Navigating the Challenges of Modern Marketing: Insights for Roofing Contractors


A roof is an essential part of any house. It’s proverbial: “A roof over your head” is shorthand for having a place to live. But if roofs are so essential, why is the roofing contractor business currently so challenging? Why is marketing to customers and generating leads often so frustrating?

  • First, there is the problem that has always existed for the roofing contractors which is that weather disasters and other catastrophes are what drive the majority of customer interest in finding these services. Disasters aren’t controllable forces, and that puts any roofing contractor in a position of a “storm chaser” looking to grab the attention of people who desperately need their services.

  • Second, rapidly shifting changes to marketing strategies have changed the field of marketing. Many classic strategies still return results (billboards, direct mailings, door-to-door canvassing), but they’re part of an expanding field with numerous opportunities.

  • Finally, roofing contractors face tighter competition even as the industry sees extensive expansion. More entrepreneurs and business owners are now entering the roofing business, creating a more crowded field even if many of these newcomers aren’t at the same level as long-established businesses.

Whether you’re one of the newcomers to the roofing industry or you have decades of experience, you have multiple marketing challenges to face when generating leads and growing your business. Consumers have more choices than ever in the new marketing world. Reaching as many of these people as possible requires different tactics: generating leads, building a powerful online presence through a website and social media, managing customer reviews and referrals, and more.

Let’s look deeper into the challenges of modern marketing for roofing contractors and the methods and tools you can use to overcome them and help your business thrive.

The Source of Leads in the Roofing Business

A good place to start is to answer the question: Where do roofing leads come from?

A survey of over 100 roofing contractors in the US reported that 36% of their business came from direct referrals with only 10% from online searches and 10% from social media. But the combined 20% from these online marketing sources still accounts for a fifth of all business, and there is plenty of room to expand. 

This makes digital marketing an opportunity and a tool to boost your business—especially in a competitive market. It’s also a self-perpetuating strategy: when you increase business through one successful marketing opportunity, it creates a larger, loyal customer base that becomes part of that 36% direct referrals. That’s a fantastic upward growth spiral.

roof damage

The Whims of the Weather

A quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” No, we can’t do anything about the weather, but in the roofing contracting industry, talking about how it affects consumers and marketing is extremely helpful.

The weather is the largest catalyst of the roofing industry. Where HVAC contractors sell products based on a dependable seasonal need, roofing contractors often rely on catastrophic seasonal occurrences to create customer demand. 

The cold truth is that most people don’t give much thought to the roof over their head. They take it for granted that it will always protect them. People only think about their roof when they actually need it, such as when water begins to leak into the attic through hail-cracked shingles or in the aftermath of hurricane-strength winds that have ripped off an entire section. 

A roofing contractor needs the ability to seize these customers in need—often in panic—and this requires marketing focused on urgency. Most customers who are searching roofing services need them in a hurry!

There are other reasons people need roofing services but urgency plays a part there as well. Roofs suffer damage due to age, lack of regular maintenance, inferior installation, and animal nests and burrowing. Since most homeowners are unaware of these problems—few even know that their roofs have limited lifespans—the need for roof repair and replacement can sneak up on them and leave them in reactive mode. 

Shakespeare wrote, “The readiness is all.” When you market your roofing business, you need to be ready to grab the consumers who are desperate. These people may pick almost any company that pops up in their searches that seems dependable. A successful marketing strategy is to make your company the one they pick. 

Seizing the Power of New Marketing Tools

Once upon a time, when someone needed roofing services in a rush, they went to the Yellow Pages. Now, when someone needs a roofing contractor right away and doesn’t have a direct referral, they turn to the internet or ask their smartphones: “Where can I find roofing services near me?” New marketing tools are focused on finding the best methods to get to the top of those search results and then make a conversion once getting clicked on.

Your online presence starts with an eye-catching website. To rank highest in searches, you can use tools such as:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click advertising (the service that places your listing among the “sponsored” slots on search results)
  • An effective social media presence
  • Managing online reviews to encourage positive ones and manage negative ones

Although these tools are digital, you still want to use them to aim for that most powerful lead generation source for roofers: referrals. Referrals carry weight with consumers because they provide social proof of the quality of your services. They’re also the most cost-effective way for roofing contractors to market. 

Once your digital reach has created a base of happy customers, the referrals they generate are essentially free. That means you have more resources to spend on the other marketing campaigns that continue to grow your core customer base and create “brand ambassadors.”

browsing the internet
researching competition

Expanding Business, Tighter Competition

Currently, there’s a boom in the need for roof construction. According to IBISWorld, the roofing industry is growing 2.2% annually. This expands opportunities but it creates a more competitive market as entrepreneurs and business owners push into the market. 

Your company must fight for attention among all the others that service your area. A powerful digital marketing strategy is essential to get out of the general “noise” of other contractors. However, you must go farther as you expand your marketing efforts: 

  • A broader reach through a website, email campaigns, and social media presence won’t mean much if you don’t have properly trained crews ready to work when an opportunity arises. 

  • You’ll also need reviews that back up your services and happy clients who will act as a reference for you. Use your website as a showcase for your reviews, certifications, awards, portfolios, contracts—whatever you need to establish credibility.

  • Getting the customer to click on the link to your website is only the first step. Now you need to convince this person with a hail-shattered roof to contact you rather than go back to the search results and pick one of the many others lobbying for their attention.

Competitors can also serve a beneficial purpose: a source for market research. Look into how your competitors are advertising, especially digitally. 

  • Do they have appealing websites with mobile-friendly designs? 

  • What brand promises do they choose to highlight? 

  • Do their site listings show up as sponsored ads at the top of search results (pay-per-click marketing)? 

  • How do they advertise on social media? 

Based on research into your competitors, consider what you’re doing and not doing—and at all times ask yourself in what ways you can improve on the successes of your competitors. 

Getting Your Marketing Machine in Motion

Roofing is both a profitable and difficult business, especially in a highly competitive market. Using digital marketing tools are now essential for roofing contractors to grab customers who desperately need their services.

Tools such as a well-designed website, powerful social media presence, effective search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, and reputation management are excellent places to begin growing your roofing business. 

The end goal remains the same—creating a loyal customer base that drives referrals—and iMarket Solutions can help you reach that goal with the best digital marketing advice, tools, and experts.

Are you ready to “raise the roof” for your roofing business? Contact us and schedule a free marketing consultation at your earliest convenience. At iMarket, we are dedicated to contractor success.