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How to Make Your Construction Business Wildly Successful Online

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jul 26,2016 @ 05:30 AM

Online marketing for contractors

Construction is a large umbrella ranging from handyman projects to large, multi-funded developments. Some contractors are all tools and skill while others are masters of management and leverage. Fitting all of this under the single category of e-commerce is futile. To truly create a web presence, you need to know your marketing voice and develop your site around the things that drive your audience.

Expert Driven Design

Some people are selling themselves as experts in their industry. For this central marketing message, a blog may be the best. Blogs tend to be written in first or second person, using “me” and “you,” which automatically develops a bond between the writer and the audience. They are usually descriptive, telling the reader how and why something should be done. Take a look at the Amway blog as a good example of a business blog concentrating on industry expertise. Inc Magazine has some good tips for creating content for a great business blog as well.

The Supply Chain Site

Attracting remodeling clients onlineIn manufacturing, the supply chain is extremely important. The supply chain is the total process from inception to customer care, including suppliers, marketers and the title company that assists in closing. In construction, this is project management and some e-commerce sites use its unique issues as the driving message. An e-commerce supply chain site will be broken down into specific topics of project management. One section may have a supplier and a shopping cart for these items. Another section would have human resource information and your services listed. The idea is that the website will guide a user through the entire breadth of project development.

Product as the Traditional E-Commerce Website

When most people think of e-commerce, they think of Amazon with its departments and lists of item after item. If you are selling products, the traditional e-commerce rules apply. Your site needs to have an easily identifiable navigation bar and solid search functions. The images need to be clear and sharp, being part of a good preview system. Your descriptions should be both poetic and specific, enumerating the product specs in bulleted form. As part of a larger marketing plan, the site and every individual item needs to be easily shareable on social media.

Social Motivated Websites

Where some contractors are focused on their expertise, others are social and friendly, providing a marketing message centered on trust. In the construction industry, this is huge. A trusted contractor is worth his weight in gold. Like the expert site, the social site is content driven but here it is a dialogue instead of a monologue. It should revolve around active social media feeds that allow for a conversation format. A question and answer section will keep people on your site longer and keep them coming back, both being keys to successful e-commerce sales.

The Mix

The gut reaction is to try and do everything, but the reality is that you do not have experience in every facet of the construction industry. Your specialization should be reflected on your website. As your e-commerce site is developed, some things will be added while others will be discarded. A shopping cart is only useful for selling products but generally not for services. Just make certain the website can be shared on social media since it is a good source of marketing.



Topics: Technology for Remodelers, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Web Site Related, Social Media for Contractors

Group Manager Offers Clarification About LinkedIn Moderation

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 08,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Nicole Allen of R2R Marketing


Guest Blogger:  Nicole Allen is the Social Media Manager at R2R Marketing where she is responsible for maintaining and executing a clearly defined social media strategy to increase brand equity and awareness for current clients.  She is also the group manager for “Home Improvement Industry Specialists” group on LinkedIn.   Nicole is an expert in Social Media Management and has a military background as an Aircrew Survival Equipmentman.


Clarification About LinkedIn Group Discussion Moderation From A Group Manager

LinkedIn Group Moderation


As of January of 2013, LinkedIn has put in place a policy of placing anyone who has been “Blocked or Deleted” from one group into “moderation mode” across to ALL of the groups that they may belong to. This has been a highly controversial policy with much discussion about it around the group sites on LinkedIn. This policy called, “SWAM”- Site Wide Auto Moderation, is intended as an anti-spam measure. Unfortunately, many members have suffered the consequences through friendly fire.

How do you fix this? Good Luck!

LinkedIn Customer Service There is no automatic appeal process- you can’t get it fixed by LinkedIn Customer Service- and you won’t be able to find out which group owner has blocked or deleted your postings. You are pretty much left on your own. My advice is to contact the owners of the groups that you are most interested on posting in, and asking them to change your permission to “allowed to post”.

As a group manager, I have set up my group in such a way that a new member to the group is automatically moderated for the first 2 days. This is to accomplish only ONE thing- that is to cut down on the spam the group is inundated with on a daily basis. Everyone wants to have a place to sell their wares and we understand this- There is a specific tab for you to do so. It’s called the “promotions” tab- use it.

As for some of you that have come to my group wondering why they are being moderated—please re-read the first two paragraphs. This should explain to you why this is happening. The most that I can do is remove the moderation for you manually and I will be more than willing to do this if you should ask.

Group moderation is sometimes a necessity.

To encourage a good flow of free speech, we must weed through the “look-at-me’s” so that it is easier to find that healthy discussion that LinkedIn groups were made for.

LinkedIn Group Moderation PolicyMy personal policy is to NOT delete or not allow anyone’s comments or discussions that are in the spirit of the group. However, I have had to do this in the past. Comments that are derogatory or otherwise hurtful or inappropriate will end up in the recycle bin. It is not my job to tell anyone how to feel, what to post or when to be nice. I fully expect you, as grown adults to have enough decorum to be able to control yourself in a professional manner.

With that said, happy posting- and should you find yourself on the moderation list, chances are that you have been "SWAM-ed"!


Related articles:

Should You Participate In LinkedIn Discussions If They Are Moderated?

One Member’s Disappointing Experience With LinkedIn Group Moderation


Topics: Guest Blogs, Social Media for Contractors

One Member’s Disappointing Experience With LinkedIn Group Moderation

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Aug 06,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Randal DeHart, co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting


Guest Blogger: Randal DeHart, co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington is the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. His experience as a Contractor, Project Management Professional and Construction Accountant allow him to see the world as the contractor and the accountant sees it. This dual understanding sets him apart from other accountants. Visit to learn more.


One Member’s Disappointing Experience With LinkedIn Group Moderation

LinkedIn is one of my favorite places for networking and getting to know people on a business and personal level. For the first few years I rarely participated in any of the discussions and used it mainly as an online CRM to keep track of some of the people with whom we have built business relationships.

LinkedIn Group Moderation Problems

Lately, I have become involved in LinkedIn discussion groups and have discovered another source of informative and stimulating conversations.  However, there are situations when it is best to leave a group as that is the most respectful and kind thing to do, which brings me the subject of this article.

LinkedIn Moderation of CommentsShawn McCadden recently started a discussion in a LinkedIn group titled Should You Participate In LinkedIn Discussions If They Are Moderated?” After reading all of the comments on this discussion I was surprised to learn some LinkedIn groups moderate all comments and only allow those which appear to be in agreement with the moderator. I understand some social media sites may need to control and censor comments but was surprised to find LinkedIn in that same category.

I wrote a comment and added it to Shawn’s discussion thanking him for bringing this issue to light and “posted” it, or so I thought. Subsequently I searched all of the other groups I was a member of in order to determine if any of my comments were ”pending” only to discover a few of them had put my comments in perpetual “pending“ status and left them there.

Most of the group discussions where I make comments everything is posted immediately. And all of the feedback has been positive including a health quantity of “Likes”.

Just to be thorough I checked the comment I thought was “posted” in Shawn’s discussion and found it was also in the “pending” section. I could only smile and wonder what had went wrong or if I had offended someone.

Why are LinkedIn Groups ModeratedI sent messages to all the moderators asking if I had offended anyone or violated any rules so I could make amends and changes in order to get in compliance. Only one person had the courtesy to respond and now all my comments on that group show up immediately.

After waiting a few days to allow time for the other moderators to respond I deleted all of my “pending” comments and left all of the groups except the one with the discussion Shawn initiated because there are some very worthwhile postings and comments on it. My “Like” button appears to work on the discussions in this group so I will continue reading and signaling agreement and support with “Like”.

Having built a network of business and personal relationships that number in the thousands and spans the globe I understand the importance social graces and especially the importance of showing respect and kindness to friends and strangers alike. It is also just as important for us not to tolerate disrespect and a lack of common courtesy.

It is astounding how many times a kind gesture or recognizing someone by responding to a letter, note or email has led to some very profitable business for me and/or someone else in my network.

LinkedIn EtiquetteOne of the keys to having a comfortable network that grows daily is that even though I may not agree with everyone on every subject I seek to understand another person’s point of view and find some common ground upon which we can agree and build a connection from there.

Like most power networkers I refer business back and forth without regard for what is in it for me because the Universe is always in balance and I have learned I cannot give more than I receive.

All comments and observations are always welcome.

Warm Regards,

Randal L. DeHart, PMP, QPA

Topics: Guest Blogs, Social Media for Contractors, Building Relationships

Should You Participate In LinkedIn Discussions If They Are Moderated?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, May 14,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Should You Participate In LinkedIn Discussions If They Are Moderated?

LinkedIn discussion moderation


Recently I have noticed that several different discussions in the groups I follow on LinkedIn are now being moderated.   When I submit a comment I get a message that my comment will be reviewed by the moderator before it is posted.   I have decided I will no longer participate in these moderated discussions.  The problem is I haven’t yet figured out how to tell if a discussion is being moderated until I hit the submit button.  Does anyone know if there is a way to tell if a specific discussion or group is moderated?

I understand that some moderators with good intentions may be trying to eliminate the non-professional comments and personal attacks.  If you frequent LinkedIn groups with contractors as members you have probably noticed that there are some members who resort to foul language, unprofessional comments and even personal attacks.  I have also noticed one particular commenter who seems to always find something wrong with someone’s opinion and proceeds to kill the purpose of any discussion simply by participating.

Top two reasons why I have decided not to participate

  1. social media moderationFirst, my feeling is that they are not discussions if someone can decide whether or not they want my comment to be part of the discussion. I say this because I have noticed both on LinkedIn and on several different national newspaper sites I visited and commented on the moderator limits the comments to only those that support their own opinions and or to control the direction of the conversation.  We live in a free country where our freedom to express our opinions differentiates us from many other countries on this planet.  It pains me to see that some are trying to take that freedom away from us to serve their own purposes and or to purposely mislead readers.
  2. My second reason is because unless comments are posted instantly, and someone reading the comment can in turn instantly respond with another comment, it’s not a discussion.  Instead it becomes a collection of thoughts.  Think about it.  Unless the moderator is sitting at his or her computer waiting for the next comment, there will be gaps in time between when the submit button is clicked and the moderator reviews the comment to decide to post it or not.  This being the case I have already noticed that the comments, when eventually approved, become out of order and out of context.   That’s not a discussion.

LinkedIn discussions are being moderated


I think both reasons above are actually starting to reduce the conversations at these sites and is already compromising our industry’s ability to openly share information and help each other.  This is a very bad thing for our industry.



I see and offer three options to address this concern about discussion moderation.

  1. LinkedIn could make it obvious to group members which discussions are moderated. I think this should be done in an obvious way right within the discussion’s description at the top of the page.  If every discussion posted to the group will be moderated, I think that needs to be obvious as well.  Also, to avoid wasting time, I think all moderated discussions should somehow be flagged within in the emails we all receive as group members letting us know about new discussions and new comments on existing discussions.  If done this way we can decide for ourselves if we want to participate or not, in a discussion and or a group.
  2. Bad behavior on LinkedInIf group members are behaving in an inappropriate and or unprofessional manner, there should be a defined way to have their ability to participate in the current discussion instantly terminated.   And, if they have been terminated from a certain number of previous discussions, perhaps they should be permanently removed from the group, maybe even from LinkedIn.
  3. The last one I offer is the one I hope doesn’t become the default choice.  With this third option those of you who feel the same way about this as me will have no choice but to discontinue our participation and or membership in a group that allows moderation of comments before they are posted.


We can be frank, but we must remain professional

Social media for contractorsI hope those of you reading this see my purpose in writing this as a genuine attempt to protect the value we get and enjoy from productive and professional discussions at social media sites and online discussions.  To protect and facilitate discussions where all members can openly share advice and opinions without the risk of attacks and being subjected to foul language.   As one frustrated commenter put it, LinkedIn should be a place where we can safely ask questions and as true professionals safely help each other improve our businesses and our lives.  If you have a suggestion to help accomplish this, I hope you will add it to the list I offered above.


What say you? 

Free speech on LinkedInIf you agree something must be done about this concern please make others aware of this blog post so they can speak their views as well.  Although I will post this blog to LinkedIn discussion groups, I cannot know for sure or control whether they are being moderated or not.   If you find this article via LinkedIn, rather than post your comment on LinkedIn, post it here.  I promise I won’t moderate the comments you leave here at my blog, every comment will be posted right away.   I have and will however delete inappropriate comments and or comments with foul language.  My blog use policy can be viewed here.


Topics: Social Media for Contractors, Shawn's Predictions

How Should Remodelers Be Prequalifying and Selling To Gen Y?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 26,2013 @ 07:41 AM

How Should Remodelers Be Prequalifying and Selling To Generation Y?

Gen Y Sales Process


A recent guest blog posted here at the Design Builders Blog was written by a Generation Y member.   The author, Mark Brown, offered some advice for contractors on how to work with Gen Y employees.   His blog created quite a discussion with over 38 thoughtful comments as of posting this blog from contractors and employees from all generations.   One contractor praised the blog and the discussion but also brought up another very valid consideration for contractors and remodelers: How to sell to Gen Y clients?  The answer to that question is probably a very big conversation and a very involved one as well. 

One thing is for sure.  Trying to force Gen Y to buy remodeling (or anything) the way you have always sold to other generations isn’t going to work.  That said how about bringing the answer down to a few simple but big picture considerations to help get the conversation started and offer some direction.  With a new direction in mind, you can then seek out and get the remodeling sales training you will need to sell to this new customer type.

If you can’t beat Generation Y, why not join them

The members of Gen Y are used to getting information instantly and for free.   Almost every one of them has a smart phone and can Google any subject or topic to find instant answers or information, all at no cost to them.   And they can get that information at any time of the day or night they want it.  That desire and internet content available about anything you can think of has definitely defined how Gen Y does their research and makes their remodeling or home improvement buying decisions. 

For contractors who have always sold to the generations born prior to Gen Y, the idea of providing instant and free information about a remodeling project for some young kid who isn’t ready to buy or make a decision without first checking you and your suggestions out online using social media throws a monkey wrench into any veteran contractor’s long standing selling process.  Those changes probably also all but kill a contractor’s sales closes rates when it comes to Gen Y remodeling and home improvement prospects.

“The reality to recognize is that Gen Y isn’t going to change.   So, contractors need to change how they both market to and sell to Generation Y if they want to do business with them.”


Save yourself a lot of time, give them what they want

How Gen Y makes Remodeling DecisionsIf your construction or remodeling business doesn’t have a web site, stop reading right now or recognize and commit to the fact that you better get one up right away if you want to sell to Gen Y.  Done right, and it must be done right, a contractor’s web site  offers a place to give Generation Y, and any other generation for that matter,  the information they need to work through their decision making process and prequalify your business as a good option for them to consider.  If you’re strategic and you put the right information on your site, you won’t need to waste your time doing live sales calls with someone who would never have bought from you anyway and or who isn't far enough along yet in their decision making process to make any commitments that will include money.


What Information Should a Contractor’s website have on it?

Good question.  It has a lot to do with how Generation Y makes remodeling decisions.  I’ll offer some advice and suggestions on that topic in a follow up blog to be titled “If you don’t or won’t offer Generation Y Prospects what they want they will go away”


Topics: Sales, Success Strategies, Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Social Media for Contractors, Building Relationships, Generation Y, Shawn's Predictions

This Contractor Avoids Bad Reviews. Is He Lucky or Smart?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Jan 02,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: This Contractor Avoids Bad Reviews.  Is He Lucky or Smart?

David Profitt of  Profitt Custom Homes, LLC



Guest Blogger: David Profitt, owner at Profitt Custom Homes, LLC is a NC Licensed General Contractor.  David’s business offers construction of custom homes and remodel/renovation projects ranging from simple decks and porches to whole house makeovers, all as a Design/Build contractor.


Avoiding Bad Reviews

Anyone who has spent much time in this business knows full well the law of averages apply religiously. Out of every 10 customers, you will have two that think you're great, one that thinks you're a thief and the rest fall somewhere in between.

Social media for remodelersI suppose the word is "thankfully", the rise in social media has been offset by the economy so the events highlighted in the Dietz lawsuit news story haven't become as widespread as they no-doubt would have otherwise. I have been fortunate that over my nearly 3 decades in the business the overwhelming majority of my customers have been well satisfied with the work I did for them. But. like everyone else, I have had a few that felt otherwise.

Lucky or Smart?

"Thankfully" may not be exactly the correct word for it, as I typically put in a lot of long hours planning every project before the first shovel hits the ground, draw out the projects in cad (3D since 2001), run structural analysis on everything affected (engineer for 11 yrs before getting into building), put only known-entity skilled tradesmen on the job, personally oversee all the projects, visit the adjacent neighbors and introduce myself before stating any project that might potentially impact them, and constantly communicate with the client.

avoiding bad reviews


So I wouldn't attribute the low percentage of problems to just luck, but every once in a while you're going to get that one "special" client.....



Some real examples from my experience:

  • Social media for Remodeling ContractorsThe one who, at the closing table on a completed new home, decided he wanted to re-negotiate the price and not pay for his $15k in accumulated change orders.  I went to a "pay as you go plan" after that.  
  • Or the one where the client had a one-of-a-kind rooftop cedar deck built as an add-on to the original whole house remodel. She was thrilled to death with it until a trusted friend who lived 300 miles away in a totally different building-cost market told her she had payed too much for it.  Truth is I had over-charged her so badly that I actually lost money on it.
  • Or the guy who wanted a financial concession out of the cabinet maker when the CM put a more expensive (turned) faux leg on his master vanity that was shown in the CM's pre-construction 3D representation. This was even though he and his wife both liked it a lot better than what they had "approved" and the price didn't change.

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to retire.


Topics: Differentiating your Business, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Social Media for Contractors, Marketing Considerations, Customer Relations