2020 was unquestionably challenging, especially for small businesses. Outlooks for early 2021 have COVID-19 related challenges remaining prevalent. For contractors the prolonged shutdowns, layoffs and personal financial hardships have forged a strong decrease in demand for services.  

This makes thoroughly auditing and revamping current marketing strategies imperative to contractors looking ahead to the New Year. The need to optimize ROI and ensure efforts are reaching their target audience has critical implications.

Here are some cost-friendly, proven-to-be-effective marketing strategies contractors can explore to achieve marketing success in 2021:

Advertise on Facebook: One of the most utilized platforms for advertising this day in age is Facebook, and upon exploring its advertisement feature, it’s not hard to see why. Currently, Facebook is experiencing more than 2.7 billion monthly active users. Yes that’s correct, BILLION.

Facebook’s advertising program allows users to set daily budgets, choose target audiences and locations, implement ad schedules and it provides analytics that are easy to comprehend. 

One of the most business-friendly aspects of Facebook advertising is that companies can run an advertisement for as little as $1 a day. $30 a month is a price that can’t beat to have a business marketed to a specific audience. That being said, the larger the daily budget, the more eyes Facebook will place an ad in front of. 

For a complete overview of Facebook advertising, visit https://www.facebook.com/business/ads

Advertise with Local Search Ads on Google Maps: Businesses can now advertise locally on Google Maps. This recently implemented feature was designed to help with exposure at moments when consumers are searching online (especially on a mobile device) for businesses within the same industry. Advertisers are currently charged on a cost-per-click basis so contractors choosing to explore this option will want to monitor their ads to determine an optimal cost-per-click price. 

Become Active on Social Media: Believe it or not, social media plays a factor in search engine optimization (SEO) and SEO plays a major factor with where a website ranks in a Google search. Regularly updating a social media page will go a long way in keeping a website on the first page of a Google search. Don’t think that is important? Try to think back to the last time you looked for a link on the second page of a Google search... 

Vehicular Advertising: Contractors that have a work truck or vehicle and haven’t already placed an advertisement on it may want to reconsider. Chances are the vehicle is driven daily, so what better way to get a company logo or brand in front of potential clients. Vehicle wraps can hold up for five years and depending on your location, can generate millions of impressions annually. Wraps generally cost between $1,800-$3,000, but keep in mind that quotes will vary. For contractors with smaller budgets, professionally installed advertisements for a driver-side door typically cost between $200-$400 and will still produce results.

If this is a strategy that is pursued, please remember that contractors MUST INCLUDE THEIR LICENSE NUMBER in the advertisement. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action and fines from the CSLB. 

Referral Discounts: A contractor who performs excellent work and finishes on time will find themselves receiving calls for service from contacts of prior clients. However, to get even more clients to refer their contacts to their business, consider implementing a referral discount program. The discount doesn’t have to be substantial and promoting it can be as simple as advertising it on a business card or website.

This tactic may prove invaluable for 2021. The CSLB saw a reduction in active licensed contractors and revenue in 2020, which allows us to conclude that there was a decrease in demand for services as a result of the pandemic, making the competition for projects as fierce as ever. Every business will be looking for a competitive advantage, and incentivising a target audience is never a bad idea.   

Direct Mail: Residential contractors can target a local neighborhood or town with direct mail pieces, notifying homeowners of their services. Print companies will typically provide mail lists, printing, and distribution services all in house. Pricing depends on the distribution amount and complexity of the piece, but direct mail is always an effective way to drum up business in a targeted area. 

For contractors that conduct business in Northern California, two reputable print/mail companies to consider are Sierra and Pacific Standard Print

Local Print Advertising: Almost every local newspaper and magazine provide advertising opportunities, and it’s quite affordable. For example, in Davis, CA, the local newspaper has 5,400 subscribers and for only $440, you can place a quarter page advertisement for 6 consecutive weeks. That equates to roughly $73 per week and $0.08 per subscriber that will see the ad. A majority of the time, local print media companies will work within a specified budget. 

2021 is going to continue presenting challenges both anticipated and unexpected, but that doesn’t mean it won’t provide new opportunities for success. Contractors are some of the most resilient professionals in the workforce and we’re confident that the above marketing strategies will benefit those that utilize them.