I don’t know about you, but my inbox is constantly flooded by email solicitations from digital marketing agencies claiming they can catapult my website to the top of every search results list and deliver a conga line of new biz leads. In this challenging economy you might be tempted to take them up on their offer, but will the investment really result in right fit opportunities for your building-based business?
Famous ad man David Ogilvy once said, "Good advertising sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” Before you surrender to the latest pitch from a lead-generation firm, let’s discuss whether it makes sense to invest in their tools, or instead devote your time and resources to other proven strategies in the B2B world of the building industry.
If you are a public-facing contractor like a roofer, electrician or custom home remodeler, you’re virtually invisible without some kind of inbound marketing program. It's not the company who is best at the project who lands the project; it's the company who’s best at landing the project who lands the project. Even if you have a great reputation and a strong project portfolio, the winners of the internet search battle arena are digitally savvy experts who know how to tilt the system in their (or their clients’) favor.
If part of your business development strategy is B2C, then it certainly makes sense to hire a digital marketing firm because they can help you with SEO & SEM (search engine optimization & marketing) refining your website’s words, phrases and structure to convince search engines to make your company a top suggestion to prospective clients seeking out your services. They also use online tools to bid on keywords to boost its rankings if possible.
Increasing your search results rankings takes time, consistency and patience. In my opinion, the most important ROI of a digital partner is that they consistently monitor and refine your website and search engine marketing over time so it continues to stay relevant and competitive.
There are two parts to an effective inbound experience. The first is having the right content to get your website found on the internet. The second (oddly overlooked) ingredient is conversion, or actually convincing your visitor to decide on choosing you over your competitors.
If you or your digital partner spend too much time focusing almost exclusively on the inbound tactics, you run the risk of neglecting the overall user experience. Prospective customers are looking for encouragement and inspiration, rather than just formula-based robotic delivery. They need to feel confident the vendor they choose will be empathetic and well-informed, and this can only be achieved by communicating in a relatable human manner.
For a B2B contractor like a fabricator,engineering firm, or commercial materials supplier, it's critical to provide professional-grade information humans can relate to. The decision making process is typically complex, involves several stakeholders and takes a long time, so rather than only trying to snag quick hits, your strategy should build your prospect’s trust and confidence in your products and services over time.
As you develop your website content, begin by understanding your audience’s needs and motivations and offer expert advice they can use. Produce case studies and articles that educate based on your niche experience and expertise. Provide guidance and resources to help them navigate their journey through the project and offer advice to help them make educated decisions. By positioning yourself as a trusted expert rather than a replaceable vendor, search engines begin to prioritize your content over other superficial, keyword-stuffed websites.
SEO and lead generation are just a small part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in the building industry. A holistic approach that combines genuine content marketing, social media, and paid advertising is important, as long as it informs and educates your business community.
Ultimately, it's important to approach offers from companies promising top search rankings and quality leads with a critical mindset. Do thorough research, ask for evidence of their capabilities, and consider the long-term value they can provide to your business. It may be beneficial to consult with digital marketing professionals or agencies like us to help you make informed decisions tailored to your specific business development needs.
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.