It’s been a great year. We’ve taken in so much helpful information on how to market as a contractor in the swiftly-changing Internet age. Sometimes there’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know where to start.
Today I’ve compiled a list of the Top 4 things we’ve learned in 2018 about a contractor’s online presence.
1. How to Get Found
We’ve talked a lot this year about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the system search engines employ to rank websites in internet user’s search results. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Explorer analyze each search result for many aspects. Is this website popular? Do people spend time on it? Do internet users respond well to it? Does it load quickly? Where is it located? Etc. These reviews happen within milliseconds of searching and determine where the website should be placed in the search results.
Obviously, the higher on the list of results a website gets placed, the easier it is to find and view, so it will receive more web circulation and traffic. There are so many ways (both big and small) to work on adjusting your website to sit as high as possible in the search results. Some take time, some take money, some are no-brainers, but for the sake of your business, it is critical to invest in your website’s SEO so that you can get found online.
Here’s what we learned this year about Getting Found Online
Your website title should be able to tell Google and any potential client searching the internet exactly who you are and what you do. Generic doesn’t work. Google needs to know who you are, so they can recommend you to the perfect match.
Here’s the best formula for a website title:
Business Name + Best Key Phrase + Location
An example: Holsinger Construction – Custom Home Builder In Yakima, WA.
If you’re an experienced contractor, you know the beauty of owning your niche. Whether that’s kitchen remodels, patio pavers, custom home building, or bathroom plumbing—you know it’s what you’re best at, and you want other people to know it too. You also know that everyone is not your ideal client. Your ideal client is people in your location who need your services and want to pay for them.
Sit down. Make a list of the defining qualities your ideal client would possess. Age, location, family, income, etc.
There you have it. Now direct all your marketing to that person. When you’re putting your business in front of people that already want it, it’ll be much easier to get found.
If you’re anxious to get to the tippy-top of the Google search results, run a Google Ad.
The Google Maps ranking engine is built with the purpose of providing local people with local search results. Go to Google My Business to start the process. You cannot put enough emphasis on advertising WHERE you’re located. Your clients will generally be coming from your own or neighboring cities.
The next tip is the most time-consuming, effort-based tip of them all, but ultimately pays off well for your business:
Create Valuable Content
We touched on this briefly here. Popularity, relevance, and authority are a few of the factors search engines analyze. To get found you will need to create popular (people like it), relevant (people can find it when they search for something specific) and authoritative (aka you’re the BEST tile-layer on this side of the Mississippi) content on your website. Blog posts, videos, FAQs—anything that will be helpful to people on the internet and get them to check out your site. This helps your website’s SEO by getting more traffic to your website and therefore more leads for your business.
2. How to Build Trust
Building trust is about cultivating your online reputation and presence to be one of helpfulness and value to your future customers over a period of time. Your online presence should be there to serve others not just bring in sales for you.
Here’s what we learned this year about Building Trust!
You’ve created content in order to boost your SEO—use that same content to foster a relationship of trust with your potential customers. Answer their questions, provide them with the occasional ‘freebie,’ show them that you’re there not just to garner their business but to help them out.
And how will your future clients be able to trust that what you’re telling them is true? That you are who you say you are? That’s where reviews, testimonials, credentials, and a high-quality portfolio comes in. The proof to back up your own statements. Satisfied customers and photographic evidence provide the reinforcement necessary to build the trust foundation.
A little bit different than an About Page, a Meet the Owner page is the place where you get to introduce yourself as a person to your potential clients. Your interests, hobbies, family, values, etc.
When clients come to your ‘Meet the Owner” page, they are looking to see if you are the type of person who they would get along well with. Remember, they have to trust you tremendously to allow you to come onto their property and into their house to perform these services. Your “Meet the Owner” page is a place you can build trust by letting them get to know you better.
The danger of getting your website hacked gets stronger year by year. Currently, if you have a website and any online presence, it’s not so much a matter of IF your website will come under attack, but WHEN. Do everything you can to secure your website’s vulnerabilities and protect your information and integrity.
Here’s some of what we learned this year about contractor website security.
Update Your Passwords
To make sure your password is strong, use a combination of uppercase/lowercase letters and numbers or symbols such as stars, dollar signs, hyphens, etc.
Lastly, I then recommend that you change your passwords regularly. Twice a year is sufficient, but if you want to be really proactive, change them once a month.
Install WordPress Security Plugins
If you have a WordPress based website, you should use the security plugins they offer for an extra layer of safety.
Click here for a list of plugins to install.
4. How to Use Instagram
Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps of its time. Created to share pictures and create community, it’s the perfect set up to build a contracting portfolio and interact with other contractors and future clients.
Once you’ve created a business profile and made sure your location is in the description and tied into the account, start posting high-quality photos of your work.
Instagram employs a built-in cataloging system using hashtags (#s). If you label your posts with relevant hashtags (#midwestcontractor #seattlehomerenovation #phoenixkitchenremodel) when people search Instagram you will be where they can find you. You can follow hashtags, use them to find other contractors to interact with, and using hashtags is proven to increase views on your posts.
While the bread-and-butter of Instagram is the classic Instagram post and caption, Instagram stories can hold their own in a different way. Once posted they disappear in 24 hours unless highlighted on your profile, and they’re the perfect place to share behind the scenes footage from your job sites, news and updates, and maybe just your own daily life. Instagram stories make it easier to show the person behind the business without dampening the aesthetic of your high-quality Instagram feed.
Hashtags, linking your location, interacting with other people—these are important things to do on Instagram to expand your reach within the app. It’s also important to draw people from Instagram to your website. Link your IG posts to your website and book your clients from your website. This helps you have a well-rounded online presence instead of depending on only one app/platform.
Instagram rolled out a new video platform in 2018 called IGTV. Instead of the minute-long video limitation on a normal Instagram post, you can now post up to 10 minutes of video. It’s a good opportunity for contractors to make DIY videos, vlog style videos or announcements available to potential clients all within the Instagram app.
As a contractor with an internet-based marketing system, it’s vital that your future clients can find you easily when they search the internet. When attracting customers to your website, build trust in their minds toward you and your company by being a person of value to them. Don’t put off doing even the small things that could strengthen your website’s security; it’s so vital to the entirety of your online presence. Instagram is an ever-growing platform with lots of unique opportunities for contractors. Post high-quality photos and connect through hashtags and simple interaction with other users, but don’t forget to draw people back to your website.