Owning and operating a residential construction/remodeling company requires a lot of time and energy. Between managing your employees, getting projects set up, keeping the books up-to-date takes a herculean effort all by themselves. Even though marketing may be far down on your list of priorities, those efforts can be the difference between success and failure.
Marketing a construction business isn’t unlike other businesses that need a constant flow of new and returning clients. Yes, there are expensive marketing programs and firms that will help you engage with customers, but there are many simple and cost-effective methods to stay ahead of the competition.
Establish Yourself as a Niche Specialist
Research shows that businesses with a specific niche in the market are best for generating buzz. From a strategic business sense, having a niche can streamline operations, finances, and productivity. Niche expertise wins over a commoditized generalist because your expertise means you’re a safer bet than someone cheaper. You can promote your niche via thought leadership (blog, presentations, articles, etc.). For construction companies, this might mean marketing yourself as a specialist in historical residences or a specialist in floor or plumbing installation instead of as a genera
Create a Brand Strategy
Your brand is your reputation. It is all about building the perception of who you are in the minds of your customers and telling them who you are. The construction industry is highly competitive and it’s essential to build a strong reputation that people will trust to get the job done. Whether you are starting from scratch, or getting a brand refresh, it’s important to take the time to create a strong brand that your customers will recognize. Most important - incorporating an arresting logo and color scheme will help attract the right kind of clients by giving continuity to your various business components.
Show Customers you’re Cutting-Edge
Savvy potential customers are looking for companies that are forward-looking and contemporary. In the construction field, that means appearing up-to-date with the latest building methods and products. Using proven marketing methods like websites, social media, and niche advertising can secure those millennial customers that want to see innovative work and methods.
Using visual media like photos and video (from you or industry-associations like NAHB) to showcase past projects and educate potential clients about contemporary building and renovation techniques can instill confidence that you’re an industry leader and gives you the opportunity to show some personality. Use those same photos or videos to show current progress on a job. It will assure clients that your company is all about action, progress, and hardworking people while providing fresh content for your website and social media pages.
Use Non-Competing Businesses for Referrals
We all know the importance of referrals in the building industry. They are touted as the number one factor in potential clients selecting one company over another. One of the best sources of referrals comes not from other customers, but other businesses that sell to the same target customer. Non-competing businesses like sub-contractors, electricians, plumbers, and architects are great sources for continual referrals. How about the local paint or hardware store? Consider investing some of your precious time to engage these non-competing industry colleagues and business peers to form a mutual referral network.
Community Engagement for New Customers
Do you want to do good works and grow your business at the same time? Working in your local community with organizations that showcase your company’s construction skills like Habitat for Humanity will build awareness in the community, bring you like-minded do-gooder prospects, and create feel-good stories you can share on your marketing platforms like social media.
Ask your crew and their families to join you to create a team-building-building exercise! Other potential promotional prospects to showcase your philanthropy include your local newspaper or television stations, which could generate free publicity and more recognition. Finally, your company’s marketing materials and “about us” will have timely examples of your generosity.
Get Listed in a Directory
We all know about the internet as a tool for potential home buyers and remodelers. Studies show that unless they have a specific company in mind, they’ll end up at directories such as Angie’s List or Home Advisor to help them find construction companies in their area. Your company must be on those sites and have a complete and up-to-date online presence. Your content should be direct and compelling enough to want the potential customer to check you out for more information.
Solicit Customer Reviews
One practical marketing strategy is to solicit reviews of your work online through the aforementioned Angie’s List and Home Advisor, and among others like Yelp and Google. Positive word-of-mouth is one of the major drivers of business for construction companies. Because home building and remodeling projects can be time-consuming and expensive, using online reviews of happy customers alleviate doubt in prospects. The downside to these types of platforms is potential negative reviews. However, monitoring these sites diligently, and using one of the many cost-effective reputation management programs can stop negative reviews from harming your brand.
Host a Reception
Set up a dinner and cocktail reception for your current or former clients and encourage them to bring their friends along. Use a fun theme like the first day of spring or Independence Day to create some buzz. Add some kid-friendly games and rides to attract families. Offer giveaways and raffles to sweeten the attendance pot. Have the local radio station do a remote broadcast, or have your reception within a larger festival or community event.
Use your PBA Membership
The last but not least idea on this list is to reach out to your local, state, and national building membership organizations for helpful ideas and tools. Your local builders association will have a pulse on what’s happening in the market and can direct you to those non-competitive referrals and other groups to network with. The PA Builders Association has an opportunity to list your business in its directory and provides many member-benefit programs, some of which help members market their services. Finally, NAHB provides some excellent marketing materials for their members to use and has great content for your social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.