General Contractor Marketing Ideas: 6 Ways to Get More Jobs

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated September 24, 2021
A contractor working with his laptop from his office
Ezra Bailey/Stone via Getty Images

Marketing your general contractor business can help you increase awareness for your company and book more jobs

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If you're a general contractor, marketing yourself can be a challenge. Your target market is pretty broad when you do everything from new home construction to subcontracting and renovating HVAC systems. Unlike contractors who only handle specific projects, you have to find a way to do niche marketing when your niche includes everything and the kitchen sink.

6 Marketing Ideas for General Contractors

Let's look at some general contractor marketing ideas to get your name out there. The goal is to showcase your ability to offer all-in-one project management of materials, permits, design, subcontractor management, and more.

Always highlight that the expertise you bring to the table reduces project costs and times. Stress that it's better to get the job done the right way by hiring a pro instead of trying to do it yourself.

You don't have to implement all of these ideas at once. Pick the ones that fit your budget and growth goals.

1. Lead Generation Services

Cost: $$Experience level: Beginner to experienced

Generating leads is one of the hardest parts of advertising for general contractors. However, acquiring warm and hot leads (instead of cold leads) is one of the best returns on investment because you get people who have already expressed interest in your service hand-delivered to you.

Trying to generate leads through cold calls and mass-mailers requires a lot of time and money. The rejection rate is often too high to justify the investment when you're establishing your business. 

According to the National Association of Advertisers, return on investment from cold calling has not increased since 2011. Return on investment from direct mailers has gone up in the past few years, but still comes in third behind email and social media marketing.

Paid leads offer a fast track to more clients. This is because the leads you get are already on the way to conversion. Many general contractors sign up for programs like Angi that deliver warm leads. With this option, the work is already done for you because the leads are ready to make a decision. It's a bit like having the baton passed to you for the final stretch.

The only thing to watch out for with getting qualified leads is that the volume of leads can add up quickly due to the visibility you're getting. Make sure you balance client acceptance appropriately to ensure that your business can handle the volume.

2. Partnerships/Referrals

Cost: $ to $$$Experience level: Intermediate

Relationships are everything for general contractors. If you're the new pro in town trying to establish a reputation, other service providers can be your best allies. 

Here are some ideas for building strategic partnerships:

  • Reach out to other professionals or companies that provide complementary services so you can refer each other.

  • Support local organizations and events to raise your profile. This is also a great chance to network.

  • Begin referring clients to companies or contractors that you've vetted. You can then introduce yourself by letting them know about the clients you've directed to them. 

There's no limit to the partnership referrals you can get because contractors touch every part of the building and renovating processes. Focus on building relationships with real estate agents, insurance agents, specialty contractors, plumbers, electricians, masons, pavers, and more.

You'll want to link up with professionals with excellent reputations because you'll also be referring them. The only con to relying on professional referrals is that it's a long-term strategy that requires plenty of nurturing.

Client referrals are also important. Consider creating a referral program where customers receive discounts when they refer new customers to you. While you may be reluctant to give discounts on work, encouraging client referrals usually pays off.

3. Fast, Mobile-Friendly Website

Cost: $$$Experience level: Intermediate to advanced

An easy-to-navigate website with a clear option to contact you is an essential marketing tool. The benefit of having your own website is that you can define your services to improve the quality of your leads. You can use specific keywords to attract relevant searches, feature images of past projects, quote customer reviews, share contact info, and link to your profiles on social media platforms. 

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your site looks on mobile devices. If it looks off, try reformatting, resizing images, and shortening text. You can even create a mobile-only version of your site that redirects users on mobile devices.

4. Social Media Advertising

Cost: $Experience level: Beginner

Pay-per-click ads are great for getting eyeballs on your services. This is a good option if you want to see immediate results. But, digital ads can get expensive very quickly, and there's no guarantee that clicks and views will actually transfer to bookings.

You’re better off focusing your efforts on organic social media advertising by posting on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Instagram is a great place to start because you can post there and then cross-post to your profiles on other platforms. You can also use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts across multiple platforms. 

It’s important to pay attention to headline and caption length, especially if you’re cross-posting.

For example:

Shorter is better because, no matter where you’re posting, the image or video should tell the story. 

Here are a few ideas for posts:

  • Feature your current projects (with the client’s permission)

  • How-to and explainer videos

  • Do’s and don’ts

  • Before and after videos

Don’t be afraid to post silly stuff, too. Most people are on social media for entertainment, so feel free to lighten the mood—as long as you keep it professional and appropriate.

5. Email Marketing

Cost: $ to $$Experience level: Intermediate

Email marketing is beneficial for general contractors who have a decent email list (doesn’t have to be extensive but you’ll get better results if you actively try to get prospects’ email addresses).

You can use email to keep in touch with customers so they remember you for their next project. You can also use it to share discounts.

Email is a fairly easy marketing tactic with low overhead. The only con is that it's tough to get a good open rate thanks to spam filters and email fatigue. 

Here are some subject lines that are sure to improve your open rate:

  • Build your dream kitchen with a free estimate and best price guarantee

  • DIY fatigue? 20% off remodels/repairs in June

  • Ready to remodel? Open for an exclusive discount!

  • Looking for a general contractor with a 5-star rating? You’ve found us!

6. Hyperlocal Print and Billboard Ads

Cost: $$ to $$$Experience level: Beginner to experienced

Build brand visibility by purchasing ad space in a local magazine, town newspaper, church bulletin, restaurant menu, or any other print space where people who live and work in your service area will see it. 

A memorable slogan associated with your brand works great for this. Keep your slogan short and emphasize the most important selling proposition you want potential customers to consider, like speed, quality, reliability, or precision. 

You can also consider purchasing billboard space in your service area. Purchasing space on a small billboard can work out to less than $1,000 for five weeks of visibility in many towns around the country.

Grow Your Business With General Contractor Marketing

Leads are the lifeblood of the contracting industry. How you get them is up to you. However, getting leads fast without putting in all the hard work on your own is easiest when you join Angi.

Sign up for Angi Ads to get qualified leads who are ready to book a general contractor today.

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