After a period of industry volatility, trends are showing that confidence is returning and there will be plenty of building opportunities for the taking this year. At the same time, the labor market is reported to be swinging in a better direction for employers as more people are joining (or rejoining) the workforce.
It's time to strike while the iron is hot: Make a plan to increase awareness about your company now so you can get in front of more project opportunities and attract team members by the busy summer season.
Creating an effective marketing plan can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t really understand all the components, or even where to begin. If you break it down to a simple quarterly system using the best tactics across the right channels, seeing results is easier than you think.
Begin with the end of the year in mind
Start your plan by visualizing your business at the end of this year. At this point, the yearly marketing plan is wide angled and aspirational. Write down your financial goal and list out the actions and processes you need to accomplish to achieve it. Think about how you can spread the tasks across your team members and include them in the rewards when you see a successful outcome.
Do a little research on what your competitors are doing and determine how you can improve upon them. Don’t just stick to the ones on your local radar. Search for similar companies in a different region already working off a plan that might inspire you.
Have resolve in your vision but remember to stay flexible. You need room to adjust your plan as the industry changes throughout the year.
Next, break your plan into quarterly roadmaps that feed into the yearly goal. Each contains shorter, more immediate actions that can be achieved by the end of the quarter and built upon as the year progresses. This allows flexibility to adjust as necessary, and is far easier to stick to as things start getting hectic throughout the year.
Establish the overall strategy each quarter to hit the yearly goal. Are you looking to increase awareness among developers or GC’s in your business community, which requires outreach tactics like direct mail or trade shows? Or do you need to invest in digital marketing to reel in more leads from residential homeowners in need of a remodel? One approach is far different from the other, but both require elements of the basic marketing strategy.
In either approach, your first priority should be to claim a unique position in the marketplace to gain a competitive edge. What is it that you do better than your competitors, makes you the best money, and you enjoy doing? Is it something your prospects need? Write a statement owning that niche that sets you apart from similar companies in your field.
The main purpose of your website is not only to attract visitors through search engine marketing like Google Adword campaigns, it's also to convert casual browsers into genuine leads. The best way to increase your chances is to update your messaging organically at least once a quarter.
Put a date on your calendar for at least once a quarter to sit down with your leadership team to actively enhance your website’s content. No matter how busy you are, set the time aside and stick to it.
Get into the habit of adjusting and tweaking the content, adding and modifying keywords and rewriting paragraphs to stay up to date with the times. Create a plan to back up your positioning statement by regularly adding case studies, videos or articles, rewriting your service offerings or spotlighting employees, all centered around your niche industry expertise.
Review your messaging and content from a prospect’s perspective. Is the information on your website clear and helpful? Does it answer relevant questions and address the needs and challenges your audience might be facing? Search engines appreciate a site that is active and helpful, and will reward them by ranking them higher on results lists.
The key is consistency. Ideally you should post something once a week, but as busy as you are, you should at least make a goal of posting something every quarter. It doesn’t have to be a polished Shakespearean verse. Speak genuinely and authentically from your perspective, offering helpful industry advice to those who will benefit from your experience.
If your goal is to attract more business leads through Google search results, you should utilize online tools like SEMRush or Spyfu on at least a quarterly basis to monitor the most effective keywords, search terms, and what your competitors are spending to bid on them. Your Adword campaign should not be a “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy. Your audiences adjust their search terms based on the seasons and if you’re still bidding on “water irrigation landscaper” in the dead of winter you’re wasting money.
As much as building contractors loathe the idea of posting to social media on a regular basis, you have to respect it as a vital component in your marketing ecosystem. It's all about the algorithms. If you are a B2B company promoting your articles on LinkedIn, or a contractor posting images of your projects on Instagram, it builds audiences slowly and steadily, increasing visits to and time spent on your website.
Instead of putting pressure on yourself to become the next mega influencer with millions of subscribers, break your posting strategy down into simple and genuine reflections of your company doing what it does best. Have your team get in the habit of capturing progress images or videos at least once a month, and eventually once a week or more. Don’t overthink it. What may be mundane to you may be appreciated by those in your audience doing research for that next project. Just keep persistent.
In addition to your digital marketing, make a plan to send one thing out to your audiences once a quarter. This could include a letter reminding your business community of your services, an email newsletter reporting on your latest project, even a postcard from a purchased contact list targeting key clients.
This strategy is not as tangible or trackable as digital marketing, however business development in the building industry is all about the long game, increasing awareness and warming potential leads over time.
Small steps, big results
Breaking a yearly business strategy into quarterly goals helps you stay focused and productive without being overwhelmed. It also forces your team to revisit your marketing plan at least four times a year to review the progress and keep the momentum going. Make sure you understand the overall strategy and set a measurable goal each quarter, prioritizing and respecting each tactic as a valuable step to drive business growth. And if you haven’t hit your target by the end of the year, don’t be discouraged. The idea is to at least have a vision to focus on instead of drifting through another year without traction.
Written by Rusty George with zero help from Artificial Intelligence.
Rusty George leads a branding, website design and marketing agency serving Seattle and Tacoma area construction companies, subcontractors, engineering and architecture firms, material fabricators and suppliers. His goal is to help the building industry become more attractive to the skilled workforce of the future.