Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education
Updated: January 15, 2019
As a self-employed contractor, you have to be able to balance the work you’re doing today with the work you’ll be doing tomorrow. Leads are the lifeline of your business. If you are like most contractors, you didn’t get into the trade because you loved sales and marketing. So finding, nurturing, and converting leads may be something you struggle with. We’ve assembled this quick list of strategies you can use to attract new and better clients, and make your marketing dollars stretch further.
1. Become an Expert
Many contractors market themselves as a jack of all trades. After all, the guy who does “everything” well never limits his opportunities, right? But if you need open heart surgery, would you rather have it performed by a world-renowned heart surgeon or a guy who dabbles in heart procedures, nose jobs, and knee replacements? The answer is simple…people want to work with experts.
You don’t need to limit yourself to performing one type of job. But there’s a lot of value in being known for something. In a business that relies so heavily on word of mouth, it’s important that you know what customers are saying about you. If you become known as the go-to in your market for complete kitchen remodels or awe-inspiring deck projects, you will be the first choice of anyone looking to have that type of work done on their own home. Or, if you're in a region or market that has specialized needs (outdoor living spaces, sustainable construction, stone veneer, or winterizing, for example), consider a focus on those specialties. And you will likely receive tons of referral traffic for unrelated jobs, too.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Google is the new yellow pages. When people are looking for local goods or services, they’re doing it online. The web gives customers the opportunity to compare and contrast companies and see examples of their work. That means you need to make sure when people in your community search for the contracting service you provide, you’re on the first page of search results, and preferably near the top.
There are companies that will help you do this with pay-per-click advertising, but that’s expensive and isn’t sustainable. Plus, they’re also helping your competitors. Focus instead on optimizing your website for organic search (unpaid search results). Use the expertise we defined above to write articles about things your audience cares about. Topics such as:
- The 4 Key Differences Between Granite and Concrete Countertops
- 5 Energy Saving Tips that Could Save You $250 a Year
- Build or Remodel? A Simple Checklist to Help You Decide
People are searching for this type of information every day. Wouldn’t it be great if they were getting it from you?
3. Active Social Media Presence
Social media is a tool you may be overlooking or misusing. It presents a real opportunity for you to market your contracting business at little or no cost. Many people create a business page on Facebook, but then soon abandon it because they “don’t have anything to say.” The second worst thing you can do on Facebook is overwhelm your audience with blatant self-promotion. But the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.
Social media works best when used regularly to deliver valuable content that engages your customers. If you begin optimizing your website with articles, as detailed above, you will have a treasure trove of content to share. You can also use social media to hand out smaller nuggets of information, like a weekly do-it-yourself tip. There’s a limitless supply of valuable information you can share to keep people engaged with your page. Social media is a tool to help you stay in front of clients and demonstrate your expertise when they don’t necessarily need your services. When they do, you’ll be top of mind and likely to get the call.
4. Easy to Refer
The job is complete. The customer is satisfied beyond their wildest expectations. You’re certain that you have a new fan who would be happy to refer you to anyone and everyone they meet. But how can you be sure of it? You need to empower your satisfied customers to be advocates of your brand. Leave them with a dozen business cards or flyers for discounted services. Better yet, offer them cash or credit on future jobs for referrals that turn into clients. Take steps to turn your biggest fans into your most active advocates.
Marketing, sales, and lead generation may not come easy to you as a contractor, and that’s all right. The more you actively commit yourself to it, the more comfortable it will become. Implementing the tips above will help you create a funnel of new leads coming in so you can focus your attention on what you do best.