Contractors and installers are an important audience for building materials manufacturers to capture in their digital marketing strategies. Not only do they make product recommendations to other stakeholders, like homeowners, architects and designers, they also hold sway with other professionals in the business.
Create a marketing strategy that targets this key demographic using engaging social media outreach, value-driven content and more.
Create a Buyer Persona for Your Target Audience
Before you start marketing to contractors and installers, make sure you understand your exact target audience in order to maximize your efforts. There are three key steps to creating a buyer persona that will inform your strategy and help build out your marketing campaigns.
Determine Your Buyer's Pain Points
A simple, effective way to build out a buyer persona for contractors and installers is to identify their pain points. One of the best ways to do this is to talk directly to your sales team to reveal what leads are saying during their sales calls. You can also filter out some of the most commonly asked questions from your customer service team.
Another tactic is to look more generally beyond problems your product category can solve. General issues, like availability, on-time delivery or staffing, may be issues for contractors and installers. Defining those issues can help you position your product in a way that addresses a spectrum of concerns for this audience.
Determine Their Decision-making and Purchase Cycles
Another important component of the buyer persona is the contractor or installer's decision-making process and purchase cycles. Use these five stages to guide the discovery process of how products are being chosen and purchased for projects:
Then, you can create different campaigns for each stage of the purchase cycle in order to tailor content specifically to contractors and installers.
Identify Secondary Target Audiences
Oftentimes when catering to contractors or installers, you're not just trying to sell them on your product. You're also trying to sell secondary audiences through them. This could be the end customer such as a homeowner, an architect or designer.
As you're identifying pain points and purchase cycles, you may discover that much of these issues revolve around the characteristics of these secondary target audiences. Perhaps an architect is looking for LEED certification or maybe a homeowner wants to improve the house's energy efficiency. By understanding those needs, you're able to better market your product to the pros who are actually making recommendations.
Creating an Audience-focused Digital Marketing Strategy
Discover where your audience spends time the most in order to prioritize your marketing communication methods. Here are three steps to developing a strong digital marketing strategy for your building materials company.
Choose a platform
Some channels may be more effective than others and could include:
Social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram
You may decide to focus on one or all of these platforms. If your building materials company is just starting out with building an online presence or you're a marketing department of one, pick one area to start with. As you master that one, add another platform to expand your reach. In reality, contractors and installers are spending time in all these online arenas.
Create a Consistent Action Plan
No matter which platform you choose, you'll only be successful if you're thoughtful and consistent with your messaging. Set up an action plan and commit to a set of delivery dates, whether it's scheduling regular posts on social media or committing to a weekly newsletter.
Also, remember to deliver valuable information in an authentic voice. According to the 2022 Building Products Customer Guide, 77% of professionals want brand and product information from you — and 56% of them want to hear directly from you about it. Get on a schedule to create a consistent stream of information in order to warm those leads.
Evaluate Your Progress
Finally, define your target metrics so that you can track the success of each platform and identify what works well and what needs to be altered. Potential metrics include:
Page views on your company's website
Email click-through rates
Number of content downloads
Cost per lead
Share of customers that contractors and installers encompass
Evaluate these metrics on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis so that you can track changes and assess trends in your digital marketing data.
5 Digital Strategies for Marketing to Contractors and Installers
Follow these steps to engage contractors and installers on their favorite social media platforms.
Determine what networks you will cover in your strategy: Facebook is still a solid pick simply because many small business owners have business pages on there. Instagram and TikTok, however, are becoming increasingly popular because of their fun video features.
Create a social media posting plan for each network: Brainstorm content ideas and create them in advance so you're not digging for ideas from scratch each day.
Post consistently: Consistency is key in order to please the algorithm and have your posts appear in your audience's feed. Post at least once a day for the best results. You can use scheduling software so you don't have to manually upload content each day.
Engage with your followers: Reply to their posts and messages and provide them with the information they ask. This includes addressing negative feedback; you can simply refer the individual to your customer service team. And if you automate your posts, remember to schedule time for someone on your team to log on and engage within the post.
Make sure your content is on spot: Easy post ideas include:
There should be a balance of information, some fun fluff and just a small percentage of sales pitches.
Promote your other platforms on social media: Your social media shouldn't operate in a void. In fact, it should be consistent with the messaging across all of your other platforms, which actually makes it easier to create and curate content.
Use existing content: Pull content from sources like your website, ecommerce page and blog to cross-promote all the information your company offers.
Regularly check analytics insights: Regularly track and analyze data to see what content performs the best and encourages the most engagement. Then you can adjust the course to add more of what works best and rethink the type of posts that don't perform well.
Add LinkedIn to your social media presence: LinkedIn is a must-have for building materials manufacturers who want to connect with pros like contractors and installers. It's a B2B space that is perfect for sharing your company's insights and establishing it as an industry expert.
A value-driven content plan focuses on your target audience of contractors and installers, rather than your own company.
Create a content strategy: Post content in a variety of places and create a plan to organize and cross-promote across platforms. In addition to social media posts, you may also create blogs, YouTube videos and email newsletters. A calendar is helpful in establishing themes and leveraging the same content in different places.
Share your content on social media: As you create valuable pieces of content for contractors and installers, get the word out by sharing on your company's social media accounts.
Get inspired by contractor and installer pain points: Remember those pain points you identified as part of your buyer persona? Use those to inspire your content. Answer frequently asked questions and use storytelling to help contractors and installers talk about your product with the end user.
Use lead generation content to grow your pipeline: Use in-depth content pieces as gated content to collect emails. They can be added to your email marketing list to move contractors and installers through your sales funnel. Lead gen content could include catalogs, white papers, case studies, checklists or guides.
Invest in content SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) might seem daunting, but it's crucial if you want to maximize your reach and appear in the internet search results of contractors and installers.
Quality SEO strategies include things like:
Incorporating targeted keywords across your online presence
Adding meta descriptions to every landing page
Providing an XML sitemap
Checking your website load time
Making sure your website is mobile-friendly
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a fantastic way to reach contractors and installers in an extremely targeted fashion. You shouldn't be sending the same newsletter to every single lead in your CRM. Instead, segment that mailing list so that you can communicate all of that value-driven content you've been creating to the right people.
Worried that email marketing is dead? You couldn't be more wrong. The 2022 Building Products Customer Guide revealed that 40% of industry pros actually prefer this type of communication. In fact, email ranked third after in-person conversations and mobile/app communications.
How to Grow Your Email List
If you're just getting started with a mailing list or want to grow the number of contractors and installers on your current list, add opt-ins at multiple touchpoints.
Create gated content on your website that requires an email address
Start a giveaway with an email signup process
Follow up with your sales team
Clean existing CRM data and segment by buyer persona
Once you get these systems in place, you'll have a quality email list that's better engaged and more likely to move through the sales funnel.
Tips For a Killer Email Marketing Strategy for Contractors and Installers
Here are our favorite tips for delivering a results-oriented email marketing strategy.
Send out a newsletter regularly: You may start to notice a theme with all of our digital marketing strategies, and you're right: consistency is a must-have. Not only will your leads look forward to hearing from you, it also makes your company look extremely organized and professional — no matter your actual size or revenue.
Provide educational content: Skip the sales push and instead use your newsletter as another avenue for delivering quality content to contractors and installers. For instance, you could publish an interview with a happy customer about a recently completed project. But instead of focusing solely on your product, keep the focus on multiple success strategies the contractor used to save time or money.
Track your analytics: It's easy to track the success of your e-newsletter using three key metrics:
Compare these metrics with different newsletter topics to get an idea of what drives your audience the most.
4. Digital Advertising
If you're avoiding paid digital advertising, you're losing out on a growing number of building professionals who rely on online ads to find new products. In fact, in our survey, 35% of pros stated that they tried a new brand because they saw an ad.
Here's how to get started with targeted digital ads for contractors and installers.
Choose your advertising platforms: Online ads are available everywhere these days. Some of the top platforms include Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Google is a great starting point to find contractors and installers who are looking for products in your vertical. Social media ads are great to target pros within your preferred demographics.
Create a budget: It's easy to control your budget across ad platforms. All you have to do is set a monthly maximum spend limit and you can pause or cancel if your budget changes. Just compare costs and expected outcomes like the amount of reach and number of clicks you're likely to receive.
Set up advertising campaign goals: Before you start running digital ads, define your exact goals for the campaign. Here are some common goals we use with our clients:
Direct website traffic
Raise awareness over a new product line
Target contractors and installers: Use your buyer persona for contractors or installers to create ads that address those pain points they're facing. Get clear on this before you even begin to write your ad copy.
Prepare visual and written content for your ads: Craft the perfect copy that grabs the attention of contractors and installers right away. For even more engagement, add video content that demonstrates how your company will help solve their problems.
Check analytics for ads performance: You can see the results of your ads in real-time, making it easy to test their performance and make adjustments so they do even better. Key analytics to track include:
Consider geotargeted ads: Geotargeted ads deliver notifications through smartphone apps based on an individual's historical or real-time location. They help you capture warm leads thanks to super-personalized content. For instance, you could target users who recently visited a dealer showroom where your products are showcased.
Having a website for your building materials manufacturing company is non-negotiable. There are several ways you can optimize the experience for contractors and installers.
Create a user experience that's easy to navigate: Navigability is key to ensuring contractors and installers easily find the information they're looking for. This involves creating an organized hierarchy of landing pages based on how your customers think. Maybe you organize products by the problems you solve, materials used or color options. Put yourself in your audience's shoes and build your website architecture from that perspective.
Provide relevant product information: Once you organize your landing pages, make sure they have a robust amount of information available on them. Contractors and installers want in-depth product information, including measurements, specs and installation guides.
3D visualization tools are another great resource that help contractors and installers understand your product without having to go to a home improvement store or dealer showroom.
Incorporate an ecommerce site: A lot of building materials manufacturers cringe when they think of adding ecommerce to their website or listing their materials on existing platforms like Amazon.
But the pandemic only sped up the ecommerce trend, so the longer you wait, the further behind you'll be. Create a positive buyer experience for contractors and installers by making it easy for them to find the right products.
Include filter options like building type, vertical or product requirements. You can also cross-sell by incorporating other product suggestions.
Include a chatbot: A chatbot is a simple, automated way to move contractors and installers through your sales funnel. If you're just getting started, add a chatbot to your product pages to answer questions.
They also help with navigation from your homepage. A user can type in what they're looking for and immediately be directed to the correct landing page. Chatbots are great at removing friction in the customer journey.
4 Advanced Marketing Strategies to Engage Contractors and Installers
Once you've laid the groundwork for digital marketing that targets contractors and installers, it's time to add more layers to develop your sales leads.
As we mentioned earlier, search engine optimization (SEO) includes different strategies used to help your content rank well on search engines. One of the best things you can do is to identify and incorporate target keywords into your web content.
There are a lot of paid ways to get quality keywords, like software or a digital marketing agency like Venveo. But you can also start finding keywords for free on Google Trends or the "People also ask" section of the Google search page.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy can have a lot of moving pieces, especially if you're segmenting your audiences. Utilize marketing automation to remove the manual tasks associated with all of these different campaigns.
You can tag different audiences on your contact lists, then schedule relevant emails for each group. You can also create different email funnels. For instance, you might group new contacts made at a trade show to receive a set of emails following up on that experience.
Use Google Analytics to extract the most important data and further optimize your website. Here's the type of information you can find there:
Traffic by channel
Want even more data on your Google search results?
Google Search Console is another resource that measures your search traffic and performance and helps you fix issues. Google Data Studio is a data visualization tool that expands what you'll find on Google Analytics.
PPC Ads Optimizations and Google Ads Remarketing
Amp up your online ads with two advanced strategies:
PPC Ads Optimizations
There are many ways you can optimize your paid ads, including:
Perform A/B testing to identify the most effective ads
Review performance and update keywords
Create customized landing pages
Opt into ad extensions
Google Ads Remarketing
Remarketing shows your company's ads to users who have already visited your website. That way you're engaging warm leads who are already familiar with your brand. Remarketed (or retargeted) ads can appear on Google search result pages, YouTube videos or social media platforms.
Marketing to Contractors and Installers: Best Practices
Follow these steps to maximize your online reach to contractors and installers.
Create a content calendar for each audience: Staying consistent with your content and social media is very important. Create a calendar that maps out your topics for each of your buyer personas, including contractors and installers.
Experiment with multiple social media networks: Having a regular social media presence on all networks, especially at the beginning, is a great way to find where contractors and installers are spending their time online.
Once you identify the most engaging platforms, you can shift your focus. Remember, you don't need to create entirely new content for each platform. Tweak and post the same content to see where contractors respond the most.
SEO is one of the best investments: The internet is huge. No matter how much valuable content you create, it doesn't mean anything if contractors can't find it. SEO makes sure you're seen by the audiences you care about.
Regularly check the analytics: More data means better results. Review analytics for all of your digital marketing strategies, including your website, social media profiles, email campaigns and paid ads. Then you can optimize the next steps based on your results.
Experiment with new types of content: Online algorithms are constantly changing. That's why it's helpful to try different types of content to see what performs well and what contracts and installers want to interact with.
Try creating video content, interesting infographics or a podcast. You may be surprised at what ends up being your most popular content category.
Speaking to contractors and installers can be a challenging task, whether it's online or in person. Maximize your reach with a dedicated team behind your marketing campaigns. Venveo's team of experts can help you establish your brand voice and establish your company as a thought leader in your product category.