The key to solid marketing in the construction business, as in any other B2B operation, is lead generation. The more qualified leads you have, the easier your sales team can convert them. How best to generate these leads, though, is the tricky part. To truly understand what makes a lead, one must first understand that there are two marketing methods for acquiring leads:
- Passive lead generation
- Active lead generation
Some examples of passive lead generation include word-of-mouth awareness, third-party reviews, and referrals. Ideally, your company delivers such great service that the mere act of hiring you becomes a marketing tool in its own right, yielding positive word of mouth.
Active lead generation, on the other hand, requires time, money, and detailed strategies. Active lead-generation examples include building a website, optimizing keywords for higher search results (SEO), investing in content and email marketing, setting up a Google My Business listing, and signage such as billboards and other offline logo placements.
To reach your full customer acquisition potential, you will need to combine both passive and active lead strategies. One example might be to take those listings and positive reviews from third-party sites like Houzz, Porch, and Thumbtack, and link them directly to your website for improved SEO.
The next step — lead nurturing
Once you’ve acquired leads you’ll need to nurture them. That involves following up with those who interact with your business, initiating a relationship with them, and knowing how and when to move them down the sales pipeline.
This is a subtle art but a vital one. If as a marketer you can’t nurture your leads properly, then you’re needlessly hamstringing your sales team. For construction companies as well as other B2B enterprises, the solution is to adhere to some fundamental lead nurturing best practices.
Lead nurturing best practices for the construction industry
Organize your content
The first step to effective lead nurturing is to organize and clean up your CRM so that you know precisely whom to target. You should already be utilizing a CRM software tool to help with this task. A good one will automatically be able to remove unsubscribes from your email list, remove non-existing emails, and allow you to focus targeted content to your audience according to where they are in the sales pipeline.
Add lead scoring
One of the most effective ways to gauge whether a lead is ready to convert is to lead score. Lead scoring involves assigning a numerical value based on a points system to your prospect. Once they reach a certain number, they can then be considered marketing qualified leads (MQL) ready to engage with your sales department.
For example, say a prospect reads a blog post or downloads an ebook or video tutorial. Those are awareness-stage pieces that would be assigned a lower value (say five points) than a targeted offer (say 10 points). You’ll, therefore, have to nurture and keep interacting with that prospect until they have enough points to meet the standard for being a marketing qualified lead.
And how do you determine the number of points required to become an MQL? Each case is different. However, the general rule of thumb is to use the customer data you’ve already accumulated. Look at your list of leads who became customers and see what attributes they share. Maybe they all requested a product catalog or responded to targeted email campaigns.
Equally important, though, is to look at the leads who didn’t become customers and see which attributes they share. Maybe they didn’t request product catalogs or respond to email initiatives. Which brings us to our next point.
Create targeted email campaigns
Email is one of your most wieldy tools for effective lead nurturing. Statistics bear this out: for every dollar spent on email marketing, you can generate a $42 return on investment. However, you’ll only see this runaway ROI if you do email right. That means focusing on targeting and personalization.
For starters, your email list will contain the names of people who opted in at various stages in the buying process. So, a general blast email campaign won’t work. You need to target them according to where they are in the buying cycle.
Depending on your target, you’ll want to send everything from awareness-stage emails (offering basic details about your construction company and its services) to conversion-based emails (follow-up questions, new product info, etc.) to offer-based emails that promote discounts and deals.
Remember that timing is key, so stick to sending prospects one email a month. Or, if you’re a larger company offering a lot of value and diversity in your email offers, once a week is fine.
One final best practice that all marketers should take to heart is to always look for better sales and marketing alignment. Greater communication eliminates silos, and that allows marketing teams to glean insight from sales as to what their target customer segments need and want. Marketers can then apply those insights to their campaigns and digital strategies. Effective lead nurturing is a great way to facilitate this symbiotic relationship.