The world of digital marketing is changing so fast that it’s difficult to keep up with it all…

Building a contractor marketing strategy with robust, relevant and engaging content can help you find tons of leads, close more sales, and build a foundation for sustainable, long-term growth.

Here a few contractor marketing trends for 2020 and beyond to help you do just this!

2020 Content Marketing Trend #1: Shifting Demographics

Based on a 2019 National Association of Realtors report, 26% of home buyers are now in the Gen Y / Millennial age range.

This demographic does most (if not all) of their research leading up to a purchase via the internet.

They’re digitally savvy, which means they expect a certain level of speed and ease of service as they search online for answers to their questions.

What does this mean for home improvement contractors?

It means now more than ever, contractors need to start developing useful, thorough content around key questions their ideal customers might have when considering their services, and optimize their web pages for those specific keywords & phrases.

It also means contractors need to put some thought into the typical journey a customer goes through—from initial internet search to paying customers—in order to map out where their content efforts are falling short.

In other words, they need to reshape their sales funnel!

2020 Content Marketing Trend #2: Reshaping the Sales Funnel

Sales funnels traditionally are thought of as linear:

  1. You start with cold leads that have never heard of you but have some basic interest in your services
  2. You warm those leads up over time by educating them and building engagement
  3. Finally, you convert them into new customers for your business

Moving forward, expect purchasing patterns to be less linear or “cut and dry,” where you must respond by keeping people engaged at multiple points through the brand-client relationship.

To illustrate, HubSpot suggests a sales funnel that looks more like a flywheel, where instead of a linear path, all marketing activities fit snugly around your customer’s activities:

(Image via HubSpot)

No matter which way you look at it, the takeaway is this:

The buyer’s journey is becoming less and less linear.  

Thus, new strategies are needed to catch people at any phase and keep them engaged throughout their whole buying journey.

Consider this hypothetical buyer’s journey for roof repair:

  1. A person does a search on their mobile phone, “how to fix a leaky roof.”
  2. They come across a few interesting results on Google, one being a local company with an intriguing video displayed right there on the page (pulled from YouTube).
  3. After watching the video (yours) called “Why you shouldn’t fix a leaky roof yourself,” they decide that you seem trustworthy and knowledgeable enough to consider.
  4. They pop back over to Google to find out if you have decent reviews.
  5. Meanwhile, they also asked friends on Facebook if they know any reliable roofers in the neighborhood.
  6. Then they make a shortlist of a few contractors and start calling around for quotes, but it’s after business hours, and all companies are closed.
  7. They see your video ad on Facebook, which sends them back to one of your landing pages promoting a free roof inspection.
  8. They submit the form, and your company’s automated SMS or Facebook chat immediately confirms that someone on your team will contact them first thing in the morning.

Case in point: home improvement contractors can put their best face forward by ensuring their brand is front and center at various touchpoints of the customer journey.

With the latest technology, effective marketing campaigns across Google, Facebook and YouTube, and the right experts at your side (shameless plug), you can take full advantage of this new sales funnel experience!

Recommended Reading

Why Your Contractor Digital Marketing Strategy Is Broken (and how to fix it)

2020 Content Marketing Trend #3: Taking advantage of ‘micro-moment’ marketing

In 2020, people are making decisions faster than ever before. They don’t want friction, they want a solution to their problem as quickly as possible.

In other words, you need to think about keywords and keyphrases that support this ‘need for speed.’

Think Google refers to this as micro-moment marketing, a term which represents searches based on in-the-moment types of decisions, such as those incorporating keywords like near me, open now, emergency repair, etc.

Creating content optimized for these types of urgent keywords & phrases, and making sure your Google My Business listing is complete and accurate, will give you an edge in the search engine rankings.

But that’s not all you must do to take advantage of this trend…

Since homeowners want help fast, you need to make sure your website is fast, too.

In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and every 1-second delay in site load time causes conversions to fall by 12%.

Depending on the size of your local market, investing in a fast mobile-optimized landing page could mean dozens or even hundreds of extra leads each month!

2020 Content Marketing Trend #4: Use Technology for a Better Customer Experience

Across almost every industry, customers are attracted to experiences.

It’s not just about creating a quote, doing the work, getting paid and then moving on.

Because there’s so much competition out there, contractors must find new ways to showcase their expertise to their customers before, during, and after the sales process. This can go a long way towards earning their trust, especially with big-ticket items like a new roof, a set of windows or a full kitchen remodel.

A frictionless purchasing experience is essential for instilling trust and ensuring that customers will spread the word about your business once the job is done.

Leveraging new and exciting technologies like virtual reality (ex: custom 3D-kitchen designs) and personalized chatbots alongside traditional mediums like professional photos and live videos can go a long way towards wowing your customers so that they have nothing but great things to say about you.

5 Key Marketing Strategies for Home Contractors in 2020

Now that we’ve discussed a few general content marketing trends for 2020, here are some more ideas for implementing better marketing techniques into your contracting business.

1. Get Your Customers Talking

For most contractors, referrals are essential to getting business, and most customers will be naturally inclined to talk about excellent service to their friends and family.

Getting them to do so can be as simple as:

  • Offering an incentive to a homeowner who refers you to their friends and family
  • Encouraging them to leave you Google or Facebook reviews
  • Using email software to send engaging monthly email updates
  • Running an Instagram contest to encourage user-generated content
  • Creating a Facebook Ad which centers around video testimonials

Even giving one of these simple strategies a try could lead you to outcompete your neighbor down the block.

2. Optimize Search for Voice and Video

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is effective for getting more traffic to your contractor website. But this is about so much more than just optimizing your written content on blogs and websites.

Moving forward, you’ll want to ensure that your content is optimized for both video and voice. In fact, Google is now including podcasts in their search results.

As for voice, the use of personal assistants (Like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home products) are on the rise. OC&C Strategy Consultants estimates that 55% of homes could be equipped with voice-prompted smart speakers by 2022, which is a major opportunity for contractors looking to get additional traffic from search engines.

Luckily, according to Search Engine Land, home improvement contractors are some of the top-scoring businesses when it comes to local business voice searches, meaning they’re well suited to make the most out of this emerging trend.

Here are some examples of popular voice search queries (image via Convince and Convert):

Home service contractors wanting to optimize their website for voice search will want to make sure they understand key SEO concepts like long-tail keywords, natural language queries, and conversational queries.

Recommended Read

5 Tips to Dominate Local Service Ads for Contractors

3. Leverage SMS Texting

According to HubSpot, some 90% of text messages are read within the space of a few minutes, which is why home contractors should absolutely take advantage of this emerging trend.

And with new tools coming out every day (such as Google Lead Form Extensions) there’s even more reason to test out new features that get prospects booking appointments from the palm of their hand.

If you want to improve your followup process, it’s simple and inexpensive to set up an SMS appointment system with these three things:

  • Automated SMS software like SimpleTexting
  • Appointment scheduling software like Calendly
  • Compelling text messages that get people to take action

Learn more about using SMS text messaging to convert leads into appointments.

4. Take Advantage of Chat

Will robots be ruling the world come 2022? Not quite. But if you haven’t started looking at basic tools that leverage A.I. as part of your marketing strategy, you absolutely need to.

As reported by Think Google, chatbots will soon be capable of increasingly complex interactions, where they can have in-depth conversations via natural language processing.

The technology isn’t quite there yet, but you can definitely start with automated responses for people at different stages in the buying journey in order to push people forward.

For example, a chatbot could essentially handle all of the interactions in the table below:

Buyer Stage  Chat Feature Benefit to Business Benefit to Customers
Warm Leads Handle general inquiries More leads on off-hours Immediate confirmation / callback appointment
Existing Clients Book appointments with Auto Response Consistent Communication / Less Errors Confidence that the person is reliable
Follow up Send Feedback Surveys with Incentives Encourage Referrals Confidentially Share Experience

Again, it’s all about multiple touchpoints and giving prospects & customers multiple ways to reach you quickly.

He who is most available wins!

Recommended Read

3 Reasons Why Contractors That Use Live Chat Generate More Leads

5. Offer Consistent and Personalized Content

You’ve probably seen how Amazon offers “recommended purchases” and Spotify creates “made for you” playlists. These are examples of machine learning in action.

A few years ago, if you were to address an email list with a person’s name, you were advanced when it came to personalization. Because people these days are inundated with digital ads, emails and …well, everything, you’ll need to do a little extra to create a personalized offer, when possible.

Consider this hyper-personalized email from Lyft:

Some ideas for contractor emails include:

  • Before and after visuals
  • Segmenting according to interest (if you offer multiple services)
  • Offering discounts to warm leads
  • Offering incentives for referrals for previous customers
  • Inviting guests to local events
  • Sharing information about

Do you have an email list?

If you have an outdated one, perhaps you can make some changes that will help you create more personalized offerings beyond just the basic “dear {name}”?

This all ties into the other points discussed above: Purpose-driven marketing goes hand-in-hand with personalization.

Content Marketing 2020: Think Interactive and Innovative

We’ve already touched on how important it is to offer personalized content through multiple touchpoints with a goal to ensure that clients are experiencing your brand on a more continual basis.

Marketing strategies for home contractors are unique.

If your customers are not going to hire you to replace their roof twice in one year, they may very well find other home-related information useful, and they might refer you, too.

Contractors should ensure their customers have the best experience possible from the very start of the process.

You are there to perform very specific and high-priced services, so use every opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.

To beat the competition:

  • Consider that the new pattern of a buyer’s journey is no longer linear
  • Content should be targeted and search needs to be more contextual
  • Find unique ways to showcase skills, products and craftsmanship
  • Ensure that customers have tools to make informed, independent decisions
  • Get customers engaged as they learn about what you do
  • Allow customers opportunities to purchase goods and services via a frictionless experience

You can do this by creating purposeful, useful, and targeted content.

As a contractor, you have access to plenty of tools to show customers what you do, immerse them in your space, and offer them super simple ways to interact with you in real-time.

A concise, compelling, informative message will ALWAYS be better. And it doesn’t have to depend on a huge dollar investment.

Recommended Read

9 Ways Contractors Can Create Facebook Videos to Attract and Engage Homeowners

Are you ready to kick up your content marketing a notch?

The digital world advances so fast that it can be difficult to keep up.

If you understand some digital marketing basics, you will have a much better chance of beating out your competition!

Let us know what you think!

Join the conversation:
  1. Muneer Dakri July 22, 2020 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Interesting read Ben! More and more consumers are becoming digital citizens. And now, with this global pandemic, it will be interesting to see its effects on these trends in the future.

GET IN TOUCH

You’re just one click away from making the best business decision you’ve made all year.

Book a demo