This is part 2 of our “The Asphalt Business Marketing Guide” series of posts. In this section, we’ll cover the basic marketing tools and tips for setting them up.
Now that you know who you’re targeting, it is time to equip yourself with materials that form the foundation of a robust marketing strategy suitable for any asphalt contractor. Remember, while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, the most impactful marketing strategy is the one you actually implement. These are the marketing materials and elements that we recommend you establish.
Table of Contents
Determine a business name
If you’ve already chosen a business name, stick with it. If not, consider the following:
Being clear about your products and service area within your name will help customers immediately know who you are. Names like “Nisswa Paving Co.” (Nisswa is a Minnesota town ) or “Gull River Paving” offer straightforward insight into your services and provide a familiar location. Alternatively, pair generic names with descriptive taglines like “Blackrock Paving – Driveway Paving in Minnesota.”
Catchy names like Nike took years and millions of dollars to establish. In fact, Nike started as Blue Ribbon Sports and updated its name to Nike after it made its first million. Apple Inc. started as ‘Apple Computer Co’ and wasn’t known as Apple until about 30 years after it was founded.
Do your due diligence to ensure your name isn’t already being used or that other very similar names aren’t being used. We recommend going to your state’s Secretary of State’s website to see if any other businesses are currently using the name. It’s even a good idea to look at other states as well in-case you expand.
Check to see if the domain for the business is available. It is always best to choose a domain that is the same as your business name. This makes it easier for customers to find you. So go to GoDaddy or other domain registrars and check if your domain is available.
Ensure your name is short and easy to spell. When customers search for your name on Google or type in your website’s URL you want to be sure they spell it correctly. For example, selecting a name like “Thee Asphalt Guys”, might sound cool, but when customers type in your domain or search for you, they may type in ‘the asphalt guys’ and not find you because you spell ‘the’ with two ‘e’s. Here are some quick questions you can ask yourself before you move forward with your company name?
- Is it succinct?
- Is it easy to spell?
- Are you using homophones (e.g., “there” vs. “their”)?
- Does it reflect your services?
- Is the domain (URL) available?
Setup your brand guide
Your brand is defined by how you interact with customers. These interactions form the perceptions customers have about your business and products. It’s vital to be purposeful about your brand as it will be how customers talk about you and your business. The last thing you want is customers describing your business as ‘fly by night contractors’ or saying ‘we were nervous to come to the door when we saw them on the doorbell camera’ Rather, you want to be the team that customers call ‘professional and friendly’ or ‘always on time and complete projects quickly.’
So much of how your customers perceive you comes down to how you look. And thankfully, you have total control over this. To be intentional about how you look you should set up a brand guide.
The brand guide is a way to organize the visual identity of your business all in one place. It will include key aspects of your brand, like your logo, a logo variation, colors, and typography. More advanced brand guides may include things like truck and vehicle wraps, patterns to use throughout marketing or examples of business cards, and even t-shirt designs.
Thinking strategically about your brand is the first step in setting the tone of your business. From there hiring a graphic designer to set the visual identity of your business will help you be confident that customers are perceiving you the way you want to be perceived.
Your logo is important as it helps anchor your brand in customers’ minds. Another thing that is practically important from a design perspective is to keep track of the fonts and colors that are used in your logo, these help to make up your brand’s identity.
Also, when you make your final logo approval keep in mind that it should come in different formats, these are the basic formats you need:
- Primary Logo: Should be readable at a large size and small size.
- Black and White Logo: Your logo should look good in black and white
- Icon Version: you should be able to shrink the logo way down and have it still look good. This might be an icon only and should look good as an app cover.
- Logo with Tagline/Logo Vartion: this is ideal for different use cases, this might be your logo on a t-shirt or within a cool badge
If you choose to use professional design services, request that they provide you with a complete brand identity.
Determine a domain name
In most cases, you should have one primary domain name throughout the life of your business. It will be placed on all of your marketing materials and used in many places on the internet. On top of that, Google and other search engines are constantly evaluating the credibility of your domain name for the service you provide (that’s how search engine rankings work). If you earn a number one rank with one domain name, but then it suddenly changes, this could be catastrophic for leads if not done properly.
You should take total ownership over buying and renewing your domain with a Domain Name Registrar. Don’t trust freelancers, graphic designers, or any third parties to own your domain. If they do not renew your domain you risk losing the domain entirely.
Use a reputable provider like GoDaddy or Namecheap and purchasing your domain name for a long period of time. There are options available to purchase your domain for up to 10 years. You should do this. Or at a minimum ensure that your domain is tied to a business credit card with auto-renewal available.
Setup a professional email
If you have a domain name, get an email too!
A Google Workspace Account is a great option. One account will be less than $100/year, and it will make your business look more professional. Plus, Google Workspace Includes handy bonus tools like 30GB of Cloud Storage.
Determine one main phone number
Consider a separate business phone. Affordable plans, like Mint Mobile, paired with a budget-friendly or previously-used phone, can serve this purpose. Try to have one base company number that you consistently use across all of your marketing materials.
Prepare bidding system
Rapid response and timely bid submissions will bolster your brand. Have a bid template saved and ready to send. Make sure it’s professional and includes your logo and your contact information. There are quite a few reasons that people don’t get bids out quickly, but you need to prioritize bidding and rapid customer response. Being fast and clear with your communication will win your brand points in the eyes of your customers.
One of the best ways to setup a great bid system is to work with a company like Jobber. Though expensive for first-time contractors, it may be worth the investment. Jobber optimizes your sales pipeline from start to finish. Having a strong sales pipeline will lead to happier customers and more jobs.
Get physical marketing materials
When you created your brand guide you may have had some of these elements developed for you. If you did not, this is where your brand guide will come in handy. Email a graphic designer of your choice your brand guide along with the type of physical marketing materials you need. They will be able to provide you with exactly what you need while staying true to your company’s brand.
We recommend some of these physical marketing materials: business cards, a brochure, a door hangar, and yard signs to place next to your completed projects. These marketing materials should include your business name, logo, phone number, website, and the services you provide.
Setup a website
Customers want to get in touch with you, and they want to get to know you. There is no better place to let them do this than on you. Your website can show off the most polished aspects of your brand to thousands of people. Here are six reasons you need a website for your asphalt business:
It boosts your business’s credibility: If you’re not a fly-by-night contractor who wants to have a legitimate presence in your community, people are going to want to learn more about you. Your website is the place to do that. With great design and content, you can reassure your customer that you’re a serious business.
It can help you filter leads and decrease junk phone calls. You don’t want everyone calling you; you want the right people calling you. If your website is up-to-date with great FAQs, details on your process, and details on your service, customers can self-filter.
It provides a consistent place for customers to find you. If you have an article posted on the local paper’s website and it links back to your website, that referral is in your control and is valuable to you long after the article is posted.
You have total ownership and control over it. What happens if Facebook restricts your feed or your Facebook page gets hacked? This could be shut-off leads overnight and be nearly impossible to recover from. As long as you own your domain, you can have complete control over what shows on your website. There is always a chance of a hack, but in most cases, recovering from a website hack can be done quickly!
Your website’s performance should improve with time, eventually creating a low-cost source of very high-quality leads. This is all about SEO, and we’ll get into that later.
It will attract employees. Having a strong portfolio and pages that cater to potential employees, you can give people a glimpse into what it is like to work for you.
Google Business profile
A Google Business Profile is another must for every single asphalt contractor! A Google Business Profile will help you rise in Google search results. Keep in mind, in order to get your Google Business Profile, you will have to provide the legitimate address of your business – which they verify. We recommend using an address rather than a service area in order to get a pin on a map.
When you do set up your Google Business Profile, be sure that it is completed with your most up-to-date business information. You need to include hours of operation, your phone number, your website, your logo, your services, and your business description.
To get your profile to rank higher, you need to be active on your profile! This means actively requesting reviews from all of your clients, posting pictures of your jobs, and posting promotions or news. You should consider this as important as Facebook and should keep this highly curated content.
Your Facebook profile can be a valuable tool for connecting with customers, especially during the initial stages. Although Google might drive more traffic long-term, Facebook targets a broader demographic, including older customers with purchasing power.
With these marketing foundations in place, you’re primed to generate leads. As the adage goes, this is where the rubber meets the road. Your focus may vary, but leveraging these strategies ensures a steady inflow of potential clients.
Now you have the basics for a strong marketing strategy in place; it is time to start generating leads. You may choose to focus on some of these areas more than others, but if you do the things we mention in the short-term and long-term lead generation strategy, you’re going to get leads!