Marketing for Contractors: The Portfolio Approach

Here’s why marketing for contractors should be viewed like a wisely constructed portfolio rather than buying a lottery ticket.

Did you know, for every billionaire who made that “one smart move”, there are 688 people with a $10 million net worth who will not have their stories told in business magazines or on CNBC?

It’s exciting to hear the stories of those who made it big, just doing “one thing.” It makes it feel like it should be easy. But it’s not easy. And that is good news. If you are willing to do the hard work of building a marketing portfolio for your construction company, then you can remove the guesswork and leave the lazy competition in the dust, permanently.

The complete “portfolio approach” to marketing for contractors

  • Building a Strong Brand Identity for Your Construction Business
  • Optimizing Your Contractor Website for Local SEO
  • Leveraging Social Media to Engage Your Community
  • Generating Quality Construction Leads with Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Creating Content That Resonates, Informs, and Sticks
  • Harnessing the Power of Customer Reviews
  • Networking and Partnerships
  • Direct Mail Marketing for Contractors
  • Offering Referral Incentives
  • Investing in Professional Marketing Services

As you can see, this is a well diversified portfolio of marketing approaches for your contracting business. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Get the big picture here, then commit to build out your portfolio over time.

1) Build a Strong Brand Identity

Your brand is what sets you apart in the sea of contractors. It’s not just your logo or your company colors; it’s the sum total of everything people say, think, and feel about your construction business when you come to mind. Your what do people say about you when you aren’t there.

This may sound like something out of your control, but it’s not. The process of “branding” is to promote the ideas about your company (and you personally) that people should have.

Write a list of things that you want people to think and say about you when you are not around. What stories should they tell, where should they see your brand name, what good have you done for the community, where have you advertised, how interesting was your ad, etc. etc.

2) Optimize Your Website for Local SEO

If your website is only there in case people want to go to it, then it’s not being utilized effectively. Some websites are 2 to 5 pages of dusty and clunky content.

Websites with hundreds of pages and new content being added daily are the ones that show up in Google search results.

They are also the ones that proclaim to visitors: “We care about what we do, and we care about giving you valuable information”.

So, an investment into SEO is about showing up and showing value. Think about it. This is the approach a man takes to find a wife. He shows up and shows an interest in her. Your website should do that for your future clients.

Besides showing up and showing value, an investment into local search engine optimization (SEO) for contractors means when someone in your area searches for “contractors near me,” your business shows up front and center.

Think of it as putting up the biggest billboard on the busiest highway in town, but online.

3) Leveraging Social Media to Engage Your Community

Social media isn’t just for sharing memes and catching up with old high school buddies anymore. It’s a powerful tool to connect with your local community, showcase your recent projects, and share customer testimonials.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to cast a wider net, reaching potential clients where they’re already spending a lot of their time.

There are two main approaches to social media for contractors.

The first approach is called “sign of life”. This just means you have claimed your profile on social media and, from time to time, add something to keep it alive. This helps clients know you are still in business when they are researching you. Certainly better than having no presence at all.

The second approach to social media for contractors is “the thriving presence.” This is when you post so much and actively engage so much that the social media platform decides to start showing your content to people, for free.

This is done through algorithms (which is just a fancy word for the rules that computers follow to make decisions). Triggering this flow of free publicity requires that you are consistent and prolific, which means you post a high volume of quality content that is authoritative and valuable.

4) Generating Quality Leads with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be the secret sauce to generating high-quality leads quickly. It’s a competitive environment and you have to be ready to pay to play (and pay to learn). By targeting specific demographics and keywords, you can ensure your ads are seen by potential clients actively searching for the services you offer.

There is simply no faster way to fill a business with warm leads that through Pay Per Click ads to a highly targeted audience looking for what you offer.

The downside of focusing solely on PPC is that you will be 100% reliant on this channel. It’s an auction environment, which means you have to be willing to pay what anyone else is paying. If your competition has deeper pockets and doesn’t mind acquiring customers at a loss for a while, then you will be up and creek.

5) Creating Content That Resonates

Content is king in the digital world. But don’t compare yourself to social media celebrities. The challenge that always comes up is “what do I post”. If you want to never run out of ideas, then follow these three tips every day.

  • What are 10 questions you have received in the past month? Write posts that state the questions and gives your answers, in your own words.
  • What are 10 things you are proud to have accomplished in the past month or year? Share them and talk about how each accomplishment benefits your community, customers, and employees.
  • What are 10 things you believe can be better about the world, your industry, and your community. It could be charitable, employee focused, innovations, community improvement, etc. Share these visions and your excitement about doing your part to make them a reality. Example: Do you believe homes will be more effecient in the future, roads will be safer, your community will grow, new technology will make employees lives better, etc.?
  • BONUS: Who are 10 people in your industry and community that deserve to be recognized? Share what they are doing and congratulate them publicly.

Repeat this process whenever you need content ideas, and you will be more prolific than 90% of companies online.

6) Harness the Power of Customer Reviews

In a world where word-of-mouth still reigns as the undisputed champion of free advertising, online customer reviews can be your best “investment”. Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google can significantly boost your credibility and attract more business.

Use tools like QR codes and automated messaging to make it easy for customers to give you reviews.

Also, reward your employees for getting these reviews for you. It could be $5 per review or free catered lunch if a certain number of 5-star reviews are added in a given month.

7) Networking and Partnerships

Forming partnerships with other local businesses and participating in community events can open new doors for your contracting business.

Whether it’s co-sponsoring a local little league team or collaborating on a community improvement project, these efforts show your commitment to the community and can lead to valuable referrals.

Attend as many industry events and community events as you can (or send your best “relationship person”).

You can have the biggest advertising budget in town, but it’s hard to beat the fact that people like doing business with their friends. You can’t build these friendships online.

Showing up, in person, amplifies the advertising efforts.

Don’t get a big head about this… but it’s a little like seeing a famous athlete or a news anchor at the grocery store. When you have “met them in real life”, it makes you see them (and their content) differently in the future.

8) Direct Mail Marketing for Contractors

While digital marketing has taken the front seat in recent years, don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted direct mail campaign.

Sending out postcards or flyers to targeted neighborhoods can capture the attention of potential clients who might not be active online.

Besides, consumers now feel that physical mail is more personal than it used to be, and stands out more than digital marketing, as described in this NerdWallet article.

The trick is to go all or none with this. Sending 300 mailers just one time is not going to yield a reliable result. Think in sets of 10,000 and in sets of at least 5 mailers per person.

To get the best result with mailers, split your campaigns into 2 or 3 versions and compare the results. You can use a different phone number or a different URL for each mailer to compare the results. It won’t be 100% trackable, but with large enough numbers, you will likely see strong evidence when a good campaign is working better than others.

9) Offering Referral Incentives

Encourage your satisfied customers to refer their friends and family by offering incentives.

This is a cost-effective way to generate new business.

Whether it’s a discount on future services or a small gift, a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering loyalty and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals.

Make this a formal system. Don’t wait for the opportunity to ask for a referral. Make it part of the delivery process. Have a step in your job process that triggers a referral request be sent.

To request a referral, you can send an email or a letter that outlines the reason you are asking for a referral (you depend on them) and that you want to recognize the value of their referral with the gift or other benefit.

It’s true that most people won’t generate a referral, but enough will to be worth implementing this step in your processes.

10) Invest in Working with an Agency that Specializes in Marketing for Contractors

Sometimes, the best strategy is to call in the experts. Investing in professional marketing services can take your business to the next level, allowing you to focus on what you do best—running your business and serving your clients.

There are very few companies like United Foundry that specialize in marketing for contractors. We understand the processes, value propositions, and strategies that make a meaningful difference in your growth.

Just like you depend on financial professionals, suppliers, subcontractors, delivery people, rental equipment companies, and more; put your marketing in the hands of professionals who specialize in delivering what you need.

Call United Foundry Now

Yes, we answer our phones (unless the entire team is in meetings with other clients.) Our company line also accepts text messages.

So, let’s talk. Contact us now to work with the experts at marketing for contractors, and let’s start building your marketing portfolio today.

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