SEO for contractors who use independent authorized dealers to sell their services presents a unique challenge: How do you market your services without actually selling your services? After all, you have a contractual obligation to allow your dealers to sell your services. You can’t undercut them. Thankfully, I’ve done SEO for an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor that installed solar systems. The system I built delivered lots of customers, all without violating the contractor’s agreement with their independent authorized dealers. This article will explain exactly how it’s done.
Marketing vs. Selling
The most important concept to understand is that marketing and selling are two different things. As a contractor that uses independent authorized dealers to sell your services, you are free to market your services online. That’s what successful SEO for contractors does: It markets your services, using your website to generate leads for your dealers.
What makes SEO for contractors different from ordinary SEO is that you then need to hand off any leads you generate to your independent authorized dealers. They then seek to sell the lead. If they are successful, they then hand the new-customer back to you.
Preparing to market your services online
The first thing you need to do is decide how you want to parcel out your leads to your independent authorized dealers. Oftentimes, a contractor will have authorized dealers who have an agreed upon service area. That makes the process simple.
An easy way to make it work is to gather the leads your website generates in a spreadsheet. Yourself, or an employee determines what independent dealer service area the lead is in. That person then hands the lead off to the dealer in that area.
Centaur Consulting can help you design a lead generation plan for your contracting business. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Lead Tracking for Contractors
It is vitally important that you track the leads you generate to ensure that they are being serviced in a timely manner. The first thing you need to do is ensure that there are lead generation forms and a phone number on your website that prospective leads can call you at. With those things in place, you will then want to set up a way to track the leads that your website generates. Phone calls and form signups can be tracked in Google Analytics. Properly configured, you’ll know when leads come in.
Centaur Consulting can help you set up lead tracking on your website. Contact us for a free consultation
As mentioned above, you’ll want to have a spreadsheet that records the leads your website generates. On that spreadsheet, you’ll want to note which dealer you handed the lead off to and when they received that lead. You will also want to note the date that any lead you handed off to a dealer is handed back to you as a new customer.
As you probably know, potential leads get “stale” quickly. Your dealers need to contact new leads right away or you’ll lose those leads. By tracking when you hand off leads, and when leads come back as new customers, you’ll be able to stay on top of your dealers. If a dealer is taking a long time to “get around” to contacting leads, you will have the opportunity to talk to that dealer about contacting leads in a timely manner.
How To Do SEO for Contractors
The key to successful SEO for any business is this: Content is King. The solar contractor that I set up for SEO regularly generated blog posts for their website that discussed a wide variety of topics of interest to people considering going solar. That is what you’ll want to do as well. Use your blog to educate potential customers, and provide them with opportunities to sign up.
Those opportunities to sign up use a type of web page called a landing page which contains a sign up form. Your blog posts will link to that landing page so leads can sign up. You will want to publish new articles regularly that cover topics of interest to potential customers. The SEO professional working with you will be able to advise you on what topics to write about.
Notify your leads that they will be contacted by a dealer when they sign up
People who sign up to receive a service on a website typically expect to be contacted by the company that owns the website they signed up on. But as a contractor, you are handing off those leads to a different company.
When the lead completes the sign up process, they must be shown a message that says something like: Thanks for contacting us, you will be contacted by one of our independent authorized dealers soon! That sets the expectation in the lead’s mind that they will be hearing from a dealer, not you. Otherwise, the lead might get confused and think they are being scammed.
Reputation Management: A Benefit of SEO for Contractors
Reputation management is especially hard for contractors. Online reviews can become serious headaches, especially when you have a vindictive and dissatisfied customer. Thankfully, you can fight back with reputation management. Properly done, reputation management fills up search results with positive information about your company. A competent SEO professional will be able to advise you and guide you on how to put that positive information in place. That positive information is often enough to push lesser known “review” sites off to the second page of search results. You will still need to address issues on widely-used review sites such as the BBB or Yelp. Properly done, reputation management can make negative reviews on lesser-known review sites practically disappear!
Use SEO for Contractors to Set Expectations
Setting expectations is especially hard for a contractor. Customers often expect things other than what you agreed to in your contract with them. You can use your blog to educate potential customers about what they will receive from your company. This helps immensely to set expectations and reduce misunderstandings. Properly done, setting expectations provides a huge boost to your reputation management efforts.
Summary of the Benefits of SEO for Contractors
As you’ve seen in this article, SEO can provide many benefits to your business. It can generate leads, help with reputation management, and set potential customer expectations. These benefits happen when you implement a successful SEO strategy for your business. Centaur Consultants is experienced in setting up successful SEO for contractors, we can help your contracting company succeed, no matter what you do.