Is Linkbuilding Dead?

linkbuildingLinkbuilding has been an important part of website promotion since the inception of the Internet. As old-school as it might sound, though, with the right approach, it’s just as useful now as it was years ago.

Links Get You Found

The links pointing to your site are still a major ranking factor in most search engine’s algorithms, but the way those algorithms treat links is constantly evolving. A decade ago, you could buy links on any site, no matter how low quality, and those links counted in your favor.

Since Google’s 2012 Penguin update, though, only links on high quality websites help you. So while spammers might consider linkbuilding dead, real businesses can still benefit. The more quality link your site gets, the higher it will rank and the more potential clients will find you when they search.

The links you get should come from well designed, construction-related websites that host truly valuable content. If you specialize in shopping center construction, a link from a commercial property developers’ website will help you, but one from a women’s fashion directory won’t. If you do guest posting, aim for high-ranking, topic-focused blogs, not those that accept articles on anything from anyone.

Building Links Builds Relationships

The method of using a robot to spam your link to every comment section and directory out there is definitely dead. To build valuable links nowadays, you’ll need to invest time in reaching out to other business owners, bloggers, and influencers.

As you do, you’ll not only pick up links to your site, but you’ll also start building long-term relationships with professionals who can further promote your work. If you convince the owner of a blog for hospitality property developers to link to your in-depth post on wellness hotels, they might later decide to quote you or even interview you on the topic. From there, you might collaborate on content or even develop a referral agreement.

A/B Testing is Essential for a Successful Facebook Ads Campaign

a-b testingFacebook ads might be a relatively cheap way to reach your ideal construction clients, but running a campaign is still an investment of time and money. By A/B testing your ads, you’ll get clear data showing you which ads are worth investing more in and which are best deleted.

Running Ads That Meet Your Goals

A/B testing, or split testing, lets you compare the performance of two different versions of an ad. In order to compare, though, you need to decide exactly what kind of performance you’re looking for. What makes an ad the “best” isn’t always the number of click-throughs it gets. Your most-clicked ad might not actually be meeting your business goals.

If you’re running a brand awareness campaign to let your target audience know you’re the most experienced restaurant construction specialist in the area, your goal might be to get as many shares as possible. For an email list building campaign, however, the ad that brings the most sign-ups is the winner, even if it doesn’t get the most clicks overall.

Collecting Valuable Data

A/B testing works best when only one variable of your two Facebook ads is different. This way you’ll know exactly what caused one to outperform the other. You might find the ad with a picture of a finished building gets more clicks than one showing a project in progress. So if you’re comparing two different photos or a photo versus a video, use the same text. If you compare two texts, use the same images.

To collect data on your ads, you’ll need URLs you can tell apart in your reports. Google Analytics UTM tracking parameters allow for advanced tracking, but a link shortener such as bit.ly or tinyurl.com will work for basic tracking.

Testing both ads equally keeps your data accurate. Run one ad for at least three days, then hide it and run the alternate version at the same amount of time on the same days.

Using Twitter Cards the RIGHT Way for Lead Generation

attract leadsTwitter might not be the most popular social media platform, but with more than 300 million users, it still holds a lot of potential for connecting you with new construction clients. By enabling Twitter Cards, you’ll have more space to show your followers you have what they’re looking for.

Make Your Tweets Intriguing

While Twitter Cards let you include a lot more information than the standard 280-character tweet, the default Twitter Card shows only a “View summary” link at the bottom. Because that might be all that shows when your blog readers post or re-tweet your content, your tweets should offer strong motivation to click that link. Just announcing the services you offer won’t cut it.

If your goal is to bring in leads, enabling Twitter Cards on your free lead generation content is a good way to do it. When you share the link, include a compelling comment in the tweet text section.

It might be a clear benefit such as “Save $5000 on your home renovation” or something more curiosity-piquing such as “We were surprised to discover this.” Then use the card’s description section to outline the main benefits your lead magnet offers.

Choose Eye-Catching Images

Images grab attention and express ideas quickly, so they’re great for attracting readers back to your website. The clickable images on Twitter Cards are even more effective.

To get the most out of your images and videos, skip the ordinary pictures of completed buildings and try close-ups of striking architectural elements, quick video tours, highlights compilations, timelapse videos of projects or visually powerful graphics. If you do renovations, use dramatic before and after pictures.

Choose images with a 2:1 ratio and a size of at least 300 to 157 pixels. Use the Twitter Card Validator to make sure your card isn’t grabbing your logo or headshot instead of the image you want. Finally, include a text description both for the search engines and for the visually impaired.

Why Title Quality Can Make or Break Your Blog Success

The first impression your would-be readers get of your blog posts comes from your titles. Settle for bland, ambiguous titles and you’ll struggle to grow your readership. Invest some time into crafting descriptive, attention-grabbing ones, though, and you can win readers who turn into loyal clients.

The Right Kind of Attention

When reading online, people tend to scan, so you only have around three to five seconds to catch your readers’ attention before they’re off to something else. To stop readers in their tracks, a blog post title must convey the topic of the post quickly and clearly.

As a title, “Eco-friendly Home Features” is so vague a reader can’t really tell if the post is relevant to their interests. “Construction Features for a More Energy-Efficient Home,” however, stands out from the crowd by stating exactly what readers stand to gain.

Blandly descriptive blog titles aren’t enough, though. Your titles also need to spark interest. While you can do that by stirring a controversy or offering entertainment, it’s often easiest to promise a benefit. “Trends in Commercial Office Construction” might sound like a nice read, but “Emerging Office Building Trends Tenants are Paying Top Dollar For” is a lot more compelling.

A Wider Audience

Intriguing titles gain more traction on social media, letting you reach whole new audiences. Your target prospects are more likely to share an appealing title than one their followers will scan right over. The same thing goes for blog posts your readers share by email. A boring title is likely to be ignored, but if the title sparks the recipient’s interest, they’ll click no matter who sent it.

Good titles also make it easier for your potential clients to find your blog in the search engines. This isn’t so much about choosing popular keywords as it is about being specific. You’ll have a much better chance of ranking well for a narrowly defined term such as “energy-efficient roofing options” than for a broad term such as “eco-friendly homes.”

Using Emotional Advertising to Attract New Business

emotional advertisingWhen your potential clients are looking for a construction company, facts and data aren’t the only things they consider. How they feel about your company also matters. By appealing to emotion, you can create an immediate connection with new prospects that makes them easier to convert to clients.

Build Positive Associations

Shock and anger might grab our attention in the short term, but ultimately we’re more drawn to things that make us feel good. Showing your prospects the benefits of doing business with you is more likely to win them over than trying to scare them with horror stories about your competition.

If you build hospitals, you can associate your work with feelings of vitality, serenity, and hope. In your advertising, show how your family-friendly public areas evoke a sense of calm or how your flexible design approach allows for future technological advances that give new hope to both patients and staff.

If you specialize in commercial office buildings, aim to inspire feelings of satisfaction and excitement. Talk about how companies love to rent your buildings because their employees are happier and more efficient there.

Reflect Your Audience’s Values

To really connect with your prospects on an emotional level, you need a clear understanding of their values and beliefs. The emotions you evoke in your ads and how you choose to evoke them tell your prospects whether you really “get” them or not.

If you’re targeting start-up owners in need of their first office building and you know they want to be seen as bold and visionary, you might focus your ads on the pride they’ll feel bringing clients to the innovative office your firm built. If you work with property developers primarily interested in financial independence, it makes sense to talk about the satisfaction they’ll get owning an office building high-paying, long-term tenants love.

By appealing to emotions your prospects want to feel, your ads seem less like ads and more like messages from a like-minded group your prospects will be happy to connect with.

Can Vlogging Help Your Construction Business Grow?

vlogIf writing blog posts sounds like a chore, vlogging can give you a more efficient and enjoyable way to get the word out about your construction company. Vlogging, or video blogging, helps you build a stronger connection with your target audience while also reaching new potential clients.

Build Relationships That Attract Warm Leads

The sense of familiarity video fosters is even stronger when those videos come on a consistent schedule. Unlike sporadic videos, a vlog offers continuity that encourages your viewers to keep coming back. You can share ongoing updates on a current building project, develop a series on solutions for common problems or do regular Q&A sessions. You’ll be building relationships as you educate your viewers about the benefits of working with your company.

Before long, they’ll feel like they know you. When they’re ready to start their project, your company will be first on their list because they already see you as someone they’ll enjoy working with and, more importantly, as a trustworthy expert.

Reach a Wider Audience

Because videos are so much easier to digest than blog posts, people love to share them. Better yet, the people they share with are more likely to actually watch a quick video than to read through an entire blog post.

Create a video series on how your company builds distinctive, energy-efficient apartment buildings renters love, and chances are some of your viewers will pass the link on to other residential property developers they know. Not only will you reach new prospects this way, but you’ll also have the benefit of coming recommended by a trusted colleague.

Your videos will let that potential client see your work in action and get a sense of who you are as a person, making them far more likely to remember you than if they’d read a blog post. This is particularly true in construction where video can demonstrate your abilities more clearly and persuasively than words.

Why Marketing in the Off-Season is Critical to Building Your Brand

top of mind awarenessBuilding a brand isn’t something you can do overnight. If you want to give your target prospects a clear idea of what your construction company stands for, you’ll need to keep your brand in front of them year-round.

Earn Top of Mind Awareness

Memorability is one of the most valuable benefits a strong brand identity brings your company. Your brand sets you apart from generic general contractors and draws your ideal clients to you. Maybe you’re known as the eco-friendly company that publishes funny yet practical green home renovation tips on social media or the medical facilities specialist that sponsors training seminars for clinic staff.

Creating this kind of memorability requires consistency. Drop off the map over the winter and your would-be clients might not remember you exist, much less what your brand promise is. Stay in touch, though, and you’ll be the first company they think of when they’re ready to start a new project in spring. The work you do to build your brand over the off-season, whether it’s getting your logo seen at events or publishing a series of infographics, keeps your company’s name at the forefront of your prospects’ memories.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

Building your brand’s image in the minds of your potential clients takes time. To really understand what your company is all about, your prospects need to see your marketing repeatedly. By marketing during the off-season, you’re giving yourself more time to educate your prospects about what your company offers, prove your skills, and develop a rapport.

When the construction season comes around again, you’ll have an established relationship with people who really understand the benefits of working with you and who like your team on a personal level. The emotional connections you’ve built through long-term branding fosters a loyalty that isn’t easily undone. That puts you miles ahead of any competitors who wait until spring to start battling for attention along with everyone else.

How Thinking Outside the Box Can Help Your Online Marketing

think outside the boxNo matter how specialized your construction company, chances are you have competition that’s marketing online to the same audience. Instead of spending more on ads to outcompete them, outmaneuver them with a little creative thinking.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Attention spans online are short. Ads are largely ignored and most blog posts given little more than a quick scan. To spark your ideal clients’ interest, you need to offer something fresh that’s laser-targeted to their needs. Thinking outside the box lets you find new approaches your audience doesn’t see every day.

Take a second look at the reasons your clients choose to work with you, develop more detailed buyer personas to learn about their habits, and look outside the construction industry for inspiration. If your clients appreciate the level of personal attention you offer, market through limited-attendance webinars. If they have long commutes, produce an industry-specific podcast to give them something to listen to on the way. Marketing to young families? Create a “Kids’ Corner” for your website.

Break into New Markets

Creative thinking can help you spot potential clients you’ve been overlooking. While this could mean entering a whole new sector, such as small office construction when you’ve been focusing on retail construction, it can also mean targeting subniches within your current specialties. Maybe you discover there’s a growing demand for storefront remodeling that could be even more profitable than the retail buildout services you usually offer.

To uncover new possibilities, re-evaluate the analytics data from your website, email list, and advertising campaigns with an open mind. Go through any client surveys and comments you have, too. Pay close attention to what your audience has shown interest in and what they’ve been asking for.

This process also helps you define your ideal clients more clearly. By targeting narrowly defined, overlooked groups, you can improve the cost-effectiveness of your search engine and social media advertising and the efficiency of your search engine optimization.