Online marketing efforts become even more important to contractors in an increasingly competitive environment.
With profit margins in the construction industry remaining thin, many contractors are traveling out of their usual territory to bid jobs. Your home-town reputation may not be sufficient to market your company in new territory. Online marketing can help. With more than 200 million people around the country using the Internet, it is vital that you take an online approach when marketing your business. Not to mention, social media is growing at an exponential rate. By taking advantage of the Internet, you can increase the credibility of your business and traffic to your website. Examine these guidelines to measure whether your online efforts are up to par.
Create a Cohesive Tone
All outlets should have the same look and feel as your company website and marketing materials. It is important to create a social media policy that illustrates and explains how your company’s brand should be represented by its employees and affiliates. This will allow multiple employees to manage various social media efforts at once. Additionally, if you are managing several divisions, it will ensure that all divisions have a similar voice and message. Create a template that can be used system-wide.
Become an Industry Expert
In order to enhance your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and rank for searches that are impossible to fully anticipate, create a company blog. Blog posts are the easiest way to generate a lot of specific content and position your business as an industry expert while increasing its SEO. Use the blog to engage your customers with industry news, hot trends, photographs of recent completed jobs, special promotions and services your business offers. Most importantly, update the blog on a daily basis.
Build Some Buzz
Although networking in person is undoubtedly a contractor’s best bet for building relationships, the networking possibilities online are endless. Make sure to register your brand and any trademarks you have on all social media ports you want to use—even if you are not yet active in the social place. You need to protect your brand and ensure that no one else uses your company’s name, logo and slogan online before you do.
Revamp Your Website
Internet users want information that is easily accessible. Use the one-click rule. With no more than one click of the mouse, your potential customer should be able to venture off your homepage and find exactly what he/ she is looking for.
Attain proper technical support so readers are not waiting for pages and pictures to load. There is nothing wrong with an aesthetically pleasing design, but you do not want to overdo it with Flash. Google will penalize a website that takes longer than eight seconds to open in search rankings. Frequently check external links and make sure they are correctly linking the reader to another site. Make sure your website is compatible with mobile phones.
Overall, if you make a social media blunder, admit it. Be upfront and quick with your correction. If you are posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so. If conversing about products or services, use your real name, identify that you are representing your company and be clear with your role. If you decide to hire outside help for your Internet marketing efforts, it is important to find a company that has the industry knowledge and marketing background to properly represent your brand and effectively build a following. Once you have found the right fit, listen closely to that outside source. Make sure they know the end result you seek, but be adaptable and roll with their recommendations.
Construction Business Owner, April 2011