In the construction industry, is the old boys network still the best way to get new business?
According to the latest trends, there are alternatives to the age-old marketing practice of “Who do you know?” While networking remains a great way to land business in the construction industry, firms of all sizes are taking advantage of the content marketing craze, along with the easy access and affordability of cloud computing. The result is increased visibility and business growth.
This article looks at some of the techniques and trends that are changing the blueprint for marketing success in construction.
Competing with the Big Dogs
Digital marketing is coming to a construction site near you.
Construction remains sensitive to the ups and downs of the American economy. Many firms are seeking to smooth the roller coaster by creating a consistent brand image that keeps them in customers’ minds. Instead of running job-to-job, marketing can be leveraged to help construction companies keep a steady supply of jobs coming in, even when the market takes a downturn.
The 2016 Construction Marketing Association‘s Marketing Outlook Survey showed that the industry has jumped on the marketing bandwagon:
- 93% of the construction companies surveyed said they were increasing their marketing budgets.
- 71% said they were increasing email marketing efforts.
- The majority said they were decreasing direct mail, advertising, promotions, and trade shows.
- 88% are making social media a high priority.
- Website search engine optimization and sales prospecting are top priorities.
While these trends are clearly relevant, how can the small to mid-sized construction firm (which may not have full-time marketing staff to drive the initiatives that keep them in the public spotlight) compete with the big players?
MarTech Education quotes a survey by a Sacramento ad agency which shows that most construction firms lack the staffing and strategy to even update their website, let alone create a consistent social media presence with a consistent brand image.
The good news for these companies is that, when it comes to marketing/communications, digital technology has become a great equalizer.
Purpose-DrivenConstruction Marketing Trends
The rise of digital technology has enabled every business sector to take advantage of online software that gives us the tools to grow in any market. Your target audience is online, and you need to meet them there with engaging written content that will help inform their business decisions. We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase, “content is king.” This trend has shown no sign of slowing down; from c-suite decision makers to the average retail shopper, we are all voracious consumers of the online content found in our cell phones and laptops.
Even if your construction company is small and dreams of growing larger, there is online software that can help you not only create the content that will differentiate your brand, but also distribute that content so your target audience knows your name. That’s the goal, really, of good content. Good content in the digital era means that you have enough of an online media presence in front of the right decision makers so that when they’re ready to buy, they think of you first.
It’s really that simple.
The Content Marketing Institute suggests making purpose driven marketing a crucial part of your online strategy. This simply means you’ve given some thought to why you’re creating the content and for what audience, along with where to distribute it so the content is actually read. They also suggest that the quality of the content you produce is extremely important, especially with high-level decision makers:
Writing still counts, perhaps more than ever. More than not,
marketers are abuzz about social media and video without
comprehending that most of our communication is still text- and story-based.
And frankly, most marketers are really bad at writing.
Poor content will also destroy your search engine rankings, which is why one of the trends for 2017 is not only to increase content marketing in the construction industry but also to improve the quality of the writing you produce.
Tools You Can Use to Build Something Bigger
Based on the trends we’ve seen, technology has changed how construction firms market their work. Traditionally, if you measure marketing via trade shows or direct mailers, large players in the construction industry always have more staff, money, and resources to build a marketing presence.
Digital marketing has enabled even the smallest firm to subscribe to software-as-a-service models that allow these small firms to capitalize on big tools. Today, if you don’t have a content writer on the team, you can hire one through a job board. Anyone can post content on social media, which is a low-cost way to build a brand.
Here are some of the other marketing tools the construction industry is using:
- Personalizing your messages to precisely fit your audience is a trend that construction firms must take advantage of. Understanding your audience is the first step toward creating unique content that resonates. IBM published a study showing message personalization creates higher engagement rates in any industry.
- Video content on websites. This is a very effective tool; a Wyzowl survey showed 77% of consumers say video influenced their decision to make a purchase. Social media sites like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram are video-friendly venues to post your stories.
- Customer created content featuring testimonials or client interviews can be a powerful way to let potential clients know you’re trustworthy and able to do the job right.
In the construction industry, digital marketing is the biggest trend for building up a businesses. If your construction firm isn’t following the latest marketing trends, you are at risk of falling behind. Finding the right marketing resources can make all the difference.
About the author
Innovative, creative and strategic are words that have been used to describe this executive with more than 25 years experience in marketing, communications and business development. It’s unusual to find a skill set that includes both the ability to write copy – and the expertise to also sell a service or product to a client face-to-face. Robin W is a business development executive with an advanced degree in marketing/communications, and a track record of success in both areas.