If you want to be seen as a player in the construction sector, you could do a lot worse than to echo how the Tier 1 contractors approach their marketing.
A lot of the comments we get from clients when we first start to work with them are around how they want to be seen as ‘one of the big boys’. They’ve often been in business a while and have built the company from scratch. This is great as it shows that the work they’ve done has been solid and valued by customers, creating organic growth, but it can also show in how the company is perceived in the market.
A company that started with local, domestic jobs and has grown to provide broader services to the commercial markets can struggle to shake off the original perception. But, taking inspiration from the big construction companies, you can change how you position yourselves and consequently influence how others perceive you, and even how they perceive your prices.
Some of the marketing tools you could use include
- Case studies
- Social media
1 Case studies
Arguably one of the most valuable tools available to specialist sub-contractors in construction, case studies provide a platform for you to be able to evidence your skills. In writing up the project, you can show what considerations had to be made and where challenges needed to be overcome. Case studies can show not only the breadth of the services provided but also some insights into team members, preferred supplier status or even geographic reach.
The key is to view each case study as one piece in a bigger jigsaw, which together gives the full picture of the company. Too often we see case studies which are simply a documentation of who, what, where. This misses the finesse of a content strategy that is viewing each piece as a way of evidencing your company’s qualities.
Case studies also provide other functions …..
- They’re clearly a good way to build SEO keywords into your web copy
- They provide you with a reason to get back in touch with lapsed customers to remind them of a great project
- They become customer testimonials that can be shared in bid documents as well as on social channels
This one from Morgan Sindall is a great example.
If you are looking for a way to remain top of mind, an email newsletter is a great route to achieving that.
Sharing service updates, projects and team news direct to customers and prospects’ inboxes is the cheapest and most effective marketing option available to companies. Newsletters bring the opportunity to cross-sell services and products to customers who may only really associate you with the one thing they’ve used you for in the past.
Aside from overcoming pigeon-holing, an email provides you with invaluable customer insights and follow-up data for the sales teams.
Almost every specialist sub-contractor we work with believes that no customers find them through Google search. And yet, almost every one also sees an increase in traffic coming via web searches once we’re working with them.
Yes, the majority of your work might come through referral, or repeat business. But that’s not to say that the potential for other work isn’t being missed because your search performance in Google is poor. It’s a fact for most specialists that they can be working on a project with one PM, and yet not be able to make it onto the tender list for another PM in the same company.
Who is to say that other PM isn’t googling some options?
And even if they aren’t finding you through search, they are almost certainly visiting the site directly to verify their understanding. They could be coming from social channels like LinkedIn, so you need to make sure there is no disconnect in messaging or positioning. The Tier 1s strive hard for a consistent look and feel across all the channels, which helps to build their brands and provide immediate recognition.
Could doing the same have a beneficial impact on your business?
Take inspiration from sites like Mace which makes it easy for visitors to find the information they’re looking for irrespective of whether they’re looking at it from a sector or a service point of view.
4 Social Media
Every Tier 1 contractor is leveraging the power of social media to define, nurture and protect their brands. They know how valuable these tools are for directing the conversation around their values, and having a voice should anyone have any negative opinions.
B2B channels like LinkedIn are freely available resources for specialists to raise their profile amongst their target customers. By sharing valuable educational information or relevant case studies you can build new relationships and cement existing ones. Consistency is key here – both in brand values and messaging but also in frequency of posts, once you start, you will need a plan for how you’re going to stick to it.
You can also use these channels to share more of the culture of your organisation – celebrating individual and team achievements, recognising anniversaries and opening up about working practices. All these can help not only to humanise an organisation, but to improve recruitment.
The Kier Group is a great example – with a focus on the people within the organisation and how they are working to deliver amazing projects.
We’ll come to the other facets in part 2 but one thing that is common across all the above points is that these companies have truly considered the ‘customer’ in their communications. They aren’t just talking about the services they provide – they are talking about the benefits that customers receive, the opportunities for staff, the future that the infrastructure will bring etc. Their messaging is much bigger and broader than many specialists’.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the values that are at the heart of what you do, why you do it, how you do it, so translating them into messaging is almost impossible without support.
If you want to know more about how you could elevate your positioning, drop us a line.