Yesterday, at the hockey arena, I enjoyed another interesting conversation with a construction entrepreneur trying to determine the best marketing approach for him to use. I advocated he consider carefully Facebook for his business-to-consumer marketing, then told him that of course there are many other options.
And there are.
In fact the biggest challenge anyone in the construction business has today is deciding which marketing method to use. Should you use Facebook, Twitter, blogging, video, trade shows, magazines, newspapers, television or radio, e-letters, printed newsletters, PR agencies, the Yellow Pages, association directories, signage, client gifts, direct sales calls, leads services or . . .
Maybe you might even write a book (I did).
I wish I could give you a simple answer about which media/resources to use, but with the diversity of choices and options, I cannot be 100 per cent certain that the idea that might be right for your business is the same as someone else’s. However, I can go out on a limb and suggest some guidelines which may help you in choosing your priorities and media.
First priority: Anything that doesn’t cost much money which focuses on enhancing your current client relations and encouraging repeat/referral business.
Before you spend a cent (or anything more than a modest amount) on marketing, look at strategies to improve your client experience to encourage testimonials and referrals. You want your satisfied clients to feed you referrals and come back for more. However, you should not simply “rely” on this good-will — devise systems and strategies to encourage it (through activities such as client thank you events, organized maintenance and inspection services, and ongoing communication.)
Second priority: Your website and related social media.
Take some time to build a really thoughtful website. Add the necessary social media components and links (Google Places, your FaceBook fan page, a Twitter feed), proper domains and possibly a blog. You can spend a small fortune on these services or you can have the work done at virtually no cost. Remember a technical mistake here won’t be that costly (though failure to create a positive client experience resulting in negative word-of-mouth through social media will be a business killer — but that can happen even if you do nothing to make a great website.)
Third priority: Other media based on your clients’ interests, your own values and your resources.
Hopefully you know what media your current satisfied clients read or view, which activities you enjoy and your overall marketing budget based on a thought-through business plan. In this mix, you can plan your strategy focusing on effectiveness, reinforcement (one marketing method feeds off another to enhance the combined effectiveness). The key here is to observe best practices in whatever you decide to do — if you are spending significant money on a consumer or trade show, for example, be sure you understand your “showcraft” including your booth display, objectives and staff training to handle the leads. This stuff takes effort, thought and resources.
Tomorrow I’ll look at three things to avoid in your construction marketing.