Remodeling companies and remodeling contractors have a lot to lose or gain when it comes to digital marketing. We’ve been working alongside some excellent design build remodelers and carpentry remodelers and we’ve learned a significant amount about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to online marketing.
There are some unique challenges afoot when it comes to marketing for remodelers, and we’re confident that we can help advance through these challenges.
We’d like to make sure that you’re equipped to win and attract amazing clients, and we’re going to share with you three of these difficulties or challenges that you’re going to face as you move forward.
We conquer these challenges head-on, and we know that will be able to help you navigate these waters.
The most difficult thing about Advertising & Marketing in the Remodeling industry is that the sales cycle is typically very long.
It’s not as quick and easy as driveway sealing or plumbing, you’ve really got a focus on moving people through the three stages of the customer journey.
You don’t need me to remind you, but the remodeling industry is subject to economic sentiment, economic realities, and peoples individual planning cycles, ideas, and everything in between.
Your goal as a remodeler needs to be that once somebody decides to take action on their project, they decide to choose you.
But taking action on a project is the first in many steps, and that could simply be starting a conversation about a project that won’t come to fruition for weeks, months, or even years.
That means that successful remodeling digital marketing takes into account that people will progress through the customer journey stages at various lengths, and sometimes, they will progress very slow.
Most of the keywords that remodeling contractors would want to rank for are dominated by other big players.
Organic results for bottom of funnel, localized keywords are often dominated by Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Houzz and others.
Other top of funnel search terms like XYZ ideas, trends, & inspiration are dominated by photo aggregators such as Pinterest.
Google has decided to serve on these photo aggregators in their own rich snippet boxes, which means that people are less likely to move down to the organic results that you could potentially win.
Another difficult part about the content competition is that there are major magazines and even television shows that are competing for super important keywords. There’s always the opportunity for a blog post to go viral and we found lots of different ways to gain Google and Bing‘s trust with video and written content, but you’re often up against magazines that are incredibly difficult to compete against.
The fact of the matter is if Better Homes and Garden, and a litany of other home magazines create content that’s similar to yours, it’s going to be incredibly hard for you to actually rank above them.
So you’re going to have to find creative content strategies to keep people inspired and rank above the big third-party aggregators.
Satisfied customers are usually generous when it comes to providing a Google and Facebook review. That being said, I’ve seen that contractors, homebuilders, and any contractor doing large projects can often struggle to build up review momentum.
Why is it hard for remodelers to get good reviews?
Remodeling contractors can struggle to get reviews because they’ve already exhausted the trust equity bank.
Every time something changes, you have to create a change order, or there was some sort of expectation not met, and you make a withdrawal from the trust well or the trust bank.
What we’ve learned is that by the time a large and complex project is finished, one that has hundreds of requirements and very strict criteria to meet, the contractor is usually hesitant to tap into that trust well again.
A remodel could have 500 criteria to be seen as a success, and if there are two or three left over at the end of the project that seem to be unmet, those customers can easily focus on those last difficult leftovers.
For example, there could be one corner that looks a little odd, or a finishing touch that just doesn’t seem perfect, and the customer expects perfection for their large investment. Sometimes, there’s nothing a carpenter can do to fix a problem without drastic costs and incredibly painful corrections.
This means that construction companies that perform large complex projects for residential homeowners are often hesitant to ask for reviews and leverage the trust they’ve built.
The first thing you need to do is create 2 distinct funnels, a lead funnel and a sales funnel.
One thing that you should acknowledge is that people need to go through the three stages of the customer cycle, and looking at it from the perspective of interested leads versus qualified sales prospects is really helpful.
The lead generation funnel is all about picking the interest of people, and admittedly filling your email list, remarketing list, and even text list with people that are interested in getting tips, advice, inspiration, and ideas.
This lead generation funnel is really going to serve up your top and middle of funnel content that you’re going to create, which we’re gonna talk about in a little bit.
People don’t want to be pushed, and they’re often hesitant to allow a sales person to contact them and be all over them, especially when they know that they’re not hot to trot to spend money yet.
People considering a remodel are usually wise people, that have decided to maximize their overall investment in their home, which usually means they’re also hesitant to make a professional believe that there’s about to be a sale that will occur.
This means that people are often hesitant to engage in a formal sales cycle or process.
Usually, I’m not recommending that people would use paid advertising to drive top or middle of funnel content, I’m usually an advocate for only paying for bottom of funnel keywords in Google and Bing search ads.
That being said, I change this advice when it comes to longer sales process items such as remodeling or custom home building.
Social media marketing is really helpful in generating leads for top and middle of funnel. That means that you could use Facebook advertising and marketing to drive people to attend events, attend virtual seminars, and attend virtual or in person open houses.
Those are incredibly effective tools to drive leads, and people won’t feel pressured at all.
One thing to come to grips with is that you have a cost per acquisition goal. There is a certain price that you should be willing to pay in order to acquire a customer, and it’s not necessarily bad to use these third-party aggregators.
There are two major problems with the third-party aggregators:
The first problem is that in order for you to actually get good leads from Home advisor, Houzz, or Angie’s list, you’re going to have to build up your own profile on their platform. This can be a benefit, but every review you get there, every time you go to the trust and relational equity bank to ask people to fill out reviews on their platform, you’ve now invested in a third-party rather than your own.
I recommend that people prioritize Google and Facebook reviews over third-party aggregator reviews, and this is particularly important because every review request you make, eats up a little bit of your trust equity.
Another thing to note is that the power of the third-party aggregator comes from Google and Bing‘s propensity to favor them in the organic results. The moment that that relationship is broken between the search engines and these third-party aggregators, you’re pretty much out of luck.
Imagine if you invest in Home Advisor over the next 10 years or five years, and suddenly home advisor is viewed as non-beneficial from the standpoint of Google? Suddenly, they no longer rank in the top organic results, and there’s a little benefit for you to have their hosted platform.
The third-party aggregators also make you pay to use their services, and you essentially become their slave in a way. All your efforts to build up your profile are actually building up their platform, rather than paying Google, you’re paying them, and the end result can be really weird after a couple of years.
All that being said, you can drive phenomenal leads from Home Advisor, Houzz, Angie’s List and other aggregators, you should simply use them with your eyes wide open about the trade-offs.
It’s also worth it to note that Houzz, Home Advisor, Guild, and other 3rd party review platforms like trust pilot, will have their reviews shown underneath your Google My Business profile.
If a customer comes to your Google My Business profile and sees a deep repertoire of five star reviews from multiple platforms, it’s going to be easier for them to trust you and know that you are their contractor.
Customer reviews can be difficult for contractors to build up, but they’re not impossible.
The first tip is that you need to plant a seed early in every process, and you’ll have to diligently follow up in just the right manner as if you’re trying to earn a tip as a restaurant waiter.
One thing I learned serving tables in my early days was that to be an excellent server and to earn large tips, you need to make sure that you engaged with every customer at just the right level that they prefer. Some customers have different love languages and things that make them perceived value, and you’ll need to engage at that exact level with each and everyone of them.
Some customers need lots of proactive communication, some of them are going to need you to gently follow up over and over, some of them will require you to wait a year or two before asking, and others are just too technically challenged to login to Google or Facebook and leave a review so that you’re going to have to have some other platform for them to leave a referral or recommendation.
So my advice is to make sure that you diligently provide an easy pathway for people to leave a review for you, and gently follow up overtime because while small wounds may seem large after your project is finished, those concerns might dwindle over time and you will be perceived in an amazing light as they enjoy their enhanced property and remodeled kitchen, bathroom or basement.
The number one thing to fight against the difficulties and getting customer reviews is to deliberately and systematically maximize every project that you perform by capturing before, during, and after photos, 3-D Matterport tour, and videos.
Your work should do most of the talking, and you’ll have to really invest heavily into this process.
I am often baffled by how hesitant or forgetful a contractor can be about their before and after photos.
I want to put this gently, but you should feel the weight of this advice; it is foolish to not diligently document your process through photo and video.
I’ve met contractors that would complete 50,000, hundred thousand, or even larger jobs, and then they get cheap about hiring a photographer or videographer to come through for $300-$800 and document what just occurred.
You might be a contractor that has an immense problem with being cheap and not investing in this, but you can stop it now.
Not only should you hire a photographer for after, but you should hire a professional Matterport company to come through and document the before and the after so that you can have what you need to create amazing propaganda when it’s all finished. It will allow you to tell the story of the projects transformation well and showcase the results that you worked so hard to achieve.
Your goal in the beginning is to capture quality before photos and document all the pain points that you’re about to solve.
It’s not just about what the customers place looks like before, you need to really work to show what it is that causes pain in the customers life, because it’s going to help you cast vision for how you solve peoples problems in the future.
Nothing lends more credibility to a company than showing that you understand the problems at hand, and that you have empathy and authority with how you solve those problems.
So don’t take this lightly, invest in high-quality documentation on the front end, and it will pay off in spades on the backend.
Make sure that you get professional before photos, and make sure that they’re actually wide-angle so that you can grasp the before.
For every wide angle shot, you should also be getting small details or specific failures of the selections, finishes, and colors. You should be able to know exactly what the pain points are before you start.
Another critical thing you need to do is to make sure that you get before and after photos from similar perspective so that you can easily create sliders and help the user or reader see exactly what changed.
Too often, I’m dealing with before photos that were snapped with an iPhone or some quick camera, and it’s really just meant to remind the designer of what something was, rather than to be used in a sales tool.
Get good pictures, hire a professional photographer, make sure it’s lit well even on the before side, and document the pain points like crazy.
Another problem that remodeling firms have is that they neglect to tap into the greatest resource; the designers that work with their customers.
Often times designers and remodeling companies are hesitant to use the intimate details of the remodeling project to frame up the real problems that the customer identified, and it’s often out of concern for productivity.
It is not a waste of time for your designer to render out their notes and document them in a manner that can be used by a digital marketing company like Feedbackwrench.
When you start out a project, pump the brakes, get a photographer, and actually specify and bullet point the pain points in the customers process.
Again, you need to document all of these pain points and before imagery in multiple formats.
As you approach every customer project, and every section or area within a remodeling project, you should identify the problem, the solution, and the result.
Then, you should work with a writer and your designer to craft together a script and blog that accurately reflects the problems, solutions, and results.
You can utilize this in your blog content, you can use it later on as you’re trying to create additional blog content about ideas and inspiration, and your project showcase pages can have some meat on the bones rather than just showing photos.
The written manuscript will also serve as a video script which can be used as background audio for B roll of your project photos and video. You will be able to attract new users by placing this video on social media, YouTube, and embedding it as a video with video schema mark up on your website.
The principal is that you need to take this content and get it replicated across as many formats as possible so that people can consume it and it will also work in multiple ways to drive traffic, win trust, and simply close more deals.
When you invest into this before and after showcasing system, you’re going to have some remarkable content available that will actually rank in keywords, and it will also help your overall website and sub services pages rank much higher in Google and Bing.
When people sit and watch videos on a blog post or a Services page, it increases the dwell time or the time on page, and Google pays close attention to on page metrics such as average session duration and average time on page.
When people sit on your site longer and watch videos or click through and see more photos, or listen to an actual walk-through of a project on your homepage, services page, or even a blog page, it will cause that to rank higher in the search engines and you will benefit with higher Google My Business rankings and Bing places.