12 Lead Generation Ideas for Local Contractors
Generating leads is one of the most important, and toughest, parts of growing a local contractor or home service business. And earning high-quality leads that are ready to convert is even tougher.
As potential customers do more research and take longer to get in touch with contractors, it’s more important than ever to create a reliable and recurring stream of inbound leads. Keeping your sales funnel full and your schedule filled with booked appointments should be your absolute top priority.
But how do you get started? And where do you focus your time and budget?
We’ve compiled a list of lead generation ideas that you can incorporate into your marketing strategy. Experimenting with these different marketing channels will help you find out which ones work best for your home service company.
Top Lead Ideas for Contractors
- Join HomeAdvisor’s Pro Network
- Claim Your Google Business Profile
- Get a Houzz Pro Subscription
- List Your Business on Nextdoor
- Rank in the Local Search Results
- Run Local Google Ads Campaigns
- Get Listed on Yelp
- Post Instructional Videos on YouTube
- Get Approved to Run Local Service Ads
- Provide Value With Email Marketing
- Join Angi’s Pro Network
- Reach Your Customers With Direct Mail
#1: Join HomeAdvisor’s Pro Network
HomeAdvisor is one of the most well-established contractor-finding services out there. They’ve helped millions of homeowners find contractors in their local area to complete their home improvement or repair projects. Whether a homeowner needs a plumber, electrician, or general handyman, they can quickly find a local pro by going through the different categories and project types on their website.
How do you get listed on their website? HomeAdvisor’s Pro Network lets local contractors, like yourself, list their business on their directory to connect with potential customers that use their service. They’ve built an enormous following over the last decade and have millions of users that browse their website every month.
HomeAdvisor uses a pay-per-lead model and leads can cost anywhere between $15 – $60, which is actually pretty alright all things considered. And if you happen to be contacted by a potential customer that isn’t a good fit for your services, you can simply request a refund and have your account credited.
Being listed on HomeAdvisor can boost your brand awareness and unlock a new channel of warm leads from homeowners in your service area.
#2: Claim Your Google Business Profile
If you only have the time to do one thing to market your home service business, make sure you claim and optimize your Google Business Profile. These are free listings provided by Google that companies can use to put all of their business’s important information in one place. This helps your potential customers quickly learn what it is you do, if you’re any good at it, and how to get in touch with you.
But more importantly, this is how contractors can get their business added to Google Maps and show up in the Local Map Pack for those highly coveted local searches.
Google shows this section in the search results when they detect that a user’s query has local intent. So searchers will see the local pack anytime they perform a search like “plumbers near me”, “best roofing company in Plano”, or “outdoor living companies nearby”.
The local map pack gets 42% of clicks from local searches so you can passively earn clicks to your website, phone calls, and leads just from being visible in the local pack.
#3: Get a Houzz Pro Subscription
Houzz has quickly become the go-to website for high-dollar remodeling and renovation projects. Millions of homeowners use their website to find professional contractors in their area to handle their major home improvement projects.
Houzz Pro is their all-in-one premium business management platform that gives contractors access to a free business listing (like the one below), visibility to potential clients in their area, and lead generation depending on which subscription tier you’re a part of.
Houzz also offers tags that help customers identify the top-performing contractors on their platform. Qualifying businesses can have the Best of Houzz and Award Winning tags added to their business listing. Contractors can also select additional tags that show whether or not they’re locally owned and how long they’ve been in business to help instill even more trust with new prospects.
Their platform is just for interior designers and architects. If you’re a home remodeler, contractor, flooring company, landscaper, painter, pool builder, or roofer, your company needs to be on Houzz.
#4: List Your Business on Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a social media platform that focuses on individual communities. It’s where neighbors can come together and post about upcoming events, lost animals, list something for sale, or get recommendations about different products and services, like contractors.
People can also manually perform searches for businesses like roofing companies or plumbers to get a list of contractors in their local area. They can then send them a direct message or Connect with them to stay up to date with their latest activity.
Contractors can claim their free business listing by creating a Nextdoor business account and adding their important information to their profile, i.e. name, address, phone number, website URL, business category, etc.
Your business will need to be verified before the listing can be seen by users. To do this, you’ll need to submit a document with your business license, business permit, EIN, VAT, or similar paperwork to prove that you are who you say you are.
Another interesting way to boost your local visibility for free on Nextdoor is by creating a Group. Anyone on the platform can make one, but it’s especially powerful for businesses since you can use it as a way to showcase your work and introduce your business to new potential customers that are interested in your services.
#5: Rank in the Local Search Results
Local SEO is hands down one of the most powerful and impactful lead generation channels that you can use to grow your home service business.
Your ideal customers are turning to search engines like Google and Bing when they need to find a local contractor. They aren’t going to the Yellow Pages or asking a friend or family member for a recommendation. When they need a plumber, a pool cleaner, or an electrician, they’re going online and doing their own research.
That means there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these searches happening every single day in your service area by the people that matter most to your business. Putting in the work to rank at the top of the local search results guarantees that your company will be the first one that they see. This level of visibility can help you passively earn hundreds of additional opportunities every month if you rank for the right keywords.
And local search is only becoming more popular. Searches that include the phrases “near me” or “nearby” have increased by 425% in the last few years alone.
Search engine optimization is an investment in your business, and it has a compounding effect. Every dollar you put into it and every piece of content you create builds on the one before it, and the potential ROI is endless.
#6: Run Local Google Ads Campaigns
Spinning up Google Ads campaigns that target your service area can be a quick and powerful way to help your business reach your ideal customers. These paid listings typically show up at the top of the search results page or just beneath the Local Service Ads.
Google Ads should be part of every contractor’s marketing strategy because of the unparalleled level of control you have over your marketing efforts. From location targeting to custom audiences, split testing, and a ton of other optimization settings, you can test and fine-tune nearly every facet of your advertising campaigns to maximize your ROI.
There are two main things you need to keep in mind when you’re building out your campaigns.
- Location Targeting: Restrict your targeting so only people in your service area can see your ads.
- Custom Audiences: Create custom audiences to only show ads to your target customers.
You’re a local contractor. Showing ads outside of your service area is just a waste of money. You can pick and choose where your ads are shown with Google Ads’ location targeting settings.
With your location targeting in place, you’re only targeting people that live in your service area. However, we aren’t interested in showing ads to everyone. If you’re a roofer, you don’t want people that live in apartments, townhomes, or condos to see your ads. We only want to market to your potential customers.
This is where creating a custom audience comes into play. Google lets you flag specific demographic and behavioral criteria that you want to target. This can be anything from their age, gender, or marital status to whether or not they’re a homeowner, what size company they work at, and what types of TV shows they’re interested in to help narrow your targeting to your specific buyer’s persona.
#7: Get Listed on Yelp
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that hasn’t heard of Yelp. And while it may primarily be used to review restaurants and bars, every local business should, at the very least, claim their Yelp listing and spend a little bit of time making it look professional and earning some positive reviews there.
You don’t have to run paid advertising, but you do need to build up your listing to make a good first impression. Yelp is an incredibly popular platform and there’s a great deal of crossover between Yelp’s users and your potential customers.
Treat it like a second Google Business Profile. Having a filled-out listing with positive reviews will not only look great to your prospects, but it’ll also help you show up higher on Yelp and be included on their organic landing pages that target keywords like “top roofing companies in Allen”.
And if you feel like blowing it off because “it’s just Yelp…”, don’t. The reviews on Apple Maps are pulled from Yelp, and potential customers will judge your business based on whatever rating they find there. In fact, 82% of people won’t do business with a company with a rating under 3 out of 5 stars. You need to keep an eye on your Yelp rating to make sure you maintain a positive score.
You might still be thinking of brushing it off, but nearly 47% of all smartphone users own iPhones. That’s almost 113 million people that have access to Apple Maps! Take the time to solidify your reputation on Yelp. It’ll be worth it.
#8: Post Instructional Videos on YouTube
You might not realize it, but YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with 2.6 billion people using it every month, and one of the most popular types of videos on YouTube is instructional how-to videos.
Millions of people search for videos on how to repair a leaky roof, fix a running toilet, or stain a fence and those videos can be watched hundreds of thousands of times. This level of exposure can be a massive boost to your brand awareness.
The goal here isn’t to pivot your business into a YouTube channel. Our focus is to make helpful videos that solve your potential customer’s problems because that’s what they’re looking for, on YouTube and in the search results.
When someone performs a search and Google feels that it will add value, they’ll actually serve up videos within the search results themselves. And Google is far more likely to show YouTube videos than they are videos hosted on other platforms.
This type of video is a great way to put your expertise on full display. You can show customers the processes you use step-by-step to show them that you know what you’re doing and build trust with them.
But if you’re teaching people how to fix things themselves, won’t that take away business from your company? Not in the slightest. The people that want to do a DIY project themselves aren’t your customer. They’re going to do the project themselves no matter what.
Your customers are the people that watch a how-to video, realize it’s too much work for them, and reach out to someone to do it for them. And the great thing about creating videos is that you can re-use that content by embedding it in blog articles, including it in your email marketing, putting it on your service pages, or adding it to your PPC landing pages.
#9: Get Approved to Run Local Service Ads
Local Service Ads are a powerful way to generate qualified leads from homeowners that are looking for your services right then and there. Like PPC ads, they show up above the organic search results and local map pack, but Local Service Ads show at the very top of the page. This makes them the absolute first thing that people see after searching for a contractor in their area.
One of the key differences between Google Ads and Local Service Ads is the Google Guaranteed badge. This badge tells users that your business has been vetted by Google and that you’re a trusted home service provider.
Having this badge show up in your ads is a huge trust builder because Google will personally reimburse the customer (up to a certain dollar amount) if they aren’t completely satisfied with your work. In the US, it’s up to $2,000 which could be more than the total amount of your services depending on your industry. Having this guarantee in place takes the risk of hiring a new contractor out of the equation and makes users far more likely to get in contact with Google-approved businesses.
An interesting change that happened recently is that businesses don’t have to wait for their Google Guaranteed Badge to show ads. Google lets advertisers run ads while they’re still going through the approval process and their badge will automatically go live once they’ve passed all of their background and license checks.
Google currently supports ~73 different types of service providers in their Local Service Ads program with more being added every day. Before you commit to running LSAs, be sure to check your eligibility.
What type of home service providers can run Local Service Ads?
- Carpet Cleaning Services
- Fencing Services
- Flooring Services
- Foundations Services
- Garage Door Services
- General Contractor
- Home Inspector
- Home Theater
- Landscaping Services
- Lawn Care Services
- Moving Services
- Pest Control Services
- Pool Cleaner
- Pool Contractor
- Siding Services
- Tree Services
#10: Provide Value With Email Marketing
One of the biggest mistakes that home service providers make when it comes to email marketing is that they only send promotional emails to their lists. You should absolutely send sales and discounts to your contacts, but you should do so sparingly. Bombarding your list with sale after sale after sale will fatigue your contacts and make it less and less likely that they’ll open your emails, severely damaging your long-tail revenue generation.
What you should be focusing on is using email marketing as a way to provide additional value to your existing customers and remind them why they signed up in the first place. It lets you pop back up on their radar, share your expertise, and stay on their minds.
But what does that look like?
No matter what type of contractor you are, there are plenty of topics you can touch on to educate your contacts. If you’re a landscaping company, you can send an email with links to articles about how to prep your lawn for spring. If you’re a roofer, send an email after there’s been a bad storm about how to check your roof for leaks. Plumbers can send an email blast on how to winterize your pipes if there’s about to be a hard freeze.
Chances are that if you send a helpful email to warn your contacts of a potential danger and it happens, they will most likely get in touch with you to fix it. And you didn’t have to hard sell them to generate those leads either. You sent the right message to the right people at the right time, which is what marketing is all about!
#11: Join Angi’s Pro Network
Like HomeAdvisor and Houzz, joining Angi’s Pro Network is a great way to passively generate qualified leads from homeowners looking for a local contractor. Getting listed on their website will help expose your home service business to the nearly 10 million people who trust Angi and their recommendations for the top contractors in a specific area.
If your company is new and not yet established, this can help you leapfrog contractors that have been in business longer than you have in the SERP. Angi’s organic landing pages routinely rank at the top of the search results for queries like “best plumbers near me” and “top roofing companies in Allen”.
This type of marketing is called Barnacle SEO and like the crustacean, this is when a smaller entity attaches itself to a larger one to benefit itself. In this case, contractors are able to take advantage of the traffic and rankings Angi has to boost their own brand awareness and generate leads for their business.
Joining is completely free and won’t cost you a dime. Your free account will give you access to a business listing where you can fill out the important information about your company, i.e. name, address, phone number, description, services, etc.
You’ll also get access to your dashboard where you can look through your quotes, messages, deals, and reviews. One important thing to keep in mind is that you will be able to generate leads with a free listing. However, if you want to generate exclusive leads, you’ll need to get Certified and pay for advertising on their platform.
#12: Reach Your Customers With Direct Mail
Many agencies will tell you that direct mail is dead, but we beg to differ. Direct mail is stronger than ever because practically every business is focusing the entirety of their efforts on digital marketing. It’s basically been abandoned. Homeowners are no longer being bombarded with postcards, catalogs, and brochures from every company under the sun every single day anymore.
That leaves a wide open space for local contractors to reach their ideal audience with a targeted piece of direct advertising. This cost-effective marketing channel has enormous upside with high ROI and revenue potential. The average cost for a direct mail campaign is right around $1,000 and you’d only need to close a handful of projects to 2x or 3x your investment.
You can go about it a few different ways here with either a simple brand awareness campaign that lets them know you’re in their neighborhood or a promotional ad to give them a discount on their first order.
One of the ways that we prefer to leverage direct mail is to introduce our client’s customers to their brand. It’s a quick, cost-effective, and targeted way to control and engineer the first impression of your company. Every facet of this encounter is under our control. We can carefully craft the creative, value proposition, and presentation to make your brand as memorable as possible.
This also puts something physical in their hands that they have to look at and make a decision on whether or keep it or toss it. The decision they make is irrelevant. They’re engaging with your brand and it’s an experience that they will hopefully recall when they start seeing your display ads following them around the web.
Where this differs from a regular brand awareness campaign is that we schedule multiple paid marketing initiatives to kick off in the days after the postcard, flyer, or brochure has been delivered. Having these two touch points occur so close together improves the odds that their prospects recognize and remember their company, making them more likely to click on their ads than a company they don’t know at all.
There are dozens of different ways to consistently generate leads for your business and these were but a handful. Some of these lead generation ideas may be phenomenal sources of new customers for your business, while others fall flat. What’s important is that you experiment with each of them to find out which ones resonate with your ideal customers and your business.
And don’t try to do all of them at once. Pick two or three as a starting point and see where they take you. Make sure that you have all of your tracking and analytics squared away to accurately track their performance so you can optimize their performance.
We hope that these lead generation ideas have been helpful and that they can help grow your business. If you have any questions or need help with your lead generation strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch to speak with one of our lead generation experts.