Mackenzie | September 14, 2021 | Evenbound
Kind of like building a diversified portfolio, we're big believers in sharing the love when it comes to your marketing spend.
Different marketing tactics do different things for you.
With so many options, where do you spend, and how much do you spend on each tactic?
We're going to break down exactly where we'd advise a construction company to spend their marketing budget, but first I want to cover one quick section that you might've been hoping I'd skip.
If it sounds like I'm a broken record, I am.
We can't in good conscience tell you how to allocate your marketing budget without first knowing what your marketing goals are.
In general, most construction companies want more, higher-quality (read: bigger spend) projects. But, depending on where you're positioned in the market, that could look a little different.
If your construction company is new to a market, you'll probably need to spend more of your budget on brand awareness, so you can gain the trust and recognition you need to sell some of those big-name projects.
If your construction company isn't new to the market but is trying to shorten the sales cycle, you'll probably want to allocate more of your budget to lead-nurturing tactics like email marketing, content marketing, and sales enablement.
And, if your construction company has the industry notoriety and the referral leads you want, but is struggling to grow a digital presence, you'll probably want to spend more of your budget on tactics like SEO, content marketing, website development, etc, to start building a digital presence that can generate digital leads.
So no, I'm not going to tell you exactly what percent of your budget to put into each marketing tactic, but I will tell you which tactic is good for what, so you can allocate your construction marketing budget in the ways that best suit your goal.
With that baseline established, let's jump into it:
There are a ton of ways to spend your marketing budget. I'm going to talk about the top 5 that every construction company should be spending at least a little on. I'll break each down into:
Purpose: Digital presence, lead nurturing, lead generation
Definition: Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing
I'm putting inbound and content marketing in the same section because most construction companies lump them together anyway.
Inbound marketing is the methodology, and content marketing is the tactic most companies use to maximize that methodology.
Basically, anything you do to create more resources for potential leads, reduce friction for site visitors as they convert into leads, or make it easier for qualified leads to get in touch with your sales team when they're ready, is inbound marketing.
When used together, inbound and content marketing work to:
If you've ever wished you could have more leads coming directly to your sales team, inbound marketing is how you do it. It's all about building a presence, answering questions your ideal leads are asking, and solving their challenges quickly and effectively.
If you're new to the concept, I recommend this post on How to Market a Construction Company. It'll help answer the why better than repeating myself here will.
In general, regardless of what your construction company's marketing goals are, I'd suggest that the lion's share of your marketing budget go to inbound and content marketing tactics, primarily because:
Inbound marketing covers quite a few tactics. What's more, any of the gains you make with inbound marketing, you get to keep.
Every piece of content you create and any email subscriber you get is yours to keep. That blog post you wrote in 2016 can keep generating traffic for decades to come, whether you update it or not.
I like to think of inbound marketing as the foundation for a great construction marketing strategy.
When your foundation is solid, you have to do a lot less to get a lot better results with any other marketing tactic you invest in. That's why we typically recommend our construction marketing clients spend a significant portion of their marketing budget on inbound marketing.
Purpose: Digital presence, search engine rankings, lead generation
Definition: SEO = Search Engine Optimization. Website updates mean making strategic changes and adjustments to your website to deliver more of the right leads. Check out 10 Best Practices for a Lead Generation Website that Delivers Leads 24/7.
The next marketing segment to consider spending your construction marketing budget is on website & SEO updates.
In general, this is going to encompass tactics like:
Your website is your construction company's digital office. Think of all the ways you might work to improve foot traffic to your actual office, from putting up signs on the road to sprucing up your office with some plants, a complimentary Keurig, etc.
The same goes for your website. The better and more inviting you make it look, the longer people are likely to stay.
Website & SEO updates work to:
Like I mentioned in the inbound section, your website is your owned space on the internet. The more work you put into making it a solid foundation, the better results your marketing strategy is going to see.
SEO updates work to bring in more traffic, and website updates work to keep that traffic there with beautiful colors, helpful information, and a site strategy that's designed to keep people moving deeper into your site until they're ready to convert into a sale.
As you can see, SEO & site updates are likely to cost you a little more than inbound and content. That said, as long as you have a good foundation, you won't need to spend a ton here.
Once your website is functioning properly and looks nice, you can get away with a smaller SEO budget, as long as you are consistently dedicating at least a little every month to SEO. In general, somewhere between 5-10 hours of SEO time will help you make at least small gains, and won't hold your new content back.
Purpose: Lead generation, brand awareness
Definition: We consider PPC to be any kind of media or advertising you pay for. Check out What is Paid Media? for more info.
PPC or paid media is any advertising or digital marketing strategy you pay for. So Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Microsoft Ads, etc, all count. These tactics are going to cost you a little more, but they deliver results, fast.
PPC and paid search help your construction company in a few ways:
Another thing that many people forget about PPC is that it really contributes to your brand awareness.
Let's say for example, that you bid on "Construction Companies near me" in your geographic area. If you show up in the ads results and the organic results, it shows the consumer that you're really a fit for what they're looking for.
Even though they might not click the ad results, it's a confirmation to them that you actually deliver the answer they're looking for.
Beyond that, PPC done right just works.
Paid ads can be launched in a few days, and start working immediately. You don't have to wait for Google's bots to crawl your site, or for a user to read your email — your results are delivered directly to your website, sometimes in just hours.
How much of your construction marketing budget you spend on PPC is going to depend on your construction company's niche. Check out Google Ads Benchmarks By Industry to get a better idea of how much other construction companies like you might be spending.
Construction is particularly competitive in paid search, which means you might have to spend a little more than other industries.
That said, we'd recommend any construction company spend at least a little in PPC, just to get your name out there and to start pulling in some qualified leads while you build up your other marketing strategies.
Cost : $
Purpose: Brand awareness, expand your company's audience and reach
Definition: Any marketing effort you make on a social media platform.
Whether you're using LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Houzz, anything you do on any of those platforms is considered social media marketing.
All of it, and I mean all of it, is considered social media marketing. It's also one of the best brand awareness tools your construction company can invest in if you're trying to break into a new market, build your recognition, or just get your logo out there. Which brings me to part two:
In case you skipped the paragraph ahead: Brand Awareness.
And if you don't believe me that brand awareness is necessary for your B2B construction company, I'd love to direct your attention to B2B Brand Awareness: What It Is, and Why You Should Care.
It's really hard to draw in traffic and convert more leads if people don't know who you are. Plus, it's a well-kept secret, but your presence on social media can affect your search engine rankings.
I get that social media might not seem like the natural fit for most construction companies, but I have a lot of content to back me up here. Check out this one on CAT (yeah, the tractor place!)
If you care at all about getting your brand name out there and building positive engagement around what you do, social media is where you need to start.
What's exciting is that compared to other parts of your marketing strategy — PPC and website development in particular — social media marketing is relatively cheap.
While we always advise putting some strategy behind your social media posts, if you're starting from scratch, you can do a whole lot with a little investment. Start by simply promoting your existing blog posts and content across platforms.
Once you get a better feel for which platforms resonate best with your audience, then you can start ramping up your efforts. But the beauty of social media marketing is that if you've already invested well in content development and your website, you should have plenty of information you can turn into shareable, engaging social media posts.
Just make sure you're following these social media best practices, and to save yourself some time, we always recommend scheduling your regular posts with a scheduling tool like HubSpot.
Purpose: Improved sales process, faster sales cycle, qualified lead generation
Definition: Any effort you make to provide your sales team with tools and resources that help them close faster. Check What is Sales Enablement? for more.
Bet you didn't expect this one.
Yes, I do live for shock value, thank you for noticing.
Jokes aside, if you're wondering why Sales Enablement is on my list of places to spend your construction marketing budget, I'd like to ask you one question.
What question do you think marketers hate hearing most from the sales team?
"Ugh, we just don't have any leads to close."
I'm sorry if this feels direct, but we marketers are so sick and tired of hearing that all the leads we worked really hard to find just aren't turning into sales.
Sales enablement helps turn this negativity around for both teams.
By putting just a little bit of money into sales enablement, you can help foster:
Trust me, as long as you show your marketing team how this will help them, they'll be overjoyed to part with a small bit of their budget.
I have to say, sales enablement is going to be another one of those tactics that will cost a little to deliver a lot.
The ROI of sales enablement has been proven time and time again. While you still need to have leads coming in to be able to convert them, it's worth it to spend about as much as you do on social media marketing on sales enablement.
Most sales enablement content development can be done in tandem with your inbound marketing process, so long as you're maintaining focus on both sales and marketing content.
That means the hardest part is just finding time to get your sales and marketing teams in the same room. For that, I've got a few tips.
And once that happens, it's just a matter of setting up a regular process so your sales and marketing teams are in sync. Marketing should let sales know when new content is ready for them to use and should be available to help them understand how best to use that content. (Assignment selling is a great place to start.)
Sales should be in contact with marketing to let them know which leads are closing, and what content is helping them close. The more communication marketing gets, the more successful content they can deliver.
And there you have it — 5 key places to spend your construction marketing budget. Any construction company that's serious about marketing should be spending a portion of their budget in each category, but what percentage you spend where will depend on your goals.
If you want more leads now, inbound & PPC are your best bets. If you need to focus on closing better deals, give sales enablement a bigger slice of the pie. And if you just want to be the first company people think of when they think of commercial construction, then PPC and social are where it's at for you.
Divvying up a marketing budget is no small feat. If you're having trouble prioritizing and allocating spend, the Evenbound team is happy to help. We develop marketing plans for a living, so let us know what you're struggling with, and we'll give you any advice we've got.