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If you’re like most contractors, you probably think that content marketing is something only big companies do. Wait, that was a stupid statement. Let me take off my “marketing guy hat.” If you’re like most contractors, you’ve probably never even heard the phrase content marketing, right? Not to worry! In this blog series, I’m going to explain it in simple terms, give you a few insights into why it works, and provide you with a basic content marketing strategy you can use to generate more leads and sales for your contracting business.
The Contractor Marketing Landscape
Before we dive in to content marketing, let’s get on the same page with the current state of contractor marketing. If you’re a small contractor with a truck or two, and you do great work, you can probably keep yourself busy from referrals and word of mouth alone. If you’re a savvy small contractor, that does great work, and you have a great website that ranks high on Google for keywords relevant to your business, you’re probably the busiest you’ve ever been.
However, once you get your (flooring, hvac, plumbing, roofing, remodeling, etc.) company to a particular size, it becomes critical that you have a marketing system in place that generates a predictable volume of leads, of which some percentage convert into sales. Without a reliable lead generation and reporting system, things around the office can get ugly. When you can’t generate enough leads and sales to keep your guys busy, you risk having your trucks parked at the shop with your guys out back shooting the breeze, or even worse, guys doing jobs on the side with your equipment!
In the past, most contractors in need of leads would turn to outbound advertising and marketing strategies such as billboards, direct mail, print ads, TV, or the yellow pages. Today, these “traditional” advertising channels are far less effective than they once were. While the consumer of yesteryear needed advertising to find a (flooring, hvac, plumbing, roofing, remodeling, etc.) service, today’s consumer can find anything they want in a matter of minutes via the library of information on their iPhone, iPad, or laptop. Not only do today’s consumers not need advertising, many despise it. They’ve been interrupted and inundated with it for years and they’re sick and tired of it. Huge companies have been built just to aid consumers in blocking unwanted ads (TiVo, caller ID, DVR, SPAM filters, etc.).
While some of the outbound marketing strategies may still produce leads at an acceptable cost per lead, they don’t deliver nearly as great a return as inbound internet marketing strategies.
As a result many of the contractors killing it today changed their approach to advertising and marketing 3-5 years ago – shifting their efforts from (relatively) un-targeted outbound marketing to hyper-focused, data-driven inbound marketing. They started using various analytics tools to quantify their marketing return on investment. Traditional advertising and marketing campaigns were tweaked based not on what the
attractive yellow page sales rep had to say, but based on the numbers. Ads were kept or canceled based on metrics like cost per lead (CPL), cost per sale (CPS), return on ad spend (ROAS). They went “all-in” with testing web marketing – strategically investing in the development and re-development of their website(s), launching pay per click (PPC) advertising programs, and extensive search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
Content marketing and inbound internet marketing are the next phase of the marketing (r)evolution.
Why Content Marketing Works for Contractors
The reason content marketing works so well is simple – it places your business in front of consumers at the exact moment of interest, it’s easy, and it puts the control in the hands of the consumer. Think about it… if you run a plumbing company and you spend thousands of dollars on a bus kiosk, what percentage of people driving by it are:
A) Going to see your ad
B) In need of a plumber and
C) Going to remember your name by the time they do
Even if someone needs a plumber after they see your billboard, odds are it’s just as easy for them to Google “plumber city+state” than it is for them to wrack their brain trying to remember your ad and company name. Even if they do remember your name, odds are they’re going to Google that – again, it’s just as easy to Google “plumber city+state” and have a few choices as it is to Google “your company name.” The odds for lead generation success are NOT in your favor, and you can start to see why the cost per lead from outbound marketing is so much higher than inbound marketing.
Contrast the traditional outbound marketing scenario with the way inbound content marketing works. With inbound content marketing, someone searches, “best maryland plumbers” and finds your website at or near the top of the first page of Google because you’ve written a blog series called, “Our Journey to Become the Best Plumbers in Maryland.” Someone searching for ideas for “enlarging a dutch colonial” finds www.askthearchitect.org at the top of Google, and if they’re living in the MD, DC, Northern VA, area, they just might decide that Bruce Wentworth is the absolute expert on the subject.
Sounds simple, right? Too good to be true? Open up another browser window and Google, “yellow page case studies” or “Is yellow page advertising still effective” – chances are, you’ll see www.bluecorona.com somewhere near the top of the page. The case study we created took several weeks to put together, as well as some cooperation from a client. Given the resources required, it probably cost us $6,000 – $8,000. It has generated over 10,000 pageviews, more than 100 leads, and over a $1,000,000 in new business (depending on how you calculate things). How is that for a return on investment?!
No matter what type of contracting business you have – architecture, flooring, home building, hvac, kitchen renovations, plumbing, remodeling, roofing, siding, windows, etc., if you want more leads and sales in 2013, you you should make content marketing a priority. Blue Corona tracks advertising for more than 50 contractors, and I can tell you without hesitation, that there’s no better use of your marketing dollars.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series. In it, I’m going to give you a simple, easy to execute content marketing strategy – something almost anyone can implement to double, triple, or quadruple your leads in 2013!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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