“Can we bid on this job?” “Are we over costs on this project?” “What permits do we need to work in this district?”
There’s a wide array of day-to-day concerns involved in managing a construction business, as contractors need to have a full understanding of what’s happening with each of their projects. This often includes not only managing a crew but keeping a mental timetable on completion goals, monitoring budgets and staying on top of future bidding opportunities.
It can make for noticeably booked schedule, which means thoughts of non-project related tasks like marketing can fall to the wayside.
However, though properly marketing your business can seem daunting, there are a few things contractors can do to ensure they’re getting the word out (with or without a marketing team). The first involves creating a basic marketing strategy.
1. Determine your goals and budget.
The key to any marketing strategy is to first identify the main goals for the company. For many contractors, this is likely bringing in more business to make more money. However, some contractors may also be looking to expand their workforce, bring in a different type of client or push into more government work. Understanding what you’re trying to achieve through marketing your business will help you cater your marketing to a specific type of client, which not only can give you better results but save you money in the long run.
In line with this, contractors should also have a set budget in mind for their marketing efforts — both for the amount of money and time they want to spend on it. The amount of funds and resources you feel comfortable enough putting into marketing will likely have an effect on how you market — i.e., free or paid. It’ll also have an effect on your return of investment
One of the simplest — and cheapest — ways to get started on marketing your company is by bringing your business online.
2. Create or update your company website.
In today’s world, an online presence is nearly mandatory. The first place most people — including your potential customers — are going to go when looking for a company to work with is an online search engine like Google or Bing. They’re also likely to research a business thoroughly before ever reaching out to them. This means you want to ensure that your company’s site (1) is up-to-date, (2) is easy to navigate and (3) has all the necessary information potential clients need, including:
- Who you are:
- The history of your company
- Your company values
- What makes you unique
- What you do:
- Are you a specialty or general contractor?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What are the varieties of construction products or services you can offer?
- Examples of your work:
- Client testimonials
- Pictures of your work
- Where you’re located:
- What service areas do you work in?
- How people can contact you:
- Who can they expect to speak to if they call, email or write?
3. Create relevant and helpful content.
Once you have the core of your site together, you can start working on building it out with additional content that can help drive people to your website and business. This may include creating a specific page for posting blogs about projects, where you showcase the ins and outs of what your crew is working on, or it could give your clients an inside look at how you operate as a company — holiday events, employee get-togethers, etc.
You may also choose to devote a page on your site to sharing educational articles about the construction industry or your specialty trade. For example, you could create how-to articles or videos on simple DIY construction tasks like re-caulking a door. Or, if you’re a specialist in something like electrical work, you could create an article or video on rewiring a lamp or some other electrical appliance.It's important to keep in mind that every article you write should be catered towards your customers and the questions and concerns they have. Click To Tweet
Whatever you decide, it’s important to keep in mind that every article you write should be catered towards your customers and the questions and concerns they have. Are clients consistently asking how long it takes to resurface a lot or when the best time of year to repaint a building is? Write about it. Knowing your audience (e.g., current and potential clients) means that you can produce better content that’s more likely to get them to your site and, in turn, your business.
4. Start social media accounts for your company
As you start sharing different types of content, you may want to create social media accounts to help promote it. Regardless of age, most people have social media accounts they check semi-regularly if not daily. Updating your company’s social media accounts, even once or twice a week, with industry news, pictures, company culture and project updates can help drive traffic to your site. These updates can also help customers feel like they know you and can make you more trustworthy.
Though it can be overwhelming given the multitude of platforms available, keep in mind that you don’t have to join each one. Think about who your clients are and where they’re most likely to be. For many companies (construction included), Facebook and LinkedIn are the biggest platforms for reaching potential clients, with the average age of users between 25 and 44. However, you may want to include Instagram or Twitter in your efforts, especially if you have quick updates to share or are working on projects that lend to good pictures. It all depends on where your audience is.
5. Make sure you’re listed in local and online directories.
There are a wide variety of online directories that work similarly to the yellow pages (including the online version of the yellow pages):
Though it may take a little time for your company’s listing to appear — sometimes 24 hours, sometimes a month — many of these online directories are free and accessible to everyone. Just make sure that all of the company information you put into each of your listings is not only accurate but consistent. You should have the same business address, phone number and title for each one.
6. Invest in Ads.
From creating company flyers and sending direct mailers, to buying billboard space or paid ads on social media, there’s a great deal of advertising opportunities available both in print and online. If you have a client list, or just a local listing of residents and commercial businesses in your area, you can send out short informational packets or one-page ads about your construction company.
Social media can also be a great channel to run paid ads on. Most social platforms have built-in systems where they walk you step-by-step through setting an ad budget, creating a time frame for your ad to run and targeting your audience. From there, all you need to include is some simple ad content and an image like your company logo; then they’ll do the rest. Sites like Instagram and Facebook also give you the option to boost or promote content that’s already doing well, which means they’ll share your content with a wider audience than you’d be able to reach normally — no additional work required!
7. Join an industry association.
Another good way to market your business is by joining an industry association like Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) or The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC). These associations range from local or state chapters to national groups. Many of them also have regular events like trade shows or expos that you can attend, network and promote at as well, which gives you a chance to showcase your work and interact with potential customers.
Conclusion: Keep it simple but consistent.
At the end of the day, there’s no one true way to market your business. However, even implementing just one of the above tactics can help get you on your way to bringing in more business — and you can build from there.
Looking for more tips on getting the most out of your construction business?