Successful marketing for a construction company has changed in recent years. What's changed? The advent of the Internet, websites, social media, blogging. Today, most businesses who are not engaging the world of the Internet and inbound marketing are not getting the sales they otherwise could receive.
Customers' buying habits also have changed. Most marketers today are still focused on advertising, not marketing. Advertising is still fine, but we all need to remember that those who respond to our advertising are real people. These real people can be either attracted or repelled by the style of marketing we employ.
Online marketing, Internet marketing, or inbound marketing are all the same terms. For a construction company, inbound marketing is a wide open arena. According to a recent construction marketing survey, 86.8 percent of construction companies increased their marketing spend during 2014. Of that percentage, very little if any budgets were allocated toward inbound marketing (Source: Construction Marketing Association Blog). Thus, for the ambitious construction company CEO or marketer, stepping into this new way of marketing can reap enormous ROI.
Let's look at five key areas of Internet marketing targeted at marketing for a construction company:
Key #1: Focus Your Inbound Marketing Efforts on Lead Gathering
This is not a novel idea. But so many businesses can't articulate why they need a website. The #1 reason to have a website is to get more business - more leads, more conversions, more sales, more dollars in the door.
Marketing though the Internet, like conventional marketing, is about acquiring new leads. Both your website and social media should be geared toward lead generation. Every time you add content to your website or social media you should be able to answer the question, "how is this going to attract more leads for me?"
Marketing though the Internet also is about lead nurturing. Nurturing leads is a more important element than the actual promotions we decide to run. And the bigger the potential sale, the more nurturing required. For online marketing for construction companies: Every sale represents huge dollars.
Consider these lead nurturing stats:
- The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. (Source: The lead response management study) (Tweet this)
- The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the 1st hour. (Source: The lead response management study) (Tweet this)
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa) (Tweet this)
When was the last time you bought a car, a home, or a sky scraper? You do your research and finally call the vendor, who answers, "All of our sales people are busy. I'll see if I can have someone call you tomorrow." Who ya gonna call? Are you going to buy from them? Probably not.
Unfortunately, we all have our little horror stories of how we've been treated. In any business, especially a high-end business like a construction company, maintaining a nurturing culture of honor and respect goes a long way.
Key #2: Use CTA's to Attract Leads
A Call To Action, or CTA is just that. When a prospective lead visits your website, what is it that prompts him or her to reach out and contact you? Most business websites only have a contact form. It's important to have a contact form (and a phone number) on your website, but you can do much more.
A CTA is always associated with an offer. An offer that you place on your website is something you are giving away that your best lead will find valuable. To develop an offer to work with online marketing for construction companies, you'll need to decide what might work based on what you know about your ideal type of customer.
Here are some ideas of offers you might consider for your construction company:
- Free consultations
- Free lunch 'n learns
- Free seminars
Once you've decided on the type of offer, you'll need to develop it to meet the needs of your best customer. The ever-popular ebook is a great offer because it can be downloaded. With your #1 customer in mind, think of some catchy title that would work, e.g., "The 25 Residential Construction Facts You Should Know Before Buying."
Key #3: Develop Buyer Personas
What are buyer personas? Buyer personas are semi-fictional, generalized profiles of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and buying habits of different groups.
The most accurate buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.) and from your sales staff.
A persona can be either positive or negative. If you were to take every potential lead and pour them into the top of a funnel, as they travel down the narrow passageway of the funnel, only your best potential customers would pour out the bottom.
Those who hedge, churn, or maybe eventually buy or buy only once, or buy at your low end, tend to remain at the top of the funnel. They cannot move downward because they cannot become a perfect match for the type of construction work in which you specialize.
Creating personas helps focus your inbound marketing on those at the bottom of the customer funnel. How is that done? Once you know your ideal customer, his or her likes, dislikes, pain points, needs, shopping habits, and more, you can discover how you can best meet his or her needs.
For example, in your persona research, you find a persona who places a high priority on storm-proofed houses and you disover this persona spends a lot of time researching on the Internet before calling anybody. Now you have a direction to go in marketing your construction company. And you have your elevator pitch: "We build cheery, all-clad, passive, totally storm-proof houses for less than you'd pay for a conventional home."
For Internet marketing to this sample persona, I'd develop an ebook on that: "25 (or whatever) Essential Elements of Building a Storm-Proof Home." Or something like that. And then in the ebook you convey the importance of those 25 items, from soup to nuts, from shingles to foundation.
Key#4: Automate Your Lead Nurturing Capability
Once you begin to acquire leads through Internet marketing, those leads will need to be nurtured.
According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Tweet this)
The first step to automating nurturing leads is to look at your customer engagement channels. Consider all the possible channels in which a lead can engage contact with you. There are many: Word of mouth, referrals, phone, email, website, social media.
You'll need a CRM and you'll need to use it. Many companies have CRM software but fail to train staff to use it to the company's advantage.
With inbound marketing you can go light years beyond the general automation of your CRM. Here's just one example: Say someone clicks on a CTA button to download a free offer you've placed on your website. What are you going to do with that? You could email them and thank them, assuming you've captured their email address as part of your CTA offer.
But with some software available today, you can do much more. When someone clicks on a CTA, they can be directed to a "thank you" page where you have the opportunity to thank them for visiting your site, then they can be directed to other offers you may have, or fill out a lead-gen form.
From the first point of contact with your website, automation can track where your lead is in the customer funnel, how much time they've spent on your site, emails can be generated, and finally, the lead can land in a CRM or list so, armed with a lot of information, your sales team can engage the lead with the goal of turning the lead into a customer.
Key#5: Track Everything
The difference between Internet or inbound marketing and conventional (or outbound) marketing is that any campaign can be tracked, analyzed, and tweaked. Tracking analytics is really the key advantage of inbound marketing.
It's one thing to stick a CTA or free offer on your website. That's a step in the right direction. Analyzing the traffic those offers generate, seeing what can be improved, and then doing something about improving them will take your online marketing for construction companies a whole step further.
Let's just talk one aspect, for example, keyword strategies. Keyword strategies is one of our favorite topics. From the persona example above on "storm proof homes," say we've placed a CTA offer targeting that persona on every blog on our website.
Blogging about that offer will help build traffic. We'll want to blog around some keywords on "storm proofing." From our keyword research we discover, "storm proof homes" is hard to rank for. But other similar phrases are not. "Weather proofing for your home" is not so hard to rank for. So, we write a few blog articles around that keyword phrase.
Then what? We watch blog traffic, social traffic around those blogs, and how our blogs have affected the keyword phrase we've decided to use. If that keyword begins to rank even better because of the actions we have taken, we stay with it, if not we'll try something else. We'll also want to watch some other metrics such as how well that keyword is turning traffic into leads and converting those leads into customers.
Key take-a-ways from this blog post:
- Because marketing concepts have moved into the realm of the Internet, online marketing for construction companies - a slow to adopt industry - abound.
- Your website and social media should serve one main purpose: to grow your business.
- CTA's on your website are an ideal way to capture leads.
- You need to thoroughly know who your customers are. Create "buyer personas" for your online marketing campaigns.
- Inbound marketing only works well when it's automated.
- Metrics rule - so go ahead and track, analyze, tweak.