- Online marketing is a game changer for today's digital world - regardless of the industry and niche your business operates in.
- In order to make online marketing work for your construction or trades businesses, though, there are quite a few subtleties you need to beware of.
- Before you jumpstart with your marketing plan, make sure you know how important local SEO and a simple responsive website can be for your business growth.
The way construction and trades find new clients has been disrupted in the last ten years with the emergence of online marketing. The majority of businesses still focus on word-of-mouth for getting new clients. But shifting your strategy to include online marketing can have significant results.
A client increased lead volume by 400% by investing in online marketing to drive extra traffic to their website.
In this article, I’ll cover my 5 top tips for marketing your construction or trades business.
Start With Your Objectives
Before we jump into strategies, it’s essential to align your marketing efforts to your business objectives. Otherwise, you will fail before you even begin.
If you don’t have business objectives, now would be a great time to set them. When setting objectives, you need to use the SMART framework.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Assignable
- R – Realistic
- T – Time-related
Most objectives for a small business revolve around finances. For example, you might want to increase your revenue by 15% by the end of 2018/2019 FY.
Once you have your objectives, you should move to your strategy.
Setting Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand your business objectives; it's time to create a strategy.
To increase your revenue by 15% by the end of 2018/2019 FY, we will invest in online marketing to generate 50% more leads.
Tactics will include:
- Building a responsive website,
- Developing and implementing a local SEO strategy,
- Creating and optimising a 'Google My Business' profile,
- Running Google AdWords campaigns,
- Developing a presence on social media.
1. Build a Responsive Website
In a digital-first world having a website for your business is essential. Perhaps, more importantly, is having a website that caters for smartphone visitors. Google recently switched to a mobile-first index, which means they rank websites based on their mobile versions.
The move to a mobile-first index is due to more people searching the internet on smartphones than desktop computers. So, it’s no surprise that having a responsive website that works across all devices is critical to success. And without a website, you won’t be able to meet the objective we set to increase online leads by 50%.
How to go about getting a responsive website?
You have a few options and different price ranges to choose from, but here’s the rundown:
1.1 Buy a website theme on a user-friendly CMS such as Wordpress, Squarespace or Weebly.
This option is the most cost-effective if you consider yourself tech-savvy. But, there are quite a few limitations:
- The level of customisation is restricted by the theme you buy.
- These themes are often ‘heavy’ with lots of features you might not even use, which slows your website down.
If these limitations aren’t too concerning for you, by all means, go down this route.
1.2 Work with a web development agency to build a custom website
This option will be the most expensive. But you get what you pay for, and if you use a reputable agency, you’ll get a fantastic website. There are a few things you should be aware of:
- Anything under $2,000 won’t be a good website.
- Make sure they use responsive design, it's recommended by Google.
- Make sure they have a design process that involves many revisions.
1.3 Use a freelance platform, such as UpWork, Airtasker or Freelancer.
Freelancers are always risky. With that said, more reputable platforms like UpWork have some talented freelancers. The primary considerations for hiring a freelancer are:
- Go with someone who has a lot of positive reviews.
- Remember you get what you pay for, and cheap work will always result in a poor finish.
- The website must be mobile responsive,
- Make sure it scores above 80 in Google Page Speed Insights,
- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR,
- Think performance before a flashy design.
2. Develop and Implement a Local SEO Strategy
As a construction or trade business your customers will be within your local area, so your targeting strategy must reflect this. The best way to drive relevant traffic to your website is local search engine optimisation.
Local SEO has differences to a national SEO approach, and it’s often much easier to rank well for keywords.
Here are the tactics you should focus on:
2.1 Localised On-page SEO Strategy
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, for example, might be “emergency plumber,” then you want to place your region/city after the keyword, “emergency plumber your region/city.”
Next, you need to optimise the individual pages on your website for your target keywords + region/city. There are a few places you need to place the keywords:
- In the page title,
- In the meta description,
- In the heading tags (h1, h2,h3),
- Throughout the body of the content,
- In image alt tags.
It’s vital that you don’t “over-optimise” the page for the keywords. You want the content to read naturally.
2.2 Localised link building
Getting other local websites to link to yours is crucial if you want to be on the first page of Google. There are a few tactics that work well for local businesses and that are easy to do:
- Submit your website to business directories for your city/region,
- Submit your website to the big three directories: Yellow Pages, True Local, and Local Search,
- Join the local business chamber or council business directory,
- Sponsor local sporting teams, charities or events that have a page where they link to their sponsors,
- Try to get coverage in a local newspaper.
2.3 Keep a consistent profile of your business name, address, and phone (NAP)
The way search engines identify local businesses online is through a consistent profile on your NAP. On your website, social media profiles, directories and other mentions online it’s essential to have the same listing of your NAP.
You’ll also want to set up a Google My Business profile, which I’ll talk about in the next section.
3. Create and Optimise a Google My Business Profile
Want your business to appear on Google Maps? You need to create a Google My Business profile. A Google My Business profile can get some quick wins for your local business.
To get a profile, you need to answer a couple of questions about your business. Then Google will send you a verification code in the mail. Once verified, your profile would appear on Google.
To get the best results you need to optimise the profile:
- Fill in all the details that are available,
- Upload 6+ photos to the specifications recommended by Google,
- Select a relevant category for your business,
- Be sure the business name, address and phone exactly match what’s on your website,
- Ask your customers to leave reviews on your profile,
- Keep opening hours up to date.
If you do all this well along with a solid local SEO strategy, you can get plenty of leads through Google Search.
4. Create Google AdWords Campaigns
Google AdWords is an effective channel for construction and trade businesses, if set up correctly. Potential customers turn to Google when researching a tradesperson, so showing your ad at the right time can lead to new business.
You don’t even need a big budget, a landscaping client spends under $300 per month and generates 15-30 leads. The key to success is selecting the right keywords and eliminating wasted clicks.
To do this, you need to be tracking conversions on your website. A conversion for most trade businesses is a phone call or someone submitting a contact form. The Google AdWords support team will be happy to assist you in setting this up, or you can follow their guide.
Next, how you structure the Google AdWords account is crucial to your success. You should have a campaign for each service. For example:
- Campaign #1 – Residential Plumbing
- Campaign #2 – Commercial Plumbing
- Campaign #3 – Emergency Plumbing
And use single keyword ad groups, which means that you have one keyword per ad group using three match types: exact, phrase and broad match modified.
- [Residential plumber Cronulla]
- “Residential plumber Cronulla.”
- +Residential +plumber +Cronulla
By using single keyword ad groups, you can make your ads very relevant to the keyword. Rather than having one ad targeting 20 different keywords. It will help get a higher quality score, which in turn will reduce your cost per click.
5. Have a Presence On Social Media
Friends, family or colleagues have probably told you that you need to get your business on social media. I want to caution you on this; social media isn’t easy to do well.
Before you sign up for every social media channel, stop. I recommend thinking which is most relevant for your business, then focusing on doing one channel well.
Facebook is a safe bet to start with for most businesses. But if you do visually compelling work that you want to showcase, Instagram can be a good channel too.
Try to update your profile 3-4 times a week. An easy way to get some ideas of what type of content to share is to look at what your competitors are doing. What content or types of post are getting the most likes, comments, and shares? That’s the type of posts you want to be creating.
To be successful in online marketing as a trade or construction business you need to tie all your efforts to a business objective. By doing this you're working with a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you’ll be on your way to smashing your business goals this year.
And to end the guide with a personal touch, here's a piece of advice for your business:
For me, it's all about responsiveness and customer service - if you can find ways to connect with your customers in person then you have a great chance of making sales. As such, I'd recommend signing up to lead generation services as part of your marketing mix, because that way you have the chance to make real connections with real people. Also, never leave it to the potential customer to follow up with you - make sure it's always you who follows up so as to keep the momentum in the relationship.
Owner of Intently.co