Online construction courses have seen their popularity exponentially raising in the last year. Accessible for a bigger audience, building product manufacturers are now able to increase their brand awareness and reach more people within the industry through digital CPDs. These online construction courses offer helpful content that construction professionals can access from their own home.

Taking part in online construction courses and industry specific CPDs has become a requirement for members of many professional institutes such as RIBA, asking specifiers to undertake a minimum number of hours of Continuing Professional Development (yes, that is where the acronym CPD comes from!) every year so they stay up to date with the latest construction advancements.

Any learning activity, whether structured or informal, can count towards an specifiers CPD hours. Whilst the minimum of hours required per year is 35 hours, specifiers are also asked to self-assess those online construction courses and attribute them points. Specifiers should finish the year with, at least, 100 learning points from the different courses they complete.

Designing a CPD that focuses on an area where your building product brand stands and ensuring that your online course delivers valuable, engaging, and memorable content can improve the chances you have of your construction solution being specified in the future by the very same professionals that are attending your seminar.

#1 Stablish Trust with your Prospects

Most often than not, specifiers signing up for online construction CPDs, seminars and courses are looking for something that will surprise them and, luckily, change the way they think about a particular topic, sector, or product range. Despite most building product manufacturers not being aware of it, you are experts in your construction solutions and have the possibility to innovate.

Specifiers value detail and in-depth knowledge. They are happy to be amazed and will look up to those that demonstrate to know their building product or construction solution inside out. Nevertheless, we should not fail to understand that specifiers will not feel comfortable if they feel that they are being lectured at. Encouraging active learning will help you avoid this mistake.

To keep your audience active, you do not need to rely uniquely on your talent as a presenter. Including discussions, break rooms and Q&A sessions can allow you to deliver extra value to the construction professionals attending your digital CPD and will show that you are able to deliver solid and accurate knowledge even when doing it off-script.

Appealing to common pain points and frustrations that your audience faces will provide you with the opportunity to start building your relationship with your attendees based on empathy and mutual understanding. The protagonist of your online course is neither you, nor your product, but the specifier listening to how your seminar may give them the key to make their lives a little bit easier.

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#2 Create Educational Value

Empathy will not bring you success if your online construction course does not provide specifiers with valuable information. Not all specifiers look for the same construction solutions and it is essential to gain deep understanding of the core challenges they might be facing when building your digital CPD so you can connect with them on a deeper level.

If your online construction course is targeting a particular group within the construction professionals, you might want to present your information accordingly. Architects, for example, have a remarkable attention-to-detail, whilst specifiers focus on function. Contractors and builders care about efficiency and design professionals value materials and sustainability.

In any case, attendees in your CPD should aim to finish the seminar with new or improved knowledge, having come across original and innovative technical resources like CAD and BIM models. Specifiers are also interested in keeping their knowledge on regulations, legislations, and key guidance up to date, expecting information about how to deliver better and compliant services.

Ensuring that the content of your CPD is relevant is crucial since specifiers attending will attribute your course with learning points depending on their reflection of the educational value gained through attending your online construction course. The better the CPD, the more learning points specifiers will attribute to it, considering it beneficial to their professional practice.

#3 Provide Professional Authority

A good CPD that is highly valued among specifiers will portray you as a credible source within the building industry. It will generate increased recognition and improve your brand perception, eventually translating into an increased flow of specifications from architects and construction professionals that will see you as a trusted liaison within your area.

To increase the chances that specifiers would choose your online construction courses, it can be useful to get them recognised by professional institutes like RIBA. Getting your seminar approved is not mandatory but, once recognised, it will be promoted on the RIBA website and will be worth double when specifiers attribute points to them.

Unsurprisingly, specifiers attending your online construction course may start researching your building product business well before your seminar starts. For that reason, it is important to ensure that your online presence, particularly through your social media channel, is as professional, authentic, and coherent as possible, without sacrificing your spontaneity.

Your presentation should support that presence and be accompanied by spotless branding. You should ensure that your construction online course includes statutory and regulatory compliance and mentions topics such as health and safety, sustainability, inclusivity, and fire safety. You should not appear to be biased towards your products, nor criticise your competitors’.

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#4 (Carefully) Promote Your Products

Whilst commonly mistaken, a CPD is not a sale pitch, and it should not become one. A CPD can be an outstanding channel to share knowledge on a particularly industry-specific topic and, often, that will include a summary of the different solutions available in the market. Your product may be incorporated into these solutions, but only in an unbiased and balanced way.

Offering an overly partial stance can not only discredit your online construction course, but also put in a very delicate place the trust the specifiers attending the CPD have put on your building product company. An objective address of your product will involve highlighting its pros and cons, as well as being transparent and honestly speaking about what your product cannot do.

If you consider your product to be worth featuring on your course, you will need to support your choice with statistics, whitepapers, and any other technical document of your choice. Clearly state how your product meets any industry-specific regulations and share case studies to give context over how your product can be the solution they were looking for.

Keep always in mind that the goal of your online construction course should be educational and aim to source relevant and thought-provoking facts around your product to emphasise your learning objective even further. Your online construction course should be a means of educating architects on the challenges that your solution can help them overcome.

#5 Continue the Conversation

Delivering a CPD does not end when the PowerPoint slides run out. Working to create a sophisticated and compelling online construction course and thinking that the seminar is over with the slides is like training and running a marathon just to stop running 10 meters before the finish line. You have already done the hard work! You now need to see the result of your efforts.

Continuing the conversation developed during the course can be easier or more difficult depending on the CRM that your building product company is currently using to store your data. As HubSpot partners, we recommend automating the follow-up process after a CPD is delivered, either through a feedback survey or a newsletter that will keep them updated about future online construction courses.

Marketing automation can improve the frequency of our interactions with a specifier and the speed with which you move through the conversation. Time is a limited resource among specifiers, but they will not hesitate to devote their time to you if you show you respect their timeget back to them in a timely manner and provide them with the right information.

Even if they do not have a suitable project at the moment, keeping in touch can improve their opinion of your building product brand, provide them with reasons to reach out to you for future projects and encourage them to refer you to partners and colleagues. As such, the workflow feature offered by HubSpot can be the difference between a lead left to dry up and a successful partnership.

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About Insynth

At Insynth we deliver a predictable flow of leads, customers, and specifications for building product brands through our inbound marketing approach, proven to reach a technically demanding audience.

We use the latest marketing techniques such as construction inbound marketing, to equip building product companies to grow sustainability in this era of digital transformation.

As the only HubSpot certified agency to major in construction marketing. We have a proven formula of bringing a variety of functionalities together including CRM ImplementationWeb DesignSales AutomationSEO, and Email Marketing to achieve your ultimate aim: Growing your business and gaining new specifiers and customers.

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Ainhoa Rodriguez-Muguruza

Written by Ainhoa Rodriguez-Muguruza

I work closely with new and existing clients to help them achieve a wide variety of Inbound Marketing goals, including HubSpot CRM implementation and Onboarding, as well as help to map out business development objectives to help drive growth to our client’s building product businesses.