The Role and Importance of Online Information Sources in Construction Marketing

We now live in a world that is digitally connected. 2017 marked a major milestone in web usage as half of the world’s population had become connected to the internet. Therefore developing an effective online presence is essential. But how can you get heard in this busy world?

Recent research, The Construction Media Index, provides valuable insight into the communication channels used by construction decision makers. As part of this Architects, Contractors, Housebuilders, Offsite Manufactures and Builders Merchants were asked how they source information and in particular online information.

This research shows that newsletter links are the main route to online blogs & articles (65%). Developing a strong enewsletter membership to drive readership is still an important requirement. Adhering to best practice is a must, making sure you have readers opted-in, particularly with the adoption of GDPR just around the corner.

Another essential is the tailoring of content. Segmenting your send list against interests/job role for example. In this digital age customers expect a personal, tailored message.  And one size does not fit all. Using marketing automation software it is now possible to trigger emails according to customers online activity. So making emails timely and relevant according to buyer behaviour.

Building your websites reputation is also key. As Construction Media Index research shows, readership of known websites (57%) comes a close second to enews links. Therefore search engine optimisation is a must. Researching and knowing keywords and long-tail search phrases will help your information to be found, placing you more prominently on search engine listings. Then when found your information needs to be relevant and engaging, tailored to respond to the challenges faced by your target market.

Developing engaging content is at the heart of a good marketing strategy. Content marketing, or in-bound marketing is all about engaging with the customer and positioning yourself as the trusted advisor. Developing personas for your key specifiers is a valuable technique to understand your customers’ wants and needs. Providing content that matches each stage of the buying process. Providing solutions helps build credibility for your organisation as experts, strengthening brand ethos.  Building a reputable brand online is vital. Digital interactions are more common place than person to person.

This research can help you tailor your content schedule. Knowing that those under the age of 35 are more active online readers for example. With the majority (47%) reading online articles and blogs a few times a week, with the most popular time of day being between 12 and 2pm.

Don’t forget, with mobile browsing currently accounting for half of the world’s web traffic all pieces of online information need to be mobile optimised. And this research shows that construction professionals are no exception with smart phone being the principal means of access for online blogs and articles (92%).

Product manufacturers need to have a strategic presence online to get in front of construction decision makers. Manufacturers’ websites and emailing a manufacturer are the most regularly used sources for product information. This online presence though needs to be complemented by real person support. Online and offline activity should be integrated.  As many a customer journey will start online but ultimately this will become a real in-person relationship.