Rob Melis is the president and founder of Construction Marketing Inc., a Web marketing firm focused on the construction industry and construction firms of all sizes, specialties and locations. For more information, call 941-312-7801 or visit construction.marketing.
The construction industry is changing quickly. In the past, a construction firm’s success was based largely on two pillars: quality projects completed on time and budget, and personal relationships with clients. While both of those are still important factors in guaranteeing good reputations and long-term success, the Internet has brought other factors into play that have a direct bearing on the overall success of today’s construction firms.
Successful Web marketing doesn’t end with the existence of your company website. Successful Web marketing also includes the larger Web: search engines, social media, content and advertising. It will be increasingly challenging for your construction firm to be successful based purely on your work and relationships. While those will always be important, your position in local or regional construction markets will be impacted by how well your firm leverages the power of the Web.
When it comes to Web marketing, the construction industry currently lags the larger consumer and business-to-business markets by six to eight years in both knowledge and skill. Fully understanding and leveraging Web marketing requires a different skillset than those traditionally required to remain competitive in the construction marketplace. To remain competitive, you need to build your overall Web presence as carefully as you have built your reputation.
Build a Strong Web Presence
Ensuring that your firm is well represented in keyword search results is a good start, but increasingly, Web success is about being in lots of places online where chance encounters can occur often. Online advertising is a key way to increase your visibility and name recognition.
Your website is the hub of your Web presence, but a good-looking website and a few well-placed advertisements are not enough to guarantee results until you maximize your firm’s authority on the Web. Search engines increasingly rely on a website’s authority when determining where a website is placed in search results. The top spots go to the best-built websites that have a good authority ranking. The way to gain authority is to provide meaningful, frequently-updated content on a variety of different platforms across the Web that are pertinent to your work and geographic region.
Domain authority is the likelihood that a single domain will rank well on search engines for specific keyword phrases. The following are some actions you can take today to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your company’s Web presence and increase your authority. Your competitors are using professionals for many of the tenements listed below, and you should be, too.
The following Web imperatives include descriptions to help break down several methods for perfecting your approach to the Web.
1. Web design tailored to buyer
Understand the specific types of people that give you contracts. What are the primary projects that you want to pursue? Who is the primary audience you are trying to reach with your site? Prepare a cohesive package of website design, headlines, written copy, photos and video to appeal to your ideal client.
2. Mobile-friendly Web design
In November 2014, the amount of Web traffic from mobile devices (phones and tablets) surpassed desktop users for the first time in history. Your construction firm’s website design needs to be a modern, responsive design that morphs perfectly to any type of device. Users should be able to find any information quickly and easily, too.
3. Search engine optimization (SEO)
A huge proportion of all Web sessions start at a search engine. It is crucial to track and understand your website’s search engine rankings for the key phrases that bring in business. Your Web presence needs a constant flow of new content in order to maximize your SEO. Top rankings are even more important because searches on mobile devices are most likely to only check the top-ranking sites.
4. Professional photography
Professional photographers are your best choice to capture images of your projects and company at a quality high enough for marketing purposes. Your images should focus on the types of work that bring in the most revenue. Do not emphasize photos of situations that are unlikely to occur again or are not profitable for your company.
5. Press releases
Your company should provide a press release to the major online PR platforms (PRweb.com, PRlog.com) for every new contract, industry award, project start and completion, as well as for solutions that you provide for clients.
6. Social media
Increasing and refining your presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is a good starting point, but don’t forget that there are great opportunities in smaller, industry-specific blogs and websites.
Provide helpful tips and considerations for people buying your types of services. Share your knowledge and the Web will repay you.
8. Highlight your people
A construction company is more than a building, tools and equipment. Your employees are your strength. In all of your materials, focus on the people that work hard daily make your company special. Multimedia features on your site can showcase deserving employees on the jobsite and client testimonials following project completion.
Finding opportunities to gain recognition on local and national media is incredibly powerful to building authority for your firm. Media of all types are eager to fill their platforms with interesting content that will appeal to their audiences. When you do get media attention, do anything you can to ensure a link to your website is included with the story. Use social media to share good news about your company with all of your clients.
The way to prove your firm’s expertise is to demonstrate it with written content that helps people understand what you do and why. Think of yourself as the teacher and your potential clients as your students. Tirelessly help them develop through exposure to your skills.
Get involved in online discussions about your area of expertise. The links and readers you gather will help create a powerful position online, and you will learn more about the industry through your research.
Online advertising works. Done well, it is a fairly complex affair, but it is easily in reach of any construction contractor.
The construction industry is just now waking up to the power of a fully-cohesive Web marketing strategy. As the industry reshapes to meet the needs of a new generation of business leaders, the firms that embrace this new direction will reap the benefits for years to come.