Construction business owners may work in a variety of sectors, but all have something in common—a growing need to market and advertise to rapidly changing client bases. As with brand marketers in other industries, all face a pressing demand to redefine the shape of marketing and communications efforts to meet these audiences’ changing habits, interests and ways of interacting with an increasingly connected and social world. So, why is shifting from the traditional model of push-based communications to one that is focused on telling compelling tales designed to pull audiences in vital? Consider that today’s audience increasingly lives in a 24/7 on-demand online world in which it is exposed to literally thousands of brands and marketing messages daily. And it is becoming increasingly adept at tuning those messages out—especially millennials, who now number over 74.5 million members and have become the single largest generation in the marketplace and workforce.
As a result, businesses and brands have to come realize the following: rather than promote canned advertising messages, they increasingly have to double down on telling stories that resonate with audiences on a personal level. It is no surprise that over 60 percent of brand marketers say social outreach is becoming far more vital to promotional campaigns, and nearly 3 in 4 saw spikes in website traffic after spending just 6 hours a week on social networks. According to HubSpot, 77 percent of consumer-facing businesses and 43 percent of B2B-focused firms have acquired customers just by promoting on Facebook alone.
In addition, other studies have shown that social media has a 100-percent-higher, lead-to-close rate than traditional, outbound marketing methods. Recasting the way in which you promote your solutions also provides ample opportunity to innovate and differentiate on a much more powerful, economical and implementable scale. A few important points to keep in mind when crafting a digital and social outreach strategy include:
- Don’t market or promote solutions directly. Instead, tell bigger-picture stories that others can rally behind.
- Keep messaging short, sweet, and simple. Capture audience attention, and convey 3 to 5 key points within the first 10 seconds.
- Lead with a strong, compelling and well-differentiated hook. Whether using humor or heartwarming elements to tell your tale, quickly set yourself apart at a glance.
- Use visual elements, such as videos, animations, and infographics, to communicate complex data wherever possible. Today’s audiences respond far better to graphical components than text.
- Design messaging to suit the medium. A one-size-fits-all approach should not apply. Communications should be tailored to each channel, whether you are conducting outreach using solutions.
- Take a closer look at strategic ROI. Ask yourself, how can your social media strategy support your larger goals and objectives? Define those objectives to create a strategic marketing plan.
- Set tangible measurements that help you gauge a program’s effectiveness and impact. Are you trying to drive website page views, increase your number of incoming leads or close a bigger percentage of deals?
- Remember that numbers aren’t everything, though. Effectiveness may also be gauged in terms of how often conversation topics trend, how audiences respond to messages and how much goodwill you are generating for your brand.
- To better connect with others, shift the focus from strictly selling solutions to creating value for your audience. Think about the pain points you can help them solve, and systemically go about doing so. As a general rule, employ the 60/20/20 rule online: 60 percent of time should be spent engaging your audience; 20 percent should be spent sharing content your audience will care about; and 20 percent should be spent talking about your brand.
- To more effectively rally a following, position yourself as a thought leader. Be the source your audience goes to for industry information. Provide them with content that they will keep wanting to come back and tune into again and again.
Marketing and promoting to tomorrow’s audiences becomes simpler and more cost-effective when you are willing to rethink the way in which you communicate with prospective customers. Going forward, it isn’t simply about marketing to others, but rather about finding more effective ways to connect with and inspire them. The more effective a storyteller you become, the more pronounced an impact your marketing efforts will have on your company’s bottom line.