Between project management and running a construction business, it can be difficult finding the time and resources to build your brand. And yet, as market competition increases across North America, firms can't afford to put marketing on their back-burner.
The good news is construction marketing doesn't have to be complicated or pricey. Today, there are many digital and real world strategies that can help companies stay visible among existing and potential clients.
Online is where it's at
Word of mouth has long been the bread and butter of construction marketing. That remains as true as ever, but now there are more ways to get your name and reputation out to potential clients. And yes, as one may guess, that includes embracing online marketing.
“If you’re looking for work these days, having an online presence is the way to go,” says Brian Rotsztein, President of the Canadian Internet Marketing Association. “It’s important to understand that social media is the new word-of-mouth recommendation engine. The conversations being had online are extensions of those you find in the ‘real world.”
There are multiple ways to build an online presence, and they don’t require breaking the budget.
A compelling website
It takes more than a static image and a phone number to make a website that will gain attention.
"I've worked on several websites for contractors, and they all agree that having a lot of clear photos and even videos, if possible, is powerful," says Rotsztein, noting, "People need to be impressed and relate to the type of work you do."
Anything that compels visitors to learn more about your business helps. That includes project galleries, company blogs, whitepapers, videos, or even testimonials from past clients. It's also important to ensure that anyone who lands on your page can easily find the information they need, whether it's service details or contact info.
As for getting your website seen, that's another story. Here's where working a bit of search engine optimization (SEO) goes a long way towards being the first one listed when a client searches for a contractor. There are entire courses about effective SEO, but the basic approach is to include original copy that defines what you offer and includes key terms that will appeal to your target market.
“On-page SEO accounts for up to 30% of search engine rank, so you can see how important it is, and how it should be the first thing you attend to before anything else,” writes Marcus Yah, a BC-based online marketing consultant, noting this is especially true for the commercial, industrial, and residential construction industry where one search for “construction companies” in a major market like Vancouver, BC, can bring up over 1000 results alone.”
If terms like SEO, “organic traffic,” and “website optimization” appear overwhelming, rest assured there are plenty of online resources and web-savvy professionals who can help. Consider hiring website copywriters and/or SEO specialists who can give you a boost. There are many outsource serviced than can be contracted on a part-time, full-time, or a la carte basis depending on your marketing budget.
It only takes a little time and some ground-level understanding of social media to get in front of thousands of potential clients. More importantly, social media accounts can be honed to target select market demographics where your current or future clients may be talking online.
“If you’re experienced, you have an opportunity to show off your skills thanks to social media platforms,” adds Rotsztein. “These platforms give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; show video clips of the before, during, after of the project; and get people interested in your work.”
As for which social media platform to try, there are options. TikTok is among the hottest and most effective online channels for contractors as it enables them to post videos of projects, pro tips, and other ‘thought leadership’ topics that position them as industry experts among an ever-growing audience. YouTube is also an effective choice for those same reasons, as are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram.
“The trick on any platform is to give tips along the way that only professionals would know. In that way, you show that you know what you’re doing without having to repeatedly tell people that you’re a pro,” says Rotsztein.
One of the biggest advantages of social media marketing is that it's generally free. Companies still need people and resources to create effective content, but these functions can be outsourced if needed. There is also the option of paying social media channels to boost your presence via paid ads or other techniques.
You‘d be surprised what you can do with digital advertising. Today, contractors are wielding advanced data analytics to pinpoint potential customers and get in front of them with targeted ads. These same data tools can also provide insights into which marketing campaigns are working, what websites customers are visiting, and what content is catching their eye.
Your company may be sitting on a wealth of email addresses. With proper permissions, you might consider sending out e-newsletters with company updates, industry news, or insights that are of specific interest to your network.
This is a tricky marketing technique since you don’t want to become an annoyance in someone’s inbox. The key is sending e-news content that is of value to your contacts. This may take some time to figure out, but honing in on the right formula means earning a weekly audience.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog where we discuss off-line marketing strategies.
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash