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Marketing Tips for Contractors Amid Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Friday, March 20th, 2020 by Kristina McGovern


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By now we all know about COVID-19 aka Coronavirus.

We don’t know exactly how many people will become infected with the virus or how long it will last. As a business owner, marketer, or contractor, you will very likely be affected, but we’ve put together several marketing tactics you can use to ensure you get all the leads you can.

During the real estate crash in 2008, the Treehouse saw its biggest one month drop in leads ever. Over the course of a year we bounced right back and experienced a huge increase in YOY leads for our contractor clients.

We are currently seeing a decrease in leads amid COVID-19, but the drop isn’t nearly as significant as in 2008.

Organic traffic and conversions are down in most industries

According to marketer Neil Patel, whose agency works with hundreds of clients in several industries, there have been significant drops in organic traffic and conversions amid COVID-19 in almost all the industries they are tracking.

So what does this mean for you?

The good news is everyone, including your competitor, is in the same boat.

But in an industry that relies on going into peoples’ homes, what do you do about marketing amid COVID-19 and social distancing?

There are three possible scenarios:

  1. Keep rolling - Be practical, continue on with your marketing, and eventually see an ROI from your marketing.
  2. Pump the brakes - Slow down your marketing while you figure out the best strategy for your situation.
  3. Put the brake pedal to the floor - Stop all of your marketing efforts. In some situations, this might be necessary, but this could lead to problems in the future. Treehouse clients can reach out to their account manager with questions.

Your gut reaction might be to put the brakes on and stop your marketing. No homeowner is worried about waterproofing their basement or getting junk hauled away right now, so what’s the point of spending money on marketing?

While there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the effects of COVID-19, there are a few things that we do know that might help you in deciding what this means for you as a marketer or business owner.

What We Know

Much of what we know today comes from going through two financial crises - the dotcom crash of 2000 and the real estate crash of 2008.

3 major reasons to keep marketing amid COVID-19

  1. More people are using the Internet, social media, TV, and radio

    With social distancing, curfews, and other safety measures put in place in many towns and cities, more people are staying inside and are therefore connected to the Internet and social media and tuning in to TV and radio.

    What this means for you: More people using the Internet, social media, TV, and radio means more opportunities for impressions, clicks, and leads. According to data gathered by BrandBlaster, the digital advertising program offered by the Treehouse, video streaming is up 7.5% in the U.S. and 17% in Canada. A greater reach means more leads and a bigger ROI.

    Tip: Be aware of deadlines for adjusting spend on your campaigns. Reach out to your vendors if you don’t know.

  2. Less competition = more leads

    Many of your competitors are putting the brake pedal to the floor and they’re slowing down (or stopping) their marketing.

    What this means for you: It’s an opportunity for you to gain a bigger share of your market. The Coronavirus will pass - hopefully, sooner rather than later - and when it does, people will still need to have their basements waterproofed and have their junk hauled away. By continuing your marketing efforts, you’ll be on the top of their minds when they’re ready to call someone.

  3. Leads are down, but so are costs and spending

    We’ve seen a decrease in pay-per-click (PPC) leads, but in general, spend is also down.

    What this means for you: The cost of clicks is down, so it’s a good time to ramp up your PPC spend and get all the leads you can.

What You Can Do

There are several digital marketing tactics you can use to reach customers, including search engine optimization (SEO), PPC, content marketing, email marketing, social media, and video marketing.

4 Simple Online Marketing Tactics

We’ve put together several marketing tips and content ideas to help you with your marketing plan amid COVID-19.

  • Content

    Weekly home repair checklist - Provide homeowners with a scavenger hunt or a checklist of potential areas in the home in need of attention. Here’s an example:

    • Day 1- Check your basement/crawl space for mold.
    • Day 2- Check your foundation for any cracks and leaks.
    • Day 3- Check around your windows and doors for drafts.

    Tip: Use a catchy tagline/ theme that they can go along with. Here are some examples of taglines/themes below.

    • Are you healthy? Check. Now is your home healthy? Not sure.
    • Have you taken your home’s temperature today?
    • How to stay busy around your house during social distancing.
    • How to make sure your home’s health is as good as yours during this time of self-isolation.
    • Social distancing? Make a new connection with your home while you’re separated from friends and loved ones.
    • How you can show appreciation for your home and check-up on its health during this time of social distancing.
    • When was the last time you checked on your crawl space?
    • Do you know what’s lurking in your crawl space?
    • Did you know you breathe the air coming up from your basement?
  1. Video

    Products or solutions - Show how specific solutions help the homeowner stay healthy. Create a short video talking about a common solution, such as a sump pump, dehumidifier, or insulation, and the benefits that it has on the home’s health and comfort.

    Live social stories - Live stories make people feel more connected with you. Human connection, even if it’s not in person, is something we all need, especially during situations like COVID-19.

    Q&A’s - Set up a Q&A on Instagram or Facebook and reply to questions submitted via your story or Facebook or Instagram live..

    How-to’s - Create a video telling homeowners how to do something around their home. Below are some examples.

    • How to check for mold in your basement
    • How to check your home for foundation cracks
    • How to check your home for radon levels
  2. Widgets

    The Treehouse offers clients free access to several widgets to help contractors with their digital marketing. Here are some examples of how Treehouse widgets can be used to reach potential customers during COVID-19.

    YouBlog - Create a blog post to tell customers how you’re responding to the COVID-19 epidemic and to remind them that you’re ready to help them when it passes. Here's an example below:

    Screenshot of a blog post from Connecticut Basement Systems regarding COVID-19

    Auto Teller - Customize the email confirmation message that customers receive when they submit a web lead form. Below is an example:

    Lead submission message from Connecticut Basement Systems
  3. Lead Generation

    Use other lead generation sources, such as HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack, to bridge the gap and recoup some of the leads lost from not being able to attend home shows or from cuts made to other areas of your marketing spend. Keep in mind that these leads typically convert at a lower rate than those generated through your own website.

Conclusion

When it comes to your marketing amid COVID-19, you ultimately need to do what is right for you and your business. Marketing costs money and how you respond depends largely on the amount of money you’re willing to invest right now. Keep in mind that if you keep rolling and keep marketing through this, you are far more likely to see more leads, revenue, and ROI on the other side.

About the author

Kristina McGovern, Content Specialist Find me on LinkedIn

After nearly a decade writing about home improvement, Kristina realizes the importance of having a dry, clean crawl space. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has made it her mission to find good pizza in the South. She enjoys spending time on her 13-acre property with her husband (and high school sweetheart), energetic toddler and rescued Labrador mix.

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