Construction Marketing: Find and Attract Leads the Easy way

Are you finding all the work you want to do? Trouble finding leads? Does social media help? Today, marketing expert Amanda Darr is here to help us figure that out.

Topics we cover in this episode include:

  • Are you having trouble integrating with other products?
  • Are you doing things manually that could be automated?
  • Is your software customized to the information you want?
  • Where to start when searching for a new accounting software solution
  • Will your software be scalable in the future?
  • What are the costs associated with implementing the software, and is there ongoing support? 

LINKS

Join the conversation on our LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/CarpenterCPAs

FIND US ONLINE
Amanda Darr, Marketing Expert | AmandaDarr.com
Wade Carpenter, CPA, CGMA | CarpenterCPAs.com
Stephen Brown, Bonding Expert | SuretyAnswers.com

TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:06] Wade Carpenter: Are you finding all the work you want to do? Trouble finding leads? Does social media help? Today, we’ve got a great expert to help us figure that out.

Come on in, let’s talk about it. This is the Contractor Success Forum. If you’re new here, I’m Wade Carpenter of the Carpenter Company CPAs. With me, as always, Stephen Brown with McDaniel Whitley Bonding and Insurance.

And we also have back with us, our special guest, the amazing Amanda Darr. That is our, takes such good care of us and makes us look a lot better than we really are.

[00:00:36] Stephen Brown: Thanks, Amanda, for being on this. We appreciate you more than, you know, and thanks for taking on the topic today, letting our listeners know a little bit about, how to get started in this. What can you accomplish with the right marketing program in place? What social media is worth spending money on and what isn’t?

We’ve got a million dumb questions for you. So.

[00:00:59] Amanda Darr: Yeah, thanks for having me again. Happy to be back and happy to talk about social media with you and with your listeners. I think it’s a really fun topic. It’s constantly changing and hopefully I can provide some tips and answer some of your questions. Never dumb questions. There’s no dumb questions, especially about social media.

So happy to be here and thanks for having me again.

[00:01:19] Wade Carpenter: Well, Stephen,

[00:01:20] Stephen Brown: Yeah.

[00:01:21] Wade Carpenter: Throw a dumb question at her.

[00:01:22] Stephen Brown: Okay. So before the podcast, I was just hammering a Amanda with questions. And the subject matter is developing a social media and marketing strategy for your construction company.

Construction companies are, you could say a little bit different. They bid jobs that are publicly put out to bid and they have to be the apparent low bidder, the best bidder to get the job.

But also there’s a lot of construction trades, and I will say that their bread and butter is made through their relationships with folks that call them to do all of their construction work, and all of their construction services.

And you also want your marketing presence to represent your company based on the skill level of your employees, the difficult projects you’ve done, how professional are you, what is the image that you portray to folks when they go on to your, I would say, website, but it shows you how old I am, landing page, whatever it is LinkedIn profile, whatever you’re sending out there to people, what impression does that make and how do you make it better?

[00:02:30] Amanda Darr: So you mentioned a lot of really good points and a lot of things that kind of show where you can start if you’re not sure where to start with social media, branding, all of that.

Start by defining your ideal client

[00:02:41] Amanda Darr: The most important thing to remember is, this is just how your your target audience, your potential customers are going to be meeting you before they actually meet you.

So what do you want them to see? Not only about the work that you do, which is very important, but also about who you are, what you stand for, your values, and how you like to work with your customers.

So If you can define that first, that’s a really great first step. And you probably already have it all in your head, but if you can get that down on paper, that’s going to be a really good place to start because you’ll start noticing words and maybe imagery that comes from that consistently throughout that message that you can translate then into content for your website and your social media.

So then from there you can work on, if you don’t already have branding, some consistent branding as far as like your logo, your photos, your colors, all of that, which we’ve touched on in a previous podcast. So you can go back and listen to that.

But what we’re really talking about here is how you can also get that message out on social media and get it to the right people and connect with them. The first part of that is just knowing how you want to tell that story and beginning to tell that story through different social posts.

And we can dive into that more. But.

[00:03:52] Stephen Brown: If some, if someone were to contact you, for example, what kind of questions would you ask them to help them discern the literal foundation of their marketing program, what they want to portray?

[00:04:05] Amanda Darr: Good question. So we would go through a whole list of questions, but a lot of it would be around, how would you describe your company? Walk me through how you work with your customers. The ideal customer and the ideal project from start to finish, or at least the onboarding part. What’s your ideal project? What’s your ideal customer? We would create kind of an avatar, as they say in marketing, for their ideal customer. And then we would narrow that down to words that they would describe their company and then how they would describe their ideal customer. And that’s where we would start and build from there, if that makes sense.

[00:04:42] Stephen Brown: See, when I think of Avatar, I think of those blue people. I don’t, I’m serious. That’s how pitiful I am. But go ahead, Amanda,

[00:04:48] Amanda Darr: Yeah, so.

[00:04:49] Wade Carpenter: I’ll jump in there too, because I, I don’t know if I think about blue people.

Get a domain and business email set up

[00:04:52] Wade Carpenter: But Stephen has brought up a couple of times if he gets a bond request from somebody with a Gmail address, and they have no website. And, from your perspective, what is that, what kind of message does that send? And, is it really that hard to set up a domain?

[00:05:06] Amanda Darr: Great question, yeah. Sometimes it’s those small details that can make a big difference in your branding or your overall perception from customers or potential customers. Just having a gmail address, as small as that may seem. If you send that to a potential customer, they will see that and think, oh, that’s someone who doesn’t even have their business established or set up.

I know it can seem overwhelming to get a domain and get an email at that domain, but it’s really not too difficult. And whether you work with a marketing person or not, you can go to any service like, everyone knows GoDaddy. So that’s the kind of standard one. But there’s lots of services that are similar to that, where you can go and register to get a domain and then set up email hosting through that.

And just like that, you have a professional email address, your name at your domain. com, which is your company name. Small details like that as you’re getting started can make a big difference in how you appear to potential customers.

[00:06:02] Stephen Brown: It sure can. And I get a an email from a Gmail address from someone that doesn’t have a website, then my first impression is that they’re not going to be big enough for me to help them.

[00:06:14] Amanda Darr: Yep. It speaks volumes.

[00:06:16] Wade Carpenter: I think from their standpoint, too, it also says, are they good enough to be my subcontractor or my contractor? They’re doing residential stuff. Do they actually even have, are they handwriting invoices and things like that, on a–

[00:06:30] Stephen Brown: Yeah, on a napkin.

[00:06:31] Wade Carpenter: Yeah.

Set up a website – it doesn’t have to be complicated

[00:06:31] Amanda Darr: Exactly. And a website doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a lot of websites have become, I would say more simple over the past few years. So it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task to, to even set up your website. But having a web presence is definitely still something that should be on your list if you’re trying to market yourself and pursue new leads.

[00:06:55] Stephen Brown: Yeah, and if you are reaching out to someone, an architect or an engineer, and you want them to know about your capabilities, what a great way to to send them all your information where they can explore you a little bit. They can get an idea of who you are.

And also, if you want to hire someone to come work for you, especially someone younger, they’re going to definitely want to know that you’ve got your act together. And that you’re cutting edge and you won’t drag them down.

[00:07:22] Amanda Darr: Exactly. And think about, pretty much any business these days that you’re considering visiting or doing business with. The first thing you do is you’re going to put them into Google. So you want to have something come up that you have some control over and some, input into.

Does your construction company need a social media presence?

[00:07:37] Wade Carpenter: Yeah, you go cyberstalking. Should they have a Facebook page? Should they have a LinkedIn page? What do you recommend on the social media side?

[00:07:45] Amanda Darr: Yes, I would recommend having a page as long as you have the ability and the capacity to consistently post on that. You don’t want to have a Facebook page or a LinkedIn page that hasn’t been updated in a year or two years. You want to commit to consistently posting on that if you’re going to have it.

If you’re not at that point yet, the minimum that I would definitely recommend having is a Google My Business profile. If you don’t have that claimed, you should do that today. And that’s a great place to start if you’re not quite ready to commit to, keeping social media profiles updated.

[00:08:20] Wade Carpenter: Yeah, I didn’t know if you could give us a quick overview of that process and–

[00:08:24] Amanda Darr: Yeah, absolutely. So Google My Business is part social media, Google search. So it’s really important for your business to show up there, especially if you’re targeting people locally, which I think most construction contractors would be. So it’s whenever you Google a business and you see it pops up on the sidebar with their average rating and all of their business information, that’s what Google My Business is.

So if you don’t have that set up for your business, you can go to business. google. com and claim your business profile and start setting that up and The great thing about Google My Business is that people trust it. People trust just Google in general and the Google listings, as well as you can then tie in your review strategy.

So if you can get reviews for your business, that will increase your credibility right away. If you have some of those reviews show up on your profile.

[00:09:13] Stephen Brown: Okay. So that’s a bare minimum right, Amanda? I mean, That’s a bare minimum. Just to absolutely blow your mind, Amanda, my 97 year old stepfather has a flip phone, does not text. Does not get emails, does not do emails, does not do text, and he’s perfectly happy that way. He doesn’t care what he’s missing out on. There are people out there like him.

And thank you for talking to us as listeners on a fundamental basis. There’s so much to it. I get maybe 40 emails a day of somebody wanting to do something for me, and they’re out of their mind to get my attention for something. And I don’t know them from Adam, but I know that they like me. They say so in their emails. They like me, and they want to get to know me better. And I noticed you, Stephen, you are a great guy.

And so marketing is as far as I’m concerned, it’s out of control. I don’t, it’s easier just to be leery than to embrace what it can do for you to help you grow your business. I can’t imagine being in a restaurant without getting Yelp reviews.

[00:10:17] Wade Carpenter: Right.

[00:10:18] Amanda Darr: Yeah.

[00:10:19] Wade Carpenter: You brought up the the Google listing and I don’t know if this is pros or cons, but whether you have, working out of your house or something like that, maybe a contractor starting. But I know Apple had the thing where we had gone through with They had tried to, register businesses under Apple and had heard about if they can, if people are, like, Googling how to get to your address and that kind of stuff, it helps your rankings.

But can you talk about from that standpoint or?

[00:10:45] Amanda Darr: Yeah, absolutely. So that’s a very similar thing to Google. That’s going to be another search result that shows up. So absolutely register your business there as well. Anywhere that you can create a profile where it’s going to show up in the search results, depending on what platform somebody is comfortable with when they’re searching for your business, that’s going to increase your credibility and also provide relevant information for people who are searching for you actively.

A great place to start is just registering at those kind of sites where you don’t necessarily have to keep updating them all the time, although they do have options where you can upload photos and updates and links. So you can add things there, but there’s no need to post every single day. So that’s a good place to start.

Share stories and visuals that showcase your work, process, and team

[00:11:28] Wade Carpenter: As far as social media, I mean, you brought up pictures, too, and I think Stephen’s brought that up, too, but if somebody contacts me, I want to go to their website. I want to see some pictures of what they’re doing. I want to know what they do. And can you talk about, from, social media standpoint or those kind of things, whether we’re posting pictures or thoughts of things they can be posting regularly?

[00:11:52] Amanda Darr: Absolutely. So I think one of the main things that you can do to help people understand the work that you do and the quality of work that you do, especially in this industry, is going to be visual content. Images and video. And I know it seems like it might be difficult to capture, but I would say start where you can and build from there.

 Ideally, you could have some really nice drone footage of some projects that you’re working on, but if you can’t do that, that’s okay. You can start with some progress photos and maybe the end results and writing some content about what you did and how you did it.

I think that’s the best way that you can really communicate, what you’re doing and how you can show off a successful project. Which I’m guessing a lot of contractors would want to show off their work anyway and it would be a boost for the whole team as well.

So share that on social media. You can share it a few different times, a few different ways. I always tell people, don’t be scared to share the same content a few times because chances are everyone’s not going to see it right away.

[00:12:50] Stephen Brown: And share the challenges that you overcame on that project, how your team was able to adapt to getting the project finished despite difficulties and challenges.

[00:13:00] Amanda Darr: That’s compelling. Absolutely. If you can share more of a story arc and challenges that other people have faced and would be relatable, and then you can talk about how you uniquely faced those challenges and overcame them, that would be huge for your content.

[00:13:14] Stephen Brown: Could you tell us a little bit about how to provide those testimonies, those videos and information if you’re not a professional videographer, for example, but you want to gather testimonies and you want to document things.

[00:13:29] Amanda Darr: Yeah, absolutely. So the the great thing about technology these days is that it’s come a long way. And so you can even use your phone to capture video. You probably aren’t going to want to edit it. So you could, maybe find somebody to work with you on that, but even if you can’t do that, anything that you can upload will probably be compelling just because it’s your own voice. It’s your own story.

If you capture some photos on your phone as well, that’s a good place to start. And then I would say maybe in the future for your website or for some featured images or videos on a social media profile or Google My Business, you could consider getting some professional editing or even, professional video or photos taken, and that would be a step up.

But you can start with just your phone and, people want to see what you’re doing. So it’s better to have that content than nothing at all.

[00:14:19] Stephen Brown: Okay.

[00:14:19] Wade Carpenter: I also think about some of these contractors that, maybe they’re smaller or whatever, or they, they give the impression that you’re a one man band. But if you’ve got a little bit of a team, or you’ve got some people just maybe putting some content out about who’s on your team and their experience, as well as your experience, or if you’re looking to add to your team, just things that are going on about your people and your organization.

[00:14:44] Amanda Darr: I think there’s multiple benefits to that. People who are considering working with you want to see your team, want to get to know you beyond just even the expertise, which I think is also relevant to seeing the team that you have and what they can do. But just getting to know you and feeling comfortable, being able to trust you is really important in this industry. I think you would agree with that.

And then beyond that, there’s the added benefit of if you are looking to grow your team eventually, having those insights into what it’s like to work there is always going to also be a positive when you’re looking to hire good people.

What content to showcase (and what to avoid) on your website and social media

[00:15:17] Stephen Brown: Another thing I want to add for contractors is absolutely assume that everybody that you want to do business with is looking at your website and forming an impression of you, especially they’re doing business with you, they want to know who you are. And second of all, huge thing I want to say to contractors is don’t showcase projects or images of something that you haven’t done.

It’s not your work. It’s, if you use stock photos of a skyscraper and you don’t build skyscrapers, don’t do it. I can tell you for one thing, your insurance underwriters are going to just look at it and go no. They build skyscrapers. And when the websites first started coming out, Amanda, I can’t tell you how many of them would show pictures of bridges and elevated water tanks, and industrial coatings and work at–

Everything that scares an underwriter, they were showing and you would say, why did you put that on there? You don’t do that. I thought it looked cool. And we could, you never know what we could get into. And that’s–

[00:16:18] Amanda Darr: That’s a really good point. I would say, especially in the construction industry, stock photography is a no go. Definitely use photos of projects that you’ve actually worked on.

And like I mentioned before, I know the cost of professional photography can be a roadblock, but that’s one area where I would say if you can at all afford to invest in that that would probably be a great place to do it.

[00:16:43] Stephen Brown: An appropriate saying would be a picture’s worth a thousand words and a picture’s worth a thousand dollars, right? Can we use that as a rule of thumb?

[00:16:52] Amanda Darr: Or more.

[00:16:53] Stephen Brown: Or more. Yeah, that’s right. But that, if your picture is not worth a thousand words. If it looks amateurish and it doesn’t properly– I can tell you I have a customer that does exterior cladding on buildings.

Exterior cladding that is absolutely gorgeous. You can take the most mundane steel building, and ramp it up with architectural dimensional siding. It’s exciting. It’s sexy. And you want a picture showing it off to be so professional.

If you’re an architect, and you’re looking at doing work with a contractor, and you’d have amateurish photos of the projects you’ve done, and they don’t show that you can do sophisticated stuff, and they’re not familiar with you, and that, they’re just going to move right on down the road.

[00:17:41] Amanda Darr: Exactly. I think the ideal strategy combines the two where it’s word of mouth, but then you also have some of that evidence, whether it’s photos or videos to back up some of those amazing reviews that you’re getting.

[00:17:53] Stephen Brown: And if you have a rock or a stump on the job site that you want a good picture of that, I’m your guy.

[00:18:00] Amanda Darr: Perfect.

[00:18:01] Stephen Brown: I can do rocks and stumps, but there’s so much to creating the right image and to do it right. Can you tell us a little bit about how much should you budget for accomplishing all this? I know that’s a loaded question.

[00:18:16] Wade Carpenter: That’s a loaded question..

[00:18:18] Amanda Darr: That’s a tough one.

[00:18:19] Stephen Brown: But I would say, okay, you want to increase your sales. You’ve made money.

You’ve got some cash in your company and you want to use that cash to build your company, to grow more, Now’s the time to spend some money on the things that you know you need to do, which is a marketing presence.

[00:18:36] Amanda Darr: Yeah. While I don’t know if I can throw out a specific number and maybe we can dive into this on another episode, but I will say if you’re thinking about investing in marketing overall, one thing that I see a lot, is that people decide to invest in ads right away and they just decide to create some of their own ads or just try to do it by themselves, but then they still invest a lot of money into Facebook ads or Google ads or something like that.

Before you do that. Make sure you have the content to back it up. And you know what you’re doing. You have a little bit of a strategy behind that.

[00:19:09] Stephen Brown: Find someone that you like and trust the work they’ve done for other people, such as yourself, and tell them what you want to accomplish and ask them to give you a ballpark budget so you can deal with

[00:19:20] Amanda Darr: And yeah, I know what budget you have. Have an idea of what budget you’re working with and then see if you can find somebody who can work with you on that or, is willing to maybe start at one point and grow from there. That’s definitely something that some marketing professionals will do.

Or if you’re looking for a photographer or something like that, there’s definitely different levels. Be comfortable with knowing what you can work with and then if you’re willing to invest in growing, make sure you find the right person. It will be worth it if you have the right person.

[00:19:49] Stephen Brown: And it’s your job to hold them accountable for what you talked about and what you want to accomplish. It takes both parties to make it work. You can’t just dump it on somebody and say, this, I want it. You create it, make it happen.

[00:20:02] Amanda Darr: Sure, you can, but I would say that typically it’s going to be much more successful if you’re actively involved and you’re sharing your vision. You’re the one who knows your business the best. So it’s going to be more true to you and more unique, and it’s going to make more sense to the clients that you actually want to get if you’re involved and sharing that vision of your brand and your values and who you truly are. Rather than just expecting some kind of generic campaign to get you results.

[00:20:32] Wade Carpenter: That, that’s actually where I wanted to go. I was gonna take this in a little different direction. I don’t know if we have time to dive too deep in this.

I think about when we’re talking about pictures and stuff like that, if you want to be doing more kitchens and bathrooms or something, as opposed to just general remodels or whatever you want to specialize in. Like I think about on my own website, if I had pictures of insurance agents and real estate agents and all that stuff, but all we do is construction contractors and it tells people, that’s what we do. Can you relate that to the contractors?

We’ve talked about the sweet spot and knowing what the contractors do well. And, if you’re putting general pictures up there, I think you’re just chasing anybody that will show up.

[00:21:13] Amanda Darr: Yeah.

[00:21:14] Wade Carpenter: Agree? Absolutely.

[00:21:16] Amanda Darr: Good point with the sweet spot, which I think we’ve definitely talked about on the podcast before. There’s definitely value in defining a more narrow picture of the client that you really want, the client you love working with, the one that’s most profitable for you, and then thinking about how you can reach them: where they are, how you can connect with them.

So that is going to translate in your marketing strategy to a much more defined approach. Beyond even just imagery and message, but just every part of your lead funnel, everything is going to be much more tailored to that person, which will also then lead to them seeing you more as an expert in your field and just them feeling that you know what they’re looking for. You understand what their standards are and what they’re really wanting.

When you market to that target audience, as far as budgeting dollars, your dollars are going to a more specific subset of the audience. So you’re spending, even if you’re spending the same amount of money, you’re reaching way more people that you actually want to reach.

So your dollars will go further and you’ll get probably more conversions, more people that turn into that client that you actually want to work with.

[00:22:25] Wade Carpenter: Absolutely. Stephen, I didn’t know if you had any wrap up questions?

[00:22:28] Stephen Brown: I think it’s just fantastic, Amanda. And I want our listeners to know how they can get in touch with you. I can tell you that my partners on this podcast are loath to openly promote themselves. But we have the podcast in order to give information to our contractors so they don’t make a mistake. And I can say that, Amanda, you have been working with us for how many years?

[00:22:52] Wade Carpenter: Over three years now.

[00:22:53] Stephen Brown: Yeah. And you have been a real trooper of learning the ins and outs of the construction industry, along with our podcast over the years. It is a specialty. And I can say that you’re a joy to work with and you can tell listeners from listening to the podcast that you’re easy to communicate with. And you always do what you say you’re going to do.

So how could someone get in touch with you if they wanted to retain your services?

[00:23:20] Amanda Darr: First of all, thank you so much for saying that. So nice. And I loved working with you both and just getting to know the construction industry. It’s been fun.

Happy to answer any questions that anybody has about their marketing or anything related to that. My email is hello@amandadarr.Com and my website is amandadarr.Com.

[00:23:39] Stephen Brown: D A R R. Okay.

[00:23:41] Amanda Darr: Yes. Yep!

[00:23:42] Stephen Brown: Thanks.

[00:23:43] Wade Carpenter: Yeah, We can throw that in the show notes. And Amanda, thank you. We appreciate you coming on. And if anybody has any questions for Amanda or topics from a standpoint of your marketing or whatever, we’d love to see them in the show notes and try to answer them there as well. We’re always looking for new ideas, things you want us to talk about on the show. So thanks again, Amanda.

[00:24:04] Stephen Brown: Thanks, Amanda.

[00:24:05] Amanda Darr: Thanks.

[00:24:06] Wade Carpenter: Alright. Thank you all for listening to the Contractor Success Forum. Check out the show notes at contractorsuccessforum.com or the Carpenter CPA’s YouTube channel for more information.

We would really appreciate it if you’d consider subscribing and follow us every week as we put out a new episode, and we will look forward to seeing you on the next show.

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