have A Plan, But Leave Room For Today's Inspiration
- Take a little bit of stress out of your social media marketing by having a posting plan.
- Some days, you can know you're going to share something promotional. Other days, you can share a bit of client education.
- But also allow yourself a little bit of free space to take advantage when inspiration strikes and you want to post a picture of the family dog on today's job site.
- While you should still provide content to grow your marketing efforts, it is common to outsource the more routine parts of your social media marketing to an expert to free up your time.
Social media activity humanizes your business, allowing you to show off yourself, your staff, and the good work you do. It can reveal the inner workings of your business, giving people a bit of insight into how you operate.
Social media content can also help to demonstrate your commitment to your customers and your community by capturing and sharing authentic moments of your interactions in the real world.
The Right Way To Buy Leads: Google PPC and Facebook Ads
There are plenty of options for directly spending money on advertising to gain leads.
Based on our interactions with clients, we have - for years - tended not to recommend those popular contractor-lead purchasing sites. Recently, the FTC has taken action against popular providers that have "used misleading tactics to sell home improvement project leads to many small businesses" - to the tune of a $7.2 million settlement.
We, instead, recommend running your own advertising campaigns to capture those leads exclusively for yourself instead of a pool of contractors.
Google Ads Target Intent
Google Ads (banner ads, links at the top and bottom of search engine results pages, etc) are targeted based on what a searcher is looking for.
Chances are if someone is doing a Google search for "roof repair," - they may have a leak that needs some immediate repair.
Using Google Ads will help you find those currently motivated potential clients so you can get prominent placement in front of them during their time of need.
When properly executed, Google Ads provides a high return on investment.
Unlike TV and radio advertisements that get you in front of a wide range of people, Google Ads can be geographically restricted as well as restricted to activity related to your target keyphrases.
That means you can focus on the counties, towns, and zip codes that make sense for finding new customers for your business reach and costs.
Facebook Ads Target Ideal Customers
Facebook advertising is much more effective at finding the right people who are a good fit for your offerings. That will help you to find and repeatedly expose your company and offerings to a prospective customer.
The most popular Facebook ad types include the following.
Single Image Ads
Using a single video or image and some basic copy, it usually looks like a traditional Facebook post at first. These types of ads can link to a specific page on your website to drive traffic.
Instead of a single image, you can add multiple images that can be cycled through. You could feature multiple services or show off multiple images of a single service you offer.
These are ads that allow you to capture form information directly from within the ad. Pre-populated Facebook data makes it easier for the user to provide you with their contact information.
While it may not comprehend the immediate needs of a user as well as Google can, Facebook ads can help you find the right people who can benefit from your services.
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Using Online Reviews To Prove You're The Right Choice
Google reviews are one of the first things that prospective customers can see when they do a Google search of your company.
Getting more reviews is one of the few things that you can do to actively improve your standing in the map pack. While you can't physically make yourself in closer proximity to your customer to fix your distance, you can improve your prominence by increasing your Google review count and quality.
The companies you see at the top of Google Listings are those with the best reviews.
If you've put it off in past years, using an automated review management system should be a must-do on your 2024 marketing upgrades.
Build Your Marketing On And Around Every Single Job
Every single job site represents an opportunity to 1) generate marketing content for your business and 2) perform marketing to obtain future business.
Generating Marketing Content On Every Job Site
Every job you complete presents you with the opportunity to advance multiple components of your marketing efforts. On every job site, you should complete a few core marketing activities.
- Take Pictures & Videos for Your Project Pages
- Actively Ask For A Google Review
- Share Your Referral Marketing Details With Your Newly Happy Client
Ideally, you'd complete all three of those marketing efforts on every job site - so that you can build up your potential for success.
Performing Marketing During And After Every Single Job
While you're on a job site anyway, whether it is a pressure washing job or a total HVAC overhaul, you have boots on the ground in a new area with neighbors who could also possibly benefit from your services. You can use a variety of print marketing materials to canvas the neighborhood and place yourself in front of this new audience of potential customers.
Before you complete the job and leave, take a few minutes to invest in the area you're currently serving in hopes of future expansion of your service area.
You can use a variety of contractor print marketing and direct mail materials to gain some new customers.
Professionally Printed Flyers
- Go old-school and low-tech – Knock on a few doors in each direction up and down the street from your location just to "Let neighbors know you're in the area" and pass out some flyers along the way. These flyers can include a "friends and neighbors discount" since you're already working in the neighborhood to sweeten the pot a little bit.
- When the job is done, and you drive away, a yard sign can be a great way to have your marketing efforts linger for a little longer. Remember to keep your yard signs simple, with a direct and simple explanation of your services, your name, and your phone number, and web address.
- The classic "Please pardon our dust and work vehicles" angle is a great way to start the conversation here. It establishes that you're there doing a specific service and identifying yourself as easily accessible for any needs. Door hangers are also cheap to print and have a very low barrier for use, so you can hit up a whole city block quickly and easily.
- If you don't have full vehicle wraps for your work van and truck, a truck magnet is still a good way to demonstrate you are a professional home services provider while being much lower cost than a full vehicle wrap.
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Lights, Camera, Action - Video Marketing For Contractors
Long gone are the days when video marketing required tons of expensive equipment and specialized video skills. With smartphones and apps, you can produce solid-quality videos without too much technical hassle.
Of course, as you improve your video skills and output, you can upgrade your equipment – but the threshold to enter into the video marketing space has never been lower.
From long-form videos for YouTube and short-form video formats for TikTok, there are many ways to try out a little bit of video marketing content for your business.
Live videos may have their own unique jitters, but "Going Live" is a good way to get started without needing to focus too much on polish and production.
Your video content can show you at work, answer commonly asked customer questions, and demonstrate your industry expertise in your community.
Brand Marketing: Making Your Home Services Brand Pop
When we talk about brand marketing, we don't mean you have to go out there and buy up billboards and radio spots.
Your branding starts with a cohesive look and feel for all of your marketing efforts.
That starts with your logo and company colors. Those should look the same for your marketing efforts, including your website, Google Business Profile, and social media accounts.
As you expand your business and marketing efforts, that will also include your print marketing materials, letterhead, and even your work vehicles and work shirts and hats.
Having a cohesive look helps to reinforce the image of your business - so whether someone sees your work vehicle driving down the street or scrolls past your Facebook posts, they are reminded about your company.
Grow Your Salesforce Without A Single New Hire With Referral Marketing
Referral marketing is an amazing way to take full advantage of your base of happy customers.
Instead of just sitting and hoping for word-of-mouth to go to work for you, formalize your efforts into a programmatic, incentivized referral marketing program.
That is just a fancy way of saying that you should make sure you have a system in place and give people rewards for referring business to you.
A referral program tracks where referral leads come from, and it gives a reward to the person who gave you the referral while also rewarding your new customers.
The incentive is up to you. You can use cold, hard cash or a gift card for referrers and a discount on services for your new customer. It's important to remember these two details about how incentivized referral programs work.
- The reward has to be good enough to get people excited to use the referral
- You only need to pay out your referral costs when you 100% have completed a job!
When done right, you can expand your effective sales team for a very low cost (and you won't have to worry about paying for benefits or PTO time!)
Expand Your Efforts With Strategic Marketing
Aside from maximizing your past customers in your marketing efforts, you can and should also form partnerships within your local community to find new customers.
While partnering with a realtor may be the most popular route, you can get creative with the people you work with to create reciprocal alliances to help build up your business and the businesses of those around you.
Participating in local events, working with non-profits, joining local business associations and social organizations, and collaborating with other contractors in your area can all help to expose your business to a new audience.
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Grow Your Business By Actively Working On Your Marketing
Whether you do one thing or everything on our 2024 contractor marketing trend list, the important thing is to move forward and work to actively build your business efforts.
Take the time to grow your business. A partnership with Footbridge Media - including our core online marketing program, review management, GBP assistance, and overall marketing assistance, just to name a few things - can help make building your business success a little easier.