Hours spent traveling, squeezing flesh, explaining your product, and having lunch (okay maybe the lunches weren’t that bad). Days were held on booths at exhibitions which often resulted in very little foot and back pain.
Unfortunately, many companies in the industry still do. The problem is, in many cases, these companies target the specifier at the wrong point in their buying journey or, worse yet, the wrong specifier entirely. Add to that the fact that it is not easy to measure the results of the channels they use, and you can see why a change is taking place.
A growing market of informed construction buyers
On the other hand, prescribers, architects and buyers are increasingly digital savvy. Recent research has shown that more than 98% prefer to search for products and services online. More In the past year alone, 2.5 million Google searches were performed for building suppliers in the UK. This number extends to the many millions of additional searches for different types of construction products and services. So, online in the search engines, you need your business to be found.
The good news is, this is all a huge opportunity for you. To move forward, you just need to embrace digital marketing. Everything you do should be laser focused, measurable, and deliver a good return on your investment. If you don’t, you risk being left behind. Since you are even reading this article, it means that you are ready to embrace this change and learn some of the fundamentals that could make a huge difference to your business.
5 Steps to Starting Your Online Construction Business
First of all, you need to understand how technology and the Internet have become THE way to do business. Your customers ; architects, buyers and specifiers have all changed the way they research. Instead of being « sold to » by arrogant marketers, they now just have to « Google it ». The starting point of the customer journey usually begins with entering a query, problem, or question into a search engine such as Google or Bing.
Google will provide the searcher with links to the web pages it deems most relevant based on an algorithm (a super secret) and information gathered by search engine « spiders ». Being on Google’s page 1 means that your page is the most relevant to the search query. These formulas, called algorithms, are constantly changing as search engines strive for better results for the user. So all you need to do is make sure that your web pages provide solutions to the queries and problems that your target audience is looking for.
Simple right! So how do you do it?
- Get a professional website
- Configure data tracking
- Optimize your website to be found on search engines (SEO)
- Create engaging, search-friendly content
- Build backlinks and public relations for your website
Step 1: Get a professional website
First of all, you need a professional website – it’s your storefront. It should reflect your brand and allow a visitor to navigate to what they want to find quickly and easily.
It sounds simple, but too often websites fail in this area. Just as it is important to have a solid foundation before you build, so are websites. Make sure the site is not going to cause problems later by making sure it is fit for purpose.
Your site should include pages that provide visitors with relevant information and may include a contact page, blog, about us page, and pages about your products and services.
Depending on your business, you should consider other pages, such as testimonials, case studies, or an online store or ordering system, including any payment functionality.
Step 2. Configure data tracking
A very important step that is often missed is data tracking.
In order for you to accurately track the performance of different activities, channels, and platforms, you need to make sure that your analytics are set up correctly.
You need to be able to see what ROI you are getting. If you’re looking for leads, you might need a goal set in the analytics to capture every time someone submits a contact form, or to implement call tracking. With e-commerce, you want to know how much was spent and what that sale is attributed to. This way, you can optimize your marketing budget in the areas that you are familiar with.
Again, this sounds simple, but it can be a minefield if you do it yourself and are not familiar with the rigs. It’s so easy to miss a step and then realize that the data you’ve been looking at is wrong. We often see conflicting, failed, and faulty versions of Google Analytics (GA), Global Site Tag (Gtag), and Google Tag Manager (GTM) implemented on sites. If you want to know more about what they do and which ones are preferred, you can read our blog here.
Step 3: Optimize your website to be found on search engines (SEO)
Once that’s set up, you need to approach the site from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. In its simplest form, SEO is all about making changes to your website to encourage Google to show your pages to the searcher.
Unfortunately, Google keeps a lot of details about what makes one page better than another a closely guarded secret, but experts like us have tried and tested processes that we know tip the scales in your favor. .
There are a number of considerations including the technical elements of its setup, your trust signals, your website content, and backlinks pointing to your website from news articles and other third-party sites. To really shake things up, you need to tackle these technical aspects of your site, create search-optimized content, and link other websites to yours through digital PR and link building.
SEO takes time and is an ongoing process. From the time the changes are made, it usually takes around 6 months to start to see the impact, so you need to be patient. In addition, you have to remember that Google continues to develop its algorithm and therefore SEO must evolve with it. SEO is never « finished ».
Text will always be the foundation of research, so making sure the text around your website assets is descriptive will help them rank well in the search. (HubSpot, 2020) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Step 4: Create engaging and search-friendly content
Content marketing is a critical way to establish your business as a trusted expert in your industry. When you tailor your site content to the potential needs of the prescriber or architect, you help them make a better buying decision.
As the prescriber searches for a solution, this is what you need to deliver with the content. Without effective copy, Google will not be able to crawl and index the pages on your site, which will limit your chances of being found by potential customers. Think about what your target audience might be asking for from search engines and build your content around that. There are several free tools out there that can help you find out what is looking for, or an agency like ours can help and will have access to the latest paid tools.
Google rewards informative and relevant content. This can be done in a number of ways, some of the most popular providing content in the form of FAQs, blogs, or newsletters.
Step 5: Build backlinks and promote your website
Most people think that PR is only important for promoting your business to the media, however, it is also a key factor that influences how you can be found by potential clients in search engines. like google.
PR does this by creating backlinks. These are the links you find in news articles or on web pages that take you to another website when you click on them. The quality and quantity of links from other sites that lead to your website has a significant influence on where your website will show up in results when people search for products and services on Google.
Google’s “spider” algorithm also uses backlinks to crawl the Internet. So, the more backlinks your website has, the more it needs to be found and indexed.
However, not all links to your website are created equal and good links are hard earned through public relations campaigns and link building activities. A professional digital PR agency will be able to help you identify the most valuable connections and how to reach them.
Digital marketing is much more than what we could put here. However, implementing these basics will give you a solid foundation.
The market is changing. Digital marketing is a level playing field and if you do it early, it will allow you to gain an edge over your competition and position yourself as a trusted source of help for your potential customers. I would call it a win-win.
If you need additional help or advice on how to market or get your construction business online, please contact us..