Digital Marketing Strategies for Construction Companies: A Comprehensive Guide
With a construction workforce shortage topping half a million in 2023, it’s essential for construction companies to use digital marketing strategies that support a strong online presence in order to attract not only new clients, but new employees, too.
With a construction workforce shortage topping half a million in 2023, it’s essential for construction companies to use digital marketing strategies that support a strong online presence in order to attract not only new clients, but new employees, too. The online story you’re telling today may be what informs a client’s or applicant’s decision tomorrow.
From social media to search engine optimization, this guide will cover the key digital marketing strategies that can help your construction business thrive.
- Develop a Strong Website
- The Use of Social Media to Connect
- Leverage a Learning Center
- Invest in SEO to Improve Online Visibility
- Working with Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Bonus Tips
Why Your Construction Company Needs to Start Marketing Now
With nearly 1 in 4 construction workers older than 55, they’ve had a long time to refine their skills. They’ll also be retiring soon leaving a hole where some of your most productive and knowledgeable workers used to be. That means that you’ve got to start attracting new, younger workers now, giving them time to also refine their skills so that you can fill that hole when others retire.
Below are the best digital marketing strategies for construction companies for getting started or improving.
Develop a Strong Website
A strong website is essential for any construction company looking to attract new clients and employees. Before any other digital marketing strategies are started, be sure your website is ready for all of the extra attention.
Of course, a construction website should be built by a professional and be easy to navigate. It should also follow website “best practices”, be visually appealing, and provide the necessary information about your company and services. Most everyone is aware that these features play a role in a positive online presence. But these are simply not enough anymore for the construction industry. The competition is too great as everyone is trying to scoop up the same talent and applicants.
Most Construction Websites Are Missing a Key Ingredient
One of the biggest digital marketing strategies for construction companies that gets overlooked is the telling of their stories.
Storytelling has the power to engage, influence, teach and inspire listeners. It is so powerful, in fact, that many books and articles are written about it.
Telling a Story on Your Website
Make the most of every page on your website. Use the About, Careers, and Projects pages to tell stories only your team can share.
People visit your About page because they want to really know who they’ll potentially be working with. If it only contains surface details like the date you opened, how many years of collective experience your team has, and where you’re located, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with a potential new client or to attract a new employee. It also looks like everyone else’s About page.
The Most Interesting Story
We’ve worked with more than a few construction companies, and over the course of working together we get to talking, like people do. We talk about our families, our hobbies and interests, the economy, fast cars, and all the other normal things people talk about as they get to know each other. One of the most interesting conversations is always the one where we ask how their company got its start. Each owner has a unique history to share, telling how they grew, and how they are evolving. Some started from nothing, others have made significant personal sacrifices, while other companies have been handed down through the generations. Each owner is very proud of their story (as they should be) and yet almost always they are not so good at sharing and telling that story on their website. The story is the missing key ingredient.
J.H. Hiers tells a great personal story about how the company got started and of the owner’s immediate love for the smell of dirt and diesel fuel.
The Shining Star of the Group
Another way to attract new employees is using the Careers page to highlight the story/stories of the guy(s) who started as a laborer and is working his way up to foreman or superintendent. Every company has “that” guy who gives it his all and is a star employee. Use those stories to show other potential employees that it can be done and that there’s room to move up at your construction company.
Why are stories on your website important?
There’s research to suggest that when we hear a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the actual events of the story are, too. Making someone feel as if they are part of your story creates a connection with them. You may have heard it said that people want to do business with people, not businesses. Connecting with them is how it starts.
Avoid DIY Website Builders
Avoid the temptation to build your own site with DIY website builders such as Weebly or Squarespace. Every time we see this, we want to help – immediately. Those builders simply don’t have all the features you’ll need to positively impact your business. More than that, unless you are a website developer on the side, there are several items essential to a website’s success that you’d probably overlook or won’t be fully available with DIY builders (e.g., SEO options, robots.txt, custom 404, 301 redirects, alt tags, H1 headings, domain and email validation to name a few). We share more details about it here.
Use Social Media to Connect with Potential Applicants and Clients
Social media is a powerful tool for construction companies to connect with potential applicants to share glimpses of what their daily life might be like. It’s also a place to share project achievements with potential clients.
There are several platforms to choose from and we breakdown why and how you could be using each.
Also, don’t feel pressured to be on all the platforms. If you’re just getting started with social media, pick a platform that works best for your needs and that you’re able to post to regularly and consistently. You can, and should, expand into the other platforms over time.
Facebook is the most active social platform. A study by Datareportal shows that the platform is relatively popular among 35- to 44-year-olds. Nearly one out of every five (19.3%) active Facebook users is in this age group. The latest figures also indicate that roughly 37.2% of all the people on Earth use Facebook.
That alone makes it a great place to share behind the scenes and educational content from your construction company. While many construction workers are on Facebook, so then are land owners and developers. While most individual land owners/developers won’t leave much of a digital footprint on their own personal profiles, they are scrolling and watching what the industry is up to. That means they may be quietly watching your company. They want their brand to do business with a company they’d be proud to have their name next to on a press release. On the flip side, they don’t necessarily want to be connected with a company that doesn’t seem to have an impressive work portfolio, isn’t taking their online presence seriously, or has ignored it completely.
We often hear that Instagram is for people under 30. There’s some truth to that, but not completely. According to recent research on the age demographics of Instagram users, nearly one-third (32%) of all Instagrammers fall within the 18-to-24 age group, making it the range with the biggest number of Instagram users. This is followed by the 25-to-34 age range, to which 29.6% of Instagrammers belong. In other words, more than three out of every five Instagram users are from 18-to-34 years old. However, Instagram users aged 35 to 44 years old make up the third-largest age group—15.3% of Instagrammers. Those in the 45-to-54 age group come next, with 8.2%.
And so, these numbers do tell us that Instagram is one of the best platforms to attract workers from 18 to 34 years old interested in joining the construction industry. Speaking with an audience under 30 is different than speaking to workers in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. Post content accordingly, remembering the fast pace of Instagram scrolling and the limited time to make an impression. It’s also important to understand what motivates your target age group and ideal applicant. Finding ways to highlight why starting a career in construction is a good decision will be important to capture their attention.
Many construction companies don’t even consider using this platform, and yet it can wield great power. Creating a high-impact profile for your construction company is an often overlooked digital marketing strategy. Many of your potential clients spend a good bit of their time on this platform.
It is also the kind of place where you “dress for the job you want“. Even though you and your team may be spending a lot of time on construction sites and in pickup trucks, the groups hiring you may be more immersed in an office setting, corporate politics, and luxury cars. Images of job sites and heavy equipment may not resonate for them. However, using LinkedIn to highlight project accomplishments is a memorable way to tell the story of saving money for them, meeting budgets and timelines, and how quickly you’re able to turn the land back over to them to start building. Also, using LinkedIn to connect and stay in touch with existing and potential clients is key to leveraging LinkedIn for your construction company.
In the US, as of December 2022, 31% of users on LinkedIn were between the ages of 30 and 39. Those aged 40–49 made up 23% of the user base, while almost 20% were at 18–29 years old.
Managing Social Media
The idea of thinking of what images to post, what captions to write, and if and what hashtags you need probably feels exhausting. It can be. That’s why we recommend that you engage a social media manager to handle these daily and ongoing efforts.
Even if you can manage to perform those tasks in-house, there’s another very important aspect of social media that many construction companies are missing; community management. The phrase “Posting and Ghosting” on social media means that you post something and then don’t engage with anyone after. Ignoring people when they talk to you, in real life and on social, is perceived as rude. People will remember that. It is a sure-fire way to loose your audience and stall its growth. What we mean is that posting content isn’t enough.
A brand must also engage, authentically, with its followers and communicate with others in a real and personal way. Hours each week must be spent on all platforms where you’re present in order to see any return on your investment with social media.
Leverage Learning to Empower New Employees.
You already know that there is a skilled trades gap between the demand and the number of workers available or willing to work. The construction industry averaged more than 390,000 job openings per month in 2022. With everyone competing for the same small group of possible applicants, it’s important to use every tool at your disposal.
When looking to attract younger workers, or those new to construction, remember that they may not understand the construction industry very well or at all. This lack of knowledge may keep them from applying. Publishing content the explains what you do, how you do it, and why you do it can improve their understanding and increase their interest in working for you. It also gives you an opportunity to highlight what you do as exciting and fulfilling (because it is!).
These days, you’re also fighting against young men and women who may be feeling the pressure to attend college after high school. College just isn’t for everyone. Using your website to highlight the benefits of starting a career in construction may not only pique curiosity of a younger generation, it may also persuade their parents be more open and supportive of this career choice.
Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Improve Visibility.
As your website is being built, all content should be considered through the lens of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a crucial component of any digital marketing strategy, and its no exception for construction companies. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, you’ll increase your visibility on Google and Bing. This practice allows you to attract more potential clients and applicants as soon as your site is launched. Maybe more importantly, partnering with a digital marketing agency allows you to see how your competitors are performing.
If your site is already built, that’s ok, too. It’s never too late to implement SEO practices. In either case, SEO should be a priority for your business.
Partner with a Professional Digital Marketing Agency
A professional website developer and/or SEO agency will start by conducting keyword research to identify the terms and phrases that your website should be ranking for. Also, they will research keywords and phrases that your target audience are searching for. For instance, would you know what a young man who just graduated high school is searching on Google when they look for their first real job? Do you know what keywords are taking visitors to your competitors’ websites?
A professional digital marketing agency like Studio Barn Creative can share those metrics, and so many others, with you. From there, incorporating those keywords into your website copy, blog articles, and other content will boost your SEO score. Take the knowledge gleaned from other metrics to create and edit for better content and exposure.
For most industries, construction included, most people will experience your online presence through a mobile device. Making sure your website performs well on those devices is pretty important. And, there’s also page load speed and other on- and off-site factors that affect SEO.
When you’re ready to get serious about SEO, we recommend hiring a digital marketing agency like ours to help you develop, implement, and maintain an effective SEO strategy.
Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising to Drive Traffic to Your Site.
Paid advertising is sometimes a necessary companion to SEO in order to reach your goals and objectives. Paid advertising (known as pay-per-click or PPC) allows you to push your content to a much broader audience. It also allows you to control budget, when, where, by whom, and how often those ads are seen.
You’ve seen a search engine (e.g., Google) or social media feed display a “sponsored” link to a website when you search for a specific phrase or while you’re scrolling on social media. The company running the ad pays Google or Meta a specific amount if you click that sponsored ad.
PPC ads work via an online auction not visible to advertisers. When PPC ads are launched, the platform has been instructed how much you want to spend on your campaign. Then, a bid is set either manually or dynamically for the amount of money you’re willing to spend for each click. Keep in mind, your competitors are doing the same thing. Therefore, the budget/bid is what helps your ad to be seen instead of your competitors.
There are PPC options for Google Search Ads, Google Display Ads, and Social Advertising (e.g., Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn). There’s also the lesser used PPC Bing advertising. While Bing advertising is usually a bit less expensive, you’ll most likely reach a smaller audience than with Google Search ads.
PPC advertising is a powerful tool for driving the right kind of traffic to your construction company’s website. With PPC advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it a cost-effective way to reach potential customers.
Social Advertising: Organic vs PPC
To avoid the investment implications of PPC, most construction companies start and stop the sharing of their content through organic social. The belief is that it will yield great results. But, unfortunately, only about 8% of what you post on Instagram and Facebook is seen organically in people’s feeds. That means that more than 90% of your content isn’t seen unless someone purposefully visits your accounts. Plus, when you post organically, there’s no control that it will be seen by your desired demographic. For instance, a hashtag could get your content seen as far away as across the country or around the globe. A thumbs-up or follow from someone geographically undesirable doesn’t support your company’s goals. It becomes nothing more than a vanity metric.
Paid social advertising (also known as the Facebook rebrand to Meta) on the other hand puts all the control in your hand. Creating a social advertising campaign consists of:
- Choosing a goal (e.g., sales, website visits, leads)
- Creating several graphic/video assets to support the goal
- Writing relevant headlines and text
- Selecting a geographic target area (as large or small as you want)
- Choosing an audience (i.e., who / what type of people will be shown your ad)
- Identifying a daily budget (for example, $10/day = about $300/month)
- Selecting just Facebook, just Instagram, or both platforms
- Indicating a start date (if no end date is selected, the ad will run until you manually stop it)
Both organic and paid approaches have their merits. A good rule of thumb is realizing that organic posting is a long-game. PPC is for a more immediate, controllable, result.
Search and Display Advertising: Google and Bing
Google Search Ads is the most popular PPC platform, allowing you to create ads that appear at the top of search engine results pages for specific keywords. You can also target your ads to specific geographic locations and desired demographics. For instance, if you’re located in Charleston, showing your ads only in that area is easily achieved. If you’re in Pennsylvania and only work within a 5 mile radius of Philadelphia, and want to show ads to people 30-45 only, that specific targeting is possible, too.
Display Ads are a bit different. The Google Display Network, for example, is a collection of over 200 million sites, apps, and videos where your Google Display Ads can appear. According to Google, this network reaches over 90% of internet users across the globe. The value of advertising on GDN is its expanded reach and affordability (in comparison to other PPC options).
Before starting any type of paid advertising, speak with a digital marketing agency and define your goals. Then, they will help you to create and manage effective campaigns for Google and social media.
There are a few more things that construction companies should consider when implementing a digital marketing strategy:
- Google Business Profile: The Google Business Profile is one of the most important free tools you’ll use for your business. It allows you to create a listing on Google Maps and other Google properties. This listing should include information about your business, including your address, hours of operation, and contact information. It should also include current photos and reviews from customers. If you do not yet have, or are not regularly updating your Google Business Profile, put that on your to-do list for today.
- Use high-quality images and videos: Images and videos can help to make your website more visually appealing and engaging. Use high-quality images and videos that showcase your work and your company’s expertise. Where possible, avoid stock photography.
- Keep your website up-to-date: Make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest information about your company, your services, and your projects. This will help to keep potential clients and applications interested in your business. We suggest updating content a minimum of every quarter.
- Track your results: It’s important to track the results of your digital marketing efforts so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. There are a number of tools that can help you track your results, such as Google Analytics and social media analytics tools. At Studio Barn Creative, we provide access to granular and detailed data.
Conclusion: Digital Marketing Strategies for Construction Companies
There’s a saying “The People on the Team Make the Company“. No amount of marketing is going to solve the labor shortage. It may, however, help your company attract the right people for its team. It may also help you land that client you’ve been after.
We know there’s a lot to consider when it comes to digital marketing for any construction company. If you’d like help, or need someone to take full control of your digital marketing, Studio Barn Creative would be excited to partner with you.