Most small specialty contractors have ‘bootstrapped’ themselves up in the industry, often learning their trade on the job before branching out on their own. That means they often tackle their own marketing programs.
Consider these seven ways to get your name out and business coming in.
Do The Website Thing (but make it professional)
Nine in 10 people research products and services online. Three-quarters of B2B buyers rely on internet searches in the early stages of shopping for business products and services. As the pandemic drags on and people avoid face-to-face interactions, the internet is likely to figure even more prominently in the sales cycle.
Regardless of how your website fits into your marketing, consider using complementary technologies during the pandemic.
For most specialty contractors, a website serves as their brochure. It features some of their completed projects and provides information about the company. Maintain a professional site to get the most from your effort. Use top quality photos and text, post blog posts regularly, follow page speed guidelines, and use designs that work on all screens.
Don’t forget to make it friendly for local search by setting up a Google My Business profile. This is especially important for contractors serving consumer markets. For instance, specialty trade contractors work in local markets, and 86% of consumers find local businesses on the internet.
If you work for general contractors or owners and want your website to work harder, plan on getting help or fast-tracking an in-house webmaster. Trade contractor transactions are much larger than those for consumer purchases, so your website needs to look the part.
The average online B2B purchase is between $9,000 and $31,000, while the average online consumer purchase—between $47 and $57. B2B transactions also require multiple decision-makers. If you want your website to land you new business, you need an informed investment in content marketing and active efforts in analytics.
Regardless of how your website fits into your marketing, consider using complementary technologies during the pandemic. Quick-start video meetings mean you can take a phone call and switch to a video call almost immediately. Build a library of short videos showing you and your crews in action so people can see your skills. Do an explainer blog post or video covering the essential steps in each of the services you offer.
Networking is Still Alive and Well in Construction
You know people who know other people. Don’t overlook those valuable connections. Whether you assist your brother-in-law on a home improvement project or give your neighbor some friendly advice about handling a DIY problem, you are actually networking. And sometimes, a little time spent helping those you know can bring in new business from people they know.
Next, think about local designers and architects. If your local area has an American Institute of Architects chapter, check if they welcome guest speakers. You can then talk about your specialty from a design perspective. Many architects and designers never worked on the ‘doing’ side, so your view on bringing design to life can shed some light on the construction process. With these meetings now going virtual, you can do this without leaving the house or office.
Set up your own virtual, after-work event for relaxation and socializing. These times require fresh approaches to the everyday things we’ve often taken for granted.
Sign up With the Local Builders Exchange
Many communities have a Virtual Builders Exchange featuring construction news and construction opportunities. The firm’s staff locates, verifies and tracks local construction. The company claims that 90% of the membership renews every year.
Introduce Yourself to Local Government
While local governments expect to be challenged for funding in the coming months because of tax revenue losses from the pandemic, many aspects of municipal and county management require ongoing maintenance and repairs. Specialty trade contractors have just the skills they need. While stopping by the offices might be discouraged, you could do a mailing or phone call inviting the right person to a virtual meeting.
Local governments are also looking for solutions to problems caused by the pandemic. Cooperative purchase agreements let local governments piggyback their contracts, and you’ll find these purchasing vehicles active in many states. Getting on board could give you a springboard to serving a wider geographical area and potentially a share of government business.
Share Your Expertise Publicly
Specialty contractors have the knowledge that the public craves, and serving up some of your expertise on local radio or podcasts can get your name in front of a large audience. You can escape dealing with the technical aspects by getting on shows that have an interview format.
Try Online Ads
If you’ve spent the time and money to get your website set up right, having it keyword optimized and tapping into local search, it might be time to try some advertising.
A well set up and well managed Google Ads campaign averages a return of $2 for every $1 spent. Facebook ads are also a top choice. Facebook clicks are cheaper and can yield impressive results if done correctly. How does a $4 return for every $1 spent sound?