Using Competitive Analysis to Supercharge Your Own Campaigns

competitor analysisIf you’re looking to get some use out of the information you collected in a recent competitive analysis, your ad campaigns are a good place to start. What you know about your competitors can help you refine your strategy and tap into new opportunities in the construction market.

Defining Your Market

Choosing the right target audience is a major part of what makes an advertising campaign successful. By helping you spot segments of the market your competitors have overlooked, a competitive analysis can uncover clients who are ripe for the picking.

Your analysis might reveal a whole niche you can move into unimpeded. If no one in your area is paying attention to the restaurant construction market, that might be something worth looking into. Information about your competitors can also help you narrow your niche down to find an audience you can appeal to with specialist expertise. If your competitors focus on general hotel construction services, you might want to refine your ad campaign to target boutique hotel or spa hotel clients.

Perfecting Your Marketing

When you what know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are in terms of advertising, you can more easily see what type of ad campaign will pay off for you. Maybe your main competitors are all running extensive Facebook ad campaigns, but they’re neglecting LinkedIn. That leaves an opening for you. On the other hand, it also tells you it’s probably a good idea to invest in Facebook advertising, too.

Your analysis can give you ideas on which benefits to highlight in your ads. If your competitors’ reviews are peppered with complaints about delays, use your ads to assure your audience you can stick to a deadline. You might also get ideas on what overall style to use for your ads. Are your competitors’ ads all strictly serious? Consider setting your company apart by mixing a little humor into yours.

Are Google Ads Dead or a Viable Lead Generation Source?

PPCGoogle Adwords has changed a lot since its launch in 2000, and while it’s no longer as cheap and easy as it once was, it still holds the potential to bring you construction leads. With an up-to-date Adwords strategy, you can attract leads you might not find elsewhere.

Get Results Fast

One of the biggest benefits of Adwords is its ability to bring in leads faster than improving your website’s visibility through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO, while highly valuable, is an involved process that can take four to six months to show results. With Adwords, your link can be at the top of the results page for a highly competitive term in a few hours as long as you can place the top bid for that term.

Using Adwords also gives you a chance to outrank a strong competitor. Maybe you’re the new guy in town for retail store renovation, and your competitor has been there for 10 years. Outranking them in the search engines through SEO could take years, but Adwords can quickly make your content just as visible as theirs. The automated target outranking share bidding strategy offered through Adwords makes it even easier.

Reach the Right Audience

Before you jump into Adwords, take time to understand the service and plan your strategy. What works on Facebook or LinkedIn, won’t necessarily work on Adwords. Set up a lead-capture page that adheres to Google’s Adwords Policies. Spend some time on the Keyword Planner to find cost-effective keywords. A highly focused term such as “office renovation companies” will generally cost less and attract more of your ideal clients than a broad term such as “commercial construction companies.”

Use conversion tracking codes to calculate each ad’s ROI. A/B test your ads and landing pages. Pay attention to whether Search Network, Display Network or Youtube ads work best for you and refine your strategy accordingly. Set a strict budget and spend more on an ad only when it gets results.

Online Advertising – When Does It Really Make Sense?

online advertisingWith the rise of the internet, homeowners, property investors, and your other potential clients have countless new ways to find what they want. Sticking with print advertising alone means missing these new opportunities to reach them. If your ideal clients use the Internet, then online advertising is a sensible investment.

Extending Your Market Reach

Ultimately, online advertising makes sense if it brings you more revenue than it costs. That doesn’t mean just bringing you more of the same old clients, though. Digital advertising lets you more effectively reach the type of clients you really want so you can win more profitable projects.

If you’re moving from general commercial construction into medical facilities construction, you’ll have more ways to reach this specific target market online than through trade magazines alone. If you do remodeling and you’re tired of low-budget clients, online ads can help you zero in on wealthier, luxury-oriented homeowners.

The only time digital advertising isn’t worth it is when you know with certainty that your target clients are rarely online.

Fine-tuning Your Strategy

Paid online advertising is complex. There are search engine ads, social media ads, email ads, video ads, and native ads, and each has its own set of best practices that are constantly evolving. Because of this, advertising on the Internet only makes sense when you have a well-defined goal and a clear plan for reaching it. Without this, you’ll only waste time and money.

Before you jump in, research where your ideal clients spend time and what they’re looking for online. Are those wealthy homeowners on Pinterest browsing for sunroom ideas or are they reading blogs about renovating historical homes?

Make your ads a strategic part of your marketing funnel. Offering a lead magnet, such as a free case study or email course, will get better results than just giving your prospects a number to call. Have a plan for tracking the results of each ad so you’ll know which to continue and which to drop.

Online Paid Ads – Are They Worth It?

online paid advertisingYou’ve probably heard the horror stories of businesses that lost hundreds on poorly managed online ad campaigns, but paid advertising doesn’t have to end this way. When run with care, online paid ads can be a cost-effective source of leads.

Get the Channel Right

As with any type of advertising, the success of your ad depends on where you publish it. You’ll get the best results by placing your ads where you know your prospects spend time. Finding a targeted, engaged audience is more important than gaining wide exposure. Ads on a website or email list focused on your specialty, such as home renovation or commercial property investment, can be well worth it.

Where niche businesses often go wrong is by taking out ads on sites with huge, but broad readerships. Ads like these cost a bundle, yet they reach few people who are interested in what’s being offered. On sites that require bidding on keywords, choosing general terms such as “construction contractor” can also blow through your budget fast with little result. Google Adsense, Facebook Ads, and similar options work best with specific targeting of keywords, demographics, interests, and other factors the channel allows you to define.

Set Realistic Goals

Another way businesses lose money on online paid ads is by failing to set a specific, realistic goal for each ad. Anything from a short ad to a full-length paid blog post can bring in warm leads, but can’t instantly convert someone who’s never heard of you into a client. Just displaying your company’s name and logo is unlikely to bring you any leads at all.

Think from your prospects’ perspective and offer them an incentive to take a small step towards getting to know your firm. That might be signing up for your email list, downloading one of your lead magnets or contacting you to schedule a strategy session. Once you have their contact information, you can nurture these leads until they trust you and are ready to do business.

For more guidance on running profitable online paid ads, contact us at Construction Monitor.

3 Reasons To Develop And Use Buyer Personas

buyer personaNo matter how much data you have on your target market, it’s hard to really get into your potential construction clients’ minds without a clear image of who they are. By using buyer personas, you’ll develop a more relatable vision of your clients so you can reach them more effectively.

Understand What Your Clients Want Most

Creating buyer personas shifts your perspective from seeing “prospective clients” as a vague collection of data to understanding them as individual people with specific goals, challenges, and interests. Your typical remodeling client might become not just anyone with an older house, but Dave, a 35-year-old professional and father of a growing family.

Once you’ve clearly defined the goals and challenges of each type of client you serve, you’ll be able to offer them exactly the solution they need and want. Buyer personas also make it easier to humanize your marketing with humor and other personal touches to build rapport and set your firm apart.

Know Where to Find Your Clients

To get the most out of your marketing budget, you need to go where your potential clients already are. Using buyer personas helps you zero in on where your clients spend their time, so you’ll know where to place what type of messages. You’ll know which type of client loves LinkedIn and which prefers Houzz; which connects well through email and which responds better to direct mail. Overall, you’ll see a better response rate for less effort.

Develop Future Services

An in-depth understanding of your clients’ goals allows you to better anticipate their future needs. You’ll spot business opportunities you might have overlooked if you hadn’t delved deeper into your clients’ personalities.

For example, if the persona of your commercial real estate client is strongly interested in environmental sustainability, you might develop a service to help them ensure their properties are as eco-friendly as possible. Through informed decisions like this, you can expand your range of services faster secure in the knowledge you’re offering what the market wants.

For more tips on using buyer personas, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Going Viral – How to Get Social Media Humming About Your Construction Business

social media marketingBecoming a hit on social media can be a huge boon for your construction firm, but it takes some creativity to reach that level of popularity. Once you do, you’ll find social media even more valuable for pulling in leads, reputation management, and opening up new opportunities.

Make It Memorable

If you want your blog posts, photos and videos to spread, they have to be worth sharing. Dry, shallow content won’t cut it.

When planning what to post, consider the kind of material that would resonate with your target audience. One of the simplest ways to attract attention is by providing useful content, such as infographics, resource lists, templates, case studies, and whitepapers that will help your target clients reach their goals.

Don’t be afraid to engage real emotions. It’s emotion that gives your followers a sense of connection strong enough to make them want to pass your posts on to their colleagues and friends. Make your followers laugh, inspire them or remind them of the positive.

Describe how you solved a particularly sticky problem, show a time-lapse video of a complex project or tell the backstory of one of your employees. Most importantly, be human.

Engage with Your Followers

Too many firms set up a social media presence and passively wait for their follower count to rise instead of trying to build relationships. When you don’t interact with your fans, your social media presence turns into something like one-sided traditional advertising. It’s impersonal and easy to forget.

By making genuine personal connections, you become far more memorable, increasing the chance your followers will share your posts. Maintaining this kind of engagement also makes reputation management easier should anything ever go wrong.

At the very least, respond to comments and questions with thoughtful replies, then go out and “like,” share, and comment on your follower’s photos and blog posts. You can also hold live Q and A sessions, conduct polls or run contests, such as photo-sharing contests and voting contests.

For more on using social media for growth and reputation management, contact Construction Monitor.