Advertising campaigns for construction companies can be a frightening prospect. On one hand, people will only know that you exist if you advertise. On the other, a misguided marketing campaign that does not have desired results can feel like a complete waste of valuable resources. How can you ensure that your precious advertising dollars are well spent?
Know your audience.
Many of your marketing efforts will be targeted at a specific demographic, neighborhood, or some type of definable group. The message that they receive should be focused on them. Even a postcard campaign that blankets an area can be designed to maximize its impact. It will not be worth your time or money to create generic marketing campaigns. A little extra planning goes a long way when it comes to your advertising efforts. If you do not know what your average prospect looks like, you are not ready to start your campaign.
Take advantage of inexpensive opportunities.
Have a sign made that you place in the yard of the home that you are currently working on (with the homeowner’s permission, of course). Order some inexpensive printed materials made up that you can blanket a neighborhood with when you are in the area. Ask your customers to recommend you to their friends. You don’t need a big budget to take advantage of some effective advertising methods. A small donation to community events often earns you banner space or program mention. These types of functions show that you are a community leader who is concerned about the city in which you live. It is advertising that also increases the quality of your reputation for a fraction of your marketing budget.
Be proud of your company name.
People around the town you work in should already know your name. They should be accustomed to seeing your logo on your company vehicles, employees’ shirts and hats, and in front of the homes you are working on. Having your logo on company vehicles makes sense for many reasons. It looks more professional. Showing up in an unmarked white van makes some homeowners nervous. It provides you with signage everywhere you go. In fact, once your company vehicle is appropriately decked out, you should strive to park it in highly visible areas whenever possible. The same is true for company shirts, though you may want to specify that you would like them worn only when on the job. Make your company image a recognizable and memorable community fixture.
Emphasize your strengths
You will never be able to be everything to every customer, so focus on promoting what you do best and what, presumably, is most profitable for you because you do it so well. This will bring in the best kind of business to suit your company and will give you a competitive edge at the same time. You won’t necessarily miss out on people who are looking for a contractor to do something else, but you will be the first person that they think of if your marketing materials have emphasized that you are an expert in what they need.
This may fall into the opportunities discussed in #2, but networking deserves its own discussion. Outside of work, you are a part of your community. Your kids attend school or play sports, you’re a member of a church or local club, and you have a variety of connections. As a business owner, you are always marketing to some extent. While you will drive people away with constant sales pitches, you need to be comfortable enough talking about your business that people automatically think of it when they need you. Consider expanding your current network to include other professionals in the community to form mutually beneficial relationships. Realtors, inspectors, and subcontractors can help you connect with people who require your talents.
Contact prior customers
It is easy to focus on bringing new business in, but people who have already hired you once are a target market that you shouldn’t ignore. Most people begin thinking about what project they would like to do next before the first is even complete. They may not be able to afford to hire you to do everything they are dreaming of at once, but you do want to stay on their radar. Communication with this group should always be worded as if you are rewarding them for being a loyal customer.
Establish your business online
Hopefully, you already have a professionally designed company website. If you don’t, that is the first item on your to-do list. Now make it work for you. Write a blog, or hire a service to write it for you. Invite people to visit your website on your voicemail, business cards, invoices – everywhere your logo is seen, your website address should be too. Create at least one social media profile. Popular networks are Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram and Pinterest can be great for contractors as well due to the visual nature of your work. Interact with people online to build customer loyalty and connect with new prospects.
Choose traditional advertising with care
Digital marketing is on the rise, but there is still a place for traditional marketing opportunities such as TV, radio, and billboards. Since these channels tend to be pricy, only utilize those that you know are effective with your target audience. For example, if you provide high end renovations to an older demographic, don’t waste your money advertising on a Top 40 radio station. Selected wisely, traditional marketing channels continue to be effective.
Don’t let advertising slack during the off season
This is when you will be tempted to cut back because you have less income rolling in, but that is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. With less ongoing projects, you can spend your off season focusing on marketing efforts.
Open your mind
Don’t get in a rut of always advertising to the same people through the same channels. It is true that your name becomes part of daily routine when it is repeated consistently, but you also take the risk of fading into the background and leaving other prospects untouched. Spend part of your marketing budget each year on a new advertising opportunity.