Digital Marketing Checklist For Australian Construction & Building Industry Companies
At the last official count, the Australian construction industry comprised of 338,274 businesses, making it the largest industry within our country, accounting for over 16% of all businesses. So if you are planning on standing out and carving your own piece of this $134.2 billion pie, then Digital Marketing must be at the core of your business.
Marketing for companies within the construction industry is what I have specialised in over the more recent years. I have been directly employed by and been the account manager for a great number of residential and commercial building companies, renovation specialists, painters, plumbers and electricians. As well as working for, I also part-owned a commercial building company myself. It is from these experiences that I gained a great deal of experience writing, implementing and managing successful marketing campaigns within the industry. Now I am hoping to help more constriction companies across Australia to successfully launch into the online space. So to assist, I have written a comprehensive checklist for what all small and medium-sized construction and building trade companies should be doing in the digital space this year, if they want to compete in an ever evolving digital-world.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be releasing articles which will focus on each individual area in more depth. My goal is to give trade companies tools and tactics to help them differentiate themselves through executing proper marketing plans across appropriate platforms, and to also seek feedback on your experiences and spark conversations.
So whether you are a builder, electrician, plumber, painter, carpenter, renovator, concreter, roofer, landscaper, glazier or any other trade, I hope this checklist provides great value to you.
Digital Marketing Strategy
THIS IS WHERE THE REAL MAGIC HAPPENS.
If you've ever spent way too long on the job site toilet trying to work out what your next Instagram post caption should be, or stayed up late stressing about why you're not generating the leads that you thought you would from your last campaign, chances are that you skipped this part. It's easy to want to put your time and effort into something that reaps rewards today, but just like a house can't be built without a plan, a successful digital marketing campaign can't be built without a strategy in place.
You must understand what your business goals are for the future, how many leads you will need to achieve these goals, what your budget is, how competitive your local market is and what your competitors are doing, what makes you stand out (your Unique Value Proposition), as well as where your future customers are looking for your services and what they want to see.
Once you have this set-out, your execution should be a whole lot easier.
Your website is your advantage. Once a potential customer has got to your website, you can tell them whatever you want about your business, WITHOUT COMPETITION. Every other marketing platform that we have on this list, has you pitted up against a thousand other competitors, but your website is the one digital platform where you don't have to fight for attention. So build it right.
A key piece of advice when planning your website strategy is to put yourself in your potential client's shoes. I see too many websites that say exactly what the business owner wants their customers to know about their business. When in fact, what they should be highlighting is their ability to help create a solution for whatever need the potential client currently has. This may sound confusing and we will be releasing an article on this exact topic shortly, but essentially too many construction company websites say "this is me, this is my work ute, this is my team and this is the cool house we built, so request a quote today." In reality, many people visiting their website have never renovated their house before and are nervous because they are putting their hard earned money into someone else's hands. Because of this, I have found it more beneficial to use your website to promote elements that build trust, including your core values, how you've gone the extra-mile, and above all else, provide amazing client testimonials.
From there, you must, must, must make sure that your website is Search Engine Optimised for all search engines and across both computer and mobile (with over 50% of Google's searches occurring on mobile, this is vital).
Social Media Platforms
Whether or not you think that Facebook's relevance in the digital world is slowly diminishing, it is undeniable that this platform is still vital for construction companies and tradies in 2019. Considering that the vast majority of its functionality can be used for FREE to great effect, regular posting and consistent engagement on Facebook should be seen as a pivotal cog in every digital marketing strategy.
We are able to generate solid new leads daily for some of our residential building and solar/electrical clients through regular posting of client-focused content, encouraging reviews, and engaging with their followers.
Can posting pretty pictures and graphics really help you generate strong leads? The answer is a resounding YES!
Is it worth the time it takes to come up with content, take photos, grow an audience and respond to their comments? The short answer to this is again YES, but the longer answer involves putting a solid strategy in place to simplify your activity on the platform to make your time worth-while.
We will be releasing a guide as to how you can make your Instagram time a whole lot more efficient in the coming months to help you out, but if you want a few helpful tips in the meantime please feel free to contact us and we can give you a sneak-peak to that article.
LinkedIn is a platform that I absolutely love, but may not be useful for all.
If you're a business that works with corporate/commercial clients, property managers, or does a good amount of charitable work within your region (LinkedIn can be great as a Public Relations booster), then utilising this platform can be beneficial.
One other key advantage of LinkedIn is the ability to find and develop relationships with key suppliers. As you have the ability to find the exact employees from supplier companies, you can develop relationships with them that may not help with lead generation but may be able to help you significantly reduce job costs. This takes time and effort, but the longterm payoff could be well worth your while.
Now this one is a beauty! If you're in the situation where your budget restricts you from going all out on Google Ad campaigns or employing a Search Engine Optimisation specialist, this one is for you.
Although I can't say that Google My Business is as effective as other ranking campaigns, it is free and easy to use. You can list your companies' address and geographical service radius, your key services and contact details for all potential clients to find.
Google loves it when your customers review you on the platform. This is great because the more customers you have to brag about your services, the less you have to! I'm unsure as to why more building trade companies aren't encouraging reviews. I am based on the Sunshine Coast and on a quick search of "Residential Builders" on Google, the highest reviewed builder only has 22. This seems like a great opportunity and one that we'd definitely be all over if we were working with you.
You should know of Houzz by now, but if you don't let us give you a brief overview of this amazing platform. Houzz is essentially an online brand community and also serves as a directory for homeowners seeking all building trades imaginable. Think Yellow Pages meets Pinterest, but specifically for customers seeking trade companies.
You can upload your latest projects, receive reviews from clients and have your companies projects found through their detailed geographical and job-based tagging. It is brilliant and something we will be writing a greatly detailed post about shortly.
If you are anything like me, you remember the Yellow Pages as that baulky book that you used to sit on top of at the hairdressers as a child to get a bit of extra height. But now that it's online, it is a beast with over 5.2 million online searches per month. From plans starting at $0 per month all the way up to $217, your business can decide how much to invest based on your budget. It is definitely one of the most popular online directories for all industries, not just construction, so keep that in mind.
Outside of just a directory, Localsearch has their own marketing service too. Whilst they receive less than half of the monthly page views as Yellowpages, they do a great job at encouraging customer reviews. With basic free listing up to their platinum $375 per month pack, there is a range of options to choose from.
One of the really cool functions of True Local is the ability for not just the business owner but also the customer to be able to upload photos to the business listing, providing great free marketing. Another great differentiating function is that you can "Bookmark" a business listing or send it to a mobile in order to reference back or share it with a friend. Whilst not as popular as the previous two directories, they have some really interesting functions.
Conceptually both of these pages are amazing. Most potential customers desire multiple quotes before they choose the tradie they want to assist on their home. On these pages, the customer describes their job and the website puts it out to tender to its registered businesses. The customer then receives quotes and can decide who they want to go with. As I said, this is conceptually great for small businesses who have a small marketing budget. But there is always a sense of unease that comes with these websites as I feel they seem to attract price-sensitive customers, therefore tradies may cut corners to meet these restrictions, and customers may end up unsatisfied with the job and all business associated with these directories can start to develop bad reputations. However, I believe there is no harm in trying to use one of these pages; my advice is just to be honest on what you can and can't provide for different budgets.
So, by now I am sure you can tell that I am a massive fan of the all-powerful Google. They make it so hard not to be! They are the most popular online search engine in the world and they allow businesses the ability to feature themselves in prime real-estate on their search listings for all to see. Unfortunately, like most things nowadays, it comes at a cost, but if utilised strategically and correctly, the leads generated through these Google Ads should offset the associated costs.
What the geniuses at Google do is essentially let you bid against your competition for 6 key positions on their search pages. This means that when someone types in "Best Plumber Sunshine Coast," you have the chance at being one of the first businesses they see.
Now, for those who have had successful encounters with Google Ad's before, it's great to have you in our board. For those who haven't, we implore you to not lose hope. We've heard from some of our clients that have either dabbled in the platform themselves or paid someone else to do so, that the return they got wasn't worth the money they spent, or that they started with a floury of leads but the well dried up over time. If this is you then please get in contact with us. We'd love to have a chat with you about your experience and see if we can figure out what went wrong, whether it was in the strategy, the execution, the landing page that the ad pointed to or in being led down the path of false expectations by the agency you used. Over the years of working with Google Ad's in the construction industry, we've had too many great results to not believe in it wholeheartedly, so get into contact with us if you would like some help.
Outside of Google Ad's, this is probably the only other pay-per-click styled campaign that I would recommend because of how specified it is. It is almost scary how much data Facebook and Instagram have on each individual, but it is useful for marketers as they allow you to get crazy specific with the types of people you wish to see your ad.
The type of ad, graphic, audience and results that you choose all come down to what your intended result is. They will all differ based on whether you are desiring to drive traffic to your website, build brand awareness or generate new leads.
There is a great deal of strategy that goes into these ad's, so it is best to get a professional involved to make sure that your budget is being allocated directly towards achieving the goals that you have set.
That's A Lot Of Information, Can Please You Help Simplify It For Me?
Ok, because you asked so nicely.
- Develop A Strong Digital Marketing Strategy
- Build And Maintain A Solid Website
- Google My Business
If You Have The Budget, Then Definitely Do:
- Google AdWords
- Facebook / Instagram Advertising
Only Because They Are Free/Cheap:
- Yellow Pages
Where To Start:
Whilst the construction industry is super competitive within Australia, there is such an amazing opportunity to develop a healthy and sustainable business within it. I believe that the successful businesses will be the ones that understand and deliver in the following key areas:
- Generate Leads
- Provide A Competitive Quote And Professional Sales Process
- Deliver The Job
- After Sales Service (don't forget to call your clients a few weeks after the job to make sure that they are happy with everything, ask for reviews, get professional photos of the job if it warrants them, etc.)
At Birchall & Co. we pride ourselves on our ability to help you in the first area so that you can focus on what you are good at. We've been doing it for years and love being able to help build our construction clients' leads-funnel. We'd love to be able to help you.
So please get into contact with us with any questions you may have. We aren't lawyers so we won't charge you for phone calls; we just love to be able to help. Whether you become a client or we can be able to point you in the right direction, we'd love to chat with you about helping your building trade company stand out in your local area.