5 Free Ways for Contractors to Reach New Customers

Take advantage of seasonal slowdowns and build your business instead.

For many decking contractors, the arrival of autumn signals the slowing down of new projects. Use this time to build your business profile and connect with potential new customers. Here are some tips.

Network via Social Media

You may not be on Pinterest or Houzz, but you can bet your competitors are.  Both of these popular sites offer huge networking opportunities. Pinterest and Houzz users are people looking for decking ideas and inspiration – not to mention contractor referrals. Make sure they find you! These sites can help drive traffic to your website as well. (Don’t have a website? Keep reading. We’ll tell you how to set one up for free.)

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1) Pointers on Pinterest

  • Think of Pinterest as a collection of digital bulletin boards. Users set up boards on topics of interest, such as deck design. Then, they collect images from other Pinterest boards or social media sites, blogs, or websites, and “pin” them for future reference. Plus, Pinterest will alert users about images other pinners have saved, such as decks designed by contractors like you. That’s free advertising for you and something akin to a customer referral.
  • Set up a “Portfolio” board to showcase your work. You can organize additional boards by type of projects (pool surrounds or multi-story decks), decking material, or special extras you offer, such as custom inlays. It’s a great way to maximize the value of every image you post.
  • Include “before and after” photos so potential customers can appreciate the transformation. And when it comes to the “after” images, always ensure the deck is clean and free of tools and construction debris before you take the picture.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of high-quality project images. If photography is not your thing, ask around. You might be able to find a local, reasonably priced photographer who’s looking for new projects to build his or her portfolio. Social media is one example of why a picture sometimes is worth a thousand words.
  • Keep your business account separate from your personal account. That’s good advice with any social media site.

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2) Help with Houzz

  • Use Houzz (a site specifically focused on design, décor, and home improvement) to promote your business and build credibility.
  • Think of Houzz visitors as well-qualified leads. People spending time here tend to be active searchers, not browsers.
  • Set up “Projects” (these are similar to Pinterest Boards) and include plenty of photos. If visitors ask questions about the images, always reply. That questioner could be your next customer.
  • Respond promptly and politely to any customer reviews that may be posted on your Houzz profile. If it’s positive, say thanks and note how much you enjoyed the project. If it’s negative, acknowledge the customer and ask to contact the reviewer directly to resolve the issue. Even if you believe the review is inaccurate or unfair, choose your words carefully. Future customers may be reading this, too.

3) Create a website, now

Think about how you search for new products and services. There’s a good chance you start online. So do your potential customers, and that’s a great reason why having a website – even a very basic one – is a must.

  • Take advantage of sites that will create a website for you: Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace, to name a few. All the tricky stuff is done for you. No coding or design experience is needed.
  • Include project photos on your site. Again, homeowners want visual proof of your skills. Show them what you can do.
  • Consider adding customer testimonials. At the end of every project, ask homeowners to write a quick note about the finished project and their experience working with your business. To make it even easier, create a simple questionnaire for customers to complete. And always ask for permission to post the testimonial.

4) Contribute to local publications or blogs

Local newspapers or magazines are usually receptive to outside contributions. Contact the editors and ask how you can share your knowledge with their readers.

Here’s another idea: Deck Talk, the Fiberon blog. We’re always looking for contractor contributions. You could write a piece on how to select a contractor; offer advice on picture-framing a deck or designing an inlay; or tell the world why you love Fiberon. Not a writer? Not a problem. We can help with that, too.

5) Become a Fiberon Partner

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It’s easy, free, and a great way to promote your business AND earn cash-back rebates on Fiberon purchases. (Get the details.)
As a Fiberon Partner, you’ll receive lead alerts when a homeowner in your area requests a decking quote. You can use our Contractor Gallery to showcase your work. Plus, we’ll include your contact information in our “Find a Deck Builder” section, so local homeowners can find you quickly and easily. All of which adds up to more valuable (and free) opportunities to reach potential new customers.

Make the most of your slow season. Use this time to establish a presence on key social media sites, create your website, and join the Fiberon Partner program or expand your profile. The time you spend now could pay dividends next spring.

Ready to find new customers?

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