Whether you’re a builder or an architect, or you own your own construction company, it’s no secret that marketing is essential to the continued success of your business. But creating your own B2B marketing plan can be a daunting task! That’s why it’s important to break this process down into manageable pieces – and allow yourself to focus your time and energy on high-value lead generation activities.
Many of the construction business owners we’ve talked to over the years are very much interested in updating their strategies to reflect current best practices and more innovative marketing techniques, but they simply aren’t sure where to start or how to go about it. And if that sounds familiar to you, we’re absolutely here to help – so you don’t miss out on another potential client due to lackluster marketing efforts!
This post provides plenty of advice and resources you can use to create that necessary foundation for marketing success in the construction industry. Maximize your company’s potential by incorporating the following tips:
1. Do a deep dive to develop your client personas. Before you even take your first step into creating content, focus your energy on building well-crafted buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your target audience created to help you make better marketing decisions. To piece together a persona, start by interviewing a few of your current clients (the ones that best represent your ideal buyer) and use the feedback to create a “person” whose character traits align with those of your target audience.
For example, at PMG some of our clients, as well as prospects to whom we market, are embodied by Ernie the Entrepreneur. (Talk to any inbound marketing geek and you’ll also find their personas’ names nearly always incorporate alliteration). In our research to create Ernie’s persona, we collected information from entrepreneurial B2B business owners who we work with – details like pain points, research methods, interests, concerns and attributes they look for (or shy away from) in a business partner. No matter the task, referring back to your target buyer personas enables you to appropriately tailor content and make smarter choices with your marketing budget. If you’re new to personas and this all sounds like gibberish, don’t worry! Check out PMG’s post, The Last Article You'll Ever Need on Buyer Personas, and you’ll be all set.
2. Devote time and funding to your brand. Branding goes hand in hand with your website design and social presence. For construction companies, branding is especially important, as it will help you define your value proposition and differentiate you from your competitors. Moreover, it will steer your products and services away from being viewed as a commodity, a challenge seldom addressed in many construction company marketing campaigns.
Once you’ve fleshed out your target buyer personas, review your current branding to make sure it aligns with your new insights. During this process, you should ask yourself these questions:
- What is your company’s goal(s) or mission?
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- What services does your company offer?
- What is the voice and tone of your business?
- What characteristics do my prospective clients look for in a company?
- How do you want your company to be perceived?
Branding goes beyond colors and taglines – it’s the rulebook you’ll use when creating all communication, from client emails to online resources. It’s the way you visualize what makes your company “tick”. Your logo, website, resources and entire online presence should all operate as one cohesive marketing machine. To do this, consistency in your messaging and brand voice is absolutely key. Take the time to create templates, define your company values (incorporating input from multiple departments and stakeholders), and set processes in place when producing any form of content that will be representing your business.
3. Make sure your website design is updated and mobile friendly. Take the time to assess your current site design, from both aesthetic and technical perspectives. Start by reviewing your website metrics using Google Analytics or a paid tool like Alexa. It’s crucial to review your current analytics, as it provides great insight into understanding areas of your site that need improvement. Think you might be behind the curve? Do you need a full website redesign or just a refresh? As you begin to think about a website redesign, a great place to start is with your competitors. Ideally you’ll want to be an early adopter of website design trends, but you certainly don’t want to be a laggard. Use your competitive analysis to show your design and development team what you’re looking for out of your next site, including what makes a navigating through a competitor’s site a smooth user experience. And if you’re not sure how to go about this process, you’ll find all kinds of website redesign strategy tips in this eBook.
Perhaps most importantly, you should make sure your website is responsive. In layman’s terms, a responsive design allows your website pages to naturally be resized and rearranged so they’re easily viewable across all devices (like smart phones, tablets, iPads, etc.). Otherwise, your visitors are just left squinting and straining and ultimately bouncing away. What’s more, in April of 2015, Google released an algorithm actually favoring mobile-friendly websites. In the marketing world we called this update “Mobilegeddon” and any agency on top of their game worked furiously to make updates! If your website is not mobile friendly, you may be missing out on significant traffic from Google and other search engines. To make sure your website meets Google’s standards, take advantage of Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
4. Invest in a user-friendly content management system (CMS). The sign of a great CMS, is that every member of your team (with basic computer skills) can navigate the tool. Whether you decide on HubSpot, Marketo, WordPress, or any other platform, choose a software your team can efficiently use to make basic edits without a phone call to your developer. That said, it’s best to select a tool that has a well-established support team you can ring for answers to those small day-to-day questions.
It should go without saying – but do your research. Sites like G2 Crowd provide unbiased reviews on just about any software you may be considering. Reviews will also provide insights into the user community surrounding a respective tool. Are there a group of professionals in your area you can reach out to for help? Do they offer free training? And lastly, be sure to invest your time and money in a CMS that is reputable and stable. Pick a choice you believe will be around 5, 10, or even 15 years from now.
5. Jumpstart your site traffic with digital advertising. Organic traffic can take time and is typically very competitive. Focusing a portion of your budget on paid advertising can speed up your efforts. There are a number of advertising options available to you – from Facebook and LinkedIn to Google AdWords and remarketing. Even Houzz offers their own advertising services – offering a unique chance for members of the building, construction and design industries to effectively reach their target audiences. Keep in mind, any new advertising program will take time go get traction and measurable results. Whichever platform(s) you choose, give it at least 90 days to truly evaluate if you’re finding success. Take that time to scrutinize the results and make adjustments as necessary.
Creating a complete B2B marketing strategy for your construction company can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but handing over such a vital element of your business to an agency is no easy task either. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to bring in the experts, check out our eGuide, 7 Signs You’re Ready to Outsource Your Marketing. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about how you can land more leads in 2016. Keep in touch!