What's the #1 Rule in Construction Marketing? Publish Content!
The goal of a business website is to generate traffic and turn visitors into loyal customers. But just as you’d stop watching a television channel that only broadcasts one show, potential customers are not likely to return to your website unless you're producing new and interesting content that people want to read. Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get five times more traffic to their website than firms that don't blog at all. Increasing your blogging frequency can move the website visitor needle dramatically. We have a client that has gone from 120 unique visitors per month to 22,000 visitors per month by blogging twice weekly for three years. The result has been a 15% increase year to year in gross sales. Small businesses with one to 10 employees tend to see the biggest gains in traffic when they publish more articles.
Chances are you didn’t choose your current field because you wanted to spend hours blogging about yourself, so it’s understandable why you might not wish to update the company blog two or three times a week. Blogging isn’t just about the contracts you've landed, projects you are working on and new hires. Prospects don't care about such things all that much and "post and boast" articles will not attract anyone to your website. You need to think about creating interesting content that will help you stand out online and make you a resource for information in your field. Start by writing down the most frequently asked questions new clients ask at the beginning of a project. These are your best topics for attracting prospects that are in the market for your services.
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, spoke online last year about the biggest mistake companies make when putting content on the web. The following three rules are good advice from an expert. Consider them when writing blog articles and creating website pages.
No consistency. “Companies that have a one-off campaign mentality usually fail with their content marketing goals. Creating this content is an ongoing process and takes time.”
Too much sales pitch. Trying to jam the hard sell into a blog post on green paint will turn off customers and send them looking elsewhere. Strike a balance.
Focusing on one channel. “Connecting with customers in the places where they consume content is key.” Reach out to potential clients where they look for information, including various social media sites.
Photography and illustrations are an important part of content marketing, but they take a backseat to text when it comes to search engine optimization purposes because written text is the way Google algorithms understand what is on your website. Just as a newspaper uses spectacular photographs to tell a story, you too should post photos to tell people more about the topics of your content. Don't limit your posted images to photographs of projects. Images can be used to bring greater depth to an article or web page content. Publish videos on YouTube, even if they are simple “how-to's”, and embed the videos within your blog. Share your blog entries to visually-based social media platforms like Houzz, Flickr, and Pinterest to encourage prospects to visit. When posting visuals, include complete descriptions with keywords and links that tie back to relevant content on your website other than the blog.
Posts don’t have to be just your latest architectural or business success. Articles can include advice or news about new products. Whether you assign blogging to someone in house or contract someone outside the company to do it, what’s important is regularly posting information that will make people return to your website.
Having trouble coming up with ideas? Talk to your customers about what they might read. What are the challenges they face when hiring an architect? What tools are they looking for that will help them understand design? What information do they need that no one seems to be writing about?
Once you have a list of ideas, put together an editorial calendar. Fill it with thoughts at least three months out. Some topics will be seasonal while others can go online anytime. Keep in mind that every article published is what is known as evergreen content. They are just as valid in the future as the day they are published. An article on site planning is relevant in the spring of 2016 as it is five years later.
After bringing potential customers to your website, the challenge is to convert them into customers. Using calls-to-action to send website visitors to landing pages that contain sign-up forms is a good way to gather information on leads. Offering a more comprehensive white paper or video will encourage potential clients to give you contact information in exchange for the information. Consider providing a consultation, exclusive guide or something else of value. These type of offers allow you to determine the level of interest a visitor to your website has in securing your services.
When a prospect fills out the form, they become a lead you can regularly send scheduled emails too. Increased leads mean increased revenue, and an ongoing stream of new leads will drive revenue growth.
Pulizzi notes that in the next decade, more and more media won’t be coming from media companies, but from firms that take an active role in promoting their brand. The question is no longer should you become a content publisher, he says, it’s how are you going to do it.