What's interesting in our regular website reviews and health checks is that most businesses have already got most of the ingredients for success in place, they’re either poorly aligned, under-resourced or missing something crucial.
All that's needed is to shift a few elements around, refine a few areas and fill in some missing elements. Couple this with a firm commitment to digital and you have a winning combination. So, what are the critical pieces and how should you bring them together?
Addressing this 5-10% can make a huge difference to website traffic, conversion, lead generation and ultimately sales.
Follow this 15 part guide, full of simple tips and hacks, to pull your online construction marketing strategy together.
1. Get Top Level Commitment (& Budget) For Online Marketing
Getting buy-in from the C-Suite or business owners could be your hardest job of all, but without serious sponsorship for your strategic marketing shift online, and the required budget and patience while you get everything setup and running, you’re never going to make the transition.
You’ll need a high-level acknowledgement that buyer behaviour has irreversibly changed and the next ten years will see some serious winners and losers based around the adoption of proven digital marketing strategies, in particular, construction inbound marketing.
You need a clear picture of what you need, how you'll bring it all together, who will be your technology and strategic marketing partners, what results can be expected and how long it will take.
Developing an Online Marketing Plan for your building products business is probably the right place to start.
2. Focus On Your Prospects' Problems
Interview your existing customers, go out with your sales team, get real face time with your market. You need to understand where your business fits into the bigger picture with specifiers, contractors and clients.
Listen hard and probe. Ask the tough questions a get a deeper understanding of their core challenges and why they are problems for them. Establish the value that a solution could have to them and their peers. Identify what it is they love about your business and your competitors, and what they are unhappy about.
By understanding their real pain points and challenges, you can align your value proposition tightly to their needs, talking their language and even developing new products and services to make your overall offering unbeatable.
3. Develop Buyer Profiles And Buyer Personas
Understanding who your perfect customers are is a vital part of your construction marketing strategy, but one that is often skimmed over or missed altogether.
If you intend to tailor and segment your content and message to your different audiences, profiles and personas will be very useful. So, what’s the difference between a buyer profile and a buyer persona?Read This: A Guide To Buyer Profiles & Buyer Personas
What Is A Buyer Profile?
A buyer profile is a description of your ideal customer at a company level. You may look at geographic location, company size, turnover, number of employees, age, the technology they use, etc.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
The buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer, as in the actual people you will be trying to attract and engage with. They’re also described as marketing personas.
In the construction industry, you would expect to have numerous personas, built around the different job roles involved in the specification and decision-making journey.
You may also find that you have multiple personas for different demographics in the same role, i.e. a millennial architect is likely to have different research habits to a baby boomer architect.
Consider the challenges they face each day, how they research and buy products, what social media they use, what are their likely emotional triggers, what time they are best reached, how do they prefer to be contacted, etc.
4. Map Out The Buyers Journey For Your Solution
Consider the process and actions taken by your typical Architect or Consultant when they are given a design challenge. Like most people they will go straight to the Internet, and Google a question, in fact 98.8% of them do.
Typically there are 4 stages in the Specifiers journey;
- Awareness: The specifier identifies a need or challenge and identifies that your business may be able to help.
- Consideration: The specifier evaluates your solution meets their need, along with due consideration of all the alternative solutions identified in the awareness stage.
- Specification: Following a thorough technical evaluation, the specifier selects the solution that they feel best meets the project needs and specifies the solution into the project design.
- Delivery: Once the specification is secured, pricing enquiries will start to arrive, and the specification may get challenged in an attempt to cut costs. Once this assault is repelled, the order will arrive, and you can get on with delivering the product and providing the contractor with installation guidance and technical support. The specifier will often still be involved.
Once you understand the specifiers journey, you will need to match your sales and marketing activity and timing to complement it, getting the type of communication and timings right for your audience to maximise your results.
Read This: What Is Construction Inbound Marketing?
5. Do Detailed Keyword Research
For your content marketing strategy to work, you need to align what you write with the keywords and phrases that your prospects are using when they search online.
Research the keywords that your customers use when searching for products like yours. Once you understand which keywords are driving traffic, you can tailor your content and copy to ensure that you use the same phrases, giving you a far higher chance to be found in organic search.
Start by signing up for some SEO tools such as MOZ, SEMrush, Majestic or Ahrefs. In an ideal world, you would have accounts with all of them, but this can become expensive.
6. Create Amazing Content That Is Helpful
So, what sort of content should you be thinking about creating and publishing?
Just about everything. Many think of content marketing as just being online because of search engine marketing. It is much more than just blogging.
It will include;
- Blog posts
- Case Studies
- CPD Presentations
- Videos, and more....
Your website should be the hub of your communications, and this it is the case with content marketing because your blog and news feed will be the centre of your content marketing plan.
Content marketing also includes offline education such as CPD presentations, press articles, white papers and live events. Track participation on the HubSpot CRM platform and you can link online and off-line altogether.
7. Have Clear Calls-To-Action On Your Website
Remember, you are ultimately creating content to generate leads that you can convert into sales.
Encourage your reader to engage with you, call you or email you for more information, go to a landing page to download some more content, retweet or share your post to increase reach.
The frequency, positioning and designs of a Call-To-Action (CTA) on a website page is a dark art, and should constantly be experimented with and analysed to optimise their results.
Just using them and forgetting about them is not an advisable approach.
8. Invest In A Best In Class CRM and Sales & Marketing Automation Solution
All of this becomes a big job for your overstretched and under-resourced marketing team.
Technology is your friend. After 30 years of scoping CRM projects, selecting solutions, implementing them and managing them, I cannot recommend highly enough the HubSpot platform.
For every SME imaginable, probably up to £25-30m turnover, HubSpot can either do the job stand alone or integrate with other platforms such as Salesforce. It can take care of the day to day digital marketing activity, connect your website to your CRM solution, align your sales and marketing activity and give you data linking your results to your activity – perfect for understanding your ROI.
9. Capture Leads Online
When your visitors are on your website, they are usually anonymous. It’s like running a shop where everyone is wearing a mask and they are mute. How can you get to know your visitors better and help them if you don’t know who they are?
Offering your visitors high-value content, such as white papers, eBooks, etc. in exchange for some personal; data, such as an email address and a name will enable you to start the conversation in a one-to-one fashion.
Use best practice, such as creating specific landing pages and build trust by telling them that you won’t spam them or cold call them, but you will send them more info which is likely to be relevant and useful to them.
These are marketing leads, to be nurtured and are not ready to be passed to sales just yet. Using the tracking capabilities of software like HubSpot will enable you to track future website visits and respond when clear buying signals are demonstrated, such as looking at your contact page or pricing page.
10. Automate Your Lead Nurturing
Hooray, you’ve generated leads, now what?
Your potential specifiers and prospects don’t become customers overnight— they require marketing to over time as they research and build trust with your business.
On average, 50% of leads are not ready to specify or buy when they first engage with you. Lead nurturing creates automated, ongoing, consistent communication with your prospect throughout the sales cycle and beyond — improving results and sales for your business.
Research suggests that it can take between 7 - 13 touches to deliver a qualified sales lead; this is why a structured and well-considered nurturing programme is critical.
Here are some compelling stats:
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. (MarketingSherpa)
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales qualified leads at 33% lower cost (Marketo)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group)
11. Take Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Seriously
Research shows that 90% of people don't go beyond the 1st page on Google, and about 34% of searchers click on the number 1 result. This shows that Search Engine Optimisation SEO is something that you really must take seriously if you want your building products to be found on the internet by your target market.
If you're not on page one for the keywords that matter to your business then you will be feeding on scraps or forced in the online auction that is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, trying to outbid the other also-rans for the top spot in the ads.
Investing in SEO is vital to getting your content found organically and in positions that people instinctively trust as being authoritative.
12. Go Social
If you haven’t set up your social media channels yet, then put that action to the top of your to-do list – right now!
Social media is free advertising. FREE!
There are numerous options to choose from, and their popularity and usefulness does change, but for now these are the channels you should be considering.
For B2B and Construction Marketing, the obvious channels to use should be LinkedIn & Twitter. Facebook & Google+ shouldn’t be overlooked either.
You may want to experiment with SnapChat, Instagram and Pinterest too, depending upon your audience.
For marketing Whitepapers & Presentations, Slideshare can be very popular, while if you are using video then the main candidates are YouTube and Vimeo, while Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat and Instagram all support video posts too.
13. Promote Like Crazy
Once your content is ready, it’s vital that your audience gets the opportunity to see it. Organic search is critical, but this can take several weeks to start to rank well.
Set a budget for content promotion using a blend of social media, email marketing and pay per click advertising. Do outreach to industry titles, websites and blogs for wider coverage.
By referring to your buyer personas, you should be able to identify the media they use to find out about and research new products.
By knowing which channels to use, you can focus your spend on the most cost-effective ones to drive awareness and traffic.
14. Align Your Sales And Marketing Teams
Aligning Sales & Marketing activities is critical for long-term, stable growth. Too often, Sales & Marketing teams diverge, trying to operate independently with tactics that are out of sync.
This shouldn't be the case, as both are trying to increase revenue, right? Using strategies that align their efforts, and helps each team contribute and add value to the other makes sense and is good for business.
Get your sales and marketing teams on the same page, working together on projects, regularly assessing leads (at least weekly) to understand which ones are good and which ones are either under-cooked or overdone. Host joint meetings and do some shadowing to help appreciate each others' roles.
By working to common objectives, with shared rewards, you will find your teams all start to pull in the same direction, like rowers in a boat, getting you to your destination quicker and with more smiles all round.
15. Analyse To Complete The Loop
By using the data and analytics within your website and the HubSpot CRM system, you can learn so much about how your customers became customers. You can see what attracted them in the first place, and what drew them into a buying relationship with you.
Now you can fine tune the good stuff, bin the unproductive work and continuously improve the way in which you attract and engage with your potential customers in the future.
Armed with this knowledge and information, your sales and marketing strategies can be fined tuned to become even more effective and profitable.
Don't be overawed by this list. Yes, there's a lot to consider and do, but times are changing, and buyer behaviour is changing with it.
If your sales team is finding it harder to get appointments, then think about redeploying some of them into more marketing orientated roles? Or you could just give us a call and we will take care of all of it for you.
Developing your strategy and breaking it down into actionable tasks is what we do best. Tapping into 30 years of delivering exceptional results in the building product sector, generating leads and growing businesses is what we love.
How Can Insynth Help You Drive The Content Marketing Results That You Need?
When you sign up for Insynth's Inbound Starter Plan, you can trial inbound and world-class sales and marketing technology to gain traction with lead generation. For less than the cost of one ad placement, or a fraction of the cost of a trade show, you can generate more high-quality leads than both combined would have produced. For a small investment (not to mention our money back guarantee), Insynth will provide:
- A 2000+ word, high authority, pillar post every quarter to form
basisof a strategic topic cluster.
- 2 original technical blog posts of at least 500 words per month. The blog will be written exclusively for your business by our talented in-house content team and posted onto your website.
- Promotion of your blog posts on key social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook).
- Production of a quarterly Ebook or Whitepaper to drive lead generation.
- Monthly Keyword Tracking and Reporting (up to 25 keywords).
- Monthly review meeting.
Insynth Marketing is a leading UK construction marketing consultancy based in Shifnal, Shropshire in the West Midlands. Insynth employ the latest inbound marketing techniques such as construction inbound marketing, to help building product manufacturers grow their businesses by aggressively driving sales lead generation activity and aligning their sales and marketing teams.
As the only HubSpot certified agency to major on construction marketing, we bring together construction marketing strategy, digital strategy, website design, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, sales automation, marketing automation and HubSpot CRM implementation to produce successful campaigns and great results for our clients.