Welcome to our three-part series on home improvement lead generation, where we discuss marketing techniques that work for busy residential contractors. In the first part of the series with MarketSharp, we talked about why today’s home improvement professionals need lead generation. We discussed organizational and procedural differences that can help you convert those leads into successful projects. Today, we’ll conclude our series with a dialogue on the different lead sources, and list useful strategies in each platform that will drive business home.
If lead generation sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry. It includes a lot of strategies that aren’t as mysterious as they seem, once you get right down to it. In fact, you may have already incorporated some of these tips into your business plan. Below, we’ll decode the business of landing leads and discuss some time-tested strategies that win results.
Landing Leads with Social Media
Research indicates that the average person spends 35 minutes a day on Facebook, which adds up to nine full days a year! Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat come in with similar tallies—most people will spend over five years of their lives browsing through social media outlets. If you’re not tapping into this powerful medium as a way to grow your business, you’re missing out on a significant (and free!) chance to catch the eye of potential clients.
But what if you’ve already cast your net? How do you reel in social media followers and convert them to leads? As a contractor with loads of experience, you already have one golden asset: your expertise, both as a contractor and as a local community member. For a personal and conversational feel, highlight the times you interact with your clients, demonstrating the positive experiences you’ve had. An excellent example is this New Jersey contractor, who snaps pictures of clients’ dogs and posts them to his company Facebook. It’s a fun thing that makes customers feel acknowledged (and in this case, it also made him a viral sensation). Plus, who doesn’t like to see a picture of a cute dog pop up on their newsfeed?
Coaxing with Content
That brings us to the next tip: content. But what is content exactly, and how does it differ from social media? Well, in short, all social media is content, but not all content is social media. Confused? Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Content includes your posts on social media outlets, as well as blog posts, pictures, and instructional videos. What makes content so powerful is that it’s free and informal. That way, customers can get to know you, gauge your knowledge, and learn about your services—without the pressure of a full-blown sales call or the annoying interruption of an ad.
Good content shows off your skills and knowledge, but it also gives you a chance to add your own personality to the game. So make it quirky, fun, and give it some of your personal flair. Anyone can write a post guiding readers through their flooring choices, but only one person can do it in your unique voice. In a world where everything that can be said has been said, originality and authenticity goes a long way.
Winning with Web Presence
Of course, all that content will go nowhere without a professional web presence for your business. Customers drawn to you through your social media and posts will quickly head for the hills if your website seems like it dates back to 1995.
But designing your own website can be difficult, especially if you need something that will work for commercial purposes. A small investment here can really pay off, since a professional designer can organize your content and add polish to your logo and design elements. They should also have some insights on your contact forms, which is perhaps the most important lead generation tool you have in your arsenal.
Having a web designer on speed dial will also help you change your content more frequently or troubleshoot issues that do arise. After all, much like growing a business, designing a website is an ongoing process, not an open-and-shut case.
Learning to Love Lead Generation Services
Lead generation services for contractors get a pretty bad rap—we’ve heard all the complaints. And we get it. A lot of services will sell you leads so dead, it would take an EMT to revive them. Or they don’t properly filter their results, so you end up with a bunch of John Does on your hands.
That said, contractors can use purchased leads to their benefit. It’s all about understanding how the system works. First, we recommend you don’t commit to any service until you’ve studied the fine print. Browse through forums and see how much success the contractors before you have had with the service—but read with a critical lens. Contractors who don’t put a lot of effort into follow-up or who have a shaky lead management process may be partially to blame. Another tip? Brush up on your provider’s return policy for dead leads. It should be clearly expressed in your contract to avoid any funny business.
After that, it’s mostly a matter of your internal commitment to lead management. Often, leads engage with a contractor when they’re just testing the waters—in other words, they’re just feeling out how much something will cost and what it will take to get done. So it never hurts to follow up with a potential client as they make their way through the decision process.
After all, it often takes several touches—that is, interactions with a sales team—for a customer to make up their mind, especially for large, expensive remodels. In other words, if you want a client to spend a lot for your services, you have to be willing to take the time to develop a relationship.