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Local Business Content Marketing 101: The Local Contractor

in Marketing Fundamentals, Local Contractor, Content Marketing

Essential Website Elements

Home Page: This is your welcome page; it should have a few prominent photos along with a description of your business. It’s also a great place to prominently display testimonials and reviews. Including calls-to-action helps visitors know what to do next.

Your Address and Contact Page: This is your core business data. The best phone number to reach you along with a list of the areas you service.

Past Work: Make sure you have some pictures (especially before and after photos) of your past work. It’s particularly important to highlight quality and areas you’re an expert, that is, your unique value. This is a great page to reinforce your expertise through more testimonials.

Community Involvement: These topics don’t always directly relate to business, but people always feel better about supporting businesses that support the community. Little league sponsorships, rotary events, chamber activities, habitat for humanity involvement, etc.

Why: These are great ways to show you care about the community in addition to meeting people that may be in need of your services.

Infographics With Stats: Use these to inform customers of all the important facts and numbers in your business, these could be topics like average yearly savings, tax rebates, environmental impact and more.

Why: People can use this information to justify starting a project, it’s a great way to get them off the fence. 

Content Marketing Objectives

Lay the Groundwork

Document your content marketing plan (that means actually write it down and stick to it). Marketers with a documented plan perform much better overall and you’ll avoid flying by the seat of your pants later on.

Set Your Goals

Don’t create your dream marketing plan and think you’ll be able to implement it overnight. First, focus on the few tasks you can implement quickly and a few channels (Read: Facebook and Email) that will have the greatest impact.

Seek to Demonstrate Expertise, Educate and Build Awareness

Your focus should be on creating quality content. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you create something that will actually be helpful to person that’s a relative novice in your areas of expertise. If you can demonstrate your expertise to the world, it will help you stand out in your customer’s minds.

Know Your Customer

Speak with a handful of your best customers and ask them what they would like to see more of from you online. Would they be interested in offers/promos? New Product/Technology announcements? Seasonal Tips? Etc. If there is a common thread, you'll be well served to make that a focal point in your efforts.

Keep the End Results in Mind

Each piece of content you put out may not have an immediate effect, however, there should be a clear goal. Whether that is to show your expertise, introduce a new service, remind customers about offers, create opt-ins to your newsletter or something else. Every time you create something ask yourself “What action do I want them to take after they see this?” Usually that answer should be to give you a call or send an email, but you will also see long term value from Facebook likes and email opt-ins.

Remember, since much of this content lives online forever, results might no happen over night, but if you spend an hour creating a piece of content and generate 1-3 new customers every year, that’s time well spent!

Now that you've laid a strong foundation, let's create some content! Here are the best types to get you started.

This week we’re taking a look how local a contractor can develop a successful content marketing plan. This plan applies to a whole host of trades including but not limited to: Roofers, HVAC Companies, General Contractors, Plumbers, and more.

While many contractors rely on word-of-mouth referral, this is becoming harder and harder to sustain. 47% of people report turning to the Internet for information about local businesses, according to the PEW research center. There aren’t many businesses that can survive let alone thrive by neglecting half the pool of potential customers. That’s why we advocate a strategic content marketing plan.

Before you begin, it’s crucial to have an optimized website before you introduce any content marketing. Marketing tactics that you may already be doing, like pay-per-click advertising, digital banner ads, public relations efforts and social media won’t work nearly as well without a good web presence as the foundation.

Services Page: Explain the most common/most profitable types of jobs that you do. Do you work on residential or commercial? Specialize in indoor/outdoor? Anything you are an exclusive dealer of? Etc.

About/Our Story Page: Take this chance to highlight what sets you apart from the competition, let potential customers know your expertise. Make sure to have a colorful story about the history of your business and/or owner’s background, and training. Sharing your passion and reason for starting and running the business can be inspiring and compelling. You can also show your community involvement and any groups/charities you’re associated with, you may want to highlight this in a separate page.

Blog/Feed: This is the heart of your content marketing plan and the homebase for most content. You’ll be adding almost all the new content we cover to your blog and typically sending social media and newsletter traffic to these pages.

That’s all you need for an effective website! You can always add more sections as you feel necessary. However, it’s important you keep your site easy to follow. Potential customers will typically be there a few minutes at most make sure it’s easy for them to get the information they're looking for. Now you're on the right track and ready to start crafting your content plan.

Marketing Plan

Create your own mix of the following activities, you can perform each one 1 to 4 times per month. Just make sure whatever schedule you decide is sustainable.

Before and After Photos: An crucial part of a strong content strategy for any contractor. If you are involved in a trade that make things look really great cosmetically, even better. Everything that you do that shows a big change after the work was completed, is a great source of content.

Examples could include: new roofs, fixing broken or leaky pipes, installing solar panels, installing a new HVAC unit, painting a house, kitchen remodel or just about anything where you can see a real, noticeable improvement and quality workmanship. Here is a great article on how to take high-quality pictures on a budget with just a smartphone.

Why: You will help inspire people to think about projects they may have around the house and make them that much more likely to call you.

How-To or DIY Posts: Help to educate people that are trying to do projects at home. Think about possibly creating a Youtube video. Walk people through and be as educational as possible. 

Why: Surprisingly, in addition to providing a tutorial for those that want to do it on their own, people will reach out to you because they see you are an expert. People that have become frustrated trying to do things on their own may also see the video and call you as well.

Customer Stories: Stories about going above and beyond in terms of service or fulfillment. Maybe you performed an emergency repair in the middle of the night; maybe you finished the job under a tight time constraint or came in under budget. You can also include testimonials in order to strengthen these stories.

Why: You will reach customers that need the exact same job done and they will see how you performed excellently in the past.

Newsworthy Industry Topics and Your Take: If there is a lot of buzz surrounding a current issue, it’s your chance to hop on the trend and offer an opinion. As an expert, people will be interested in hearing from you.

Why: Show you keep current with the industry and see yourself as a leader. Your viewpoint will help drive potential customers to your site and convince them to work with you next time they need something.

Weekly/Monthly Newsletter: This is a recap of all the activity you have had on your website for the past month. A great way to keep past customers informed if the missed your social media posts.

Why: A large list of people that are interested in what you’re selling is a huge asset for your business.

Using Facebook: Each piece of content outside of your newsletter should be posted to Facebook. It will keep your customers updated about what’s going on and serve as a reminder about your business to your fans.

Why: It will grow your traffic and newsletter subscribers.

Conclusion

Stick to your plan as much as possible until you have surpassed the time period you set out for yourself. We suggest a minimum of 60-90 days to get everything going. At that point reevaluate your plan and see if you are hitting your goals. If you just integrate the post types we covered above, you should be producing 2-4 pieces of content each week without spending too much time thinking about it. Over time, you should see your fans and subscribers growing. 

Reinvest in the channels that are performing well and consider scaling back the ones that aren’t performing. Go through this evaluation process every 60-90 days and make small adjustments. Results won’t happen overnight, but with this method you will set yourself up for long-term success and create an easy to follow system that doesn't burden your business.
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