4 Tips For Building Your Brand Online Without Breaking the Budget

online brand buildingIn an era where business cards and brochures are no longer enough, your construction company needs a strong online brand to reach your clients and prove your value. That doesn’t have to mean splashing out for brand strategists and graphic designers, though. Some of the most important aspects of online branding cost nothing more than time

  1. Express your why – Your “why” is the higher purpose and shared values of your business that reach your clients on an emotional level. It’s the reason your clients choose to work with you and not your equally skilled competitor. These ideals should come across in all your online branding. If your “why” is constructing office buildings that reduce worker stress, build your branding around features for low-stress workplaces.
  2. Know your audience – Instead of defining your target clients merely as “commercial real estate investors” or “residential property developers,” aim for a deeper understanding of what motivates them beyond turning a profit. Do they invest in commercial real estate to have assets that create freedom for their family? Do they build multi-family housing because they believe in providing affordable housing for families with kids? Your branding should speak to these interests, which ideally align with your own company values.
  3. Build a community – A loyal following gives you a bigger base to draw repeat business from, more opportunities for referrals, and social proof that attracts new clients. With the broad reach it gives you, the Internet makes it easy to build a community around your brand. Share updates from your clients with your social media followers, start a Facebook group for retail property investors or run a project or challenge your audience can participate in.
  4. Get the look – Cohesive, consistent branding shows potential clients you’re a serious business that has its act together. It also improves brand recognition. Make sure your website, social media profiles, infographics, and other online marketing material use the same color palette, typography, and style of photography. Use a consistent voice for your marketing copy.

 

 

How Using an Editorial Calendar Can Simplify Your Marketing

editorial calendarWhen you’re already knee-deep in the day-to-day business of managing a construction company, keeping up on marketing can feel like a burden. With an editorial calendar, you can simplify your marketing by creating valuable content that attracts clients to you without much additional demand on your time.

A Marketing Matrix

An editorial calendar acts as a framework for your entire marketing plan, giving you a bird’s eye view of exactly what you need to publish to meet your goals.

If you’re looking for more clients interested in building educational facilities, you might decide to publish an in-depth case study of a facility your firm build. You can then use your calendar to plan out blog posts, videos, and social media posts that lead your audience toward downloading that case study.

A calendar isn’t just for your blog, either. You can also tie in your paid advertising, such as newspaper ads and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. With all your marketing efforts streamlined towards a clear goal, you’ll no longer waste energy wondering what to do or creating content your target audience ignores.

A More Efficient Production Process

An editorial calendar helps you make more efficient use of the time you spend on marketing. Without a calendar, you could waste hours every month searching for ideas and still end up publishing second-rate content because you didn’t have time to conduct research and fully develop your thoughts.

The extended overview a calendar provides makes it easier to produce content in batches. If you create a lead-generating case study about an elementary charter school your company built, you can draw on that material for the rest of that month’s planned content. By reusing the same information in different formats, such as blog posts, infographics, and social media posts, you’ll minimize the time you spend creating fresh content. Better yet, planning well in advance let’s you break your content production into manageable chunks you can fit in around your existing schedule.

3 Tips to Develop a Winning Content Strategy

content strategyA well thought-out strategy is what drives the results of your content marketing. Take time to define your audience and your end goals, and you can be confident the work you put into content creation will bring you more of the construction clients you really want.

  1. Plan toward your goal – Getting clear on exactly what you want your content to do is the first step in making that content work. If your goals is to encourage your target clients to set up in-person appointments, you’ll need content that leads them through each step of the way. Some of your content should grab their attention when they’re in the early stages of planning a project, some should help them evaluate their options, and some should aim to convert them by showing them what your company can do.
  2. Zero in on your audience’s problems – Writing any content that might interest “middle-class homeowners” or “retail chain facilities managers” in general isn’t necessarily enough to turn those readers into clients. To really pull them in, your content should aim to solve their problems. Start by developing a buyer persona for each type of client you want to attract. Outline their goals and challenges so you can tailor your content toward giving them exactly what they’re looking for in a construction company. Also consider the formats they might prefer, such as blog posts, Facebook updates or video.
  3. Create an editorial calendar – Using a calendar to plan your content production in advance gives you the time you need to create high-quality content. You’ll have time to gather data, conduct interviews, and organize your thoughts to develop the kind of in-depth content your potential clients need to see before they trust you with a major construction project. A calendar also makes it easier to ensure you’re publishing a good balance of content for each stage of your marketing funnel and that all your content works toward a common goal.

How to Build Your Email List in the Off Season

grow your email listBy using your off-season downtime to build your email list, you’ll have a group of warm leads at your fingertips when the construction season starts up again. The slow season is also a great opportunity to use list-building methods you might not otherwise have time for.

Appeal to Advance Planners

During the off season, your ideal clients are likely to be planning their next project. To grab their interest, create lead magnet content that answers the questions they might have in the early stages of planning. If you do home renovations, you might offer your prospects guidance on how to budget or how to develop a realistic timeline.

Host Webinars

Free webinars let you target specific groups, such as luxury home owners or multi-family housing investors, and help you build rapport be letting your audience hear your voice and interact with you through live chat. Because webinars carry a high perceived value, they also give your prospects solid motivation to join your email list for access. The main downside is that they take time to host and listen to. That’s why they’re perfect for the off season, when free time is more plentiful for both you and your potential clients.

Guest Blog

Having your writing published on the blog of a complementary business is a highly effective way to reach a new audience. For example, if you build warehouses, you might write something for an apparel retailer blog on the most useful warehouse features for clothing storage. Finding guest blogging opportunities and writing your posts, however, takes time you might not normally have.

So when you have a little extra time during the off season, search online for terms such as “guest blogger” and “guest poster,” and when you find a blog that accepts guest posts, shoot them some ideas on topics you could cover for them. In your guest post bio, invite readers to your website to grab a related free download and join your email list.

5 Tips for Increasing Your Social Media Presence in a Meaningful Way

social media strategy

If you want to bring in new clients through social media, just showing up isn’t enough. Instead of occasionally posting photos of your finished construction projects, aim to connect with your target clients in a meaningful, personal way.

  1. Use a natural voice – On social media, people want to connect with others on a personal level, not read announcements from faceless corporations. Stay away from formal, business-like writing and write as if you’re talking to a favorite client. Express your personality through appropriate humor, casual observations, and comments on what you’re doing that day.
  2. Share behind-the-scenes images – Candid photos of your staff at work or (with permission) your clients enjoying their new property let your followers get to know the people behind the logo. A photo of your builders taking a break on site shows your company’s human side, but also demonstrates your dedication.
  3. Post consistently – Your potential new clients have little reason to follow or interact with you if they never know when you’ll be around. Find a posting schedule that works for you and stick with it. Create an editorial calendar that lays out all your social media posts for a month or more ahead. This way, you’ll never miss a day because you couldn’t think of anything to post, but you’ll still have space for spontaneity.
  4. Help, don’t just sell – Posting things that truly benefit your audience will keep them coming back as well as build their trust in your expertise. Offer your own tips, advice, and insight. Share news, research, infographics, and other material they might find useful. If someone asks you a question, respond promptly.
  5. Build relationships – Focus on building real relationships with potential clients, not just increasing your follower count. You’ll benefit more from 100 followers who genuinely want to work with you than from 1,000 who just like pretty home renovation pictures. Start by commenting on posts instead of just “liking” them, asking your followers questions, and searching for questions you can answer.

What Role Should Search Engine Optimization Play in Your Website Design?

Search Engine Optimization in website design

Presenting your company as reliable and skilled in your chosen construction specialties isn’t the only job your website has. It also has to rank well in the search engines so your ideal clients can find you. To do that, it needs to do more than just look good.

Coding for The Search Engines

Search engines only index and rank what they can see, and they don’t see websites the way humans do. They can’t read images or video, they don’t understand Java, and they can’t find webpages that aren’t properly linked.

Hiring a professional designer who can write correct code is the first step in getting an optimized design. Correctly formatted HTML and CSS, the languages used to create websites, is easier for the search engines to understand and rank. Messy code doesn’t always make a difference in a site’s appearance, but it will make a big difference to the search engines.

All images of your projects should be optimized to load fast and labeled with alt text and descriptions. Full, descriptive captions are a must. If you have a page of images of the hotels you’ve built, describe the location, design features, public areas such as meeting rooms and lounges, construction challenges involved, and anything else your potential clients might beĀ  searching for.

Designing for Easy Navigation

In addition to good content, logical information architecture is a critical part of your website design.

Organizing content in the classic “silo structure,” with main category pages supported by subcategory pages, helps search engines decide what your site is about. Breadcrumb navigation makes it easier for the search engines to understand your site’s structure and find all your pages for indexing. For example, on a commercial construction company site, a navigation path that runs “commercial construction > commercial office construction > Class A office construction” ensures the Class A office page is properly indexed.

On individual pages, optimal formatting with headings, subheadings, and anchor tags (jump links) helps the search engines rank your site.

How to Measure the Success of an Email Campaign

email metricsNew clients are great to have, but they aren’t the only way to measure the success of an email campaign. Other, subtler signs also give you clues on how to optimize your campaigns for even better results.

The Big Impact Metrics

After the number of new clients your campaign brings, your conversion rate is your most important metric to measure. This is the percentage of people who received your emails and did what you hoped they would, such as download your free whitepaper or sign up for a strategy session. Most email platforms integrate with common analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to let you track your conversion rates.

Revenue per email, your total revenue divided by the number of emails delivered, is another important consideration. At times, even if your open rates and click-throughs fall, but your revenue per email is up, your campaign is still a success. Maybe you’ve started focusing on luxury homeowners for renovation work, dissuading much of your existing list, but winning more valuable clients. To calculate this number, you’ll need to directly relate new contracts to your email campaigns.

Subtler Signs of Success

What your readers do before reaching your website also tells you how well your emails are performing. One metric to watch here is your open rate. Above 30 percent is perfect and you’re doing well.

If it’s lower than 20 percent, you probably need to improve your subject lines or choose topics that are more relevant to your readers. Segmenting your list can help. By putting, for example, your renovation prospects and commercial office construction prospects on separate lists, you can send more relevant, interest-specific emails to both.

Next, pay attention to your click-through rate, the percentage of people who click a link to your website. Around 5 percent is average.

Your email platform can track these metrics for you. If you’ve already sent out of a few campaigns, reviewing your data for patterns and outliers can help you spot what’s working and what isn’t.

 

Analyzing Website Metrics Can Give You an Advantage

analyzing website metricsWith all the work you put into creating and promoting your website content, it only makes sense to keep tabs on how effective that content is. By analyzing your website metrics, you’ll learn exactly how well your site is connecting with your ideal construction prospects.

Why Website Metrics Matter

Your website analytics tell you how your audience is reacting to the content you give them so you can see whether or not you’re on track toward bringing in more clients. If you thought your target audience of real estate investors wanted to read about multi-family housing, but your analytics data show they’re more interested in your articles on commercial office buildings, you can adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Analytics help guide your promotion efforts, too. Maybe you think your hours of interacting on Facebook should be paying off, but the data tell you most of your prospects are coming from Instagram. With that information, you’ll know to shift your efforts.

Metrics to Watch

Focusing on the most informative website metrics helps you optimize your research time.

  • Traffic – This is the raw number of visitors to your site. Watching this number tells you how fast your audience is growing. It helps you spot spikes and dips caused by changes in your content or promotion strategy.
  • Traffic sources – Data on where your visitors are coming from show you how effectively your chosen promotion methods are working.
  • Top pages – Stats on which of your pages get the most visitors tell you what your readers are coming to your site for. If your blog post offering eco-friendly home renovation tips is popular, it’s worth expanding on that topic with more in-depth posts.
  • Conversion rate – This is the percentage of people who took a specific action on a page, such as signing up for your mailing list, downloading a free guide or filling out a contact form. It shows you how effective each page is at bringing you leads.

 

Planning Your Content Strategy Blueprint is Cruicial

content strategyThe content you publish online helps you attract new construction clients by showcasing your skills and positioning your company as a source of expert guidance. To get the full benefit of content marketing, though, you need a strategy to ensure all your content works together to turn casual browsers into clients.

Content that Gets Results

Without a plan in place, it’s all too easy to whip up whatever content you think might interest your target audience. This haphazard approach often leads to a random collection of blog posts that does little to convert clients. With a clear content strategy, you’ll be able to create the exact types of content you need to guide your readers from one stage of the buying cycle to the next. You’ll develop an organized body of content with each piece working together toward a goal.

If you build warehouses, you might attract potential clients with introductory content on how to tell when a business needs a new warehouse or what to consider when planning one. This content then leads your readers into the research stage with more in-depth material, such as tips on prioritizing warehouse features. Here you might invite them to join your email list or download a lead magnet. That content, in turn, encourages your readers to contact you about starting their project.

A Broader Reach

Having a strategy for what to do with newly created content helps you get your work in front of as many potential clients as possible. Your strategy guides you on how and where to share your content to reach your target audience and specific goals.

If your content strategy involves offering home renovation inspiration, you might choose Houzz, Facebook, and Instagram for promotion. Then after you publish a blog post, you’ll know to pick an image and caption from the post to share with your social media followers instead of sitting there wondering what to do with your new content.

Protect Your Social Media Reputation in 3 Steps

reputation management

When your would-be clients are considering doing business with you, review sites and social media are often the first places they turn to check your reputation. By taking steps to maintain a good social media reputation, you’ll assure your prospects they can trust you with their construction project.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

Populating your social media accounts with helpful, knowledgeable posts does a lot to establish and maintain your reputation as a skilled expert. Fill in your profile completely with your firm’s specialties, how long you’ve been in business, any awards you’ve won, and other signs of reliability. Use a real person’s photo, rather than a company logo.

Then show off your expertise by creating posts that truly benefit your target audience. Share helpful tips, thoughtful insight, trend alerts, news with your own commentary, and valuable resources. Intersperse these with low-key promotional posts such as photos of your finished building projects, thoughts on problems you’ve solved, and quotes from happy clients.

Engage with Your Audience

By interacting with others on social media, you show anyone visiting your profile that you care enough to offer your help and support. You also give potential clients a sense of your personality. Both these factors create a positive first impression and support your good reputation.

Use the search function and hashtags to find posts by people in your target audience and those in complementary businesses, such as building materials suppliers and tradespeople. Then “like,” comment on, and share their posts when you can.

Monitor Your Name

Use Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts or a similar service to keep tabs on your company name and name of the owner or other representative employees.

When someone posts a positive comment about you, show your appreciation. When a complaint arises, respond with a genuine offer to resolve the problem. Even if you can’t please that one unhappy client, you’ll protect your reputation by showing future prospects you made an honest attempt and didn’t ignore the issue.