In the year 2021, the society as a whole are more reliant on the internet than ever before. Due to the pandemic and possible economic recession, people are staying at home and driven towards online platforms for their shopping and everyday needs.
What does this mean to the construction industry? Well, the main source of customer traffic for contractors has always been word of mouth. With people staying indoors and keeping to themselves, customer traffic is bound to plummet. On the contrary, companies that invest in a solid digital marketing strategy are consistently outperforming their peers.
With the economy slowing down and the loss of word-of-mouth traffic, having a strong online presence and a robust digital marketing strategy is a must in order to stay profitable.
In this post, we will be going over beginner digital marketing practices as well as strategies specifically pertaining to the construction industry. This guide is meant to help businesses in the construction sector as well as contractors such as Roofers, Renovators, General Contractors, Painters, etc. with their digital marketing strategy.
It’s important that you have a basic understanding of common digital marketing practices in order to understand the construction industry specific strategies outlined in this guide. We know too well how busy you are so we will attempt to make this as comprehensive as possible to save you time gathering information yourself. That being said, let’s begin.
Key Digital Marketing Practices for Construction Contractors
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is essentially the practice of aligning your website as closely as possible to Google’s (or any other search engine) algorithms in order to be ranked above your competitors on your potential client’s search page. Keep in mind that all SEO practices take time to show results so don’t be disappointed that you’re not on the first page of Google the next day.
SEO always starts with keyword research. In order to rank your website as high as possible on Google’s search page, you need to research what keywords your clients will most likely be searching for and implement those keywords into your website’s content. By using tools such as Moz Keyword Explorer, WordStream, or Ubersuggest, you will be able to find out how many people are searching for each keyword(s) and the SEO competition for those words. Generally, you want to aim for keywords with the highest search volume and lowest competition but search volume takes precedence.
After you’ve done your keyword research, try to incorporate these keywords into your website content. This is why blogs are so popular. Blogs are a great SEO platform for industries that would otherwise not have anywhere on their website for longform content. Other aspects in which you can slot in your keywords are website urls, meta-tags, and even image alt tags.
Another way you can increase your Google rankings is by building links. By applying links in your content to other authoritative websites, it in turn will increase your own authority in the eyes of Google’s algorithm. Likewise, if you manage to create excellent content and other websites start linking to your website, Google will view you as having higher authority.
While to a certain extent, you can’t control other people to link to your website, one thing you can do is link to your own website. By applying links to other relevant content on your website, it gives Google an idea of the structure of your website and allows you to direct web traffic to your pages that are more important which will also boost your SEO efforts.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)/PPC (Pay Per Click)
If you want to speed things up, you can catalyst your SEO efforts by opting to invest in paid ads. PPC ads involve you paying Google to display your website on top of the organic search results when your potential customers search certain keywords.
Remember the keyword research tools? One of the metrics it shows you when researching keywords is the CPC (Cost per Click). The CPC shows you the average cost per click on the keyword that you are trying to target. Once you’ve done your keyword research, you then place a bid on the keywords that you want to trigger your ad when a potential client searches it.
Once your ad is posted, you would be charged a small fee every time people click your link. It’s a small price to pay, especially since each customer in the construction industry can bring in upwards of $1000 in revenue.
You may be wondering what determines your position amongst the other companies also running ads for the same keywords. This works differently than organic SEO. Google will take your bid price as well as your quality score into account when assigning your position on the search page. Your quality score is determined by your click through rate, relevance and your website quality. Hence it is important to have a strong copy to entice people to click your ads in order to maximize your quality score.
Social Media marketing refers to the act of promoting your business, brand and product/service on social media platforms. This usually involves creating a business page/profile on strategically targeted social media platforms, posting relevant content and interacting with fans/followers.
3.78 billion people (48% of the world population) are using social media and 54% of those people use social media to research products and services before purchasing.
Social media provides a means of communication with potential clientele and can build trust in your brand which is required for a customer to even consider you as most construction projects are big investments.
There are an overwhelming number of Social Media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and many more.
The platforms that are best suited for construction companies are:
We’ll get into the reason why these platforms are preferred when we talk about industry specific strategies.
Content Marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves the creation of content such as blog posts, videos, tutorials, infographics etc. in order to promote your brand, business, product/service or to raise awareness.
Based on your target audience, you can decide on which type of content you will prioritize. Generally in this industry, you would want to prioritize content such as:
How to guides
These types of content are more advantageous over other types of content. We’ll explain the reasoning behind this later on in this guide.
Characteristics of the Construction Sector Relating to Digital Marketing
In this section we will go over characteristics of the construction industry that we need to take into account when developing our digital marketing strategy since there is no one size fits all tactic.
Hybrid of Service and Product that Does Not Exist Before Purchase
In the construction sector, end products are generally in the form of a physical facility or product. However the main product that the consumer receives is the service that the company provides during the course of the project.
Although 3D rendering technology exists to help consumers visualize the final product, they are not able to evaluate the physical quality of the product as it does not exist before construction. This poses a challenge to marketing efforts since the customer cannot assess or evaluate the end product before committing to a contract.
The appropriate way to counter this challenge is to focus marketing efforts on the service aspect of your business in order to build stronger trust and convince customers that the end product will be better than your competitors.
Here is an example to better clarify this concept:
Bob owns a roofing company. Instead of trying to convince clients that he will build a better roof than his competitors, which is extremely difficult as each project is unique, Bob focuses his marketing efforts on building consumer trust in his service by promoting the quality of his team, superior workmanship, as well as customer reviews and testimonials.
Difficulty of Product Differentiation
Most contractor’s projects will take place at a private residence or commercial property. Unlike other product based businesses, customers can’t just come and “take a look” at your previous projects. This makes it very difficult for potential customers to compare your finished product vs other competitors’.
No matter which what type of product you’re offering, whether it be renovations, roofs, fully constructed homes etc., they are not movable. Meaning that if clients want to evaluate the quality of your work, they will have to go to that exact physical location which may or may not be a pleasant commute.
Limited Capacity and Dynamic Work Cycle
In the contracting business, there is limited capacity for your work cycle. You won’t be able to take on more projects if you are at maximum capacity. This results in a dynamic work cycle in which there are times where you’re operating at full capacity and there are times where you have little to no work at all.
This poses a marketing challenge especially when it comes to any type of paid marketing. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to invest in marketing when you’re already at full capacity and you would want to invest in marketing more during down times. However, there are not many digital marketing agencies that have the flexibility and strategies to accommodate that type of work cycle.
Construction Industry Specific Digital Marketing Strategies
Focus on Visual Content
When it comes to it, as a construction based business, your product is a craft. When you’re so good at your craft that you can run a business doing it, it can now be considered an artform. Although it will be difficult for your clients to physically evaluate your product, by prioritizing your marketing content creation on visual content, you can further enhanced your ability to "paint a picture" for your client.
Customers will trust your brand if you’re able to convey that you or your team have:
Consistency with time and budget
Attention to detail
A solid reputation
Integrity and honesty
It’s extremely difficult to convince your clients that you or your team have those qualities from audio or some types of written content.
The reason why we recommended you to prioritize the types of marketing content mentioned above is because these forms of content allow you to build trust with your clients much easier than other forms of media.
Focus on Social Media - Driving Positive Consumer Reviews and Relationships
As mentioned above, consumer trust is integral to this industry. Since it’s difficult for clients to compare products of different contractors or construction companies, it comes down to which brand they trust. Nowadays, by far the most common way customers interact with brands is through the internet. This is why creating a strong and trustworthy online presence is the most consistent way to attract leads.
What better way to build consumer trust than reviews and testimonials? Social media is the best platform for past clients to share their experiences with your company and for you to interact with new potential clients.
Remember how we talked about the construction industry having limited capacity and a dynamic work cycle? If you’re opting to run your own paid ad campaigns, you can address this challenge by customizing the time and dates your ad campaign is running in order to avoid maximum capacity times and double down on down times.
We tried to make this guide as comprehensive and as specific as possible. Although our main purpose of writing this guide is for SEO purposes, we don’t believe in writing content just for Google’s algorithms. We genuinely hope to share our knowledge in order to help businesses that need this, especially during these tough times. That being said, if you liked this guide and found it useful, come follow us on our social media platforms to keep updated with more useful information.