As a contractor, you can do the best work in town. You can deliver projects on-time and on-budget and walk away from a project with a satisfied project owner every time.
But if no one knows about it, will it help you grow your business?
Growing a business is about more than raising capital and bidding on larger projects. It requires that you also put a new focus on your marketing plan.
This is more than just a slogan and a logo; your marketing plan is a blueprint for how you present your business, both to potential clients and to the world-at-large.
Here are seven tips to get you started.
1. Determine Your Niche
As a contractor, you want to be able to be all things to all clients. The rationale being, “if I can do every kind of work, I’ll be able to take on more projects.” The problem with this rationale is that it makes it hard for you to stand apart from the competition.
Determining your niche is about demonstrating that you can provide something that none of your competitors can.
This doesn’t require that you re-invent the wheel. Instead, assess the projects you’ve completed. Which ones were the most successful, profitable, and rewarding?
Maybe you’re finding that you’re doing well with projects related to healthcare facilities. Maybe you’re winning bids for high-rises or high-end residential projects. If that’s your strength, market toward that strength.
Imagine these two slogans for a plumbing contractor:
“ABC Plumbing – We Do Plumbing”
“ABC Plumbing – Luxury Bathroom Experts”
A project owner or general contractor for a new high-end housing development will immediately be more interested in the second slogan. Why? Because it indicates that the plumbing company has the specific expertise required to complete the project.
By marketing to your niche, you don’t just stand out from the crowd, you’re marketing your strengths as a business.
2. Show Your Work
Once you’ve determined your niche, be ready to demonstrate that you have the expertise required to get the job done. Every time you take on a new project you should make sure to collect before and after images. These can be used to demonstrate how you work to future project owners. Not only that, it’s easier than ever to organize them into a slide show that you can use to promote your business online.
3. Get Your Stories Straight
Had a positive experience on a project where you saved the day? Saved money? Impressed a general contractor or project owner? That is a story worth telling. If you’re going to tell it, make sure you’re able to do it without thinking.
Write it out, tell it to your staff, make sure that you’ve got all the details straight, and that you’re able to tell it concisely. If it takes more than two minutes to tell, look for ways to improve it.
Having these stories in your back pocket will make you feel more at ease when making a pitch, and it can demonstrate to a potential client that you can provide value beyond simply completing the project.
4. Invest in Good Design
Your company logo and branding should be able to go anywhere. From business cards to printed marketing materials, to your website, to the sign on your office door, to your company t-shirts, every piece of marketing material that you create should be visually appealing and consistent.
Unless you have an experienced graphic designer on your team, it’s probably a good investment to hire a graphic designer or marketing company. However, simply saying – “design for me” isn’t enough.
The more you can talk about the work you do, the more you can identify your niche, the more you can explain what you want your branding to reflect, the more likely it is that a designer or marketer will be able to create the materials that best reflect your business in a professional light.
5. Identify Your Prospects
Take the time to research who the most likely prospects are in your area. Then take the time to reach out to them.
Are there professional organizations in your areas that potential clients are members of? Become a member, or attend events that are open to the public.
Remember, even project owners and general contractors who are in competition with each other will communicate with each other. Even if one doesn’t need your services, they may be in touch with someone who will.
6. Turn Clients into Promoters
When all is said and done, positive word-of-mouth is still one of the greatest marketing tools available. Being able to leverage it should be part of your close out process.
At the end of a project, ask the project owner if they would be willing to provide a reference. If you’re looking for help, we have a form you can use.
Offer to provide them with updated copies of your marketing materials.
Develop a method (phone or email) where you can stay front of mind. Staying in regular communication with your clients means you’re more likely to be remembered when they need to make decisions on who to hire for their next project.
7. Find a Partner Who Can Help You Grow Your Business
Looking for more ways to grow your business? Ox Bonding can help. Our Contractor Credit Program is designed to fully assess a contractor’s potential, both on the job site and in the back office.
Our team of construction experts can determine a bonding line that works for your business, our Project Accounting Service can help you to better organize and manage your back office, and our Requisition Cash Advance service can help you to better manage your cash flow issues so that you have the funds you need to get the job done.
This improves the strength of your business, and gives you the time you need to build and execute your marketing plan.
Ready to put Ox Bonding’s experience to work for you? Download an enrollment application or call us today at (877) 55-THE-OX.