facebook marketing for contractors
Feb 23

Boost Contractor Blog Traffic Using These Techniques for Promoting Your Posts on Facebook

Social Media

Promoting your blog posts on Facebook is one of the most cost-effective, efficient and smart strategies you can use to drive traffic back to your contractor blog.

First of all, Facebook audiences are huge! 68% of Americans use a Facebook account regularly, which equals nearly 220 million people. Facebook also remains the most-used mobile app. 81% of devices have it installed.

And, since the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the majority of mobile time is spent in-app, Facebook represents one of the best chances you have at getting views, shares, likes and new followers for your business.

If you’re a contractor wondering how to drive traffic to your blog using Facebook, here are eight airtight strategies you can use to get maximum visibility and a higher rate of readers with each post.

Make It a Habit to Share Every Post You Write

best online marketing for contractors

Make sharing every single post you create for your blog a habit. People are more likely to keep up with your content on the social platforms they already use compared to obsessively checking your blog page.

Consider each Facebook share as important as the blog itself. Think of the Facebook post as your store window. You want it to be enticing enough that people really want to go inside and see what else there is. You also want it to be intriguing enough that people who are just window shopping still remember your display and maybe even mention it through word of mouth.

Keep in mind that Google SEO best practices suggest not sharing each and every piece of new content you create. However, this rule likely applies to larger publishers who put out dozens if not hundreds of new blog articles a day. If, on the other hand, you only publish 1-2 times a day or less, you shouldn’t run afoul of the overpromotion threshold.

That said, if you are making new blogs multiple times a day, consider limiting the number of times you share your content. Pick just the juiciest ones to show the world.

Boost Your Post With Paid Facebook Advertising

It’s a sad reality, but Facebook has been trending towards pay-to-play for years now. Organic reach for business page posts has plummeted over the past few years.

Even worse, Facebook recently announced changes that mean it’s even less likely that audiences will see your blog posts compared to content from their friends and family. Thanks, bots!

But the good news is that Facebook’s options for “boosting” your post with an ad budget are truly amazing. Not only do you have razor-fine control over how much you spend, but you can also target specific user traits and demographics.

With just a limited budget per day, you can earn spots on the news feeds of people who will be most likely to consider your content interesting.

If, for instance, you create a blog post about “Best Places to Eat in Downtown Austin,” you can manually target people living in Austin, Round Rock and other cities nearby. You can even select particular age ranges, allowing you to pitch some of the best bar/restaurant/music venue places just to the 35 and under crowd.

Consider boosting a few of your most popular blogs each month as you start out and then move toward consistently promoting a higher ratio to get your posts the attention they deserve.

Think Mobile First

As we mentioned in the intro, if people are seeing your content on Facebook, they’re most likely viewing it on mobile. Make sure your post is optimized for smaller mobile screens, including limiting the amount of text you use in paragraph form.

Also, make sure any image you use doesn’t have tiny details that require zooming in. For instance, don’t share your entire infographic in a thumbnail size; crop out part of it and share that instead.

Most importantly, ensure your contractor blog site itself is responsive and mobile optimized. If people click to read an article they see on Facebook and end up on a messy site, most will back out immediately and not bother reading the article in full.

Make Sure You’re Writing Great Headlines

online marketing for contractors

80% of people who see your post shared on Facebook won’t get past the headline. Some will keep scrolling and not bother clicking or reading.

Others will start reacting to the post based on the headline alone. We’ve all seen it happen, and for your blog this can actually be a good thing. Great headlines have a way of getting people talking. While it’s frustrating to hear commentary from people who clearly haven’t read the article, the whole point of posting on Facebook is getting engagement.

So embrace hot takes and write good enough titles so that people who actually read have an incentive to dig further. We wrote a whole post on how to write great blog headlines for Facebook, but the gist is to use phrases that get people’s attention without being too clickbaity.

Most importantly, look to your own data for feedback on headline quality. Posts that have a low click-through rate clearly show that the headline wasn’t enticing enough. Posts with a high click or engagement rate did a good job at getting attention.

Learn lessons from past successes and failures and adjust accordingly.

Use Facebook’s Text Space to Your Advantage

Every Facebook post you create with a link has room for additional text on the Facebook post itself.

Don’t neglect the importance of the space Facebook gives you above the link! A lot of people will read that immediately after seeing the photo.

The text you add to your posts can lend context, provide a brief summary or reveal key benefits. In the example above, the restaurant not only connected the link they shared to the current weather, but they also explained that the link’s important because it was essentially an endorsement from a notable local publication.

Just remember that the maximum amount of content people can see without expanding is 480 characters. Avoid using chunks of text to get your point across. Try to be descriptive yet brief. Use any hashtags or cross-tags to other pages that are relevant to signal boost your post even further. Maybe even consider using emojis😁!

Attach Great Images to Your Blogs

Facebook posts with images get three times more engagement, which is why most posts you see from brands now include some sort of image.

Images catch our attention, and they can also begin to tell the story behind your blog. With the right image, you can elicit emotion from your audiences before they even read a single word. Once they’ve been engaged in this way, your audience will be more likely to read the actual post.

Make images as relevant as possible to the content of your posts, though. Don’t just use an image because it’s eye-catching.

Also, limit the use of text within your image. A spare amount of text can be great, but too much can prevent your boosted posts from running. Check out Facebook’s own image guidelines for more details on what they do and don’t want.

A/B Test Different Variations of Blog Post Shares

One of your best tools for marketing is the ability to split test two different versions of the same blog post

For instance, say you wanted to promote a blog about how swimming pools add value to someone’s home. You can create one version that uses an image of a happy family. You can then create another version that uses a stock image of a pool full of money.

Now, show each version to roughly the same audience and see which one gets the more clicks!

Performing these experiments can help you get details just right for each blog post you promote. It can also reveal preferences for different demographics when it comes to post design.

Pay Attention to Facebook Insights Data, and It Will Show You How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Facebook

social media marketing for contractors

At the end of the day, your own data is the best asset you have when trying to learn how to drive traffic to your contractor blog using Facebook. Take notes on what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to what times you post and how frequently.

Also, A/B test post variations vigorously to find out how to get the biggest reaction from your audience.

Finally, make sure that the content you create is absolutely worth reading! Offer value, relevance and genuine quality to your readers. Otherwise, they may not want to click no matter how enticing the preview looks. You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me eight or more times….”

marketing ideas for contractors
Feb 16

Eight Types of Blog Posts Every Contractor Should Use

Content Marketing

So you sit down to come up with topics for your next couple of blog posts and…nothing. You draw a total blank.

Sometimes business blog post ideas come hard and fast like a heavy rain. Other times you have a total mental drought on what to write about next.

Don’t sweat it! There are a couple of blog formats that can work well for just about any subject. Adding them to your repertoire can make coming up with your next blog post topics as easy as falling off a unicycle.

In fact, you can use this list to plan your blog strategy for months in advance. If you make some of these blog post types a recurring monthly series, for instance, you can know exactly what you’ll write about at least half the time.

So get out your notebook or spreadsheet and jot down the following eight great blog post formats that have a way of working well in just about any context.

(Note that the letter “X” stands for any number of list items you end up using. We’re also using [Topic] as a stand-in for whatever subject or focus you’re writing about.)

1. Best Practices in [Topic], X Killer Tips for [Topic], X [Topic] Hacks You Didn’t Know About, X Steps to Get Better at [Topic] Etc.

Everyone loves lists. They’re a top-performing content type, especially on social media.

Why are lists so effective? Well, let’s list a few reasons.

  1. They’re quick and easy to read, even if you’re just skimming.
  2. It’s an engaging format that’s easy to get into. You won’t find huge thesis introductions or the like.
  3. They cover a broad range of topics, ideas, practices, etc. efficiently.
  4. They implicitly promise a certain amount of value. You’re not just getting one tip, you’re getting X of them!
  5. They have variety. If you have a list of “10 Things You Need to Do to Feel Better at the End of the Day,” a reader can hate seven of the suggestions but still find huge value in the last three.

Of course, not just any list can fulfill this criteria when writing your contractor blog. The lists you write must contain actual value and usefulness.

That’s why blog posts that promise self-improvement do so well. Just reading the list of hacks, tips, best practices, etc. will suddenly make you better at doing that thing you wanted to do.

Try to distill or retool certain topics you want to cover into helpful lists. They strongly communicate that the article is worth every bit of the reader’s time. They also pack tons of value into a small space.

2. X Top Trends in [Topic]

Everyone wants to stay current. That’s one of the biggest reasons we go online and read content. We want to find out what’s new and exciting. We also want to avoid being left behind if the latest trends are going to soon become standard practices.

Keep your audience abreast of things happening in your industry with lists of top current trends. These post types work especially well with seasonal timing, such as “X Trends in Social Media for 2018” or “Brands Are Preparing for the 2018 Holiday Season Already Thanks to These X Trends.”

contractor marketing plan

The beauty of the term “trends” is that it’s incredibly vague.

A trend can be a best practice for something people use already. For instance, many businesses use emotional photos when sharing blogs on social as a standard practice because such photos are effective at getting engagement.

A trend can also be something relatively new, like how many businesses have started using live video broadcasts for behind the scenes looks, live announcements, Q&As and more.

Trends also include bold new ideas bursting onto the horizon. For instance, some small businesses have realized that they can be the first thing a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home suggests if they focus their SEO strategies on voice search.

In a way, listing trends is similar to offering tips and hacks, but with stronger connotations of being timely and keeping up with the Joneses. You can also discuss hot new topics that get people’s adrenaline pumping.

Make a pledge to reveal current trends at least a few times a year, and you’ll help your audience stay hip and always on the cutting edge.

3. Roundup of Top Resources in [Topic]

Even if you wrote a blog every single day, you’d never have as much content or cover as many subjects as some of the best content publishers out there.

That’s why it’s ok to send people away from your website from time to time in order to give them the exact information they need. If you can point them towards an excellent resource, then they will appreciate the huge favor you’ve done them.

Sharing great resources also has the added effect of some of their prestige rubbing off on you. “Oh man, I didn’t know how many free classes there were for coding online,” someone might say, “but this business pointed me towards Codecademy, and I’ve been using it every weekend!”

Think of it like suggesting great films to a movie buff. They’ll be impressed that you knew something they didn’t. The better quality thing you point them towards, the more prestigious you become by association.

contractor marketing tips

So what kind of resources work best?

  • Great blogs that take a more in-depth angle to topics than you do
  • Free sources of things like stock photos, how-tos, lessons, guides, etc.
  • Ways to do something cheaply, such as ordering replacement car parts yourself from a reliable online vendor
  • Lists of the best apps or tech tools to use that make their life easier
  • Explicit instructions, such as how Swim University provides infographics to help someone open their pool or balance their chemicals
  • Anything that uses humor or creativity to perfectly capture your industry, like how the Marketoonist nails the way marketers eagerly embrace technology they don’t quite know how to use properly
  • Great videos to watch on certain subjects, especially if you have a limited video content strategy

4. X Experts to Follow for [Topic]

No matter how smart you are, there are always people in your industry who will know more about something than you do. That’s totally ok! We can’t know everything, and even geniuses can be bested in certain niche topics.

Following the experts in your industry therefore makes perfect sense. They can fill you in on certain concepts, and they can also explore topics in your industry from angles you hadn’t considered.

Others may have a brilliant way of summing up complex issues in a few words. For instance, we adored this simple yet profound advice from Shopify Podcast host Kurt Elster on website design.

https://twitter.com/kurtinc/status/954044256360062976

Following industry experts and insiders also critically keeps your audience up-to-date with the absolute latest and best-of-breed ideas within your industry.

Point your audience towards your favorite mentors, geniuses, and newsbreakers. They’ll stay better-informed on topics and practices, letting you dive more in-depth with concepts thanks to them being so well versed.

5. The Ultimate Guide to [Topic]

Every once in a while, it makes complete sense to delve into a topic like you would an in-depth manual or guide. Doing so gives your audience valuable troves of information.

Guides also serve as a one-stop source for whatever topic you’re covering. While that amount of depth can seem like a lot to cover at once, you can provide a hyperlinked “Table of Contents” to make jumping between topics easier.

You can also reference the guide directly within your future content. Rather than backing up to explain the basics all the time, you can simply hyperlink to your guide.

“Ultimate Guide” posts tend to get huge volumes of shares, and search engines adore them. If you provide the right structured data, Google may even feature your guide at the very top of search engine results in their knowledge box!

6. Statistics Roundup Post

Sometimes people want “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Whether they need a lot of fact-based information to make decisions, or they just want to reference stats in their own content, creating statistics posts offer bucketloads of usefulness to audiences.

As an added bonus, each time you reference a certain statistic for your industry, you can link to your stats rundown instead of the original source. This helps your posts stay fact-based and valuable while directing fewer people away from your domain.

7. Expert Roundup — Quotes & Thoughts From Your Industry

online marketing for contractors

Rounding up expert commentary and opinions is like bringing all your favorite talking heads into one room for a conversation. You can frame a complex topic from multiple angles, or you can run through critical concepts list style alongside experts’ own input.

Consider making expert roundups a regular part of your posting schedule. They work especially well as a follow up to posts you’ve just written. For example, you can write about how to improve ecommerce sales through PPC campaigns one week, then follow up with an expert roundup on the subject the next.

8. Curated Posts and News Roundups

With the right approach, you can link to another post in a way that still brings authority to your own domain and contractor business brand.

The key is to not just introduce the piece and say “click here.” Instead, give a thorough introduction along with a brief summary. Make sure to tie the post in with any recent blog posts you’ve written regarding the topic.

Also, give your own response to the piece itself at the end. Reflect on what it means personally to your business or how it relates to core concepts you hold dear.

With this approach, something as a simple as a post share can easily turn into a 500 word article with an extremely low likelihood of an SEO penalty.

You can even curate several posts in a row as part of a news roundup for your industry. Doing this once a week or once a month can provide great content for email subscribers as well as your regular blog readers.

Coming Up With Good Contractor Blog Post Ideas Doesn’t Have to Mean Reinventing the Wheel

All of the above post types use a standardized, structured format while still inviting plenty of room for your own personal flavor and creativity.

Don’t think of using these business blog post ideas as a crutch! Instead, they serve as a springboard for your own contractor content marketing ideas to come forth.

Audiences also like knowing exactly what to expect when they click to read something, and these blog ideas definitely give them that.

So stay creative and true to your audience but don’t bend over backwards just to come up with new blog topics all the time. Using the formats above, you can feel like most of the work is done for you before you even write the first word.

social media marketing for contractors
Feb 02

5 Ways For Contractors to Revamp Their Social Media Strategy in 2018

Social Media

With just a few improvements, your social media profiles could become the crown jewel of your digital marketing strategy in 2018. By switching up your approach and committing to a higher level of quality, you could soon be generating more leads, revenue, and interest in your company with minimal effort.

The great thing about social media marketing is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time to work wonders. If you plan ahead and use social media to reinforce your other marketing activities, you can achieve huge ROI through both organic and paid social campaigns.

So, to inspire you to improve your social presence and go beyond expectations, try implementing the following five highly effective social media marketing improvements in 2018.

Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy Document

contractor marketing strategy

Writing down your marketing ideas matters. According to CoSchedule, professionals who document their planned marketing strategy are over five times more likely to achieve success. Also, 88% of people who set marketing goals actually achieve them.

Documenting your social strategy involves both high-level and low-level considerations.

On the high level, you want to include your overarching goals for social. You want to describe how social media fits within your overall digital marketing plan. You want a few guiding pointers for brand voice and the type of values you want to express.

For low-level strategy, consider how often you want to post per week or per month. Plan a budget for the next quarter. Describe publisher sources for shared content you want to write.

Getting all of this down in writing helps you stay focused and consistent. It also makes it easier to communicate your intended strategy to others, such as employees or contract marketers.

Most importantly, it keeps you from approaching your social media activities haphazardly. Having intention and purpose is the key to achieving better results.

Coordinate Social Posts With Specific Campaigns

If you want to push your social media marketing to the next level in 2018, try a couple of test campaigns. These campaigns should tie into special events, promotions or campaign pushes so that they can have an express purpose beyond “just posting because.”

For instance, if you have a promotional offer like a free consultation, your social campaigns can convert audiences into leads or customers. If you have an event, like a big in-store sale, you will be aiming to increase foot traffic over the sale period.

Connecting social media activity to campaigns in this way ties them to concrete goals. Your performance can be benchmarked, helping you seek out ways to improve your next campaign based on past data.

For each campaign, create custom graphics and a variety of post ideas. For example, you can plan to develop a few beautiful photo-based posts as a way to turn heads on a platform like Instagram. You can also create a few strong call-to-action posts to generate interest and early signups on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Creating special, limited time campaigns like these helps you learn quick lessons and improve rapidly with your social media use. The data you generate and experience you gain gives you skills that make you better at using social media, helping you improve and accomplish your goals more consistently over time.

Create Content Marketing Assets and Landing Pages Just for Social

contractor online marketing

You can significantly upgrade your social media marketing returns by creating assets specifically designed to complement social posts.

For instance, you can create a lead capture landing page for specific target segments to use with targeted promoted social media posts. That way, your call to action can take 18-year-old college students to a different page with different appeals than your page aiming to convert 70-year-old retirees.

You can also create assets that you know will perform well on social, such as infographics. Infographics get around 41.5% engagement, on average, making them the content with the second-best ROI behind video.

Developing assets like these help connect your social media presence to customer actions that actually generate revenue. They also ensure you have a best-fit destination for each outgoing click to your website, as opposed to shoehorning a single “contact us” page link into every post or something similar. Since each asset is custom-made for social, they’re better suited to their individual purpose.

Invest in Professional Grade Social Video

Speaking of developing visual content with high ROI, now is the time to start considering using video within your social media marketing strategy.

Businesses that use video marketing generate 66% more qualified customer leads and earn 54% more brand awareness compared to those that don’t use any video. Even more impressive, 77% of small business owners who use video report significant benefits and positive ROI.

In the past, we’ve mentioned how live video and repurposing content as slideshows can be a great way to dip your toes into the video marketing scene. But to truly revamp your social presence, you should consider budgeting for a few (3-5) short, professionally made video assets worth sharing on social.

Why? Because these assets get attention and shape the way people see your business. They serve as a form of social proof for the quality of your services when they include live testimonials. They give you something to link to within other campaigns and to embed within your blogs. They also serve as brief sales pitches that can be far more convincing than any chunk of text.

For best results, plan ahead for when and why you want to use your video assets and how you can repurpose them in multiple ways for future campaigns.

Promote Posts to Targeted Audiences with Paid Social Advertising

contractor advertising online

Like video, we’ve suggested using paid social media advertising several times at this point. Well, we’re going to mention it again because it’s an easy marketing method that can have a huge impact on your bottom line!

Social media engagement almost always comes at a lower cost per lead and cost per click compared to advertising on paid search or through display ads. Promoted social media posts can also be targeted to specific customer segments, helping you get your messages in front of the perfect audience you need to earn more customers.

Social advertising platforms also generate useful data to help structure, strategize and shape your future social media marketing plans. Combine it with any and all of the strategies above to take a truly professional turn in 2018 and create a more polished and welcoming social media presence.

email marketing for contractors
Jan 26

Contractors, Here Are 7 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Email Marketing

Mobile Marketing

Email marketing has come back in full force, and brands that know their way around best practices can reap huge returns.

According to a survey of marketers conducted last summer, the average ROI from email campaigns was over 100 percent! This ROI beat out other marketing channels by over four times, including social media, paid search, and direct mail.

One study from 2015 even found that email marketing could generate as much as $38 for every $1 spent, which equals a mind-blowing 3,800% percent ROI.

For anyone trying to squeeze more out of their email marketing or turn around their lackluster campaign success, here are 7 pointers for increasing the effectiveness of your email efforts.

Segment Your List (Or Risk Being Irrelevant)

Talk to people about topics, products and ideas they are interested in.

According to an infographic by Mailigen, using segmented, relevant messaging more than doubles your open rate while driving 18x more revenue for your campaigns.

This approach makes a lot of sense if you have ever been to a party where someone is droning on and on about something you just don’t care to hear about or have any interest in. “Have you seen how expensive jogging strollers are these days?” they ask, not bothering to remember you don’t have kids and haven’t jogged since high school.

While the person talking may feel like they aren’t being terribly rude, to the recipient it can feel a bit more personal. “I don’t care what you are actually interested in” the person communicates. “Everyone is equally interested in what I have to say.”

Not having email segments is the same thing. Ensure your list is segmented by buyer persona so that every message is as relevant as possible.

For people who self-subscribe, you can even give them a chance to customize the content they receive by interest, product category and other choices from a pick-list. Just don’t count on them to do all the work of segmenting for you!

Using an email automation system like Constant Contact or Mailchimp is critical to keeping these segments organized, but you can also potentially do-it-yourself by just separating your mailing lists into separate content buckets.

Once you have segments established, take a moment to strategize the difference between each segment based on consumer traits, progress through sales pipeline and other situations. Then, outline the type of content that would be most relevant to each segment as well as what would be least relevant and should not be sent.

Taking a moment to get to know your audience can dramatically increase your open rates while lowering the amount of frustrated subscribers.

Use Personalization to Make Recipients Perk Up

When we hear our names — even if we know it’s someone else with the same name being called — we tend to take notice. Chances are good that your parents were pros at this technique. When they said your name before a sentence, you knew they meant business!

We have the same reaction when we see our names in an email. Personalization with a name and other details increases open rates by 26 percent, and it can even help drive brand affinity.

Note that personalization involves more than just adding a first name to an email. The entire message should be framed as if the recipient is having a 1:1 conversation with the sender. LinkedIn has become a pro at this tactic. They use personalization in a way that makes you sit up and listen.

contractor email marketing lists

Looking at moi? Go on, I’m listening!

The above message not only includes a name but signals that an exciting activity has happened. It says people are looking at your profile. Think of ways to mirror this effect so people get excited or intrigued just from looking at a subject line.

Segmenting your user base by the products they have bought (or expressed interest in) is another way to connect more deeply right from the subject line. “New Jeep Anniversary Fog Lights” can be a way for a Jeep Wrangler owner to have immediate interest, for instance.

Data shows that this type of personalization is table stakes for marketers with successful email programs. “88 percent of those that exceeded revenue expectations have personalization measurement systems in place,” says Inc.

Test Subject Lines Rigorously

A lot of marketers mess up promotional emails right from the moment they begin creating the subject line. You should scrutinize your subject line, get in-house feedback from a fresh set of eyes, and A/B test different subject lines before rolling out massive campaigns.

The first step is to make sure you are using some sort of subject line preview tool, like this one. Seeing your subject line visually helps you better-imagine how a recipient would react to it in their inbox.

Take special note of how the email looks on mobile devices since over half of email opens come via mobile. People tend to filter out what emails to read by the subject line alone. 69 percent of email recipients will report a message as spam based solely on the subject line.

Worst words to use include:

  1. FREE
  2. $$$
  3. Earn
  4. Guaranteed
  5. Whitepaper, journal, report

Some of the best words include:

  1. [Recipient Name]
  2. You/Your
  3. Thank you
  4. Account
  5. Monthly
  6. Subject 1 | Subject 2 | Subject 3 (e.g. “Bid Bonds | Liability Insurance | Worker’s Comp”)

Note that not every “common marketing knowledge” pointer like this list may work for you and your audience. Always test to be sure!

Promise to Not Waste Their Time by Always Signaling Value

Thinking like a recipient means coming up with ways to offer something they might actually want. For sales and promotional offers, think of the hottest product they might want or the best offer possible. Don’t just tell them there’s a “sale”; tell them what that means.

contractor internet marketing

Humble Bundle, which offers discount video game bundles, leads with its most popular game in the package.

When offering something non-material, like information, explain clearly how the contents of the email benefit the user. It could be something deep/important like “Want More 5 Star Reviews☆☆☆☆☆?” or even the promise that “You’ll Laugh Way Too Hard at These Marketing Puns”.

Many email marketers find great results by telling their audience how they can get more out of the products or services they already use.

The New York Times has gotten this down to an art. Since there is a million different pieces of content on their site other than what you see on the homepage, they take it upon themselves to inform subscribers about how they can learn and do more on NYTimes.com.

independent contractor email marketing

Get more from my subscription while spending less time? Sure, why not?

Use Powerful Images and Video to Get a Reaction

HTML-based email templates have transformed inboxes from a boring wall of text to a gorgeous place for showcasing compact content or well-designed advertisements.

Images are especially important for mobile since they make messages more colorful and intriguing as well as easier to read. Since 80 percent of email users are expected to access their inbox via mobile at least some of the time by 2018, thinking about their needs is vital.

contractor marketing strategy

Using human-centered images like this stock photo can invoke emotion and draw the eye to certain email sections.

Make sure you have text-only alternatives for image blockers, and try not to get too overboard with the images you use. Using images in a sloppy or unappealing way can sometimes hurt rather than help.

Using video embedded within email or as a link can likewise help you improve open rates and click-throughs. According to one source, just using the word “video” in a subject line can boost clickthroughs by 65 percent and opens by 19 percent.

Tell People What to Do with a Single Call to Action

This one is simple: every email should have a call to action (CTA).

Your CTA can be nearly anything, including:

  • Go buy this product
  • Take advantage of a limited-time offer
  • Try our tips
  • Go learn/read more at this page
  • Attend our event
  • Upgrade your current service package
  • Book a free consultation

Ensure that your CTA is crystal clear and compelling. Every recipient should know exactly what you want them to do and how to do it.

Providing a landing page after clicks to direct them more linearly to an offer can help simplify the process further. That way, your real CTA is just “Click Here,” and then you can drive more complex conversions from the landing page.

Avoid conflicting CTAs or multiple messages. No matter what you say, your ultimate conclusion leads the audience down ONE possible path. This practice will help your clickthroughs thrive.

Study Email Marketing Analytics Like You Have a Test Coming Up

Lots of email marketing strategies tend to work well across the board for a majority of industries, but there is no single set of hard-and-fast rules. Instead, every company has to study their own data in order to find what their audience seems to like/dislike about their emails.

Learn how to learn more from your email analytics, and use the lessons to optimize your approach over time. Trial-and-error is the only way to truly get better at something, and luckily email gives you plenty of lessons in the form of data.

Stick to Best Practices to Drive Success in Email Marketing

Mastering email marketing takes a lot of experimentation, practice, trial-and-error and attention to detail, but by following the best practices mentioned above, you can be well on your way towards greater success.

Just to recap your keys to success:

  1. Use segmentation to maximize relevance
  2. Personalize emails to get attention
  3. Test subject lines, mind your length and think like a recipient
  4. Promise true value to the recipient through your word choice and messaging
  5. Use emotional images in your layout
  6. Direct people to act with a single strong CTA
  7. Use analytics data to optimize your approach over time

Pay attention to what your data tells you, and keep up with the latest email marketing trends and advice on our blog to learn best practices that make you an email genius over time!

marketing tips for contractors
Jan 22

How to Write Headlines Your Customers Can’t Resist

Content Marketing

In many ways, the headline is the most important part of a blog post or article. Headlines spark action. They can make people click. An eye-catching headline on social media can draw tons of comments — many from people reacting off the headline alone.

Headlines can also shape how people digest the message of a blog by creating context and expectations — all through a strong first impression.

But, most importantly, headlines tell us what we need to know in order to get invested. With so many distractions and options for reading content online, we need information that helps us choose how to spend our limited time.

The best headlines therefore serve as a promise to the reader about what they’ll get for their time. Never forget that a great headline acts like a bargain: “read this, and you’ll get something special or valuable or informative out of it.”

So how do you start to shape expectations and earn interest right from the headline? You can rely on a couple of tried-and-true formulas, as one option. You should also mull how accurately and succinctly your headline summarizes the central takeaway of your post.

To help you get started, here are three methods you can try in 2018 to write better blog headlines and earn more clicks, along with a few other tips.

Method 1: Distill Your Article Into a Headline by Gradually Dropping Your Word Count

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This first method is time consuming and involves some hefty thinking, but after a few tries you’ll be able to do it subconsciously in seconds.

In fact, most of us already try to use this method when writing headlines, we just don’t think about it. Getting practice makes your approach more deliberate while teaching you how to skim your content for an accurate central takeaway.

The method works like this:

  1. Identify a central thesis, argument, idea or purpose of the article
  2. Identify two to four main sub-points or pieces of evidence for the main point
  3. Use the above two items to summarize your article in less than 200 words
  4. After writing your summary, edit it down to 100 words
  5. Edit your 100 word summary down to 50 words
  6. Edit your 50 word summary into a single sentence
  7. Take your sentence-length summary and condense it further into a headline below 90 characters
  8. See if you can condense the message into just a few words using less than 65 characters
  9. Re-read your 200 word summary to see if you left anything important out, then come up with an alternative <70 character headline
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 to come up with a few alternative options

This method may seem tedious, but it’s good practice for teaching your brain to recognize thought processes we take for granted. Translating a huge chunk of text into a short summary involves lots of mental processing, but we are able to do it in seconds thanks to our wonderful minds.

At the same time, our minds are trying to do a million other things when we write headlines. Using the above method keeps us focused on a central idea, and it can steer your headline writing back to a more logical place if you ever feel lost.

Method 2: Use Headline Formulas That Earn Tons of Clicks

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Publishers like Buzzfeed, Upworthy and Bored Panda don’t earn millions of clicks a week by coincidence. They have blog writing down to a science, including the practice of writing juicy headlines that generate stampedes of clicks.

Based on research and performance data, here are a few of the most successful three-word headline phrases these publishers use to generate huge, highly engaged audiences:

  • will make you
  • this is why
  • can we guess
  • only X in
  • the reason is
  • are freaking out
  • X stunning photos
  • tears of joy
  • is what happens

Other common traits of popular headlines include:

  • Using numbers to imply a list (“10 Reasons Why…”)
  • Referring to the audience in the second-person (“You Won’t Believe…”)
  • Implying emotion (“This Hilarious Piece of Advice…”)
  • Lead with a strong, commanding action verb (“Take Control of Your Day by…”)

There are also many other tried-and-true blog headline writing formulas worth experimenting with.

Now, when looking at these lists, some may refer to this data-based approach to writing blog titles as “making clickbait.” Those people would be correct.

Even though clickbait-ish headlines have become a punchline, they still work. A post like “Watching This Baby See Her Dad for the First Time Will Make You Smile” sets a concrete promise to the reader for what they’ll get out of the post.

Our cynicism towards headlines like these comes from the fact that we click on these posts only to feel deceived. E.g.: “No, #16 did not surprise us, Buzzfeed, because it’s literally the first thing we thought of.”

So, when writing headlines with this approach, make sure they still accurately reflect the actual content of your article. Which brings us to method #3.

Method 3: Compromise by Combining Headlines From Methods 1 and 2

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Rand Fishkin of Moz offers a handy way to resolve the conflict between headline descriptiveness and viral appeal.

He suggests creating at least one headline using each of the above methods. Then, try to combine them.

Here’s an example:

  • Descriptive Headline: “Implied Consent Laws Demand Choice Between Incriminating Yourself and Mandatory Jail Time”
  • Sensational Headline: “This One Weird Trick Could Get You Out of a DUI, But You May Spend the Night in Jail!”
  • Combination: “Here’s What Happens When You Delay Your Breathalyzer Test in an Implied Consent State”

Now, an even better headline might read: “5 Reasons to Delay Your Breathalyzer Test in an Implied Consent State”. Why? Because they then know they don’t have to read the whole article to get the gist. They can just read the five subheadings in quick succession.

That particular headline requires the article to be broken down in list format, though, so consider the how you might use the structure of your article to create an appealing headline before you start writing.

A Few Other Tips to Help You Write Better Blog Headlines

  • Look up synonyms to replace weak words with stronger ones or multiple words with a single descriptive one
  • Use strong verbs
  • Avoid using “being” verbs like “is” and “are”
  • Use CTR to gauge how clickable your headline is; make note of high benchmarks to learn from them
  • If you have a high CTR but a high bounce rate for your content, that’s a sign your headlines need to more accurately reflect your post content
  • Beware of spam trigger words, especially when sending emails
  • You can A/B test multiple headline options when creating promoted social media posts or email campaigns; study the results to find patterns for successful headlines
  • When in doubt, come up with at least five alternatives and ask someone for their input!

Headline writing is a tricky dance, but when you recognize what’s important, it becomes that much easier. Keep your audience’s valuable time in mind, promise them something great, don’t misrepresent the post, and study your own data to discover what works!

Jan 19

Thinking About Hiring a Blog Writer? Watch Out for These 6 Common Mistakes

Content Marketing

Few contractors have both the time and skill with words needed to do their company blog justice. Business blogs need to look polished and represent the brand well, yet learning to write professionally is a trial-and-error process.

Considering all these personal limitations and high expectations, outsourcing blog writing makes perfect sense. But there is a right way and a wrong way to hire a writer. Many contractors commit hefty mistakes when offering someone the chance to take the reins on their business blog.

Here are six of the biggest of those mistakes. Watch out for them when hiring a blog writer to avoid frustrating setbacks and to ensure your blog is as great as it deserves to be.

Going With the Lowest Bidder

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This is absolutely the most crucial mistake. Remember the maxim: “you get what you pay for.”

Hiring the cheapest writer you can find creates problems because it assumes the only goal for your blog is to have something published on it. In reality, you want every article published to fit a few criteria:

  • Proper grammar, spelling and syntax
  • An engaging structure that is as easy to read to completion as it is to skim quickly
  • A compelling voice
  • Research and effort during prewriting so that your blogs are informative and offer value
  • Able to capture the unique perspective of your brand or company

Hiring the cheapest writer guarantees none of these things. In fact, you are highly likely to end up with a non-native English speaker who is going to copy the first article they find on Google search …badly.

Have high standards in mind, and use them to make your budget reasonable. Keep in mind that a badly written blog can cause damage to your brand and marketing goals, making a poorly run blog worse than no blog at all.

Not Looking at Their Resume and Past Work

The best indicator of a writer’s strength is their past work. You will want to see a broad range of writing styles covering all the topic types you intend for your blog.

Some writers work better in an editorial format compared to a list of “X reasons why…”, for instance, so ensure the writer you have in mind is capable of creating what you need.

You should also look out for a writer who is able to write engagingly in several different voices. They should be chameleons capable of mimicking your particular brand. At the same time, they should have consistent stylistic devices that make reading their pieces easy and fun.

Hold out for writers who can impress you with their past work and their overall versatility. As a final test, you should also commission a sample piece to ensure they can satisfy your desired writing approach.

Not Setting Goals and Expectations

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The best writer in the world is going to struggle with meeting your expectations if you can’t make them clear.

Since no one can read minds, you will need to explain the purpose of your blog and what you intend to get out of it to the writer. These guiding principles will help the writer shape their approach to your blog.

For instance, if your goal is SEO and generating traffic from social media shares, then the writer may take a more “viral” approach. If the aim is to generate leads and develop brand awareness, quality information and a strong brand voice matters most. If the goal is to create a guide to complex topics in your industry or operate as a sales funnel, the overall strategy for blog topic selection and publishing matters as much as each individual piece.

Define your goals, and make them clear to your writer. At the very least, provide an overview of the type of topics you want to cover and what you intend readers to do next. For example, if you have SEO goals, provide a sample of keywords they can work into the writing.

Establish guidelines for how casual or professional you want the language to be. Give a range of article lengths. Tell them what elements they need to include upon submission to make your life easier, such as adding images or including a meta description.

Put all of these guidelines in a document, and ensure your writer has no questions. You don’t want them reaching out via email at the last minute just to get a piece done. If they have a document to refer to, they can self guide and make the process for both of you easier.

Going With a Strong Writer Who Can’t Match Your Brand Voice

Make sure that any writer you hire can adopt the approach and voice you want to represent your brand. A great test is to provide them guidelines for a sample article using excerpts from blogs you like and some loosely described ideas you’ve had.

If they can produce something that comes across as similar to something you’d write or close to a blog style you want to emulate, you know they’re a keeper.

Not Establishing a Set Workflow and Process After Hiring a Blog Writer

At the beginning of your relationship, you and your writer should know how the typical process for submitting blogs should work. Tell them the deadline for each piece. Tell them whether you want an outline or topic proposal submitted first. Explain how many revisions you might typically go through.

Setting guidelines for touching base is also critical. Even though some professional relationships can work well on autopilot, the last thing you want is for your writer to go AWOL on you. Yet, this can easily happen if they didn’t have clear expectations on when you wanted to hear from them next.

Your writer can also become frustrated if you change your process constantly or add on unexpected things like major changes between drafts. Try to work towards consistency.

Not Talking Strategy With Your Writer

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When you hire a new writer, you form a relationship that can be quite beneficial to you both. The best way for this relationship to blossom is to have talk strategy, performance and feedback at key points in the year.

Try to schedule a call or meeting with your writer at least quarterly. Discuss your upcoming plans. Offer both praise and suggestions for improvement. See if they have any ideas you could work into your blog strategy. Make a goal to push your blogging to become better month after month.

Following all of the suggestions above ensures you don’t just find a great writer, but that you also develop a professional working relationship that gets better over time. If you can do all this, you will be much happier with the work from your writer and happier about the content marketing results they help your blog achieve.

digital marketing for contractors
Jan 15

5 Keys to Reputation Marketing Success For Contractors

Reputation

What is Reputation Marketing?

Reputation marketing is a specialized version of brand marketing. Contractors devote a great deal of time and resources to branding their business, with more attention devoted to digital branding than ever before.

Reputation marketing refers to the real-time brand identity that contractors capture from online comments, reviews, complaints, and critiques that come from their customers.

Word of mouth is more powerful than ever, only now it comes in the shape of blog comments, re-tweets, Facebook likes, and sharing/liking/following on every social media platform possible.

Reputation marketing allows your business to take what consumers are already saying about your services, and leverage it for your own use, to increase your industry ratings and, ultimately, your revenue.

5 Keys to Reputation Marketing Success

Given that reputation marketing stems from what other people are saying about your business, it’s tempting to sit back and relax.

You can’t control what people will post or change the mind of every customer who has a bad review, so you can just leave them to say what they will, right?

Wrong – reputation marketing isn’t just people’s ideas about your business that pop into their head for no reason.

Reputation marketing is the active management of your customer’s comments and criticisms to create the brand image that you desire.

Reputation marketing doesn’t need to be complicated, just stick with these core strategies to achieve reputation marketing success:

1. Create Systems for Collecting Feedback

Rather than just trolling around to find out what people are saying about your service, go out there and capture that information yourself.

Customers are eager to review services and weigh in with their opinions, so create forums for them to do so and collect the data that comes from it.

Some of the most effective ways to gather feedback on your brand is through online surveys, contests for users on your Facebook page or from your email list, opening your blog posts up for comments, or tweeting questions for your followers to answer.

This type of data collection is priceless – it gives you a direct link to what your customer thinks.

Don’t let this information go to waste – devote some analysis to your reputation marketing strategy where you look closely at who your customers are. Are they the same people that you thought you were targeting?

What are their buying patterns? Ages? Where do they live? Which customers seem more likely to leave a positive review?

Developing systems for data collection and interpretation allows you to tap into the great resources that are already out there via your online presence.

2. Build Your Reputation

Waiting around for a good reputation to “happen” to you isn’t an effective marketing strategy.

If you want to have your customers say positive things about your products and services, you need to put the time and energy into making that happen.

To do this, you need to open yourself up to what’s going on around you. Read the comments, search relevant hashtags, or scan the internet for reviews of your business.

Once you're aware of what people are saying, you have the power to harness it.

Take your bad reviews and deconstruct them. What specifically are you doing wrong? If enough people have the same comments, changing the way you perform in that area can create a huge shift in your customer's minds.

Then look at the praise your brand gets – what are the areas that you excel in? How can you strive to be even better, so you leave your competitor far behind you?

Reviews are an indispensable way to gather your customers' likes and dislikes about your services so you can turn around and give them exactly what they want.

3. Market Your Reputation

Even though your customers are doing a substantial portion of your marketing for you, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue using your existing channels to communicate your brand’s message.

To use reputation marketing to your advantage when creating your other campaigns, you need to pay close attention.

This means looking at more than just whether your customers are leaving positive or negative reviews. Drill down into the specific things they’re saying.

Paying attention to the keywords that keep popping up in your comments or online reviews can inspire your next campaign and directly address those comments.

For example, if you keep seeing the word “inconvenient” coming up in negative reviews, you can tailor your marketing campaigns or social media strategies to focus on highlighting how convenient your product or service can make their lives.

In this way, reputation marketing helps you identify a problem and create a solution to it that you can drop directly in your customer's laps.

4. Manage Your Reputation

The beauty of reputation marketing is the wealth of information it gives about your customers. To keep their comments and reviews pouring in, you’ll need to spend some time creating an incentive for your customers to engage in the conversation.

For example, you might see a spike in reviews when you introduce a new service. However, after several months on the market, you may lose momentum and see your customers turn their attention elsewhere.

To manage your reputation and keep the dialogue open, your business sometimes has to make an effort to keep the hype going, so you don't fall off your customers' radars.

Some ideas for generating buzz is to create and offer promotions, special offers for your followers, host events, or offer exclusive discounts.

These tactics motivate customers to purchase when they might normally be ready to move onto the next thing.

best marketing strategies for contractors

5. Monitor Your Reputation

The key to monitoring your reputation is in repetition. This doesn’t mean reading reviews once and then never looking at them again. The conversation is always changing. What was irrelevant yesterday could be tomorrow’s hottest trend.

For this reason, monitoring requires regular attention to what’s being said about your brand. This might mean a weekly or daily read through your social media posts, searching for online reviews, and scrolling through the comments on your blog or Facebook page.

Regular monitoring allows you to see if things are working or if they're de-railing in a relatively short period. Looking at comments once a year means that someone may have said something negative six months ago that you could have acted on or addressed, and now it's too late.

Keeping close tabs on your reputation allows you to spring into action as soon as your customers identify an area that needs improvement.

Consumers love to support contractors who have a personal touch. If your reputation matters to you and you make an effort to give your customers what they want (not just what you think they do), you’ll stand out in a sea of faceless businesses who don’t have the time to listen to their ideas and comments. Satisfying and delighting your customers doesn’t require a flashy sales tactics or aggressive marketing.

What you need to do is get quiet and listen. Your customers are telling you what they want, what they dislike, and what they love.

Now it’s your job to deliver more of the things that make them happy and keep them engaged in the success of your business for effective reputation marketing.

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Jan 12

Is Your Contractor Company Blog Not Working? Here’s 5 Reasons Why That May Be

Content Marketing

Content marketing and blogging have proven to be effective digital marketing methods. Done right, they can generate leads and convert people to the next stage of your marketing funnel.

Yet, plenty of contractor company blogs completely struggle to meet their content marketing goals. For one reason or another, they fail to find the right audience — or, for some, any audience at all.

Other blogs earn plenty of traffic but lackluster conversion numbers. Still others have myriad issues of their own related to various mistakes in strategy, positioning, site design and more.

To help you pinpoint where your issues may lie and how you can improve your blog performance, we have come up with five reasons why your current blog may not be working. These observations come from common company blog mistakes in the industry and how the top blogs fix them to find success.

You Don’t Have Your Target Audience in Mind

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Before you write a new blog, you should always stop to check in with your audience goals. Namely: who is this blog for?

Consider your ideal target audience based on who you think will help you succeed in your contractor business goals. If, for instance, you are a B2B software company, you may assume that your audience has at least a small level of expertise in your line of work. But if you are a financial services provider to a typical consumer, then you are going to have to cover even the most basic concepts to ensure your audience can keep up.

By the same token, you have to think about things your audience would be interested in reading. For instance, while someone in IT may be excited about “a new way to configure proxy servers,” the average consumer will want to know less about the solution itself and more about the benefits it offers. Looking at the latter type, they may need a headline that reads something like “New Method for Connecting Online Makes Actions Happen in Nanoseconds,” or something similar.

Think about what your audience needs to see to understand the point you’re trying to make, and think about the emotional triggers that can spur them to be interested enough to click. When you can understand what these needs, expectations and emotional triggers are, you can earn a higher volume of clicks from targeted audience groups.

Your Level of Quality Is Low

Spelling, grammar, and structure are all critical when writing blog entries. We say this not just because people will split hairs online (and they will), but more because rampant issues affect readability.

If your sentences don’t make sense, no one will be able to understand your point. If you misspell words, people may be confused as to what you meant to say. Use a spell checker, and have someone with a solid sense of grammar review your posts for publication.

As for structure, try to lay out your blog in a way that makes it skimmable. Instantly start with a topic introduction that tells people what they will get out of reading. Then, break up your main point into several sub-topics that are easily read in small bite sizes.

Try to let one thought flow into the next. Make sure that almost everything you say builds off the last point, and always stay focused on the central purpose of your post. Getting feedback from others and rereading your post drafts after an hour or so of writing them can both help you think more like your audience and write more persuasive, compelling articles.

Your Blog Titles Aren’t Interesting

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Certain approaches to headline writing can grab our attention, while others simply don’t work. If you find you have low conversions for your blog posts through search engines or social media, maybe your titles are to blame.

You can reference this guide to the most popular headlines on Facebook from Buzzsumo to get you started. Rand Fishkin of Moz also has a handy suggestion for writing short yet compelling headlines that don’t leave anything out.

You Don’t Have a Strong Call to Action

With limited exceptions, most business blogs will want to close out with a strong call to action (CTA). This section comes after the argument being made is completely wrapped up. It then instructs the reader on what they should do next in order to find even more information or benefits.

Example calls to action include:

  • Take a look at our product page…
  • Sign up for our email list…
  • View further information for an upcoming course/webinar/event…
  • Visit a service page for more information…
  • Contact us to start the conversation…
  • Read our other content…

Whatever your call to action is, make sure it is clear and written as a strong command or suggestion. While that may seem pushy, people respond better to messages written in this format and remember them more clearly.

You’ll start to notice that most marketers do this, too. A commercial would never say “consider visiting our store during our sales event.” Instead, they would lead with a commanding verb: “Come visit our store during our one-day sales event to get incredible savings!”

You Don’t Have the Right Landing Pages and Lead Capture Forms to Guide Your Audience to the Next Step

Sometimes when you can’t convert blog readers, the issue isn’t the blog itself but the website ecosystem around it.

Put simply: make sure that your calls to action lead to compelling landing pages or website pages. These pages should capture audience interest and further direct them to the next step.

If you don’t have anything like this available, make one! Even something as simple as a custom “Contact Us” landing page can help you convert more people compared to linking to your normal Contact Us page.

For normal website pages you want to link to, like explanations of your services, ensure that the page guides the reader through the most important information and benefits first, concluding in yet another strong CTA.

You may not even need a landing page link to accomplish certain goals. For instance, many websites have found that email address capture forms displayed adjacent to blog content work better than a custom landing page.

Just make sure that any forms present on your content are short and involve minimal work. Their placement should also not disrupt the reader’s ability to digest the content at their own pace.

Let Data Tell You About the Company Blog Mistakes You’re Making

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The above suggestions work well in general, but you need to know what you’re blog has to change to get better performance.

To learn what that might be, look to your own data. You can configure Google Analytics for free to inform you about where, exactly, your blog is failing you.

A low click through rate (CTR) on organic search means that maybe your titles or meta descriptions need work, for instance. A decent readership but low conversions means you need more convincing calls to action and easier access to the next step for readers. A high bounce rate means that people were intrigued by your headline, but didn’t like what they saw when they clicked.

Study your data, pledge to work on best practices, and write for your audience. These approaches will help you get better performance from your company blog in 2018 as you make marginal improvements over time.

facebook marketing for contractors
Jan 08

2018 Trends in Facebook Advertising That Will Help Contractors Reach Prospects

Social Media

Facebook has come a long way since its debut in 2004, especially when it comes to the Facebook Advertising platform. Facebook has almost single-handedly turned paid social media marketing into a cornerstone of modern digital marketing tactics.

In the next year to come, we can all expect Facebook to evolve in deeper ways. These evolutions include both new features and shifts in the way business will be able to use Facebook ads to reach prospects.

Let’s explore the most important Facebook advertising trends for 2018. With them, you can improve your marketing funnel and hopefully find more leads than ever in the coming year.

The Importance of Facebook Video Ads

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Mobile audiences eat up video more hungrily than ever. Altogether, Facebook users watch over 100 million hours of video a day.

As a result of their demand and improvements in video players, we have seen an explosion in both paid and organic video content.

On average, videos on Facebook get 135% more organic reach than photos.

Contractors can potentially improve both their organic reach and engagement on paid posts by creating more promotional assets as videos. Making the switch does not have to be expensive or painful either.

With just a few Facebook video ads, you can improve engagement and prospecting. You also help people remember your messaging since people remember video almost seven-times better than they do text.

More Diverse Ad Types

In addition to video ads, Facebook has been quietly diversifying their ad inventory. Marketers and contractors can use these ad formats to accomplish specific business goals.

  • Carousel ads can use multiple images, multiple offers, or multiple USPs in one go, providing a richer experience and a more compelling CTA.
  • Slideshow ads use lightweight video to load faster and intrude less on the browsing experience. They can be a great transition for contractors looking to create more video.
  • Collection ads allow users to browse through multiple products or informational pages in-app. This grows awareness while generating less friction compared to an outbound link.
  • Canvas mobile Facebook ad formats transform your ad from a single video or image into a full screen, scrolling experience. Use them to showcase high-quality assets or nurture prospects further along in the buy cycle.
  • Dynamic ads can use a single ad template to promote several products or create customized pitches for different segments. These ads maximize relevance and returns while helping you A/B test more quickly.
  • Link ads include a prominent, customizable CTA button to direct prospects to a landing page or offer. They encourage action, increasing conversions.
  • Lead ads incorporate a lead capture form directly in the app! We’ll explain the significance of this ad type and similar formats below.

Understanding and taking advantage of these Ad Types will be a large key to success.

Facebook Likes To Keep People On The Facebook Platform

social media marketing for contractors

Ad formats like lead ads and collection ads keep audiences in-app as they interact with your brand.

For instance, Lead ads pull up a lead capture form in-app and autopopulates it with information from the users Facebook user profile. This feature dramatically reduces friction in your marketing funnel, encouraging more prospects to convert thanks to the simpler process. You also reduce the number of needed assets by getting rid of certain landing pages.

Because of these abilities, Hubspot asserts that Lead ads can “skyrocket conversion rates and make mobile ads more effective for B2B marketers.”

Understanding Facebook's goals for their user experience will enable you to get the most out of your Facebook advertising budget.

Paid Advertising Increases (As Organic Reach Nosedives)

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Facebook made waves when they announced that they were experimenting with a newsfeed that contained zero organic branded posts. All of this content would be moved to a separate “Explore” feed.

If Facebook implements this change globally, then all branded Facebook Pages will see their organic reach tank.

Even if that doesn’t happen, though, these Pages have already seen dramatic drops in reach over the past few years. With fewer people seeing their content appear on its own, these Pages must now resort to funding paid Facebook advertising campaigns in order to generate impressions.

Truth be told: this has been the situation for years. Contractors simply cannot rely on the Facebook algorithm to serendipitously show their content to meet their reach goals. By funding a paid ad or promoted post campaign, you guarantee yourself a sizeable audience.

Even better, you can fine-tune the targeting for your ads to maximize relevance and ROI. Facebook has gotten much more granular with its targeting features.

You can use these features to weed out audiences who are unlikely to need your services, increasing your conversion rate and your overall returns.

Ultimately you must embrace paid advertising if you want to continue to reach your target audiences on the platform.

Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising Trends in 2018 and Beyond

By looking to the above Facebook Advertising trends contractors can find greater successes in reaching their ideal prospects to grow in 2018.

Make sure you combine your Facebook Advertising strategy with other digital marketing practices for maximum gains.

digital marketing for contractors
Jan 05

The Best Contractor Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for Crushing It in 2018

Content Marketing

After the last echoes of ringing in the New Year subside, everyone reflects on how to make 2018 better through their own actions. If you’re a contractor looking to market your services digitally, this time marks the perfect opportunity to set ambitious goals and pledge to cut out bad habits.

To help inspire you to do better in the New Year and meet success head on, here are our 5 top recommended digital marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2018.

Make More Video

video marketing for contractors

We’ve hammered this point home plenty of times, but just to reiterate: video is the direction that the internet’s going. Cisco studies predict that 69% of total internet traffic over 2017 will have come from video views. By 2021, they expect that portion to increase to 82%.

The reason for rising video consumption is simple: people love video! Better smartphones and cheaper data plans also give us the means to watch video anywhere at any time.

Appetites for video content will keep on growing throughout 2018, and marketers for contractor businesses of all sizes should be willing to help satisfy that demand. If they do, they will reap substantial rewards.

51% of marketers globally list video as the type of content that earns them the best return on investment. Video uploaded to social media also generates 1200% more shares than text or image posts combined!

To take advantage of video in your digital marketing strategy, start by creating summary slideshow summaries of your most-popular blogs using tools like Rocketium or Adobe Spark. Or, go live with behind-the-scenes looks at your operations or Q&A sessions. Both of these low-cost options offer reliable solutions for engagement.

Looking longer term, investigate the budget you would need to create a few short 2-5 minute video assets. These can help raise your brand awareness, earn shares, and give your company a veneer of modern professionalism.

Tie Content Better Within Buyer Journeys

In 2018, your audience deserves better than irrelevant content. No one will click on articles that don’t offer some sort of value. And, more importantly, how your audience perceives value depends on the stage of the buyer journey they’re at.

Offer value by planning content topics and placement around your customers’ stage in their buyer journey.

For instance, if you sell RVs, don’t expect someone who doesn’t have any intention to buy an RV yet to click on your article about “6 Top Reasons You Should Buy Your RV From Us!” Instead, recognize the types of topics that would get them interested. Here are a few examples:

  • Not yet aware they want to buy an RV
      • 7 Top Camping Destinations on the West Coast
      • Pros and Cons of the 4 Most Common Types of Camping
  • Maybe thinking about buying an RV
      • 5 Reasons RV Camping Blows Tent Camping Out of the Water
      • Winter Camp in Comfort at These Gorgeous Destinations
  • Deciding what RV to buy
      • Must-Have Features for Every Modern RV
      • Top RV Models by Price Range
  • Ready to buy
    • Why You Should Buy Your RV From a Local Dealer
    • 6 Warning Signs for Dishonest RV Dealers That Should Make You Leave the Lot

Each hypothetical blog title is aimed at a particular area of interest within a particular informational scope. If you have an email list, you will want to offer each piece based on the information the buyer has looked at before and their indicated interests. For your website, include suggested blog topics logically within the section the buyer is currently within.

Going one step beyond this approach requires personalization engines and marketing automation. But you can get started by creating several buyer personas and customer journey maps, then devise a content strategy to help nurture each persona type towards a final sale.

Reshape Your Website to Be Even More Mobile Friendly

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It’s 2018, and mobile phones are officially grafted into our lifestyle. Americans spend 71% of their time online using mobile devices, and visits to websites through mobile devices shot up 72% in 2017.

Using responsive design and passing Google’s mobile-friendly test are therefore just the start of your contractor business. You should rigorously explore and test options for even more engaging and usable mobile layouts throughout 2018. Offer mobile visitors a true experience, but still make navigation and content consumption easy.

Improvements like these can help you stand out among competitors in an environment where mobile will only increase its share of traffic over time.

Engage More Authentically With Your Social Media Audiences

Social media audiences want to feel like they’re engaging with real people, not brands. According to one of the top social media management apps, posts with a personable approach, humor, inspiration or emotion drive the best engagement.

You can also ask questions from your audience directly. How do they handle challenges related to your line of work? What tech trends do they think have the most promise? What are their New Year’s resolutions? Questions like these drive engagement and help your audience feel listened to.

Person-centered conversations surrounding your brand can also occur outside of your owned (well, borrowed) social spaces. By setting up social monitoring tools for mentions of your brand or service area, you can engage people in 1:1 conversations and help them solve problems.

Engaging directly with your audiences in these ways can sway public opinion in your favor while making your social media pages more lively.

While Fulfilling These Contractor Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, Base More Decisions on Data

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All of the above resolutions can bring you success as long as you take a scientific approach. Start by setting goals and target metrics. Make predictions on how to meet these metrics, measure how accurate your predictions were, and experiment to see if you can find even greater success.

You can also A/B test two approaches simultaneously to learn even faster. For instance, maybe you aren’t sure which Facebook post for an upcoming event will get the most clicks? You can use paid social advertising to serve two different promoted posts to targeted audiences and see what happens.

Experimentation combined with dedication and a healthy dash of creativity will help you go a long way towards finding more success in the year ahead.

Keep the above resolutions in mind, and you could be well on your way towards making contractor digital marketing work for you in 2018. Good luck, and have a Happy New Year!