How a Content Marketing SWOT Analysis Can Help Your Construction Business

SWOT analysisPerforming a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis on your content can help you get an effective, workable content marketing strategy into place quickly. With this done, you can be sure everything you publish will pull its weight in terms of bringing you new construction leads.

Get Your Bearings Fast

If you’re at a loss for how to move forward with your content marketing, a SWOT analysis can show you the way. It’s a simple process that gives you clear, usable results quickly even if you’re not an expert at marketing or data analysis. To start, all you’ll need is a list of basic stats on your best and worst performing content, such as formats, topics, lengths, and traffic sources, and a similar list for your main competitor’s best content.

Then work through the process of listing your content’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If your best performing content focuses on cutting-edge innovations in prefabricated buildings, but your competitors are behind the times, you’ve found a strength you can capitalize on. If you notice your competitor’s content shows up in the search engine results ahead of yours, that’s a threat to look out for. Competitor not doing much on social media? There’s an opportunity for you to grab the leads they’re missing.

Create a Basis for Your Strategy

When you know what your content has going for and against it, you can more easily determine the direction you want to take with your content marketing. Say you want more single-family home construction leads. If you know you’re good at creating home tour videos and you’ve spotted an opportunity in social media, you might focus on filming more videos for social media.

With that goal in mind, you can get to work brainstorming ideas for videos, deciding how to integrate them into your sales funnel, and scheduling them in your editorial calendar. Instead of spending weeks crunching data, with a SWOT analysis, you can start creating strategic, lead-generating content within a day.

3 SEO Myths to Ditch Today

SEO factsImproving your website’s search engine rankings takes focused, on-going effort, so the last thing you should do is waste your energy following misguided beliefs. Get clear on today’s common SEO myths and you can get on with what actually matters.

Myth 1. Keywords Aren’t Important

Over-using keywords is definitely a thing of the past, but keywords still affect your ranking. Nowadays, placement and context matter more than frequency. In a blog post about luxury multi-family housing, use variations of that term in your title tag, one or two headers, article body, and one link’s anchor text, but also include related terms such as “in-unit amenities” and “shared spaces.” Most likely, those terms will show up naturally as you write. Take time for keyword research, too. It helps you spot topics your audience wants to learn about.

Myth 2. Link-building is Dead

It’s true submitting your articles and links to general directories won’t help much, but backlinks from high-quality websites are as valuable as ever. If you specialize in office building construction, links from authoritative sites on commercial property investment, facilities managements, and related topics tell the search engines you’re an authority in your field.

To get backlinks like this, reach out to website owners in non-competing businesses that share your audience. If you create a useful resource, such as a free video course, drop a line to website owners letting them know you have something that might benefit their readers. Ask the owners of popular blogs if they accept guest posts.

Myth 3. Social Media Won’t Help Your SEO

Search engines pay little attention to backlinks from social media, but social media can help you get backlinks that do matter. Posting your work and interacting with your ideal prospects gets you in front of a wider audience. There’s a good chance some of those readers will find your work valuable enough to link to from their own sites, and it’s those links that boost your search engine ranking.

 

Using Instagram Analytics to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

social media analyticsWhile you’re posting photos, thinking up captions, and mingling with your target audience, your Instagram analytics tool is busy gathering valuable data. Used wisely, this information can help you fine-tune your marketing strategy to better connect with your potential clients and even find whole new markets.

Understanding Your Followers

The basic demographic information Instagram analytics tools provide tells you about the kind of audience your posts reach. This usually includes the gender split and most common age group, location, and online times. If you find you get more visitors from Providence than Boston, you might invest more in print ads in the Providence area. If you see most of your visitors are in the 55 to 64 age group, you might decide to go for more offline marketing overall.

Evaluating Your Posts

Knowing which posts get the most attention from your followers gives you valuable insight on the types of services they might be looking for. Instagram analytics tools help you spot patterns by letting you segment performance data on your posts by content type, specific time period, and measurement, such as reach or engagement rate.

Say you notice your older followers are most active on your home remodeling posts. That could be a sign to put more emphasis on offering home upgrades such as aging-in-place features or home offices older adults can use for their post-retirement self-employment plans.

Looking at the Big Picture

In terms of guiding your marketing strategy, the data you get from your Instagram analytics is most useful as a broad overview of your audience. Avoid the temptation to see one or even a series of successful posts as proof of what your audience wants. Instead, look for patterns and trends. If one post about recycled building materials goes viral, that might only be thanks to a recent TV news report. If these kinds of posts are increasingly popular with your followers, though, you’re probably onto something profitable.

Can I Really Automate My Marketing?

marketing automationMarketing that runs on autopilot might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not totally unrealistic. With planning, some essential marketing processes can be set up to bring you leads while freeing up your time.

Automate the Basics

Blog posting – A consistent publishing schedule is a big part of what gets your blog ranking in the search engines where your would-be clients can find it. Most blogging software lets you set up multiple posts and schedule each to be published later automatically.

Email marketingEmail drip campaigns let you nurture your relationships with prospects and move them down your sales funnel without having to write new emails every week. They’re ideal for staying in touch through the long buying cycles typical in the construction industry.

Social media posting – Social media management tools let you set up posts to be published on multiple platforms days or even weeks in advance. Make sure each post is correctly formatted for each platform and remember to interact with your audience in real time, too.

Referral marketing – Because construction is largely a referral-based industry, it makes sense to let modern technology help out here. With event-triggered emails, you can automatically send your clients a referral request at key moments, such as after they sign a contract or when their project is complete.

Analytics – Digital marketing analytics tools integrate with your website, email, and social media profiles to collect and compile data on your campaigns so you can see your results at a glance.

Plan Ahead

To really make marketing automation work for you, create an editorial calendar and produce your content in batches. If you want to promote your retail store construction services in the coming month, you might write four blog posts on different aspects of retail construction, such as floor plans and environmentally friendly materials. From those posts, you can pull related tips and images that showcase your retail projects for social media. Load everything into your automation tools and it will go out on schedule all month.

What is Social Listening and Who Should Be Doing It?

social listeningSocial media gives you an invaluable opportunity to eavesdrop on your target audience and find out what they really think. Whether your ideal clients are homeowners or large commercial property developers, you can learn a lot just by listening.

How Social Listening Works

Social listening is the process of finding, monitoring, and contributing to conversations on social media platforms where your ideal clients gather. The goal is to get a big picture view of what they’re saying both about your company specifically and your construction specialty in general. You can do this by following topics, key terms, competing companies, and related industries. So if you’re a restaurant renovation specialist, you might keep up on what restaurant owners are saying about their facilities by following terms such as “restaurant design trends” and “restaurant expansion.”

This is not to be confused with social monitoring, which is more about staying alert for important incidents involving your brand, such as praise from a major influencer. With social listening, you’re not just replying to questions, comments, and complaints, but also drawing valuable insight you can use to guide your business strategy.

Can Social Listening Benefit You?

Even if your company isn’t very active on social media, there’s a good chance a lot of your past, current, and prospective clients are. If you care what they think, social listening is worth your time.

Watching your prospects interact with each other helps you get on their wavelength, making it easier to create marketing campaigns that truly connect with them. A better understanding of what your prospects want to learn about will spark ideas for blog posts, social media posts, and other content that actually does its job of attracting the leads you want.

By putting common complaints and emerging trends on your radar, social listening can lead you to new opportunities. If you notice local restaurant owners are interested in features that bring the outdoors in, you can appeal to them with your expertise in skylights or sunroom terraces.

 

The Key to Unlocking Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

inbound marketing strategyInteresting, informative content is the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy, but to unlock the true power of that content, you need a well- thought-out plan.

Turning Browsers into Buyers

The goal of inbound marketing is to attract people from your target audience, prove your value, and convert your readers into clients. So while your content should be high quality, everything you publish also needs to have a specific function that’s part of a larger plan.

That larger plan is your marketing funnel. Organized in a marketing funnel, your content becomes a clear path that guides your prospect every step of the way toward becoming your client. It takes your prospect from seeing your social media post to joining your email list to eventually signing a contract.

Without a funnel, you’ll end up with a scattershot approach that wastes the power of your content. Your dream data center client might love your video on critical cooling equipment they found while searching YouTube, but if that video doesn’t give them an incentive to visit your website, you might still lose them forever.

Creating a Powerful Inbound Marketing Funnel

Your funnel should be based on how your ideal clients go about researching their building projects and choosing construction firms. Consider what information they’ll be looking for at each step in the process, then create content that answers their questions while leading them closer to becoming your client.

Start by attracting their attention with SEO-ed blog posts as well as photos, videos, tips, and infographics on social media. From there, convert them into leads by encouraging them to pass along their contact information. For example, in a Facebook post about shopping center renovation, you might offer a free in-depth ebook on minimizing disruption to tenants in exchange for an email address. Next, move on to closing the sale. That free ebook might lead your prospect to an email drip campaign that offers more guidance and showcases your shopping center clients’ success stories.

 

4 Crucial Elements for a Robust Marketing Plan

marketing planA clear plan is critical for getting the most out of your marketing efforts, but your plan doesn’t have to be complex to be effective. Master the most important elements and you’ll have a powerful marketing plan that’s easy to follow.

  1. Business identity – You business identity includes you firm’s mission and vision statements, and outlines what makes your firm distinct in terms of services, capabilities, and values. It should also define your target audience and the experience you want to give them. Are you a residential construction company specializing in highly customized homes for eco-conscious young families or one focusing on aging-in-place remodeling for active older adults?
  2. SWOT analysis – Conduct a SWOT analysis to get a better idea of how your business is situated in the market. Determine your firm’s greatest strengths in terms of attracting clients and note what weaknesses could lead you in the wrong direction. Describe the business opportunities in your market and how the market might threaten your current business model.
  3. Marketing strategy – A marketing strategy is a process that helps you reliably meet your sales objectives. Guided by your SWOT analysis, it gives you an overarching vision of how to reach your audience, connect with them, and turn them into paying clients. This can include multiple methods. If one of your strengths is a list of clients who rave to their friends about how much your renovations have improved their lives, referral marketing is a good bet. If your projects are visually striking, you’ll want to use social media, too. Then choose specific tactics. As a tactic to encourage referrals, you might define specific times to ask for referrals, create referral forms, and offer a referral fee.
  4. Metrics – Specify how you’re going to measure the success of your tactics. Go beyond tracking leads and sales revenue, and pay attention to equally important metrics such as percentage of clients by referral, percentage of leads converted, client acquisition costs, and your close rate on bids.

What Does On-Page SEO Mean Anyway?

on-page SEOGood on-page SEO is critical for helping your potential clients find you online, but to do it well, you need to know what you should be aiming for in the first place. Understanding how on-page SEO works will help you decide where to invest your efforts.

How On-Page SEO Helps You

On-page search engine optimization, or on-page SEO, refers to changes you can make directly to a webpage to improve its search engine ranking. It includes factors such as proper use of keywords, correct formatting, and well-written code.

This is in contrast to off-page SEO, which covers backlinks, social signals, and other factors not on your own website. On-page improvements come first because it’s hard to get off-site attention to a mediocre page.

In the construction field, clients demand expertise and are often looking for specialized skills. The in-depth, easy-to-understand content you develop as part of your SEO strategy helps you show your visitors you have what they want.

Proven-Effective Techniques

There are dozens of on-page factors you could optimize, but some give you a bigger payback than others.

Quality content – Aim to provide truly valuable content that helps your potential clients plan their construction project. Write in a professional yet conversational style that isn’t weighed down with jargon. Include original images and videos of your building projects with descriptive ALT tags and file names. Link out to other relevant pages on your site as well as to other high-quality websites.

Optimized URLs – Choose a URL that clearly describe the page’s content, such as yoursite.com/efficient-warehouse-features, not yoursite.com/articles/local/john3

Good formatting – Use clear headlines and short paragraphs, break up text into lists when possible, use bold text judiciously, and choose descriptive link anchor text instead of “click here.”

Fast loading times – A sluggish site will drag down your search engine rankings. Use a quality web hosting package, optimize your images, and fix any broken links. Pay special attention to optimizing the images in your project portfolio. Clean code helps, too, so talk with your designer.

 

 

How to Attract Construction Clients Using Facebook

attract clients through social mediaAs the largest social media platform out there, Facebook is a goldmine of potential construction clients. By sharing valuable information, spending time with your target market, and honing your advertising skills, you can attract more of those clients to your firm.

Become a Valuable Resource

To stand out in your would-be clients’ cluttered Facebook timelines, it helps to offer something that’s both eye-catching and genuinely valuable. Providing useful guidance also establishes you as a knowledgeable professional who can be trusted with high-value construction projects. Create striking before and after photos of your building projects, short tour videos, infographics with surprising data, Q&As, and anything else that helps your ideal clients reach their goals. Showcasing related businesses doing good work for your target audience can also get you some attention.

Put Yourself Out There

Interacting with people in your target audience and the pages where they’re likely to spend time helps put you on the radar of more potential clients. So if you offer medical facilities construction, look for pages run by hospital administrators and pages that offer guidance on hospital management.
Spend some time making thoughtful comments on their posts, answering questions, and asking your own questions. Even if the page owner never acknowledges your input, there’s a good chance some of their followers will.

Invest in Ads

Managed wisely, Facebook ads can give you a better ROI than nearly any other form of online marketing. To pull in interested leads, create a specific, valuable, audience-targeted offer. That could be a free whitepaper, a 15-minute strategy session by phone or even an invitation to a local discussion panel you’re hosting. Take advantage of Facebook’s targeting options to find your audience. If you do home upgrades, you might use the life events targeting option to find people are moving to a new house. Track conversions, such as invitations to bid, not just likes. Split test your ads so you can keep refining them.

4 Steps to the Perfect Customer Persona

customer personaEven if you understand the value of getting to know your target customers, fleshing out detailed customer personas isn’t always easy. Following a clear-cut process helps you turn your data into insightful customer profiles.

  1. Gather existing data – Start learning about your ideal clients by collecting data on your existing clients and leads. Look for trends in demographics, behavior, and interests. Maybe your home remodeling clients are typically older suburbanites with grown children or your industrial plant clients are often middle-aged men who are into fitness. For macro trends affecting your client base, construction market research reports are a good place to look.
  2. Ask around – Develop a survey for your current and former clients, but don’t limit your questions to their construction-related concerns. Questions about their family status, life goals, hobbies, and media preferences can give you valuable insight. Just try to keep the survey length under 10 minutes. With your best clients, conduct more in-depth surveys individually, either by phone or email. Then survey your employees to find out if they’ve noticed any trends.
  3. Spot the trends – Review your data for overarching trends you can use to segment your clients into broad groups. These will form the basis of your customer personas. Between three to five is enough. If you offer several types of services, such as home renovation, manufacturing facility construction, and retail construction, create a generalized customer profile for each. If you’re highly specialized, create more narrowly defined customer personas, such as one for your textile manufacturing facilities clients and another for printing facilities clients.
  4. Build your personas – Give each customer persona a name and create a profile that includes their demographic data, such as age, sex, occupation, and income level. Then add information about their motivations and interests, such as their job responsibilities, and their career and personal goals and challenges. Finally, fill in details about their personal habits and beliefs. It’s these details that bring your customer personas to life, giving you a clearer picture of how to connect with your ideal clients.