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Jan 22, 2024

Top 10 Marketing Predictions for 2024 for Better Building Contractors

2023 was filled with challenges in the digital marketing world, from solar policy changes and the snail’s pace of IRA rollouts to AI advances. While it’s impossible to truly know what 2024 will hold, here are the best guesses.

By: Bethany Violette

Fortune teller with crystal ball

Here are the top 10 marketing predictions for digital marketing for contractors in 2024!

1. Economic & Market Conditions

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index, Q3 2023.
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index, Q3 2023. Jobs under $20,000 was where most of the money was spent, followed closely by jobs between $20-50k.

Homeowners aren’t remodeling as much and spending less when they do.

Smaller projects (under 20k) dominated home improvement spending in 2023, and we predict homeowners will still prioritize these jobs in the coming year. Contractors that offer a phased approach in 2024 can get in the door with smaller jobs while also helping homeowners reach their long-term goals, like electrification and incentive planning.

Energy prices are still at an all-time high.

We expect that energy rates will further increase in 2024. Home performance, renewable energy, and efficiency contractors have an opportunity to focus messaging around the cost savings of their services and how they can help reduce a homeowner’s grid reliance.

Interest rates and inflation are expected to stay high, at least for the first half of 2024.

There are a lot of unknowns for the upcoming year, including the Presidential Election, that will likely impact market conditions. Consider your customers’ pain points when making your 2024 marketing plans, like power outages and PSPS events, seasonal issues (ice dams, winter storms), and extreme weather patterns.

2. Hurry Up & Wait: IRA Rebates

Unfortunately, most states still have a ways to go when it comes to getting Inflation Reduction Act rebates on the market for consumers. At the earliest, we expect to see some states roll out benefits by about mid-year 2024.

In the meantime, however, there are plenty of ways that you can prepare now to be ready to hit the ground running when the IRA rebates are available in your state. Here are a few examples:

  • Maintain a strong, IRA-focused content strategy: Make sure your website has a landing page for incentives in your area that also mentions the IRA 25C Tax Credit, which is already available.
  • Build low and moderate income audiences: Both of the IRA rebate programs are heavily swayed to favor LMI households, and directing your focus to them now will help you have a foot in the door when rebates are available.
  • Make sure you’re ready to be a “Qualified Contractor”: Every state will have different requirements for what this will entail, but as many boxes that you can check off now will help you be a first mover when the rebates roll out. This is especially true for modeling software that will most likely be used in many state’s IRA rebate programs.

3. How Homeowners Find Contractors in 2024: The Resurgence of Directories

We expect specialized directories that highlight incentive-eligible and high-performance contractors, like Clean Energy Connection, are going to become more prominent in 2024.

In parallel with homeowners spending less on home upgrades, they’re also setting higher standards and want to work with a contractor that will bring them proven results. This is a great opportunity to highlight distinctions that separate your business from your competitors. BPI and NCI certifications, along with any other accreditations you and your staff hold, will become more valuable. Homeowners will also look to contractors to help guide them through incentive programs, and many alternative directories will most likely feature qualified candidates.

Additionally, increased AI usage might lead to the revival of traditional directories, like Yelp, BBB, and Angie. ChatGPT and similar technologies are pulling many of their results for answers from these directories and we may see a resurgence there.

4. A Bright & Challenging Future for Solar

Even in the midst of net metering policy changes in California—the country’s #1 solar energy producer—the industry is still going strong. With a big push toward electrification and record-breaking EV adoption this year, we expect increased interest in solar in 2024.

Solar battery storage is also on the rise and will continue to be important to compensate for the high cost. With its rising popularity, the solar industry will also run into sketchy lead-gen tactics, making it a highly competitive market. This is why having a solid, well-executed marketing campaign, especially backed by credentials, will remain important.

5. Stand Out in the Crowd: Trust, Credibility & Differentiation

The AI-powered world that we’re living in has sparked distrust in homeowners, leading them to become more skeptical of companies and people they see online. In 2024, it will become more important than ever to show that you’re undeniably human. Here are some things we notice help better building companies differentiate themselves:

  • Real people with real stories
  • Family owned
  • Community involved
  • Building science oriented
  • Locally owned
  • Third-party trusted
  • Backed by hundreds of reviews

6. Rise in Electrification & Market Crowding

There are several new services popping up that act as a sort of concierge service for homeowners, like Station A. These services are similar to EnergySage and capture leads to sell or subcontract out, making it difficult for quality contractors to get work. In 2024, we expect to see services like these grow, driving the importance of high-quality content, informative web pages, and strong marketing campaigns. This evergreen content will allow your home performance, HVAC, or solar business to gain a share in the overcrowded market.

7. AI & Low-Quality Content

As AI tools, like ChatGPT, are becoming more accessible, we can expect to see more low-quality and potentially inaccurate content out in the world. We’ve already seen that AI can do a decent job at writing building-science-related content, but it’s not great. We’re still watching closely to see how much this will have an effect on SEO and the world of digital marketing, but can expect to find some answers in 2024.

8. New Opportunities for Audience Targeting

Low & Moderate Income Households: With the IRA largely focusing on LMI households, there’s a lot of opportunity for contractors to target these communities in their digital marketing efforts. This is especially true with moderate-income households, which account for 70% of the US population.

Climate Motivated Homeowners: These are the ideal clients for many home performance, renewable energy, and high-efficiency contractors. They are usually located in educated areas with larger spending abilities for bigger jobs. Getting more jobs in this sector will also correlate with building trust with your potential clients.

9. New, Affordable Marketing Avenues: Streaming & Audio

In 2024, contractors will have the opportunity to break into new channels that were previously too expensive, including:

  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • Hulu
  • YouTube TV
  • Spectrum Reach
  • Podcast Ads

10. Evolving Business Models: An Increase in Whole-Home Jobs

Companies that offer whole-home services have seen success this year, and we expect that to continue to be the case in 2024. With homeowners becoming more aware of the benefits and correlation between insulation, heat pumps, solar, and other high-efficiency and home performance upgrades, they’ll be more likely to want to work with one company that can help them with all (or most) of these services.

This article was originally published in the Energy Circle blog and is republished with permission.

Bethany Violette
Energy Circle

Bethany Violette has over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, branding, and marketing. She has been a founding member of two craft breweries, one in Tennessee and the other in Vietnam, where she wore many creative hats as the Brand Manager. Now in Maine, Bethany plans to reconnect with nature and build an energy efficient home with her family. She enjoys a plethora of hobbies and can often be found stuck in a fantasy novel, playing video games, or doing crafts with her daughter.

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