How to Re-engage an Old Email List – Without Getting Penalized

Website Redesign or Refresh? …When to Go All in

website redesignIf your website isn’t representing your construction company well or pulling in leads effectively, it’s time to change things up. While there are situations in which a simple update is enough, other times you’ll get better results from a full redesign.

When a Redesign is Worth it

A complete website redesign involves updating both the look of the site and its underlying information architecture. You’ll get a site that’s more attractive to your target audience and easier for them to understand and use.

If you started as a small home renovation company, but you’ve been expanding into multifamily housing, a redesign can help you better target your new ideal clients.

Consider a complete redesign if your site shows any of these symptoms:

  • It looks outdated – Design trends are constantly changing and a website that looks five years out of date can give your visitors the impression your whole company is behind the times.
  • It’s not easy to use – If your site is confusing and difficult to navigate, isn’t usable on mobile devices or takes more than two seconds to load, it’s turning away potential prospects and should be reworked.
  • It’s not working for you – A site that isn’t coordinated with your current business goals, ranks poorly in the search engines or fails to bring new leads is a good candidate for a redesign.

When to Stick with an Update

If your site works correctly on both desktop and mobile and fits with your current business goals, consider a basic design refresh. Maybe you’ve changed your visual branding and need the colors, fonts, and images on your site updated to reflect that.

Maybe you could use a new functionality or two. For example, you might add a feed that displays photos of your construction work your clients have posted on Facebook or Instagram using your company’s hashtag. To gather more leads, you might have some of your best content “gated” to require readers to supply an email address for access.

How Far in Advance Should You Plan an Editorial Calendar?

editorial calendar planningAn editorial calendar can help you create more client-converting content with less effort, but it’s only helpful if you plan far enough in advance. Get your schedule right and you’ll have time to create truly valuable content about even the most complex construction issues.

Match Your Planning to Your Schedule

The farther ahead you plan your online content, the more time you’ll have to find topics that truly interest your target audience, gather information, and organize your thoughts in a way that will hold your readers’ interest while leading them towards contacting you. All this means content that attracts and converts prospects more effectively.

That said, exactly how much advance planning makes sense for you depends in part on your blogging schedule. If you publish every day, you might only be able to plan one to three months ahead. If you publish just once or twice a week, though, planning three months to a full year ahead is more reasonable.

Move Forward Gradually

If you try to plan every month down to the last detail, it’s easy to get too overwhelmed to think about anything that’s more than a month ahead. By filling in your calendar gradually, you’ll be able to plan farther ahead with less stress.

Start your editorial calendar by filling in the big upcoming events. If you want to write a post about the open house you’re going to next month and the trade show you’ll be attending in three months, put those on your editorial calendar. If you’re planning any in-depth pillar posts, put those on the calendar next.

Then, starting from the upcoming week, pencil in ideas for the topics you regularly write on, such as your restaurant construction Mondays or sustainable building Wednesdays. With this method, you’ll always have the next month or two planned in detail, but still enjoy a bird’s eye view of what you need to be thinking about for the future.

 

Why Segmenting Your Email List Matters

3 Tips for Getting Word of Mouth Referrals from Customers

word of mouth referralsWord of mouth has long been one of the most powerful forms of advertising a construction company can use, but it doesn’t happen all by itself. To really get your clients actively spreading the word about your business, you’ll need to guide them toward taking action.

Make it Easy

The less effort your clients need to put into sending leads your way, the more likely they are to do it. Start by giving your clients extra material they can hand out to anyone who might be interested. Make sure it’s material that offers real value so your clients will feel good about passing it on to their friends and business associates. It could be something as simple as a pamphlet with 10 tips for controlling costs on a commercial office building project. Beyond this, provide a simple method for sending in referrals. Offer a form on your website or mail out a form with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Reward Referrals 

The simplest option for motivating your clients to send you leads is a fixed-amount cash reward or a percentage of the profit from your new client. Alternatively, send a gift that’s personalized to your clients’ interests, such as a wine club membership or a photography class voucher. A reward like this can help strengthen your relationships by showing you care about your clients as individuals. To reduce the risk your client will forget, offer a time-limited bonus available only for leads sent within two or three weeks of their projects’ completion.

End on a High Note

The way you cap off a project is the way your client will remember you. Leave them with a positive impression and they’ll be more likely to recommend your company, even if the project hit some minor bumps along the way. When a project ends, surprise your client with a token of appreciation, such as a gift card to buy something for their new building or a set of framed photos of the building.

Increasing an Audience Starts With Great Content… but it Doesn’t End There

Valuacontent strategyble, thought-provoking content is a must for building an audience, but just throwing that content online won’t get you much attention. To gain a loyal readership that really engages with your construction company’s online content, you’ll need to put some effort into connecting with your audience.

Reach Out to Your Market

Directly interacting with people in your target audience is one of the best ways to make sure your content gets seen. Instead of just posting your own content to your social media accounts, get involved with your target readers by “liking,” replying to, and sharing their posts. When you leave a comment, make it something meaningful that will stand out.

Build a list of active blogs that cover your construction specialty and when you spot a new post that might attract your target readers, stop by to leave a thoughtful comment.

If there’s a forum where your ideal clients go for guidance on their building projects, make it a point to contribute your expertise there. Once you build a good reputation with the regulars, occasionally share links to your content when you think it might help someone.

Network with Industry Pros

Cooperating with other businesses lets you tap into existing audiences to build your own. Plumbers, electricians, and other contractors, building materials suppliers, architects and civil engineers, interior decorators and landscapers can all help get more eyes on your content.

Look for complementary businesses that share your target audience and put yourself on their radar by commenting on their blog and social media posts, and sharing their work with your audience.

After a few weeks, send a personalized email to let them know about any blog posts or other content you might have that would benefit readers. You can even involve them in your content creation by asking for a quote or conducting an interview. Offering to write a guest post is another effective way to attract their readers’ to your content in a way that benefits everyone involved.¬†

How to Effectively Use Pillar Content to Build a Brand

pillar contentPillar content, as its name implies, helps support your construction company’s image online. Used correctly, it can get the word out about what your brand stands for and attract more of your ideal clients.

Expressing Your Brand

A pillar post is a blog post that covers a specific topic in depth within around 2000 words. It aims to solve a clearly defined problem your target prospects are researching online.

Deciding which problems to write about is the first step in using your pillar posts to express your brand. If you want to be the regional go-to company for the safest medical facilities, your posts might cover issues such as improving climate control and optimizing traffic flow in these buildings. Throughout your posts, show your readers how your services can solve the problem you’re writing about.

Let your writing style reflect what your brand stands for in a way that sets you apart from your competitors. Are you the fun-loving home renovation team, the sophisticated luxury hotel specialists or the down-to-earth industrial facilities company? Whichever brand personality you go with, make sure it shines through your writing.

Getting the Word Out

No pillar content should stand alone. For each post, create five to seven shorter posts that expand on subtopics from the pillar post and link back to it. When you write new content, refer back to any related pillar posts. This keeps the focus on content that characterizes your brand while also boosting the pillar posts’ search engine rankings.

Reuse your pillar posts’ content to save time and keep your brand image consistent across everything your produce. Turn the information in your posts into email series, infographics, video scripts, and social media posts.

To reach new prospects, contact bloggers in complementary fields and let them know you have something their audience might enjoy. If your pillar content offers genuine value, chances are good you’ll find someone willing to share your work.

Building on Your Content Base to Build Your Brand

build your brand with contentYour construction company’s brand isn’t just your logo and tagline, but also the information you provide your audience. A solid base of valuable content helps your potential clients understand what your brand is all about.

Focus on Your Clients’ Needs

Start building your content base by creating five to 10 long-form blog posts that provide timeless, valuable guidance. For each one, focus on answering one of the most pressing questions your ideal client might have.

Once you have ideas on what to write about, choose a format for each post. Depending on the topic, your post might be a step-by-step how-to, a quick-start guide, a media-based post with photos and videos from your portfolio or a statistics-based post about current best practices.

Sharing stories of your clients’ successes is an especially effective way to showcase your brand’s best attributes and pull in leads. Outline a problem your client had, then detail how you solved it and what benefits your client gained from your solution.

Develop Your Content with Care

When you’re ready to write, go beyond your own knowledge and experience. Include hard data from reputable sources along with your own analysis and consider interviewing other experts. To garner the most backlinks and shares, you’ll want to aim for at least 2000 words per post, so it helps to draw in material from a variety of sources.

Throughout your content, weave in examples of what your brand stands for. If you want to be known for comprehensive home renovation services, mention the hard-to-find services you offer or describe how you’ve guided clients through the entire design, production, and construction process. Finally, remember to lead your readers toward the action you want them to take, whether that’s downloading a case study or calling you to schedule a meeting.

Once you have your first foundational content online, focus on promoting what you have, but don’t stop building your base. Following an editorial calendar can help you find time to create more high-quality content.

Why Search Engines Are Gaining Ground Over Social Media for Driving Traffic (and How You Can Benefit)

search engine marketingSocial media has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, but as the social space becomes increasingly crowded, search engines are regaining their importance. Invest a little time in optimizing your website for search and you might be surprised how quickly you can outmaneuver less savvy construction companies online.

Why Search Engines Still Matter

Far from an outdated marketing channel, search engines are a rich source of hidden opportunities. By over-focusing on social media, many companies have neglected search engine optimization (SEO) and let their rankings slip. That leaves the door open for those willing to go after lucrative search terms.

Search engine optimization also makes it easier to target your ideal construction clients. When someone’s looking for a construction company specializing in urgent care clinics, they won’t browse social media, but instead will go to the search engines to find exactly what they want.

Simple practicality is another factor. The never-ending need for fresh content means social media can be a real time sink for a business. While SEO might take several months to produce results, maintaining those results requires relatively little time and effort.

The Benefits of SEO

To take advantage of the search engines’ recovering popularity, first make sure your website looks good and works correctly on mobile. This is especially important if you target property developers, real estate investors, and other busy professionals who search on the go.

Consider your would-be clients’ most frequently asked questions and create content that provides authoritative, in-depth answers. Content like this attracts backlinks and shares that help you gain higher rankings and has the staying power it takes to hold those rankings for the long term.

To really get your site up to speed on modern trends, optimize your content for voice search. Use questions phrases such as “What is…” or “How does…” and answer the questions concisely. Make your location clear by including the name of your town, neighborhood, street, and popular landmarks.

Earn Your Audience’s Attention – Create Outstanding Content

onlne contentBecause planning a construction project is no small undertaking, your prospects come to your blog and website looking for information that will help them through the process. Shallow, generic content won’t cut it. Give your audience clear, in-depth, actionable guidance, though, and you’ll hold their attention while gaining their trust.

Useful, Original Content Stands Out

Focusing on your prospects’ interests is the first step to creating content that stands out in their minds. Keyword research, social media research, browsing your competitors’ blogs, and asking your prospects directly are all effective ways to find out what you should be writing about.

Once you know what questions your prospects want answered, set out to provide in-depth answers. To do that, you might need to conduct your own research, collect and analyze data or interview multiple experts.

By investing this kind of effort, you can give your readers valuable, unique information they can’t find on your competitors’ sites. If your commercial construction prospects want to know which office building features garner higher lease rates, your independent research on the topic is bound to attract their attention.

Develop an editorial calendar that gives you plenty of lead time to create your content. Even if you’re writing from experience, taking time to tap your memory and organize your thoughts will give you better results.

Clarity Keeps Your Readers Interested

Construction is a complex topic, so the easier you can make it for your prospects to grasp the concepts they need to know, the longer you’ll hold their attention.

For each blog post, create an intriguing headline that makes it clear what your visitor stands to gain by reading. Think from your reader’s perspective and clarify any ideas they might not be familiar with. Write in a conversational, yet professional tone and keep industry jargon to a minimum.

Good formatting also helps your readers stay focused. Use plenty of white space and keep your paragraphs short. Break up text with subheaders, bullet points, text boxes, graphics, and photos.