Create the Right Content for Your Market and Win More Deals

Content marketing attracts new customers by helping people solve problems they’re having related to your service’s buying cycle. Do it right, and your would-be customers will find you faster and have more reason to choose you over your competition.

Research Your Market

To create content your target customers want to read, you need to know what they’re planning. Building permit data can give you a lot of insight into what your local homeowners and property developers are up to. For example, you might find quite a few kitchen renovation permits have been issued recently in middle-class neighborhoods. Knowing this, you can assume these homeowners are in the market for new, mid-range countertops, cabinets, and appliances.

If you sell one of these products, you might create content on choosing budget-friendly options that stand up to wear. If you’re a general contractor who handles renovations and remodeling, content on prioritizing expenditures and planning a kitchen layout are good bets. As your potential clients research their projects online, they’ll find your content and come to see you as the kind of helpful, knowledgeable provider they want to work with.

Focus on Buyers

It’s a common mistake to focus on topics that attract the most visitors, whether or not those visitors are potential buyers. To avoid this, consider the topics your ideal customers will research as part of the buying process. Think through the questions and problems they might have, and the decisions they’ll need to make. Then create content that provides valuable guidance on those topics. While this level of focus might bring you fewer visitors overall, the visitors you do attract will be more profitable.

If you’re a roofing contractor or roof truss manufacturer, an article on the history of roofing styles in early New England might attract plenty of architecture students, but few paying clients. Change that to The Pros and Cons of Common New England Roof Styles, though, and you’ll bring in people planning a new build or a roof replacement.

For more tips on creating content that attracts your ideal customers, contact us at Construction Monitor.

How to Effectively Use Interactive Content Marketing

Publishing dry technical content isn’t the only way to teach your website visitors about your construction services. By offering content that requires their active participation, you’ll keep your prospects engaged and teach them about your services in a clearer and more memorable way.

Make it Fun

The more enjoyable you can make learning about your business, the more time your would-be clients will spend doing it. Quizzes and tests are one of the simplest ways to do this. Pick a topic your audience cares about and help them check how informed they really are. Your quiz can cover something basic, such as knowledge of hotel construction vocabulary or a more complex topic such as financing options.

Assessments are another way to get your prospects actively learning. Like quizzes, assessments highlight problem areas in a way that encourages your prospects to get in touch with you. To pique curiosity, pose a question, such as “How well are you prepared for your home renovation?” or “Is your commercial property development business missing out on profits?”

Make a Personal Connection

By letting your prospects hear and communicate with you in real time, webinars help you build a stronger rapport and establish your credibility. They’re perfect for generating high-quality warm leads. To keep your prospects interested, design your webinar to solve a pressing problem or help participants reach a concrete benefit. Offer actionable guidance based on your own experience and hard data, but leave time for audience questions. If you’re targeting retail store owners looking to renovate, you might offer pointers on how to increase sales with a better store layout.

Don’t have time to develop a webinar? Try creating short interactive videos that feature you and your company’s work, and include rich media tags, clickable hotspots, polls, and quizzes. You’ll need a video editor that can add these features, but many video hosting services, such as Youtube and Vimeo, offer at least basic options for creating interactive videos.

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar

content calendarConstruction projects don’t always lend themselves to awe-inspiring Instagram pictures, so getting the most out of social media takes some planning. With a well-organized social media content calendar, you’ll always have something to post that rewards your effort.

Clarify Your Goals

Before you plan your approach to social media, decide exactly what you’re trying to do with it. Your goals influence both what you post and how often. Is your main objective to increase brand awareness, improve your reach or bring in leads? For example, daily posts about a home remodeling social media challenge you’re running are likely to help more with brand awareness than with lead generation.

Define Your Schedule

No single posting schedule is right for every company and every platform, so spend some time researching the schedule that best suits your goals. If you want to attract warehouse construction leads from Facebook, it’s enough to publish a few weekly or even monthly high-value posts, such as data-backed tips on managing cold-storage construction costs. If your goal is brand awareness, you might share lighter content, such as striking before-and-after pictures, as often as twice every weekday. Consistency is critical, so choose a schedule you can stick with. Include time for interacting with people in your target audience by sharing, commenting on, and “liking” their posts.

Plan Your Posts

When you’ve settled on a posting schedule for each platform, decide what type of content you want in each time slot: text, images, links, and/or videos. For efficiency’s sake, aim to plan at least a month out.

If you’re trying to generate leads, you might use a case study as a lead magnet and promote it on social media using interesting facts, helpful tips, and eye-catching photos from that case study to encourage potential clients to download it. If you specialize in home additions and want more brand awareness among growing families, you might plan a series of funny or emotional videos aimed at getting shares within that audience.

 

How a Slide Deck Can Help You Showcase Your Value to Potential Clients

slide deckSlide deck presentations don’t have to be boring. With good organization and a little creativity, you can turn your presentations into highly effective tools for convincing prospects of the value you’ll bring to their construction plans.

Tell a Story

If you’re trying to win over a new client, the goal of your slide deck presentation is to persuade them by providing information. A mess of disjointed data from past projects can’t do that. By organizing your presentation as a story, though, you can convey information in a clear, memorable way.

Remind your audience of the problems they’re facing, show them how things could be instead, then show how your company can get them from A to B. So if your prospects are looking for an expert in modernizing office buildings, you might start by describing problems such as energy inefficiency and crowding, then show how your company has solved these issues with energy-saving features, public spaces, better building access, and other improvements. To keep things clear, stick with three main benefits your company offers and three points about each.

Think Visually

We tend to process information presented visually faster and remember it for longer than written information. Slide decks are perfect for conveying your value visually, but so many presenters miss the opportunity by transferring text directly onto their slides in the form of full sentences and bulleted lists. The result is dull and confusing.

Instead, use visuals to clarify and augment your points. Each slide should give an instant visual summary of the specific value you’re presenting, while you fill in the details verbally.

Put some thought into the best way to represent your main points visually. Replace bullet points with diagrams or illustrate features and benefits with icons. For example, you might use a colorful blow-up drawing to show the energy-saving features commonly included in your buildings. Combining a photo of a finished building project with a graphic illustration of the value you brought to that project is another option.

5 Tips for Creating a Stellar Ebook

ebookAn ebook is the classic lead generation tool for a good reason. It motivates your audience to share their contact information and gives you space to show off your expertise. Plan your ebook well and you can create an asset that keeps bringing you construction leads for years.

  1. Define your topic clearly – A narrowly defined topic makes it easier to offer a concrete benefit and cover your topic in depth, which makes your ebook more attractive and valuable to your audience. If you’re targeting commercial real estate developers, “Five Features Commercial Tenants Love” will appeal to them more than “The Basics of Green Construction.”
  2. Catch them early – People in the early “awareness” or “interest” stages of your sales funnel are the most likely to be influenced by your ebook, so keep that in mind when you choose your topic. If you offer home remodeling services, consider creating an ebook about prioritizing home upgrades.
  3. Balance educating and selling – Teaching your readers helps you hold their attention and earn their trust by showcasing your expertise. If you expect them to stay with you after they get the information they want, though, you’ll need to lead them forward. When you talk about the benefits of a construction feature, technique or material, make it clear your company can provide it. End your ebook with a call to action, such as an invitation to download a detailed case study or a video course.
  4. Keep your style simple – A simple, conversational writing style makes it easier for your readers to understand the often complex ideas involved in planning a construction project. It also shows your readers your approachable human side, which helps build rapport.
  5. Present it well – Good visual presentation encourages your prospects to actually download the ebook you’ve been talking up in your blog and social media posts. Create an attractive cover or hire a graphic designer for one. Give your ebook its own landing page with compelling copy and graphics that convey the key benefits.

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.

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.

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.

 

Increasing an Audience Starts With Great Content… but it Doesn’t End There

Valuacontent strategyble, thought-provoking content is a must for building an audience, but just throwing that content online won’t get you much attention. To gain a loyal readership that really engages with your construction company’s online content, you’ll need to put some effort into connecting with your audience.

Reach Out to Your Market

Directly interacting with people in your target audience is one of the best ways to make sure your content gets seen. Instead of just posting your own content to your social media accounts, get involved with your target readers by “liking,” replying to, and sharing their posts. When you leave a comment, make it something meaningful that will stand out.

Build a list of active blogs that cover your construction specialty and when you spot a new post that might attract your target readers, stop by to leave a thoughtful comment.

If there’s a forum where your ideal clients go for guidance on their building projects, make it a point to contribute your expertise there. Once you build a good reputation with the regulars, occasionally share links to your content when you think it might help someone.

Network with Industry Pros

Cooperating with other businesses lets you tap into existing audiences to build your own. Plumbers, electricians, and other contractors, building materials suppliers, architects and civil engineers, interior decorators and landscapers can all help get more eyes on your content.

Look for complementary businesses that share your target audience and put yourself on their radar by commenting on their blog and social media posts, and sharing their work with your audience.

After a few weeks, send a personalized email to let them know about any blog posts or other content you might have that would benefit readers. You can even involve them in your content creation by asking for a quote or conducting an interview. Offering to write a guest post is another effective way to attract their readers’ to your content in a way that benefits everyone involved.