Most contractors get into the industry because they love to build or fix things, and they’re good at helping clients. However, there’s a sales component to contracting.
Even if the contractor is adept at promoting his or her services, they need leads to do so. “Leads” are potential customers interested in what you have to offer. And they’re critical to growing a business.
In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best ways to generate leads for your contracting business. These are time-tested, socially-proven techniques. Keep reading to learn more.
7 Ways to Generate Leads for Your Contracting Business
Most of these methods involve the World Wide Web, for good reason. The internet is the first resource most people turn to when they need to fix something in their house or have something built. Every month, there are thousands of Google searches for contractors. If you don’t have an online presence, your name just won’t show up.
Because of the overall importance of the internet, the first two methods below are also the most important for generating leads. Without basic internet marketing, the other options might not be as fruitful. All can help you build your marketing and lead generation strategy with fundamental tactics.
Potential customers expect a contractor to have a website. But just having a site with a few low-resolution photos and a contact number will not do the trick.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to designing and loading a site with content that makes it easy for Google and other search engines to rank it in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO best practices are far too involved to list here, but here are some of the basics:
Include relevant search terms in web page construction and content.Structure the site so search engines can easily crawl and understand the content.Publish posts that build your expertise around the industry or projects you serve.
With enough inbound traffic, websites have tremendous potential to generate leads. If there is a contact form and some level of incentive to fill it out, leads will pour in.
Customers also expect a contractor to maintain a social media page or two. They want to know the people behind the brand, as well as the types of projects they build and the services they provide. It’s one of the best ways to build brand awareness and increase leads.
Social media platforms are unique from each other, as are the folks using them. It’s best to stick to one or two platforms, understand how they work and produce high-quality content. Every follower is a lead. If your content keeps their attention, they’ll remember your brand when it comes time to start a project.
If your social media and website are in tip-top shape, it’s time to focus on serious lead generation. Sales funnels are most typically used for selling a product, but they’re just as useful for collecting and nurturing leads.
Here are the steps of a social-based sales funnel:
1. Build your social media following with great content.
2. Create a landing page and drive followers to it by giving away downloadable content.
3. Collect email addresses from the download form (every email is already a lead).
4. Send a series of welcome emails followed up by newsletter-type content to build trust and awareness.
5. Create offer-specific sales pages and drive traffic by promoting them in email newsletters.
6. Book appointments with an automated appointment setting software or app.
If sales funnels don’t drive home the importance of email marketing, nothing will. But you don’t have to utilize full-fledged sales funnels to make use of email.
If you start with an offer, a giveaway, or downloadable content, collecting emails is straightforward, and so are the emails you’ll send.
Your emails should be simple, relatively short and packed with value. What are valuable topics to include in an email? Try how-to content on winterizing your home, building a deck, finding studs behind drywall, getting a building permit and similar topics that homeowners might not understand. Also, include photos and videos about projects and community events.
Every email builds brand awareness. Many experts believe it’s a critical element in building red-hot leads.
Sometimes, paying for targeted ads is the best way to generate leads. These ad campaigns can get expensive and require some design and copywriting expertise, but their payoffs can be tremendous. The most common ad campaigns pay-per-click (PPC), where the contractor pays the publishing channel every time a customer clicks the ad.
When setting up a paid ad campaign, contractors can choose who sees their ads. They can target a specific locale within a state, county or city. They can also target people of certain age groups or specific search terms. When these folks use search engines to find their content, ads will push contractors to the top.
Some examples of paid ad channels include Google, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Up until now, we’ve focused primarily on widespread lead generation. But you can still use sales funnels and email marketing for a localized crowd with a booth at a community event.
Fairs, trade shows, craft fairs, touch-a-truck events, festivals, marathons, parades and other events are incredible opportunities. The results will be a smaller list of potentially hotter leads.
Most contractors botch these interactions. They use hard-selling techniques like free consultations or buy-two-get-one deals. This might work for some folks, but there are better opportunities:
Partner with a local restaurant and purchase a few $5 off coupons at a discount, then give them away in exchange for an email address.Give away coffee or lemonade and introduce yourself to everyone who comes up for a cup. Give away flyers with QR codes connecting them to your landing page.Set up a raffle where the winner gets a free service, like a window or front door replacement, and collect contact information (name, email, and phone number).
Community events are not for selling. They’re for building awareness.
Optimize your Google profile
Finally, give yourself another boost by making your company as searchable as possible for local customers. This is a relatively simple process that boosts local SEO and generates more leads.
Here’s a rundown of how to optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP):
Head to the Google Business Profile site.
Find your business and claim it following the verification process guidance.
Complete the profile and provide a detailed description of your business and services.
Choose the correct business categories for your services.
Encourage customers to leave reviews (refer back to your email list!)
Post high-quality photos and update your profile regularly
You can dive as deeply into the GBP as you’d like to, down to creating a website with GBP, but it may not be necessary. If your efforts are pushing your site to the top for local search terms, you’ll generate more leads from customers searching for your services in your local area.
Start Generating Leads Today
With these techniques, you can put together a plan to start generating leads right away. A few hours with the computer and your phone will have the names of potential customers flooding your inboxes. Then all you’ll have to do is close the deal.