“I’m blogging like crazy.”“I’ve got landing pages and a CRM.”
“I’m posting on social media regularly.”
“I’ve got the best SEO plugin I could find.”
Do you identify with any of these statements? Are you doing everything right, but not seeing the results you want?
Unfortunately, you can be blogging and doing all the other things above, even including tracking some metrics, and still not be getting the leads or unlocking the ROI you want through your content marketing.
A recent study showed that one of the greatest challenges to marketing that many face is lack of strategy.
Many will say that inbound marketing is about deliverables. But that’s only part of the game. I’ve written tons of blogs on deliverables: How do write blogs that will be found, how to do social, how to create conversion paths, etc. But all that, even all that done well, is only half the game. Strategy makes up the other half, actually the first half. Unless you begin with a strategy, you’re shooting in the dark.
What’s a Strategy?
A strategy that will encompass online marketing for construction companies doesn’t have to be complicated. It is simply the plans and objectives needed to satisfy a stated goal.
First, you need to state a goal.
Let’s state a goal, for example, “I want to be generating 100 new sales qualified leads, per month, by this time next year.”
Note that this goal is both specific and, time-bound. Let's now put some feet to our goal by creating a strategy for it.
1) Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying your target audience is crucial for any kind of marketing for construction companies – even for more costly conventional, interrupt marketing.
Let’s look at the steps:
- Identify the caricature of your ideal customer. Who is he or she?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What does a day in their life look like?
- Where do they work and what position do they hold?
2) Identify Where They Go for Information Online
You don’t have to be an SEO guru or have to purchase expensive keyword software to get a great start with lead intelligence. What you do need to know if social media’s best kept secret: LinkedIn user groups.
Accessing LinkedIn groups is simple:
- Click the down arrow just to the left of the search field.
- Select, “groups.”
- Type in something into the search field.
I typed in, “commercial construction.” That term returned 675 user groups. Then, simply find an active group and click on the title. If it’s an open group, you’ll be able to see all the individual posts. By spending some time, you can get a good idea of what keywords are important to those in the group. Simple.
3) Identify Needs, Pain Points, Common Questions
Your goal here is to develop content that will intersect your key customers (personas) in the area of their needs. How to do this?
Staying within LinkedIn, I viewed the newsfeeds of a few groups. Here are some keyword topics I discovered:
- Funding issues for construction.
- Why aren’t millennials buying?
- Construction safety issues.
- Green products in construction.
These are just a few places to start. Your overall goal is find these “macro” topics and then develop content to address specific issues within each of the larger umbrella topics. You’ll see how to do this in the next section.
4) Create a Content Schedule
I hope you’re beginning to see a strategy at work. You’re not blogging to promote your company. (Were you doing this?) You are now going to blog to solve the needs and pain points of your personas.
Let’s put some feet to our content strategy:
- Select one of the macro topics you’ve discovered.
- Select some keyword phrases from those topics.
- Brainstorm some blog titles, integrating one keyword for each title.
- Decide on a schedule. How often are you going to publish?
- Develop content around those titles to provide solutions for your personas
I can’t overstress that you need to publish content designed to solve for your audience. Doing so will: 1) Allow searchers to find your blog, 2) Once they find it, they’ll stay and read.
5) Create Conversion Paths
Developing leads from visitors requires a conversion path. A conversion path requires at least three things:
- A call-to-action (CTA).
- A landing page.
- Some kind of content offer.
A CTA is a button or graphic you place at the end of a blog arttice. The idea is to get someone to click on the CTA. When they do, they’ll be redirected to a landing page. The landing page, in turn, will house an offer (e-book, white paper, downloadable case studies, etc.). To get the content offer, the visitor will need to supply some information on a form. Once they submit the form, you have a lead.
I didn’t discuss social marketing. But similar principles apply. You can link to landing pages within social media as well as point visitors to your blog articles.
Now that you have a strategy, you’ll want to track results. You can track conversions as simply as creating a spreadsheet, all the way to purchasing fancy lead-management software. The point is, unless you track, you won’t know if you’re fulfilling your goals.
Key take-a-ways from this blog post:
- Doing content marketing without a strategy is like navigating without a compass.
- Having a strategy allows you to set goals, then develop ways to achieve them, not the other way around.
- A good strategy has many facets, but key is targeting your personas and intersecting them at their points of need.
- Publishing content in conjunction with a strategy will keep you focused on your customers and their needs.