Posts tagged business to business

Work in the Construction or Property Sector?

Think about changing how you communicate with your customers

It’s a frequent lament that I hear talking to Business owners in the Construction and Property Industry that ‘we don’t need to ‘do’ Twitter because none of our customers use it’.  Also they say ‘I’ve got a LinkedIn account but I only use it to accept offers from people to connect’ or ‘I can’t see the merits of Facebook in our Sector’.  These comments are nearly as frequent as ‘We want to send out a 6 page Newsletter to our Clients three times a year’ or ‘we don’t think that updating our website is a current priority’.

Social-Media-Stress-SyndromeAnd when I mention ‘blogging’ that is when the real glaze comes over the eyes!

It’s a shame that the people that make these comments are often not in touch with the way the world is changing in terms of technology and most importantly how people (yes even your clients!) are choosing to communicate and gather information.

It’s a bit like those marketing and product selection challenges on The Apprentice when Lord Sugar advises – “don’t think about what you like as an individual – think about what will sell the best.”

This is where I think so many people in the Construction Industry go wrong in terms of marketing their services.  No doubt, how you market your Organisation is about how much you want to grow and how much you would like to identify new clients and I also recognise that it is a ‘generational thing’ but if you are hesitant about the benefits of updating the way you communicate with your customers here’s 6 reasons why you should stop hesitating and start changing now!

It is a reflection on you as a business:  Prospective Customers might think are you unlikely to be up to date with other technical issues in the Sector (like BIM or On-line file sharing systems) if you have an out of date website. Even more so if you tend to send boring Newsletters with content that isn’t relevant to them.

It builds trust:  If you are more accessible to your customers, they can read about you, your opinions and see your photograph (please get your LinkedIn profile updated with your photo!) your prospective clients are more likely to trust you and consider placing an enquiry with you…

“If you have a good story to tell, tell it in a way that’s an authentic conversation with the customer. You can’t just preach to them. You have to engage them, so that they can come to learn and believe it, and build that trust with you.”— Joel Yashinsky, McDonald’s Canada.
Source: Youtility by Jay Baer

It makes things easy for customers to gather information: Remember “Up to 90% of purchasing decisions start with an online search” Source: jeffbullas.com

This includes business services – not just when you want to buy a new car or book at Hotel!

If your customers can’t find quick, relevant and engaging information about you and your Organisation, they are more likely to click the ‘close current tab’ button and look for one of your Competitors on line instead!

If you don’t do it – all your Competitors will.  Eventually!

If you think that ‘nobody else’ in your Sector is up dating the way they communicate, trust me – they will be doing so eventually, so why not be one of the Leaders of the bandwagon rather than jumping on it when everyone else is already there.

It’s a recruitment tool: Having an up to date Website and Social Media presence can help attract new, younger staff to your business. Did you know the following facts?:

“LinkedIn has 238 million users internationally. The majority of users are aged between 26-34 followed by 35-44 age group.  It is the number one social media networking tool for business-to-business interaction.

Twitter meanwhile has over 500 million users internationally with the majority of users between 26 and 34.  It is the best tool for interacting directly with clients or customers in real time”  Source: Susan Dolan

So – its worth thinking about how you want your business to appeal to the younger generation coming through.  Get out there and engage with them.

It avoids the ‘Out of sight out of mind’ syndrome: As any good Business Development or Marketing professional knows, it is so important to keep in touch with your customers.  No amount of social media can take the place of actually meeting someone for a coffee and discussing future business opportunities.

But you are only human and will have limited time for business to business meetings especially if you are the owner or partner of an Organisation.  Communicating regularly in the right way to your Clients, with compelling, punchy content is your security blanket when you can’t get out there yourself.

Don’t just tell your customers what you have done – tell them what you can do for them!

Retirees newsletterDo you worry about how to make your Newsletter interesting? Well, I read somewhere the other day “If you create really awesome content, customers will flock to you.”

‘Content marketing’ is the new buzz word in the world of marketing, advertising and selling and relates equally to promoting Business to Business services as well as Business to Consumer sales.  The theory is that ‘content marketing’ is a far more effective way to engage customers than offering them flashy, ‘in your face’ traditional ‘buy buy’ advertising.

So – if you are an Organisation working in Construction or Property who wants to get their message out there but is worried that ‘we haven’t got anything interesting to say’ or ‘we haven’t got any new projects to talk about’ – you need to think about the following: Stop Telling People what you have done and Start Helping!

The fact is:  You can create brilliant, engaging content that appeals to your customers if you focus on helping them, rather than making sales or merely telling people what you have done recently.

You want your prospective customers to keep wanting to receive marketing information from you because ‘actually its quite useful’ and ‘I might learn something relevant’.  Don’t give them a reason to hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button!

How to make your marketing messages speak to your customers

Tip 1 – Find out your customer’s needs

You talk to your customers all the time and keep abreast of market drivers through the media.  Work out what the key issues are that currently effect your customers.  Carrying out regular customer reviews and keeping up with your Business to Business meetings are crucial to make sure you are in touch with what you customer’s challenges are.

Tip 2 – Link Customer Needs to Useful Marketing Content

Now that you understand what your customers issues and problems are, you can set about creating content in your marketing that will resonate with those needs. Don’t forget that this is a stage by stage process and you need to create a circumstance where a new customer will say ‘that’s interesting, tell me more’. Your customers will desire specific information about their circumstances, and eventually, they might have a problem that your company can solve!

Tip 3 – Market Your Marketing

You need to put your content everywhere that your customers might find it.

Think about how you communicate and gather information and then ensure your Organisation is promoting itself in similar medium. Also – think of it as  a ‘generational thing’ – but you need to be aware of where a lot of your younger (but still influential)  customers go for their information and to keep in touch with their Sector. Make sure you are there too!

Tip 4 – Make ‘Helping’ a Step in Your Marketing Strategy

Change is inevitable. A customer’s needs may be different tomorrow than they are today. In addition, new technologies open doors to new ways of helping. People change. Technologies change. You have to keep adapting.

Follow these tips, and why not think about creating a great Newsletter with fabulous images that captures interest and you will be on your way to developing sustainable relationships with a whole host of new customers.