*This post has been updated as of May 2016*
When creating a digital marketing strategy for your construction business, search engine optimisation should always be carefully considered in order to ensure your mobile-friendly website performs well in search result pages.
Whilst a great website which encompasses clean coding, great website architecture and a smooth interface will help get your website to rank highly, the content that sits on your site such as the copy, headers and tags also plays a huge part in Google’s algorithm.
Then there is the content which you write, provide and offer your web visitors in order to convert them into opportunities. The content you provide to your website visitors is the key to success, not only from a ranking perspective but from a conversion point of view.
Great, compelling content is highly targeted, relevant and will engage visitors thus encouraging them to either interact with your material and converting into a lead opportunity, or share your content via social sites therefore creating more exposure for your business.
“Search is the buzzword, but what people forget about is the content. It’s the content which makes things move! We all end up buying products from those websites who offer great content, relevancy, show thought leadership and have multiple resource points where we can go if I have a question or problem.”
It’s still the case that a good number of websites just display generic copy which is dull and doesn’t really appeal to the visitor or the stage they’re at in the buying process.
Marketers must start to get up close, relevant and personal with their target market.
Remember that it’s all about becoming an invaluable resource.
There is no point in reaching number one, two or three in Google or any other search engine if your visitors are not converting into leads, or performing some sort of desired action from this search traffic.
- Website A is currently ranked 10th in Google for bespoke doorsets and Website B is ranked 2nd for bespoke doorsets.
- Website B receives approximately 350 visits from Google a week whilst Website A only receives 30.
Website A converts 25 of this 30 and Website A converts 3 out of the 350 visits from Google.
Does rank really matter if your website is converting this traffic?
It is the content which converts.
Educating and supporting your target audience
Content Marketing is all about educating your market or target audience by using non-selling techniques often referred to as ‘non-interruption marketing’. It is all about delivering content which is of consistency and value to your buyers at each stage of the buying process and thus results in them doing business with you.
Take a look at your website and read the content:
- Are you aggressively selling your products?
- Are you only talking about the features and benefits of your product?
- Are you educating your audience on how this product solves problems, deals with issues, or complies with new regulations and legislation?
- Are you supporting your everyday content with white papers and online videos?
Traditional marketing techniques such as print and direct mail is where aggressive selling techniques are used and a direct response is required from the recipient or reader. However with content marketing, you are progressively taking your audience on a journey and building trust, credibility and leadership along the way.
“The way companies conduct or go about their marketing strategy is changing. Marketers are having to be much more relevant and consistently deliver content which is educational and of high value. They need to understand the audience they are marketing to at each stage of the specification and buying process, and deliver content which will help them make the right choice, demonstrating support as well as leadership.”
New marketing is about connecting with customers
The construction supply chain is long and complex, with multiple points at which products and specifications can change. For many construction companies and B2B businesses, content marketing is about delivering the right content at the right stage of the specification, buying, tendering or sales process.
Therefore understanding what information or content is required to connect with your target audience and to get them to behave differently is key.
‘Behave differently’ means to stop, read, absorb and connect.
Traditional marketing fails to connect as this medium is seen as direct selling with little added value.
Specifiers are looking for content which will help them specify the right product, buyers are looking for content to help them source at the right price, site managers are looking for content to better educate themselves with the product which is to be stored, installed and carried on-site. A Branch Manager for a builders merchant is also looking for content on how you as a business can provide them with the support they need to sell your products.
What content do you already own?
A content plan consists of a list of all your online assets against those who use them and then understanding new content which requires creating.
Define who you are targeting each piece of content towards and make a list of all the PDF’s, online videos, brochures, technical data sheets and tools which live on your website under each audience type. For example, a collection of CAD drawings on your site is intended for Architects, Designers and Engineers.
Once you have listed all of your online assets, place them under who would use them. By doing this you will identify where you are weak and which audience you have very little content for.
Below is an example of how to set out your current assets against your target audience:
If you take the above table as an example, you can see that we do not have much content for the Estimator – yet the Specifier, Architect or Designer has much more content to support the product specification process.
Does this help with your marketing strategy or campaign targeting Estimators? No, because you have no content to reward them with.
This is where you need to be creative and develop the content and material to make the Estimators job easier and engage with your website – or you could look to hold an online webinar to drive Estimators to your website.
The credibility and thought leadership factors comes to light here; if you provide resources and material for the Estimator which is of value then they are more likely to want to deal with your brand again and again.
As products change, specification change, legislation change and design guidance change all the time, it is all the more important to be able to keep your site content up to date too.
Your prospects and customers will need you to demonstrate leadership when it comes to keeping up with the latest changes within your own sectors or area of expertise. If they see lots of out of date information on your site, they could be gone and an opportunity missed.
Delivering the content
What is important is to know at which stage your content is most effective during the construction specification and sales supply chain.
Are Specifiers likely to come across your content on Twitter?
Or are they likely to want this content to be emailed?
Remember, your content should take people on a journey and allow for trust, credibility and leadership to come through.
Below is an example of how your assets can be used at the various stages of the construction process.
Again, do you have all the assets for each stage?
So once you have defined the content you own, who its targeted towards, and at what stage of the construction supply chain it needs to promoted – then you can think about how to combine this with your existing communications strategy.
Will you use email to promote your white papers?
Will you blog about the upcoming webinar or CPD presentation?
Will you engage with those who are at the ‘Purchase stage’ with a product demonstration or promote your online product demonstration videos?
Online marketing is about content – not the shiny backgrounds or the glossy buttons on websites.
It is about the value and the experience that’s added to the visitors journey through your content. Building effective and compelling content means you need to understand your target audience and identify their needs, how they speak, what they want, and in what volumes.
Good content will be ranked higher in search engines and will lead to an increase in conversions and loyalty from visitors. It is up to you as marketers to deliver this consistently across multiple platforms.
Here are 5 tips on creating a great content marketing plan:
- Audit your current content and look at what you already have; read the copy on every page and adjust it so that you are not directly selling to your audience but engaging them and telling the story.
- Identify what your target audience wants. Best way to do this is go speak to them or listen to their conversations on various social networks.
- Analyse the quantity of your content. What do you have lots of which could be streamlined or cut down to become readable on the web (people scan web pages but read white papers) and what do you not have lots of which can be produced?
- Create the plan for how you will broadcast or publish your content. This must align with your communication strategy.
- Be results driven. Is your content ranking higher on search engine results pages and which keywords are driving traffic to your site? Are visitors from organic searches converting into leads or opportunities?
I hope this article has been useful in getting you to think about producing or revising the existing content on your website; it’s the content on your website which will bring people to your site and get people talking about you.
Keep an eye out for our updated Content Marketing eBook; in the mean time, read Suzanne Golder’s post on developing an effective content marketing strategy here.