How To Formulate An Accurate Buyer Persona

buyer personaHaving a clear picture of the type of person who’s likely to hire your construction firm makes it a lot easier to reach that individual in the real world. To do its job, though, a buyer persona must be accurate.

Collect Your Data

Using hard data on your ideal clients’ demographics, psychographics, behavior, and goals is the most effective way to ensure your buyer personas reflect reality. Data from construction market research firms offers a starting point. This can tell you things such as the ages and income brackets of the average commercial real estate investor.

The more valuable data, however, will come from your own customers. Start by analyzing data your already have, such as information from your sales history, CRM system, website analytics, and reviews.

If you need more data, client surveys and focus groups can help you get it. To learn more about your ideal clients’ online behavior, such as which blogs they read and which forums they post on, take some time to browse their social media profiles. Interviewing your sales team can also turn up some interesting insights.

Get Specific

Chances are, there are several distinct types of people who hire you for construction work. Cramming all your data into one buyer persona for your entire company will only give you a muddled image that represents no one in particular.

Instead, break down and organize your data to create buyer personas that sound like real people with specific backgrounds, lifestyles, and interests. Your ideal remodeling client might be a newly married 30-year-old software developer who needs space to grow a family. On the other hand, your commercial real estate investor persona might be a 50-year-old accounting firm owner looking for more freedom in his life.

For even greater accuracy, develop several personas for each type of service your offer. One of your remodeling personas might be a newlywed while the other is an older empty-nester.

 

The Importance Of Content Planning For Your Construction Business

content planningContent marketing is an effective, affordable way to bring in construction leads online, but it only works if you publish content people want to read. With good content planning, you’ll have the flexibility and foresight you need to develop material that attracts the right audience and wins over clients.

Create Content that Matters to Your Audience

Planning ahead gives you time to create in-depth, thought-provoking content in a tone that resonates with your target audience. You’ll be able to research for interesting, useful facts, interpret data, and expand and structure your own thoughts on your chosen topics. Valuable content like this garners links and social media shares, and positions you as an expert worth doing business with.

By thinking ahead three months to a year, you’ll have a chance to publish seasonal content at the optimal times. When your potential clients want to know how spring rains and thaw might affect their construction project or whether it’s possible to build a house in winter, your content will be there to advise them.

Content planning helps ensure address your audience’s concerns and interests. When you post the first thing that comes to your mind, you risk rehashing the same topics over and over. Planning prevents that by giving you a bird’s eye view of the topics you’ve covered and plan to cover, so you can spot anything you’ve been belaboring or neglecting.

Stay On Schedule Without the Stress

Take some time to list blog and social media post ideas for a few months out and you’ll no longer have to scramble for something to write about at the last minute. The content production itself will be easier, too. When you have content themes in mind ahead of time, it’s a simple matter to repurpose your old content to create something that fits your theme.

Because you’ll always have something cued up to go out, you’ll be able to publish consistently to build and maintain an engaged audience.

 

3 Ways To Get Current Customers To Provide Construction Leads

personal referralsWord of mouth is critical for construction lead generation and your current customers present some of your best opportunities for getting the word out about your firm. To get those referrals coming in steadily, though, you’ll need to give your customers a little encouragement.

  1. Time it Right – When your client is feeling especially appreciative of your work, they’re more receptive to the idea of returning the favor by sending business your way. A few good times to ask for a referral are when your client thanks you for a job well done, after you’ve done a favor for them or gotten them out of a sticky situation, or when you’ve exceeded expectations, such as by getting a job done ahead of schedule. Be ready with a form that’s easy for your clients to fill in with their referral’s contact information. A self-addressed, postage-paid postcard they can drop in the mail later is even better.
  2. Offer a Little Extra Motivation – A referral program offering a reward for new clients is the most clear-cut way to incentivize customer referrals. For large contracts your current customers help bring in, you could even offer a cut of the profits. A cash incentive isn’t a must, though. In fact, with high-end clients, small rewards can backfire by looking trivial. Instead, when a valuable client sends you a construction lead that turns into business, thank them with a gift tailored to their preferences, such as restaurant gift card, tickets to an event or a bottle of their favorite wine. A thoughtful gift is likely to be remembered when another referral opportunity shows up.
  3. Stay in Touch – Even during on-going projects, continue building relationships with your clients to keep your firm at the forefront of their minds. Pass along useful industry news, tell them about a potential opportunity or introduce them to someone who could benefit their business. As you connect, educate your clients about the range of services you offer so they understand what kind of clients you’re looking for.

 

How An Ebook Can Generate New Customers

ebookWith so many complexities involved in a construction project, your potential clients are always on the lookout for information that will help them make better decisions. Publishing an ebook makes finding leads online easier by giving your audience the guidance they’re looking for in an easy-to-digest form.

Encourage Deeper Engagement

Blog and social media posts have their role in the process of finding leads online, but they’re also easy to skim and forget about. An ebook that offers genuinely valuable information holds your reader’s attention for longer, giving you a chance to convey the benefits of working with your firm in more depth. The better your prospects understand what you can do for them, the more likely they are to contact you about starting a project.

Because ebooks are so easy to pass around, they can help you reach potential clients who might never have heard of you otherwise. If one of your readers finds your ebook helpful, chances are they’ll pass it on to a colleague or two. That gets your firm’s name in front of new eyes, while also giving you the benefit of being recommended by a trusted friend.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

An ebook lets you dive into one specific topic, sharing helpful tips, professional insights, and up-to-date, thoughtfully analyzed data your prospects can’t easily find elsewhere. This kind of thorough, experience-based guidance showcases your expertise in a concrete way.

Ebooks geared toward providing a clearly defined benefit usually do this best. Depending on the clients you’re targeting, you might write about what they can do to ensure their construction project is completed on schedule or how they can find tenants for their in-progress commercial property.

In addition to building your prospect’s confidence in your skills, your ebook can spark ideas, prompt questions, and pique interest in new areas, any of which gives your prospect a reason to get in touch with you.

 

3 Benefits Of Planning An Editoral Calendar

editorial calendarIf the thought of producing high-quality construction blog and social media content day after day feels a little overwhelming, there’s one tool that can lighten your load: an editorial calendar. A well-planned calendar keeps your content marketing efforts on track and almost completely stress-free.

  1. Higher-quality content – Construction is a complex topic to write about. Even as an expert, you need time to organize your thoughts, conduct research, and double-check your facts. An editorial calendar lets you see at a glance what needs to be ready by when, so you can schedule your content production in stages. This way, you can create more comprehensive material that includes valuable data and input from other experts. You’ll also have time to address your prospects’ seasonal concerns, such as the pros and cons of remodeling in winter. Content like this positions you as an authority and attracts links and social media shares that put your firm in front of new potential clients.
  2. Greater Consistency – No matter how good your content, you won’t build a loyal audience if you only publish whenever you get around to it. Your prospects need to know they can rely on you for fresh, high-value information on a regular schedule or they won’t bother returning. An editorial calendar makes it easy to stay consistent. No more missing days because you were distracted or couldn’t think of anything to write. The more often your prospects come back for new content, the more likely they are to contact you about their construction project.
  3. Less stress – When all your content is planned well in advance, you’ll no longer have to scramble for ideas at the last minute or push to finish something on a tight deadline. You can create your content a little at a time, fitting the work in when it’s most convenient. Following a calendar also means no more guilt over letting yet another week go by without reaching out to your audience.

 

5 Tips for Promoting Your Website

website promotionA website that’s skillfully crafted to pull in construction leads is a key part of effective online marketing, but it isn’t much good if it sits unseen. A little strategic promotion ensures your site will have an audience to work its magic on.

  1. Use social media wisely – Social media can bring you new website visitors and boost your site’s search engine rankings, but avoid the faux pas of constantly broadcasting ads. Base 90 percent of your posts on tips, news, facts, and other non-self-promotional content and make the rest direct calls to visit your site.
  2. Get on video – Video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion are popular sources for tips and advice, so make sure your content is there for your potential clients to find. You’ll not only reach a broader audience, but also build trust and rapport in a way text alone just can’t. Video also helps you grab attention on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  3. Leverage other blogs – Publishing on the blogs of complementary businesses, known as guest blogging, introduces your firm to new audiences while giving you the benefit of another company’s endorsement. It’s an especially effective online marketing tactic if you have a less common specialty such as historic building preservation, restaurant construction or modular construction. Search online for terms such as “guest blogger” or just ask your favorite construction and real estate blogs if they accept guest posts
  4. Invest in paid advertising – Done well, paid ads can bring quick results. Google Adwords and Bing Ads let you bid on search terms. With Facebook Ads and LinkedIn advertising, you can precisely target the demographics that will see your ads.
  5. Keep publishing – The more content on your website, the better the chances of that content showing up when one of your potential clients searches for construction project tips online. A consistent publishing schedule lets the search engines know your blog is active and worth ranking highly, but more importantly, it keeps your readers coming back because they know they can expect fresh content.

 

How To Manage Your Online Reputation And Why You MUST Do It

online reputation managementJust because you haven’t been actively managing your online reputation doesn’t mean you don’t have one. In fact, you might be surprised how much is being said about your construction firm online. A little more interaction will give you more control over the conversation.

Speak Up on Social Media

Social media has become the place to go to voice complaints, share success stories, and trade tips. Chances are, your clients and partners are already there talking about their experiences with your firm. By joining the conversation, you have a chance to show your appreciation, expand on the topic, and tell your side of the story.

Managing your online reputation doesn’t require you to be on every platform, but try to have an account on the three your clients use most often. Set up Google Alerts for your company’s name, the owner’s name, and other key terms so you’ll find out when someone’s talking about you.

Own Your Search Engine Results

When someone searches for your company online, you want the first results they get to be something you’ve written yourself that presents your company in exactly the way you want. The best way to accomplish that is by regularly posting valuable content. Consider developing a few in-depth “ultimate guide” blog posts on the topics your prospects are most interested in, such as “A Complete Guide to Profiting from Modular Construction.” Content like this attracts shares and links from other blogs, which boosts its position in the search engines.

Why Online Reputation Matters

Word of mouth has always been vital in the construction industry, but now the conversation has spread out across the internet. Your online reputation will develop with or without you. Neglect it and you could find the first search engine results for your firm’s name are the only bad review you’ve ever had and your competitor’s opinion on why he’s better than you. By taking an active role in your reputation, you ensure your would-be clients see you in a positive light first.

 

How To Discover Your Potential Clients’ Biggest Challenges…

potential clientsMarketing that speaks directly to your prospects’ biggest problems is key to pulling in new clients, but before you can talk about those problems, you need to know what they are. Effective customer interaction can help you find out.

Check the Data

Market research data on construction and real estate can give you a bird’s-eye view of the challenges people in your target market are dealing with. Buying data from a market research firm is the fastest way to get the exact data you need, but don’t over look free sources such as economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the SizeUp tool from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Data from your own clients is even more valuable. Compiling and analyzing data on projects that were delayed, came in over-budget or ran into other complications can help you zero in on your clients’ most common frustrations. Data on your rejected proposals can help you spot the challenges your prospects’ might feel you didn’t address as well as your competition. Even tracking which blog posts your visitors read most often can tell you about the problems they’re trying to solve.

Strike Up a Conversation

Data can guide you in the right direction, but because your target market is particular to your business, the only real way to find out what your ideal clients think is to ask them. Holding conversations with your existing and potential clients about the challenges they face is an integral part of effective customer interaction. It provides you with valuable insight, while also showing your clients you’re truly interested in understanding and meeting their needs.

There are multiple ways you can get this done. Send out an email survey, pose questions to your social media followers, gather a focus group or invite some of your best clients to one-on-one lunches on you. Customer relationship management software with data analytics features will let you process the information you gather more efficiently.

 

3 Cool Tools To Manage Your Social Media Presence

social mediaWith everything else you have to do running a construction firm, managing your social media presence can feel like a time-consuming drain on your energy. By using software for content curation, scheduling, and analytics, you can use your time more efficiently and get better results.

  1. Buffer – Buffer is a social media management platform that lets you schedule posts to be sent out automatically. You’ll have the option of setting up a predefined posting schedule so you won’t have to calculate the best day and time every time you schedule a post. The analytics feature tracks links so you can see which of your posts interest your followers the most. Overall, it’s a user-friendly choice for managing a basic social media presence.
  2. Hootsuite – With Hootsuite, you can not only schedule content and analyze your results, but also find good content to post. Considering truly engaging content on building and real estate topics isn’t always easy to find, this can be major time saver. You’ll be able to monitor content streams by hashtag, location or keyword and easily schedule posts as you browse online. Want to get your whole team in on the firm’s accounts? Hootsuite lets you ensure only approved posts go live. If your firm is seriously invested in social media, this software will help you get the most out of your efforts.
  3. Hubspot – As a customer relationship management tool focused on social media, Hubspot lets you schedule, post, and reply to your social accounts from one simple interface. Beyond this, it also helps you with lead management by allowing you to integrate your social media with the rest of your marketing. For instance, if a prospect contacts you through Twitter asking about your design-build services, you can move them into an educational email list right from Hubspot. The platform’s analytics let you track your social media results to see what’s bringing in leads and sales. For an all-in-one tool, this is one of the most popular choices out there.

4 Ways To Reuse Existing Content To Generate Leads

repurpose contentCreating useful content on a topic as technical and specialized as construction takes a lot of effort, but it doesn’t have to be an unending slog. When you reuse existing content, you get more value from your work and more ways to reach new leads.

  1. Put it on video – Video helps you reach potential clients who’d rather sit back and listen than read through your website. Instead of creating new content for your videos, base them on the blog posts and articles you already have. End each one with a call to action that encourages viewers to get in touch. Then share your videos on sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Instagram to reach leads who haven’t found your website yet.
  2. Develop a mini-course – A blog post series covering a complex topic can be overwhelming and off-putting to some prospects. By breaking that information down into a three- or five-part minicourse delivered by email, you’ll have a better chance of getting through to them. You’ll also have a new lead magnet that encourages your visitors to hand over their contact information.
  3. Build guest posts – Having your content published on other construction industry blogs and sites is a time-efficient way to reach a new pool of potential leads. Think of a few topics you know well, contact blogs that cover those topics and ask if they’d be interested in a guest post. When you get a bite, reuse existing content by mixing and matching to put together a top-notch post fast.
  4. Create infographics – Few things are as shareable as infographics. An eye-catching infographic packed with useful, interesting data can extend your reach on social media and get your name in front of new potential leads. Choose a topic you’ve already written about and pull some related statistics, facts, and tips from your content. There are online services that let you make simple infographics, but a graphic designer can create images that better express your brand identity.