Manufacturers that create a multi-platform marketing strategy are going to better position themselves to convert leads and outperform their competitors. Both digital and traditional tactics work hand-in-hand to make a streamlined user experience both online and in person.
Having an integrated strategy is no longer optional if you want to cater to your customers’ buying habits. In our 2022 Building Products Customer Guide, survey results revealed that homeowners and professionals research both online and in-store before making a purchase. And, they’ll often go back and forth between the two before reaching a final decision. It’s crucial to have a clear-cut, consistent strategy that supports the buyer’s journey no matter where they’re looking for information. Here’s how to do it.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Building Materials Manufacturers
Define Your Brand Strategy
Branding involves creating a consistent message, voice and persona across all of your marketing platforms. But, many building manufacturers go wrong by developing that brand based on what they think is best, rather than what their audience actually wants. Create messaging around your products and the specific pain points they’ll solve for customers.
Also, dig into your data to see what users are looking for online. Do they need an expert? A peer? Inspiration for a project? Explanation of how to install something? Or maybe some education around a broader product category? Provide answers to fulfill that specific need.
Another strategy for nailing down your brand focus is to listen to existing customers and what really worked for them when using your products. Incorporate the most important benefits to your customers into your brand marketing. It should match what potential leads are hearing about your company when asking around for recommendations in the industry.
A defined brand strategy should be customer-centric and truly showcase your product’s value proposition in relation to your target audience.
Creating Building Materials Buyer Personas
As you gain more customer insights for your brand strategy, you can simultaneously build out a buyer persona. And depending on your product and reach, you may have multiple personas, such as architects, contractors and DIYers.
Gather as much demographic information as possible for each group. Challenge your team to go beyond profession and income. Dig into their motivation for exploring your product category and how the buyer journey works.
Interview customers and connect with your sales team to discover common themes they’re hearing from leads. Your CRM is also a great resource for mining data. Keep adding to your database by including more fields when collecting information on opt-in forms, like company size or a dropdown menu of pain points for customers to choose from.
One caution about including more form fields: The more fields you have on a form, the more valuable the offering needs to be. If you’re asking for company details, phone numbers or an address, the content the user is receiving needs to feel more valuable than the information they’re sharing. It’s also important to note that longer forms are going to have a lower conversion rate. So while it is a great opportunity to gather data about your customers, use this strategy sparingly and only when you have something of high value to deliver on the other side.
Once you’ve gathered all of this information, create a brief that outlines the characteristics associated with each persona. List out details like their motivations, challenges, preferred method of communication and personality traits. Nailing down all of this information now is going to make marketing a lot easier and successful when you start curating content and segmenting your audiences.
Implement a Robust Content Marketing Strategies
Content marketing is a must-have for manufacturers as both professionals and DIYers go online to find information for their upcoming projects. In fact, in-store research came in fifth place in this year’s Building Products Customer Guide. The top four sources for information were:
- Home improvement store websites
- Manufacturer’s website
These are the platforms where you take your brand messaging and your buyer personas and start to create resources that address their pain points. There are so many different types of content published today. If you’re just getting started, pick one area to focus on and do it well. Then, continue to grow your reach by adding more online content. Here’s some inspiration to help you get started:
- Blog posts
There are plenty of manufacturers who are killing it when it comes to online content. Gripset Industries, a waterproofing membrane manufacturer in Australia, consistently puts out educational videos on YouTube — a lot of which have tens of thousands of views.
But, here’s why the Gripset team is having such great success … they’re not shooting commercials for their products — they’re providing information that their target buyers actually need. Some of their most-viewed videos are on topics like, “waterproofing an internal wet area” (104,000 views) and “waterproofing liquid membranes vs. sheet membranes” (64,000 views). Gripset is giving away information in order to position the company as an expert while demonstrating their products in action without being too salesy.
Provide Valuable Resources for Your Audiences
Build out resources for each specific audience and explore interactive ways to engage your customers and leads. You’ve seen that video is a great way to do this, but you can also utilize other digital tools.
Calculators and Estimators
Both professionals and DIYers can use calculators to determine how much product they need and how much it will cost. A great example of this is Solatube, a tubular daylighting devices manufacturer. They created proprietary software that calculates how much sunlight will enter a specific space after the product is installed. It even uses decades of local weather data for a truly customized experience.
3D, augmented reality and virtual photography allow leads to get an in-depth understanding of your product without going to the store. DeWalt does a great job of adding interactive photos on each page to showcase the top benefits of the company’s products.
Building product manufacturers can drive sales and leads by offering downloadable 3D models products. BIM, Revit and SketchUp files make it easy for architects, engineers, designers and contractors to get the technical product information they need for their projects.
If you have BIM files, make sure that they are accessible to your audience through your site. Ensure that the information and data in them is up to date, and give permission for your files to be easily shared.
If you do not have BIM files readily available on your website, you’re likely missing out on getting into projects that are building the project within Revit. We would recommend looking into creating these types of files as an immediate next step.
Utilize Quality SEO Tactics
Online content is important, but so is positioning that content to actually show up in search results when your ideal customer is looking for information.
There is a lot you can do to boost your search engine rankings. If you’re just getting started, here are five things your team can do today to help with your SEO:
- Avoid “black hat” strategies like keyword stuffing and spam comments.
- Target keywords in the first 100 words of the page while still creating quality content for your reader.
- Give each page a unique meta description.
- Create an XML sitemap to help Google discover your website pages.
- Check your website’s load time. A slow load time can hurt your search rankings.
Publish Shareable Infographics
Infographics check off a lot of boxes when it comes to marketing. They’re visual, easily digestible and they’re very shareable content. Plus, infographics are now easier to create, especially with drag-and-drop software like Canva.
They also let you repurpose other content in a different way. For instance, you might write a blog post and pull out some of the facts or statistics to use in an infographic.
This infographic from Metrie, for instance, doesn’t focus on the company’s moulding and trim products. Instead, it shows potential customers how much property value increases when different types of trim are used.
Homeowners get a side-by-side comparison of various home improvement projects they may take on and discover that crown moulding offers the highest ROI.
Use PPC Advertising to Boost Visibility
Search ads have the potential to boost your brand awareness by as much as 80%. With consumers spending more and more time online, pay-per-click ads let you find your customers and reach the warmest leads possible.
A simple text ad on search engines such as Google quickly promotes your product without a lot of effort spent on design. You can easily test different versions of the ad to see which one is most effective. Plus, you can set your maximum budget and gauge what kind of results you get throughout the campaign. Google also makes it easy to pause or cancel your ad campaign, so it’s not a budget-buster to experiment.
Image ads are also highly effective on search engines as well as social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. An effective image can really grab a consumer’s attention and get them to stop scrolling. These platforms make it easy to create a laser focus on users who are truly interested in your product category.
Automate and Segment Your Email Marketing
Automating your email campaigns lets you create and manage separate campaigns for each of your audience segments. And targeted messaging makes a major difference when tracking open rates on your company’s emails.
It may seem complicated, but automated email marketing takes just a few key steps.
- Segment your contacts (think homeowners, architects and builders).
- Create customized content for each segment.
- Choose marketing automation software.
- Use lead scores to gauge the likelihood of purchase and determine next interactions.
Your email campaigns play an important role in the broader context of your marketing strategy. The information you glean from tracking clicks and other actions continues to build a more robust buyer persona. Not only do segmented emails provide customers with information specific to their needs, but you can also gain a lot of insightful data throughout the process.
Build an Engaging Social Media Presence
Building materials brands need to be on social media for a couple of different reasons. First, your customers, no matter who they are, are spending time on social media for both personal and professional purposes. Important and valuable platforms to be active on include Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin — but there are others that are gaining great traction as well.
Our 2022 Building Products Customer Guide revealed that both pros and homeowners are researching products on social media. 43% of DIYers and half of professionals use YouTube to research home improvement projects. Even more revealing is that 30% of professionals are on TikTok — and there is tons of building material content out there that’s getting hundreds of thousands of views.
Sam Irwin of @constructiontips has nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, with just seconds-long videos of basic construction tips.
Another reason to build your brand’s social media presence is that it’s completely free. You don’t need software, fancy equipment or paid ads. In reality, you can create an amazing social media account with just an iPhone camera and a little bit of effort. People want authenticity when they’re scrolling through their favorite platforms. Keep it simple when you first get started by showcasing your products in lifestyle settings, featuring your employees or giving a behind-the-scenes peek at the manufacturing or distribution process.
Traditional Marketing Strategies for Building Materials Manufacturers
Generate Pull-Through Sales From Architects, Builders and Contractors
Getting your product specified by professionals in a large-scale project gives you the opportunity to build lasting relationships and win future jobs with less effort. A smart pull-through sales strategy demonstrates how your product removes obstacles and ultimately benefits the end-user.
Digital assets like how-to videos certainly contribute to pull-through sales. But, also consider on-site installation training, warranties and guaranteed delivery to minimize the risk of professionals trying a new product.
Create Memorable Experiences at Exhibitions and Expos
Attending a trade show isn’t enough to build a quality pipeline of leads for your sales team. Go the extra mile by creating an interactive booth that draws people to you, like hands-on demos or virtual reality experiences.
Also, incorporate digital strategies to connect with attendees before, during and after the show. Actively post on social media about what’s happening at the trade show. Afterward, create a segmented email list to follow up with leads in a way that feels much more customized compared to a blanket thank you note.
Provide Resources Through Trade Associations
Joining a construction or trade association helps you reach leads in an educational environment rather than a sales one. That helps ease friction from converting to a new product. If your product is new but solves a particular pain point, you can get that information out there by sponsoring an event and regularly networking through the association. And for newer companies or products, stamping that association logo on your website and social media platforms gives you a credibility boost.
As homeowners and professionals are doing both online and in-store research before making a purchase, it’s important for your marketing strategy to consider both areas when creating and implementing your plan while also pinpointing what your audiences want from your company.
When it comes to deciding on a marketing strategy for your building materials company, you can take different routes to reach a productive result. However, incorporating numerous tactics like the ones discussed above can take your strategy — and your company’s success — to an all-time high.
Wanting some help getting started with your new integrated strategy? Venveo can help — we are ready to help take your building material company and its digital presence to the next level.
Who are the customers of building materials companies?
Building materials companies typically target multiple sets of customers in the professional and homeowner space. Professional customers include builders, contractors, architects and distributors. On the personal side, manufacturers may cater to homeowners, whether they’re doing a DIY project or simply choosing materials for their contractor to use.
Is building materials a profitable business?
Yes. One of the key components of a successful building materials business is to create a quality product that solves problems, either for the installer or the end-user (like a homeowner). The next step is to effectively communicate those benefits to your target audience using both digital and traditional channels. Then you must keep inventory in stock, deliver on time and provide excellent customer service.