Can I Really Automate My Marketing?

marketing automationMarketing that runs on autopilot might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not totally unrealistic. With planning, some essential marketing processes can be set up to bring you leads while freeing up your time.

Automate the Basics

Blog posting – A consistent publishing schedule is a big part of what gets your blog ranking in the search engines where your would-be clients can find it. Most blogging software lets you set up multiple posts and schedule each to be published later automatically.

Email marketingEmail drip campaigns let you nurture your relationships with prospects and move them down your sales funnel without having to write new emails every week. They’re ideal for staying in touch through the long buying cycles typical in the construction industry.

Social media posting – Social media management tools let you set up posts to be published on multiple platforms days or even weeks in advance. Make sure each post is correctly formatted for each platform and remember to interact with your audience in real time, too.

Referral marketing – Because construction is largely a referral-based industry, it makes sense to let modern technology help out here. With event-triggered emails, you can automatically send your clients a referral request at key moments, such as after they sign a contract or when their project is complete.

Analytics – Digital marketing analytics tools integrate with your website, email, and social media profiles to collect and compile data on your campaigns so you can see your results at a glance.

Plan Ahead

To really make marketing automation work for you, create an editorial calendar and produce your content in batches. If you want to promote your retail store construction services in the coming month, you might write four blog posts on different aspects of retail construction, such as floor plans and environmentally friendly materials. From those posts, you can pull related tips and images that showcase your retail projects for social media. Load everything into your automation tools and it will go out on schedule all month.

The Key to Unlocking Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

inbound marketing strategyInteresting, informative content is the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy, but to unlock the true power of that content, you need a well- thought-out plan.

Turning Browsers into Buyers

The goal of inbound marketing is to attract people from your target audience, prove your value, and convert your readers into clients. So while your content should be high quality, everything you publish also needs to have a specific function that’s part of a larger plan.

That larger plan is your marketing funnel. Organized in a marketing funnel, your content becomes a clear path that guides your prospect every step of the way toward becoming your client. It takes your prospect from seeing your social media post to joining your email list to eventually signing a contract.

Without a funnel, you’ll end up with a scattershot approach that wastes the power of your content. Your dream data center client might love your video on critical cooling equipment they found while searching YouTube, but if that video doesn’t give them an incentive to visit your website, you might still lose them forever.

Creating a Powerful Inbound Marketing Funnel

Your funnel should be based on how your ideal clients go about researching their building projects and choosing construction firms. Consider what information they’ll be looking for at each step in the process, then create content that answers their questions while leading them closer to becoming your client.

Start by attracting their attention with SEO-ed blog posts as well as photos, videos, tips, and infographics on social media. From there, convert them into leads by encouraging them to pass along their contact information. For example, in a Facebook post about shopping center renovation, you might offer a free in-depth ebook on minimizing disruption to tenants in exchange for an email address. Next, move on to closing the sale. That free ebook might lead your prospect to an email drip campaign that offers more guidance and showcases your shopping center clients’ success stories.

 

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.

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.

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.

Earn Your Audience’s Attention – Create Outstanding Content

onlne contentBecause planning a construction project is no small undertaking, your prospects come to your blog and website looking for information that will help them through the process. Shallow, generic content won’t cut it. Give your audience clear, in-depth, actionable guidance, though, and you’ll hold their attention while gaining their trust.

Useful, Original Content Stands Out

Focusing on your prospects’ interests is the first step to creating content that stands out in their minds. Keyword research, social media research, browsing your competitors’ blogs, and asking your prospects directly are all effective ways to find out what you should be writing about.

Once you know what questions your prospects want answered, set out to provide in-depth answers. To do that, you might need to conduct your own research, collect and analyze data or interview multiple experts.

By investing this kind of effort, you can give your readers valuable, unique information they can’t find on your competitors’ sites. If your commercial construction prospects want to know which office building features garner higher lease rates, your independent research on the topic is bound to attract their attention.

Develop an editorial calendar that gives you plenty of lead time to create your content. Even if you’re writing from experience, taking time to tap your memory and organize your thoughts will give you better results.

Clarity Keeps Your Readers Interested

Construction is a complex topic, so the easier you can make it for your prospects to grasp the concepts they need to know, the longer you’ll hold their attention.

For each blog post, create an intriguing headline that makes it clear what your visitor stands to gain by reading. Think from your reader’s perspective and clarify any ideas they might not be familiar with. Write in a conversational, yet professional tone and keep industry jargon to a minimum.

Good formatting also helps your readers stay focused. Use plenty of white space and keep your paragraphs short. Break up text with subheaders, bullet points, text boxes, graphics, and photos.

Using Case Studies To Build Credibility

case studiesWhen a potential client is learning about your construction firm, the content you publish is a big part of how they judge your credibility. By showing exactly how you’ve solved a client’s tough problem in the past, a case study makes your reliability clear.

Show off Your Successes

Few types of content demonstrate your real-world problem-solving skills better than case studies. A case study backs up your claims of expertise so well because it’s essentially a client success story with an in-depth description and hard evidence to prove how you helped your client overcome a problem and reach their goals.

The biggest challenges your firm has faced make ideal case studies. Write about that tricky second-story addition you built on an older home, the boutique guesthouse you built in a densely forested area or how you sourced sustainable building material for a demanding client.

When your prospects see how adeptly you were able to analyze your client’s problem, devise and evaluate potential solutions, and then put your chosen solution into action, your credibility becomes undeniable.

Back Up Your Marketing Claims

Integrating case studies into your marketing lends credence to your claims of expertise. Feature them on your home page to let your visitors read about a real person who saw success working with your firm. This works well if you have widely divergent specialties, such as home remodeling and educational facility construction. When you develop sales presentations, include case studies to let your results speak for themselves.

Case studies are rife with ideas and data that can inspire blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts. Using your case studies as a jumping-off point for new content helps you get more use out of your existing material and draws more attention to the case studies themselves.

Case studies make ideal lead magnets, too. Put together a video tour or photo essay on a finished project, then offer the related case study in exchange for an email address.

 

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.

 

How To Make Content The Cornerstone Of Your Marketing Strategy

content marketing strategyBecause traditional ads tend to get lost in the shuffle online, valuable content is an essential component of an effective marketing strategy. If you plan to base your marketing on content, first spend some time determining what, when, and where you’ll publish.

Focus on Your Audience’s Interests

For your online content to do its job of attracting your ideal clients and convincing them to work with you, it must be tailored to your audience’s needs. Aim to provide real benefits. Your content might get your readers up to speed on new construction trends, help them understand the differences between certain types of building material or explain complex regulations.

Start by creating content that addresses the most common questions you receive. Look at the content you’ve already published, too. Which blog posts have received the most comments and which social media posts see the most likes, shares, and replies? Use polls, surveys, and simple direct questions to ask your website visitors and email list readers what they want to learn more about. Invest in keyword research software to find the phrases your potential clients search for.

Develop a Publishing Plan

An effective marketing strategy demands consistency and that consistency is easier to maintain when you work from an editorial calendar. Create a calendar that covers your:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Email list
  • And social media profiles

Be sure to also include a balanced mix of text, images, and video. Maximize your efforts by repurposing your content for different platforms. Your Instagram images can provide inspiration for a blog post. The information in that blog post can become the basis for a video.

Aim to plan at least three months ahead if not farther. That gives you time to develop seasonal content as well as content related to upcoming events. Using post scheduling software will save you time, but tailor your posts to each platform.

Valuable content is an excellent basis for an effective marketing strategy, but you’ll need to stay consistent and focus on your audience’s needs to get the best results.