3 Must-Have Tools in Your Construction Lead Generation Arsenal

constructionEvery construction lead you bring in has the potential to add thousands to your bottom line, but getting those leads still takes an outlay of time, money and effort. Focusing on the most efficient lead generation tools helps ensure your investment pays off.

A High-Quality Portfolio

A carefully chosen selection of clear, well-composed photos of your best work will have more impact on a prospective client’s impression of you than any written description ever could. A quality portfolio shows exactly what your firm is capable of and provides visible proof of soft skills, such as flexibility and attention to detail.

Because relatively few construction firms bother to put together a portfolio like this, having one strengthens your image as an experienced, reliable professional. For photos that show off your work to its greatest advantage, consider hiring an architectural photographer.

Email Marketing Service

Taking the time to build relationships with your target audience is one of the most effective ways to ensure a steady flow of leads. By giving you a way to maintain regular contact with your prospects, an email newsletter helps you build stronger relationships with a wider audience and still spend less than you would using direct mail. A number of web-based services are available that make it easy to collect signups to your newsletter from your website and manage your mailings.

Content Management System

Every day, your potential clients are online searching for information related to the projects they’re planning. The more client-focused content you publish to your website, the greater the chances your site will show up in their searches. When it does, you’ll stand out as knowledgeable, willing to help, and an overall good choice to do business with. Including clear calls to action in your content further encourages your visitors to contact you.

A content management system (CMS) helps you easily publish and manage articles, photos, videos and other lead-generating content on your site even if you have minimal technical knowledge.

For more information on efficient construction lead generation, contact Construction Monitor today.

Using Social Media to Source New Construction Leads

Word of mouth has always been an important part of construction marketing, and the growth of social media gives you even more power to build buzz around your firm. To get a consistent flow of leads from your social media efforts, though, you need the right approach.

Provide Content Worth Sharing

Social media makes it easy for people in your target market to pass your name along in conversation. If you expect them to do that, though, you need to give them something worth talking about. That means the content you post to your social media accounts must be relevant to your potential clients’ interests, noteworthy, and well crafted.

When choosing what to publish, focus on what’s in it for the reader. Aim to add value. Post tips and advice, links to relevant articles, case studies, overviews of projects you’ve completed, updates on projects in progress, announcements of new services and partnerships, testimonials from happy clients, and special promotions.

Make Time to Mingle

To bring attention to your social media accounts, you’ll need to get out there and interact with your potential clients. Go in with the goal of truly connecting with others in your industry, rather than with a sales mentality. Think about why your potential clients are on social media in the first place and look for ways to help them reach their goals while also letting them know how your firm can help.

Join in the conversations you find and engage with influential members of your segment of the industry, as well as with associations and organizations. Leave insightful comments, answer questions with genuinely useful advice, and ask thought-provoking questions. This kind of construction marketing takes time, but can pay off with long-term, lead-generating relationships.

Consistency is key to building an engaged social media following, but you don’t have to log in every day to maintain your momentum. Web-based services are available to help you automate your posts by uploading them in batches to be posted at scheduled times.

For more practical construction marketing tips, contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Lead Generation – a 3-Pronged Approach

crowd trade showThere are numerous approaches to construction lead generation, but a few stand out as particularly effective. While relying on just one method can limit your growth, choosing several proven approaches lets you refine your skill with each while maximizing your lead flow.

Prospect for Leads

By visiting a potential client at their place of business, you have the chance to develop a personal rapport that can’t be achieved over the phone or through direct mail. Before you go, familiarize yourself with your prospect’s current projects and needs so you can offer yourself as an expert resource, not just a salesperson.

Invest in thoughtfully designed leave-behind material, such as an informational packet or booklet that showcases your best work and reminds your potential client of how you can help them.

Encourage Referrals

Word of mouth has long been a powerful construction lead generation method, but referrals rarely happen by chance. Making it easy and rewarding to send you referrals does a lot to keep them flowing in.

After every successful project, follow up with a package of printed material that includes a thank-you letter as well as a form for a testimonial and referrals. Offer an incentive such as a restaurant gift certificate, event tickets or even cash for every lead sent your way that turns into a sale.

Give your current and former clients a call every three to six months to check in and let them know you’re there to help solve their problems. This helps ensure they’ll remember to recommend you to anyone in their circle looking for construction services.

Participate in Trade Shows

Attending a trade show gives you access to a huge pool of highly targeted leads. Professionals who take the time to attend are deeply interested in the products and services available there and often ready to close a deal immediately. That said, it’s critical to choose the right show for your segment of the industry and have a strategy going in. Establish your goals before you start preparing for the event.

For more tips on construction lead generation, contact Construction Monitor.

Important Points in the 2016 Safe Pipes Act

pipeline constructionHigh safety standards in construction don’t just protect building occupants, they also help protect the natural environment around us. The “Safe Pipes” Act, developed to protect the Great Lakes from fuel spills, is a good example of this.

Improved Planning for Pipeline Safety

This summer, President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016, or PIPES Act, into law.

This act will keep the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) for oil and gas transportation safety working through 2019, while also expanding the administration’s duties.

The act has given the Great Lakes the designation of “unusually sensitive area,” so that transportation of hazardous materials in the area will be subject to higher safety standards. In addition, the Secretary of Transportation, who heads the PHMSA, will now have the power to issue emergency orders for management of the pipelines in the event of an incident that suggests a threat to public health or the environment.

The PHMSA will also be required to develop regulations for the safe construction and operation of underground facilities that store natural gas.

Aging pipes and related equipment were also taken into account. The act requires the Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan watchdog agency, to review and report on risks related to the pipelines’ age and condition.

Addressing Current Threats

As production of natural gas has grown throughout the country, so too have the problems related to transporting it. Canadian Energy firm Enbridge’s “Line 5” in particular has raised concerns. This decades-old line now carries thousands of barrels of crude oil, as well as natural gas, though the ecologically sensitive Straits of Mackinac daily.

Due to the large amount of water that flows through the Straits of Mackinac, a gas or oil spill here could have disastrous consequences for the Great Lakes and surrounding towns.

Provisions in the “Safe Pipes” act were designed to prevent potential disasters like this and mitigate the effects of any accident that does occur.

To keep up-to-date on safety standards in construction, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Latest Trends in Kitchen and Bath Remodeling

Kitchens and bathrooms are probably the most functional areas of any home. Keeping up with the remodeling trends for these important rooms will give any construction company an edge over its competitors. Here are a few of the kitchen and bath remodeling trends that are driving current home renovation.

  • Simplicity of design: A lot of work is done in kitchens, and a simple, clean design makes it easier to accomplish the cooking and cleaning required in this room. Roomy countertops, flat cabinets, and easily accessible shelves are among the features that make these types of kitchens attractive.
  • Wood: Wood is returning as an appealing design feature in both kitchens and baths. Wood cabinets, especially those made of dark wood or specialty woods, are being used in both kitchens and bathrooms. Newer processes that make wood sturdier and more resistant to the effects of moisture and heat allow wood to be used as an attractive wall covering in bathrooms.
  • Universal design: Design that favors the needs of aging residents is now and will continue to be a popular trend in kitchen and bath remodeling. As the generation of baby boomers continues to age, many will want to stay in their homes, which is known as aging in place. Kitchens and baths will need to be remodeled to accommodate physical restrictions such as limited mobility and reduced eyesight. Remodeling to accommodate wheelchairs is also likely to become more common.
  • Tranquil design: Both kitchens and bathrooms can be busy places, so a recent trend is designing these areas to be as tranquil and calming as possible. This is especially true in bathrooms where some time in a soothing bath can be restorative. Simple designs, muted colors, and practical placement of fixtures contribute to this trend.
  • Open and roomy atmosphere: Open spaces are popular in kitchens and baths, created by freestanding tubs, floating vanities, strategically placed kitchen islands, and open shelving.

Construction Monitor provides up-to-date information on construction trends and current practices. Contact us today for more information on kitchen and bath remodeling trends and what they may mean for your company’s future.

What’s Trending in Landscape Architecture

landscapingModern homeowners continue to demonstrate a growing interest in making the best possible use of all available space, which is reflected by current landscape architecture trends. Information from a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), cited on the website ProRemodeler, gives an accurate view of where homeowners currently stand on both practical and decorative elements of landscape architecture.

The ASLA survey indicated that many homeowners are interested in landscape architecture features that are sustainable and good for the local environment. These include:

  • Low-maintenance landscaping: Landscaping that requires less maintenance decreases resource usage. Water, electricity and fuel for maintenance equipment can be more easily conserved.
  • Reduced lawn area: Smaller lawns require less care, which contributes to sustainability.
  • Solar-powered lights: Solar-powered lights offer excellent sources of illumination without the need to use electricity. These lights can absorb enough solar energy during the day to allow them to work reliably at night.
  • Compost bins: Composting bins are popular sustainability choices for households that want to put their waste to a practical use.

Concern over water resources and water availability drives a tendency to install landscape features that provide ways to conserve and manage rainwater and wastewater.

  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting: Water conservation and sustainability gets a tremendous boost with landscape architecture features that allow the collection and use of rainwater and graywater.
  • Permeable paving: Permeable paving allows rainwater to more easily penetrate the paving material and enter the ground below. This reduces irrigation demand by allowing more water to enter the ground. It also helps control stormwater runoff by allowing rain to penetrate the paving instead of flowing off it.
  • Drought-tolerant plants: Native and adapted drought-tolerant plants offer landscaping that requires less water. This means that demands on existing water supplies will be lower and that architectural plants can survive with less watering during droughts or periods of low rainfall.

Construction Monitor serves the construction industry with the latest data on trends and developments, including housing starts. Contact us today for more information on landscape architecture trends and how you can incorporate them into your company’s offerings.

How to See an ROI from Your Telematic System Faster

construction technologyA telematic system gives you the data you need to manage your equipment in more cost-effective ways, but there’s a learning curve to using one. By investing some time in planning how you’ll use yours, you’ll start enjoying the full benefits of a telematic system as soon as possible.

Set Clear Goals

Raw data won’t help you much if don’t know how you’re going to use it. Start defining your goals for using your telematic system by listing eight to 10 improvements you could make using the data.

Then focus in on the top three opportunities you want to take advantage of right now. Any more than that and you risk spreading your efforts too thin or getting tied up in unnecessary complexity. Once you’ve achieved your goals with those opportunities, move on to the next.

Choose an Experienced, Responsive Provider

When you’re choosing a telematic system provider, take your time to investigate each company. Find out how long they’ve been in business, who their clients are, and how many telematic boxes they’re managing.

Talk with them enough to get a feel for their level of expertise. A provider should be able to explain the benefits of a telematic system in plain English and help you understand how to use the data to improve cost savings, safety and efficiency. If they can only throw jargon and statistics at you, it’s a sign they don’t truly understand what they’re talking about.

Put Someone in Charge

It’s all too easy to collect data without actually using it to make improvements. To make sure valuable information is put to use, assign one or two people to the job of implementing your telematic project.

Your field workers are ideally positioned to make use of the data, but first they need to get it in a format they can understand. The job of analyzing data, creating reports, and getting information to the right people in the field should be the primary responsibility of at least one person.

For more guidance on realizing the full benefits of a telematic system, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Most Requested Sustainable Features in New Homes

smart appliancesAs homebuyers become more aware of how eco-friendly features can save them money and protect the environment, demand for these features is rising steadily. Including commonly requested sustainable features in new homes is one way to attract attention from informed homebuyers.

Low-E Windows

Low-E (low emissivity) windows are treated with a coating that improves their ability to reflect radiant energy. The coating holds energy in on the same side of the window it came from. In summer, the windows reflect the sun’s heat back to the outdoors. In winter, they reflect warmth back into the room.

Windows are one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat gain and loss in a house. These energy-efficient windows can reduce energy loss by 30 to 50 percent, yet only cost around 12 percent more than standard windows.

Smart Appliances

Modern technology can do a lot to make a home more comfortable and convenient, and today’s homebuyers know it. In their search for new homes, they’ve come to expect smart, WiFi-enabled appliances that can adjust to the homeowner’s needs and be accessed remotely.

One of the most cost-effective options to install is a smart programmable thermostat that offers precision control over indoor temperatures.

Smart refrigerators that allow for remote monitoring and control are another good choice. Washers and dryers with smart technology that can adjust their cycles based on the homeowner’s remote input are also among the popular sustainable features in new homes.

Alternative Energy Options

As solar, geothermal and wind energy become more accessible, homebuyers are coming to expect options like these. One way to meet this demand is by installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. The cost of solar technology is dropping steadily, making it an increasingly practical option.

Geothermal heat pumps paired with radiant floor heating are also sought after for the exceptional comfort and efficiency this combination provides. Because underfloor heating is so much less costly to install in a new construction than to retrofit, homebuyers benefit if it’s already installed.

For more tips on including sustainable features in new homes, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Understanding the Dangers of Silica Dust

silica dustBecause silica dust is nearly ubiquitous on construction sites, it’s easy to underestimate the threat it poses. By practicing conscientious silica dust safety, though, you can greatly mitigate risks of exposure without slowing down your workflow.

A Common, Yet Invisible Threat

Silica, also called quartz, is found in many construction materials, including sand, many types of rock, brick, mortar, tile, grout, drywall and asphalt. Your workers create silica dust when they cut, grind or otherwise process any of these materials.

Silica dust particles are too small to see, yet it takes only a small amount to cause health problems. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations set acceptable exposure levels at just 0.1 mg/m3.

Breathing this dust can lead to a condition known as silicosis, in which scarring occurs in the lungs and breathing becomes difficult. The condition is disabling and can be fatal.

Symptoms usually appear only after long-term exposure, but once they start, the disease will inevitably progress. There’s currently no cure. Despite the known risks, thousands of new silicosis cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Silica dust is also a known carcinogen, contributing to lung cancer.

Protection for Your Workers

Good silica dust safety practices can save your workers’ lives, and these practices are neither difficult nor expensive to implement. On every project, identify all materials and tasks that could lead to silica dust exposure and devise a plan to minimize this exposure.

Use equipment with built-in dust control features, such as vacuums or water sprays, to hold down dust. Provide respirators when necessary. Designate areas for resting, eating and drinking that are away from anywhere dust is produced. Encourage workers to practice good hygiene by changing into washable or disposable work wear, showering (or at least changing into clean clothes) before going home, and parking their cars away from dusty areas.

Another option is to reduce your reliance on materials containing silica, such as by switching to aluminum oxide or silicon carbide instead of sand for abrasive blasting.

To learn more about effective silica dust safety practices, contact Construction Monitor.

3 Must-Have Digital Strategies for More Construction Leads

shutterstock_382516216The online world of blogs, social media sites, and digital communication offers many powerful ways to attract attention and gain leads for your company. Methods for acquiring leads through the digital space take time to produce results, and they demand consistent effort and contribution if they are going to work. However, with the following three strategies, you can soon see results that can bring you more potential customers.

1. Use Social Media

Social media seems to be everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — all of these services and more have become a daily part of our lives. They provide a powerful but gradual way to built your online presence. Establish accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and the other important social media sites. Create videos and post them on YouTube. Start a blog and contribute to it regularly. Use these resources to provide useful information and, at the same time, establish your credentials as a credible expert.

2. Use Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method of publishing online content that improves the likelihood that your business website will appear on the first page of search engine results. It involves integrating specific keywords and phrases into blog posts, websites, and other content that search engines find relevant. Done properly, SEO can ensure your site appears in search results before those of your competitors.

3. Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is another method of getting attention online. You bid on certain keywords or phrases and, when search engine users enter those keywords, they’re presented ads containing them. You pay the bid amount each time someone clicks on an ad shown to them this way.

Be very careful with PPC advertising, as it can get expensive quickly, and can be ineffective if your leads are sent to ineffective sales pages once they click your ads.

Construction Monitor gives today’s construction companies the edge with up-to-date building permit data, industry insights, and suggestions for how to best harness the power of the online world. Contact us today for more information on how to use digital strategies to generate the construction leads you need.