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Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

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Old 07-03-2019, 11:34 AM  
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Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

Appoximately 8 minute read

If you’re good at what you do and your local economy is doing well you’re probably pretty busy with work. If you’re not, most contractors would say you’re doing something wrong!

Contractors who are flush with work often neglect marketing and advertising for their business. Why should they bother? Maybe you are busy enough with word-of-mouth? Maybe you feel that the streak of work just won’t end? That’s a dangerous way of thinking!

Your streak of work may last a few months, it might last a few years, but without any advertising in place you’re going to eventually hit “slow times” where it’s feast or famine. Most contractors don’t have a recurring business model and rely on new clients to keep cash flowing.

One day you’re booked a few months in advance but as you knock out the projects and the calls slow down you find yourself with nothing on the horizon. Panic mode begins to set in.

Panic brings self-doubt, fear, desperation, and worry for the future of your business, your employees, your family, and your lifestyle.

That is NOT when you want to start advertising your business! When it’s slow, it’s generally too late, you’ve already missed the boat.

The time to advertise your construction or contracting business is when times are good, you’re busy, you have some momentum behind you, and you have the capital to invest in your businesses future.

Marketing and advertising is something every contractor should do whether you’re a one-man show, a father-son operation, a husband and wife team, or a small company that wishes to grow into a larger company.

Marketing and advertising doesn’t have to mean “growth” either. For many contractors, it’s a much more profitable business model when they can keep things small but focus on the right type of projects.

Great marketing and advertising can help you acquire more (and better) clients for the type of projects that make you the most money and that you actually enjoy doing.

Advertising can fill those gaps between word-of-mouth referrals, advertising can keep your crew busy, and advertising can put you in the position of being selective in the type of projects you choose to take on.

So what types of advertising are actually working in 2019?

1. You Need A Phenomenal Website: No matter what methods you use to advertise your business an amazing website should be one of (if not the) cornerstone of your marketing strategy.

A great website will compliment every form of advertising you do and will market your company 24/7/365. When your advertising is seen by an interested party one of the first things they often do is view your website.

If your website is antiquated, has poor quality photos, is not mobile friendly, slow-loading, or even worse, non-existent, you’re immediately going to be viewed in a negative light compared to your competitors who’ve invested in a great website.

2. Decals Or Vehicle Wraps: Professional companies usually have very clear branding on their vehicles including trucks, trailers, and equipment. Include a phone number and a website address that is very clear and easy-to-read.

You don’t have to spend thousands on a custom wrap (they do work) but you need to have some identification on your vehicles. A prospect is much more likely to check out your website prior to phoning you.

3. Business Cards: This one is obvious. You should have nicely designed business cards ready-to-go at all times. Include your phone number and website address. Again, a prospect is much more likely to check out your website prior to phoning you so having a great website in place will support this method.

4. Invoices: This is an often neglected marketing strategy that can be very lucrative! Always include a list of the other services you provide along with your invoices or on the invoice itself. Don’t expect your customer to know everything you do.

Most contractors offer a range of services and while your customer might have hired you for one of them it doesn’t mean they are educated on everything you do. (a great website helps out here too!).

5. Past clients: Your past clients can be a gold-mine if you follow up with them.

You don’t have to be sending a weekly or monthly newsletter (it can help) but at least follow up with them a couple times a year either by phone or by email just to touch base, see how they are, if there was anything else they needed help with, or to see if they can pass your information along to some of their friends or family who’ve admired your work.

6. Online Profiles: There are many different websites you can list on that can drive work to a contractor. Google My Business, Facebook (business page), Houzz, Nextdoor, Thumbtack, Home Advisor, etc… It’s usually free to create your basic profile but in order to get results you need to really build your profile out and make it look attractive.

This means posting a thorough description of your business, listing all your services, include a link to your website (where possible), and populate your profile with projects you’ve completed. You can always watermark your photos if you’re worried about other websites using your content.

Having a well rounded online profile is an integral part of SEO (search engine optimization).

7. Houzz: I mentioned Houzz in the online profiles above and it’s worth mentioning a second time. I work with many contractors who get clients from their Houzz profile, some take part in their paid advertising (I wouldn’t) and others just use their FREE profile (what I would recommend). The contractors getting work through this channel have a few things in common.

- They add several projects to their profile.
- They have several great reviews on their profile.

Spend some time on your Houzz profile and really build it out. Yes, you’ll get Houzz reps trying to upsell you on their paid advertising but if you build out your profile the right way it’s really not necessary to pay. The free profile can work just fine.

8. Online Reviews: Does your review profile look like a ghost town? It’s time to change that. Now, more than ever, consumers are turning to online reviews to help them make decisions on service providers.

If your company doesn’t have a solid online review profile you’re going to lose potential clients to the contractors that do, it’s that simple.

Ask your customers to review you on the network they use or are already a member of. You should have a profile on Google My Business, Facebook, Houzz, Home Advisor, Nextdoor, Thumbtack, and others that rank well in your area.

Consumers pay attention to your online reviews. If you’re ignoring this part of your marketing strategy it’s costing you money.

We’ve built an app for our website clients to use that allows them to easily collect client reviews in the field from their mobile device. There are also paid apps that can be used to make gathering reviews much easier.

9. Local SEO (search engine optimization): Some claim that SEO is dead. Yet, hundreds of millions of people still use search engines everyday. I can guarantee you that any contractor who has a website that ranks well for their keywords in their area wouldn’t trade it for any other form of advertising.

There are many moving parts to a good local SEO campaign but it’s all going to start with an awesome website. Without the website, this strategy is not going to pay off.

Consumers are searching for contractors in your area and if they don’t find you they find someone else.

Not everyone relies on word-of-mouth recommendations, especially people who are new to the area, from out of town (think vacation home owners), or doing research on their potential project.

If you’re considering hiring a pro to do local SEO for you then do a little due diligence. Read their reviews and talk to a few of their customers before hiring them.

10. Door Hangers: I don’t mean blanketing a neighborhood with these, the strategy we’ve found to work best is to use targeted door hangers and deliver them to the homes immediately surrounding one of your projects.

Some examples of a targeted door hanger message might be:

“We Just Remodeled Your Neighbors Kitchen…”
“We Just Power Washed Your Neighbors Home…”
“We Just Built A New Deck In Your Neighbors Backyard...”
“We Just Painted Your Neighbors House…”

I co-own a landscaping company and we acquired one of our best clients using this advertising strategy.

We put a door hanger on the gate to their multi-million dollar property. The property manager found it, visited our website, and then phoned us and asked if we could clean the property up (it had been neglected for a few years).

That simple Vistaprint door hanger was responsible for more than $200k worth of work over the last 2 years. Come up with some ideas and then hire a professional to provide you with a visually appealing design, it is well worth the money.

11. Facebook Business Page: You should have a Facebook page for your business and invest some time building it out.

Add a nice cover photo, include all your business contact details, include your company story, add project photos at least once per week describing the particular project, (before and afters work awesome!) and let people know of any challenges you faced on the project and how you overcame them.

Don’t forget to collect recommendations on Facebook from happy customers.

12. Facebook Advertising: Facebook is a very targeted advertising platform but the answer isn’t boosting posts (that is expensive).

With Facebook you should be creating ad campaigns using the Facebook Business Manager. Campaigns can be targeted to your local area and to the specific demographics you want to target (men and women 35-65+). Facebook likes variation so don’t just create one ad and call it a day, create several ads, using different photos of your completed projects.

Facebooks algorithm will work to optimize your ads and show the one that performs the best. This is an advertising method where it can pay to hire someone to take care of it for you because it’s quite involved.

13. Google Ads (pay per click): Although they are now expensive, for most trades there is still opportunities to be had with Google Ads.

You bid on particular keywords such as “kitchen remodeling contractor” and when someone in your area searches for that your ad can display. If they click your ad, you pay. This isn’t an advertising method for the faint of heart and should probably be setup by someone that knows what they are doing or you’ll just give Google money with little to show for it.

14. Google Local Service Ads (pay per lead): Unlike pay per click where you pay for each click that your ad receives, Google Local Service Ads are “pay per lead”. You only pay when you actually receive a lead through the platform. This service isn’t available for every business type but it’s currently available to roofers, plumbers, electricians, lawn care, HVAC, and water damage companies.

You’ll have to go through a background check but after that it’s incredibly simple to setup. Google takes care of all the intricacies, you really just need to tell them what specific types of jobs you want and what you’re willing to spend.

Google Local Service Ads rank above everything in search results in the areas they’re available so if you see them in your area don’t ignore them, they are working well for the contractors who are using them.

I’m sure there are some methods I’ve forgotten and some of the methods mentioned above could easily fill their own thread with tips and additional information but at least it gets you thinking about marketing and advertising for your business.

Any questions just ask and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Good Luck!

Website development and digital marketing education for construction and trades contractors.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:42 PM  
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Re: Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

Good post. One thing that needs to be emphasized with the above is also the time for traction to work. You correctly listed the website as the top item since many potential customer will go there, regardless of whether they know you by word of mouth, see a business card, or happen to see a Facebook post.

Too many wait for a lull, then call people like us to say "when do you think I will see results?".

The answer many times shocks people since they are too far behind, and their competitors may be too far ahead.

Yes, people like us may be good at what we do, but the focus on marketing as an on-going part of the business should be consistent.

Nice summary.


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Old 07-03-2019, 04:42 PM  
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Re: Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

The hot top and landscape people use lawn signs pretty effectively as well.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:40 AM  
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Re: Marketing & Advertising - Here’s What’s Working In 2019

Originally Posted by JBM View Post
The hot top and landscape people use lawn signs pretty effectively as well.
Hi JBM, actually I know numerous folk from Roofers, Remodeling and others who place a sign on a Job Site, especially when the project is lasting a long time. Neighbors pass back and forth, and the branding sticks in their heads. Thanks for this reminder. Happy July 4th too!
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