Once upon a time, contractors lived in an ideal world where doing quality work and treating people right were the only necessary marketing tools… but that fairytale is long past. Santa Clause isn’t real, and contractors need to maintain a quality reputation, a visible brand, a continuous marketing campaign and spike their website text with just the right keywords to be found online.
In the past decade, startup companies have exploded onto the web-marketing scene, making millions of dollars in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with little out-of-pocket expense. Established contractors with excellent local reputations are losing sales to new competition with names like “San Diego Best Painter” or “Nashville Remodeling Company.” Their websites are cluttered with spammy, awkward text such as, “We are the best Louisville Remodeling Contractor in the Louisville KY area!” and “Have you ever called a Columbus MD area house painting contractor to have your Columbus MD house painted?” These companies don’t work to develop a respectable brand or invest in longtime customers—they just want the phone to ring.
Despite the temporary success of these kinds of companies, it is important to resist the temptation to hop on this webwagon. While poorly written copy with keyword-driven text is dominating the top web searches, customers can distinguish between a reputable contractor and a flashy marketer with no substance. Avoid cheap SEO companies that will please the search engines but turn off your clients with watered-down, generic, cut-and-paste content.
Stay with Your Brand
Unfortunately, to get quality rankings on the search engines today, you do need keywords. If you are a painting contractor, you need the words “House Painting Company” and “Painting Contractor” to appear on your site, as well as the names of your target localities. But don’t change your brand and name. If your company name is Franklin Brothers Remodeling, keep that name. Stay the course. Just make sure your online marketing is done well.
Hire a quality web designer, a good search engine company and a creative, professional writer. Get those keywords worked into your copy in a natural, human manner. Don’t go cheap, friends. Companies call every day trying to sell you on the idea that your company can be #1 on Google, Yahoo, and Bling. Ignore these offers. Marketing 101: be consistent on and offline. Make sure your website and web marketing describe who you really are as a company. Homeowners and businesses are wising up to the fact that the contractors with funky little websites and trashy text are here today to sell you a job, but who knows where they will be when you have a problem or need more work. Show them that you are committed to doing things right, and that you are in their community to stay.
What ways are you branding online? What is working for you? Do you ask consumers what they thought about your website: what they liked, did not like? Are you finding them to be real picky when they research online? How have you maintained a consistent brand on and offline. Love to hear your thoughts on this topic.