15 Guerilla Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Contractor Business
There’s More To Marketing Than Lead Buying & Pay Per Click
Your contractor business isn’t growing fast enough, and you’re looking for ways to supercharge your marketing. You might think, “Easy, I’ll just buy leads or use pay per click ads to gain lots of new customers.” But is that enough? Of course not. First of all, those things cost money, and while effective, they can’t do the entire job for you - especially if you’re wanting to save on your marketing budget.
We’ve talked about 12 Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics but now it’s time to go further. Today, we’re introducing some marketing strategies that will hardly cost you a thing - but can pay big dividends in return.
Try Out These Guerilla Marketing Tactics For Service Contractors
So what is “guerilla marketing”? If your first thought was a giant roaring silverback, that’s not quite it. “Guerilla marketing” means unconventional, locally-focused marketing tactics built to be little - or no cost - but still make a big impact on your business’ exposure. These 15 guerilla marketing tactics will net you new customers with a fraction of your usual marketing spend. It’s not quite printing money, but it’s close.
- This Is Your Community. Be A Part Of It.
You own a business, serving the people of your community. Is there anything that should make you more proud? So be proud. Get involved, put your face out there, become someone that people recognize when you’re out and about. The more your community gets to know you, the more you’ll become associated with the service you provide.
Think about it this way: 50 years ago, Google and local business websites did not even exist. But small companies then still grew into the big companies of today. How did they do it? They dominated their local communities on a person-to-person basis. Google isn’t the end-all and be-all of marketing. Go old school. Be proud of your business and hold onto that attitude as you put the rest of these strategies into action.
- Work Every Connection You’ve Got
In real estate, it’s “location, location, location!” In the service contractor industry, it’s “network, network, network!” Word of mouth is sometimes faster than the speed of sound, so take advantage of it:
- Tell all your friends and family about your website. Get them to spread the word to their friends or through their social networks.
- Let your business be a part of normal conversations. You never know when you’ll talk to someone who needs the work you do. Again, be proud of what you do.
- Don’t forget the ABCs - Always Business Cards! Business cards may seem old-school, but incorporating your website or even scannable QR codes that take people there can give them a new-school - and memorable - feel.
- Use Employees As A Source Of Referrals
Chances are, your employees live throughout your service area. Ask them to mention where they work on social media or have it on their profiles. If they have a neighborhood Facebook page, have them introduce your company (where permitted, of course!) Plus, just as you should bring it up in conversation, so should they. Tie employee referrals to special prizes and watch them go out of their way to advertise your company.
- Partner With Homeowners Associations
Find out the names of board members of some of your local HOAs. Then contact them and tell them you’ll give people in their neighborhood a special discount on their service. You get referrals to pour in, and they get to look good to their residents by “negotiating” an awesome deal!
- Watch Out For Older Systems
Ever driven by a house and seen an air conditioner that was installed during the Jurassic era? Make a note of it and swing by to drop off a door hanger or put a flyer in their mailbox. Chances are, they’re due for either a repair or a replacement, and if your company’s name is the last one they remember, they’ll likely call you first.
- Every Service Call Is A Sales Call
We get it, some people aren’t salespeople. But there are still simple things your techs can do to generate leads. Make sure they:
- Inform customers of any potential issues they spy - leaky faucets, bad wiring, run-down equipment. By pointing them out it encourages the customer to hire you back right away.
- Keep an ear out for referrals. Don’t necessarily go asking customers for anyone’s name or address, but if they offer the info, definitely accept it.
- Have your techs ask if the customers use any social media networks and if so, ask them if they’d talk about your company in a post. And if they do - offer them a $25 instant savings coupon. This isn’t paying for a review because you aren’t asking them to write one - you just want them to put your company’s name out there.
Another good idea - equip each truck with two sandwich boards - one for the front, one for the back - that your technicians set out while doing each job. Have them say something like “HVAC Tune-Ups In Progress - Schedule Yours Today!” along with a QR code people can scan to go straight to your scheduling page.
- Let People Know Where You’ve Been
You’ve spent money producing marketing materials, but they aren’t doing any good sitting in your home office.
- Offer your current customers some of your swag - Pens, magnets, coasters, stickers on the thermostat or AC unit - Anything with your brand will keep you present in their minds.
- Leave door hangers on the homes surrounding your job - Take a few minutes as you’re heading out of the neighborhood to let everyone nearby know who you are and what you do.
- Leave signs in your customers’ yards - Obviously get permission, but this is a great way to get seen by people passing by.
- Sponsor Your Local Sports Teams
Yes, this will cost a little money, but the payoff can be tremendous. Whether it’s a little league soccer team all the way up to a semi-pro baseball team, a sponsorship will get your name in front of hundreds of families and fans, while you can also promote your involvement in the community.
- Sponsor A Luncheon Event For Teachers Or First Responders
Pick a school, a police station, a firehouse, or a hospital department and cater a small lunch. Bring some of your marketing materials, serve a cake with your logo, and hobnob with everyone in attendance. You can even print some branded “company dollars” to hand out - not gift cards, but thin plastic “money” people can use to get money off their services when they call. Have fun with it!
- Mail To USPS Routes
The United States Postal Service has a program called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). It features a mapping tool that allows you to find specific carrier routes by searching with an address. Simply plug in the address of a current customer and this tool will give you the route on which their mail is delivered.
You can then launch “we were in your neighborhood” type campaigns to get your name out there. Maybe your current customer can vouch for your great services if neighborhood mail recipients ask about your company.
This service also gives you the power to do targeted mail marketing based on household size, income or age. EDDM can be as low as 16.2 cents per piece. Have a professional printer make your pieces to give your mail a high-quality look.
- Get On Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a private social network for neighborhoods - and it’s completely free to use. People will often be there asking for recommendations for the very services you offer - so you should be there to promote yourself. Plus, interacting with people in the neighborhood - in a friendly way, of course - will help make you and your team memorable.
- Set Aside A Portion Of Every Dollar You Make For Marketing
Don’t think of your marketing budget as a set number. Think of it as a percentage of sales. They say to make money you have to “pay yourself first,” and this is the same concept. If you make your budget a percentage of your sales, then your marketing budget will increase as your sales do, giving you the potential for a positive feedback loop of near-exponential growth.
- Be A Part Of Associates & Networks
We can’t stress it enough - network, network, network! Join local networks, attend business lunches, even be a speaker that can become recognized for your expertise. When you have a good relationship with your fellow entrepreneurs, they’ll be thrilled to send leads in your direction. Check Facebook or LinkedIn to find the right groups to join.
- Go For An Award
Enter your company into the running for a local, industry-specific or even a national business award. If you win, it will make your company more credible in the minds of customers. It will likely be reported in news sources, resulting in more brand recognition for you. When you win - let people know! Proudly display the trophy or plaque, make mention of it on your trucks, put the laurels on your website - having awards equals instant expertise in the eyes of your potential customers.
- Emphasize What Sets You Apart
Why are you different from other local contractors? What unique touch do you bring to every job? How are you separate from all the other marketing noise they’re exposed to every day? Once you have answers to these questions, use those answers to direct your efforts. You want to stand out from, and above, the crowd. Find everything that makes you unique and center those things in the story you tell potential customers.
Does your company have a professional appearance? No? Then get one! Uniform employees with logo apparel from Criscione Brothers, service vehicles wrapped by amazing craftsmen like those at Capital Wraps, even branded tools and equipment - all of these can enhance your image. Turn your trucks, and your employees, into mobile billboards capturing the attention of eyes everywhere they go. Plus, seeing that cleaned-up, consistent appearance will encourage trust in you from current customers and those who contact you in the future.
There are literally thousands of ways you can market your company - get creative! But also keep in mind that sometimes the simplest methods are still the best. Word of mouth can do amazing things for your bottom line, so get the word out any way you can!