As an online marketing coach to thousands of residential contractors, one of the things I always stress to my clients is the importance of having a business identity online. Often times contractors will go to great lengths to ensure their physical space and offline marketing activities are top-notch, but it is all too common to forget that in reality, an online presence and online marketing initiatives are just as important. Some might say they are even more important, in this era where approximately 92% of homeowners conduct research online before hiring a home-improvement contractor.
This statistic is exciting, and represents huge potential for residential contractors. There are so many ways contractors can be advertising their businesses online (for free). In this article I will attempt to point out just a few that my clients have come to know and love. In addition to being great advertising mediums for your business, all of these websites will give your website high quality back-links which will help your site rank higher in the search engines. Below is a list of the top 3 websites I always recommend my clients to advertise their businesses on (for free).
BuildLens is a free portfolio site which allows residential contractors to upload images and descriptions of their projects, and categorize them according to budget, location, and type of project. BuildLens visitors (homeowners), then search through these galleries of completed construction projects, and use it as a source of generating ideas for their next projects, figuring out how much that project will cost them, and finding contractors near them. Think of it as a scrapbook directory for contractors. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this is a hugely valuable advertising platform for many of my clients.
Houzz has been dubbed the “flickr” of design idea sites. While this site is primarily for architects and designers, certain types of residential contractors can upload photos of their work and advertise their business. Houzz is a hugely social site with many players, and your company profile and photos are sure to get lots of attention while advertised on Houzz. Houzz lets visitors create “idea books” and save their favorite projects for future inspiration.
This photo sharing social network has really exploded in the last year. While it isn’t specifically built for contractors like BuildLens and Houzz, it is still a great way to advertise your business. By creating a free account you can upload photos of your work, and this allows consumers to “pin” or “tag” photos of your work, which they then add to their page, and build sort of a scrap book of images. It is sort of like cutting out images from magazines and plastering them to a wall, except with tons of social aspects built in.
All of the above 3 websites are just a few of the ways you can advertise your contracting business for free online. There are so many more options, but these 3 are the most tailored to residential contractors in particular. The foundation of any good online marketing strategy is high-quality back-links from trustworthy sites, and these 3 sites in particular will help you build a solid foundation online.