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.

3 Key Reasons to Use Ebooks in Your Marketing Efforts

ebook marketingThe complex, ever-changing technology of the construction industry can make it hard for your potential clients to decide which company is right for them. Ebooks help solve that problem by letting you demonstrate your expertise in a way that guides your readers toward choosing your company.

  1. Build credibility – Because the typical ebook focuses on a single, narrow topic, it gives you a chance to include facts, data, and your own personal insight to show your potential clients you know what you’re talking about. You’ll also have space to highlight client success stories. If you specialize in renovating retail spaces, you might write an ebook that helps first-time specialty store owners understand ADA accessibility guidelines and the options your company can offer for meeting them.
  2. Reach a wider audience – Offering your ebook in exchange for an email address is a good way to bring in new leads, but it’s not the only way. If your ebook solves a common problem or covers a current hot topic, chances are your prospects will pass it on to their friends and colleagues. You’ll reach potential clients who might never have known about you otherwise. To get even more eyes on your ebook, email complementary blogs and let them know you have something that could benefit their audience.
  3. Educate your prospects – When a would-be client isn’t sure exactly what they need, they’re liable to pass your company by even if you’re a perfect fit. They might know they need a new pediatrics center, but have no idea how to start working with a construction firm to plan one. With an ebook that helps potential clients in the early stages of planning, you set the foundation for a trusting relationship that will be hard for your competitors to match. Beyond just guiding prospects in the basics, your ebook can also show them how your company’s services are different and why that matters. If your pediatrics centers feature unusual, child-friendly architecture, your prospects should know.

 

How to Successfully Use Video in Your Content Strategy

video marketingVideo lets you show off your completed projects, reach a wider audience, and build a more personal connection with your potential clients. For your videos to successfully turn viewers into clients, though, they need to work with the rest of your content.

Choose Compelling Topics

Chances are, when your would-be clients are searching for videos, they’re looking to solve a problem or learn something where the visual aspect is important. Keeping that in mind when you choose video topics helps you create videos that get attention.

Your popular blog and social media posts are a good place to start looking for ideas, but also consider topics that are particularly well suited to video. Videos on how little-understood building features work or the benefits of modern building materials can enhance your existing content. Then try video tours of your completed projects or current job sites, interviews with satisfied clients, key company members, and owners of complementary businesses or a weekly Q&A with questions from your audience.

Integrate your videos with the rest of your content to bring in leads. If you create a video about eco-friendly boutique hotel construction, post your insights on green building methods on social media to attract your followers to the video. In the video itself, you might direct viewers to a related free download at your website.

Reach Out to Your Audience

To get your videos in front of your target audience, start with your website. Include an introductory video on your homepage and About page, add video tours to your online portfolio, and create a page of video testimonials. To boost blog conversions, add relevant videos to your existing blog posts. If you do weekly short videos, include them in your email newsletter.

Then share your videos on Youtube and Vimeo with complete, SEO-ed titles and description to help your potential clients find them. Make short clips for Facebook, Instagram, and Houzz, and tell your followers where they can watch the rest.

 

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.