Zero Marketing? How to take your Marketing from Zero to Smart

Zero MarketingZero Marketing? Sometimes general contractors tell me they have zero marketing. I think there is a feeling of overwhelm that comes from being in business for several years and not having any marketing in place. If I were in your shoes, this is how I’d get started.

I understand that contractors have limited time. You are often on the job site and when you are at your desk there are calls to make, orders to place…

I’m also assuming you are doing off-line marketing. You have yard signs, signs on your trucks, and shirts for your construction team.

1. Houzz – Homeowners are devouring Houzz for ideas. I’ve spoken to plenty of contractors who are getting leads and projects from Houzz. (I wonder if I can get Houzz to pay me for promoting their site.) Therefore, aside from a website, this is probably the most important element to your marketing plan.

Start by adding your contact info, logo, and photos. Be aware Houzz accepts only high quality photos and will take down anything that isn’t up to their standards. If you don’t have good photos…skip to #4 about photos.
Cost: $0 
Time: 1-2 hours

2. Google Plus – This one is baffling to many contractors, because they’ve never heard of it. Google has changed the name of this service several times so it’s not widely known. If you are familiar with Google Maps, this replaced it. Set up a Google Plus page so that your company shows up in local search. (See link for more info at the end of this article.)
Cost: $0
Time: 1-3 hours

3. LinkedIn Profile – Your clients are often executives, CEO’s and business people. They are on LinkedIn and may look for you here. For every polished profile I see, I’m also seeing a slap dash contractor’s LinkedIn profile. Be sure you have a decent headshot and check spelling. There are many good articles on LinkedIn about writing a good LinkedIn profile.
Cost: $0
Time: 2-5 hours

4. Photos – Hire an architectural photographer to shoot one or two of your most impressive projects of the year. Arrange to take photos before your client moves in! Best photos are staged so the house is neither empty nor messy. Contrary to popular belief, you only need a few projects…to start getting contracts for bigger, better projects. Photography is an investment in future leads and larger projects. Also, if an architect or other designer is involved on the project they may split or pay the cost themselves.
Cost: $500-1500 
Time: 0 – 3.5 hours 

5. Logo – If you are or aspire to being a high end residential contractor, you’ll need a professional logo created by a graphic artist or branding person. The logo will help you project a professional and memorable image. If budget is an issue, I’d do photos and website first and add the logo later.
Cost: $500 – $1500
Time: 2-4 hours 

6. Placeholder Website & Website
Website is where you bring it all together — your portfolio, approach, testimonials, experience, affiliations and logo!  As soon as you start the project, have your web person put up a one page website for you…just your logo, a great photo and a blurb. This will help you show up on Google sooner. Whatever you do, don’t write “Website coming soon!” So many people did this in the past and never put up the site that it makes me think it’s an abandoned website.
Cost: $3000-$8000 (depends on where you are)
Time: 10-40 hours (depends if you have photos in folders, copy written, etc.)


Now you have a fully loaded web presence.

I’ll cover more advanced marketing like newsletters, networking groups, Houzz and LinkedIn activities, door hangers, postcards…parties or events…in another article soon so be sure to follow me.

Websites for general contractors
Karen Nierlich is co-owner and web marketing consultant at Full Orbit Web and Markting and works with high end residential contractors. Call her at 510-527-9920, if you have questions about Houzz, Google +, websites or marketing. Visit her company website at Full Orbit Web Design to see websites for high end residential contractors.