Why Contractors Should Know Their Target Market (and How to Find it)

Mackenzie | December 19, 2017 | Content Marketing

As a contractor or a construction company, you don't have a ton of time. Between juggling different subcontractors, lining up your next projects, and putting out fires that come up unexpectedly, you've got a lot on your plate.

Your schedule doesn't leave a lot of time for marketing, which can mean you're often forced to take on jobs that aren't exactly what you're looking to do, just to keep your schedule full. If you're looking for a way to start breaking into another market, whether that's commercial residences like apartment complexes or a higher class of electrical contracting, the first thing you need to do is define your target market. 

If you've been bouncing around from job to job, and none of them really seem all that similar, you're working too hard to get jobs you don't actually want. It's time to sit down and define your target market, so you can work smarter, not harder, to get higher paying jobs that you legitimately would like to work on. 


Why Know Your Target Market?


Knowing your target market is the first step to marketing your company in a way that's smart, cost effective, and that will provide massive ROI in the long run.

If you'd like to have the power to pick and choose jobs that are best for you, rather than just best for your schedule, you need to define your target market. 

It'll take a little bit of research on your part, but it's actually a pretty easy thing to do, and one that will set you apart from other contractors to get you the jobs you legitimately want. 


Defining Your Target Market:

The first thing you need to figure out is who you're catering to now. What jobs do you take on the most often, and what commonalities do those jobs have? Then, figure out what market you'd like to work in. Sometimes, they're similar.

For example, if you typically take on smaller projects like commercial apartment renovations, but you want to start building apartment complexes from scratch, that's not a huge leap to make. It's just a matter of defining where it is in the market you'd like to work.


Research Primary Points of Contact


Once you've figured out where you want to take your business, it's time to research your primary points of contact. Start with the market you're already working in.

Who do you most often talk with?

This isn't always a decision-maker, but the person put in charge of finding a contractor for a project.

Whether this is a project manager or one of the decision-makers' assistants, these are the people who first reach out to you for a job. It's important that you figure out as much as you possibly can about these people, from how old they are to the salary they make to how many kids they have.


Your Research Will Fuel Your Buyer Personas, So Take Good Notes


After you're done gathering all of this information, you'll be able to use it to develop a buyer persona. We'll get into these a little more later, but buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal client that help you better understand who these people are and what their pain points are when it comes to their professional lives. 


The goal is to develop three or four buyer personas that give you a window into the lives of the people you most often deal with. Check out this step-by-step guide to defining and developing your buyer personas for a lengthier description on how to write your own. With defined buyer personas, you can address key pain points and create content and emails that solve those issues for them.

While you're researching your primary points of contact, work hard to take and keep notes that will help you build out these buyer personas. 


Research Decision-Makers


It's important to develop personas for the people you most often contact, but you'll also need to understand the decision makers in your target market. Though you won't deal with these people directly as often, they're the ones giving your primary points of contact the go ahead to sign with you, and they're the ones you ultimately need to convince. 


After you've finished your research on your primary points of contact, do the same sort of research on those decision makers. Understand what they're looking for in a contractor, and what problems they most often run into, so you can develop your company to solve those issues. The better you understand the decision makers in your industry, the better you'll be able to cater your services to them and their unique needs, goals, and pain points. 


Synthesize Information


Once you've learned all you can learn about the primary points of contact and the key decision makers in your target market, it's time to take a good, hard look at the information you've collected. 


Are there pain points each of those people share? 


What are some ways that your contracting company speaks to those pain points? 


You provide a unique service that functions to make their lives easier, but how can you translate those services into a language that's easy for those contacts and decision makers to understand? 


Take a minute to look over the research you've done, to get a better sense of how many personas you'll need, and to determine how you can use your research to develop those buyer personas. 


Turn Key Players in your Target Market into Buyer Personas


Okay, so you've done a ton of research. You've identified not only the people you typically talk to for jobs in your target market, but also the key decision makers for those ideal projects. You've looked into the goals, pain points, and common questions each of those people tend to ask, and you have a pretty clear idea of what they're looking for. 


Now, it's time to put all of your notes and research together into buyer personas. 


It's best to try and keep your buyer personas down to just three or four. I get that can be tough if you're serving a few different projects in your target market, but it's likely that some of your points of contact and decision makers have overlapping goals and pain points. 


For example, let's say you're working to break into the commercial building market, and you specifically want to build shopping centers and supermarkets. 


Even though those are two vastly different projects, it's likely that the points-of-contact have similar goals and pain points — they have a budget, a timeline, and specific building requirements they have to meet, and they have to report to the decision maker about all of it. 


It might be worth it to combine those two points of contact into one buyer persona if the content you would offer both of them is largely similar. 


The goal of buyer personas is to give you a roadmap that focuses your marketing and sales efforts to just the tactics that are most effective, and relevant to your target market. 


If you have 15 buyer personas, it's going to be a lot harder to organize your thoughts and create meaningful content that still has a significant impact on your bottom line. 


Do your best to stick to just three or four buyer personas for now. 


(If you're really working hard to reel in a specific company, ABM, or account-based marketing is the better way to create a hyper-specific marketing campaign. Use those tactics, rather than creating more buyer personas, to sell to specific companies you know are excellent fits for your contracting company.)


Develop Content for each Target Buyer Persona


Finally, after you've done the research, analyzed the information, and know where to go, it's time to develop content that speaks to each of those target buyer personas you've developed. 


From your research, you likely know that each persona has different needs and goals when they're looking for a contractor, and you can write and share content that speaks to each one of them individually. 


Take care to start small, and write content that you know will be high-impact. For example, if there are questions you're asked all of the time, or if you've identified a few keywords with great search volume and low competition, write content that speaks to those first. 


And make sure you're tracking the performance of that content, too. This gives you a solid platform to build from, and will show you how each of your efforts are contributing to lead generation, conversions, and sales. 


What's the Ultimate Benefit of Defining your Target Market?


When it comes to marketing your contracting services, it's a lot easier to market to a specific group of people than it is to market to the vast population on the internet.

By defining your target market, and the buyer personas within that target market, you'll be able to generate qualified leads much more efficiently, and at a lower cost to you.

Once you've implemented the basic buyer personas, and have started to develop content around each of them, you'll find it's much easier, and less time consuming to market in a way that truly generates the leads you want. 


That said, we know defining a target market and building out buyer personas isn't always easy. If you're looking for a bit of help on your digital marketing strategy, or aren't sure where to start when it comes to defining your target market, don't hesitate to get in touch with the Evenbound team. We're experts at developing buyer personas, and we have a knack for unearthing valuable target markets that can place your contracting company exactly where you'd like to be. 

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