If you own or plan to start a construction company, you to leverage digital marketing strategies to stay ahead of your competitors. While in the past this may have been optional, it’s becoming more and more essential. This is true whether you’re selling directly to consumers or other companies — 96% of B2B customers prefer to use the internet to do business with manufacturers and vendors, according to data from Redstage. 

To help you start your business off right or optimize your current marketing budget, we’ll look into eight of the top digital marketing trends happening right now in the construction industry. And, how your business can take advantage of these new techniques.

1. Paid search and social media advertising

Most modern advertising platforms — like Google’s and those offered by major social platforms — provide powerful targeting tools that make them effective for construction companies.

With these platforms, any company can pay to run ads that appear on search results or a user’s feed, depending on the solution used. Ad targeting allows them to select who they serve these ads to with extreme precision. Depending on the platform, you can display ads based on user preferences, location, income, or the industry they work in. 

In short, these tools help you go after your target market with incredible accuracy. For construction firms, the easiest place to start is with geotargeting, where you serve ads to individuals within a given geographic location. This ensures that your ads are only reaching customers within a given area that you can actually serve.

From there, you can screen by age, income, property types, business or industry, and a number of other factors. The end goal is to identify an ideal customer base that fits your typical customer and is likely to convert. This is how smaller emerging firms can gain a foothold and carve out a niche larger competitors simply cannot reach.

2. Email marketing

Email blasts are one of the foundational small business advertising methods that your company can use to grow its customer base, nurture existing leads, and stay in touch with current clients.

Email campaigns are a highly efficient tool for staying connected with current clients and potential leads. A quick email blast allows you to update customers on company news, highlight deals or new offerings, and remind them that your brand is out there.

For construction companies, varying email content based on your contacts’ needs and preferences will help. For example, you can send a combination of weekly newsletters that update all contacts on new offerings and business developments, as well as targeted emails with more specific content based on previous client purchases.

You can also use email blasts to advertise special deals that can encourage conversions — like “early-bird” discounts exclusive to those on the mailing list.

This also enables you to track customer engagement with your advertising — giving you a real in-depth look at who is responding well to your marketing. If you need more insight, you can always utilize an email management tool like Outpost, to better manage your inbox and troubleshoot communication flaws within your team.

3. Optimized site navigation

Your business’s site is the center of your online marketing efforts. This means that a compelling website helps you secure customers. It also means that a website that’s difficult or unpleasant to use may alienate a potential client.

Optimizing your site for ease of use is key if you want your digital marketing to be successful. Pages with important information — like business hours, contact information, and product listings — should be simple to access, no matter where a user is on your site.

NMC CAT, a new and used construction equipment vendor, provides an example of optimized navigation on its homepage. The header offers quick access to every page a visitor will likely need — products available, services offered, and business contact information. Adding these page links to the site header helps ensure that visitors won’t get lost or frustrated looking for the information they need.

4. Content marketing

Content marketing is the use of content to promote your brand and build trust between you and your audience. Often, content means articles, blog posts, or informative graphics, but any kind of educational and valuable piece of media can work. While most businesses opt for content like articles and infographics, any form can be impactful. 

Jacobs Engineering Group, a Dallas-based technical services, and construction firm highlight two different podcasts on the company’s homepage. These podcasts cover what Jacobs considers to be the biggest upcoming construction challenges of the next few years. This content is one way in which Jacobs uses its site to stress the business’s resiliency and foresight to potential clients. Other content on the front page also backs these values up. Right below the podcasts, though not visible in the screenshot, is a link to the Jacobs Climate Action Plan.

No matter what values you want to emphasize, content marketing is a valuable tool — which is why more than half of all businesses have adopted the strategy in one way or another, according to survey data from The Manifest. 

If your business hasn’t experimented with content marketing yet, short articles published on your site or pitched to relevant industry publications can be a great place to start. These articles will provide information to your audience and establish your business’s reputation as reliable and trustworthy.

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5. Video

Video is the most engaging content across social media platforms, and 85% of businesses use some kind of video advertising to market their brand, according to stats from Wyzowl.

CEMEX, a Mexico-based multinational building materials supplier, uses the company’s Twitter page to publish interviews, like one with architect Brandon Clifford on the company’s variable density concrete. With video, you can advertise products, projects, and initiatives launched by your company — and just about anything else. For more examples of construction industry video content out in the wild, you can take a look at the social media pages for any major construction company.

Video doesn’t mean just one type of content — many kinds of video marketing can be effective. Interviews with previous clients or partners work well for some companies. Other brands have also had a lot of success with visuals like motion graphics — a specialty of many animation studios and marketing agencies.

The key is to find what works for your business and what your customers engage with. This could be product tutorials, customer testimonials, reviews, product coverage or a number of other elements. Additionally, don’t worry about reaching cinema level quality with your content. Start small and go for authenticity over spectacle, you’ll just get better and better with each new release.

6. Webinars and digital events

Hosting webinars and digital events can be a great way to provide valuable information to attendees while building your construction company’s brand. If there is a topic you could present on for around an hour or more — whether that’s building materials, construction equipment safety, or anything else — you can create a webinar to share your knowledge on the subject with potential clients and industry contacts.

Webinars can also be lead generators. After the presentation, the attendee list can provide you a set of emails from people who are both likely to be your company’s audience and likely to be interested in the products and services your business can offer.

If you record a webinar, you can also use the video as content after the fact to help you steer extra traffic to your website. Construction Business Owner Magazine has a fairly simple landing page for exactly this purpose. It just hosts the information and makes it easy to find for their users, which is all it needs to do.

7. Live chat and chatbots

Live chat has quickly emerged as one of the most popular methods of digital customer support for businesses. With a live chat window on their site, companies can offer visitors instant access to customer support reps if they need information about business offerings or services. 

Chatbots can make this customer service even more useful. These bots can instantly field basic customer questions, gathering information to pass on when a service rep is available. Some advanced, AI-powered chatbots can even handle basic requests by themselves.

Because live chats and bots can provide customers with more information about their options and field simple questions, they can sometimes encourage customers to convert — or, at the very least, learn more about a brand.

8. SEO

When most people need information, they turn to the internet for answers — usually in the form of a quick Google search. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of techniques you can use to optimize your site for search engines, potentially boosting it in the search rankings. If you show up higher in the search results, you’re more likely to be noticed by visitors looking for information relevant to your work.

Typically, SEO will mean a combination of improving existing content for web search, as well as performing keyword research that will let you know what your audience is looking for.

A good strategy for keyword research is to investigate how your competition uses content marketing on their sites. Who appears when you search the terms relevant to your business? You don’t want to copy their work, but you can use their approach to structure how you create content for your site.

You can also search for terms that other businesses in your niche seem to have overlooked and focus your content strategy on those keywords.

Digital marketing is essential for all businesses — construction companies included. Strategies like content marketing, video, and SEO are some of the most popular among construction companies right now, and it will only become more prevalent in 2021.

If you want to compete and make the best use of your marketing efforts, start implementing one or multiple of these strategies as soon as possible. Find ways to incorporate these initiatives into your broader business plan and be sure to set performance indicators beforehand. These are strategies just becoming popular in the construction industry, providing plenty of opportunities for savvy small businesses to leverage them first.

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AvatarLexie Lu

Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. When she's not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her Goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.