Every building materials manufacturer needs a strong digital marketing strategy to compete, but where do you start?
No matter what stage you’re in, Zach and Beth lay out three distinct steps to make sure you’re reaching your target audience with the right methods.
More About This Show
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps building material manufacturers find better ways to grow leads, sales, and outperform their competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create results-driven marketing strategy for building product companies of any size.
In this episode, Zach and Beth discuss how you can utilize multiple online platforms to address your target audience’s pain points, while simultaneously leading them through the buyer journey.
Download the podcast to hear exactly what Zach and Beth have to say, or check out our detailed summary.
There are all sorts of strategies for using digital marketing but creating a winning strategy in the building materials industry is differently.
When you’re getting off the ground, there are really just three steps your company needs to take to launch your digital marketing.
Let’s take a look at each one.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
Your first step is to identify your audience. This is really important because you don't just want to set up a Facebook account in a matter of seconds and start blasting content. Instead, you need to be thoughtful with the content you create. Everything you do should have a purpose. You want to constantly be asking, “Why am I doing this? What outcomes do I expect to get?”
But in order to do have a purpose, you need to know who you’re creating content for. When you identify your audience, you can really start to understand them and think through their pain points. You can then use that information to craft a compelling message that really resonates with them.
It’s not about constantly pushing your product through various channels. Your digital marketing strategy really needs to be the intersection between your audience’s pain points and the story or message that demonstrates your product’s value.
Think about what you're going to be doing to meet those pain points. For example, if you're targeting interior designers, one of their biggest needs online is inspiration. So when you look at your digital marketing content, think about how you’re going to inspire them.
You're definitely not going to inspire them by focusing on how long your company has been around or how many products you've sold in the last hundred years. Instead, inspire them with beautiful imagery, like well designed spaces utilizing your product. Show them happy customers and other successful interior designers.
Interior designers also need information related to your product, like pricing, availability, and lead times. They want to know that if they choose your product, they're not going to be blowing their client’s budget or stuck with a four week wait time.
Identifying your audience is incredibly important because it helps you communicate what actually matters to them and that’s going to be a key differentiator for you.
Step 2: Answer Audience Pain Points Through Content
Now that you’ve thought about who your customers are and what kind of pain points they have, you need to create content that addresses their needs. We often see beginners become overwhelmed by thinking they need to juggle multiple tactics, like the perfect website, social media page, and email campaign.
But really, your approach to digital marketing should center around how you can best solve the problems of your audience. Now that you know who that audience is, figure out how you can help them get answers to the questions they have and what is the most effective way to promote that content.
Content means any number of things, including your online images, blog posts, and videos. All of these types of media help your audience get the information they’re looking for, especially those who are at the top of the sales funnel and further from making an immediate purchase.
After all, not everyone is ready to download an in-depth white paper about your product category. In fact, the vast majority of your online audience is looking for how-to content, inspiration, comparison content, checklists, and guides — all of which are aimed at engaging your audience.
If you can speak directly to someone’s pain point and offer a ton of value, you’re going to automatically build a relationship between your brand and those potential customers. The true purpose of digital marketing is a value exchange.
Think about it: you audience has so many messages being served to them every day. In order for you to rise above all of that noise and be noticed, you need to approach your content strategy as being a helpful authoritative guide. When you do this, you set up your sales team to get those leads into your existing sales channel.
You can’t just focus on your product or company, you’ve got to focus on solving your audience’s problems. It all comes down to value. Don’t be afraid of offering leads what they want, even if it feels like you’re spending a lot of time on something that's not promoting your product. At the end of the day, it really works.
You're warming up those leads so that when they get to your product, they're actually interested in what they're going to find. They trust both your company and your product more than they would if you just cold blasted out ads about your latest product release.
Step 3: Set Up the Right Platforms
Now that you’re thinking about the types of content you need, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to do with it once it's created. In other words, you need a platform.
When we say platforms, there are a couple of different types that most manufacturers should use. Obviously, you need a website. Social media is also important, but you need to pick the right channels for your audience.
So think about what your audience is doing throughout the day as they're trying to do their job or or find answers to the questions they have. For example, if you’re an architect you know you’re definitely going to go to a manufacturer's website if you have questions about a specific product.
But if you’re doing general research, you might start with a Google search or you might jump onto a social media platform like Pinterest. You could do some research there based upon previous pins you've created. Those are two other areas outside of a manufacturer’s website. When you know where your audience is spending their time, you can make sure you have a presence there with content that is effectively promoted and distributed across all of the right channels.
There are a couple rules of thumb for where each type of audience is, beyond looking for information on your website. While bottom funnel leads may visit your site for specific answers, we know that not everyone is in that stage.
That does, however, demonstrate the importance of Google AdWords because then your products are coming up when someone has a specific question. That’s incredibly valuable.
But social media is where you can really start gathering broader leads and start warming them up to become future customers. The largest platforms are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Each audience spends the majority of their time in slightly different places. Typically, architects and interior designers are in the same locations. They spend the majority of their time on Instagram and Pinterest since both are very photo and image focused. That's where major influencers in their space are spending the most of their time. So architects and interior designers go to these platforms expecting to find inspiration, fellow design pros, and what's happening in their industry.
We’ve found that contractors and builders spend a significant amount of time on Twitter and Facebook. They're more easily reached on Twitter and are more likely to interact with each other there but they’re still on Facebook as well. Remember, 2 billion people are on Facebook, so there’s a pretty good chance that some part of your target audience is in that group.
Another big platform that shouldn’t be forgotten is email. It’s a really valuable tool that requires a strong presence and effort in order to have a truly cohesive digital marketing plan. When you integrate all of these platforms together — or the ones that work for your company — you’ll build an audience that cares, takes notice, and takes action.
If you're feeling overwhelmed at this point, you're not alone. Each one of these steps requires a lot of thoughtfulness to make sure you’re addressing the right audience with the content they need in a channel they’re going to find.
But if you're asking those questions and taking steps forward in this process, we can also guarantee you that you're quickly going to pull ahead of your competition.
Targeting With Online Ads: A Manufacturer's Definitive Gu...
Building materials manufacturers and distributors need to leverage online advertising in 2021 and beyond. Why? Because now, more than ever, building product audiences are relying on the internet to research products. Make purchases. Discover new brands. If your company doesn’t leverage online ads, you may miss out on conversions and fall behind competitors.
How to Revamp Your Newsletter + 3 Building Material Indus...
Newsletters have incredible potential to deliver consistent awareness and actions around your products and services. But if you’re struggling to create consistency with getting your A&D readers to open and click on your newsletter, you’re not alone. Most building materials companies are doing newsletters completely wrong.
How Building Materials Businesses Can Market in a Third-P...
In January 2020, Google announced its plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. In approximately one year, all major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari will have blocked third-party cookies.