contractor marketing ideas
Sep 28

Starved for Content Ideas? Here’s How Original Research Can Keep You Blogging for Months

Content Marketing

Wondering how you’re going to keep your content calendar full for the rest of the year? Thousands of contractors struggle when it comes to coming up with content ideas, and a simple strategy can help them: conduct a study or survey.

Original research provides tons of benefits for businesses seeking content marketing performance gains. They can accompany the release of the study with a recap series, for instance. After that, they can dive in-depth into some of the findings for unique takes or insightful real-world applications of the data. At the same time, they can introduce their study to online outlets that get mega traffic with guest posts.

The beauty of conducting original research is that you don’t even have to do all of the content writing yourself! In addition to the content topic possibilities listed above, there’s also a good chance that someone might cite your data or share your report on their own blog. Well-performed research that answers important questions in your field can receive references and citations for months. You may even get quoted as an expert as a result of your own analysis!

The possibilities are practically endless, and they all start from a single research idea. Here’s how to get your own research project off the ground—and how to spin it into content gold for months to come.

Start With a Burning Research Question

internet marketing for contractors

Research tells us something about the world we didn’t know yet. In other words, research answers a question through the data it gathers.

For that reason, all great studies have to start with a great research question. You can quantify something no one’s ever quantified before, such as the costs of never washing your car revealed through the corresponding damage to paint and mechanical components.

Or, you can give a more specific answer to a question that’s already been tackled. A lot of research involves bringing findings up to date, for example. You can also examine how a research question might be answered within a specific geographical location or within a specific demographic. Sure, you might know that a majority of Americans love hamburgers, but how do people in your hometown feel about grilled versus griddle-fired burgers? And would they take a bite out of a veggie burger if given the opportunity?

When devising a research question, keep in mind that it can’t just be something you find interesting. It should also satisfy a number of other criteria, such as:

  • Would my target audience find this interesting and informative?
  • Does my research align with my business goals or my unique brand story?
  • Will this research answer a question that hasn’t been covered yet?

With these criteria in mind, try to approach your research question from the perspective of the unique niche your contractor business occupies. The more parallels the research has with your brand personality and how you approach your business, the better.

Learn Research Best Practices

Research can be hard, especially when it comes time to compile your results! You want your data to tell a story somehow, but you can’t get to that story if your research structure is a mess.

Start by determining what sort of research you’ll conduct. It can be a:

  • Simple survey
  • In-depth survey that includes qualitative responses
  • Review of existing research that combines two or more “knowns” to explain an unknown
  • Manual data gathering from raw data sources
  • Field research with data gathering at the source of information

Those study types are listed roughly in order of complexity and effort required. But don’t underestimate how even the simplest of surveys can turn into a difficult process when you neglect to follow best practices!

First, approach your data in layers. The “layers” of your data refer to different qualities of that data.

For instance, suppose you wanted to conduct a study of the types of restaurants in your hometown. “Chain/franchise restaurants vs. independent restaurants” serves as one layer. “Quick service vs. sit down” can act as another layer. You can also organize the restaurants by location, such as “downtown vs. just off the interstate”.

All of these qualities provide details that can be used later in your analysis. You can make observations like “chain restaurants are more common along busy stretches of road except in downtown.” Or, you can be able to say that “the ratio of chain restaurants to independent businesses has shrunk 50 percent in the past year.” Findings like these tell a story, but you need your data to be organized first.

When conducting surveys, you can make this process easier by including a demographics portion in the beginning of the survey. You can then use this information to discover trends among responses, such as “twice as many business owners worry about energy prices compared to non-business owners.”

Come Up with a Hypothesis That Uses Research Layers to Answer Questions

construction contractor marketing

Research isn’t just about gathering data; it’s about using that data to prove or disprove assumptions called hypotheses.

Accordingly, you want to go ahead and come up with a few hypothesis ideas before you start assembling your data. Go ahead and predict your results based on your gut instincts or what you consider common knowledge. If your research aims to debunk a commonly believed fact, you can operate on the hypothesis that the fact will be wrong.

If you’re completely at a loss for hypotheses, you can predict that there will be no trends whatsoever among your data.

Use Your Hypotheses to Come Up With Pertinent Survey Questions or Data Sources

Your hypotheses guide your research in very concrete ways. If you’re conducting a survey, a hypothesis will help you determine questions to ask that can directly answer it.

For example, let’s say that your hypothesis is that “people are willing to spend more money at a local establishment compared to a franchise.” To prove or disprove that hypothesis, you can ask things like:

  • How often have you visited a franchise business in the past month?
  • On average, what do you spend within the following ranges: $5-$10, $10-$15, etc.
  • Do you try to support local businesses on purpose?
  • Which of the following reasons encourage you to support local businesses? I know the owner, I want the money to go back to the community, etc.

Assign Categories Early on Within Your Analysis

After gathering all the data you need, it’s time to process that data into something people can digest at a glance. One of the easiest ways to do so is to lump datasets into different categories.

Going back to the local vs. franchise question, maybe you think that people who have lived in the town all their lives are more likely to make a choice compared to newcomers. Or, maybe you think that people who make a certain amount in their yearly salary are more apt to make a certain decision?

Consider these assumptions as secondary hypotheses, and test them out as you compile your data. If your hypothesis is wrong, try approaching data from a new angle.

Of course, you should also leave yourself open to discovery! Sometimes just dropping data into bar graphs is enough to have findings jump out at you all on their own.

Use Your Findings to Brainstorm Different Uses for Your Study

construction contractor marketing

Completing your study is just the beginning of a new phase: publishing your results and using those results for related content.

Examples of ways to use your results include:

  • A summary press release
  • An in-depth report
  • Sharable infographics or slide shows
  • Blogs discussing specific trends you’ve seen
  • Editorial-style blogs combining your research findings with your own thoughts and other commentary
  • Promotional materials that use your findings to make a point
  • Guest posts presenting you as a subject authority where you get to assert your findings with data to back it up
  • E-books

Sort these ideas into priorities, including your “yeses,” “nos” and “maybes.” Then, work your way down the list!

With this method, you can keep chugging along with new content based off the same information for months. You can also always update your research later with a newer, more-current study.

In this way, original research is the gift that keeps on giving! It can help you make a name for yourself, drive engagement on your content, position you as a subject authority, and so much more. At the very least, you’ll never be lacking for new content ideas.

contractor marketing tips
Sep 22

After the Reddit Redesign, Should Your Business Give the Social Channel a Look?

Social Media

Many business owners and contractors overlook Reddit as a social media marketing channel, but recent changes to the platform should have them all reconsidering. A complete overhaul has modernized the look and feel of Reddit’s various niche-focused forums. As a result, community members are engaging even more frequently than ever—with both posts and ads.

According to Reddit’s Zubair Jandali, their VP of brand partnerships, the platform has been engaging users at a rate three to seven times higher compared to before the redesign. Interestingly, ad response rates have also been rising. “Advertising didn’t play a role in the redesign per se,” Jandali told Marketing Land, “but we’re seeing much stronger engagement on ads by virtue of the fact the core organic experience is more engaging.”

Contractors have opportunities to engage directly with community members in ways that build brand awareness and relationships. However, they have to use the right strategy. Reddit notoriously fights against forms of intrusive marketing, and especially accounts that fail to be transparent about their business affiliations.

If you can play your Reddit marketing cards right and treat the community with respect, you can improve your brand image, open new lead sources, and subtly promote your offerings to an audience of millions.

What Is Reddit, and How Does It Work?

social media marketing for contractors

Reddit is a social media platform with a dedicated community of 330 million monthly active users and over 542 million monthly visitors. That’s a bigger community than Twitter and enough traffic to make Reddit the No. 5 most-visited U.S. site as of August 2018.

The structure of Reddit combines an old-school forum format from the early 2000s with user-centric social media features of today. Posts are centered around text-based topics of conversation or links to popular content. Users have the option to “upvote” posts they like.

Upvoting increases the chances of a post making the front page for a particular niche forum, a “subreddit.” If a post gets enough traffic or upvotes within its subreddit, it can end up on Reddit’s homepage. The Reddit homepage aggregates posts across a staggering range of topics, which is why the company refers to it as the “Front Page of the Internet.”

After a post is made, anyone can reply with comments, and individual comments can be voted up or down to increase their visibility. Someone who says something clever or interesting, for example, might be upvoted to the top of a post. Someone who makes a bad joke or responds in a rude way to other users will get downvoted, burying their post and sometimes even leading to it getting hidden from view.

When users violate the rules repeatedly, they’re likely to catch the attention of moderators. Mods can ban users from specific subreddit forums or even have their DNS address blocked, preventing them from making new accounts. Each forum has its own set of moderation rules. Rules commonly discourage asking for upvotes, posting promotional comments or links too often (spamming), and posting content that’s irrelevant to the subreddit topic.

Individual users get notifications when they get replies to their comments or posts. They also get points based on how many votes they get, which are called “karma.” Users generally respect other users who have high levels of karma or who are regularly seen contributing interesting posts and responses.

In sum: Reddit is a place where people go to see interesting links and engage one another in productive conversations. Community members are not only highly enthusiastic and engaged, but they also take action when they see something they don’t like. This quality separates Reddit from social media channels like Facebook, where your experience is at the mercy of the platform and the sometimes nasty users that visit it.

Why Is Reddit a Good Social Media Marketing Channel?

marketing strategies for contractors

Reddit has a reputation for its tight-knit, informed community. It remains distinctive by using community-led moderation to cut down on all the noise other social platforms create. People who don’t abide by etiquette (“reddiquette”) guidelines get “downvoted” into oblivion. This tendency prevents trolls and spammers from stealing attention or derailing conversations.

For marketers, Reddit provides an opportunity for authentic interaction with people interested in your industry niche. There are over a million different subreddits for every conceivable community out there. You’ll find professionals like photographers exchanging advice, dedicated hobbyists like golfers sharing links, and fans of just about every pop culture franchise under the sun conducting spirited debates on opinions and theories.

Contractors or business owners have two main opportunities when trying to reach communities related to their industry vertical:

  1. Advertising in relevant subreddit forums, ensuring that every ad impression reaches someone who cares about that niche
  2. Participating as a user to answer questions, share links, and generally engage with the community

The first strategy runs through Reddit’s advertising platform, making it a business activity like any other. The second strategy poses more complexity and much greater risk of alienating your community. But when brands or employees conduct themselves well and remain transparent about their affiliations, they can reap substantial rewards.

How to Not Get “Flamed” for Marketing Through Reddit

online marketing for contractors

There is an inherent risk with using Reddit as a marketing tool: the community could revolt against you and ban you so fast it will make your head spin.

“Redditors are a particular community,” writes the Dreamgrow blog. “If they suspect you’re there because of marketing reasons, things can quickly turn bad.”

You may wonder: “If marketers get chased off the platform with torches and pitchforks, then why would anyone bother marketing on Reddit?” Well, the truth is that the community isn’t opposed to marketing outright.

In fact, you could easily argue that tons of subreddits are nothing but a grassroots marketing campaign. There’s an Olive Garden subreddit (r/unlimitedbreadsticks) with 8,600 members. The r/blackfriday subreddit has over 31,000 subscribers and is dedicated to giving people alerts about deep holiday discounts. r/gaming, one of the biggest subreddits at 18 million members, is wholly dedicated to discussing products people buy.

What separates the things these communities do from the more loathed version of marketing? A few things:

  1. Product-focused communities are built around the fans’ needs, not the needs of a company that wants to make money.
  2. The actual companies represented in these subreddits understand they have a very delicate relationship with their community.
  3. Companies and their employees must always be transparent with their affiliations. Reddit users don’t like to be deceived even more than they don’t like being forced to participate in marketing schemes.

Each one of these principals reveals an important reality that contractors and businesses interested in Reddit marketing must come to grips with. Looking at No.2 above, the lesson is that moderators run the subreddits, not brand employees. The brands themselves only show up to answer questions or reveal information people wouldn’t find anywhere else.

If Patagonia has just started a huge ad push for their new jackets, r/CampingGear probably doesn’t need the company to make a new post telling them what they can already see on TV. Similarly, if people are asking opinions on the Patagonia brand, then Patagonia should be really careful about having someone go in and post “Yeah! The jackets are great!” without disclosing their relationship to the company. People will dig through your account to find proof that you are a “corporate shill” after all.

On the other hand, if a Patagonia rep sees the above thread and notices someone has a question about their repair policy, then they can declare “I work for Patagonia, and here’s how we repair things…” and receive a positive reception. Or, if someone wants to let people know that there’s a sale on specific high-demand items at a particular retailer, the community might appreciate the head’s up.

It’s all about thinking from the user’s perspective. If you are transparent and provide some valuable information or entertaining content, then people will warm up to you. If you try to trick them or post nothing but spammy promotions, they’ll quickly find ways to keep you from coming around.

Reconsidering Reddit Marketing in Light of the New Platform Improvements

Now that Reddit has improved its interface in ways that keep the community engaged, it’s definitely worth a look. You can depend on the platform to build audiences, generate traffic, create leads, and generally elevate your brand image in the eyes of users. You can also advertise under specific, relevant subreddits to earn clicks from people who are eager about your niche.

Be a good user, keep people’s feelings in mind, and always strive to provide value—that’s the key to building a community in Reddit that thinks you deserve all the karma you can get.

 

video marketing for contractors
Sep 15

Everything You Need to Create a YouTube Channel That’s Ready to Grow

Video

Despite being over a decade old, YouTube still acts as a ripe garden bed for audience growth. Brands looking to interact with audiences in current, relevant ways will find that video marketing content is one of the most effective methods they have at their disposal. They’ll also find that YouTube still remains one of the best platforms to host this content.

While big social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are shrinking, YouTube pulls in over 1.8 million unique users every month. That figure, by the way, ignores all of the views that come from people who aren’t logged into a Google or YouTube account. YouTube’s traffic volume is so large that it is the second biggest search engine after Google and likely the most common platform for embedded videos seen around the web.

Creating a YouTube channel is therefore one of the best methods for earning traffic and engagement from audiences. By making smart moves and structuring your YouTube channel properly, your video content marketing campaigns can be poised for excellent growth. You’ll also be positioned to easily share and embed video content in order to grow your viewer base. It’s the perfect recipe for branded exposure!

You can start your business’s YouTube channel off on the right foot by following these steps to create a channel and give it the most growth potential.

1. Decide on Your YouTube Channel’s Video Marketing Positioning and Strategy

social media marketing for contractors

Your channel’s “position” is a name for basically everything that makes it distinctive. The idea is to not only have a channel that matches your branding principles but that can also meet your goals for audience building, lead generation, engagement, awareness and more.

The first step is to determine exactly who your audience segments will be, along with a few actions you want them to take in response to your content.

For example, maybe you are in an exciting industry like online retail for motorcycle apparel and accessories and you want everyone to come to your channel weekly for reviews and news on the latest products. Or, maybe you are a law office that wants to pop up first when people search for answers to their legal questions.

As another alternative, maybe you want to create highly shareable videos that generate brand awareness and drive traffic towards your site.

Your goals and your audience will significantly affect how you decide to run your channel, including:

  • Your style and approach (e.g., formal or conversational)
  • The format of your videos, such as an ongoing “show” vs. how-to videos vs. quick Q&A sessions
  • How long your typical videos will be
  • How often you will post new content
  • Who your target audiences will be, and how you intend to reach them
  • Your amplification strategy for getting maximum views on your new content, such as sharing new videos on Facebook or through your email list

All of these factors come together to make your YouTube channel unique compared to others. And being unique is important considering that over 400 hours of new content are uploaded on YouTube each minute. Being unique also means that your channel is as prepared as it can possibly be to appeal to your chosen audience and accomplish your chosen goals.

2. Decide on a Channel Name and Icon

 

marketing plan for contractors

Your next step is to start filling in the blanks for your new channel. Specifically: what’s your name going to be? And what image will you use for your channel icon?

These two seemingly minor things can have a gigantic impact on your ability to attract audiences. Your channel name serves as both your brand and your initial pitch to potential viewers.

You can choose a descriptive name, such as “DUI Law Q&A,” which already promises what type of content the channel will contain.

Or, you can go for a long-haul strategy and create a unique brand name for your channel that allows it to build a presence as it builds an audience. Channels like Smosh and Dude Perfect have titles that are as recognized as any pop culture movie or show.

Plenty of people choose to use their business name or even their personal name as their channel’s title. This strategy provides the benefit of immediate association. As your channel gains strength, you can rely on more people knowing who you are or what your company is, thanks to the shared name.

Once your name is chosen, decide on an icon that reads well on a small screen. Keep in mind that over half of all YouTube views come from mobile devices. You might not be able to use your logo or cram a bunch of text into your shrunken down profile picture.

Settle on something that’s easy to comprehend, such as a few letters or your host’s face. You can also use some sort of iconographic representation of your channel’s purpose. For instance, the fictional motorcycle gear review channel mentioned earlier could have a helmet or a gloves gripping handlebars.

3. Come Up With Channel Art, a Description, and a Trailer

marketing ideas for contractors

Some channels stand just on the strength of their content. They earn views through shares and YouTube algorithm suggestions, and eventually someone might connect the dots to realize several of the things they’ve watched come from the same channel.

Smaller channels, especially business-focused ones, often come under much more scrutiny. Someone may wonder “what are these people all about?” and take a look at their channel to learn more.

This instinct to inspect actually benefits your business. When they read your channel description, they can learn how the channel connects to your brand, for instance. They might even follow a link back to your official website.

Above all else, they’ll get a first impression that helps them decide then and there whether they’ll bother to ever check out your channel again. Accordingly, your channel’s “home page” elements better make one heck of an impression!

Start with your description. It should be short, exciting, and explain exactly why they should tune in to your channel regularly. Avoid talking too much about yourself or your business unless you think those elements hold inherent interest.

For instance, a personal injury law office might not want to bore people with local peer awards they won in the precious channel description space. On the other hand, they might want to throw out a number like “we’ve earned our clients nearly a billion in injury settlements.” Wow! That’s something they can get interested in.

Consider your channel art a supplementary description of what your channel offers. Maybe you have an image of a handsome host dressed smartly next to some of the informative topics they’ll cover. Or, maybe it’s an image of an awesome project your business has completed, such as a sandwich shop showing a record-breaking hoagie.

Keep your channel art simple and readable. Think of it like a billboard you have to read while whizzing past at 60 mph; if you cram too much on there, it’s just going to be a distracting mess. Limit the amount of text you use to a dozen or so words. Balance any “busy” graphics with blank space to give them air.

Finally, you’re going to want to create your channel’s trailer. This is a video that ideally gets someone hooked on first view. Far too many channels instead approach the trailer as a show-and-tell. “Hi I’m Bob this is my channel we have many exciting things to share with you…”

Instead, think of your trailer as a highlight reel of sorts or an actual TV show trailer. Yes, you want to tell people what you’re about, but you can do that by showing rather than telling.

If you aren’t 100 percent in love with any of these elements, then let that motivate you to revisit them over time. Your channel trailer in particular will evolve as your skills, content, and familiarity with techniques improve.

Getting Ready to Launch Your YouTube Channel

After you have all the main elements of your channel in place, you will want to prepare for its launch as a sort of grand opening. Consider that this is your chance to debut with flash and gather an early audience. If they get a bad impression, you’ve sown the seeds for an uphill battle to convince them to come back.

Ideally, you will have several videos’ worth of content for them to peruse—including your channel intro. You should also have the next months’ worth of videos queued up on your backburner so that you can ensure your channel posts regularly. Channels that post sporadically tend to lose audiences. They also have a more difficult time getting visibility via suggestion algorithms compared to more-active channels.

These are just the ingredients to the recipe for YouTube success; it’s up to you to make them work! If you need help with any aspect—including content creation—do not hesitate to contact an experienced digital marketing company to ensure your YouTube marketing meets with success.

facebook marketing for contractors
Sep 07

4 Essential Facebook Marketing Strategies the Top Business Pages Use

Social Media

There is no official playbook for getting great social media performance. Those who succeed get there by making educated guesses, marking their results, experimenting with optimization changes, and measuring again. You should go through this process, too, but you can take a shortcut by observing what works for others.

Facebook’s algorithm is changing all the time, and even the people behind the scenes aren’t 100 percent sure of how it will affect things. That’s why they’re always tweaking it. You should always be tweaking, too. Otherwise, what gets good performance today may not be viable tomorrow.

Keeping this in mind, know that the most successful brands on Facebook are doing a lot of tweaking and experimentation for you. By observing what they do, you can get great ideas for how to improve your social media marketing strategy. What works for them may not work for you, but it’s at least a good starting point for an educated guess.

So, to help you improve your Facebook marketing success, here are four common traits between the top pages worth putting in your personal strategy book.

They Post Multiple Times a Day to Beat the Engagement Slump

contractor internet marketing

The biggest challenge business pages face on Facebook these days is earning reach and engagement from their posts. To combat this trend, many of the top brands post content daily—often multiple times a day.

Make no mistake: organic reach on Facebook has taken a nosedive over the past few years. Adjustments to the newsfeed algorithm in 2016 lead to a precipitous 20 percent drop in overall engagement for brands and publishers over the course of 2017.

Then, things got even worse. Facebook retooled their newsfeed even further to obscure page posts in favor of posts from friends. The change was devastating, leading to post engagement drops as big as 96 percent.

Data from a joint Buffer App/Buzzsumo study shows that the biggest pages are getting hit hard, too. Overall, the study found that engagement has dropped by 50 percent over the last 18 months.

The study also determined that the top Facebook pages all have a similar strategy to fight against engagement drop: posting more frequently. According to their data, the overall volume of posts from the top pages grew by nearly 20,000 posts from Q1 2017 to Q2 2018. On average, the top 20,000 highest-performing Facebook pages post 135 times a month on average, which averages out to just over four posts a day.

This data doesn’t necessarily mean you should go all out on Facebook posting. Top pages admittedly already have large audiences in the millions, so posting more often is more likely to lead to a significantly higher volume of views and clicks.

At the same time, while brands that post five times a day get the highest volume of engagement, brands that post less than once per day tend to get the most engagement per post. Additionally, pages that posted 10 or more times actually saw their engagement drop.

So, since your page likely doesn’t have millions of followers, the best takeaway is to experiment with how frequently you post and measure the results. You may find that producing steady streams of content can help you build audiences, but you may also decide to dial back if you discover that posting too frequently offers diminishing returns.

They’re Diligent About the Times They Post

best marketing strategies for contractors

Avoid Facebook posting to an empty room. Audiences follow similar engagement patterns throughout the day and week, meaning that they tend to log in around similar times. Your job as a social media marketer is to figure out when those days and times are.

For instance, unless you know for a fact that your audience is up at 3:00 a.m., maybe hold off and schedule that post for the next afternoon.

You can identify when your audiences tend to engage the most within your page’s insights data. You can also look to engagement data from big brands to see if their strategies work for you.

According to Sprout Social, Wednesdays and Thursdays get the best engagement, with the weekend days getting the least by far. Their data also shows that people tend to browse Facebook most heavily during work hours, especially around lunch time. Who would have guessed?

They Pique Interest Without Being Clickbait

What are the types of Facebook headlines that get the most clicks? The answer may surprise you!

In all seriousness, viral Facebook content has evolved considerably since the days of shameless clickbait headlines from yesteryear. Make no mistake: there’s still a formula to top-performing headlines, but it’s gotten more informative rather than mysterious.

Another BuzzSumo study gathered data from millions of headlines and found that the absolute best performing phrase used was “will make you…”—as in “This Video Will Make Your Heart Melt” or some similar promise. Essentially, the headline promises some sort of emotional reaction, and people really seem to bite. The phrase earned over double the engagement of the runner up (“this is why…”). The phrase also appears in self-help type content, such as “This cooking technique will make you better at barbeque.”

Taken beyond face value, the phrase “will make you…” gets to the heart of what the best content does: it’s transformative. You’re a slightly different person after consuming it because you learned or felt something. Keep this type of concrete promise in mind when you craft content for your audiences.

And don’t skimp on quality, either! Another BuzzSumo study found that even though engagement rates are dropping across the board, recent Facebook newsfeed algorithm changes seem to favor high-quality content. The study notes that, “interestingly we have seen higher engagement with paywall content over the last year, which may again relate to perceptions of quality.”

Put in effort, and offer audiences value to ensure their clicks lead to a rewarding experience.

They Ensure Their Facebook Page Provides a Service, Not Just a Presence

best marketing strategies for contractors

The biggest reason people don’t engage with Facebook pages (beyond having them hidden from view by algorithms) is that they really don’t have much reason to. If a brand isn’t publishing funny, entertaining, informative, or highly clickable content, people don’t just visit its page to hang out.

On the other hand, brands that offer value get rewarded. Some brands are even going above and beyond the typical Facebook offerings to help their customers out.

Starbucks, for instance, has embedded a handy maps tool on their page that helps people locate a store near them. They can also click around the map to see store hours, whether the location has a drive-thru, and other tidbits. Definitely consider this feature if you have multiple locations, or consider using it to point people to areas of interest related to your services.

The Starbucks page goes even further by sharing intriguing Pinterest content posts about coffee recipes, how to’s, and historical facts about coffee. “The goal of this integration is to keep you glued to their Facebook page,” explains Neil Patel. “You could spend hours going through every content piece here.”

Patel also provides another excellent example of a seldom-used Facebook capability: providing great customer service. Online shoe retailer Zappos, for instance, told an inquiring shopper where they could buy a particular shoe brand offline. Even though pointing the customer to a brick-and-mortar competitor could cost them a potential sale, it goes a long way towards building a trusting relationship.

Discover Your Own Winning Facebook Marketing Strategy

The brands mentioned above may have oodles more money in their marketing budget than your contractor business, but the strategies they use are pure and simple. By identifying an optimal posting schedule, promising transformative experiences in their content, and going above and beyond with social customer service, they make an impact and keep their engagement levels high.

You may not be able to copy them and find automatic success, but at the very least you’ll be headed in the right direction. Learn lessons from others and from your own data as you experiment to ensure your Facebook marketing meets your business’s specific goals.

contractor internet marketing
Sep 03

Back to Basics: 5 Internet Marketing Essentials Your Contractor Business Needs

Lead Gen

Internet marketing strategies can get complex fast, so it helps to take a few steps back to ensure all of the most vital components are in order.

Otherwise, you might get too focused on the details to see that your online marketing funnel as a whole is broken. Or, you might miss out on a key digital marketing practice that would be essential for earning you new leads and converting those leads to customers.

Of course, every business is different and has different needs. Some businesses may be in an industry where finding new leads through social media is nearly impossible, for instance.

Regardless of business variables like these, there are five internet marketing essentials all businesses should account for as part of their overall strategy. Even if you confidently decide that you don’t need one of them, you should at least consider the benefits it brings other businesses that you might be giving up.

A Mobile Friendly Business Website Optimized for Conversions and Easy Information

local seo for contractors

Your business website is the absolute foundation of your internet marketing strategy. You may think that your contractor business model can do without a website because of all the services offered by platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

The fact of the matter is that your website backs all of these other elements up. Your website is also one of the only internet marketing environments where you have complete control. Google or Facebook could decide to delete your business profile tomorrow with nary a warning, and you’d have to fight with them to find out why they did it and how to get it back.

Your business website also acts as a cornerstone that reinforces all of your marketing channels. If you want someone to discover your local contractor business through a voice search, for instance, having detailed information about your hours, services, and products increases the chances that the searcher’s voice assistant pulls up accurate information.

Most businesses also think of their website as the final point of conversion. You can create landing pages that people arrive at from your email marketing or social media campaigns. Since these pages are nearly 100% customizable, you get to control the impressions of your business the visitor gets and influence their desire to convert.

Tips for an Effective Website:

  • Think carefully about how to make navigation intuitive. Google mentions site layout and your navigation hierarchy above keyword use in their own SEO guide.
  • Express your brand but don’t make your website noisy or cluttered. Usability requires a layout that’s easy to interpret visually and that doesn’t cause eye strain or mental fatigue.
  • Treat your home page like a landing page. Think about the absolute most important information a customer would want to know first then fill in details and support your claims efficiently with a few pieces of social proof as evidence.

A Strategy for Ranking Your Website on Search Engines (SEO)

internet marketing and seo for contractors

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of engineering your website content to increase your website’s chances of appearing near the top of search results.

According to a recent study, the number one search ranking position earns around twice as many clicks as the number two. Once you reach position six, you start receiving clicks from less than 3% of the people who see your search result listing.

Put even more bluntly: People will have a really hard time finding your business if you aren’t ranked near the top of search results.

To rank more highly, you need a large volume of content and a well-made site. You can see if your current website has any red flags by using the Fetch as Google tool and then by using Google’s mobile friendly and page load speed tool.

Over half (63%) of your website visitors are likely to be mobile device users, so a good mobile experience for users is important to Google and therefore important for your ranking.

Once you have your overall site in order, download Google search console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. These platforms will help you analyze your site and track metrics for stats like website visitors, how long they spend on certain pages, and other valuable decision-making data.

Only after these technical details have been dealt with should you start to worry about content and keywords. Your goal for using keywords is to signal to search engines and to audiences that your content is relevant to what they’re looking for. So if you’re a hardware store in Sacramento, your website should say phrases like “hardware store in Sacramento” or “Sacramento hardware store,” and related phrases, at least a few times on each major page.

Don’t overdo it! Spamming keywords is more likely to lead to a search penalty, pushing you further down the ranks. Write naturally and try to help guide people rather than trick search engines.

A Social Media Presence

People spend a lot of their online time within social media apps. Businesses able to cultivate a community on these apps – or at the very least have a searchable presence – stand a better chance of being discovered by potential customers.

Just as important, many people may look on social media platforms to research your contractor business. They may want to read reviews, look at other people’s comments, or see something like your hours without having to leave their favorite social spaces.

Social media can also strengthen the backbone of your content marketing campaigns. Every article you write can be shared on social media, and you could also use social platforms to broadcast promotions, contests, or announcements.

When using social media as a marketing tool, we strongly suggest that you lead people who click on your links to a specialized landing page. This strategy ensures they won’t get lost or forget where they were navigating after the click.

More Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Post on a regular schedule a few times a month so that people will come to depend on your content.
  • Sign up for messenger alerts since a third of people now say they prefer to contact businesses through social media rather than a phone call.
  • Interact with your followers and engage them when possible. For instance, you can ask a related question when posting new blog content to encourage responses.
  • Set goals for social media marketing beyond likes and follows. For instance, track how many people click on your links to promotions or content.

An Active Blog

Business blogs are a vital component of your SEO strategy. Search engines like to index fresh content, so if you’re home page was last updated in 2010, they may rank your site lower than a more recent one.

On the other hand, if you have an active blog that publishes weekly, you can send recurring signals to search engines that your content is current and relevant.

Avoid thinking about your blog as another advertising channel. Instead, it should be a helpful resource for visitors. Blog about topics that introduce them to important industry concepts. Or, give them a convenient list of tips. Always offer value, but follow your blog posts up with a strong call to action.

Email Marketing

Email marketing offers your business a reliable channel to stay in touch with customers and leads.

For instance, if you offer a really helpful and informative e-book, the typical person might download it and never think about your brand again. But if you ask them for their email to send it to them directly, you can also have the chance to follow up with a drip campaign that nurtures their interest in becoming a paying customer.

Using email campaigns can encourage a past customer to make repeat purchases. By sending them exclusive offers tailored to their interests and their purchase history, you can develop a relationship and inspire loyalty.

Email Marketing Tips:

  • Receiving too many promotions and messages is the #1 reason people unsubscribe. Try to limit your campaign emails to one to two times a month, not counting contacts like order confirmations.
  • Think carefully about your subject lines. A good subject line can dramatically raise your open rate, while a bad one could get you flagged quickly as spam.
  • Make your emails brief and to the point. If you have something more in-depth to say, direct them to a landing page.
  • Try to make emails feel personal, as if they’re sent from a specific business employee, not a faceless company brand.

Nice to Have: Video Marketing

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Video marketing requires a larger budget than most small contractor businesses care to muster, but the results truly do speak for themselves. 81% of people say that they were convinced to purchase something after watching a brand’s video. Also, 95% of people say they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a business, product, or service.

Your video marketing strategy can start small with live Q&A sessions, short recaps of your most popular blog posts, or a quick explainer video of your most important products/services. You don’t need a million dollar budget to make an impact! You just need to focus on meeting your audience’s needs in a format that few people can resist.

Combine All of These Internet Marketing Essentials Into a Complete Package

Focus on strengthening each of the above components individually and then strategize for ways to tie them all together into one strong, effective package.

These days, people flock between more media channels than ever. By having a strong website, an engaging social media presence, an SEO ranking strategy, and a method for communicating effectively through email, you can catch people on any and all of the channels they inhabit.