Guide on how to create a marketing strategy for a contractor/home improvement professional

You can’t be everything to everybody.  We might be spreading ourselves too thin if we try to work with everyone.  As a result we don’t stand out in a competitive industry such as home improvement.

Instead of targeting everyone we should narrow our focus and target a smaller group of people.  A group of people of which we can provide value, deliver results, and offer benefits.  We call this having an ideal customer.

So what is an ideal customer?

An ideal customer is specific customer profile that share similarities, commonalities, essentially a group of people that would most benefit from our services. 

When thinking about our ideal customer we should consider: demographics such as age, sex, also the location of our ideal customer and what personality traits i.e. thrifty, or into luxury.  Who in the past we have liked working with?  What are there similarities? Also, we should think about what projects we are passionate about.

Why have an ideal customer?

We live in a specialized world.  People want to right to hire the person they can trust to get the job done and done right.  And by having an ideal customer we can become this to person to our ideal customer.  

But there are many reasons for having an ideal customer such as:

  • We know where our customers hang out and platforms they use
  • We understand our ideal customers problems and how we can solve them
  • Easier to focus on what branding and design is right for our marketing materials.  
  • Easier to target our ideal customer.  Consequently, resulting in better ROI for our marketing dollars.
  • We become truly great at our niche

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Potential customers don’t have the time and patience to scroll through your website looking for what it is in if for them.  Studies have indicated they won’t.  In fact, website visitors will bounce within 5 seconds if they don’t see what is in for themThat is why we need a unique value proposition(UVP).

What is a Unique Value Proposition?

A UVP or sometimes referred to as your unique selling position(USP) is typically found on your home page above the fold.  Often, A UVP will include:

  • a headline – stating the result we offer.
  • a sub heading – that will expand on what we do and who do it for.
  • 3 bullets – that explain the benefits we offer.
  • An image – that gives our UVP a visual representation.
  • Call to Action – a button or form that appeals to your ideal customer to take the next step.  Whether that be signing up for your newsletter, filling out a contact form, or clicking on a promotion.
  • Social Proof – Badges, testimonials, reviews, ratings that build trust.

Our UVP should answers the questions in our ideal customers mind.  Such as how are we different from our competitors, what benefits do we offer me, and why should they trust us to deliver on these benefits.

In general customers like to do business with people they like. Having an about section or an about page on your website can tell people who we are: our interests, experience, and consequently allow our ideal customer to get to know our personality.

Don’t be afraid to show some personality, talk about your experience etc.  These are questions you will have to answer in person might as well answer them online.  Besides your website is there to build trust with your ideal customer might as well be upfront about you are and try to build as much trust to ensure you get that lead.

Without a doubt when choosing a home improvement professional people will want to see examples of your work.   Often having a good portfolio will be deciding factor on whether you are going to get the call or not.

However, often contractors will just have picture gallery with a few bits of text. Of which does not give your ideal customer a sense of the project: like what was homeowners problem, why did they call you, were they happy, what results/benefits did you deliver.

There is a reason why home improvement shows are so popular –  Because people are interested in the construction process.

Consequently, it is a good idea to include to have a detailed portfolio including:

  • project description – problem the owner was looking to solve and the solution we provided to solve their problem
  • project details – tasks included, sq footage, location, use bullet points
  • project pictures – before and after
  • videos – show your project in a timeline fashion showing the start of the project to finish.
  • virtual tours – take panoramic images and create a virtual tour after the project is completed
  • testimonials – from the homeowner
  • project timelines – showing a list major tasks in order of time.

It is a good idea to make each project shareable on social media platforms with badges.  This will allow the homeowner and everyone involved in the project share it on their social media platform.  If you do a good job and having a nice web page including what I have already listed – they will share.

Nobody wants to spend time scrolling through your content, to find out your services. They won’t, most likely they will bounce and go to a competitors website. 

That is why we need to list our services on our home page but also have a distinct page for each major service. Keeping it easy for our ideal customers to understand what we do and how we do it.

By having a seperate page for each major service we start showing up for service related searches in Google.  But also, we post content, service benefits related to that service such as:

  • Benefits of that particular service.  What is in for the customer.
  • Negative outcomes of not going with that service
  • Service promotions popups
  • Testimonials related to that service
  • Projects and blog articles relating to that service.
  • Contact forms

Not every customer is going to click on your website and call you.  Maybe if your a plumber and the homeowners house is flooding you will get a call instantly.  But for a lot of construction professionals like contractors the sales cycle is longer. People plan their home renovation for months if not years and they will be doing a lot of research over that time span.  In fact, 70 percent of the customer journey is already completed before they even call you. 

Consequently, it is a good idea to have a blog.  A blog will build trust, help customers through their buying process and allows you keep in touch with your ideal customer. And when there are ready to call you bet they will be calling you.

Besides aren’t we answering a lot of the same questions in email and in person. Might as well wright them down, and make it easier for us and our ideal customer to see the value we bring. 

More reasons we should Blog our:

  • We will start showing up for all sorts of searches relating to our business
  • We can use content to share on social media
  • We could have popups and newsletter optins on blog posts
  • We can use the content and share it with our newsletter.

What to blog about

List posts are a good idea for blogging.  For example, blog article headings could include: 7 tasks to complete before starting your Vancouver home renovation project, 9 rebates you did not know about, 11 current trends in kitchen remodels.

We don’t necessarily blog all the time.  If your a smaller business maybe just having a small blog of 5 posts that are beneficial to our ideal customer and update those regularly might be sufficient.

Start with a Guide?

A guide is good way to start blogging.  Often guides can be used as hub pages and contain links to your articles but also external links to other good content your ideal customer might find useful.  Furthermore, Hub pages often get highly ranked Google because they attract backlinks from other websites.

Also, a how to guide is a good way to exemplify your expertise.   For example, your ideal customer has a problem and is looking for a solution.  Your guide can be a how to and deliver insight on solving that problem. In turn creating trust, being helpful and offering expertise. 

What to include in your guide

Make your guide useful an informative.  Fill it with stats, good how to info, and promote it to others building relationships with other industry professionals.  I also suggest, you create a video, an infographic, or possibly an app from the guide content.  Making your research all the more while and allowing you to be seen on all platforms from Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, Google….

Newsletter open rates are around 20 percent.  When compared to Facebook with boosted posts open rates are below 5 percent.  Suggesting newsletters are still very much relevant in 2021.

Besides not every potential customer that visits our website is going to fill out our contact form.  They very well could be at the beginning of their research phase and not ready to start their project.   We want to keep in touch  and having a newsletter is good way to do so.

Also newsletters are also good because we can:

  • Offer discounts when business is slow.
  • Promote services and materials when we have over supply.
  • Keep in touch with our ideal customer and when they are take that next step our email be at top of mind.

Have an optin for your newsletter

spam laws nowadays we can’t just email blast our ideal customer. We need to get permission to contact them, and we can do this with our optin.

An optin for your newsletter is enticing a piece of content that is must click for you ideal customer.  Often checklists, or infographics are a good option for an optin. I suggest use your guide and somehow turn that into a basic checklist.

It is an understatement to say that social media isn’t important. People spend hours a day on these platforms and by not having a social media presence we are missing out on many lead opportunities. 

There are numerous reasons to partake in social media: 

  • We can share content
  • Show off projects
  • Get others to share our projects
  • Get backlinks that help SEO
  • Use remarketing tactics such as facebook ads
  • Join Groups/Forums and help our ideal customer
  • Most importantly have fun and meet like minded people
  • Build relationships with others in our industry

We can’t join every social media platform so figure out which ones our ideal customer uses. For example, Facebook has older age demographic that are more likely to own their homes and need the services of  a construction professional than an 18 year old who predominately is snap chatting.

There are many review sites such as Houzz, Yelp and Homestars for construction professionals.  Often potenial customers will use these site to get ideas for their project and or find construction professional

Make sure to pick sign up to most to them even if you don’t use all of them.  It creates visibility to your site, gets you a backlink increases visibility.  As for the major ones such as Houzz, Google places and Yelp make sure your clients post reviews and make sure you interact with the reviews. 

Furthermore, having good reviews can affect your page rankings in Google and increase you visibility on search engines.

Obviously Google is important. People search everyday for solutions to their problems, businesses and useful information. Not showing up on Google(in search or maps) for your services and related queries means were missing on a ton of potential leads.

One of the first tasks when starting a business is sign up for Google My Business. Google My Business is where we tell Google a bit about our business such as:

  • Google about your business
  • Your website domain
  • Hours of operation
  • Business location
  • Service categories

Make sure to fill out this properly, and make sure this information is accurate across the web on social media, reviews sites, directories, any inaccuracy with your business name, address contact information can affect our SEO.

As well as My Business.   Google has other tools that are a must use including:

  • Google Analytics –  Monitors who is visiting your website and where they are located and where are they coming from ie search or social
  • Google Adwords – Find what customers searching for in Google. Consequently we can use ppc or SEO to try and rank for these keywords
  • Google Search Console – Monitor what search terms we are ranking for in Google and how often we get visitors from Google and what links are they clicking on to come to our website.