Marketing in the construction industry has seen a lot of change in the past couple of years.
Sales and marketing have become more aligned, breaking down silos. Gone are the days of construction Sales Directors heading out to meetings blindly, instead construction businesses and their sales teams are working with marketing teams internally as well as with freelancers and agencies to produce more effective marketing initiatives.
The current state of marketing in the construction industry
Construction businesses have been slow to catch up with other industries when it comes to digital marketing.
The industry has relied on sales for years, with sales people spending more time on prospecting and finding contact information and less time doing the job they love doing. Closing deals.
Many contractors and construction businesses still don’t have a CRM system, predictable lead generation strategy or even a marketing plan.
If you’re the owner of a construction company or you’re working within a department trying to generate more leads, warm prospects and sales you will probably have experienced some of these common problems with construction marketing:
- You have a website that does little to nothing for you
- You struggle to get in front of new prospects before the competition
- You don’t have a clue where to start with digital marketing
The way developers and landowners are finding contractors and construction companies has changed too. They’re searching online. They’re getting referrals on social media and they’re doing a lot of the research before engaging with sales teams.
All this means, marketing has never been more important.
That’s why we’ve put this post together – by introducing you to some of the ways other construction businesses win business regularly and consistently, you will be able to implement a marketing strategy in your company.
Before we jump into the many ways to market a construction company, let’s run through the marketing plan essentials for construction brands.
How to put together a construction company marketing plan
A quick search online for marketing plans will throw up lots of articles about marketing plans, so we won’t go into too much detail here instead we will get construction specific.
The main points you need to consider and cover in your construction marketing plan are:
- Determine your marketing objectives
Before embarking on any kind of marketing activity or campaign, you need to be clear on why you’re doing it. Some examples of construction marketing objectives might be revenue, profit or market share related. For example, you may want to grow revenue by 25% by the end of Q4 or raise commercial construction profits by £500,000 by September 2019.
Your marketing objectives should drive everything you do as a business.
- Review your business, competitors and industry
A key part of a marketing plan is to fully understand your own business and the space in which it operates. Completing a SWOT analysis is a good starting point, focusing on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the business faces.
Questions to ask in your SWOT include:
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What does your company do that’s different?
- What areas of the business do you excel in? i.e. people, machinery, standards
- Which area of the business needs improvement?
- Are there areas of the business struggling to cope with demand?
- Do you have complaints about certain aspects of your service?
- Is there an opportunity to grow sales in specific sectors or services?
- What are your competitors falling down on?
- Can you take market share from leaders in your niche?
- Could you become the go to company for a specific niche service?
- What are the conditions in your local economy and wider industry?
- How is technology affecting your business?
- Will there be a skills shortage of skilled employees?
- How are you going to overcome these challenges to reach your objectives?
- Outline a clear strategy
Most marketing plans and businesses fall down at the strategic level, they jump straight into planning how they will target customers, what channels they will use and how much they’re going to spend.
This is a big mistake.
Spend time developing a clear construction marketing strategy and you’ll reap the rewards.
But how? Start by defining your key products, markets and customers. Is there an opportunity to grow existing customer accounts with account based marketing? By defining your priority products and services, target audiences and buyer profiles you will be one step ahead of your competition.
Defining your offering at this stage is vital too. Using the strengths you identified in your SWOT analysis, build a positioning statement for each of your target audiences. For example, if you’re an expert in construction projects for schools, why would the decision maker choose you? Because you offer a safe, expert service with a proven track record working with other local schools? You can then use these across your marketing material and campaigns.
Your marketing strategy really is what drives all of your marketing activity. Without it, you’re heading without a map into the unknown. A little bit like starting a building project without the foundations being laid.
This is usually a good point to define your audience profiles too. For every service you’re hoping to offer a specific customer, create a buyer persona or audience profile. Get specific here and answer:
- Where are they based?
- What industry are they in?
- Which company do they work for?
- What is their job role/function?
- What problems are they struggling with at the moment?
- How does your construction company help them solve these problems?
It really is vital that you know exactly who you’re targeting and why. Once you know this, you can move onto reaching decision makers with solid marketing activity.
- Develop marketing tactics to implement your strategy
Now you have a clear strategy for your construction company, you’re ready to get cracking on some activity.
There are so many ways to market a construction company, the best place to start is with what you’re already doing.
Are you blogging?
Are you using social media?
How is your email marketing performing?
By reviewing your existing marketing activity you can stop the stuff that isn’t working and invest more in the marketing tactics that are.
Once you have a better idea of what is and isn’t working you should set out your next 12 months of marketing campaigns. Try to align your campaigns with key dates within your industry, for example if you’re working on gaining more student accommodation construction projects, work your campaigns around semesters or key dates.
At Reward Agency, we’re always banging on about how marketing should be integrated.
“Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise”
In simple terms, all of your marketing activity, should be “joined up” with online and offline marketing tactics working together to create campaigns that are much more effective, targeted and consistent.
Digital marketing tactics in the construction industry
There are lots of ways you can market your business using digital marketing, too many to list here so we’ve focused on two important digital marketing tactics you should get sorted.
Search engine optimisation – hopefully you have a website for your construction business. Great – but it’s probably not performing as well as it should be if it’s like other sites we come across.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps your site rank for keywords your target customers are searching for. The two things to get right if you’re looking to rank for your target keywords are producing relevant content for your audience and building links from authoritative sites in your sector.
Be specific with your keywords using “long tail keywords” – these phrases are longer in length and usually have more buyer intent. For example, someone searching for the “best commercial construction company in Manchester” is perhaps more relevant to your business than someone searching “construction company.” That’s if you’re a construction company in Manchester. Obviously. It wouldn’t be much use if you were a takeaway in Essex.
Content marketing – not every single prospect within your target audience is ready to buy, they might be 2-3 months off making a decision about who to work with on their upcoming construction project.
Content marketing is a great digital marketing tactic to help you sell to this group of people.
Content marketing is defined as:
“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In English, it means producing helpful content to help educate or entertain your prospects.
Those who aren’t ready to buy can read, watch and listen to your content. Helping to build trust whilst educating them on why your business is the authority in your field.
Content comes in all forms, written or visual. Producing blog posts, videos, downloadable ebooks and webinars are all examples of content marketing.
Your content marketing should be matched to your different audiences. For example, you could write a blog post to raise awareness of issues facing a specific target sector but perhaps a downloadable guide outlining the key considerations to make before embarking on a building project might be more relevant to the purchasing decision maker.
- Measure, measure, measure
Now you know who your audience are, how you’re going to reach them and what message will get their attention – the work isn’t done.
You should measure how effective your campaigns are, how many leads they are generating, how much traffic your blogs are producing, how many deals are closing etc. All of this helps you to produce better marketing campaigns, getting you closer to your overall marketing objectives.
Tools to help you measure your marketing performance include Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Moz Site Explorer.
We’re big believers in iteration at Reward Agency and we’re constantly testing, tweaking and improving campaigns after learning what worked and what could have been done better.
Continuous performance improvement in B2B marketing is essential.
Should you work with a construction marketing agency?
One of the most important factors to evaluate when you’re looking to improve marketing in a construction business is your internal resource.
Do you have enough experience, knowledge and time to fully implement your marketing strategy as quickly and effectively as you need to?
If the answer is yes, fantastic.
If the answer is no, it might be worth considering enlisting the help of a construction marketing agency. An agency can help you put together clearer strategic plans, effective marketing tactics and give you greater insight into the performance of your marketing.
What are the benefits of working with a construction marketing agency?
- Specialist skills in B2B marketing
- Added resource and dedicated time to market your business
- 100% accountability and transparency on the performance of your marketing activity