As someone who works in the construction industry, you already know that marketing is an essential part of owning your own business. This is particularly true for contractors, where competition is stiff and it can be difficult to secure new leads at various points throughout the year.
The trickiest part of marketing for many small business owners is the cost. It can be expensive to run ads and print up marketing materials, and every penny counts for small businesses. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can get the word out about your business without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips for budget-friendly ways to market your business.
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Be Active on Social Media
As a business owner these days, it’s essential to have social media accounts that are up to date and informative for potential clients. But having an online presence isn’t enough—being engaged and active is what drives the successful businesses who attract and retain loyal and/or repeat clients. Being active means directly responding to messages, comments, reviews, and questions in order to satisfy your current and potential clients, as well as to grow your lead base.
There are hundreds of social media platforms around, but these are the best for construction industry professionals:
- Facebook & Twitter– This is where you will post information and updates, respond to and interact personally with clients, and run ads.
- Twitter- Use this account for finding and interacting with clients and other industry connections.
- Instagram– Utilize the photo-first format to showcase your work. Customers especially appreciate before and after photos.
- LinkedIn– Show off your expertise and experience here, both through your own business profile and also by linking to those of your employees. It’s also a valuable tool for sourcing new contractors in your field.
While the pros of online marketing are obvious (such as instant status updates and a widened search radius for clients), some contractors can be put off by the techy language and unfamiliar processes of social media updates. If this is the case, you can enlist the help of friends or other professionals to guide you through the basics or search for tutorial videos online. You can also hire a social media professional to run your online marketing for you, but this will cost you.
Boost Your Online Presence
Once you’ve signed up for and updated your social media accounts, you will have significantly increased your potential client base just by being online. If you want more people to see your updates, you can opt to boost your posts or run sponsored ads by paying a small amount to the social media platform of your choosing. This option isn’t exactly free, but is still much cheaper than hiring a full time staff member to run your marketing department.
Of course, the Internet is about more than just social media. If you want to increase viewership on your business website or other online pages from outside the platform, you can also run ads on search engines. Many ad companies run on a pay-by-click basis, so you can run online advertisements while staying in budget: you can check out Google’s AdWords for more information on how this kind of marketing could work for you.
Use Sales and Offers to Increase Your Client Base
If your construction business is experiencing a slow period, one of the best ways to boost sales is by offering special deals for existing clients. This technique can also be used to bring in new customers when you want to grow your business – after all, everyone loves a good sale!
There are several ways to go about running a sale in order to market your business, but we have a few personal favorites that we think will help you bring in new leads.
- Offer online discounts for social media followers (eg. 10% off service for Facebook followers)
- Host giveaways for your clients (across online platforms or in person)
- Give incentives for clients who recommend your services (via refer a friend schemes or by sharing your social media posts)
Although giveaways and discounts will slightly lower your profit margin initially, we think the benefits of these customer-friendly practices will more than make up for any losses in the long run. Clients love to be cared for, so they will not forget that you thought about them and will come back to you time and again – and recommend you to their friends!
Tweak Your Brand
Sometimes, all you need to boost sales—and company morale—is a bit of something new. Updating your brand is a great way of making everything feel fresh and new in your business, and potential leads will definitely appreciate the effort you put into your marketing materials.
A brand update doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul; you can often completely revive the look of your brand just by changing the color scheme or font on your logo. We also like the idea of using infographics as a marketing tool, but unless your graphic design skills are excellent this could take some time.
If you decide you do want some help to make your brand look better, you can hire a graphic designer to create a mock-up of the designs you would like. While many graphic design companies will charge you an arm and a leg—hourly—for this kind of work, you can save money by finding a friend who could help you for free. Another way to find help is by advertising your design job online. Websites like Fiverr allow you to post your requirements online and freelancers will bid for your job, so you can choose how much you pay and who you work with.