16 Sep The Tools You Need to Grow Your Trade Business! Make a Simple Plan & Execute it. PART 1
The construction industry is booming, and you’re probably wondering how you can get in on the action. How can you get noticed by potential customers? Who exactly is your target customer? Where do you begin? And most importantly – how do we keep the phone ringing!
We all know how stressful it can be to grow a business – with the various marketing options out there, how do you pick the best fit for you? You don’t want to waste time or money on ineffective strategies. It’s enough to make your head spin! That’s why we’ve created this straightforward guide to help you grow your construction business and highlight the most effective marketing tools that will get you seen and selected! Read on to learn how to clarify your target audience, market your construction business digitally and come up with a fool-proof marketing plan that will allow your business to flourish like never before.
Before You Begin
It can be easy to think you can just get started with marketing your business by posting a few pictures on Facebook and making sure your business is on Google – but there are a few preliminary steps to take when setting up your marketing plan. Remember, if you fail to plan – you plan to fail.
Buyer personas are fictional people created to represent your ideal customer. They’re usually right in the middle of your target age range, in a certain location, have a certain income level and have a lot of the same interests as your customers. Now how can you go about creating a buyer persona? Well, you already have all of the available information at your fingertips! Look at what your past customers have in common and who follows you on social media. You’ll probably start to see trends pretty quickly. For example, if you primarily build sheds for retired men in the suburbs, you will build your buyer persona around that demographic. Or, if you primarily deal with constructing custom homes, you’re likely marketing your services to affluent families in their mid-30s to mid-50s.
Now that we know who to market to, how do we use the buyer persona we’ve created? We’ll discuss this in-depth a little later, but you’ll be able to craft your entire marketing strategy around your buyer persona and it can help you make key decisions, like which digital marketing platforms to use and whether or not you should use inbound or outbound marketing.
The customer journey builds off your buyer persona. While buyer personas include common behaviours in addition to demographical information, the customer journey focuses on the entire buying process, from how customers learn about you, to eventually purchase from you. When looking at the customer journey, you need to think about all the steps a customer has to take to complete a project with your construction business. For example, is your contact information easy to access on your website? Is it easy for customers to receive a general estimate? How are customers directed to contact you? How do you complete the buying process with them? These and other questions relating to the customer experience are all answered by exploring the customer journey. When business owners take the time to focus on the customer journey, they’ll see and work on removing any ‘roadblocks’ their customers may encounter, be able to enhance the customer experience and obtain a better understanding of who their customers are. This is important because when a customer feels understood, this builds trust, and they are more likely to choose your business over others as they know you will take care of them. Most business leaders will recommend creating a customer journey map with ‘touchpoints’, or every point of contact a customer can have with you. For example, you may have a consultation form and a contact page, but you also are likely to have social media pages, emails, review sites and paid ads that can also be used as a tool for customers to communicate with you. When we look at these touchpoints, we find new ways to better engage with our customers
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
Finally, we need to look at whether our marketing plan should primarily focus on inbound or outbound marketing—or a combination of both (which is the most common strategy). Outbound marketing is what people are most likely going to think of when they hear the word marketing. It consists of getting our message out to as many people as possible, whether through trade shows, cold calling, advertising or telemarketing, and hoping that it will resonate with at least a handful of the thousands of people we make contact with. Inbound marketing relies on us creating content and spaces that attract viewers.
Most inbound marketing strategies rely on following a four-step process:
- Attracting potential customers through your online presence
- Converting website visitors to leads through items that will make them want to purchase (think landing pages, calls-to-action)
- Closing the deal with the lead to make them a customer and
- Making customers promoters by asking them to share their experience and using it in your marketing.
While outbound marketing is more linear (straight line of events), inbound marketing is more of a circular system, relying on customer’s word of mouth to get us leads in addition to the quality content we are producing. When creating your marketing plan, it’s important to think about which strategies will work best for you. Outbound marketing is more expensive but can be helpful for businesses just starting or those that have recently found themselves in a rut. Most companies today focus on inbound marketing with smaller marketing budgets designated for outbound marketing.
Some examples of inbound marketing:
- SEO Strategy
- Social Media Engagement
- Google Ads
Some examples of outbound marketing:
- Cold Calling
- Emailing Prospective Clients
Get New Customers
Attracting new customers in an increasingly digital world when working in construction can feel overwhelming. Having great, consistent content on your social media accounts and websites is the first step to attracting new customers. Think of these online platforms as the first introduction for customers (which they are) and make sure they look engaging. Also, look at promoting customer reviews on your online pages as well to help establish trust with those considering your services. But what happens when you work through these options and new customers aren’t coming in?
This is where paid advertisements can come in handy, especially Google Ads and the Google Display Network (GDN). Google Ads are ads that appear directly on search engine pages, directly above the search engine’s results. They’re extremely easy to create and can potentially get you thousands of views a day (depending on your budget). Google Display Ads are ads that appear on websites and are usually referred to as banner or image ads. These ads take more work than text ads but are more engaging for potential customers due to the visual aspect. You can learn more about how the Google Ads system works here, but, in laymen’s terms, Google makes you set a monthly budget and you will pay per click. So, if your budget is $300 a month, and each click costs $1.00, you will get 300 clicks a month on your website.
Retain Your Old Customers
Old customers are more likely to continue using your services if they’re happy, so retaining customers should be a primary focus for your business. This is something many businesses don’t do very well – i.e. they don’t have a system whereby they go back to their customers to check-in and ask if they need a hand with anything else. Because the relationship has already been established, satisfied customers are much more inclined to purchase from you again when they require something, so make sure they know about all of your offerings.
One of the easiest ways to retain customers is by saying thank you. This can be as easy as an email, or, for bigger jobs, can be a gift basket or gift certificate for your customer. Another method to make customers want to come back is by advertising their feedback. Most customers love to be featured on a website, and it helps to establish trust with new customers when they can see your work, the companies you have worked with and how satisfied customers have been with the work you have completed.
Finally, look at consistently communicating with your customers by utilising social media and a mobile app for your business. Why a mobile app? Because it gives customers a direct line to you and your business. Unfortunately, with social media, your posts are typically buried by everyone else your customer follows. By switching to an app, customers are routinely ‘in the know’ and will never miss a post.
That’s everything we are going to touch on for Part 1 – we hope you have found the information helpful so far. Have a go at working out your Buyer Persona and understanding your Customer Journey. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact the team at Consultya on 0428 20 40 50 or [email protected], or visit our website www.consultya.com.au. We offer no-obligation free consultations. Make sure to check out Part 2 for information about how Digital Marketing can help grow your trade business and how to make and execute your plan.