Happy New Year from the Construction Marketing Blog

Seth Holdren

(Photo of me by Mark Buckshon of the Construction Marketing Ideas Blog)

Here’s to your construction business ringing in the new year.

For the contractor who is looking to take some marketing actions during this first week of the new year, here are a few suggestions from previous posts here on this blog:

Top 3 Construction Marketing Actions

Direct Mail Marketing Guerilla Style

Online Marketing for Contractors

13 Free Web Marketing Tools

Check out these ideas, and pick out something that you can do TODAY to market your business.

Best of luck to you in 2009!

 

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7 Construction Marketing Actions You Can Take Right Now

We can talk about the importance of building strong relationships all day long. That’s for a different post.

Yes, as a construction small business, you need to develop your relationship-building skills. You need to add value to your community. You need to develop strong relationships over time.

But building strong relationships is more of an attitude, a mindset, or a culture you can create than it is a marketing action you can take today.

So what actions can you take today to jump-start your marketing as a contractor?

Take your “relationship building” culture, and inject this culture into the following marketing actions:

1. Ask for referrals by calling your past customer list and other contacts.

2. Offer a “check-up” service, or perhaps 1 hour of free handyman work to your list of (good) past clients. (See this great article by Mark Buckshon about Jon Goldman’s marketing idea.)

3. Overhaul your website, and take action to move up the search engines and get found online.

4. Send out a mailer to a quality list, with a good offer and call to action.

5. Offer your ad to print media at a remnant price (tell them they can run your ad for x amount if they have vacant spots – set your own price.)

6. Go to networking events and try to meet 75% of the people there (ask about them, don’t talk about yourself.)

7. Build a ramp for someone in need, and do a press release about the build.

These are 7 marketing actions you can start with right now. Today. Right after you click away from this page.

Yes, you should absolutely focus your energy on building relationships. You can begin building some new relationships by taking these actions right away to jump-start your marketing as a builder, remodeler, subcontractor or any construction small business.

Pass it along: If you know someone who could use help with website promotion and online marketing, feel free to send them a link to this page, or link to it on your own website.

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When a prospect comes looking for a contractor, will you be there?

Is all the work dried up? No. Is most of the work dried up? Yes.

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Look, we all know things have changed for the worse around here in the world of construction. (Understatement!)

I remember many strategy sessions back in the “fat and happy” times a few years ago.

We discussed things like…

  • What would happen if the bubble burst?
  • Will remodeling remain steady and firm?
  • Will new homebuilders start taking all the remodeling jobs at their dangerously low profit margins (you guys know what I mean….wink, wink)
  • Will the contractors who are spread thin go out of business?
  • Will only the strong survive?
  • Will real estate prices plummet?

Unfortunately, we all know the answers now. And we’re forced to deal with it.

This recession is very rough on the typical construction small business. Guys are hurting, I’ve seen it first hand.

It’s very difficult to operate when you’re desperate and worried. It can almost seem impossible.

Prospects can smell desperation, and they will run far, far away when they do.

So what the h*ll is the point, you ask?

My point is this:

Forget about the economy. Forget about the news. Forget about all the other struggling contractors.

Focus on your business.

One single business, and that’s all.

We can take the ultra-micro economy of your one single solitary business and get you into some work by putting you out there, right up in front of the few prospects who are looking for a contractor.

Take it one step at a time.

Focus all your energy on your marketing.

Here’s how:

FACE TO FACE MARKETING

1. Get your a** into a good mood, right now. Whatever it takes.

2. Go to every single networking and socializing event you can find, and talk to every single person in the room.

        

3. When talking, be 100% focused on helping the person you are talking with, in any way you can.

4. Do not talk about yourself, ask the other person about himself or herself all day long.

Sorry, it’s cliche. But there’s a reason for that….

5. If they need help moving, help them. If they need a laugh, make them laugh. If they need advice on how to fix their plumbing without a contractor, tell them how to do it. Be selfless, be upbeat, and be as generous as you can be.

6. Keep a running tally of how many new people you meet per day/week/month. Try to beat your records.

7. When you’ve met 250 new people, you are getting somewhere. (Link ‘em In!)

8. Never talk about yourself or your business until asked. The first time they ask, give a one word answer and ask another question about them. They WILL eventually force you to tell them what you do for a living. THEN, you’re a contractor.

9. Offer as much free advice, helpful tips, knowledge, friendliness and kindness as you can possibly muster. Ask for nothing in return.

10. Watch in amazement as you begin to see opportunities appear out of thin air.

ONLINE MARKETING

People look for contractors online now more than ever. You need to BE THERE, at the top.

How? Hard work, time, and dedication.

Start here.

Next, do these things:

1. Post helpful comments on industry-related blogs, social networking sites, and forums with a link to your website.

2. Use social bookmarking sites to link to your website.

3. Make 15 short, informative videos and post them around the internet everywhere. They don’t need to look good. Mine look like crap, but I give my best information and it works.

4. Submit your website to directories.

5. Turn your videos into podcasts and post them to podcast directories.

6. Post new content to your website every day. Just pick your favorite past customer, and imagine you are writing advice directly to him or her. Be helpful, add value.

7. Pay $300 for a dir.yahoo.com listing. It’s Google juice, baby. You don’t have to believe me.

8. Submit to DMOZ and wait wait wait….

9. Add new pages to your website with your target keywords in the title. Like DragItHome.com/website-services/.

10. Do this stuff steadily, over time. Never lose a link, or get links from non-reputable sources. Don’t go crazy, be consistent, or you will fall in the search rankings.

11. Be as awesome as you can be. (For me, that’s just mildy-to-barely awesome. But I try my best.)

So, to sum up

We need to try way harder than we used to have to try.

We need to get in front of as many people as possible, and help them.

We need to position ourselves online so that when someone actually wants to find a contractor, we are there. Boom. Opportunity seized.

This stuff is hard work. I do it myself. It keeps me up late at night, and it nags me out of bed in the morning.

But that’s the new reality we live in. So let’s live in it. On purpose. As hard as we can.

Good luck.

And seriously, if I can help you with your business or your marketing in any way, please contact me immediately.

Now why aren’t you at a networking event right now? You are really p*****g me off. ;)

Pass it along: If you know someone who could use help with website promotion and online marketing, feel free to send them a link to this page, or link to it on your own website.

 

 

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Crisis or Opportunity?

For many construction businesses, it is a time of crisis.

Times are tough, and marketing for the typical construction small business has gotten more difficult.

For many contractors, what this really means is, now they have to actually use some marketing strategies, whereas back in the fat and happy times, almost no marketing was necessary.

Dave Ramsey said one day that all a contractor really had to do to succeed was just answer the phone, return calls, show up on time, and stay at the project all day. Just do the bare-minimum basics as a builder, and you shine like a light in the dark.

That was before.

Now, we have to hustle a lot more. We have to be the best at marketing, or “no soup for you.”

New home builders, once housing starts dried up, all decided to start remodeling. This put the crunch on remodelers. Commercial contractors have been hit hard too. Even handyman companies struggle to get by. And lets not forget that all subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, and even realtors are hurting.

So what can you do about it?

You can circle the wagons. Hole up and wait it out. “Tighten your belt,” right?

Or, you can be a marketing sniper.

(Are you a marketing sniper?)

You can, with very little money or resources, do the things you need to do to make sure you get the projects that actually do come down the pike.

I believe the fastest way to get to this point is by studying marketing, or the master craft of “drumming up work.”

There are great opportunities out there, even in this tight market.

Working your past client list, using online marketing to get found on the internet, creating a referral system, using direct mail, and pursuing joint ventures are all activities that can provide results.

Circle the wagons if you must. But if you want to make some progress, I am here to help you do just that. Please feel free to contact me if I can help you improve your business, or your marketing.

 

Pass it along: If you know someone who could use help with website promotion and online marketing, feel free to send them a link to this page, or link to it on your own website.

 

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Online Construction Marketing & Change

The other day I caught wind of someone saying “I hate to rain on your parade, but….”

Then this individual went on to gripe to some contractors about how learning and making progress with online marketing is somehow not worth it, because the all mighty “Google” will change everything in the next couple of years anyway.

Wrong on one hand, right on the other.

It’s wrong to complain and have a negative attitude about the changing future of marketing a business on the internet.

It’s right to anticipate change.

Do you know who hates change? People who are complacent and want to keep all their cards close to their chest.

Look, being conservative and cautious is virtuous, respectable, and necessary when it comes to things like finances, your health, the well-being of your family, etc.

But there’s no place for a victim mentality in modern-day marketing. The marketing world is changing FAST. I mean, like, every DAY.

If you embrace change, stay mobile, and aim your eye to the horizon every now and then, there is more opportunity than you can imagine.

The barrier to entry for business opportunity is lower than it’s ever been in my lifetime.

Online, even more so.

The opportunities for contractors, builders, and remodelers to dominate their local market online blow my mind sometimes. I get so excited every time I look at a new market with a contractor. I mean I’ve seen some HUGE opportunities for the average construction small business to grow and really get found online.

Don’t complain that the internet is changing and you might lose your “position.” It was never yours to begin with.

Stay on your toes, and keep an eye out for construction marketing opportunities. There are so many it’s just stupid to spend a moment worrying.

  • Move.
  • Change.
  • Grow.
  • Figure it out.

Don’t just give up because things are going to change some day. And don’t spend your time discouraging others, either.

If you try to discourage me, I will not listen. There’s too much business opportunity out there.

There are the “Haves,” and the “Have-Nots” in this business environment.

Who wants to live in a world where only the “haves” will succeed?

Think like a “have not.”

Like consulting rock-star Alan Weiss said,

“You and I are the raptors in this world. We should have no fear of the brontosaur’s size or the tyrannosaur’s ferocity.”

(By the way, Alan Weiss is a “Have,” rather than a “Have-Not.” Big time. But he keeps thinking like a raptor.)

 

Pass it along: If you know someone who could use help with website promotion and online marketing, feel free to send them a link to this page, or link to it on your own website.

 

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