5 Inbound Marketing Basics for Construction Pros
Making the transition to inbound marketing is a big undertaking for any construction company. Inbound is a huge methodology, with many moving parts, and the added pressure of continuous improvement. It can be a lot to wrap your head around implementing, but you have to get started somewhere.
We’ve found that breaking inbound marketing down a bit makes it feel more approachable. And, there are a few foundational elements you have to have if you expect your inbound strategy to produce results.
With that in mind, we’ve taken the whole inbound marketing methodology and broken it down into just 5 key inbound marketing basics, specifically for construction pros. These 5 basics will help you get started on the key foundational elements of inbound marketing that will deliver the greatest impact for your construction company.
Let’s dive in:
Inbound Marketing Basic #1: Draw Leads In, Don’t Push Your Message Out
Drawing in leads is the fundamental premise that inbound marketing methodology is based on.
Traditional, shout marketing is over. You can extoll your construction company’s greatness from the rooftops, but it’s not going to do a whole lot for you if you’re not offering value to actually draw those leads in.
Today’s consumer dislikes promotional marketing.
At best, they’ll ignore your ads about how you’re the best builder or materials supplier in the region.
At worst, they’ll unsubscribe from your emails, and tell Facebook and Youtube your ads aren’t relevant to them.
And honestly, traditional promotional marketing is a lot of work.
- How much time has your sales or marketing team spent working on leads who really weren’t a fit?
- How much lost time was spent on designing print marketing?
- How much money was spent on those billboards, newspaper ads, even local radio ads?
- And what did you see as far as returns?
Probably not a whole lot.
Inbound marketing works because it turns the traditional marketing goal of “getting the word out” on its head. Instead, it invites leads to explore and learn more about the things they’re interested in.
What does drawing leads in look like?
Let’s say that a builder is looking for a new supplier. He wants someone he can trust to refund his credit pickups quickly. He wants someone who’s going to carry the brands his customers want, like Cambria countertops and Trex decking.
He’s going to do research on suppliers that, a) have a credit pickup policy, and b) carry a certain number of brands he’s familiar with and likes.
If your construction supply company has information about both of those things, that builder is going to find you, say “well, these guys seem decent”, and then consider reaching out to your sales team.
Voila. You just got a lead. And it came directly to you — your sales team wasn’t out pounding on that builder’s door.
If there’s one fundamental you take away from this blog, let it be this one:
Draw leads in. Don’t push your message out.
The more value you’re able to produce, the more leads you’re going to pull in.
For your construction company, that means more than just more leads. It also means:
- More qualified leads
- Less of your sales team’s time spent on unqualified leads
- A more streamlined marketing and sales process
- Significantly improved ROI — a result of leads coming to you, and much more focused, tactical marketing and sales strategy.
Now, there is a lot that goes into setting up a successful inbound marketing strategy, and I can’t get into it all here.
If your construction company is new to inbound marketing and I’ve piqued your interest, there are a number of resources to help you get started.
Otherwise, let’s keep breaking down these 5 essential inbound marketing basics for construction pros:
Inbound Marketing Basic #2: Content is Still King (Yes, Even for Construction Companies)
Inbound marketing basic #1 was focused on drawing leads in.
Inbound marketing basic #2 focuses on how you deliver the value that draws those leads in.
And that is content.
When it comes to inbound marketing, no matter whether you’re a commercial builder or a construction supplier, content is still king.
Content, in every form, from your blog to your social media platforms to your company’s Youtube How-to’s, provides the value that you need to draw in leads.
While there are a lot of inbound marketing tactics, content development and content marketing are the pillars of any inbound marketing strategy.
Because without content there isn’t much to offer incoming leads.
From helping your construction company rank well on search engines to providing the valuable information your leads want, content is the workhorse of the inbound marketing strategy.
Not sure how to develop content for your construction company?
I’ve got lots of inbound marketing content creation tips.
Start by thinking about the questions your sales teams get all of the time.
Chances are, there are a few they’re sick and tired of answering.
Work to develop content around those questions. Provide the answers your clients are looking for, whether that’s in a blog or a video.
Maybe there’s a new product you’re selling that customers are interested in, but aren’t sure how to use. A quick 5-minute how-to video can go a long way to start drawing those qualified leads in for you.
Picking up business blogging is also a great way to jumpstart your construction company’s ranking potential, while simultaneously drawing in those qualified leads you want.
That brings me to our next inbound marketing basic — how to figure out what content you need to develop to pull in the leads you actually want.
Inbound Marketing Basic #3: Define Your Target Market with Buyer Personas
There are jobs your team likes, and jobs they don’t.
The profitable jobs you and your team like are your target market.
Another essential inbound marketing basic for any construction pro is defining your target market. We’ve talked about why contractors should know their target market before, and our reasons still stand.
There are so many different types of construction jobs out there. You don’t want all of them.
The key to reducing the number of jobs you don’t like, and increasing the number of jobs you enjoy and bring greater profit to your construction company is defining your target market and then putting a microscope on them to build out buyer personas.
The market your construction company prefers to work in. Maybe that’s custom homes at a certain price point or a specific type of commercial building project.
Semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients within that target market. If you’re a construction supplier, your buyer personas might be custom home builders, commercial builders, and even a small group of DIY homeowners.
Defining your target market and buyer personas is an inbound marketing basic for your construction company because those personas help you determine and refine what types of content you develop.
Your buyer personas give you a picture of who you’re talking to, which helps you write content that really speaks to that ideal buyer.
With defined buyer personas, your marketing team can focus on creating only the content that is relevant to the leads you want most. For your sales team, that means closing on more of those profitable jobs your team wants, rather than jobs you feel you have to do.
Inbound Marketing Basic #4: Your Website is a Lead Generation Tool, Not a Brochure
When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s essential that you think of your website as a hub.
It’s a place where leads, salespeople, your marketing team, and even your customer service team can turn for helpful information.
When you have all of those key players in one space — one hub, if you will — you can use your website as a tool to nurture and convert leads for you.
For construction companies, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that your website is a virtual brochure. You have a lot of beautiful photos of your previous projects, and it’s not always easy to conceptualize how to bring a marketing cycle to life digitally.
If your website just looks great, then surely people will give your sales team a call, right?
Your website is a tool. And it’s a tool that your leads are comfortable and familiar with using.
Consumers in every industry, including construction, are used to doing online research when they’re considering making a purchase. They like to navigate around websites, see who has the best information, and ask questions.
They just don’t want to have to call anyone to do it.
If you use your website as a lead generation tool, with calls-to-action, content offers, landing pages, and forms, you’ll start to see results.
And that’s what inbound marketing is all about. Using your digital marketing tools to draw leads in, offer up the information they need, and build a relationship.
When that consumer is familiar with your website, has maybe used your chatbot to ask a few questions, and is getting ready to make a purchasing decision, then they’ll call your sales team.
But they’re only going to take that step if they’ve built a relationship with your construction company through your website.
That means following inbound marketing website design best practices, implementing lead generation tactics, and implementing tools and updates that help your ideal leads move through their buyer’s journey on your website.
Not sure if your website is a brochure or a lead generation tool? This website design checklist can help.
Inbound Marketing Basic #5: Work Smarter, Not Harder
This probably isn’t what you’ll see on an official inbound marketing definition from HubSpot, but it is an essential inbound marketing basic that we live by, and that we work hard to implement for our clients.
At its core, inbound marketing functions to help your team work smarter, not harder.
If you’re doing inbound marketing right:
- Your sales team is spending less time on unqualified leads.
- Your marketing team is developing, publishing, and promoting only content that they know speaks to your ideal buyer, and will help a) build trust b) answer a question c) solve a pain point that buyer persona has.
- Your email marketing campaigns essentially run themselves. Inbound marketing automation helps both marketing and sales nurture leads who aren’t quite yet ready into warm and then hot leads.
- Chatbots keep new visitors and leads engaged even when your sales and marketing teams are off the clock.
When you implement inbound marketing for your construction company, you’ll start to see that your team has more time to focus on the actions and connections that provide the biggest return.
Instead of having sales teams connect with every sales lead that comes in, they can prioritize their time to focus on new, hot leads that have a high chance of converting.
Marketing automation and other inbound marketing tactics will help take care of those cooler leads until they’re ready to make a decision.
Inbound marketing helps you define what is important to your construction company’s growth, and enables you to focus your efforts on just the tactics that will produce the greatest results. Plus, when done well, it gives you the inbound marketing metrics you need to see which of your efforts are working, and which aren’t.
The 5 Essential Inbound Marketing Basics for Construction Pros
So there you have it. The 5 essential inbound marketing basics for construction pros:
- Focus on drawing leads in
- Use content marketing to provide value
- Define buyer personas to develop the right content
- Transform your website into a lead generation tool
- Work smarter, not harder
Inbound marketing is a massive machine. It takes some time to understand and implement, and it can be overwhelming to even think about if you’re considering moving your construction company towards a more inbound-focused marketing and sales strategy.
If you keep these 5 inbound marketing basics in mind and start with buyer personas, content creation, and your website, you’ll soon develop a solid foundation you can build off of to draw in and convert more of the leads that can deliver the growth you want.
And if you’re looking for a little bit of guidance doing that, we’re here to help. We’ve worked with construction pros and suppliers before, so we’ve got a pretty good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might’ve run into.