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 a 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 interested in updating their strategies to reflect current best practices and more innovative marketing techniques. Still, they simply aren’t sure where to start or how to go about it. And if that sounds familiar to you, we’re 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:
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 designed 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 we work with – details like pain points, research methods, interests, concerns, and attributes they look for (or shy away from) in a business partner. Regardless of the task, referring back to your target buyer personas enables you to tailor content appropriately 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.
Branding goes hand in hand with your website design and social presence. For construction companies, branding is essential, as it will help you define your value proposition and positioning strategy, helping to 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:
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 operate as one cohesive marketing machine. To do this, consistency in your messaging and brand voice is absolutely crucial. Keep in mind that many qualities of AEC companies, while noble, do not necessarily differentiate from your competition. Just because your company is family-owned, or has been in business for 40 years, does not necessarily mean you are standing out from the crowd. Take the time to visualize what truly differentiates you from your competition. Is it your design process? Is it the people? Is it the on-time rate of your projects?
Take the time to create compelling templates, define your company values (incorporating input from multiple departments and stakeholders), and set processes in place when producing any form of content representing your business.
When it comes to marketing your construction company, visuals are key. Take the time to assess your current site design from both aesthetic and technical perspectives. Your website should evoke the same level of quality as your craftsmanship.
Start by reviewing your website metrics using Google Analytics. It’s crucial to review your current analytics, as it provides excellent insight into understanding areas of your site that need improvement. Think you might be behind the curve? Do you need a complete website redesign or just a refresh? As you begin to think about a website redesign, a great place to start is with your competitors. What are they doing well? How are they displaying their project photos? Is it easy to navigate? Are they sharing educational content and resources for their prospects?
Use your competitive analysis to show your design and development team what you’re looking for out of your next site, including what makes navigating through a competitor’s site a smooth user experience. Construction Marketing influencers are another place to look for inspiration.
Perhaps most importantly, you should make sure your website is responsive. In layman’s terms, a responsive design allows your website pages to be resized and rearranged naturally, so they’re easily viewable across all devices (like smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc.). Most companies have adopted mobile-friendly websites, but those who haven’t are at a significant disadvantage.
In an industry as visual as construction, engineering, and architecture, your prospective clients must be able to access your body of work with the least amount of friction possible. This is especially true for construction companies or design-build remodelers whose clients are doing their research online- specifically those who use their iPads or Tablets to browse the internet after their kids have gone to sleep. If your portfolio doesn’t render properly, you may be losing out on building valuable trust and authority with your target audience.
4. Invest in a user-friendly content management system (CMS) to educate your prospects.
Construction companies of all kinds have a significant advantage when it comes to creating content. The goal of creating content is to educate your potential clients- and often, the potential client doesn’t know the first thing about remodeling their home, their office, or drawing up a blueprint. This gives your the perfect opportunity to create well-thought-out, high-quality content that answers your potential client’s pain points (remember your buyer personas in the first part of the article?) This is where understanding their pain points really come in handy.
For more on creating content, take a look at these helpful articles:
Regardless of the content you create, you’ll need a place to manage it. For that, you’ll need a 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.
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 several advertising options available to you – from Facebook and LinkedIn to Google AdWords and retargeting. Even Houzz offers their own advertising services, offering a unique chance for members of the building, construction, and design industries to reach their target audiences effectively. Keep in mind; any new advertising program will take time to get traction and measurable results. Whichever platform(s) you choose, give it at least 90 days to honestly evaluate if you’re finding success. Take that time to scrutinize the results and make adjustments as necessary.
Creating a complete marketing strategy for your construction company can be a time-consuming and challenging 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 the article, 8 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 this year. Keep in touch!
Alexis Silvers has been an Account Manager at PMG since late 2015, adding SEO and client services to her socially savvy repertoire. As a tenured social media expert, Alexis loves to keep an eye out for helpful tips for B2B businesses on her feeds. Other things she monitors? Blog feedback! So let her know if you like what you see or want to know more.