The Marketing Matrix For Contractors

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    By Jim D'Amico

    Jim_NoTie-288x300

    Marketing your contracting company’s products and services is ever evolving.  To say it has changed significantly over the last twenty-five years is really laughable.  That’s because it has changed significantly over the last twenty-five months. Indeed, marketing has become more complex and challenging.  And, you shouldn’t expect the rapidly-changing marketing matrix to stabilize anytime soon.

    Used to Be

    It used to be that contracting companies would try to outdo one another with a bigger yellow pages phone book ad.  That was at a time that customers would turn to the yellow pages and a bigger ad would bump smaller ads to a position below or onto a following page.  (Do you even remember the yellow pages?)

    In some ways, the yellow pages simplified the contractors’ lives.  The yellow pages became their marketing plan. For many, the expectation was that the yellow pages ad would do the heavy lifting without any other marketing efforts.   Many failed to see that yellow pages advertising was a way to attract customers, but it was not a marketing plan.

    As the contracting businesses evolved, the more sophisticated contractors recognized that they needed to brand their companies. Many developed a company logo and company color scheme and painted their trucks accordingly.  They bought radio, television and print ads to promote their business. However, electronic advertising became very diluted as more stations popped up on FM radio. Cable TV made significant inroads, giving consumers a choice of forty or fifty TV stations instead of just a couple that had previously dominated the local airwaves.

    Over time, consumers shifted away from printed newspapers, magazines, commercial AM and FM radio, and local TV.  The move to cable TV was followed by internet and satellite radio, on-demand TV and streaming programming.  The rapidly-changing marketing world left many to wonder how to effectively market one’s contracting business.

    You Must Have a Plan that Includes Social Media

    Considering how customers now shop for goods and services, effective marketing, even for small companies, requires new and various ways to reach consumers.  It demands much more effort and a different, and perhaps more robust mix of activities. It is no longer just about ad placement.

    Every company needs a marketing plan that weaves together a strong internet presence, responsive website design, well-written and informative content, search engine optimization and a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In with ads placed on those sites to ensure success.  Why? Because that’s where the consumers are spending their time.

    It’s a Fulltime Job

    Exposure, repetition, cross-promotion, email campaigns, endorsements, case studies and referral programs pulled together in an effective plan will help to achieve desired results.  That is a lot to coordinate and one may pay a high price if a plan is not carefully designed and executed. Just throwing money at disjointed advertising without a coordinated effort is expensive in out-of-pocket cash and lackluster sales.

    Contractors should carefully consider the person in the company that will be responsible to pull it all together, keeping the plan updated and pertinent.  Perhaps it can be done with an outside agency. But, remember, if the task is not assigned, there’s a good chance it won’t get done.

    Website, Blogs, SEM and SEO

    A well-designed website is an absolute necessity and should be updated continuously as the look and feel to the visitors must be appealing and in tune with the latest trends.  It must be responsive so that it can be easily accessed on a smartphone.

    Be sure to hire professionals that can create effective search engine marketing (SEM).  The same, or perhaps other professionals may be able to edit your content to impact your search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the company’s ranking to draw more visitors to your website.

    TALK ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS...NOT ABOUT YOU!

    Your website should allow a customer to learn information and NOT be subjected to “we do this and we do that!”

    Review your webpages to be sure the content is helpful and communicates important facts to solve customers’ problems.

    Your website should not say, we’re great and you should deal with us because we’re great.  That will likely prompt visitors to click off your site and search elsewhere.

    Provide Great Content and Avoid a Lot of Fluff

    Customers search the internet for information on products and services they wish to purchase.  They then buy from companies that can offer those products and services at a price they are willing to pay.

    Your website should provide an easy way for your customers to access information about your company, your offerings.  Videos, Vlogs, Blogs, eBooks and white papers suggest to your visitors that your company is the subject matter expert.

    Statistics show that visitors will spend only three seconds seeking information on a website.  Don’t inadvertently chase potential customers away. Grab the visitor’s attention by making important information easy to find.  How to buy should be just as easy or easier. If the information isn’t easy to find, they’ll be gone as quickly as you can snap your fingers!

    Remember, It’s Never Done!

    There’s an old saying, “Just when I think I have all the answers, they change all the questions!”

    Your marketing plan and the methods you use to promote your business must change over time because Google frequently changes the metrics and analytics used to rank websites.  Also, attitudes and trends on social media also change over time. Keep up with those changes. If you don’t know what has changed on social media in the last six months, ask your kids.

     

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