How to Use Digital Marketing to Grow General Contractor Business

Transcription

Hello, and welcome to the get GC clients podcast. My name is Aaron Cote, and I’m going to run you through how to grow a general contractor business with digital marketing. So as I said, my name is Aaron. I’ve been in the SEO industry for five, six years now, SEO being short for search engine optimization. I primarily help businesses rank higher in Google, like their websites rank higher in Google to get more clients. But I have dabbled in various forms of digital marketing. The first thing that I want to say is that we’re not living in a Yellow Page era anymore, meaning what worked in the past, or for your predecessors, isn’t guaranteed to work as good as it did then. It’s important that you keep an open mind in terms of what forms of marketing to pursue and what forms to ignore. The first form of marketing that I want to talk about is Pay Per Click ads, commonly referred to as PPC ads. And what that means is, you pay money, and an advertisement for your business pops up, whether it be for social media, or Google or Yahoo, or whatever. It’s just paying for your business to show up. And those have a pretty good return on investment. They’re a very valid form of digital marketing. The only thing to take into consideration with them is that when you stop paying for the ads, you typically stop getting results. It’s not to say that some people who saw the ad and saved your name might not call you up at a later time. But for the most part, when you stop paying for the ads, you stop getting a consistent stream of leads. So that’s a very important thing to consider – it’s pay to play. A couple of other forms of marketing that are pretty popular are email marketing and social media marketing. Email marketing is usually better for product based businesses with repeat customers. However, it can definitely be leveraged to get more contractor clients as well, it’s not going to be the best use of your time, or energy to do this. But it does have the highest return on investment in terms of time spent for leads converted. So it’s important to take that into consideration as well. But my opinion is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to set up an email list. So start setting up an email list, start collecting emails, and send out a periodic newsletter, maybe even with pictures of a recent project. And I mean, that way, people are still, hearing about your business, but you’re not spending tons of time and money bombarding them with emails. 

So for social media, you can go really aggressive with social media, you can hire influencers, you can do product placement. In this case, you know, probably just having your brand mentioned. But I think the best way that you can harness social media is to just post pictures of your projects, you know, post before and after pictures, post videos on the job site, just make a video and say, Hey, you know, I’m here, we’re, you know, second day of the kitchen remodel, we just finished tearing this out, you know, take a look at this, this is we’re gonna be putting in, just make quick updates like that people really like behind the scenes stuff. And they really, really like before and after pictures. So you don’t have to go super crazy with social media. But you do need to be posting content regularly. If someone is interested in your business, or they get referred from a friend or whatever, one of the first things they’re going to do is look you up online, most of the times that’s on Google, so they’re gonna look at Google reviews. But there’s also a pretty decent chance that they’re gonna look you up on social media as well. So it’s important to make sure that your page is set up and you have consistent content coming out. 

Then the last major form of marketing is SEO, SEO, as I said, is short for search engine optimization. And it is the process of improving websites to rank higher in Google. So if someone is looking up a kitchen remodeler near me, and let’s say that gets, maybe there’s 50 people near your town that are searching that a month, if you have your page, your website optimized for that, you can rank, you know, on the top three on Google with enough work. And you know, you might get 10 of those 50 a month, you might get 35 of those 50 a month depends on where you’re ranking. But nonetheless, you know, people who know what they want already, and they’re already sort of further on down the sales funnel, they have a higher chance of converting. So it’s important to take that in consideration to, you’re not going to be getting an exorbitant amount of traffic through SEO, but you’re going to be getting very highly qualified traffic from SEO. But yeah, a search engine optimization is a great way to grow your business long term. It allows you to build something that doesn’t go away when you stop paying for it. So like I was mentioning about ads when you stop paying for them, you stop getting results. With SEO, after it’s set up and everything is optimized, you’re pretty good for a while, at least, I mean, there can be algorithm updates where you need to change stuff around. But for the most part, once SEO is done properly, and you stop paying for it, you can still maintain your results for quite a while. So that’s another important thing to consider as well, the ROI extends past the date of, you know, not paying for it anymore. So, I mean, out of all these, I’ve done every single one of them before I picked SEO to focus on exclusively about five years ago now, it depends on your unique situation as to which one’s the best, but those ones are probably the biggest forms of digital marketing. There are TV ads, there are radio ads, there’s print ads, there’s direct mail, and there’s so many more. But for the most part, pay per click ads, email marketing, social media and SEO are probably the four biggest that I can think of when it comes to digital marketing.



Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

If you’ve considered using SEO to grow your general contractor business, you’ve probably came to the conclusion that you either have to do it yourself or spend a lot of time trying to find a good SEO agency to do it for you.

In this article, we’ll be sharing 5 powerful questions you can ask to hire the right SEO agency for your general contracting business!

Question #1: How long have your writers been creating content in English?

The main reason that we ask how long they’ve been creating content in English as opposed to asking them if they’re familiar with writing content in English is that,  when you ask a quantifiable question like how much, how many, how often, you’re usually going to be getting more truthful answers in return.

There are lots of SEO agencies all over the world. You don’t have to work with one from your own country if you don’t want to. But do keep in mind that SEO agencies from other countries might be more familiar with another language before English. That might hinder the results that they’re able to provide you.

Google has been prioritizing content that is user friendly and that people engage with. If you want to work with a larger SEO agency, that’s completely fine.  But you do have to understand that when you first reach out to them, they’re going to get you in touch with a salesperson. That’s typically the process. After you speak with a salesperson, they’ll hand you over to an account manager who will have an entry-level, intermediate level SEO strategist working on your campaign. It’s important to understand who those people are and their proficiency in English as well, or whatever language your content is going to be created in. 

Question #2: Are you doing white-hat SEO?

White hat SEO means the SEO agency will follow Google’s guidelines, creating quality content that humans actually enjoy.  Black hat SEO, on the opposite, is breaking Google’s guidelines. Black hat SEO will tend to guarantee things that aren’t necessarily guaranteeable. For instance, they will try to guarantee getting to the first page of Google.  While good SEOs are able to get pretty consistent results, it’s not really feasible to guarantee that. Google is changing its algorithm constantly and there’s no way to guarantee anything when the platform itself is constantly changing.  Check out our results here.

Question #3: How has your strategy changed since you started?

SEO strategies in 2021 are very different from what they were five years ago. Asking this question allows you to see whether this SEO agency has been keeping up with the game. SEO is a super volatile industry and it’s constantly changing.  In order to outperform competition, a reliable, responsible SEO agency always adapts to the times,  researches different SEO news and carefully keeps up with the algorithm updates that Google releases.

One of the best SEO strategies right now is to look at your top four or five competitors for a certain keyword and then take everything they’re doing right and then build upon it, create a more comprehensive piece that they can’t compete with your content unless they completely update their page.

Another one of the most popular SEO tactics right now is to make sure that the content is written for their reader and not for Google. Back when SEO first started, people would try to manipulate the search algorithm and create very low quality content including keyword stuffing to rank higher.  But at the end of the day, nobody reading it actually enjoyed it.

If the SEO agency you’re looking to work with is newer and hasn’t really had the opportunity to improve their strategy because they’re just starting out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad at what they do. You just have to be a little bit more careful with them. Ask to see if they have any case studies or results you can look at to see how they actually perform. 

Question #4: How much do you charge?

This is one of the most important questions every business owner is concerned about.

 

Before the SEO agency provides your with a quote, make sure they have gone through your website, perform some level of audit, know what tools they need, how much content they’ll create. Only in this way they can provide you with an accurate quote. 

 

If an SEO agency provides a much lower price than other agencies, just be careful about the price.  SEO tools can cost from a couple of hundreds up to thousands. There are some cheap tools that are only about $14 a month but they don’t really do a whole lot.The more advanced tools can cost upwards of thousands of dollars each month.

 

Make sure the proposals are itemized. The SEO agency should break down what they will do and how much they charge for each service. We break down our services into smaller parts , you’ll know exactly what we do to maximize your investment in SEO. 

 

When an SEO agency spends the extra few minutes that it takes to itemize your proposals and invoices, it means that they’re willing to spend the extra few minutes to explain to you what they’re going to be doing and where our money’s going to be going, it’s a great indicator that they’re going to do high-quality work.

Question #5: Ask yourself, how is their character?

When it comes to hiring an SEO agency or strategist, you need to determine if they’re going to be acting in your best interest.  

Please give yourself enough time to get to know them. Have at least two phone calls or meetings. Then ask yourself: Are they responsive? Are they on time? Do they genuinely care about your business?

 

If they try to confuse you with large terms that don’t really make sense, odds are they’re not good at what they do, They don’t want you to ask any questions or have an idea of what’s going on because they’re trying to take advantage of you.  A good SEO agency should try to make things easier for you, not try to complicate them.

 

If you’re speaking with somebody that’s not good with talking to people but they are genuine and sincere, there is the possibility that they’re just not good with people but they are good at SEO. So if you think that’s the case, make sure to look at their case studies, past results and testimonials to see if they’re actually good at what they do.

Want More Clients Finding Your Website?

We're extremely good at what we do. We are definitely not the cheapest SEO agency, but that's because we've spent years developing custom strategies and building out our company to cater exclusively to general contractors like you. If you're ready to start taking your SEO seriously, schedule a free no-obligation intro consultation today!

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How Should General Contractors Be Using Instagram?

Instagram Logo on iPhone
Instagram Logo on iPhone

How Should General Contractors Be Using Instagram?

Instagram is no doubt the most popular platform to market and grow a business.  It not only presents your business to billions of active users, but also allows you to directly interact with them (direct message). It builds a unique bonding and trust that no other platforms or network is able to match.   That’s why 25 million businesses have accounts on Instagram and 2 million advertisers want to run ads on Instagram every month. 

So, is your business leveraging the power of Instagram?  Here is a checklist and tips that’ll help grow your Instagram organically in a strategic way. Some general contractors are doing well with just Instagram, but after you’ve mastered it, you should consider creating a website for your general contractor business.

Profile Photo

Your profile photo is the first impression you have on people. Make sure your profile photo is clear and professional.  It could be your logo or your headshot.

Bio

This is an area of your elevator pitch.  

What services do you offer? 

Where do you serve? 

What’s your contact information? 

What’s your company value?  

Pack these information in simple, concise words because the users on Instagram scroll quickly! 

Hashtag Research

You’ll need 30 hashtags each post for max exposure. 

Brainstorm and write down three groups of hashtags where your target audience might be interested. 

Most general contracting  are local business so hashtags of your service neighborhoods would be super helpful. 

Do not choose  hashtags that are too general such as “Kitchens” or “Contracting” that have over 1M posts.  Your post will easily get buried in one second.  But also don’t choose hashtags that have only a couple of hundred posts that no one cares about. 

Go through the content under these hashtags and double check if the content under these hashtags are legit (will attract your audience). A lot of hashtags have too many ads or nonsense content. 

Have your hashtag pool ready on a note app (it’s okay you have more than 30). Switch using these hashtags on each post.

Content Planning

Instagram is a very visual platform. Your feed needs to be aesthetically pleasing. It’s important that you implement best practices for construction photography to make sure your images are inspiring.

How can you be aesthetically pleasing?  

The answer is “Less is More” and choose to use one visual element CONSISTENTLY. 

For example, your feed can use the same font, or same color.  Or you can visit those Instagram accounts you like and study what they’ve been doing to make their feed look great. 

Be open to experiencing and testing. You’ll find out what type of content engages your audience well.  For example, try out still images, memes, Instagram reel videos, longer-form IGTV videos, etc to test what your target clients engage well.   In general, short videos work out best on Instagram. But you may have a special group of target clients, I would still recommend testing out different forms and truly understand your potential customers. 

I highly recommend reducing the amount of personal photos or photos not related to your business.  One post once in a whole is doable, but if most of your feeds is about your family, pets, and vacations,  it won’t help establishing you as the authority in your profession.

Post and Engagement

Consistency is the key, on social media platforms and in life!

Post consistently at certain times each week (At least 4 times a week; Optimal 7 days a week).   

You can use Facebook Creator Studio to plan and schedule all your content for a week ahead.  And it’s free! 

Engage and comment on other people’s posts every day for at least half an hour.  This is a technique used by social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk. He has repeatedly recommended small business owners to initiate engagement with other people on social media.  

Building a following on Instagram takes consistent efforts.  The platform changes frequently, which means we’ll need to learn, adjust, and adapt to the platform quickly.   One thing is certain, in the near future, Instagram will continue to be one of the most popular social media platforms. Investing time and efforts to market your business and engage with your potential clients will reward you big time.

Want More Clients Finding Your Website?

We're extremely good at what we do. We are definitely not the cheapest SEO agency, but that's because we've spent years developing custom strategies and building out our company to cater exclusively to general contractors like you. If you're ready to start taking your SEO seriously, schedule a free no-obligation intro consultation today!

Schedule a FREE Intro Consultation

Why Is Good Digital Marketing So Expensive for General Contractors?

General Contractor Paying Digital Marketer
General Contractor Paying Digital Marketer

Why Is Good Digital Marketing So Expensive for General Contractors?

Good digital marketing, particularly SEO, can be a lot more expensive than you might think because of a few key reasons.

  1. They’re most likely trained professionals with lots of experience.
  2. They have lots of tools and resources at their disposal.
  3. They probably have custom-built strategies to help you get the results you’re looking for.
  4. They’re efficient and effective.

Trained Digital Marketers Have Lots of Experience

Most digital marketing professionals have been in the industry for a while and have both traditional education (online most likely) as well as hands-on experience managing marketing campaigns and providing deliverables.

A lot of good marketers also attend industry conferences and networking events, which is tremendously helpful for you! They keep their knowledge up to date, and are able to stay ahead of the curve to keep their clients’ campaigns performing really well.

They Have Tremendous Resources

Most digital marketing agencies have industry-leading tools and software. Some of the software we use can range from $30/mo to $1,500+/mo. 

If you planned on doing  digital marketing yourself, consider how expensive good software is. Digital marketing agencies can afford it because they use the same tools/software for multiple clients.

Another resource they have is knowing people in different marketing industries. If you’re working with an SEO, they probably can refer you to someone who does paid social for instance.

Good Digital Marketers Have Unique Strategies

For the most part, nobody uses the exact same strategies as someone else when doing digital marketing. They might try to utilize best practices by following some guidelines, but successful marketing agencies create their own strategies.

This is important, because if you tried doing digital marketing on your own without as much experience and resources as some of these agencies, you wouldn’t be able to create high-level marketing strategies by yourself and would most likely end up following someone else’s framework. Not saying that’s a bad option, but to succeed, you need to be doing better than everyone else, not the same as everyone else.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Good digital marketers might charge hundreds of dollars an hour, but for the most part, we’re efficient and effective. You’re not necessarily paying for the work we’re doing for your business, but you’re also paying for the time and dedication it took us to get us where we are today. The knowledge that we acquired and the understanding of our fields came at a tremendous time cost for us. Consider that before being shocked as to what good digital marketers charge. 

Is it Worth It?

Alright. Now that you know why it costs so much, is it worth it? The answer is absolutely. If you’re curious as to our reasoning, we did put together another resource explaining in-depth if SEO is worth it for general contractors that you can find here.

Ready to get the ball rolling?

We're extremely good at what we do. We are definitely not the cheapest SEO agency, but that's because we've spent years developing custom strategies and building out our company to cater exclusively to general contractors like you. If you're ready to start taking your SEO seriously, schedule a free no-obligation intro consultation today!

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Best Practices for Photography for General Contractors

General Contractor holding Smartphone
General Contractor holding Smartphone

Best Practices for General Contracting Photography

Taking pictures or videos of your work is one of the best ways to convince people to hire you. Not only is it virtually free to do, but it helps dip your toe into the world of photography! It’s not as hard as it seems, but there are some tips and tricks to help you compete with your competitors.

Do I Need a Camera, or Can I Use my Smartphone?

A few years ago, we would have told you that “the power and quality a DSLR camera has can’t be matched by that of a smartphone, so if you want the highest quality of pictures/videos, choose a camera”. 

In 2020, smartphones have amazing cameras and can capture phenomenal photos and videos. If you have a smartphone already, you don’t need to spend hundreds (or thousands) on a brand new camera. Use what you already have!

If you have professional photography skills, and also have a camera already, then use that. We feel that the differences in quality between modern smartphones and DSLR cameras isn’t worth the price difference for most people. 

Our advice: Only consider an expensive camera when you’re a pro photographer, or already have one. Modern smartphones are capable of taking amazing photos and videos.

Know the right orientation

The biggest thing that I see general contractors doing wrong, is that they’re not taking into consideration the orientation of the camera.

If you plan on posting an image specifically to Instagram for instance (which most people view on their phones), maybe you should consider filming/photographing vertically.

If you want the most versatility, we highly highly recommend holding your phone sideways. When you capture image and video horizontally, it allows you to use it in more places without having to crop it awkwardly. 

Our advice: Take most of your pictures and videos holding your smartphone horizontally.

What is 4k? 30fps? 60fps?

These are all terms for the quality of the videos/images you’re taking. 

Fps is a term exclusively for videos and stands for “frames per second” and essentially details how many images are being captured each second. Have you ever noticed how movies have that weird “movie” aesthetic to them? It’s usually due to low fps filming. Most screens can support 60 fps, so recording higher than that wouldn’t benefit most people. If you’re going to record slow motion, you should record in the highest fps available so that you can slow it down to get that cool “slow-mo” effect.

4k refers to the quality of the image/video. Similar to fps restrictions on monitors, lots of older displays still can’t support resolutions about 1080, so 4k is useless for them. However, it’s always advisable to take the highest quality pictures when you can.

Rule of Thirds Example

What is the "Rule of Thirds"?

The rule of thirds is a photography technique that utilizes the fact that if you divide an image into 1/3rds horizontally and vertically, that our eyes are drawn to where those lines exist particularly where those line intersections occur. See the image above as a reference.

When taking pictures, try to encompass the entire project in your shots, unless you’re focusing on specific aspects (such as new countertops, new flooring, etc.). In that case, try to utilize the rule of thirds, to take advantage of the way our brains work and to get some really stunning photography!

Our advice: Try to utilize the rule of thirds when you can.

What kind of lighting should I use?

You don’t really have to go out and buy special lighting, you just have to use what you have available. Smartphone flash isn’t the best, especially with glossy surfaces, but it’s always worth a shot if your pictures are coming out dark. 

Make sure the window blinds are open to maximize natural light.

Make sure the lights are on.

If you have a couple of extra work lights, why not turn them on and throw them behind you. 

One of the biggest concepts is indirect light. Sometimes pointing a light directly at your target makes it difficult to photograph. 

Try pointing the lights off to the side (if you have any), to help brighten the room, and not a specific object.

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Do General Contractors Need Social Media?

Facebook Twitter Instagram and Linkedin Logos
Facebook Twitter Instagram and Linkedin Logos

Do General Contractors Need Social Media?

Do you have a Facebook page for your business? What about an Instagram? A Twitter? Linkedin?

The rule of thumb is that you should have all of the accounts created. You don’t necessarily have to be using all of them out of the gate, but if you can get the usernames secured, and throw your logo on there, you’re setting yourself up for future success.

 

The order we generally recommend prioritizing for social media channels is:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Linkedin

Facebook

Facebook is a great channel for allowing you to connect with your customers. You can post images and text without many restrictions. You’re also able to have tons of helpful information directly on your Facebook page that’s easily accessible for people viewing your page, such as your website link, phone number, hours, where you’re located, reviews, etc.

Instagram

Instagram is good because it’s a visual-heavy platform. If you’ve got some killer pictures of projects you’ve done, you can definitely leverage them to get some traction on Instagram. 

Twitter

Twitter is a platform where you can be snappy and witty. Twitter isn’t always the best platform for hyperlocal businesses, but if you did want to bring some extra attention to your business on a national level, Twitter is great.  

Linkedin

Linkedin is great for connecting with other professionals. If you do commercial work, you can network with business owners to get a foot in the door. 

At the end of the day, each platform has its pros and cons. If you can post semi-regularly on each platform, you’re helping your business out significantly. You might not think that it’s helping too much because you might not see much engagement at first, but you need to consider attribution.

 

Posting regularly on social media can help demonstrate reliability, and a steady stream of work/projects. While you might not get hundreds of likes on each post, it could be a factor that someone considers before reaching out to through a different channel (like email or phone call).

How Do I Create a Facebook Page?

Facebook Create Page Step 1

Head to facebook.com and look in the top right for a “+” sign.

Facebook Create Page Step 2

After you click the “+” sign, you’ll see a drop down menu with a bunch of options. Click the “Page” option.

Facebook Screen To Add Information When Creating Facebook Page

Fill in your businesses information here and then hit “create page” and that’s it! Your page is created. Now you have to start adding images and information to your Facebook page to make it unique.

How Do I Create an Instagram Page?

Instagram Sign Up Page

This is even easier than creating a Facebook page! Head to https://www.instagram.com/accounts/emailsignup/ and enter in your information, and that’s it!

Make sure that under “Full Name” you’re putting your business name, not your personal name! 

How Do I Create a Twitter Page?

Twitter Sign Up Page

Another easy one! Head to https://twitter.com/i/flow/signup and enter in your information.

Make sure that under “Name” you’re putting your business name, not your personal name! 

How Do I Create a LinkedIn Page?

LinkedIn Sign Up Screen

This one is a little bit more involved, but still not too difficult. You can start the process by heading here: https://www.linkedin.com/signup

This account is going to represent you personally and you are going to represent your business. So for example, instead of making an account for “XYZ Home Remodeling”, you would create an account with your name and add to your profile that you’re the owner of “XYZ Home Remodeling”. 

It’s critical that you make your LinkedIn look professional if you want people to take you seriously. 

What works well with social media?

SEO and Social Media synergize extremely well. Website traffic (from social) helps your SEO, and good SEO helps you grow your social channels. If you're ready to learn more about what the Get GC Clients team can do for you, schedule your FREE no-obligation introductory consultation!

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