A business can not thrive and grow without a steady flow of new job leads, and excavation is no exception. You always need to be thinking about what’s coming down the pipe next to keep your crews working, your machines digging and your business profitable. This is a struggle for many new contractors, especially in the first few years of business. It becomes more confusing when companies such as Angi’s List, HomeAdvisor, Porch Pro, Houzz Pro, Yellowpages etc. call you incessantly to offer you paid leads.
The fact is, when you’re operating a business of any kind, it’s important to get your marketing dialed in right. It doesn’t take a marketing degree to get more leads flowing into your business. If you dedicate a bit of time every single day, you can get more leads coming in to your business in no time. Below, we’re going to show you the best marketing tips for excavation contractors to help you create a consistent flow of leads.
From the very beginning, you should be establishing your brand to fit your ideal client. Everything from the colors you use in your marketing material, to the copy in your ads, to the flow of your website matters. If you want to attract septic system install clients for example, they are going to respond to a certain type of branding.
It’s worth talking to a branding specialist about this but if you’re on a budget, it’s a consideration that can be integrated into later efforts such as ad copy and images, website design, other ad material and vehicle branding.
What’s the first thing that you do when you are considering hiring a contractor? You go to their website and see what they have to offer, right? Try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. What do are they going to think when they go to your website. Is it clean, clear and professional? If so, that’s what your prospective client is going to think about you and your work.
While you don’t have to go all out on a business website, I recommend that you either spend some time building a clean, simple site yourself, barter or trade with somebody who knows how to build websites, or invest in your business and have a nice site built for you.
A beautiful, informative website says volumes about your business to a potential client before they have even spoken to you.
Your Google Business Profile is completely free. Before you even build a website for your company, you can get to work optimizing your profile to generate excavation leads. Many new companies are 1-man operations and often there’s not much time to invest here. I strongly recommend that you take an hour or two to get comfortable with your Business Profile, as it says a lot about your company to potential clients and will help you rank in local search.
One of these businesses has invested some energy into their local business profile. Which outfit would you be more likely to hire?
This is the single most important thing that you can do to rank your business in local search. The great news is, it’s completely free.
The best time to ask for a review is right at job completion. When you’re finishing up with the client, if they seem like they’re impressed with your work, ask them if they would be willing to leave you a review on Google.
If they say yes, pull out your phone and send them your review link right then and there. They will be more likely to follow through if you’ve asked them face to face and made it as easy as possible for them to do it!
Many companies just use their primary service offering here which for excavation companies is likely ‘Excavation Contractor’. There are many other categories that may be relevant to your company and you should add those as well. Some examples are:
If you are promoting any of these services or others, make sure that you have a nearest match selected as business categories. This will help your company rank for related searches.
Every single field that you can populate, do it. Add a thorough business description, hours of operation etc. Don’t leave anything blank that you can add to.
Google loves images. You can add images of your company office if you have one, also jobs, machinery and other relevant business images. Businesses with lots of photos also appear more well-established than companies with few images.
Google likes to see that the business engages with their clients through their My Business account. Respond to all of the reviews you receive. For positive reviews, something simple works best. You can just thank the client for their business and try to make mention of the neighborhood you worked in as well as the type of job you completed. This signals to Google that you’re a good match for searchers looking to have that kind of work done.
For negative reviews, there’s not always much you can do other than your response. There’s a great video on dealing with negative reviews here.
We covered local SEO briefly with the Google Business advice above. That said, you can expand your reach massively by having your own SEO-optimized website. Which of these companies do you think has invested in their SEO?
If you already have a website, spend some time learning about SEO. It’s free, and can net you big results within a year in most markets. SEO is a huge topic and I won’t get into details here other than to say that competitive research is key.
Look at who is ranking for general search terms in your area. Google tells you directly who they think deserves to rank in first place. You can use that info to create your own SEO strategy.
Look at other excavation businesses’ sites to see what search terms they’re targeting. What are they writing about? You can use your competition for inspiration and ideas for blog topics, YouTube videos and website content.
You likely already have hundreds of photos of your jobs and equipment. Why not take a couple of minutes each day and post them to Instagram? There are loads of excavation companies with large Instagram followings. People love heavy equipment! This account has 1700 followers just from posting pictures of what they do!
It only takes a few minutes to create an account for your business. Start by following other excavations companies and related businesses that you could potentially work with. This could be plumbing companies, general contractors, trucking companies etc. If you take a few minutes each day (or week) to post photos of your jobs using relevant hashtags, you will eventually build a following that can bring you job leads for free.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, and it’s completely free. It can seem intimidating at first, but creating a company channel and posting your first video can be done in just a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be professional-level video either. You don’t need fancy camera rigs and drones to take decent video and post it up on your channel.
If you’re in a smaller market, you may be the first in your city doing this which is a cool advantage.
Below are a few ideas for your first videos.
If you have a website, you should consider blogging as a free way to get your company out there. You can blog about jobs you’ve completed, equipment you own or have tried, topics of local interest or posts highlighting services you offer to aid in ranking for those search terms.
Facebook can be a great free marketing tool if used correctly. Here are a few ideas for using Facebook to generate awareness and leads for your business.
If you don’t have a Business Page, you should create one. It’s a great place to share company news, engage with clients and get exposure for your company.
I’ve met business owners who are apprehensive about sharing business stuff on their personal profile but it’s a good way to put your company front-of-mind for people considering an excavation project. You can share the YouTube videos you’re creating, photos of your work or just remind your network that you’re open for business and happy to discuss their needs.
Local community groups are an easy way to generate some awareness for your company. You have to be careful to mind the rules of each group though. Some groups don’t allow any promotion at all, whereas with others, its no problem. In most cities, there are a number of community groups that allow promotion. You can just low-key post every once and a while to get your name out there.
While the quality of clients from sites like Craigslist can vary a lot, it’s a good idea to keep a post up advertising your services. There are people who still use Craigslist and similar sites to search for contractors.
Referrals are great, but you don’t have to wait around for them to come in. Keep the lines of communication open between you and past clients. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out and asking for referrals. The best time to do this is right after you’ve completed their job and they’re happy with the work but you can fire an email or a phone call anytime and let them know that you’re actively taking on new clients and any referrals are appreciated.
To make this strategy more effective, why not offer them a $100 Amazon gift card or a gift certificate to a local restaurant for any business they send your way? This way it’s not just an ask, it’s an offer and you’re more likely to get a response.
Most legitimate directories will allow you to list for free (though they pretty much all have paid upgrades). In a couple of hours, you can have your excavation business listed on all local and national directories for free. This not only gives clients just one more way to find you, but Google sees these citation sources as a positive ranking signal and having a broad citation profile will help your company rank higher in local search.
Below are just a few sites to get listed on.
If you’re doing a project on a street with lots of foot or vehicle traffic, a yard sign can be a great way to get some exposure for your brand and land you even more excavation, demolition and septic jobs. The client is unlikely to kick up a fuss about a temporary sign, and if you find that’s an issue, just write it into your contract at the beginning of the job. This is a low-cost marketing strategy that can get exposure to your brand. Another cheap way to utilize signage is to post on poles, trees, or other places around town where to can see that others are doing the same. You’re less likely to get in hot water with the city if you’re just one of a few signs.
If you’re not shy, grab your phone and start dialing. Introduce yourself to other business owners and explain that you’re new (if you are) or that you’re actively looking to form new business relationships and expand your network. Yes, some of these conversations will be awkward. That said, there are a lot of people around who respect hustle and having the guts to reach out directly. Some businesses you could contact are:
We’ve all seen kids excited to be around heavy equipment and trucks. Why not organize a community event for kids (and adults!) to come out and check out your machinery? You could do hot dogs and maybe a few activities for kids. This would be a cool way to get your name in the news and around the community for very little money.
You could set up your machines in one area of your yard for people to get up close with (and maybe climb in, depending on your comfort level and local regulations!)
Well, there you have it. Some great ways to promote your excavation company and get more jobs.
Do you have a marketing budget? If you’re looking to generate more leads and dominate search results in your area, reach out for a free consultation!