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Proven high-value lead generation tactics for contractors

 

Technology has developed rapidly in the past 20 years or so. With artificial intelligence, high-speed internet connections and driverless cars, the way people live has changed too. While word of mouth is still paramount for lead generation, the audience for the vast majority of contractors is most efficiently targeted online.

 Whether you work in construction, catering or recruitment, the principles for lead generation are fundamentally the same. This article will run through a step-by-step process that should help you generate significantly more leads. If you’ve already completed a step or a task outlined, then feel free to skip on to the next one. For example, if you have already defined your target audience and established your brand values, then skim read or skip over those sections.

 

 

Outsourcing

 Unless you are a marketing consultant, some of the skills involved in building a digital presence might not be your specialty or within your repertoire of abilities. Please bear in mind that the projects & tasks outlined below, can be outsourced. For example, you could hire a graphic to help you create your brand’s logo, and you could outsource phone answering to Moneypenny.

Social media tasks are also commonly outsourced. Using a platform such as UpWork or PeoplePerHour.com, you can hire talented experts from anywhere in the world. The great thing is that you are not tied into any lengthy contracts, and you will typically pay per project rather than per hour too – so you can keep your budget exact and under control. 

You could hire a social media manager on a trial basis to promote your business across all of your social media channels for two months and then review the number of leads that have been generated. If you didn’t get a positive return on your investment, you could try a different social media manager or invest in a different approach altogether.

 

Research your audience

It is essential to define who your target audience is. By knowing your target audience, you can make any advertising campaign much more effective, and you can also improve the performance of your website.

If you work face to face with your customers, you probably already have a good idea about your typical or ideal (most profitable) customer in terms of their demographics. It is essential to define – where they live, how old they are, what type of job they have, what motivates them, what annoys them and whether or not they have a family. 

Additional details regarding their pastimes, likes, and interests can also be crucial to marketing and lead generation. Write down as many details as possible.

When you know these demographic details of your target audience, it can be a great idea to go onto Facebook and join relevant groups. Reddit is also a great place to research your target audience. If your target audience is interested in home improvements, for example, join home improvements groups and see what questions people are asking and their pain points. What projects are they working on, and where & when do they need help?

 

You can also use Amazon’s book department to search relevant topics and see which books are the best sellers. For example, at the time of writing, books about tiny houses and home improvement are popular, as are beginner’s books and project planners. You can look at the reviews as well; they are a goldmine of information. Look at what people found helpful, what they liked and what they didn’t like about each popular book.

 

Google Trends is also a great place to find what your target audience is interested in. For example, search a topic, “construction,” and you will see a timeline that portrays the volume of searches for related phrases. On the bottom right, there is also a “related Queries” section, which can give you an idea about the associated topics your target audience is searching for. Some related searches may not seem directly relevant to your business at first, but make a note of them; they may help inform future ad designs, blog and social media content.   

 

Think about what form of communication will best suit your audience, what websites they use, what designs and types of content they will find helpful or enjoyable to read?

 

Finally, visualize your target audience as a single person, perfect customer, or “ideal customer persona.” Include their background, their lifestyle, where they go for information and their challenges or pain points.

 

Establish a brand identity 

Building a brand is not easy, but you can put a plan together in a few hours. First, you need to identify your values as a contractor.

Think about why you set up your business, what your business means to you and how you would like your clients and customers to think of you.

If you are struggling with this, you can use the “four whys technique.” Ask yourself:

– Why did you start your business?

For example, you might say that you started a construction company to provide a quality service to people in the local area.

Next, ask yourself

– Why did you want to start a business to give a service to people in the local area?

You might answer that you did so because you saw a gap in the market for high-quality construction with excellent customer service.

Carry on asking yourself “why?” until some brand values emerge. In this example, our brand values could start with high-quality construction services and excellent customer service.

Consider developing a brand story as well. A brand story isn’t really about its founders; the brand story should describe a journey that your audience can resonate with. If you can build a brand story that your audience can relate to, it can be the foundation of building a relationship with them.

“If you can establish your brand story effectively, your audience will not see you as selling to them; they will see you as helping them.”

Invite your customers into your story. The customer is the hero, not the founder. Start with your target audience as the main character in your brand’s story. Think about a problem that they may have in relation to your service or a competitor’s service. For example, if you work in construction, perhaps your character is struggling to find a reliable and affordable builder to help build an extension for their children’s bedrooms. You can then explain the plan you gave this customer, how you avoided any pitfalls and how you completed the extension.

Your brand story should give your target audience a vision for a better life.

 

 

 

Finally, think about your unique selling point (USP) and strong selling points. Your USP might be your outstanding customer service; your strong selling point might be your range of customer support channels, your 24/7 availability and your credentials.

Along with your selling points, think about the problem that they solve. For example, if there is a problem with reliable and punctual construction companies in your area, explain how your brand can solve this issue.

Researching your competition is also essential for establishing your brand and USP. If you don’t know what your competitors have to offer, you can’t know if your product or service offers something unique.

 

Create the design elements of your brand

If you don’t possess great design skills, you can look to do this yourself, using a tool like Canva, which is relatively easy to learn and use, or you can hire a graphic designer.

Brand and design expert Philip VanDusen suggests that when designing your brand’s graphics & other design assets, you should consider the brand touchpoints.

For example:

– Print

– Social Media

– Website

– Video

– Online Ads

– Content

Ensure that the branding has a lot of consistency across all of the touchpoints. The logo may also feature in all of the touchpoints. Keep the logo simple, using 2 or 3 colors and 1 or 2 fonts – one for your logo and one for secondary design elements such as your tagline.

 

Web design & CRO

A website is similar to a salesperson, and there are good salespeople and terrible salespeople. You want your website to be the most highly trained, punctual and professional salesperson possible.

CRO stands for “conversion rate optimization,” which in turn is the process of turning visitors into clients and customers. CRO is a pretty in-depth topic, but some of the basic principles include:

– Page speed

Ensure that your website loads quickly. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, people will exit and go straight to a competitor’s website.

– Specificity

Keep pages specific. Have a specific page per service or product, for example. Don’t have one page for all of your personal trainer services; split them down into a page for one-to-one personal training, a page for online personal training, a page for group sessions and a page for nutritional services.

– Consistency

You want branding and brand tone to be consistent across your website. You also want your messages to be consistent across the user journey. For example, if a user clicks on an ad for roofing services, they should be sent to a page specifically dedicated to roofing services, not building services in general.

– Social proof & credibility

Social proof relates to customer testimonials and reviews. With people losing trust in traditional marketing channels, you will need reviews to back up your claims if you want visitors to trust you. You should also include trust signals – such as licenses, awards, credentials and governing bodies. If you are a member of a construction association, for example, add their logo to your website.

Including your guarantee can also help people to have more trust in your website and company. Before and after pictures can also help drive conversions, if that’s appropriate for your industry. Having testimonials to go along with the photos can help make them appear more authentic.

– Clear & specific call to action (CTA)

A CTA is usually an actionable instruction or message such as “Add to Cart.” You can make your CTAs stand out by giving them their own background color and design – it’s usually most effective to make the CTA appear like a button. Keep the CTA short and specific so the user knows what to expect.

When designing your CTA – don’t ask too much of your visitor. For example, if you are working in construction or real estate, don’t ask the visitor to submit a form to buy a house! People will not commit to spending tens of thousands of dollars based on information on a website. People buy from people, so the point of the website is to sell or create the initial contact point with the visitor. Instead of asking them to buy a house, ask them to submit a form to receive a free consultation or a free eBook guide on how to plan a self-build project.

– Live chat

Website visitors are an impatient bunch. If you have managed live chat functionality on your website, you can provide instant answers to any questions that your visitors may have. A human-powered live chat also says something different about your brand than having no live chat or chatbots. It says that you care about your customers and you value them coming to your website.

– Copy

Ensure that copy on the website is all spell-checked and grammatically correct. Speak to the visitor or the customer, don’t talk about yourself all of the time. For example, outline the benefits of your service to the customer.

Remember to emphasize the benefits of a product or service, not the features. So a construction company’s website may talk about how an extension can bring more harmony to the household and give more space for the children to play safely. This has an emotional appeal that resonates more with the visitor than a breakdown of materials and dimensions.

– 24/7 service

Having a live chat available 24/7 is a great way to stand out from the competition. With more people working shifts than before and being busier than ever, having the option to contact a business whenever suits you best can be a significant competitive advantage. If people can ring or chat at any time, it makes them much more likely to engage and interact with your business. Moneypenny offers a 24/7 phone answering service, as well as a local or toll-free landline number. Even if your mobile phone is your only telephone, you can look highly professional and drive more leads with a toll-free number and a 24/7 answering and live chat service.

– People buy from people

Include as much information as possible on your “About” page. Include headshots, your credentials and experience. Ensure that contact information is clear and add enough information so that people can form an opinion of you. You can also tell your brand story on the about page. Give visitors somewhere to go from the about us page as well. The about us page is usually the second most highly visited page of a website, but it often has the highest exit rate of any website. At the bottom, either include a contact form or a CTA to invite visitors to learn more about a particular service.

– Testing is key

A fundamental principle of CRO is testing. For example, you may want to test two different colors for your CTA button to see which performs the best. This testing requires additional software such as Google Optimize, but the good news is that it is free to use. For more information about Google Optimize and how to run A/B and split tests – please watch this YouTube video.

 

 

Establish a social media presence

Now that you know who your target audience is – you can create content and social media posts that resonate with them.

Going back to the construction company example, constantly posting before and after photos is unlikely to make you stand out from the competition.

At a small business and local level:

“People buy from people”

They want to know who is behind the company. With a service like construction, only a small percentage of people in your target audience will be looking for your service right now, but a large percentage, around 70% – will be looking to buy in the next 6 to 8 months. For this reason, it is essential to engage with your audience consistently, over time, with valuable and entertaining content so that you are front of mind when they are ready for your service.

Video content can be very powerful. As many contractors will prefer to post images, and text-based updates, because it is easier, using video can also make you stand out from the competition.

In addition to this, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world behind Google. YouTube results also consistently show up on Google search results pages, so creating some valuable and entertaining video content can be a great idea when it comes to building up traction for your brand.

For example, a construction company could make a series of Do-It-Yourself home improvement videos. By showing your audience how you go about your work, how you overcome problems and how you ensure a high-quality result, you can get them to know, like and trust you.

As Gary Vaynerchuck points out in his famous marketing book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” you need to provide value to your audience with high-quality content.

If you were to follow and engage with a personal trainer on their YouTube channel, would you engage with the trainer called “Dave,” who constantly makes videos about why his service is the best, or would you be more interested in the trainer named “Steve,” who makes free workout videos, educates you on the best nutrition and supplements and gives weekly tips on living a healthier lifestyle?

If you are still not convinced if Steve consistently responded to your comments with specific, personalized answers – would you be more likely to follow him on YouTube? Creating engaging content and providing value is key.

Another great thing about videos, is that they can be transcribed and edited, to create blog posts on your company website too. Reformatting content is a great way to produce high-quality, regular content that people will want to subscribe to.

As well as creating the right content, choose the right channels and platforms to put the content on. LinkedIn is often neglected as a channel for local businesses, but if your target market includes knowledge workers and white collar executives, then building a presence on LinkedIn, using appropriate content can be very powerful.

 

Google my business page & local SEO

Whichever channels you choose to be present on, almost all businesses will want to create a Google My Business page. Google My Business is especially important for local companies. It can give you additional real estate on the Google results pages.

A Google My Business page will also allow you to appear on Google Maps. Google My Business is also an important element for “local SEO” – the process of gaining a presence on Google and other search engines, when people are searching for local businesses. In addition to creating your Google My Business page, ensure that all of your contact and location details are visible on your website. For local SEO you can also look to develop local-content that answers potential questions about local concerns or issues – for example, a construction company could create a blog post about local planning and development rules and regulations. You should also look to add your company to high quality local directories, ensuring that the company name, address and telephone number are consistent across all entries.

Build trust

If you create social media profiles that provide value by informing and entertaining your target audience, then you can also build trust.

In essence, you were there when they needed help with something, such as a DIY project. When they can see the way you work, and when you give them behind the scenes access to your company and employees, they have a better idea of what to expect if they were to hire you.

If you know where someone is based, you’ve seen examples of how they work and where they work, and you’ve seen testimonials too – you are more likely to trust that person.

While educational, inspiring, and informative content is essential and provides the foundation of your social media campaigns, 10-20% of your content should directly promote your business. Before and after pictures, client testimonials and promoting your customer service are great ways to sell your services indirectly.

 

 

Referrals & networking

Whether you connect with people online or face to face, establishing a network can be a highly effective way to drive more leads.

If you are a construction worker, for example, networking with architects, surveyors, property management companies, real estate agents or handymen/women that only do small projects. If you can set up some kind of a referral scheme with reputable professionals such as these, they can do most of the selling for you, so you do not have to spend every day promoting your business.

Another great way to generate referrals is to provide an outstanding service to your existing customers. Businesses spend huge amounts of money on marketing to generate new customers, but this money is often better spent on existing customers, who will, in turn, become brand advocates if you can provide a service that is above and beyond expectations. For more information on referrals, please see this excellent Youtube video:

 

 

 

Post-purchase branding & loyalty

Branding can be split into three stages:

– Pre-purchase

– Purchase

– Post-purchase

The goal of branding, of course, is to get someone to make a purchase. Pre-purchase branding typically entails the messaging and design that go into advertising. The channels that you advertise on and the events that your business is represented at also impact your brand.

 As soon as they start the process of buying from you, they enter the “purchase” state of branding. If they call your business, the way you answer your phone will be subconsciously judged by a caller, and when they go to your website, the speed, functionality and design of your website will help the visitor build an impression of your brand.

When someone has bought from your company, and the product or service has been delivered, they enter the post-purchase stage. What happens next says a lot about your business.

Does your company do anything to say “thank you”?

If there is an issue, does your company go above and beyond to resolve it?

Does your company provide any guarantees?

By building relationships and inspiring and surprising your customers, you can build brand advocates. By going above and beyond at every stage of the branding, or the buying process, you can create your own, completely authentic team of brand advocates who will act as your sales team.

Small business owners typically invest a lot of time and money into the pre-purchase stage of branding and leave the other two stages an afterthought. However, you may also be able to drive a significant number of leads by taking people from the post-purchase stage of branding and flipping them back into the purchase stage.

Can you use your customer database to email out relevant offers or provide a loyalty scheme that will bring them back again to your company? Apple are masters at taking people from post-purchase back to the purchase stage of buying their products. They do this by using customer feedback and data to improve their products and build hype around a new product launch.

Depending on your industry, the best source of new leads might be old clients.

 

 

Next level customer service

Nobody is out there saying that their service is flawed and that their customer service is terrible. You won’t stand out from the competition by advertising that you have good customer service because everyone is doing the same. Instead, you have to provide that level of customer service.

One of the key ways to do this is by having a prompt and polite human voice at the end of all your phone calls. Our research shows that not only do 1 in 3 business calls go missed, but people rarely leave a voicemail message.

People don’t like leaving messages, and they don’t like to be made to feel like they are chasing a business. If you are unable to answer your phone, the caller is likely to ring a competitor. With Moneypenny’s phone answering service, you can ensure that your dedicated US-based receptionist will impress your callers and make them feel important and valued. Leaving your customers feeling good is vital when it comes to developing your brand and business.

 

“Brands are like people; we remember how they made us feel”

 

In many ways, you want to treat any potential customers the same way that you would a good friend. Make them feel that you have time for them and make them feel appreciated. You want to be genuine, and you want your target audience to like you – people don’t buy from people or companies that they don’t like.

In addition, to build brand advocates, people who will promote your business for you, customer service is vital.

 

Conclusion

The most effective way to create a long-term, sustainable source of leads, is to offer a service or product that delights customers. By making your prospects and clients feel valued and appreciated, they are highly likely to in turn promote your brand for you, and become repeat customers. Unfortunately there is no quick way to build a brand that is trusted and respected. However, you can begin with a strategic plan, which starts with identifying your brand values and your target audience.

Investing in a customer database, to store customer data – securely and in compliance with local data protection laws, can also help with email marketing, re-marketing and up-selling to existing customers. You can also upgrade your customer service overnight by hiring a dedicated receptionist to answer your calls and by using an award-winning managed live chat service to improve the user experience of your company website. Many contractors spend time and effort in an attempt to generate leads, but are unable to answer all of their business calls. By investing in a 24/7 answering service and live chat service, you can ensure that all leads are captured and given VIP treatment.

 

 

Why use Moneypenny?

With Moneypenny’s phone answering service, you can enjoy the benefits of an in-house, full-time receptionist but at a fraction of the cost. With a dedicated US-based receptionist handpicked to suit your business, you can let us wow your callers as you focus on the work at hand. You will be able to improve your customer service and your productivity.

– Option to upgrade to 24/7 service

– No lengthy contracts

– Enjoy a seven-day free trial (no payment details required)

– Excellent reviews

– Calendar integration

– Moneypenny phone answering app

– Online reporting portal

 

For more information – please visit our phone answering service page.

For more information about Managed Live Chat – please visit our business live chat page.

 

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