On this week’s episode, Zach and Beth talk about this year’s top trends that will produce the biggest impact with your customers.
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The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
In this episode, Zach and Beth discuss their seven predictions for 2019 in the world of digital marketing. They talk about general trends as well as how to specifically apply these ideas in the building materials industry.
As a building materials manufacturer, the beginning of the year is a great time to sit back and evaluate your marketing strategies from last year. By seeing what worked, and what didn’t, you’ll be able to make a better, more profitable impact in 2019. Digital marketing is rapidly changing, so even if you were on top of your game last year, there are still changes you’ll need to make this year in order to keep pace.
Here are our top seven digital marketing predictions for 2019 that building materials manufacturers can use to reach potential customers and continuously grow sales.
#1: The Pace of Digital Marketing Is Quickening for Building Materials
For a lot of building materials manufacturers, you may just be getting started or still trying to get digital marketing prioritized in your company. Because the pace of digital marketing is growing so quickly, this is the year it’s going to start becoming harder to catch up if you’re not already in the game.
Having an online presence is becoming more of a standard, particularly when it comes to how people interact with brands and make purchases, both offline and online. 2019 is the year you need to make digital marketing a priority in order to drive demand for your product and outperform your competition.
#2: Technology Is the Norm for Just About Every Demographic
This statement holds true for every industry out there, and the building materials industry is no exception. You need to be able to leverage technology to meet your customers where they are. Think about it: Your phone is essentially your office in your pocket. The average American checks their phone 80 times a day (that’s roughly once every 4 minutes they’re awake!), and people in the building materials space are part of this lifestyle.
Being proactive with technology is very similar to the idea of going to a trade show because that’s where your audience is active. Just as you’d set up a booth and create marketing materials at a trade show, you also need to be in front of your customers through things like social media advertising and Google Adwords because that’s where they’re spending time.
The opportunity to capitalize on your digital presence through technology is incredible.
#3: Natural Language Keyword Research
Whether they realize it or not, people have become accustomed to talking to robots. Amazon alone has sold more than 50 million Alexa-enabled devices to date, while Siri has over 500 million active users.
Because of our pervasive use of tools like Siri and Alexa, natural language is becoming the predominant way people type questions or queries into search engines, with people in the building materials industry being no different.
For example, rather than simply typing “steel siding” into Google, people are now more likely to type in something along the lines of: “What’s the best kind of siding for homes in Seattle?” Because the way people search has changed, the way you focus on keywords in your online content needs to change, too.
This approach isn’t revolutionary; it’s called long tail keywords. But the difference we’re seeing (and will continue to see more of in 2019) is a massive shift in the search volume around these key terms. They used to be easy to rank for but now it’s becoming harder to get such quick traction. Getting in the game early and building your strategy around long tail keywords is more likely to guarantee your company a win.
#4: Personalization Expectation
The best working ads are the ones that are personalized the most. Think about how many messages, emails and ads you see each and every day. The most effective ones are focused on you. It’s no longer enough to just include the recipient’s name in an email. You have to think about your marketing as a whole and how can you leverage technology to deliver specific messages to specific types of people.
A practical example is segmenting your newsletter based on where someone lives, their job or even their industry. A few simple strategies to personalize your email campaigns can seriously elevate your business in 2019 (for ideas, check out our podcast on driving your ROI with email marketing).
Recently, one of our clients asked us to help personalize their website content for different industries and individuals. The results have been astounding (though not surprising): Their leads have increased by 50%. Offering personalized information in all mediums saves people time, which is enormously important for consumers today.
#5: There’s a Need for Speed
Speed doesn’t just refer to how quickly your website loads (although that certainly is important). What we’re really seeing as a growing trend is the speed at which customers need answers to their questions. If you can supply answers more quickly and efficiently than your competition, you’re going to win.
Our research consistently shows that audiences within the building materials space, including both pros and homeowners, view the manufacturer as the go-to source for product information. That means whether it’s through chat, website searchability or effective Google rankings, you need to efficiently supply answers to information requests. This applies not only to content but also to things like sample requests. Think about Amazon, which focuses on speed and convenience, then apply that perspective to your company’s information accessibility.
Architects, in particular, are looking more and more for online chat and search options because they don't have time to look at the entire details of a product page. They want to find information quickly to determine if your product will work for them. If they don’t see a chat option, they might even leave. Luckily, implementing a chatbot is easier and more affordable than you might think. (Learn more from our recent podcast on chatbots for building materials manufacturers.)
A final consideration for speed in 2019 is making sure your website’s mobile experience is just as user-friendly as its desktop experience. People’s use of mobile devices is only going to increase, so it’s a smart area to focus on. Plus, we usually see a 20 to 30 percent lift in traffic overnight when our clients’ improve their mobile experience.
#6: Video Is the Next Big Thing for Content
By next year, video is predicted to account for more than 80% of web content. That’s because video works; it communicates clearly and concisely while engaging your audience. It’s important to note that video is going to go through some noticeable changes in 2019 that can actually work to your advantage.
The biggest shift we’re seeing is moving away from overly polished productions and more towards raw, authentic videos, even from big brands. What that means for you is that video marketing doesn’t have to be a six-figure production; instead, you can be very successful with vertical videos shot with a phone, as long as it comes across as genuine.
An easy idea to start off with is to have a salesperson set up a phone in their truck after leaving a call and make a quick video debunking a product myth that came up during the sales meeting.
Another quick way to implement more video into your online campaigns? In our own marketing efforts, we’ve noticed that placing a video gif in our emails has drastically increased our click-through rates. If you’re planning your company’s content to stay ahead, you should definitely include video in your own digital marketing strategy.
(Want to learn more about using video in your marketing strategy? Check out our podcast on the eight different types of video and how to use them.)
We’re officially declaring 2019 as the Year of LinkedIn. Other platforms just don’t hit the mark for the building materials industry, especially when it comes to B2B sales. Facebook is hurting and focusing more on personal relationships. Instagram is a huge global powerhouse, but it’s not always the best place for B2B conversations. LinkedIn, on the other hand, can help you drive leads and sales when you implement the right strategy. Like any type of online presence you build, the more authentic presence you have, the greater impact you’ll have.
When building your LinkedIn network, remember that the platform’s algorithm is designed to push your content to other individuals that fit the profile of your existing network. That means you don’t need a ton of connects but the connections you do have should reflect the audience you want to reach: They should be quality connections that fit your ideal customer profile.
We are excited about the changes 2019 is going to bring to the digital marketing space, and we hope you are too. If you want to learn more about leveling up your digital marketing strategy to be a key player in 2019, check out our other podcasts. If you have questions on how to market to the building materials channel, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].