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By Duane Craig
September 3, 2018
These days, getting the work is not as big a challenge as getting the right work. Here are six ways to market your construction business so you get the projects you want.
Focus on What You Want
It surely sounds like common sense to know what you want before heading out to get it. However, in the world of business, it's not unusual for companies to be operating without a business plan. You don't want to spend too much time fielding calls from people looking to have a deck built when you don't build decks. If you don't know what type of building you want to do, then you'll be left taking whatever comes along.
Instead, define the types of projects you want and aim your marketing and sales efforts at those. If you're after single-family remodels, then spell that out in your ads, your website, and your customer-facing materials. Try adding a tagline to your logo that says what you do and expand on it.
Integrate Marketing into Your Daily Activities
For many construction businesses, marketing is an afterthought. It's what happens when you've got nothing lined up. But that type of marketing creates the wave effect; business goes up and goes down before going up again. It's really hard to manage overhead when you're on a roller coaster.
Spend some time on marketing every day. Whether you drive around and introduce yourself on jobs underway, or you touch base with former customers, the time you spend marketing every day will help take the highs and lows out of your schedule.
Ask Customers to Refer You
Construction is still largely driven by word of mouth. This is most true for commercial, industrial and corporate. However, residential holds a special place in word of mouth referrals—people are cautious about referring to family and friends. That’s why such referrals are even more valuable.
One of the best ways to get referrals is to ask for them. After you've finished the project and taken care of all the customer's concerns, ask them if they know anybody who could benefit from your work. Give them some business cards to pass out when they hear of someone looking for what you do.
Construction is becoming a commodity, especially in the homeowner market. For better or worse, consumers have access to so much information about construction, they think they know a lot about it. Problem is, not all the information they're getting is accurate or realistic.
Their curiosity about the processes and the materials available means they're interested in what you know. Invite potential customers to one of your job sites to observe a facet of the project. Not only will they learn first hand about construction realities, but they'll also see your expertise on display.
You can use a similar tactic for commercial, industrial and corporate clients. Use a lunch to show how you tackle a specific challenge or to showcase your methods.
How many times have you driven by a construction site and wondered what was being built and by whom? Contractors are just as nosey as anybody else, especially when it comes to projects in their own territories.
You miss out on an excellent advertising opportunity when you neglect to pop up a sign telling what the project is, who's financing and who's doing the building. It's rare an owner of a commercial project who doesn't want people to know they'll have space for rent. And, few retailers will pass up the chance to let the public know they'll be open for business.
Project signs are also a way to get your name out among subs, other owners, and developers.
Create a Marketing Loop
Use the power of your construction relationships to create a marketing loop in which everybody shares. Your subs, your partners, your suppliers, your banker, your former customers and you operate in a huge loop of activity. Each party feeds off the others in a synergistic fashion that somehow creates value for all. The value created might be different at different levels, but it's there. Otherwise, people wouldn't stay in the relationship.
When you refer the companies and people who help you succeed in business, you create instances of goodwill. Most people will reciprocate. That puts the power of many to work for you in marketing your business. The more you spread the good word about them, the more it comes back to you in opportunities.
Last but not least—a major aspect of marketing is the lead response system. All the best marketing strategies will be useless if you don't identify and follow up the leads your marketing generates. You have to sort them to make sure you follow up first on leads that meet your customer criteria.
Nevertheless, other leads also have value. Even if they aren't looking for what you provide, they might know someone who is or who might. Courtesy and timeliness in following up on leads will pay off in greater ways then you can imagine.
If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks and webinars you may enjoy:
Marketing Tips and Tricks to Build Your Brand
How to Grow Your Business
Winning Ways to Win More Work
Storytelling: Construction’s Best Marketing Strategy
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