There were nearly 700,000 construction companies in the US as of 2018, many of which compete at the local level for new clients. With nearly 97% of consumers going online to research local businesses, it’s important for contractors to advertise their wares online.
The good news is that construction companies have more options than ever to reach potential clients and prospects using digital ads. Digital channels can be hyper-targeted geographically and demographically, and self-service platforms like Facebook and Google Ads don’t require a fixed budget commitment to get started.
In this post, we’ll review some of the digital marketing channels that are appropriate for construction companies to delve into, as well as provide some insight into how organizations can optimize their website in preparation to receive paid traffic.
Paid Search for construction companies
Paid search is a cornerstone of digital marketing, with Google projected to make 38.1% of the nearly $130 billion in projected digital ad spending in 2019.
Google’s revenue comes from paid search ads on Google.com and partner search engines as well as Google’s vast display network which includes millions of websites and reaches over 90% of internet users.
With so many people online, it’s possible to reach very specific constituents with the right keywords and text ads on Google and other search engines. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating and launching a Google Ads campaign.
- Do your research: Before you get started with a new campaign (or if you want to breathe new life into an existing one), spend some time doing keyword research. There are some great tools that can help with this, including SEMRush, WordStream, and MOZ. Google’s Keyword Planner, available within the Google Ads interface, is free to advertisers (even those with paused campaigns) and is another great resource for doing keyword research.
Image Source: SEMrush
The above screenshot from SEMrush provides an overview of metrics for the term “construction services.” It also includes a list of “phrase match” and “related” keywords, which can help potential advertisers understand the different variations of keywords that people are using to find construction (and related) services.
This report shows the average cost per click for this category of terms, which is just under $3. It also provides keyword search volume and cost per click at the keyword level which is helpful when planning a new campaign or expanding keywords in an existing one.
- Differentiate keyword & ad strategy based on persona: It’s helpful to build different personas based on the different types of customers searching for your services (e.g., residential versus commercial roofing customers). That ensures that your keywords are as specific as possible and helps avoid unqualified clicks while attracting the most relevant visitors.
- Maximize your ad copy: Familiarize yourself with Google’s text and image ad specifications. For text ads, make sure you create ads that take advantage of all characters and fields allowed. Last year Google rolled out new expanded text ads that enable advertisers to create up to three headlines and two descriptions per ad. Additionally, Google enables advertisers to expand their ads using ad extensions, which allow advertisers to append additional information such as internal links, a list of services, and more to an ad.
- Invest in high-quality landing pages: A well thought out landing page is one of the best tools you can have in your digital ad arsenal. Create pages that are simple (not too many links), mobile friendly, and contain the information that users searched for without having to hunt around your site. Adding elements such as video and images can also increase conversion rates by as much as 80%. Landing pages should be designed to complement specific buyer personas—ideally, you’ll create a different page for someone looking to renovate their kitchen versus a business looking to pave their parking lot.
After Google, Facebook is the top platform in terms of revenue for digital ads. There are a variety of ad formats available on Facebook, many of which support video and images. Facebook owns Instagram, and they share an ad platform, thus it’s easy to run a simultaneous Instagram/Facebook campaign. Facebook ads can be targeted in a seemingly endless variety of ways. Here are a few that a construction company may want to target their Facebook ads:
- Location—You can restrict your ad targeting only to those locations within your service area (or areas).
- Age—Screen out the very young and the very old
- Income—Needs no explanation
- Home Type—Home value, property size, renters, buyers, etc.
- Business/Industry—Construction & Extraction, Architecture & Engineering, etc.
- And many more…
Image Source: WordStream Infographic (partial image): All of Facebook’s Ad Targeting Options
Facebook doesn’t typically have a great response compared with Google and other search engines. That’s just the nature of display advertising versus keyword-targeted search ads. So, it’s important to adjust your goals for Facebook (versus Google) and monitor performance closely. It may be more worthwhile to drive your Facebook traffic to your Facebook page rather than your website (or do a combination of both) in order to build an audience and get your name out into the community.
Email for the win
According to WordStream, email is the third most influential type of content for B2B audiences.
You may not think of email or native content as paid advertising, but it takes time and money to create email and web copy. It’s also an option to “rent” an email list. Essentially this means that you pay the list owner to send out a targeted message to everyone on that list (to subscribers of an industry publication, for example). You can also buy ads that appear in industry newsletters and e-magazines.
Email campaigns tend to be much more successful for B2B companies versus B2C companies. Clickthrough rates are 47% higher for B2B email, and nearly 60% of B2B marketers say that email is their most effective channel.
Pro Tip: An effective strategy for B2B marketers is to create a paid media campaign using Google, Facebook or another top platform such as LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website. Then push that paid traffic to a landing page with a newsletter or signup form associated with an incentive (e.g., a white paper download) to get visitors into your mailing list.
A few words about unpaid advertising
Although the focus of this post is on paid ads, there are other types of online promotion that don’t involve an actual media budget and can be very effective, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and online reviews.
Online reviews are just an updated form of word-of-mouth marketing, a new digital way for consumers to recommend businesses to each other. Nearly 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and nearly 100% of B2B Buyers say user-generated content such as reviews is much more credible than other types of content.
But you can’t pay for reviews—you need to generate them organically. Reviews can be made in a variety of ways including directly on Google via your My Business page. Users simply click on the “Write a review” link to rate your business.
Image Source: Google Maps
The above screenshot from Google Maps shows the Google My Business page for a roofing company in New York. Users can instantly see a star rating for this company, the number of reviews the business has received, and the overall review summary.
Third party review websites such as Yelp, Business.com and Angie’s List are all aimed at helping consumers get honest feedback about a business they’re considering working with.
Final words—landing page optimization and tracking
No amount of promotion, whether paid or unpaid, will be successful if your landing page isn’t up to the task of generating leads and communicating clearly with your constituents.
Before you launch any media, it’s important to take stock of what your website looks like and what kind of tracking you have in place. When taking the time to create relevant landing pages and/or optimize your website prior to launching paid media or embarking on a promotional campaign, you will have greater success in the long run.
Like most organizations in the B2B space, construction companies are likely to implement a mix of both digital and traditional marketing tactics, so a tool like Google Analytics is important to implement for tracking web traffic and goals. Additionally, tools such as Call Tracking Metrics can help you track phone leads from both online and offline sources.
We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to digital ads, but starting out with paid search, social media ads, and email marketing are all effective (and comprehensive) ways to reach B2B buyers.