If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should be prepared for the unexpected. One of the best ways to position your company in 2021 is to ensure you are using marketing strategies that reflect recent industry shifts.
While the shifts our industry will see are far from over, there are a few marketing tactics that can set you up for success in the coming years even while we wait to see how everything will ultimately settle.
Consider Recent Market Shifts When Evaluating Old Data
No one has ever seen a year quite like 2020, which is why most of your marketing data from the past years is just that — old. COVID-19 caused major shifts in how the building materials channel is buying products, and that won’t change going forward.
Changing how you market and sell your building material products can present lots of challenges, and it can be tempting to stick to what you’ve always done in the past. But if you want to grow your sales, it is time to try something new and 2021 is the year to do it if you haven’t already. More specifically, if you’ve ever considered increasing your existing online marketing presence using advertising, now is the time to adjust your marketing strategy.
For example, in a recent survey conducted by Venveo and the Farnsworth Group, almost half of Professionals and 38% of DIYers first heard about the new brands they tried from online ads. As shopping at physical locations became limited, customers from across the channel spent more time online than ever before. Manufacturers who invested in online advertising at this time were able to target their audience and capture leads and sales through their efforts.
Respondents also primarily found out about their new brand via the supplier/retailer’s website (47%). Many DIYers reported hearing about it via the brand’s website as well (40%). Pros learned about new brands more using social media than they did in-store.
Take the time to think about the content you provide to retail sites and what types of advertising you need to draw customers in to learn more about your product and service offerings.
Create Videos to Connect Your Products With Your Customers
Did you know 80% of online visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will read content?
Don’t be afraid to create your own video content. Having video on your website and social media can help you quickly communicate in a way that other mediums cannot, and it can provide you with more opportunity to reach your audience because they can listen to it passively.
Video is also highly prioritized by social media platforms. For example, Facebook’s algorithms prioritize video because it’s the most effective way to combine emotional and rational communication. Purchase decisions boil down to emotions, and video can help reach that level more quickly and effectively than other mediums.
Do you have the right materials to address anything the A&D community would need to know? Think about the types of videos you can provide to make an impact. You don’t need a huge production budget to create an impactful video.
Here are some quick tips for using videos to market your products:
- Offer installation videos. Show any information that may be required by a contractor such as the installation process or materials needed for the install. Pros want to know what your product looks like installed, next to a certain tile pattern, with furniture on top of it or being used.
- Show your products on the job site. Job site videos are another way to show your materials in action and how they work as part of a project. A simple video shot with a smartphone can be helpful in conveying information in a realistic way. We’ve actually found that handheld videos often perform better, so don’t think you need expensive equipment to get started.
- Provide relevant information. Highlight how your materials perform in several different scenarios like remodels, new construction, or even compare them with other materials in your product category(s).
- Give the A&D community sales tools. Promote yourself by giving architects content they can use to pitch your products to building owners. This can also include testimonials and recommendations from other contractors.
Make Social Media Part of Your Marketing Plan
A lot of manufacturers doubt whether their audience is on social media. But studies from the PEW Research Center indicate 95% of U.S. adults are using social media consistently today. This means that just about everyone has at least one social media profile. We’ve also seen consistent confirmation of this data point in our own research throughout the years.
The next best thing to meeting with your clients is directing them to your online resources. To stay competitive, building material manufacturers need to move toward personalization and customization when it comes to using social media. Taking this approach with social networks will help increase conversions in sales and give you a better ROI on your marketing.
When promoting your brand and growing your business on social media, the key is to remember that the more relatable and authentic your brand is online, the more people will want to follow you and the more engagement you’ll see on your posts.
It’s also important to know which platforms your customers are spending the most time on. Architects and designers are most likely to spend time on Instagram and Pinterest as they’re highly visually-driven platforms. Builders and contractors, on the other hand, have built strong communities on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.
It doesn’t matter which platform you prefer, but it is very important to keep your content up to date in order to make social media a successful part of your marketing plan.
Here are some key ways you can ensure you are providing the content your audience wants to see.
- Keep your contact information accurate and up to date. Make sure the correct contacts, links, hours of operation and other contact information are up to date on your website, Google My Business and social media channels.
- Keep your blogs, status updates, testimonials and other posts up to date. This shows that you are a reliable source and thought leader who is committed to bringing their clients the latest industry information. You don’t have to post every day, but have a reliable posting schedule to show your consistency.
- Post any information that potential clients will need before contacting you. For example, what are your COVID-19 practices and procedures? Do you need building plans or sketches before you can have a full discussion?
- Does your online presence show your passion? Make sure your online presence is a positive reflection that shows your team’s passion and values. This can be a huge differentiator for your business.
Make It Easy for Your Audience to Buy From You
The past year has taught all businesses the importance of investing time in making it easier for customers to do business with them. COVID has caused consumers to adopt new online buying behaviors that they will continue to use long after the pandemic is over.
The top three drivers for using a retailer for purchase are now: availability, online ordering and delivery. These three are even more important than pricing and proximity to the job site or home. In order to win, you need to prove the value of your offering and the ease of purchase.
Whether it’s enhanced inventory, online services, delivery or pricing, it is up to you to determine WHAT customers expect and HOW you meet those needs. How can you reduce the friction of processes like ordering samples, getting quotes, asking questions or making a payment? Time is more precious than ever as customers are balancing a lot more these days — but this won’t change when life goes back to ‘normal.’
This is going to be especially apparent in e-commerce. The blending of e-commerce with service will keep you competitive in a market full of customers who have grown to expect extra services that will enhance their experience. They expect you to follow them throughout their customer journey, from product discovery and purchase to installation and use.
Show Your Customers How You Survived 2020
All customers want to know what they are potentially buying into, and if your company made it through the past year on a positive note and has the evidence to prove it, then let your customers know how you accomplished your success.
Builders and contractors want to know they are investing in the right materials. That’s why testimonials, performance statistics and other metrics can be important in proving your worth. There are many instances where your current customers can be a very engaging and trusted sales tool. Make sure you give them a chance to tell their stories on your website, social media and other marketing materials. Their testimonials prove your products work!
Another tool that works well is the use of case studies. Creating case studies allows you to demonstrate how your products were applied and used. This gives you the opportunity to show product photography, job specifications, background history and more. Potential customers are able to get a full working picture and understand how your product functions in real-life scenarios.
Click here to learn more about creating case studies for your products.
Get a More In-Depth Look at Marketing Strategies for 2021
Want to know more about how you can adapt to the fundamental shifts in the building materials industry and stay ahead in 2021?
Access all of the data and strategy you need to win in 2021 with the Research Report compiled by Venveo and the Farnsworth Group. You’ll learn how GCs, contractors, architects and home builders have shifted their behaviors in 2020 and how you can be more effective in your marketing in the coming year and for years to come.
Click here to get access to a special workshop recording and the report with actionable strategies for how to target your customers in the new year.