Proven Tactics to Market a Large Construction Company
Even in these digital times, construction often remains one of those word-of-mouth industries where people find contractors through friends or neighbors who recommend the company that remodeled their garage or tiled their bathroom. “I’ve got a guy,” or, “They do a good job, and it’s very reasonable”—you hear that a lot, and we salute you if your construction business has earned a strong rep around town. But before you build anything else, you need to build a digital marketing strategy to put that word-of-mouth praise into hyperdrive online.
About 3.6 million construction companies currently operate in the US, and despite the toll that the pandemic took on building projects, the number of construction businesses has grown around 2.7% per year between 2016–2021. Since you drive bulldozers and operate cranes in all manner of weather, the work involved in advertising yourself might seem like a gratuitous side-project. But rest assured, your tech-savvy competitors have already launched their own promotional campaigns, and you need to recapture the business that they may be poaching from you. So allow us to rattle off some proven tactics on how to market a large construction company.
Build a Website
Construction is also one of those industries whose services customers seem to have a tough time evaluating. Can’t anyone jackhammer a driveway? Does it really take an expert to mud drywall or install windows? The answer is that builders are skilled tradesmen, but non-builders don’t always remember that until we witness the horrifying consequences of shoddy oversight, like the collapse of the Surfside condo in Florida last month.
So use your website to show how your company guarantees quality. Our agency dedicates a bulk of our site to the projects we’ve done—including for construction companies—so our prospective clients can see the caliber of work that we’ll deliver for them. Do the same on your site.
- Add a Gallery page and fill it with photos of the kitchens you’ve renovated that you’re particularly proud of—the ones with marble countertops and subway tile backsplash and soul-seeker-blue cabinets that light up in the morning.
- Write an About Us page that introduces your staff and conveys your brand personality. (We’re sure that you’re lovely to work with, but as far as most clients are concerned, businesses are guilty until proven innocent. Remember: The collapse of the Surfside condo.)
- Include testimonials of clients who swear that you really are lovely to work with.
Oh, and don’t forget to list your services. Have you ever scheduled a contractor from Lowe’s to survey your backyard so that you can chat about the patio of Pennsylvania bluestone that you want to put down only to learn, five minutes into the chat, that Lowe’s doesn’t do patios? That’s annoying. And you do not want to annoy your customers.
To be fair, though, that miscommunication is probably the customer’s fault, because Lowe’s has included on their home services page a list of UI-friendly icons showing everything they can do to your home, from building a new fence to adding deck railings to replacing your doors. Just no patios. Make a similar list on your site, because customers need to know whether you’re the people to contact if they want solar panels installed on their roofs or their toilet snaked. (Both of which, mind you, are worthy services.)
And how do they contact you? Make your address and phone number easy to find, and integrate a form where they can drop a question or schedule an appointment any time.
Create a Real Brand
All those tips we just gave about launching a website? That’s only the starting point—the nuts and bolts of getting noticed online. Anyone with a Wix account or a middling knowledge of WordPress can fire up a website. The bigger challenge is creating a brand.
When we say “brand,” we’re not talking about making a logo on Canva. Yes, a logo is important, but a brand goes way deeper than stylescapes and a color palette. Your brand is your company vision, the expression of your deepest values. To consolidate a professional brand, you’ll want to talk to a digital marketing agency with web design expertise who can …
- Run a technical audit on your digital identity.
- Map your customer journey and site architecture.
- Develop a media plan and write a brand standards guide.
- Track the right metrics to understand how your SEO impacts your CRO.
If that sounds like fancy jargon, it kinda is, so allow us to translate: We help you figure out your construction marketing strategy so you can distinguish yourself from your competitors.
Construction projects can range from, say, a $10,000 bathroom remodel to skyscraper projects in New York priced at $15 million per floor. With all that money at stake, any client, from a homeowner to a C-suite board, will want to make sure that the construction company they hire is at the pinnacle of professionalism. Our job, then, is to boost your SEO with certain tactics—producing content, optimizing for mobile, incorporating backlinks, adding metadata and alt tags—that help clients find you in an online search.
Finally, we’ll build your site to embody your workplace culture, making it easy to navigate and topped off with a polish that’s a few steps up from a Wix account. A modern digital presence can impart the legitimacy on you that you need to win a construction project, be it a bathroom remodel or one of the giants of the Shanghai skyline.
Embrace Social Media
Those photos of the renovations you built with teak pivot doors or Capiz shell chandeliers that you put all over your website—put them on your social media, too.
The day-to-day work of construction is a sweaty morass of paint-streaked shirts and rooms stripped to the studs and muddy craters gouged out of the earth where a foundation is about to be poured. But the end-result of all that work is often a layout worthy of a magazine cover, or a trove of posts on Pinterest and Instagram. Those two platforms are particularly well-suited to showcase shots of poolsides bordered with blue agave, hotel lobbies walled with backlit quartzite, Toronto clubs filled with imported palm trees—or makeovers of frowzy starter-homes turned into flipped-and-furnished beauties.
So put your artistry on display. Since sites with video content are 53 times more likely to land on Google’s first search results page, include how-to videos, footage of your team at work, and before-after montages that make the case for why you’re worth hiring. Upload those videos to YouTube. Open a Facebook account. (1.5 billion users, anyone?) Make sure all your channels connect. And don’t ignore LinkedIn.
Your prospective clients frequent all types of social media, but you may have a better chance on LinkedIn of getting the attention of the decision-makers who vet bids and proposals for lucrative projects. To make your presence felt on that channel, host webinars, share your content, and follow or comment on the posts of the vendors who you want to partner with.
One last thought on flaunting your work: Build interactive experiences at construction trade shows where your audience can put on a headset and visualize, quite literally, what it would be like to walk through a courtyard that you designed or a foyer that you refurbished. Even if you don’t have a developer on staff or you’re not familiar with 3D software, check out solutions like Amazon Sumerian that help you create browser-based AR and VR applications.
Share Your Thoughts
So far, we’ve suggested launching your site, championing your brand, and showing off your work. That digital strategy will make you competitive in your market. But to stand out, you need to attract your target audience with commentary on the latest trends in your field.
Consider writing a blog where you answer questions about construction that your potential clients are probably wondering: “How much does a new fireplace cost?” “Where’s the best place to site an office building?” “Should I do electrical work myself?” (See—there are three topics to get you started. And, no, don’t mess with electricity. Hire a pro.)
Research what your audience wants to know, and then establish yourself as a resource that they can consult, because resourcefulness is a close cousin of credibility. As you know, reliability and trustworthiness are of paramount importance in construction. Your clients are trusting you to replace a load-bearing wall in their living room with a steel beam—that is, to replace it correctly—or to bolt together the skeleton of their skyscraper. How do they know you won’t botch the job? (Read: Surfside condo.)
Writing blog content gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your depth of knowledge in the area of construction that you specialize in. One well-written piece of content can impress those decision-makers on LinkedIn, setting their minds at ease that you are the company competent enough to handle their multimillion-dollar contract.
Run an Email Newsletter
One extension of your blog that you should consider launching is an email newsletter. Granted, email may be hovering above the cultural abyss. (73% of millennials report that email is their preferred mode of business communication, but Gen Z abhors email as woefully outmoded.) Still, for every dollar that you spend on email marketing, you usually get back around $38–$44. That’s a high return on a relatively small investment in time, because if you developed a social media presence or started a blog, a lot of content that you’ll produce can spill over into your newsletter.
One of the benefits of email newsletters is that people who sign up for them are often qualified leads, since they want to hear your latest thoughts on a regular basis. So divide your subscribers according to the audience type that’s relevant to your digital marketing strategy.
You might target leads based on their location or budget. You might write one newsletter for someone who wants to build a tiny home, and another newsletter for someone who wants to build a warehouse. Research the platforms that you can use to automate your email campaigns—managing your contacts, customizing your messaging, A/B testing what’s working (and what’s not)—because that list keeps growing every year.
Optimize a Google My Listing Page
Remember how we mentioned that construction companies often get business through flattering word-of-mouth? That’s true, but that word-of-mouth is so much easier to drum up if you’ve got a Google My Business listing.
Assume that potential clients all around you are Googling, this very moment, “best large construction company near me.” If you don’t pop up in their search, you’re more or less ushering a sizable swath of business that you could be attracting right into your competitors’ funnels. And as far as search engines are concerned, you’re invisible.
To help clients find you, sign into Google My Business. Add the name of your business. Enter your location. Fill out some contact info (phone number, web address, area code). Click “Yes”—and “Finish.” You’ll have to verify that it’s you and claim your business on Google, but all this should be the work of an afternoon.
As we’ve argued before, you also need to …
- Optimize for Local SEO
Follow this sage advice no matter how large a construction company you are, because construction work is so intrinsically un-remote. (You can outsource web development to programmers in Bulgaria, but the worker replacing ban boards or sistering in new joists needs to be on-site—ergo, local.)
Even if the reviews you get are sometimes snarky, they round out the appearance of a full-service business that your customers need to see in order to feel assured that you’re real. After all, consider their viewpoint. They Google “best large construction company near me.” Your Google My Business listing pops up, along with two of your competitors. All three of you have a website, a logo, a map marker, but you don’t have a phone number. Or you don’t have photos. Or you stripped away your reviews. Anything that’s missing, or that feels amiss, may cause people to think that you’re hiding something, you’re hedging, you’re being coy—all of which is bad for your bottom line. So use Google My Business to be as visible and accessible as possible, keeping the entryway wide open for consumers to fall into your funnels.
Extend Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
As any long-suffering homeowner knows, the real cost of a house isn’t the mortgage—it’s the upkeep. Things, as they say, fall apart. The bay window leaks, the first floor is sagging in, the basement needs a French drain, the roots of the 80-year-old oak tree looming above your roof are breaking up the driveway into dinner-plate-sized chunks. Just when you think it’s all fixed, you discover that another crack is winding its merry way through the plaster. And that’s the need-to-have stuff. The nice-to-haves are endless. Want to wire up your garage and add a hot tub behind it? That’ll cost you money, as will every single other project that you want done.
All these rolling maintenance and renovation fees, they apply to larger buildings, as well, only on a much grander scale. Which is why, if you’re a construction company, you need to think about extending your customer lifetime value and charging clients to fix up or work on those homes or office towers that you built for them.
Please don’t take that “charging clients to fix up” line to mean that you should run the Kansas City Shuffle on them, laying down slipshod work and re-billing them for repairing it. Quite the opposite. We’re just pointing out that buildings, no matter how snugly constructed, have a pesky tendency to auto-generate their own to-dos. So it makes sense to be available to mend and patch and rewire anything that goes ga-flunk in the night. Because no matter whether you’re living in the Upper East Side or in a double-wide, something always breaks.
So stay in touch with your past clients. Call them a few weeks after you wrap up a project. Use your email newsletter to check in on them, offering to finish upkeep tasks that keep them safe and up to code. Who knows? A good relationship with one customer might lead to a glowing review or more referrals and—you may have heard us mention this before—positive word-of-mouth.