There is no doubt that putting time, money, and energy into building your “own” brand, has the potential to yield the highest results in the long term. However, this can be difficult during the first few years of existence (of any business) when no one really knows who you are.

Building credibility, establishing a reputation, and earning referrals organically from existing clients can take several years to kick-in!

This is why “paid advertising”, in the beginning, is a great option for contractors and that’s what we want to talk about today. We’ll help you understand what advertising is, what advertising channels are available, spend range, which channels may work best, what it can do for your remodeling or construction business, benefits, how to implement on your own, some tips & tricks, and what to expect.

Generating good qualified leads is critical in the beginning, and depending on your budget, this may be the most cost-effective way of getting new leads to come in. Let’s dive in.

The Basics of Advertising

Advertising is essentially marketing your business’ services to your current and prospective customers.  It is vital for maintaining a consistent body of work, but many newer contractors don’t have experience in how to advertise or what initiatives are best suited to reaching their intended customers.

The more access consumers have to information about various contracting business, the higher the need is to stand out amongst the crowd.  Effective advertising is the best way to draw customers to your business, so knowing everything you can about what your competitors are offering will allow you to be more targeted in how you advertise. If you know the rates your local competitors are offering for tile installation, for example, you can offer customers a lower promotional rate to entice first time buyers to try your services.

The Importance of a Personal Website

Your company’s website is the hub for your business, providing customers with a place to go to find out anything and everything they want to know about your business.  No matter if you’re advertising in print, online, or even in person, having a website to direct people to is essential.  Your website represents your company and the services you can provide as well as the quality of the work you offer.

Including a detailed description of the services you offer, photos and testimonials of previous work you’ve done, and multiple contact methods are all great ways to market your business on your website.  Before and after photos are also a good way to show the difference your service makes rather than just showing photos of the completed work.

Very often a website is the first impression potential customers get of your business, so taking the time and effort to build a professional website is absolutely critical.  Unless you have extensive experience building a website, you can (and should) hire an outside agency to help you build it.  It’s an investment that will be well worth it with the amount of leads your site will generate.

Advertising Channels

There are many different avenues for advertising your contractor business, but by far the most effective is contractor advertising online.  Most of your customers are looking for contracting services online, so having a consistent and widespread online presence is a must for any new contracting business.  Here are the different channels for advertising for contractors:

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the best advertising options for contractors, often delivering immediate results and a healthy return on investment by bringing your business to the top of page 1 of Google.  Contracting is a competitive industry with many companies vying for the same customers, so doing whatever you can to rise to the top of the pack is essential in generating enough leads to help your business grow.

With PPC advertising, customers click on a link that takes them to a custom landing page.  The custom landing page lists all of the important features and benefits that you want customers to know.  PPC also helps you target people in the same location as you, which helps you advertise effectively by not targeting customers you cannot service.

Promoting your business on social media channels with PPC is a great way to reach customers as more and more people are using social media than ever before.  Having a strong social media presence in addition to PPC advertising will help your business stand out to today’s generation. PPC also offers remarketing services, where your ad appears on other sites after the customer visits your website.  This can help remind customers of your services when they’re searching multiple sites to compare quotes. 

On average, business pay about $1-2 per click to advertise on Google, with a monthly cost of between $9,000 and $10,000 for the average small to medium sized business.  However, you can set a budget for your PPC campaign, which will allow you to control the amount you spend on PPC advertising.

Social media advertising

LinkedIn is a very effective social media platform for contracting companies.  It not only helps you network with your local community and attract new customers, it also connects your business with industry peers and helps you get insights from publications in your industry.  Set up a LinkedIn profile and post regular content to establish your business on the site.

Once your business is firmly plugged into the site, it’s a good idea to create an ad to market to other people on the site.  The three types of ads you can create on LinkedIn are sponsored content, sponsored InMail, or text ads.  Sponsored content are ads that appear directly in the LinkedIn feed, while sponsored InMail are ads that allow you to deliver personalized content through LinkedIn Messenger.  Text ads are PPC ads that will appear on the side.

Another site you can advertise on is Facebook.  Facebook offers advertising on its site, allowing you to select your audience and where you want to run your ad.  It also lets you set your budget either daily or overall in order to ensure you’re never spending more than you want to.

It’s also a good idea to create a Facebook page for sharing information about your business and posting daily updates about your work.  It also allows customers to leave reviews about your business, which can allow you the opportunity to engage with customers directly.

Costs of social media marketing is usually around $0.27 per click.  If you’re measuring cost per thousand impressions (CPM), it usually runs about $7.19 CPM.

Billboard advertising

Many new contracting companies are reluctant to advertise via billboard due to fears about the high cost, but the reality is that billboard advertising is a great way to advertise locally.  The cost depends on the format as well as location, typically ranging at around $250 a month in rural areas, $1,500-$4,000 in small to midsize cities, and $14,000+ in larger cities.

Designing a billboard comes with its own costs, typically between $150 and $1,000.  Hiring a designer with plenty of experience creating billboard ads is important, as billboard design is quite different from other forms of graphic design and advertising.  Review how it will look from a distance rather than just on your computer to ensure that the product turns out the way you want it to.

You need to quickly engage with customers when advertising via billboard, so the number one goal is to boost your brand awareness.  The goal isn’t to instantly convert buyers, but to increase awareness of your business with a unique and memorable design.  Including an easy to remember phone number or a link to your website on the billboard is the best way to generate leads from billboard advertising.

When choosing a location for your billboard, you’ll need to consider traffic speed.  People will see your ad much more clearly on a street with a low speed limit or a congested highway than they will on a fast-moving street.  Another factor to consider is how close the sign is to the road.  You need to ensure your sign is close enough to the road that it’s legible; otherwise your billboard won’t be effective in boosting brand awareness.

Radio advertising

In today’s digital age, many people have forgotten about radio advertising, but it’s a unique opportunity to speak directly to your consumers.  Radio advertising is less effective if it’s the sole advertising method you use, but it can be a great way to enhance your other marketing initiatives.

It’s another effective method for building brand awareness in addition to billboard advertising.  For example, if your company brands itself as specializing in a service that nearby competitors lack, you can generate leads by directly speaking to customers about your brand and why your company is different from others.

Radio advertising offers you an opportunity to educate consumers about the contracting industry and what to look for in a good business.  Educating customers about your industry puts you in a position of authority and helps customers to trust what you have to say about why your company is unique.

Another benefit to advertising on the radio is the ability to build a rapport with customers by targeting them based on their preferences.  Listening to talk radio hosts or music on the way to work is an intimate experience for many people, and being able to reach customers while they’re engaged allows you to tap into that.

Radio advertising costs range from $200-$5,000 per week depending on your location.  You also need to factor in the cost of producing the commercial, which can add around $300-$1,000 to the cost.

How To Make Paid Advertising Work For You

In order to make money with your business, you may need to spend a little bit of money at first.  Paid advertising is a great investment in generating leads to create a customer base that you can build on.  Once you have a set base of customers for your construction business, you can continue with much cheaper methods of marketing in order to retain customers.

Methods such as email marketing are a great way to offer promotional rates to existing customers to ensure their repeat business and get more business from them.  Establishing that rapport with your clients will ensure their loyalty and prevent them from leaving for one of your competitors.

Paid advertising also has the benefit of getting customers to trust you through building brand awareness. Brand awareness is often a requirement for people who are reluctant to hire a company that they’ve never heard of before.  If you can get your name out there and at least get people aware of what your business is, they’re a lot more likely to choose you when they hear about you via word of mouth or come across your website on Google.

Paid advertising isn’t just about how much you spend, but about how much time and energy you put into developing your advertisements.  Spend the time to ensure your ad is the best representation of your company it can be so that you’re making the most out of the money you spend on paid advertisement.

No matter how you choose to advertise, monitoring and measuring which strategies are working the best is crucial.  Spend more on the ads that generate the most leads in order to effectively build your business without wasting money on the ads that aren’t as effective.  Drawing up a balanced budget will help you choose where to allocate your advertising money without spending more than you can afford.

Don’t be reluctant to invest in your business.  You believe your contracting company has something special to offer, and paid advertising gets that message to consumers who otherwise might be distracted by a bigger business.  If you put in a little money, in the beginning, to attract customers and generate leads, you’ll build a happy and loyal customer base that you can depend on for years to come.

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