5 Ways to Effectively Market Your Construction Business Online
Can all of the secrets, skills, and SEO-centric processes necessary for marketing your construction business online be condensed into a checklist of five actionable items? Ugh, no. Sorry. If they could be, that would certainly make things easier on construction marketers. But, the truth is, establishing a strong online presence requires technical skill, hard work, perseverance, and setting specific goals for determining online marketing ROI. And, marketing your construction business online is vital to maintaining brand dominance and awareness in your area, while staying viable and competitive in the eyes of your customers and prospects. There’s no doubt your customers are researching your capabilities, experience, and accomplishments online before they even think about asking you to participate in their request for proposal process.
Unfortunately, because so many decision-makers now rely on the Internet for their information and research, search engines (such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube) are constantly changing, tweaking, and fine-tuning the way they produce search results. This certainly makes things more difficult for online marketers. It’s now a full-time job just to keep up with the constant changes one must make to a website to keep it on top of the search results.
Even with all of the changes taking place in website design and construction, inbound marketing, and Internet search strategy, there are some initiatives you must implement for your efforts to be effective. So, whether you’re hoping to use online marketing to jumpstart your startup construction business, or plan to apply some extra muscle to marketing the one that already exists, here are five top ideas for effectively marketing your construction company online:
1. Identify a niche or specialty that matches your company’s core competency or experience, and lead with it.
Every construction company has something that makes it unique or special. The challenge is putting your finger on it and deftly communicating this strategic differentiation to others. It may take a brand audit or business analysis to determine what makes a company unique or special, but, take my word for it, there is something or some reason that compels your customers to choose you over your competitors. Oh… And, it probably has nothing to do with you being the lowest bidder. So, whether you have special qualifications or experience working in a particular area of construction, have accumulated specialty equipment, or something else, it is vital to lead off with this when marketing your construction company online. Customers now have the ability to quickly compare your offerings with all of your competitors, so you better have something to market that allows you to stand out from the crowd. On-time and on-budget just ain’t going to get it done any longer.
2. Build a website that is optimized for search and search engines.
Website construction has changed dramatically over the last three years. Since the death of the Yellow Pages and the rise of search engine dominance, new techniques and tools are required to effectively market a website online. Website developers must now retrain themselves yearly on web marketing strategies, constantly changing inbound marketing tools, and search engine algorithm dynamics in order to keep websites both fresh and relevant for online search attention. There are many techniques and tactics for maintaining the searchability of the website, but three of them stand out as particularly important, so I’ll note them here: First, make sure your site has individual pages focused on marketing your niche or specialty. Second, make sure your homepage is designed with links to those niche/specialty pages. And third, emphasize those niches on the homepage so they stand out. To start, you can do this with photos and testimonials to your outstanding abilities in those niche/specialty areas.
3. Develop an inbound marketing strategy to guide your website architecture.
If you haven’t heard, inbound marketing is a catchall term for online marketing techniques and tactics that pull people into your website. Some of these techniques involve utilizing email, strategically publishing content, social media strategy, online association sponsorships, and links to and from other websites to raise your popularity and importance with the almighty search engine crawlers. This is where many website designers and developers drop off, and multi-talented brand strategy teams really shine. Nowadays, to build your website into an effective online marketing tool that generates significant positive ROI, you can’t just be skilled in building websites. You also have to be skilled in the techniques and dynamics of effective inbound website marketing. All of this requires skills and knowledge for properly combining website construction techniques with strategically integrated online marketing tools to accomplish specific goals.
4. Integrate some form of marketing automation involving business development.
It’s not only important to drive traffic to and strategically through your website, your website must do the job of engaging and then converting visitors into prospects and clients. First, integrate marketing automation into your website architecture, then harness the experience of your human business development team to turn your website into a profit generating machine. Website-based marketing automation systems provide visitor identification and tracking as visitors come to and move through the various pages of your website. It allows you to not only identify who they are and how to contact them, it also provides insight into what they are interested in and the topics you should contact them about. The website’s marketing automation system does all the heavy lifting for your business development team, who can use the information to set appointments or introductory meetings to discuss your company’s strategic advantages, or launch “drip” campaigns to keep your brand in front of these newly-interested parties. To put it another way, if your website is not utilizing visitor data capture and automated marketing communications, then you are most likely losing out on some very lucrative business opportunities.
5. Utilize paid search!
I saved this one for last, because most construction marketers know what this is, but probably don’t think it applies to the construction industry. Success in the construction industry has historically been driven by interpersonal relationships, maintaining a good reputation, and building brand awareness through community interaction. However, as more and more competitors cross boundaries and borders to compete for projects, it has become necessary for companies to reach out for decision-makers’ attention, proactively. If you hope to attract the eyeballs of that architect from out-of-town who is working on a huge project for an in-town developer, then you will need to appear “high-up” in his online search results. Being from out of town, he most likely is not familiar with your company, its people, your unique strategic differentiation, or the reputation that you’ve built across generations of management. In addition to all of the other ways you will be marketing your construction company online, we believe it is vital to utilize some level of paid search to attract the attention of those prospects who may be searching for a company like yours, but have no familiarity with what makes you their best choice. All of the major search engines allow you to pay for keyword association, pay for higher search placement, or pay for standout features on their main search results page. You may also know this by the term “keyword bidding”. We suggest you research an appropriate list of keywords and determine a budget that won’t break your bank.
Keep in mind, these five ideas are just the icing on the cake. There are hundreds of effective ways to market your construction business online, drive traffic to and through your website, and efficiently engage and convert prospects. If it seems like online construction marketing takes a village… Then you have come to the right idea. Modern online marketing requires many skills in order to generate positive ROI. If your in-house marketing team doesn’t feel confident in handling all of the aspects of modern online construction marketing, then consider subcontracting some or all of that work to outside professionals.