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Trade Contractors and Internet Marketing

As much as one would think this isn’t the case, in Salt Lake and Utah, less than twenty different types of businesses get searched with any sort of frequency online.

Of those businesses, general contractors, plumbers, roofers and HVAC technicians get searched the most.  The trouble is, most of those businesses don’t have dynamic websites and I can’t think of one off the top of my head that blogs.

With social media, it’s not necessary to have a website any more.  A simple contact form can be placed on a Facebook landing page and all the contact information to call or email is there as well.

The big question when it comes to trade businesses is trust.  Who do you call?  Who’s going to show up on time?  Who’s going to do the job in time and on budget?  A yellow pages ad won’t tell you.  Neither will their website.

Social media is what is needed and it can’t be faked or hired out.  Authenticity is key.  Fortunately tools exist for trade contractors to develop and cultivate trust online and in the process get found and get referrals.

Because of the mobile nature of the work, trade contractors moved very quickly to adopting mobile communications in the ’90s.  Unfortunately, that’s where they stopped.  In fact, most trade contractor websites look like they’re stuck in the ’90s. 

You don’t need to be a marketing genius to figure out a social media plan for trade contractors.  My three step plan is very simple.

1.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Take before and after pictures and post them on Facebook and/or Twitter.  If you go to do a job, take the photo of the plugged up sink, damaged roof or desperately needing updating kitchen.  When the project is completed, take another picture.  Maybe include the cost of the project and definitely include the timeframe.  Equipment needed is a mobile phone with a camera and Internet access.  Most contractors already have these.

2.  Get a testimonial.  When the project is completed and the client is happy, ask for a testimonial.  This could be a video taken with the same cell phone, or it could be a comment on the Facebook fan page.  Ask for both.

3.  Ask for permission.  When going to a job, ask for permission to take photos of anything that could identify the property.  Some people are still private.  Also ask for the testimonial.  This serves as advertising or a talking point to the client if they say no.  If my roofer, plumber, HVAC technician asked if I would comment on their Facebook page, I know I’d tell someone.  Chances are the client will too.

Trade contractors don’t have time to design websites or blog, so social media is the perfect fit.  They can quickly and easily show off their work while at the same time gaining loyal fans who will refer them to their friends and contacts.

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