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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Outside the Box Networking

I attended BarCamp Nashville on Saturday in downtown Nashville, TN.

Here’s the official description of the event:

“BarCamp Nashville is an open-source gathering of technology enthusiasts who come together for one weekend to share what they know and learn what they don’t. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.”

 

It was kind of like an open source technology conference.  It was really cool. (The people running it kept calling it an “un-conference”.)

There are other BarCamps out there. There might be one in your area.

[BarCamp Nashville 2008 was 4 entire rooms full of seminars, presentations, and demonstrations of all the latest tips, techniques, and strategies to use in today’s tech world. For contractors: free knowledge.]

What does this have to do with construction marketing?

Well, my philosophy is, if your’re going to go to events and join associations in order to expand your network, you should try to get outside the box a little bit.

For example, find events you are interested in but that are outside your direct area of expertise.

And, for most builders, a BarCamp style event is perfect for that. You can go and learn a truckload of new information you can use to market your own business.

You can meet people there who could become future customers. After all, these tech people always need buildings and houses to fill with cables, monitors, and servers, right? You can help them with their needs, and learn in the process.

In addition, it’s a great place to meet developers and designers who can help you with your own web projects.

Do a search for a BarCamp in your area.

Oh, and did I forget to mention it was free? Free seminars, free t-shirt, free schwag. And oh yeah, even free beer.

 

 

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