98% of architects and specifiers now prefer to do their product research online.*
If you want to grow your business, reach new customers, and increase your brand awareness within the construction or interiors sectors, having a strong online presence is critical.
An online presence for your business isn’t just having a website with your logo and contact details on there. It is about making sure your business is found by your audience over many digital platforms and being clear in how you can help them.
What is an online presence?
A strong online presence involves creating different touchpoints over different digital platforms to influence your audience, whether you are targeting architects, building product manufacturers, contractors or other construction professionals.
What do we mean by touchpoints? Sounds like that fluffy marketing bullsh*t right? However we put it, a touchpoint is an opportunity to put yourself in front of your audience’s eyes.
- Whether you are posting content over your social media channels.
- You are writing up a case study feature to put onto your website blog.
- You are sending an emailshot to your subscribers.
- Your website is found via a Google search.
Creating a strong online presence helps you to build credibility within the construction or interiors sectors, which in turn increases your brand awareness which in turn will help you to attract more customers.
Causeway’s Construction’s Digital Front Line survey (conducted in 2020 – https://www.causeway.com/front-line) interviewed over 200 leaders and influential figures from the construction industry, and of which 81% had expectations to improve their construction business digitally over the following 12 months.
Why should you build your online presence?
Specification has changed significantly over recent years. The different roles within the specification process have blurred and crossed over, and it is more difficult than ever to influence, educate and inspire these professionals with your business’ product or service.
Traditional ways to target your audience within the construction sector involved getting your sales rep to visit your client base or potential audience. Or just getting on the phone and calling them.
But the construction and interiors sectors have changed. The world has changed. People don’t have as much time now for reps to come in and see them. And they don’t want to be contacted by ‘cold’ telephone calls.
Also, if you were a building product manufacturer you could send your literature and technical brochure into architect practices for their library. These rarely exist now as architects have generally downsized or streamlined, and operate much more digitally focused.
The way to build relationships within the market is to build your online presence.
This involves making sure your potential customers can find you, they understand what you offer and how you can help them, and they can easily contact you.
It involves influencing your audience over several online channels to build credibility and trust with your audience.
4 simple steps to build your online presence:
1) Think about where your customers are, and then influence them there.
Do they use social media for inspiration? Are they responsive with email? Do they search for technical product information via Google?
Research your competitors to see where they build their online presence. Talk to your existing customers to see what they use. Then build up a clear picture of where your audience exists, so you can start to build your brand with them.
2) The more channels you use, the better your online presence will be.
But only if they are done well. It is proven that the more channels or touchpoints you communicate to your audience, the more chances you have to influence them and build trust.
But, don’t spread the net thinly and do every digital channel for the sake of it. Posting on your social channels every few weeks or sending an email every few months, because you’re trying to do too much.
Start with one or two digital channels and do them well. Then gradually build up your channels over time, this can scale as your business grows.
3) Create a content schedule which you can roll out over your online channels.
By being organised it will improve the chances of building your online presence being successful.
If there is no plan, there is no clear direction or idea on what to do. And when this exists it makes it much harder to keep going and be a success for your business.
Create a schedule, think about what you’re going to say, and stick to it.
4) Consistency wins, every time.
Be consistent with your communications.
The construction and interiors sectors are crowded markets. Every day, there are lots of marketing messages out there fighting for attention, whether it’s over social media, a press release in a magazine or an emailshot.
Rarely will someone buy your product or services from one blog article or social media post.
By consistently working on building your online presence it will build credibility and trust in your brand.
Build your online presence today
Specifiers are consumers, and like consumers they are influenced by digital experiences and how your communications make them feel.
There are three stages in building an online relationship – curiosity, enlightenment and commitment.
Curiosity is where your audience first ‘meets’ your business. They’re not necessarily curious about you (sorry!) but they’re curious as to how you can solve their problems. It’s important here not to simply promote your product’s features, but their benefits and how they solve your audience’ problems.
Enlightenment is where the audience starts to trust you. They are clear in what you do and how you can help them, and they like the content you product. Case studies, videos and thought leadership articles are great at this stage to help your audience trust you.
Commitment is where your audience commits a decision to buy from you. Although timing is important here, consistency is crucial and good business relationships are built over time.
A final reminder…
Most of your audience isn’t ready to buy.
The goal of marketing and a strong online presence is that when they are ready to buy, your brand is top of their mind.
If you would like to build your online presence and keen to learn the benefits it will bring your business, contact us today and we will be happy to help.
As a specialist construction and interiors marketing agency, we can help you build your online presence, increase awareness and trust in your brand, as well as win more tenders and generate leads for your business.
We like to work with ambitious businesses within the construction and interiors sectors who are focused on the long-term benefits of building an online presence and building their businesses.
Call us on 01606 351 033 or email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.