Every day I talk to contractors who are looking for new ways to improve their marketing campaigns.
Overwhelmingly, my time is spent answering questions about how to create an online lead generation campaign that gets results in the construction industry.
For most contractors, builders and remodelers, this goal can be achieved with either a minimum of effort, or a minimum of expense. But you usually have to choose one or the other.
You can pay someone to do it for you, or you can do it yourself. Assuming you have a bare minimum level of tech savvy, you can create your own lead generation website system. This is true as long as you have some serious time on your hands. (If you’re already to the point where you can’t sleep at night from the stress of economic uncertainty, this might be the best way for you to spend those early morning hours.)
Conversely, you can find someone to do it for you. This can cost anywhere from $0.00 all the way up to $10,000+. And, to a point, you get what you pay for.
If you are thinking about trying to dominate your local market on the internet, here are some free resources to help you determine either how to spend your time, or how to get your money’s worth:
I recently attended an association event about social media for small business. The speaker was a fairly renowned guy who certainly had the credentials of a true social media expert.
Contractors, builders and remodelers are increasingly finding themselves confronting the beast of “how can I generate new business online.” And social media is a construction marketing hot topic nowadays.
The presentation was OK. For many, I think it created more questions than it answered. Of course, that might have been his objective: he sells social media services to companies.
I guess by getting the audience all riled up and yearning for more, he might have a chance to land some new clients. Cool, no problem. We’re all trying to land new clients every day. That is a beautiful thing. But here’s the problem:
His entire presentation was preaching the importance of building relationships by helping people, enhancing the conversation, and “giving in order to get.”
This is great stuff, at first glance. I talk about these effective ideas loud and often.
So what’s the problem?
He didn’t deliver.
He spent the whole speech selling the audience on the idea that “social media is here to stay.” And he didn’t really give any good ideas of how a busy construction small business owner could use social media to market his business.
Well, he’s right. Social media is here to stay. Because social media is all about lubricating communication between people and within groups. And the people on this (sometimes) friendly old earth are social creatures. So anything that makes communication easier and more effective will last until something better takes it’s place. That’s all the proof I need to feel confident in the endurance of social media.
But the audience was already sold on that fact. It was a sold out crowd of hungry business owners. They showed up to an event entitled “Social Media and the Relationship Economy.”
These people already know that social media is where they want to be. They just want to know how.
He didn’t give any good, solid advice as to what a bewildered small business owner can do, right now, to use social media to get new business. That’s how he could have “given in order to get.” That was a way he could have added real value, instead of stirring up a buzzing room full of “bewildered business owner” bees.
So, I’ve begun to compile a report that answers this question:
“How can a busy construction business owner use social media to get new business? Today? Without spending too much time fussing with it?“
Because, I know a busy contractor does not have time to spend hours a day on Twitter. And I know it wouldn’t help him if he did, unless he had a clear, practical plan of action.
So, stay tuned for my upcoming report. In the mean time, read this to start wrapping your mind around the tools you need to dominate your local market online.
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.
Conclusions: SEO drives 75%+ of all search traffic, yet garners less than 15% of marketing budgets for SEM campaigns. PPC receives less than 25% of all search traffic, yet earns 80%+ of SEM campaign budgets.
What does this mean to you, as a contractor trying to market his business?
If you’re going to spend money on promoting your website, you should:
Use Adwords PPC as a garnish, not the main course.
Spend the bulk of your time, money, and energy working to dominate the top of the organic (relevant) search listings so you can capture most of the traffic in your market.
Good luck in your campaign to get found online and grow your business!
[Here’s one of my more recent posts from Contractor Talk, the best construction forum in the history of time.]
I’ve been doing a ton of free website critiques lately. (In fact, I have a few piled up that I need to finish right now.)
Here’s the cool part:
So far every local market I’ve researched has major opportunity. Big cities, small towns…every one I’ve looked at. These local markets, for a construction business, are all very attainable. A little work and you really can get to the top of Google and start getting traffic.
Quick start do-it-yourself list:
1. Find keywords that get real traffic using Google Keyword Tool. (Hint: find your core keywords to optimize your main website. Then find all the other “lower-traffic” keywords and optimize a page for each set. You want a big “online footprint” to get all the residual traffic from long tail keywords.)
2. Check your competition by “Googling” your new-found keywords. (Advanced web guys can use fancy software to find holes on page one.)
3. Put the best, most attainable, most relevant, targeted keywords in your page title. Hint: If the words won’t bring you visitors who are already actively looking for your specific service, they’re no good.
4. Build your new-found keywords into your URL. (If you have a URL that is more than a year old according to Google’s info, then KEEP IT. Add keywords using subdomains or “/directories” added to your current URL. Reason: domain age has SEO clout.)
5. Post fresh content about once a week. Don’t “keyword load” in a spammy way, but do sprinkle your keywords in naturally. 200 words is plenty, per new post. If you can talk about your industry for 5 minutes, you can add fresh content. It’s not difficult.
6. Link out to relevant sites. And link internally to your a hub on your own page (tastefully.)
7. Get inbound links. Be ethical. How? Simple: If you have to ask “should I or shouldn’t I,” don’t do it. Use common sense.
8. Make a video, and distribute it online with a link back to your site in the description.
9. Stay up all night fretting about it for 6 months in a row.
10. You are done. Go have a beer.
PS. If your spouse keeps asking what the heck you’re doing on that stupid computer…you know you’re on the right track.
A lot of my readers do their own website stuff, which is really cool. One of the most common concerns of the free-solo amateur web developer is how to get backlinks.
Here are a few ideas for your free use and enjoyment.
1. Create a viral element. Here’s an awesome example I found on a local plumber’s website:
Page title is “28% More Duck.”
It’s funny, charming, very different, and a refreshing change of pace.
There is a viral “share” form where you can send it to a friend.
It really makes a connection with the website visitor…and on a plumbing website for crying out loud!!!
2. Link to your suppliers, and ask them for link in return. Here’s the script:
“Hey, Jack, I wanted to let you know we put a link on our website linking to your company website. Well, I really enjoy doing business with you, and I am proud to be associated with you online. Would you consider linking to my website, as one of your customers? Great, thank you. Who runs your website and could make that happen? Would you mind introducing me, and getting me in touch so we can get it done right now? Awesome.”
The key is to take the lead and do all the coordination. Also, if you run into any resistance, just move on to the next one and don’t waste time sweating it.
3. Whenever you get a compliment from a client, immediately ask her if she would be willing to log on to “Google local” and post a 5 star review of your company.
Do this 15 times, and you’ll be at the top of “Google local” QUICKLY.
4. Create fresh content on your blog and link out to relevant websites. You’ll find they will often reciprocate without notice.
5. Do a charitable event like a Ramp-A-Thon, and contact the local press including “more information” on your website.
Links or patties?
6. Talk to the coordinators of every association and group you participate in (church too) and do the link request script found in #2.
7. Post relevant, valuable comments on Google groups with your link.
8. Create a free report to download, and make it a really good one. Promote it, and watch the links pour in.
9. Have your happy clients give your site thumbs up on their favorite social media websites. Seriously. Actually ask them to do it. Some will. That’s link juice, baby!
10. Write a Top 10 List for your industry. Send an email to your list. Make it good, not crappy like this one. Get links from people who love your list.
Good luck getting those ever-valuable links. I wish you higher rankings, and more links than you can shake a stick at.
To learn more about “Dominating the Internet Marketplace in Your Industry,” go here.