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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

Now Might Be a Good Time to Remodel How and Why You Do Marketing

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 16,2015 @ 10:03 AM

Now Might Be a Good Time to Remodel How and Why You Do Marketing

marketing ideas for remodelersOn April 2nd, 2015 I presented a half day marketing workshop titled "Choosing and Targeting the Right Customers and Projects Types for Your Business". The workshop was billed as the keynote session for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) annual trade show in Minneapolis.   At the workshop I shared new ways contractors can think about and do their marketing so they can attract their desired customer and job types. It’s what I call strategic marketing.   For those of you who missed the workshop here are some of the key points we discussed at the workshop.


BATC Builders and Remodelers Show information Take advantage of the timing 

The economy and residential construction are both picking up.  At the same time the majority of attendees agreed with me in that we are not yet confident that the pace of the current surge will be sustainable considering the uncertainties businesses and consumers still have about the economy.  With that in mind this is however a good time to take advantage of the surge to concentrate on developing market share in a strategic way.  It’s my opinion that most contractors would benefit from becoming a specialist in what they do and how they do it.  After all specialists typically command higher prices than generalists.  And, true specialists are always in demand, even in down economic times. Now is a good time to specialize, as long as you also work on branding to establish and maintain your position as a specialist in your desired market areas.


Here are some specific tactics contractors can consider and use to strategically build market share

Pick your customers, don't let them pick you:

marketing strategies for remodelersStop taking just any customers and jobs.  Be selective about who you will let become your customers.  For example why not only work with people who would say they are "working with" you, not those who would say you are "working for them".   Also, be selective about the project types you go after.   For example why not attract people who want high quality products.  If you sell using one markup across all cost categories the gross profit dollars earned on material intensive projects due to higher price point products is an easier way to meet overhead and net profit goals, both now and in the future, particularly when compared to selling and producing labor intensive projects.

Stop competing, differentiate:

I don't understand why contractors think they have to compete and or be competitive.   For most construction business owners competing means bidding. Home owners who seek bids are typically like auctioneers, except they are looking for the lowest price, not the highest.  And, rather than try to be better than your competition, why not seek to be different from your competition.  Being different attracts attention and consumers who want different also know they have to pay more to get different.  
One key to being different and attracting positive recognition for it is to concentrate on how you do what you do to demonstrate your difference, rather than work on what you do to differentiate.  One example of potential differentiation could include offering true Design/Build as an alternative to the traditional design-bid-redesign and bid again game. Another example would be helping prospects develop project specifications with the agreement that you will come back to present your proposal and solutions, but you will not leave them behind unless they sign your proposal and give you the required deposit.  


Being different comes with pros and cons

If you decide to use these example strategies many prospects will go away.  However, the ones that see value in your differences will become cogs in your new referral generating machine and will pre-sell the value of your differences to their referrals so you won't have to.  I call those types of referrals "layups".


Think of how you do marketing in a new way

marketing for remodelersThe old traditional marketing methods of trying to find prospects who want your services now and interrupting them to get their attention no longer work.  Today consumers are the ones deciding how they will find and qualify their project ideas as well as the contractor they will work with.  Instead use inbound marketing tactics that help consumers find your business.  This should be one of the two primary purposes of your marketing and can be accomplished on your web site using SEO tactics and good content on your site’s pages as well as your blog.  The other primary purpose of your marketing, particularly at your web site, should be to help prospects decide if what you offer and how you do business are right for them.  In other words your marketing should help them prequalify themselves so they either want to contact you or know they shouldn't.


Final Thought- Marketing shouldn't just be limited to creating leads

At the workshop I also shared one more new way to use your marketing; to advance the sales process.  Consumers want to gather information and ideas about their project, but they want to be sure they are getting accurate and useful information.  Savvy contractors are now using the content at their web sites to educate consumers before they call to setup an appointment with a contractor.  This saves both the prospect and the contractor a lot of valuable time.  In addition to offering project and product related information, you can also educate them about how and why you do business the way you do. Sign up to join our mailing list  This can not only speed up the sales process, it can also help clearly differentiate your business and therefore improve the quality of your leads.



Topics: New Business Realities, Contractor Training, Success Strategies, Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Web Site Related, Marketing Considerations, Customer Relations, Business Planning

Contractors Are Unknowingly BUT LEGALLY Giving Away Their Identity To Lead Gen Companies

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Feb 18,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Contractors Are Unknowingly BUT LEGALLY Giving Away Their Identity To Lead Gen Companies

Lead Generation services for contraciorsI constantly read forum posts about contractors’ being shocked to discover they are being re-directed away from their own company when searching for their own company online, and then are directed to a lead generation service. The issue is rampant – but unfortunately, the situation is typically inadvertently created by the contractors’ themselves.



So let's just jump to some research we did at MyOnlineToolbox

We never intended to focus on the specifics of Lead Generation Terms & Conditions.  The issue started to intrigue us when a handful of our contractor website marketing clients were having challenges getting website leads.  We discovered through our research that these contractors signed up to one or more Lead Generation Services over the years.  The contractors simply did not realize how hard it was to literally compete against themselves based on how well the Lead Generation companies were using their information against them.

Problems with Contractor Lead Generation servicesWe read the Terms & Conditions of numerous Lead Generation companies.   It is important to note that every lead generation company views anything you submit to their site for content as their own. That includes your business biography, services, testimonials and pictures.  The terms sometimes have a permutation of wording that states "the contractor agrees that a consumer MAY NOT be directed back to the contractor if the contractor does not have the appropriate spending limit and other limitations".

We think it is fair to replace MAY NOT with WILL NOT when money is not to be made.  And considering the whole issue is already ambiguous, we also wish someone could explain what "OTHER LIMITATIONS" means since we feel the limitations are definitely directed against the individual contractor.

And, to make matters worse, the terms also state the contractor agrees the lead generation company can take the content (reminder: your Business Bio Information that you submit) and use, copy, reproduce, and sublicense any content on your profile page to drive traffic to the content.  But they do not have to pass the consumer to the contractor.  

So let's guess what the lead generation company will do next... You wonder?


We interpret the situation this way:

Concerned_contractor-wrThe contractor is asked to sign up, pass along his/her identity to the lead generation company, and the lead generation company can use the information anyway it wants if you do not pay them forever.

Just imagine if every contractor knew up front, in big bold explanation what he is giving up when he agrees to join a lead generation service (for free or paid, doesn't matter).  But many times we feel the contractor is being misled into not only what he is getting for free, but also what he is not getting and how their company information may no longer be used to their company’s benefit

It begs to wonder why anyone would agree to one way terms with something as important as their business identity.


Maybe we are wrong

If we are wrong about this let’s hear from a lead generation company who feels we are wrong and can offer a specific explanation as to their terms and conditions to ensure contractors know the difference between your services and other lead generation services.  But it would also be nice to hear that, unconditionally, your company would never use a contractor's business data to drive traffic to your site in order to then connect a potential consumer with different contractor.  


For more information

Unfortunately we discovered so many ways information is used against a contractor that it was easy to organize and share our findings with a visual understanding.  We do that here in a few short videos lumped together as Say No To Lead Generation Companies.


Advice for choosing a contractor lead generation serviceSo in summary, there are only two ways to win at getting more online lead opportunities:

  1. Do not sign up for any Lead Generation Services to avoid content being used against your company over a period of time.  And if you feel so compelled to try a service, then by all means just read the Terms & Conditions first since you may have second thoughts.
  2. Have your own website and learn the basics of website marketing (referred to as SEO Search Engine Optimization).  A little bit of website tweaking will give you years of ongoing opportunities.  It is not that hard all.


Brian Javeline


Guest Blogger: Brian Javeline is President & Co-founder of, providing business software and the industry’s popular Contractor Website Online Marketing Education Class.




Topics: Web Site Related, Lead Generation, Guest Blogs, Marketing Considerations, Creating Referrals

Marketing Strategies For The 5 Stages Of A Remodeling Consumer's Buying Cycle

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 19,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Marketing Strategies For The 5 Typical Stages Of A Remodeling Consumer's Buying Cycle

Marketing for remodelers


In a previous blog I wrote about how a contractor’s web site marketing can be used to speed up the sales cycle.   In this blog I offer specific marketing strategies remodeling contractors can use on their web site during each stage of a remodeling consumer’s buying cycle.  These strategies will help prospects figure out what is important to them and whether or not your business is the right one for them to work with.  These strategies will also help them get there a lot faster and save the contractor lots of time!


Awareness stage:

This stage is about driving traffic to your company web site.   The goal should be to make your visitors aware that your brand exists and of the products or services you offer. It’s also about helping them discover that they have a particular problem or need, which your company is qualified and able to help them with.  In this stage you publish blogs, articles, videos, and other regularly posted content that has been optimized using SEO tactics so they can find your web site using key words.

Research stage:

Marketing to remodeling consumersOnce a potential customer knows they have a need they’ll begin researching options for what they can or should do to fill that need. During this stage of their buying cycle you’ll want to provide them with white papers, checklists, and or e-books. The strategy should be to provide more in-depth content that describes the problem(s) they have and outlines step by step solutions—which your company just happens to be able to help them with.  This is also the lead generation stage. By keeping track of who downloads information from your site you can separate the consumers who are genuinely interested in what you offer and how you can help them from others who are just casually browsing your site.


Comparison stage:

This is where the prospect begins actively seeking out a solution to their problem and a contractor to do business with. They’ll be looking at your brand, but they’ll also be looking at other companies to see what options might be out there for them. You need to help them decide whether what you and your business provide will be the best solution to meet their needs and purposes.    At this stage you should provide them with case studies. Properly written, case studies explain how other people in the same situation went about solving their problem. 

Purchasing stage:

selling remodeling to consumers


In this stage the prospect is finally ready to take that last big step. To help them choose your company think of content you can provide to give them that little extra push in the right direction. What do other consumers have to say about your company? Why is working with you a good investment? To give your case studies credibility include past customer testimonials about why they chose your company as the best one to help them.


Repurchase stage:

If they choose your company and become a customer keep in mind the importance of keeping them as your customer. After completing their project keep in regular contact with them through periodic e-mails and newsletters to make sure they remember your company and the full list of what you do.  The goal is to make sure they think of you the next time they want to buy and know already that you can help them.  My experience shows that the most successful remodeling and construction companies are the ones that maintain relationships with their past customers.   Keeping your current customers is far less expensive and much easier than finding new ones all the time.


Topics: Sales Considerations, Marketing, Web Site Related

How A Contractor’s Web Site Marketing Can Speed Up The Sales Cycle

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 17,2014 @ 06:00 AM

How A Contractor’s Web Site Marketing Can Speed Up The Sales Cycle

Web site help for remodelers


With the right marketing strategy and tools a contractor can turn his or her web site into a lead generation machine as well as a selling tool.  That's right.  Think of your web site as not just a place for consumers to find your business, but also a place where you can help them buy.



Make it a place where they can educate themselves

Educate them about your business as well as the many things they will need to consider about their project and about choosing the right contractor to partner with for their project.  By helping them do this at your web site two different outcomes are possible. 

  1. Attracting remodeling customersOne might be that they realize your business is not right for them.   This can save you and them a lot of time because you won’t need to get together in person to figure this out.  
  2. On the other hand, because of your content, the right prospects for your business will be much closer to making a confident buying decision by the time they ask you to come out and meet with them.


Every consumer has their own buying process

Research shows that consumers spend anywhere between 38-114 days doing their research and due diligence before they make the decision to go forward on a significant investment.   If you think of their buying process as their buying cycle, broken down into definable stages, you can strategically align the content of the marketing on your web site with what your target customers need to help them as they move through these stages and their research. 

Here are the typical stages of a remodeling consumer’s buying process:

  1. Awareness stage: remodeling buying cycle
  2. Research stage
  3. Comparison stage
  4. Purchasing stage
  5. Repurchase stage

In this follow-up article I explain how to strategically market to these consumers during each stage.

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Keep in mind that due diligence will be personal to every consumer. 

selling remodeling to womenNever assume what they should do or tell them what to do.   A key to this strategy is to offer options within your marketing and clearly explain the differences between them so prospects can confidently make their own decisions.   Remember, it’s all about them, not about you.   Helping them along and being a resource, rather than telling them what to do, will make you stand out as a trusted advisor.  Often times, because they are typically the main decision makers when it comes to purchasing remodeling, this strategy works particularly well with women.  Think about it.  How did it go the last time you told a woman what to do!  It’s about options and helping them compare them.


To help speed up the sales cycle with your prospects your goal should be to help them buy, not sell them something.  Put yourself in your prospects shoes.   Would you want to be sold?

Topics: Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Web Site Related, Prequalifying

Quick and Easy SEO Test : Does Your Web Site Expert Really Get SEO

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Jun 08,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Quick and Easy SEO Test : Does Your Web Site Expert Really Get SEO

SEO for contractors


Many remodelers have invested serious money in their web sites and in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Experts as a way to improve search engine results to bring in the leads they need to sell work.  My experience has shown that many web site designers claiming to be SEO experts really have a limited understanding of how SEO works.  Here’s one quick and easy test you can do yourself to determine if your so called web site and or SEO expert really understands SEO.  Keep in mind that this is just one factor for SEO.  Many other factors certainly apply.


Was your website designed properly for SEO?

Just like a design/build project, the design of your web site should serve an intended purpose. In this example let’s say that purpose is to attract prospects who are searching for the services your business offers (e.g.: Kitchen renovations, bathroom remodeling, roof replacement, gutter cleaning…).   Having a web site that looks good is not enough of a reason for Google or any other search engine to find your site and figure out what you offer.  If the search engines can’t find your site it won’t be included in search engine results when a consumer is searching for a remodeler to work with.  Proper SEO strategies must be used so search engines will find your site and identify what content is on your site.  If done well, when both the search engine and a consumer searches the web using the same keywords you have included on your site, the search engine results they get will include the page or pages on your site that include those keywords.

Bottom line: 

Websites show up in search engine results only when they're relevant to keyword queries.

For the purpose of SEO the page title is the most important information on a web page. You can see a page title on every individual web page when it loads up on your screen.   The page title is located in the page tab in the upper left of an open browser window above the page URL.  Below is a sample from my site:

SEO for remodelers


Notice that this page on my site is the “what I do” page as found in the site’s navigation list.  If a visitor is already on my site they can open this page to find out what I do.  However, if they are using a search engine to look for a remodeling consultant or a remodeling industry speaker; they would never find me by searching using the key words; “What I do”

On the other hand, because I have included key words about what I do in the page title, if they use any of those key words when they do a search, and search engines have already found out what I do because of those key words, my site and this particular page will show up in search engine results. 

To see the full page title and all of its content at your own site simply place your cursor over the page title.  When you see what’s there you can decide for yourself if your SEO expert has included your desired keywords. 


Page title optimization is not enough

Another thing search engines look for is that you actually have content on the page relevant to the key words in your title.  Don’t optimize the title unless you also optimize the content.  If you do search engines may actually discount the page’s SEO value.

SEO help for contractorsBy suggesting these simple changes and others to the remodelers I work with, I have helped them maximize their ROI for the dollars they spend on their web sites.   Using the right strategies they attract not just leads, but targeted qualified leads for the kinds of customers and projects they want to get.


Now do the test on your site

To see how well you SEO expert has optimized the page titles at each page on you site, open each page and see what is in the page title.   If the page title only includes the name of your company or the page name used in your site’s navigation list, it’s not optimized to help search engines or remodeling prospects find your site and what you offer.  If you have to tell your web site or SEO expert about this, I suggest you should find another expert.

Let me know if I can help!


Topics: Marketing, Web Site Related, Lead Generation

7 Steps for Creating A Lead Generating Web Site For Your Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 03,2014 @ 06:00 AM

7 Steps for Creating A Lead Generating Web Site For Your Contracting Business

Creating a contractor web site


Don’t just do a web site for your construction business so you can say you have one!

Instead, put together a lead generation and prospect prequalifying machine.  And, make sure you choose a good web site designer to work with who can be a resource both during and after the initial build.  Consider the seven steps listed below before have your web site created.


The Seven Steps to Building a Contractor web site that generates leads:

      1. Commit to doing it and paying for it.  Expect it to cost you about $3-6K if you use a pro
      2. Do a marketing plan so you know your targets, your purpose, your messaging, your tactics and the metrics you will use to make sure it’s working and measure ROI.  If you can’t or won’t do this you may be wasting all your money because you won’t know what to measure to verify your ROI.
      3. Identify the pages you want to have on your site, as well as the sub pages needed to support your marketing strategy. 
      4. Help creating a contractor web siteThen identify the functionality you will need behind the scenes.  For example things like the Content Management System (CMS) you will use to add and edit pages, smart call to action buttons so you know what pages visitors clicked through from, landing pages, a blogging tool, automated lead nurturing ability, analytics and an email marketing tool.  You will need to consider these kinds of things to get a price from a web designer for the work to be done and the CMS you will use.
      5. Identify what you will expect of your web designer.  See this blog for help with qualifying a good one.   Just like home owners choosing a contractor, think past just the cost.  Also consider what kind of help, expertise, time frame and working relationship are you looking for.  Will you need help with site design, layout and colors?  Choosing a CMS?  SEO and Social media advice and assistance?  Templates for certain pages you will eventually create yourself, artistic abilities if you will need graphics (you will)?   Help with creating lead nurturing strategies and campaigns?  Make your list (“Job description”) before you contact web designers.
      6. Choose your designer, create an agreement, pay the money and get the process going.
      7. Start pulling together the content you will need.  This includes text for the pages, photos, your blog topics, logos, strategic links and so on.   You will need to decide what you can do yourself in house and what you will need to hire out for.   Be practical; consider both the time it will take and the expertise needed to do it well.


Target Marketing for contractorsNow you have a web site!

Make sure you also have a plan to keep it fresh, keep adding content, and use your metrics to make sure it is serving the intended purpose for why you created it.  I hope that purpose will be to capture qualified leads based on your target customer and project types.

Check out this blog for more on targeting.




Topics: Success Strategies, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Web Site Related

Tips: Using Video On Your Contractor Website To Introduce Your Team

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Aug 18,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Chuck Green of Perpetual Motion Media


Guest Blogger: Chuck Green is a Big 50 remodeler who returned to video production, winning a New England Emmy® Award in 2012. Chuck and Shawn have worked together on several video productions including a series of RRP videos for Remodeling magazine.  Check out Chuck’s work at   He can be reached at:


Tips For Using Video On Your Contractor Website To Introduce Your Team

To consumers a remodeling project can either feel like an invasion or a friendly co-occupation.  Using video on your website is a great way to convey which reality your company offers if they hire you.  

Using video to introduce your construction employees

In my last guest blog here at the Design Builders Blog I discussed 6 Creative Ways You Can Use Videos On Your Contractor Website.  In this blog I offer some tips and suggestions for getting the best value out of the videos you use on your website to introduce your team. 


Topics for staff to address in their video interviews

Before you do these videos I suggest you consider your goals for doing them.  Below I offer two suggested goals and some topics to help accomplish the goals. 


Goal 1: Convince your future customers their home will be in good hands.

  • Using video on a contractor websiteWhat is their background and/or length of time at their trade?
  • What does it mean to them to be a team member?
  • How long have they been with the company, and how have they moved up in skills and responsibilities?
  • Is there a special project they’re still passionate about? Any award winners they’ve worked on?
  • Mention how, especially if they’re also homeowners themselves, they really understand the importance of (for example) closing outside doors and wiping off their feet.
  • Or perhaps it’s keeping work disturbances to a minimum.


Goal 2: Deepen the personalization, demonstrating they’re people not too different from your customers:

  • Using videos to introduce employeesWhat town do they live in? Grow up in?
  • Say something about their children and family.
  • What are their hobbies and outside interests?
  • What are their significant achievements both in work and outside?
  • What’s the most interesting place they’ve ever traveled to or lived in?
  • What instruments do they play, and for how long? (Sometimes it might be wise not to talk about the kind of music they’re into.)



Tips for creating high quality video and audio

Ideally, keep each of your construction team introduction videos to under a minute, but 1-1/2 minutes should be the max. Record all the relevant topics, but post only 2 or 3 of the elements which come out best with each person.  Here are several important considerations to keep top of mind if you want to maximize your video investment.


Relax them    

Script for employee video introductionsIt’s important to have everyone around be relaxed; if it doesn’t flow easily after a couple of tries, take a break and return to the filming later. For the interviews, have each person sitting while looking at someone they’re friendly with, located just off to one side of the camera. Interviewees should remain looking at the other person continuously and avoid quick looks at the camera (or look only at the camera). If a person's eyes shift back and forth, they literally look shifty!



All the introductions should have extra care taken to light the person and background well.  To look best, avoid mixing daylight, fluorescent, and incandescent lighting; either applying gels to change the color temperature of sources, or swapping out bulbs.   



Tips for creating high quality website video Surprisingly, the mantra in the film and video world is “Sound is half the picture.” Poor sound is a hallmark of schlocky work, dragging down many otherwise promising videos. If someone insists they don’t need an external microphone to record speech, don’t even consider working with them!   Also, watch out for and eliminate distracting sounds in the background.  Radios OFF! And don't seat someone close to an inside corner, because there will be very slight but irritating echoes.


Tools do not make one a master  

As with construction tools, mastering the use of the equipment to do professional-level work is a long process. Not surprisingly, creating video worthy of a company which does high quality work involves far more than just having good equipment.



Prepare a rough script, allowing for the improvisational nature of most interviews. It can serve as your guide during the production recording work, in many ways. When developing your script you might also want to consider and plan for the places other than your website where you will show off your videos.  For example a cable television commercial could be filmed simultaneously if your efforts are well planned.


Topics: Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Web Site Related, Guest Blogs

6 Creative Ways You Can Use Videos On Your Contractor Website

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jul 02,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Chuck Green of Perpetual Motion Media


Guest Blogger: Chuck Green is a Big 50 remodeler who returned to video production, winning a New England Emmy® Award in 2012. Chuck and Shawn have worked together on several video productions including a series of RRP videos for Remodeling magazine.  Check out Chuck’s work at   He can be reached at:


6 Creative Ways You Can Use Videos On Your Contractor Website

Using video on a contractor websiteThe trend of including video on websites is advancing rapidly, but remodeling company websites have been slow to catch on. This is an opportunity to get ahead of the competition. Dr. Tom Leighton, from MIT and Akamai Technologies, has predicted HD video will be 75% of all Internet traffic by 2014.

Creative ways to use video if you have a contractor website

Capture attention

Engage website visitors through well-made videos.  Use them as a way to start building a relationship with your company even before the first meeting or call takes place. You can really show your company as a professional operation, while putting a personal face on the business and easing potential customers’ fears about having their house remodeled and who will be doing the work.

Introduce the leader

A pitch from the company president or owner should have a short intro about the company, around minute in length if possible, sort of an expanded elevator pitch.

Show and tell

Construction crew on videoPresent the (hopefully) polished staff who will be working in clients’ homes and as well as those interacting from the office. Also consider including key trades people if you work with them regularly. By using videos you’ll be going beyond what a write up can do with these introductions. The talks will pro-actively address any uneasiness homeowners may have about what kind of people will be in their homes.  Ideally I suggest keeping each one to under a minute.            

How We Work:

Consider having a section illustrating the company’s methods of working.  A simple piece would be the president/owner or project manager speaking interview-style about the company’s philosophy and policies on areas ranging from smoking to not using occupants’ belongings.  While a narrator describes things a How We Work video could show things like details of dust control methods in use, how flooring is protected, workers in clean company shirts, how a temporary kitchen is set up during a kitchen remodel, a message board area in use (if any), end-of-day cleanup going on, and any details which demonstrate the company’s professionalism.

Video of homeownersTestimonials:

Include testimonials by home owners filmed in their favorite spots that were part of the project.  Since people generally choose to work with those recommended by people they feel they can relate to and trust video testimonials of real customers in their real home settings can be a powerful way to do this.


Before and after photos can be powerful, but a before and after video can really pull a viewer in deeper; especially those who have no experience with remodeling. One particularly engaging feature would be a smooth video walk-through of your completed projects, filmed without any camera shake using a camera dolly or special stabilizing rig.  Handheld, shaky camera work rarely makes for high quality video and may not project a professional image of your business.  Moving a notch up would include adding a before walk-through of the space recorded before any work begins.  The before video does not need to be free of shakiness, as long as it is paired with a carefully done after video.


video killed the radio star

Remember, video killed the radio star. 

If Dr. Tom Leighton is right it may take over for the written word as well!                       


Watch for Chuck’s next guest blog

Chuck has committed to contribute another guest blog in the near future.  Be sure to subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog so you won’t miss it.  Here’s a rough outline of what he will discuss in that blog.

  • Topics for the introductory talks
  • Tips on creating high quality video and audio
  • Additional sites and uses for your video


Topics: Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Web Site Related, Guest Blogs

How Contractors Can Sell Themselves Without Selling Themselves Short

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 27,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Kim Downs, Wolf


Guest Blogger:  Kim Downs has been focused on building WOLF’s brand and shaping product messages for 17 years. Her integrated approach to program development includes interdepartmental communication as well as common sense strategy resulting in programs that work. She has a steadfast belief that building a marketing plan doesn’t require an unrealistic budget. Kim contends that even small, meaningful steps can do wonders in building a brand.


How Contractors Can Sell Themselves - Without Selling Themselves Short

Home Improvement ShowsLast month Shawn posted a blog warning contractors of the price shopper titled "11 Common Traits of People Who Buy Remodeling On Price". He explained two types of prospects who price shop remodeling; Those who are driven to pay as little as possible and those who simply don’t know what else to consider so they base their decisions solely on the bottom line. 

I think the biggest problem is that consumers just don't know what to expect. HGTV has been a blessing and a curse for our industry. Because of shows that do a major project in 2 days for just $1000, people have gotten the idea that improvements are not only easy...but cheap.

Rather than chastising their ignorance, you need to educate them during your sales process.

Contractors selling on priceUnfortunately, I agree with Shawn when he stated that many contractors are terrible salespeople, so they have to sell on price.  If that’s you, then you really need to ask yourself if you’ve actually invited the “haggler” to contact you.  If your brochure, ad, website or any other selling tool you use promises “Best Prices”, “Affordable Service” or “Small Cost for High Quality”, as Jeff Foxworthy would say…"there’s your sign”.

If this sounds like a lot of the potential customers you talk with, it’s time to get tough.  Not on the prospect…on yourself!  You need to do a better job of selling yourself and not the job.  So how do you sell yourself, without selling yourself short?  The easiest way to do that is with your website.

By the way, if you’re saying to yourself, “Wow, I don’t even have a website,” then that’s an entirely different issue!

Website tips to help you differentiate your business

Tell your story

using your contractor website to help you sellMost people do a bit of research before calling for bids. Make sure your website clearly explains your business philosophy, process, product choices and anything else that will help steer folks away from price shopping. Include lots of pictures. Before / After shots are great…and if they include the homeowners in the “after shot” better yet!  Real people, real project, real happy! 

Let others tell your story

When you buy something on Amazon, do you read the reviews before pushing the “Buy It” button?   You can have the same type of “rating system” on your own website.  Easier yet, add testimonials from the happy customers in your photos.  But be sure to keep it current…and real.  Many people visit a website multiple times before making the first contact.  You want to be certain they see new images and comments when they visit so they know you’re a busy professional with lots of satisfied customers.

Brag a little

Remodeling awardsHave you earned awards or accolades from pertinent associations?  Non-customers and peers giving you kudos speak volumes to a potential customer. Are you a Certified Installer for a particular product?  My company offers perks and real benefits for becoming a certified installer of our products…and it has proven to make a big difference in our Certified WOLF Pro’s sales process. 

Get personal

People do business with people.  You can be professional and still let your clients know a little more about you.  A personal connection can build a level of trust and comfort that goes a long way in building a better working relationship.

Leaving out the dollars makes sense

Steer away from the phrases mentioned above and focus on the quality of your service, your process and the satisfaction of your customers.   If you don’t want your customers to focus on the price, then you shouldn’t!

Watch for Part II

So now that you have your website crafted to sell, you need to understand how to make it an integral part of your sales process.  In a follow up blog to this one, titled “Using Your Website As A Resume To Help You Sell”, I’ll share some suggestions for improving your sales process. 

About WOLF:  WOLF provides kitchen and bath cabinetry and building materials, marketing and sales support and financial services exclusively to independent LBM dealers in 28 states in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. Since its founding in 1843, York, Pa.-based WOLF has evolved into a sourcing company that offers American-made, WOLF-branded products and other high-quality product lines.  Learn more about WOLF at and


Topics: Sales, Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Web Site Related, Guest Blogs