Take the Guesswork Out of Your Marketing Strategy

When you’ve been working with your market for a while, you develop an instinct for what your customers want. While that instinct might often help, it can also lead you in the wrong direction and distract you from good marketing opportunities. Construction market data keeps you on track by giving you a clearer picture of your market.

Understand Your Target Market In Depth

To create an effective marketing strategy, you first need to know exactly who you’re targeting. Building permits are one of the best sources of data on which markets are thriving, valuable information you can use to guide your marketing.

If you’re a framing contractor, you might find building permit data shows an increase in single-family homes being built in a middle-class neighborhood where most families have young children. To reach those clients, you might target young families in your brand awareness and advertising campaigns and focus on the durable materials and cost-effective methods you use. On the other hand, if you notice more cabins being built in local forested areas, you might target older, nature-oriented residents.

Get an Accurate View of Your Competitors

You can learn a lot by analyzing how your competitors do things, but it’s hard to know whose example to follow unless you know which companies are truly successful. Data on the top construction companies in your area can help you learn from the best instead of guessing based on a company’s public image.

If you’re a roofing contractor and discover all the successful roofing contractors stress the energy-efficiency of their roofs, you’ll know your marketing strategy should address that issue. You might want to focus on in-bound marketing with articles and videos that educate your prospects on how your roofs save energy.

On the other hand, the data might show you a certain roofing contractor whose billboard ads are everywhere isn’t particularly successful. That can save you the money you might have spent if you’d assumed those billboards were bringing in business.

For more ideas on using market data to develop your marketing strategy, contact Construction Monitor.

Using Video to Showcase Your Best Work

Video shows the full extent of your talent like no other medium can. To showcase your work in a way that attracts new customers, though, you’ll need to choose your projects carefully and focus on the right aspects.

Start with a Customer in Mind

When you choose finished projects to showcase, consider what your ideal customers want to see. That one-off spa bathroom remodel you did might be impressive, but if you primarily target small retail businesses, you’ll get more milage out of a video on the striking luxury shoe store you built.

Construction industry data can help you choose what to focus on. If you’re a general contractor and local data shows more permits being issued for home additions than for kitchen remodels, you’ll know video tours of your best home addition jobs will go over well. With a little more research, you might find homeowners are using their additions as short-term tourist rentals. In that case, your video tours can focus on the guest-pleasing features in your additions.

Offer Clear Benefits

Videos that offer concrete benefits are more likely to be found in online searches and watched to the end. Showcasing your work in how-to videos is one way to take advantage of this. If you specialize in kitchen remodels, try a video on how to remodel a kitchen for energy efficiency that shows off the energy-efficient features in your projects. If you install swimming pools and pool permit data suggests a lot of new pool owners live in a windy part of town, consider making a video on how to landscape pool windbreaks.

Inspiration videos are another way to showcase your skills. For your would-be kitchen remodel clients, put together a video montage of all the clever storage solutions or built-in seating ares you’ve created. For those looking to finish an attic or basement, make a video on the creative ways your clients decided to use their finished spaces and how you helped them realize their ideas.

For more on showcasing your work through video, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Get the Biggest Bang for Your Marketing Budget

Managed well, even a modest marketing budget can bring impressive results. Knowing where to put your marketing money isn’t just about finding the right advertising channels, though. To get the greatest return on your investment, you need to zero in on the right prospects and be ready for them when they come.

Focus on Active Buyers

Turning a lead into a paying customer requires repeated, high-value contact. This is particularly true in the construction industry, where investments are high and long-term, and the sales cycle is often measured in months. You’ll get better results by building relationships with a small pool of promising leads than by broadcasting your company name far and wide.

Instead of targeting broad groups such as “families with children,” invest some of your budget in data that leads you straight to eager buyers. Building permits can help you find prospects who are actively searching for what you offer. If you sell eco-friendly wall or floor coverings, permits for home additions can help you find parents who want building material that’s safe for their growing family. If you’re a general contractor specializing in home additions, reviewing building permits can help you find neighborhoods where additions are trending.

Get Your Website Right

Once you reach a prospect, for your marketing investment to pay off, you need to convince that prospect to buy. Your website can do a lot of the heavy lifting here. The articles, images, and videos on your site and in your mailing list demonstrate the value you offer and nurture trusting relationships.

Accurate data on your target market helps you produce the kinds of content that attracts your ideal customers‘ and wins them over. Maybe you sell fireplaces and local building permit data tells you most remodeling homeowners in your area have small houses. Knowing this, you might predict they’ll be more interested in learning about free-standing gas or ethanol fireplaces than about traditional wood-burning models.

For more tips on getting the most from your marketing budget, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Incorporating Consumer Trends into Your Marketing Plan

Paying attention to what consumers want isn’t only useful for discovering new markets. It can also help you develop a marketing plan that’s fully in tune with your ideal clients’ needs and interests.

Do Your Research

To get real value from using consumer trends in your marketing, you need to know what the relevant trends are. Your intuition about what’s trending is a good place to start, but make sure you can back it up with hard data before you incorporate it into your marketing. Maybe you’ve heard demand for co-working spaces is booming, but are you sure that’s true for your area? Review the market data, interview suppliers, and hold focus groups to really get to know if a trend you’ve spotted is worth paying attention.

Focus specifically on your target market. Millennials looking to build their first homes set very different trends than older couples who want to remodel their homes for convenience as they age.

Review Your Whole Plan

Every part of your marketing plan can take inspiration from consumer trends. New trends can open up new target markets. For example, you might take advantage of the growing escape room trend by putting together a package detailing how your company can build one. With the ever-increasing concern for environmental sustainability, it’s worth emphasizing your eco-friendly materials and methods in your marketing material.

Look to trends to guide you on where and how to market. Instead of sending postcards with a single marketing message, include a QR code that ties your message into a larger digital campaign. On social media, pay attention to what types of posts are trending.

Trends can also influence your voice. Today’s consumers are generally put off by formal, traditional advertising and drawn to transparency and authenticity, which calls for a more conversational voice. Style trends matter, too. Make sure your website and other marketing material doesn’t look like something from the mid-90s or your prospects might wonder if your construction methods are equally out of date.

Why Defining a Unique Selling Proposition is Crucial to Your Success

You might not be the only construction company in town, but you are the only one with your exact skill set, experience, and personality. By defining a unique selling proposition (USP) that expresses those qualities, you let your potential clients know you’re the company for them.

Attract to Your Ideal Clients

Your success depends on finding clients who appreciate your skills and pay top dollar for them. To attract those clients, you need to market in a way that stands out to them and speaks directly to them. Your USP helps you do that. If you want more luxury spa hotel clients, your USP might focus on the mood your facilities create or the high-tech amenities you build in. If eco-friendly home upgrades are your thing and you love working with families, you might have “green home renovations for eco-conscious families” as your USP.

Increase Your Profit

Specialists nearly always command higher prices than generalists. By positioning your company as the go-to source for a particular service, you can charge a premium for your work to maximize your profits.

Your specialist status also reduces the perceived risk of working with you. It’s natural to assume a company with a focus on building refrigerated warehouses will do a better job on one than a general commercial storage construction company. When your clients feel secure in your ability to deliver top quality, they’ll be more willing to pay a higher price for it.

Enjoy Greater Customer Loyalty

Your USP is “unique” precisely because no one does it quite like you. When your clients feel they can’t get the same service elsewhere, they’ll be happy to come back to you for their next project. That’s especially valuable if you’re targeting property developers or other professionals who’ll be investing in projects for years to come. As an extra benefit, your loyal clients will be more likely to recommend you when a friend or colleague needs the services you specialize in.  

4 Essential Elements for Defining Your Brand

There’s a lot more to defining your brand than choosing a logo and fonts, but the process doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re just getting started branding your construction firm, get the essentials down first.

  1. AudienceDefining your audience helps you clarify exactly who you’re trying to attract to your business. You can’t be all things to all people, but you can position yourself as the best company for dentists who want to expand their clinics or older adults who want to remodel their homes. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can design your marketing in ways that will appeal to that group.
  2. Story – Your brand story communicates your values, beliefs, and strengths in a way that makes an emotional connection with your would-be clients. The basic formula is simple: talk about how you noticed a problem, found a way to solve it, and now share that solution. Maybe you discovered that few small medical clinics were built to accommodate developments in technology, you worked out future-proofing solutions for these clinics, and now you have former clients calling to tell you how their clinics’ patients have benefited.
  3. Promise – Your brand promise tells your clients what kind of experience they can expect to have when working with you. It should be inspired by your core values and what you ultimately want to give your clients. If you do home remodeling, your promise might be “Homes that stand the test of time” or “Modern. Smart. Efficient,” depending on the clientele you’re targeting.
  4. Emotion – Even in a practical business like construction, emotion sells. Choosing one primary emotion you want your potential clients to feel when they think about your business helps guide the rest of your branding. Your logo style, color palette, and voice should all work toward evoking that emotion. If you specialize in office buildings, you might want your clients to feel the excitement of a fast-paced business environment. If you build single-family homes, you might focus on love and affection.

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.

 

4 Crucial Elements for a Robust Marketing Plan

marketing planA clear plan is critical for getting the most out of your marketing efforts, but your plan doesn’t have to be complex to be effective. Master the most important elements and you’ll have a powerful marketing plan that’s easy to follow.

  1. Business identity – You business identity includes you firm’s mission and vision statements, and outlines what makes your firm distinct in terms of services, capabilities, and values. It should also define your target audience and the experience you want to give them. Are you a residential construction company specializing in highly customized homes for eco-conscious young families or one focusing on aging-in-place remodeling for active older adults?
  2. SWOT analysis – Conduct a SWOT analysis to get a better idea of how your business is situated in the market. Determine your firm’s greatest strengths in terms of attracting clients and note what weaknesses could lead you in the wrong direction. Describe the business opportunities in your market and how the market might threaten your current business model.
  3. Marketing strategy – A marketing strategy is a process that helps you reliably meet your sales objectives. Guided by your SWOT analysis, it gives you an overarching vision of how to reach your audience, connect with them, and turn them into paying clients. This can include multiple methods. If one of your strengths is a list of clients who rave to their friends about how much your renovations have improved their lives, referral marketing is a good bet. If your projects are visually striking, you’ll want to use social media, too. Then choose specific tactics. As a tactic to encourage referrals, you might define specific times to ask for referrals, create referral forms, and offer a referral fee.
  4. Metrics – Specify how you’re going to measure the success of your tactics. Go beyond tracking leads and sales revenue, and pay attention to equally important metrics such as percentage of clients by referral, percentage of leads converted, client acquisition costs, and your close rate on bids.

4 Steps to the Perfect Customer Persona

customer personaEven if you understand the value of getting to know your target customers, fleshing out detailed customer personas isn’t always easy. Following a clear-cut process helps you turn your data into insightful customer profiles.

  1. Gather existing data – Start learning about your ideal clients by collecting data on your existing clients and leads. Look for trends in demographics, behavior, and interests. Maybe your home remodeling clients are typically older suburbanites with grown children or your industrial plant clients are often middle-aged men who are into fitness. For macro trends affecting your client base, construction market research reports are a good place to look.
  2. Ask around – Develop a survey for your current and former clients, but don’t limit your questions to their construction-related concerns. Questions about their family status, life goals, hobbies, and media preferences can give you valuable insight. Just try to keep the survey length under 10 minutes. With your best clients, conduct more in-depth surveys individually, either by phone or email. Then survey your employees to find out if they’ve noticed any trends.
  3. Spot the trends – Review your data for overarching trends you can use to segment your clients into broad groups. These will form the basis of your customer personas. Between three to five is enough. If you offer several types of services, such as home renovation, manufacturing facility construction, and retail construction, create a generalized customer profile for each. If you’re highly specialized, create more narrowly defined customer personas, such as one for your textile manufacturing facilities clients and another for printing facilities clients.
  4. Build your personas – Give each customer persona a name and create a profile that includes their demographic data, such as age, sex, occupation, and income level. Then add information about their motivations and interests, such as their job responsibilities, and their career and personal goals and challenges. Finally, fill in details about their personal habits and beliefs. It’s these details that bring your customer personas to life, giving you a clearer picture of how to connect with your ideal clients.

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.