Getting exposure is an important part of having a successful business as a home remodeling contractor. Marketing plays a central role for contractors looking to grab a piece of what was a projected 338.6 billion U.S. dollar industry last year alone.
Rob Krohn, vice president of marketing for Epcon Franchising, supplied Small Business Trends with 10 solid contractor marketing tips you can use to drum up business.
He started our discussion by suggesting contractors dig deep into their pockets so they can spread the marketing net wide.
Develop Lots of Resources
“Develop an arsenal of marketing resources, even though there may be a hefty upfront cost to create them,” he writes via email. “A variety of good blog posts, brochures, photographs, etc. can be reused as part of an ongoing marketing strategy.”
Develop a Budget
This should be based on yearly sales numbers. You need to make sure that you set aside this money in good times and downturns both according to Krohn. He says that many contractors make the mistake of cutting back on marketing in downturns and even good markets because they don’t think it’s necessary when things are going well.
“Marketing is like investing — consistent long-term commitment to the practice produces the best results.”
Get a Website
There’s no way around these modern-day digital business cards.
“A robust consumer-facing website, for example, is critical for any kind of business,” Krohn, writes. “It should be mobile friendly, full of high quality, professional photos and easy to navigate. A blog, search tool or interactive map of your coverage area can help improve the user experience and ensure potential customers find the information they need.”
Combine Old and New Methods
It’s not an either/or proposition when it comes to digital versus more old school advertising methods. Contractors should have an online and social media presence working side by side with other techniques like print ads. Krohn also says that if you can afford it, working with public relations professionals is a good idea.
Get Professional Pictures
You need to make a good first impression to stay ahead of the competition, however, you can’t skimp on this important visual aspect.
“Small businesses and builders both might be tempted to go with a more budget-friendly options of semi-professional photography to get images for their marketing materials, but that is a mistake in both cases,” Krohn writes. “Find a photographer that specializes in your industry, and they can help provide art direction, staging and ensure the images have the right angles with the right lighting.”
This will help you to look unique. What’s more they can be reused over and over again.
Don’t Cut Corners
Krohn also suggests that marketing isn’t a place to focus on cost-saving.
“Hire trained professionals who can create and execute a strategic long-term plan,” he writes. “This can be a single person or a team, depending on the size of your business, and it’s also possible to hire an outside firm to handle marketing as long as you communicate with them clearly.”
Appoint a Point Person
If you need to outsource all of your marketing needs, you should appoint someone in your office to be the point person for all the information and queries from outside. This person will need to know all about your campaigns and what you expect from them. They’ll also need to be able to monitor the outsourced efforts.
Use the Latest Technology
Krohn uses the homebuilder industry he works with to illustrate a point on lead time which works well for home renovation contractors too.
“A consumer doesn’t typically need as much time on impulse buys to decide which type of soft drink to buy as they do to decide on a home. That means homebuilders have to create more middle and bottom of the funnel content — things like 3D virtual tours, digital renderings of floor plans and an online portal for printed marketing materials — to help buyers work their way through the buying process and make a final decision.”
Whether you’re planning on marketing online or through printed media, you need to brand yourself as a contractor. People will remember a professional logo whether it’s in social media or being used on business cards.
Having a professional logo designed by a graphic artist is a good investment.
Get Involved with SEO
Whether you plan on using a website or social media business templates, knowing something about search engine optimization is important. It’s best to hire a professional who understands how to get the most from keywords and links to position your website properly on places like Google.
Make sure they have good credentials so your website is easily found by clients looking for your services online.