Customer service is the key to construction marketing June 22, 2020Exceptional customer service should be at the heart of specialty construction marketing. We’re often asked if inbound marketing works for specialty construction companies, including builders, roofers, painters, landscapers and more. The short answer is yes, because customers use the internet as their primary tool to research services before making decisions. The secret to making it work is to think of it as a customer service tool more than a sales tool. More often than not, customers will come to you with a problem. For example, they may need to make space for their growing family, update a kitchen or bathroom to increase functionality, or repair a leaking roof or damaged wall. Your digital presence should be dedicated to helping them. We get it – marketing is probably the last thing on your never-ending to-do list, but it’s a really important thing to consider when you’re planning to scale your business. Stay tuned and we’ll run you through the basics of construction marketing strategy. Want to talk to a real person? Schedule a free consultation. Step 1: Refresh your website If you have a website, great! We recommend overhauling it every 2-3 years to ensure all the information is up-to-date, that the look and feel is fresh and accessible, and that all the technology is working properly. A great website will form the foundation to your entire marketing strategy, because it provides prospective customers with the chance to make sure you’re the real deal. If you don’t have a website, no problem! It’s entirely possible to build a website yourself, but it’s a pretty big undertaking and you’ll need to get up to scratch with the technical side of things pretty quickly. We recommend hiring a professional marketing company, because they’ll be able to get you up and running much quicker, while optimizing the content for readability and SEO. (Don’t worry, we’ll explain SEO in a minute.) They’ll expect to see an informative home page, an about page that explains who you are and what you’re about, and a service page that explains exactly how your business can help them. You’ll need to have a clear and simple contact page, to make it easy for people to reach out to you, and we recommend listing your phone number on every page so they don’t have to search for it. Basically, it’s a digital store front, and you want to create the best first impression possible. Focus on creating an exceptional experience right from the start. Green-lighting a job in the construction industry, whether B2B or B2C, usually requires a sizeable investment, so customers will want to know who you are and why they should trust you. To that end, we recommend including some photography – people are much more likely to trust a website with photographs, because it’s easier to confirm that they’ll be dealing with a real person. Read more: 5 website design trends you need to watch this year Step 2: Register for Google My Business You may not have heard of Google My Business, but it’s an absolute essential. It’s a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, which includes both its Search and Maps functionality. This is really important when it comes to local leads. For example, if someone Googles “general contractors near me,” the search result will include a map of your local area with pins on all the relevant businesses in the area who have Google My Business. They’re generally listed in order of SEO-friendliness (there’s that word again, we promise we’ll get to it soon!), with an option to click through to the website or get directions. According to BrightLocal, 64% of consumers use Google My Business to find addresses and phone numbers of local businesses. It’s the modern version of a telephone book, and an absolute no-brainer in terms of generating new leads. Google says that businesses with complete profiles are likely to get seven times as many clicks as those without. Aside from appearing in search, Google My Business is also a great way to let people know what hours you work, when you’re closed for holidays, updates that affect your business (the COVID-19 outbreak is a great example), as well as photographs of your work to increase your credibility. Communication is the key to good service. Importantly, it also has a reviews function. Asking happy customers to write a quick review is also a great way to improve your credibility, and may boost leads. Remember, this is about serving the customer, so you need to make it easy for them. Read more: 10 tips to improve your website’s ranking on Google 3. Boost your SEO A-ha! Here’s that paragraph we promised at the start. SEO means “search engine optimization,” and it refers to a group of strategies designed to make sure people can find you when they need you. The easiest way to do this is to ensure your website ranks on Google for related searches. So how do you do that? You need to find out all the keywords people are likely to type into Google to find businesses like yours – for example, general contractor, plumbing services, electrical services, tiling services, and so on. One great way to do this is by typing a few different options into the search bar and seeing what Google Autocomplete returns. You can also use tools like Google Trends to see what topics are ranking in your area and compare different words to see what’s stronger. Once you’ve identified the keywords, you need to make sure you include them on your web pages. Again, they’re like signs at the front of a store. What’s inside? What do you offer? Another strategy that can significantly boost your SEO is to start a blog that answers commonly-searched questions. For example, how to fix a leaking tap? How to fix a hole in the wall? How do I select the right contractor? How much do contracting services cost? These serve two purposes: first, they include searchable phrases that might help your website rank higher on Google’s results page. Second, they immediately position you as being an expert and your business as being helpful. This shows prospective customers that your customer service is top-notch, right from your very first interaction with them. Don’t worry about giving information away for free, the truth is that talking people through common problems step-by-step simply helps them understand what’s required before they go ahead and engage your services. Transparency is the key to trust. Read more: How to write a blog that will help grow your business Digital customer service Nothing replaces a personal connection and a beautiful construction job. However, with more customers searching for local services online than ever before, it’s a digital marketing strategy is just as important when it comes to growing your construction business. A credible website, a current Google My Business listing, and a helpful blog will give prospective customers a taste of the service on offer and encourage them to take the next step toward engaging your services. And who knows? It might start with patching a hole in a wall, then turn into a new deck, a kitchen renovation, and a whole new build. The possibilities are limitless. Ready to scale your business? Schedule a free consultation.