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Should Contractors Invest in Directory Sites & Pay Per Lead Services?
Directory Sites for Contractors
If you have recently searched for a local contractor or home services business online, you probably saw fewer company websites and more local directories in your search results. For instance, if you were to Google “general contractors” followed by your city and state, you’d see a mix of local companies and directory websites like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc.
These sites have recently become extremely popular, and they are starting to take over the organic search results for local businesses. What does this mean for contractors? Well, you may need to start investing not only in your own website, but also in directory sites in order to stay visible and relevant to your potential consumers.
Worried about where to start? Don’t be! We’ll walk you through it.
Are Local Directory Sites Worth the Investment?
Chances are, you find yourself tempted to get listed in local directory sites like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. We get that! Trying out directory sites or pay per lead services might be a great idea for you or your business—but it’s important to know what to expect.
Getting listed in targeted high-traffic directories can help deliver short-term leads, but the return on investment depends on how you go about it. If you shift all of your focus to local directory sites, you will end up reducing the effort you put into your website, which is the most important lead generation asset of all! (Hint: This is why you should be investing in both assets, not just one or the other!)
If you’re thinking about investing your money and time in directory sites like the ones mentioned above, consider the following questions before you take the leap:
- How much traffic does this site receive?
- How much of that traffic is relevant to my business?
- How many of my competitors are using this website?
- Are my competitors using this website well?
- How many sales do I need to get from this website to recoup my investment?
- Is this website’s user experience going to hurt my business?
- How is this directory getting traffic?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions and have decided you’re comfortable moving forward in marketing yourself on local directors, you have to decide which of these directories to get listed in. So, which local directories are best for contractors?
Which Directory Sites Should Contractors Be Listed On?
Of all of the local directory and pay per lead websites on this list, HomeAdvisor is likely the best investment for contractors. Homeowners can use this directory to be automatically connected with a pre-screened professional that offers the specific service they’re looking for, or they can look through reviews of several companies in the area to find the best fit for their needs.
Whether they’re searching for someone to remodel their kitchen, build an addition, or to complete any other number of tasks in their home, some consumers turn to HomeAdvisor more and more to find the reliable contractors they need to get the job done.
If you’re thinking about investing in HomeAdvisor, here are a few tips that will help you to rank better than your competitors:
- Completely fill out your profile (be sure to include your service area, the services you offer, all of your credentials, brands you use, etc.)
- Showcase HomeAdvisor “achievements” on your profile
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews
- Offer special offers or coupons
- Enable online scheduling for homeowners to easily book appointments.
Contractors ask us all the time whether they should invest in Angie’s List. The thing is, there’s really no right answer to that question. It all depends on your company’s goals and what you’re hoping to get out of the investment.
Angie’s List is basically a review-based search engine for paying members. Homeowners pay annually to be members, and they have access to business profiles for service providers of all types in their area. They are also able to read member reviews of service providers.
Unlike the homeowners, businesses don’t have to pay to be listed on Angie’s List—so there’s no harm in getting listed on Angie’s List, at least! From there, you’ll have to decide whether Angie’s List marketing is the right option for you. In order to rank better than your competitors in this local directory, we suggest that you:
- Completely fill out and optimize your profile
- Ask your customers to leave positive reviews
- Receive an “A” rating
- Offer special offers and discounts to Angie’s List members
If you’re not familiar with Houzz, it’s basically like Pinterest for contractors whose projects are very visual, such as remodelers or designers. It’s a visual representation of the work that you do. Homeowners visit Houzz to browse through photos of whatever service they’re looking for, from kitchen remodels to landscaping projects to building additions and beyond.
The nice thing about Houzz is that consumers and professionals are able to interact directly on the platform. Consumers can follow your profile, can comment on articles or posts from you, and can ask questions about any of the photos you’ve posted. They can also leave reviews after working with you, which other consumers can then use when deciding whether to work with you or not for the contracting services they’re looking for.
Basic professional profiles on Houzz are free to professionals. With this basic profile, you can reach new potential clients and showcase your business, expanding your professional network.
If you want to succeed on Houzz (and to get more leads than your competitors), you should:
- Build a strong portfolio and update it often
- Create idea boards to solve common problems, but also for the latest trends in your industry
- Post photos of projects from start to finish (specifically, the “before and after” shots)
- Participate on discussion boards in conversations relevant to your business
- Ask customers to post positive reviews after working with them
In case you haven’t gotten this crucial point yet in reading this post, let me reiterate: reviews are important! People these days turn to online directories for reviews because they want to hear what other people have to say about their experience with a company. Thanks to an extremely user-friendly app, Yelp is one of the top local directories that people turn to when they’re deciding whether or not to eat at a restaurant, visit a store, or even hire a contractor.
There’s more to having a Yelp listing than simply creating a profile. You’re going to need to optimize your profile to make sure that it stands out from competitors, ranks well, and manage your company’s reputation.
When homeowners are looking on Yelp for local contractors, make sure you’re their first choice by:
- Completely filling out your profile (are you noticing a trend?)
- Asking your customers to leave positive reviews
- Responding to all reviews, whether they’re positive or negative
- Promoting special offers or deals
Local Directory Optimization for Contractors
What exactly is included in SEO optimization for online directories? In addition to the tips listed above, your local directory listings require constant monitoring. That’s why the team at Blue Corona is highly trained in every aspect of both search engine optimization and local directories—so you can enjoy the benefits of these local listings without having to handle the constant upkeep.
You have a company to run. Let us focus on your online marketing so you can do what you do best. Contact us today!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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