Business owners are always looking for ways to drive more sales, chasing yet another new marketing channel or idea. But is your business marketable?
I encourage you to change your mindset from “more sales” to “more customers.” It’s essentially the same thing, but the approach is completely different. Customer experience is now your ultimate reward, and the sales are your bonus. You deal with human beings, and being a good human yourself helps the process go a long way.
While it seems like marketing is mostly online these days, for construction companies, that’s not 100% true. Online marketing still plays a major part of how construction companies are discovered, but old-school word-of-mouth lead generation is still very effective.
The relationship between contractor and homeowner (or business owner) is more intimate than other local businesses. You invite the construction company to your home and trust them to improve living conditions for your family. That’s why having strong interpersonal skills prevails over everything else.
Reputation is the number one factor in running a successful construction company. Marketing strategies can only help if your business is marketable in the first place, right?
The study of 500 online customer reviews
So what people value the most while dealing with a contractor?
To support our statement, we examined through over 500 Google reviews, looking for patterns of what people value the most.
The analysis of 5-star customer reviews
It’s obvious that professionalism and quality of work dominate the 5-star reviews. But it’s worth noting that professionalism and work ethic is the key factor for happy customers as well as other dominant and expected factors such quality of work, on time and on budget.
Getting a 5-star rating means that somebody went out of their way to show gratitude for how they were treated. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to earn a bad 1-star review…(and most people wish there would be a 0-star option!)
Let’s dive into this a bit deeper ...
5 main reasons for 1-star reviews
Research of hundreds of 1-Star Google reviews shows that most of the problems come from unmet expectations and a lack of empathy and respect. Both the service provider and the customer have expectations, and it’s very important to be on the same page before the transaction takes place. This is where a website can really help construction companies. The first impression happens there, so it’s the first opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the business relationship.
The second opportunity is the phone or email interaction to schedule a consultation. These two steps are critical as they solidify the first impression and hopefully get the relationship off to a good start.
Here are 5 reasons that really stand out in 1-star reviews. These pertain to plumbing company research:
- High service charges for inspection fee or diagnostic fee
- Too expensive, and not upfront about it
- Higher estimate than competitions by multiple times
- Never showed up or showed up late for a set appointment
As you can see, the first three reasons are related to expectation management, which should be a clear message on the companies website, openly addressing any facts that could have prevented frustration for both parties.
The last two reasons show a lack of common sense, communication skills and respect of a customer’s time.
Surprisingly, there are a low number of complaints about fixing an actual problem. Where construction companies generally fail is communication.
Reviews act as of word-of-mouth in an online world, adding social proof, and is one of the key decision making factors when people are researching potential service providers. A bad review can severely hurt a reputation and if you have some - respond publicly and try to resolve it by any means possible.
Restoring a bad online reputation
Consumers today spend a lot of time researching before making the first initial contact and they will be looking at places outside your website to get proof about the legitimacy of your company. This means if your company has a bad rep out there, marketing will only help you to spread that bad rep around. You can see how this isn’t a good idea.
What can you do if that is the case?
A negative online reputation is typically based on bad reviews. This is the power that today's consumer has and it’s a great thing, because great companies are now rewarded on a higher scale for their efforts.
If you have a bad review - own it. That’s the first step. Go out of your way to resolve it. There is a chance a customer will remove a bad review once you’ve addressed the problem, but that’s not the goal - it’s just the right thing to do. People interested in bad reviews more than the good ones will read your responses. Based on that, they will make their own judgments, but a company who genuinely cares about customer happiness will send a positive signal.
3 most efficient marketing channels that work for construction companies
The goal of marketing is to generate awareness and attention to your business, and that’s why becoming a marketable construction company is the first and mandatory step to your success.
There are numbers marketing channels available for construction companies, but I will take a look at 3 of the most effective channels businesses can use to attract customers.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - construction companies and contractors operate locally, so therefore local SEO is your best friend. Ranking within your service area is a crucial piece of your online marketing. Search traffic is the best converting traffic as it has the purpose of finding a service provider. It had better be you that shows up, right?
To succeed in local SEO you must research your competition and set honest, reachable targets. Ranking in 1st page for lower competition key-phrase will drive you more leads than being on 3rd page with highly competitive ones.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free service that enables your company to show up in service-related local search queries. This can have a huge impact on your findability and as a lead generator for new prospects. It also ties back into Google reviews - once you've activated your Google My Business account, start collecting reviews from satisfied clients.
Google reviews positively affect local search rankings and customer buying decisions.
Paid traffic - or pay-per-click - it’s a great way for contractors to promote their websites, especially if you are looking for an immediate gain of leads. Google AdWords and Bing Ads provide you with a platform to bid on search terms that match your service. Each click costs a certain amount of dollars (typically - for contractors), but these platforms also provide laser focused targeting tools (demographics, location, etc).
Online marketing can only help contractors that provide top-notch service quality combined with great management and communication skills. Great customer service will generate referrals and word-of-mouth is the best kind of marketing you can get.
Online marketing for construction companies is a highly involved process, and to do it right you have to combine your online and offline actions. You must always be thinking about how to get those positive reviews, take pictures of your projects and share them online. Listen to your customers so you can write a better content marketing piece that will resonate with them.
If you’re looking for advice or help with website design or marketing for your construction company, be sure to reach out to us.