Marketing Checklist for Contractors & Contracting Firms
We have developed a marketing checklist expressly for Contractors and Contracting firms. This checklist assumes that your contracting company has been in business for several years and is not brand new. This means you have many happy clients, you have a somewhat established name, you have a website and perhaps a couple of employees. We are also assuming that you are either looking to expand the business or you want to rethink your marketing to take your business to a whole new level. Either way, you are looking for some tips and tricks to shake things up and produce some results.
If that’s the case, this Marketing Checklist for Contractors and Contracting Firms is for you. This checklist can be applicable in a range of different contracting trades (building, remodeling, plumbers, electricians, etc.) or are focused on individual consumers or commercial projects. In any case, this guide will help you evaluate several key elements of your marketing, and help you re-examine your marketing and inject some new thinking.
Here you go:
1. Define (or redefine) Your Target Market
Whether you’re entering a market, or have been in business for decades, knowing exactly who your target market is, and making a plan to go after that market, will have a big impact on the success of your business. Many contractors assume their customers will find them, or think they can serve anyone, and overlook this very important step of intentionally choosing a specific market segment to go after.
If things are stale or sales are sluggish, one thing you can do is to look at where you may have had success in the past. Or, don’t hesitate to target a new audience. Becoming an expert in a particular niche or service and then becoming known as an expert, can take your business to a whole new level!
Who is the ideal buyer of your services (be specific)?
What particular habits/tastes/preferences/needs does this buyer possess/exhibit?
What is the income level/budget of this buyer?
Where is this buyer located geographically?
What level of service are you providing (high cost/high service vs. lower cost services vs. maintenance services, etc.)
What other characteristics can define your target market?
Create a Target Market Profile identifying the key characteristics and needs of your chosen market. Your Target Market Profile will provide clarity to how you use social media and other marketing efforts to reach your existing or new audience.
2. Establish/Update your Website
With your target market(s) clearly defined, update/rebuild your website to address the unique needs and interests of your target audience. Your website is the backbone of your marketing. It’s where your target audience will learn about who you are and what you offer. It is important to have a professional website, with accurate, current information, and to pack it with engaging content directed expressly at your target audience.
Your website should reflect your brand, expertise and perhaps spotlight some past projects. Remember that many (if not most) people will be viewing your website on a phone or tablet, so make it mobile-responsive.
Perform an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit/review to ensure that your website is appropriately set-up to be found by the important search engines (primarily Google and, to a lesser extent, Bing) for searches related to your target audience.
Install Google Analytics on your website. This powerful, free tool will provide a level of insight into your website visitors and help guide your future marketing initiatives. You can see exactly who is visiting your website, how long they are staying, how many pages they are visiting, which pages they are reading, where they are leaving from, and much more detailed information. This is tremendously valuable information which can help guide your content development and your website design to help generate traffic and capture leads.
3. Focus on Digital Marketing
Take advantage of the fact that people are turning to the Internet for information and insight before making purchasing decisions. Use the tools available and be where people are already spending their time. It’s cost effective, too.
Remember, informational and short, “how-to” videos and tutorial-type videos go a long way to demonstrate your expertise and draw viewers to your website. While many people will watch these videos and hope they can do things themselves, most consumers will end up needing the help of professional contractors, especially for bigger jobs.
A) Social Media – With social media, select social platforms that will offer the most value for your business. For contractors and contracting firms, we would typically recommend building a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Every platform is different as to what type of content works best and when it’s best to post. Do some research to see when your target market is most likely to be in front of a computer or phone and plan your posting accordingly. Consider using a social dashboard like Hootsuite to aggregate all your social media profiles onto one social dashboard, giving you many advantages including the ability to schedule posts in advance to all profiles at once.
B) Email – Studies still repeatedly show email to be one of the most effective marketing tools. Engaging content sent to the right people, at the right time, will not only keep loyal readers coming back, but attracts new viewers. Consider email automation strategies, too. While there are many benefits of using email marketing, one statistic to remember is that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38. That’s a great ROI!
C) Video – The use of video continues to grow in importance in marketing. As digital marketing continues to evolve, more and more trends favor video, even for fields like contractors and contracting firms. Think about customer testimonials as well as “how-to” instructional videos. You can create professionally-produced videos, quick videos shot with a cellphone or a slideshow with voice-overs. Want a powerful stat? Organizations that use video in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster than those that do not use video. Video can consist of professional video, live-stream video, or Content-Driven Video.
D) Content – Content is king, and that includes social posts, blog articles, website content, ebooks, brochures, videos are more. Make sure your content is relevant, informational, instructional and informative for your audience. Lastly, make sure your written content is also easy to read by using bulleted/numbered lists and graphics.
E) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems - Consider investing in a CRM system to take your company to the next level of organization and professionalism. CRM systems are the master systems to keep all your customer interactions, contact information, billing information and orders all in one place. The best CRM systems integrate with your Quickbooks accounting systems to eliminate the need for entering order and receipt information into your accounting systems. Plus, when it comes time to sell your business, a CRM system makes your business that much more valuable because all your customer information is organized and stored in one system!
4. Get involved in, and support, your business community.
Business owners like to support each other. They also support businesses that support the local community. Whatever type of work you or your contracting firm focuses on, getting involved in your local business community can benefit you or your contracting firm in many ways. Check out your local chamber of commerce, professional associations or business groups sponsored by your city as these can all be great for networking and building connections for your business.
Additionally, think about getting your business involved in the local community. Not only will it improve your brand’s image, but employees like to work for companies that support their local communities. Perhaps your company can sponsor a local baseball little league or team or similar community organizations.
5. Planning & Measuring Success
Building a successful marketing strategy does take some time and effort. Those who take time to create a written plan, do research, and regularly analyze data and performance metrics are more likely to reach their business goals. This includes doing financial projections for your contracting business.
There is a lot that goes into a new marketing strategy, but these five key areas should help you ramp up or re-energize the marketing whether you are an independent contractor or you own (or work at) a small or mid-sized Contracting business.