Better product positioning (and why it will help you become more profitable).

We’re continuing to explore the challenges facing today’s construction marketers when it comes to putting together an effective web presence.
Delivering a website that not only qualifies new leads quickly, but builds confidence and credibility – encouraging prospects to buy or specify your products over the competition’s – is the key goal for building product manufacturers when improving their website.

This post on ‘Why better positioning will help you become more profitable’ is part 2 from our new series of posts that discuss how to get great results from the web-build projects you undertake.

We will expand upon a popular article on ‘Why your Construction Website needs Targeted Landing Pages’ and the more recent post on ‘What makes a good construction products landing page that generates leads?’.

Positioning for profit.

You may have noticed that we’re really quite big on positioning at Pauley Creative – The digital Marketing agency for the construction industry (see what I did there?).

We know that ‘positioning’ can, on first impression, seem like crappy marketing jargon and, in fairness it is (but then, most marketing terms are).

However, what positioning does do, which is much more important than jargon, is fundamental to your online marketing success.

Great positioning, specifically on your building products’ website landing pages, helps your website to be found easier online by prospects who have never used your products before or heard of your company before.

These visitors are known as the ‘Unaware’ and the ‘Unaware’ visitors are where the future web traffic growth and subsequent business growth and profit will come from.

When those prospects who have never heard of your company or done business with you in the past, find your website for the first time, you need to be ready.

In this post we’ll discuss how you refine your product positioning in the mind of the ‘Unaware’ and help them to the next stage in the specification process…

The good, the bad and the ugly customer

No one knows the kinds of organisation that specify products from your company better than you. Right?

And following that, I assume that you will have a pretty clear idea of the good, bad and the ugly customers that work with you and your products.

For the purposes of this exercise lets put aside the bad and ugly ones and concentrate on the ‘Good’ customers, those who make a positive difference to your company.

Let me explain.

We recognise the biggest marketing issue, online, for brand awareness, is NOT getting customers that ALREADY know you to your website, but drawing in those ‘Unaware’ prospects, to find your products, over their usual supplier, in their time of need.

As I’ve said, your website will have a split of visitors:

Those who have heard of your company – the ‘Aware’
And
Those who have not heard of your company – the ‘Unaware’.

The ‘Aware’ will typically use ‘branded’ search terms (company name, product name, salesperson name etc) to reach your site.

The ‘Unaware’ will use ‘non-branded’ search terms and phrases to find the information they require. Non-branded terms are those generic ‘product-type’ or situational ‘issue-type’ searches.

These ‘non-branded’ searches might look like this:

•    Fire retardant scaffold boards for oil and gas companies
•    How to fix exterior wall cracks in listed buildings

These multi-word searches are also known as ‘long tail’ searches and are most valuable to your lead generation strategy as they tend to demonstrate a real need in their intent. Much more so than their shorter one or two word cousins, the ‘short search’ terms.

Short searches look like this (they contain one or two key words):

•    Scaffold Boards
•    Wall crack

Knowing what to write on your website and landing pages to capture a larger proportion of the long tail searches requires an expert knowledge of both your products and the issues they resolve (within multiple applications) and just as importantly, an understanding of the ‘good’ customers that your company is currently helping.

The 5W’s

So, when you start to paint a picture of your ideal prospect organisation(s) you really need to understand how ‘good’ customers currently specify your products.

This understanding will enable you to find, capture and help more , similar prospects.

Thinking about the 5W’s of your good customers is a great place to start:

1.    Who they are – type of business, size in £’s turnover and employees, location
2.    What they buy – Products, services
3.    Where they are – Location. National, International
4.    When they buy – Frequency. How often they buy now
5.    Why they buy from you (over your competition) – Expertise, customer service, relationship, differentiation

Are you helping the humans?

If we’re agreed then, that helping your prospects is a good lead generation strategy and because winning on search engines is no longer about ‘gaming Google’, the only audience you really need to consider, when it comes to providing informative and educational content, is your ‘good’ website visitors.

Once you have a created a list (or more likely a complex spreadsheet) of the types of companies that you would like to work with more often, the next task is to understand ‘the humans’ that work within those organisations, those who actually make the decisions, who influence those who hold the money.

As a starting point, and to help you to think differently, you could consider the following:

A.    How are your products making customers and their colleagues lives easier?
B.    How or where are you saving them money?
C.    How are your products helping them to keep their jobs?
D.    How is your service making them look great to their superiors and clients?

One of the best ways to raise your companies brand or product awareness and help the ‘Unaware’ human prospect is to develop great content that actually helps them in their day to day working life.

This means you need to understand how they work, the environment they work in (home, large office, small office, on site etc) and this is where profiling the different types of specifying prospects comes in.

We wrote about marketing to three different types of Architect in these posts “What type of Architect are you marketing to? Part 1, (Part 2 and Part 3 can be found from Part 1; well worth a read).

Consider developing a content plan (A list of information that will benefit the prospect) not just around the needs of your prospects but around the way they consume the information you know they need too.

Positioning will come from content.

Your content plan will come together by working with Google on the one hand and with colleagues within your business on the other. You want to know the types of frequently asked (and not so frequently asked) questions that prospects typically ask your sales and key account managers when specifying products.

As well as the questions that your technical support staff get asked too. Anyone who comes into contact with a customer and has to solve day to day customer issues.

These questions will typically be around the challenges customers and prospects face, as much as a particular product performance enquiry.

They could be technical questions, purchasing questions, logistics queries, performance queries, application queries, installation questions, stockist enquiries and so on.

With every piece of content you create and place on your website, ask yourself:

“How is this information helping the humans?”

•    Can it be downloaded in various formats
•    Can it be dropped straight into a spreadsheet, or Powerpoint slide, or CAD drawing.
•    Can case studies and testimonials be found on all product pages
•    Can the videos be understood in an office without sound
•    Does your landing page work in all the major web-browsers
•    Or on a mobile or on an ipad or other hand-held device.
•    Is your phone number visible on every page (not in 8pt text in the footer).
•    Are technical questions directed to the right person quickly.
•    Is there a very clear ‘Next Step’ on every page?

Where does positioning fit?

Plenty has been written about positioning and by far more knowledgeable marketers than me. However, for the most part positioning in a general sense is about company positioning rather than product positioning.

A particular building product may have many different uses in various applications. The key to positioning building products, for better visibility on search engines, and more importantly to ‘Help’ your prospects, is in the writing, specifically for those specific niches.

Positioning your products to specific applications and vocational niches means good, qualified customers can find you.

And because you have written something specific (for them), you start to build credibility by proving that you understand the issues they face by answering the types of questions that they’re likely to ask.

And, of course, you know what they’re asking because you’ve done your homework; you’ve spoken to your sales and account management teams, your technical and support teams and you’ve seen what has been asked by visitors, historically, on your website through your analytics software.

My Six tips for better building product positioning:

1.    Be clear that your website is there to help the ‘Unaware’.
2.    Your profile of ‘Unaware’ prospects should resemble the ‘good’ customers you’ve already converted.
3.    Write your content based on ‘long tail’ search terms for better quality traffic ie. those with intent to go to the ‘next step’.
4.    Create your content with the question ‘How will this information help the prospect?’ in mind. Not how can I ‘game’ Google.
5.    Think about how similar groups of customers consume your information.
6.    Consider all the different ways your current customers use your products to develop better niche content.

In summary

Positioning building products online is simply about how your products fit or work within a particular situation or environment. This information, if put a cross in a considered manner, in a format that works for the visitor, leaves little room for confusion and helps prospects quickly move on to the next stage in the specification process.

Contact Nick to find out more.

About Nick Pauley

is the founder and managing director of Pauley Creative. Aside from managing the strategic direction of Pauley Creative, Nick is primarily involved in the early planning and marketing direction of each of Pauley Creative’s fabulous clients. Follow Nick on Twitter click here.

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