When you’re building out your local contractor website, it can be tough to set yourself apart from the competition. First of all, there’s the business of actually building the site, from deciding on a design and a color palette to putting the thing online. Then there’s the problem of making sure it’s visible. Once you’ve got all of those things taken care of, you have to make sure you’re still standing out from the competition.
All in all, building a contractor website that stands out from your local competition can seem like a tedious, monstrous process, but know that it can be done, and it can be done well. Once you know what to do to make your site stand out, it’s just a matter of implementation. So, let’s get to that recipe for success right away: When it comes to creating a contractor website that stands out from local competition, you need to be clear about who you are, and you need to be technically solid. After that, it’s just about making sure the right people find you. So, let’s break those initial steps down:
Be Clear About Who You Are
The best way ensure your contractor website stands out from the competition is to be absolutely clear about who you are, and why you’re different. What makes your contracting company better than your local competition? Do you have a hyperfocus on customer experience? Are you really great at communication? Do you offer the best prices, or the best quality? Whatever it is, it should be clear, and it should take a site visitor less than 10 seconds to figure it out. Put the heart of your contracting company at the front and center of that new website, and make it easy for potential clients to see who you are, and what you do best.
Let’s say there’s three major contracting companies in your local area. They all quote competitively, and do the same type of work. However, one of those contractors regularly posts blogs that demystify some of the more confusing aspects of the contracting industry, and they share them to their social media pages. That contractor, all other things being equal, is going to be the contractor who pulls in more, bigger jobs. Why? Because they’ve positioned themselves as an educator, and a resource for potential clients who are looking into hiring a contractor.
Remember that the modern consumer is research-driven and educated. The modern consumer wants to gather as much information as possible before they even consider talking to a salesperson or asking for a quote. By offering up the information they’re already looking for, you become that resource that they go to when they have questions, and you’re more likely to be the first contractor they call when they decide it’s time to start collecting bids.
It’s not enough to just write those educational blogs though, you gotta post ’em too! And not just to your website. You should be sharing your tips, as well as helpful information from other industry leaders to your Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts, because if no one sees what you’re writing, there’s not much point in writing it. Sharing useful information gets you followers, and it gets more eyes on what you’re putting out. Active social media accounts are also a great way to set yourself apart from contracting competition just by sheer numbers. Most social media platforms prefer users who post regularly, so if you’re posting every week, and your competition posts just every month, you’re likely to have a bit of a leg up when it comes to visibility.
We should caution: don’t use your social media accounts just to talk about you. That’s probably the fastest way to lose followers. Make sure you’re putting out content that’s relevant to your target audience and your ideal buyer. Whether you wrote it, or another industry expert did, the content that you’re sharing should be engaging, interesting, and answer some question your clients often have.
Address Specific Pain Points
Finally, when you’re writing content and developing your contractor website to stand out from local competition, it’s important to remember to address specific pain points. Sure, you finish projects and meet deadlines, but what pain points do your ideal buyers have, and how—specifically—do you work to fix those?
The more you can do to assuage common concerns that your target market is likely to have when it comes to finding a contractor that’s right for them, the more likely you are to get their business. How do you ensure their project is completed to their specifications, and how do you work to maintain a tight schedule? Specific answers to questions that worry consumers the most is a surefire way to set yourself apart from local competition.
While all of the soft skills above will set you apart from the competition when it comes to consumers, you also need to know how to set yourself apart from the competition when it comes to search engines. Anyone building a contractor website would be wise to remember that it’s not only consumers who are looking at your site and its quality—you also have the internet and its bots to contend with. What exactly do we mean here?
Well, on any search engine like Google, spiders, or bots, crawl websites on the internet to search them for information. It’s these bots that decide where on results pages a site will rank, and it’s these bots that tell Google what your site is about. So, when you’re building your contractor website, you also have to make sure you’re building with search engines in mind, and that means taking care of a few technical details.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the first step to ensuring that your website ranks well on search engines. There’s a lot you can do to optimize your site but start by implementing keywords relevant to your contracting business. These keywords should focus on the specific type of contracting work your company does, your location, and terms that your ideal client might be searching for on the internet. Start with keywords, and once you’ve got a handle on those, implement some of these more advanced strategies from our SEO Site Checkup, to make sure your site is ranking as well as possible.
Google My Business Page
One great way to make sure you’re really standing out from any local competition online is to claim your contracting company’s Google listing. If you have a website, Google has probably already made you a stock listing that tells people who and where you are when they search “contractors near me.” To stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to claim that page, which is actually pretty easy to do.
From there, you can customize your Google My Business page any way you want. Add high-resolution photos, office hours, and information about your company that’s optimized around relevant keywords if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Hate on Ads
Google search and Facebook ads are a sort of brave new world for those in the contracting industry. Since they’re so new and different, many contractors shy away from them, at a loss to themselves. If you want qualified leads in your area to see your contractor website before anyone else’s, the easiest thing to do is invest in Google search and Facebook ads. These two very powerful programs work to make sure your company is put in front of the right people, at the right time, ensuring ROI and new leads.
Though they’re a little bit more complicated than the old standard YellowPages ad, it’s not by much, and the ROI you’ll receive makes them well worth your time. It’s in your best interest to at least check them out because when done properly, they’re guaranteed to put you ahead of local competition.
In the end, a successful contractor website that stands out from local competition is achieved by optimizing the content you create on that website and the tech that supports it. If you can focus on both aspects of your website, and you optimize for keywords your clients are out there searching, you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your contractor website’s ability to draw in and convert new leads.
If you’re excited about boosting your contractor website’s potential, but you’re not sure about implementation, know that Evenbound can help. We’ve worked with a number of small businesses in your industry, and know just what to do to ensure your site stands out from local competition. The best way to see how we can help your contracting company improve is to have a conversation with our President, John Heritage.
Here at Evenbound, we use WordPress for our own website and blog, and we almost always recommend our clients do so as well. For the purposes of digital marketing, WordPress really can’t be beat, and as an all-around website building tool, most of the world agrees. More than 74 million sites on the internet are built through WordPress, making it by far the most popular content management system (CMS) available to anyone. In case you’re still not buying it, think about your favorite big-name websites: CNN, The New York Times, Ebay, BBC America, Bloomberg America, and even Facebook Newsroom. They all use WordPress. Oh and we forgot one: Beyoncé. That’s right, Queen Bey herself uses WordPress to host her content, post recent updates, and keep her millions of fans informed.
All of these major players didn’t just choose WordPress willy-nilly, either, they chose it for a reason. WordPress is easy to use, affordable, and already optimized for SEO, making it an obvious choice for a number of businesses, celebrities, and news stations looking for a comprehensive CMS that’s totally customizable. But we don’t want you to just pick up WordPress because it’s what Beyoncé uses, so we’re going to give you all the reason why WordPress is the right choice for us, and for our digital marketing clients:
One of the most obvious benefits of WordPress is that it’s free. While there are costs and fees associated with using WordPress if you choose to host with them, or upgrade to a higher-level template, anyone can create a WordPress site for free if they want to. What’s more, WordPress offers two versions of their services: WordPress.com for those of us who need something that’s easy and functional for a personal blog or something that’s relatively small, and WordPress.org for people who plan on hosting their website, purchasing a domain name, and running a business through their website. Either way, a WordPress site can be designed and built for little to no money at all.
Simple, Easy Hosting
Another benefit of WordPress is total hosting flexibility. Almost every hosting service out there supports WordPress, and if you have your own server space, you can self-host easily. There’s no trouble with finding a compatible server or host, because it’s built on free, open-source code that’s easily hosted anywhere.
Optimized for Search Engines
One really attractive benefit that’s made WordPress the obvious choice for us is that Google loves WordPress sites. WordPress uses exceptionally clean, easy-to-read code, which makes it simple for Google to index and crawl their sites. WordPress also features a number of plugins that help you optimize your site yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is sort of the gold standard for search engine optimization. It allows you to customize your site title, meta description, title tag, and keyword, and then gives you an indication of how well that page will rank. Best of all, it’s free too.
Easy to Maintain and Update
WordPress is a foolproof CMS that anyone can handle. We often have clients who would like to have control of their sites to be able to post their own company updates and make changes to content when it’s necessary, and WordPress makes it easy for them to do so. It’s easy to pick up and understand, and you don’t need to know any code to make updates or post new content. WordPress offers us a great option to hand over to our clients, as it’s not intimidating, and empowers them to be able to use their own websites however they see fit. You can also set security updates and maintenance updates to occur automatically, so you know your site is always well-protected and technologically up-to-date.
Tons of Beautiful Design Options
More than just functionality, WordPress offers a ton of beautiful, clean design options. In a world where appearance and design can make the difference between you and the competition, WordPress makes it easy to stand out. They offer a number of customizable templates to best display your content, whether it’s a weekly blog or an e-commerce site.
Fully Responsive Themes and Mobile Support
WordPress is up on each and every one of the Google Algorithm’s preferences, which is why they offer a number of responsive themes that scale to fit the size of any screen. What’s more, all WordPress sites are supported on mobile devices, meaning you won’t miss out on traffic anywhere.
Flexibility and Customization
WordPress offers more than 50,000 free plugins, which means if there’s anything you want your site to do, that you can’t do as-is, there’s probably a plugin to help you along. Whether you’re looking to embed PDFs or add in another feature, like landing pages or calls to action, WordPress plugins are the solution, ensuring you can always shift or change your site’s capabilities to fit your unique needs. Again, no coding necessary.
WordPress actually started out as a blogging platform, which means content marketing is in the CMS’s blood. It’s one of the best content management systems for blogging out there, which is why you’ll see a ton of big-name news sites using it for their content development. WordPress not only supports blogs, but makes it easy for you to update and change them, schedule them into the future, and share your blog posts to your social media accounts and regular followers.
Easily Connects to Social Media
When it comes to content marketing, promotion is equally as important as development, and WordPress knows that. They make it easy to link each of your company’s social media accounts to your WordPress site, so you can easily share content and updates, and your site visitors can share, comment, like and otherwise engage with anything they really like on your site.
Analytics and Tracking
As digital marketers, analytics and tracking are our end-all-be-all. Analytics tell us where we’re doing things right, and where we need to improve, so we love that WordPress offers those numbers freely and easily. Any WordPress site comes with an analytics panel that will tell you how many people have visited your site, and how often. With the addition of one or two easy plugins, you can also track the success of your calls-to-action and landing pages, to see which of those are performing best, and which need a few tweaks. If you’re looking to optimize the traffic to your site, WordPress is a powerful, free tool to take advantage of.
For us, WordPress makes our lives easier by making site migration a breeze. A number of our clients come to us with a clunky, older website that has content they’d like to preserve, but isn’t updated, user-friendly or built in a modern CMS. WordPress makes it really easy to migrate that old site onto their framework, and give it an immediate facelift and boost in usability, without losing any of the content or authority of the old site.
Offers Familiarity for Consumers
Consumers love a website they don’t have to think about. Since WordPress has been around for so long and is so prolific, most internet users intuitively know how a WordPress site functions, even if they don’t know the site is built in WordPress. The menu placement is familiar, it’s easy to navigate, it loads quickly, and consumers will find content where they expect it to be, which means people will be at ease on your WordPress site. They’ll be comfortable there, and more likely to remain on the page if they already know how the site works.
The ultimate benefit of WordPress is its longevity. It’s already shown that it can adapt to changing consumer and internet demands, and with more than 74 million sites, WordPress has asserted itself as a CMS that’s here to stay. You don’t have to worry about it going out of style, or becoming irrelevant. WordPress regularly updates to maintain current code standards and will continue to do so, making it a safe, long-term investment for your website. It’s easily customized for any new thing you’d like to do with your website, and best of all, it’s Google-approved.
In the end, when we talk about WordPress, the first description that comes to mind is easy. It’s easy to use, easy to implement, easy to change, easy to track, and easy to update. And if you’re considering digital marketing at all, WordPress is definitely the first CMS to consider. It comes with a ton of SEO benefits built-in, and you’ll be able to integrate any and all content marketing best practices with the touch of a button.
If you think WordPress might be the right CMS for you, but you’re not quite sure how to get started, get in touch. We manage our own website on WordPress, as well as most of our clients’ WordPress websites, so we can give you the help you need. Check out the case study below for more information about how a great website can help you move to the top of the market.
If you’re unfamiliar with marketing, terms such as digital marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, marketing automation, digital strategy, and so on can be utterly confusing and practically indistinguishable from each other. In truth, each of these terms has a specific meaning. Inbound marketing and marketing automation are two which are often confused by newbies to marketing jargon. So what’s the difference?
in•bound mar•ket•ing \ ˈin-ˌbau̇nd ˈmär-kə-tiŋ \ ▶ noun. A marketing method that uses content to attract potential customers, then convert them into leads and sales. In opposition to traditional marketing methods, which push advertising copy onto consumers through interruptive advertising (hence the term push marketing), inbound marketing seeks to pull consumers in with compelling content that speaks to their needs. Inbound marketing is therefore customer-centric, rather than marketer-centric.
Inbound marketing employs techniques such as blogging, social media promotion, gated content offers, and SEO (search engine optimization) to attract clients on platforms like search engines and social media sites, which they are already using to research products and services before they make purchase decisions.
mar•ket•ing au•to•ma•tionˌ\ ˈmär-kə-tiŋ ȯ-tə-ˈmā-shən \ ▶ noun. software which automates marketing processes. Includes email automation software (MailChimp, Aweber).
Marketing automation software is a tool, whereas inbound marketing is a methodology. In fact, marketing automation software is a tool that is extremely useful in inbound marketing. Marketing automation software can be used to capture visitors’ information when they convert to leads, and from there, these leads can be segmented based on criteria such as industry, role/position, and place in the buyer’s journey and then be delivered relevant and timely content. Rather than dumping all of your contacts into an email list and sending the same content to everyone, marketing automation allows you to target a specific group of leads or clients, ensuring that you’re not spamming those to whom the content doesn’t apply, and that leads receive content that is specific to their particular needs.
Using marketing automation software to automate some of your lead nurturing marketing processes can be a major component of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Combining compelling, engaging, and pertinent content with targeted promotion and delivery is key to reaching potential customers in the changing marketing landscape.
Want to see what inbound marketing can do for your company? Interested in how you can better use marketing automation? Let’s talk. Click the button below to schedule your free inbound marketing evaluation:
By now, you know that content marketing is an important part of any company’s inbound marketing strategy, even for B2B manufacturers who in the past may have done very little marketing at all. But it’s not enough to just do content marketing. Here are some things you should be doing to improve and simplify your content marketing strategy for success:
Create the Right Content
While it can seem like quantity is hugely important in inbound marketing, especially when it comes to SEO and generating organic search traffic—the quantity of keywords you use and the number of times you use them—but as ever, quality reigns supreme. Rather than trying to churn out as much content as possible, instead focus on creating good content that is relevant to your audience and provides value. That’s what will make a successful B2B content marketing strategy. (Here are 5 steps to successful content for industrial and manufacturing B2Bs.)
Use the Right Platforms
You can create amazing content, but if your target audience doesn’t see it, it will all be for naught. You need to meet your audience where they are, so to speak, to get your content under their noses. This means using social media advertising and promotion, and for manufacturers and other B2Bs, this will likely mean LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Not only can you connect with industry leaders and potential customers, you can use LinkedIn ads to target very specifically your ideal clients. (Read more on LinkedIn ads and B2B marketing and easy ways to make LinkedIn work for your B2B marketing strategy!)
Video is one of the most compelling media, especially when one considers how we consume media daily: in quick snippets, on smartphones. For a B2B content marketing strategy, video is a way to demonstrate your capabilities. Sure, your product may not be more exciting than it is practical, but what your product does or enables or how it’s made can be fascinating and compelling to engineers and your potential customers.
Have a Plan
Don’t just write content willy-nilly and think that you’ll start attracting tons of new visitors to your site and acquiring new leads. Content marketing isn’t about attrition, it’s about strategy. It’s about creating the right content (see above) at the right time, promoting that on the best platform, integrating the right keywords, and more. And those things aren’t happy accidents. Performing research on the keywords and topics that will interest your target audience and that audience’s needs and behaviors is critical, and your B2B content marketing strategy should be using that information to ensure your content and delivery are as effective as possible.
A well-planned B2B content marketing strategy that is based on extensive research and combines compelling content with targeted promotion can enhance your marketing efforts manifold. If you want to improve upon your existing content marketing efforts, we should talk.
As a digital marketing company that believes strongly in the power of content marketing to draw in qualified leads, we get a lot of questions about how to write content effectively. Probably the most asked question when it comes to creating content is, “but won’t we give away company secrets?” And the answer to that is sometimes, yes. Creating compelling content often means creating content that divulges how your company got to be where you are, and what it is that makes you special. But that’s not a bad thing, and we promise it’s not going to ruin your company or give your competitors a leg up. Here’s why:
If you’re looking to create compelling content, the first thing you need to do is forget everything you think you know. Giving away your company’s secret isn’t going to lose you money or turn clients away.
If You’re Worried About the Competition:
Don’t worry about the competition. At least not when it comes to content marketing. Unless you have some highly prized product like the Google search algorithm that no one could never engineer or produce or that is so top secret your business would literally crumble if one extra person knew it, your competition probably already has the formula. We hear it all the time: “I don’t want to put out too much content, because then my competitors will know how I do what I do.” If we’re being honest, they already know. All lawyers go to law school. All roofers know what products are on the market, and which ones are the highest end. All manufacturers have access to a wide variety of manufacturing methods. What really sets you apart is how you conduct business, and how you interact with potential clients.
If you’re a roofer, it’s not how you put on shingles or what shingles you put on that makes the difference. What makes the difference is that you’re respectful to homeowners, you complete projects quickly, and you make sure your crews clean up after themselves. What might make you stand out even more is an extra-spectacular warranty or service program, but people will have to know about it if you want that to set you apart. When you get down to it, your secret sauce isn’t all that secret. Heck, even McDonald’s has given away the recipe to their secret sauce:
But, if you’re still not quite comfortable with a company tell-all, there are still plenty of ways to write compelling content that endears you to followers and generates quality leads. Start by identifying what makes your company different. Is it your product? Is it your service? Or is it how you interact with clients that truly makes your company better than all the rest. Then, write content that speaks to that exact point.
Tell the What and Why
If you’re genuinely worried about revealing too much, focus on just writing about the “what” and the “why” and leave out the how. What is your product or service, exactly, and why are you the best provider for that good? What’s your elevator pitch? Content doesn’t have to tell how you make your super awesome product, but it should tell potential buyers why they should purchase it from you, and what exactly they’ll get out of working with you.
If you think about it, Panera Bread doesn’t necessarily give out the recipes to their food items, but they do tell you what’s in each of their dishes. This helps people choose healthy meals that they’ll feel good about, but it doesn’t mean they’re giving away their product for free. And even if Panera did give out their recipes, would that mean they’d no longer have customers? No, because people really go to Panera because it’s a fast, healthy lunch option they don’t have to feel guilty about eating.
Address Legitimate Questions and Fears
One of the best ways to get a consumer’s attention is to answer a question they’ve had about your product for a while, or resolve a fear they might have about your product or service. Today’s consumer needs to be fully informed before they’ll even consider making a purchase. They’ll analyze every pro and con of a product, and if they can’t find that sort of information, they’re less likely to purchase it. By creating posts and blogs that answer some of your target clients’ most frequently asked questions, you’ll be able to a) create content that’s genuinely useful, and b) draw in more qualified leads with the content that your target audience is already searching for.
Sell your Process
Consumers are absolutely obsessed about how things are made. Take one look at Youtube or Reddit, and you’ll see streams of videos that show how even the most common household products, like mascara and Pop-Tarts, are made:
You’ll notice that very few of those video-watchers are likely to start making their own Pop-Tarts from scratch, or designing their own, custom mascara. Most of these consumers just want to know what’s going into the products they purchase and use every day, they don’t care about making them themselves. What’s more, it’s just plain cool to see hundreds of Pop-Tarts sliding across the screen. If you want to create compelling content, you can’t go wrong with a short 1-2 minute video that shows how you do what you do. Even if you sell a service, clients want to know what to expect at each step of your service, which is why breaking down what you do into easy-to-follow steps grabs people’s attention.
A great way to generate content that turns site visitors into clients is to demonstrate your capabilities and your results. For home services pros, this often works best with before and after pictures, showing the old (really ugly) kitchen, and the new, shiny kitchen that you’ve renovated. For anyone who’s results aren’t necessarily visible, case studies are your best friend. People interested in what you have to offer will love a case study because they show measurable results for clients just like them.
For us, we’ve found that digital marketing sometimes throws off clients who aren’t tech-savvy. Since you can’t immediately see, with your own two eyes, the results that our services deliver, some people are wary of what we have to offer. We’ve found case studies to be exceptionally helpful in solving this problem because they give cold hard facts: how many leads we delivered each month, how much traffic our clients now see, where that traffic is coming from, and most importantly, how much revenue our efforts generated.
When you can provide hard numbers like that, people are more likely to respond, because it’s specific and honest. Consumers are tired of the same, general marketing statements like “this will change your life” or “massively increase your returns” that companies boast about, but never prove. People want to see cold hard facts, and they’re excited by content that delivers that, so if you want to draw in qualified traffic, put up a few case studies showcasing the results you’ve delivered.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get emotional. There’s nothing consumers connect with more than a great story, so be sure to tell them yours. The more a consumer knows about your company and about you, the more real you feel, and the more likely they are to reach out to you. With the rise of internet and technology, there’s been a loss of genuine human connection in business, so if you can find a way to show your clients that you’re more than just a building or a product, you’re likely to have content that more people connect to.
Creating compelling content can be a lot easier than you think if you just identify that thing that sets your company apart. Because in the age of the internet, there isn’t much the consumer doesn’t know or can’t find out. The best way to build a content marketing strategy that delivers legitimate leads is to be honest and helpful, and create a connection with that potential customer. Because when a consumer has their choices narrowed down to you and a competitor, they’re going to pick the option they feel they have the greater connection with, and if you’ve been helping them along by answering their questions directly and providing content that helps them figure out what their options are, they’re going to choose you.
Content marketing is what we do. If you’re struggling to finesse your content marketing or larger digital marketing strategy, we can help. Get in touch by sending us a message at your convenience.
For attorneys, blogging can seem like a slippery slope; after all, you don’t want to offer free legal advice. Your knowledge and expertise are your services, and you don’t want to be just giving that away. It’s important to know that blogging isn’t just free info, it’s a crucial tool for building your credibility and attracting leads online
There are two major reasons why your site should have a blog: 1) it is a way to increase your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) and 2) blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise. Since blogs are regularly updated (or should be, at least once per month), they’re a great way to add to and refresh your website’s content. Blog content uses relevant keywords in unique contexts (good for SEO) and the addition of new content means that search engines will crawl it.
By blogging, you’re also able to answer your potential clients’ questions, without charging them or obligating them—they feel like they’re getting free legal advice, and see that you know your stuff. When potential clients think you’re knowledgeable and credible, they’re more likely to want to work with you.
How Should You Blog?
Post at least once a month on topics relevant to your potential clients’ situations and your practice and specialization areas. To avoid falling into a trap of giving free legal advice, address topics that are general, and might come up before a client’s first consultation, for instance, “How do I know I have a case?”, “What is medical malpractice?”, or “How to find the right attorney”. Frequently asked questions are often a goldmine for blog topics; blogging on them can even save you from having to answer them time and time again.
Your blogs should also contain calls-to-action, phrasing that directs the reader to connect with you in some way, whether it is to send you a message, provide their contact information, or schedule a consultation. When readers, upon reading your post, decide that it’s time to speak with a lawyer or find that they have questions, they’ll contact you, potentially turning into clients.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Promoting your blog posts is just as important as writing them. If you’re just publishing them on your blog, even with the best keyword integration and catchiest title, it still might go unread. Promote your posts on social media and on other platforms to ensure that the content is reaching your potential clients.
If you’re looking to boost your firm’s credibility and attract new clients by incorporating blogging into your digital strategy, talk to us.