The Importance of A/B Testing Your Email Campaigns

a/b testingIn the construction industry, where a single client can bring you thousands in profit, even a minor improvement in your email response rate can make a difference in your company’s success. A/B testing helps you find out what your email subscribers respond to best, so you can optimize your campaigns to pull in clients.

Fine-Tune Your Campaigns

A/B testing, also known as split testing, lets you compare the results of two different versions – version A and version B – of any part of an email. When you know which version garners more interest, you’ll have a better idea of how to write your future emails. Among the elements you can test are:

  • Subject lines
  • Layouts and design
  • Images
  • Personalization
  • Body text
  • Calls to action
  • Specific offers
  • Mailing times

Most email marketing platforms provide built-in tools for A/B testing. Running a few tests might show you that an offer of a free strategy session on educational facility construction gets more interest than a downloadable case study on the same topic or that your prospects respond better to Thursday emails than to Monday ones. Adjust your future campaigns to reflect this, and you can bring in new clients you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Back Your Hunches with Data

If you’ve been in the industry for a while, it’s only natural to assume you have a good feel for what your prospects will respond to. Without data to back up your assumptions, though, you could be making mistakes that are costing you clients. A/B testing gives you hard data on the open rate and click through rate of your emails, and can even track the conversion rate of your readers once they reach your website.

You’ll know for sure if including several photos in your home improvement newsletter really gets the best results or if a single great photo actually works better. When you do see an improved response, you’ll have proof of what caused it so you can reproduce your results.

Should Instagram Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

social mediaIf you don’t spend much time on Instagram, it’s easy to assume people who do are just there for the fitness models and tropical beaches. In reality, Instagram is a place people turn for inspiration on just about anything, including their future home design, remodeling projects, and even real estate investment projects.

Reach Current and Future Home Owners

As with any marketing channel, whether or not Instagram makes sense for you depends on your target market. Instagram’s demographic skews young, so it’s a good bet if you’re targeting first-time home builders or those renovating fixer-upper starter homes. Given the popularity of hashtags such as #homeinspo, it’s clear any type of home improvement service will find an audience.

On the other hand, if your target market is primarily interested in commercial and industrial building projects, such as warehouses, office complexes or retail shopping centers, Instagram probably isn’t the best place to connect with future clients.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not the platform can benefit you requires a little market research. Spend some time on Instagram browsing popular hashtags related to your specialty, such as #homerenovation, #luxuryhomes or #kitchendesign, to see if your potential clients are active there.

Market More Efficiently

Some social media platforms quickly turn into a time sink because they require several posts a day and lots of audience engagement to bring you any results. Instagram, however, is an ideal platform if you’re pressed for time. Just one or two posts a day is enough, and even less often than that can work well, too. Consistency is more important than frequency.

If you’re regularly taking good quality photos of your finished and on-going projects, your workers on the job, and day-to-day happenings at your office, you already have material to post. Write a descriptive caption, add some relevant hashtags, and you’re done. You can then work on getting your name in front of potential clients by liking, commenting, and following in your spare time. 

How to Use Storytelling to Attract New Business

storytellingIt’s part of human nature that stories hold our attention and teach us more than dry facts and data. The same holds true when you’re telling potential clients about your construction company. Storytelling helps you attract new clients by painting a clear, emotionally resonant picture of the benefits your company offers.

Celebrate Your Clients’ Successes

Before they hire you, your would-be clients want some assurance that others have had success working with you. One of the best ways to give them that is by telling the stories of your clients who’ve gone on to great things. It might be the story of the boutique hotel you built that’s now seeing above-average occupancy rates or the auto shop owner whose new warehouse has let him expand into a new line of business.

Sharing success stories like these lets your prospects envision themselves as one of your future successful clients. When they can do that, they’ll be excited to get in touch with you. When you write about your clients, with their approval, talk about the individuals involved on a personal level. People relate to people, not companies.

Share Your Hard-Won Accomplishments

Stories of overcoming obstacles are a chance to show off your skill, flexibility, and ingenuity. They tell your prospects you can handle anything their project throws at you. They also show you value transparency, assuring your prospects they can trust you to be upfront when difficulties turn up.

To really showcase your competence, tell stories that come from challenges you chose to tackle, such as building a multistory office complex on peaty clay or meeting a client’s stringent demands for environmental sustainability. Stories like these work especially well for attracting prospects with specific requirements most construction companies can’t handle.

Once you have your stories written, get them out to your target audience by publishing them on your blog, including them in your newsletter and lead magnets, and promoting them on your social media accounts.

Tactical Marketing – Getting Serious About Lead Generation

tactical marketingWhether you’re a generalist or a specialist, understanding your target market is critical to connecting with potential clients and winning more bids. Once you’ve done the groundwork, though, you need specific steps to bring in leads. That’s where tactical marketing comes in.

Tactics Make Your Strategy Happen

The term tactical marketing is used in contrast to strategic marketing. Strategic marketing is your first step in building a marketing plan. It’s about deciding who your ideal clients are, what information to present to them, and how to present that information. When you’re clear on that, it’s time to move on to tactical marketing – executing specific tasks to put your strategy into action. For most construction firms, that means using tactics such as cold calling, placing ads, and building a lead-generating website.

Strengthening Your Tactical Marketing Game

Beyond cold calling, there are a few other highly effective construction lead generation techniques worth adding to your tactical marketing plan.

Ad campaigns – Because construction services have such a long buying cycle, a single ad with only your company’s name and phone number is unlikely to get attention. A complete ad campaign, however, helps you attract leads by zeroing in on their interests. Start by creating an offer tailored to a specific segment of your target market. Publish ads that promote your offer and take prospects to focused landing pages where they can sign up.

Referral program – A structured referral program encourages word of mouth. Create a simple form you can offer your satisfied clients after you’ve helped them solve a problem and when their project is complete. Consider offering rewards for client referrals.

Strategic alliancesPartnering with businesses that offer complementary products or services lets you tap into a whole new audience. So if you specialize in warehouse construction, you might partner with a warehouse equipment company. You can create a useful giveaway, such as a tips sheet or checklist your partner can offer their clients, or even work on a joint project.

 

3 Inbound Marketing Techniques to Try Today!

inbound marketingGet your inbound marketing right and you’ll enjoy a steady stream of warm construction leads coming right to you. It might sound like a big job, but by starting with a few proven techniques, you’ll only need a little well-aimed effort to see results.

  1. Offer High-Value Gated Content – Offering free, genuinely useful guidance is one of the most effective ways to attract high-quality leads. Consider your ideal clients’ greatest challenges and create content that helps them solve it. That could be an email course on choosing features for education facilities, a webinar on budgeting for a luxury home remodel or an office construction cost calculation tool. Make this available in exchange for an email address and promote it on your website, blog, social media accounts, and elsewhere. Creating content takes time, but you can start researching ideas today.
  2. Choose Your Keyphrase Wisely – While keywords and phrases are no longer as critical as they once were, there’s still benefit to be gained by strategically optimizing for the right ones. To maximize your SEO efforts, choose just one or two moderately competitive phrases you know your ideal clients use to search for construction services online. Going after “construction company New York” might be too ambitious, but with “luxury remodel Staten Island” you have a real shot at a top ranking. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner and the Moz Keyword Explorer can give you some ideas.
  3. Optimize Your Website – At the foundation of every in-bound marketing strategy is a website that’s well optimized to turn visitors into leads. Make sure your site provides a simple, obvious path that guides visitors toward providing their contact information. On your homepage, use a clear, benefits-driven headline and include a call to action that encourages visitors to learn more. Prominently display your phone number and other contact information. Ditch the bland stock photos and use real images of your projects and team. Even minor improvements can make a noticeable difference, so there’s a lot you can do today.

How to Increase the Leads from Your Blogging Efforts

attract leads with your blogValuable content is only one component in a lead-generating blog strategy. To bring in the kind of construction leads you want most, you’ll need to zero in on your target clients’ interests, then guide them toward getting in touch with you.

Focus on Buyers

When you’re building your blog readership, it’s all too easy to make the mistake of choosing popular, highly searched-for topics, rather than the topics that will attract paying clients. You might get a lot of visitors to a post about office building depreciation, but they won’t necessarily be looking to hire a contractor. When you choose topics, consider what your ideal clients research when they’re ready to embark on a new project. If you offer commercial office construction, that might be topics such as “small office building design” or “office construction cost per square foot.”

Grab Their Emails Fast

When a potential client lands on your blog, they might love the guidance and insight you provide, but then click away and completely forget about you by the time they’re ready to hire. By offering a tempting “bribe” to sign up for your mailing list, you can capture their contact information immediately and then follow up. Your bribe could be an email course, a video series, a detailed case study or any other content, as long as it provides valuable information that addresses a specific, pressing issue your readers face.

Liven up Your Calls to Action

Attention-grabbing calls to action (CTAs) strategically placed in your blog posts are the final step in turning your readers into leads. Your CTAs should give your readers a good reason to hand over their contact information. “Sign up for our newsletter now” doesn’t cut it. Instead, try something like “Get your free mini-course on sustainable office construction” or “Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear about profitable new office building trends.” Place these CTAs prominently within your posts as well as at the end.

Using LinkedIn to Generate Construction Leads

get leadsWhether your target clients are property developers and investors or business owners in need of new facilities, chances are they’re on LinkedIn. With preparation and a little patience, you can build relationships with the professionals who use this social platform and turn them into paying clients.

Reach Out with Value

Before you do anything on LinkedIn, optimize your profile and tailor it to the interests of your ideal clients. Include a headshot, and photos and videos of your finished projects. Build up your connections, recommendations, and endorsements.

With your profile in order, start joining LinkedIn Groups where your target market spends time and aim to become a recognized contributor. Share resources with images and videos, ask thought-provoking questions, and offer actionable advice and insight.

Once you’ve earned the group’s trust, reel in potential clients with a lead magnet. Create free, high-value content, such as an in-depth blog post or video, that includes an offer for an “upgrade” with further information your prospects can receive in exchange for their email. Then share your free content with the group.

Build Your Own Group of Prospects

By founding your own group that’s tightly focused on your ideal clients, you can attract more targeted leads and have greater control over how you interact with them. If you want to work with retail property developers, you might call your group the Choice Retail Property Developers Network.

Search LinkedIn profiles and put together a list of around 500 potential leads. Contact each with a short message inviting them to join your group. Paid LinkedIn advertising, such as sponsored content and InMail, is another way to attract members. Keep your group active by contributing valuable content and interacting with your members.

When you have around 10 active members, start moving your relationships off LinkedIn. Create a free webinar aimed at helping members solve a specific, common problem. Go for around 80 percent educational content and 20 percent sales-oriented content. Then invite your whole group and network to your webinar.

Online Advertising – When Does It Really Make Sense?

online advertisingWith the rise of the internet, homeowners, property investors, and your other potential clients have countless new ways to find what they want. Sticking with print advertising alone means missing these new opportunities to reach them. If your ideal clients use the Internet, then online advertising is a sensible investment.

Extending Your Market Reach

Ultimately, online advertising makes sense if it brings you more revenue than it costs. That doesn’t mean just bringing you more of the same old clients, though. Digital advertising lets you more effectively reach the type of clients you really want so you can win more profitable projects.

If you’re moving from general commercial construction into medical facilities construction, you’ll have more ways to reach this specific target market online than through trade magazines alone. If you do remodeling and you’re tired of low-budget clients, online ads can help you zero in on wealthier, luxury-oriented homeowners.

The only time digital advertising isn’t worth it is when you know with certainty that your target clients are rarely online.

Fine-tuning Your Strategy

Paid online advertising is complex. There are search engine ads, social media ads, email ads, video ads, and native ads, and each has its own set of best practices that are constantly evolving. Because of this, advertising on the Internet only makes sense when you have a well-defined goal and a clear plan for reaching it. Without this, you’ll only waste time and money.

Before you jump in, research where your ideal clients spend time and what they’re looking for online. Are those wealthy homeowners on Pinterest browsing for sunroom ideas or are they reading blogs about renovating historical homes?

Make your ads a strategic part of your marketing funnel. Offering a lead magnet, such as a free case study or email course, will get better results than just giving your prospects a number to call. Have a plan for tracking the results of each ad so you’ll know which to continue and which to drop.