The B2B construction industry was hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic. As infections spread across the country, projects were frozen in place. Offices shuttered, retail and hospitality businesses closed their doors for good, and the demand for commercial real estate plummeted. Today, it’s slowly recovering. Though challenges still linger in the near-term, the US construction industry is expected to grow by more than 15% in 2021.
With all that growth comes competition, and that’s where marketing can help. Though B2B construction companiestend to rely on trade shows, real-life relationships, and traditional advertisements, some of the most powerful (and creative) marketing strategies happen on the web.
Place a Google Local Services Ad
Most construction companies should already be taking advantage of Google Display ads, but Local Services advertisements are hand-crafted for businesses that thrive on local clients. If you’ve enlisted an expert who knows the Local Service ins-and-outs, you’ll end up raking in traffic from people specifically searching for things like “commercial construction company nearby” or “apartment renovations.” Unlike other digital ads, you pay for actual leads instead of for clicks, so it can be much more valuable.
With this strategy, you should aim for a Google Guarantee badge, which essentially serves as an endorsement from the search engine. It also offers a level of protection to consumers since, if they’re unsatisfied, Google will reimburse them for up to $2,000 of the service booked via a Local Services ad. As such, businesses with the badge tend to get both organic and paid traffic.
To get a Google Guarantee badge, you’ll need to pass the application process and a background check. The search engine will look into things like online reviews, business licenses, and your owner and employee background. You can check your eligibility online.
Get Pinning On Pinterest
Pinterest, which typically conjures images of wedding decor and nail art, isn’t usually a first thought for construction companies — but it can be a secret weapon. The social network functions like a search engine for aesthetics (i.e. pretty images of rooms, buildings and just about anything else). Not only does it have 459 million monthly active users, but it’s also still growing by about 11% year over year in the United States. So, how does this translate in the construction industry?
About 85% of Pinterest users actively use the social network to help them plan new projects, and the service has targeting tools that help you reach your desired audience with paid ads. Even if your B2B construction company isn’t in the business of renovating homes for professional flippers (the type of project Pinterest is known for), longform infographics tend to perform well on the social network. You can also use it as a lure for case studies and white papers, to showcase trade show events and company culture, or show off B2B products (for example, General Electric’s “Badass Machines” board).
Optimize Your Website
Your company website is important, and it’s not just about SEO (search engine optimization). A study from Bright Local found that consumers trust details from a local business’ website more than online directories or Google My Business, and you can bet most people are starting the B2B buying process on the internet. Only about 8% of customers tend to avoid local business websites.
The best way to optimize your website is by adopting a streamlined, navigable design that promotes a good user experience, and then build out your SEO strategy to create content that showcases your brand and truly helps your user. Those white pages and case studies we recommended linking to on Pinterest need somewhere to live! It’s also important to make your contact information readily visible and current. 50% of consumers admit they’d be deterred from using a local business if the contact information was out of date.
Henegan Construction’s website is a great example, especially because of the easy-to-use navigation bar at the top. The company manages to showcase their expertise and values by highlighting their company’s roots and using straightforward language that cuts to the chase.
Your company website should also guide the right customers to the right services, and this is especially challenging when you support a diverse customer base involving multiple buying journeys and lifecycles. It is highly recommended to shorten the buyer’s journey using dynamic website content to help users decide which solutions make sense for them. Elevation Marketing personally implemented this approach in a website project for Royal Services, a company that serves multiple facilities management customers from one dynamic website.
Co-Market With Like-Minded Brands
One of the simplest ways to expand your audience (and make the most of your marketing budget) is to co-market with a like-minded brand. For example, an architect can promote their work alongside a trusted building contractor because it’s likely that those looking for commercial construction work are seeking both roles. How do you do it? The sky’s the limit. You can try:
- Launching a joint podcast
- Co-hosting a webinar
- Data analysis or case studies
- Trading blog posts
- Joint Q&As
Since B2B construction has so many regulations, potential liabilities and costs, the focus here should be thought leadership. Decision makers want to hire businesses they know can handle a difficult job and protect their investments, so proving your expertise — and the expertise of those in your inner circle — is essential.
Modern construction companies can thrive with a mix of traditional and digital marketing. The more creative tactics tend to focus on building relationships away from the trade show and on the internet — where real people are actually researching their projects and spending a huge chunk of their time. It’s a matter of meeting people where they are, and this is especially important in an era where professionals are shying away from travel and in-person gatherings.