By Bari Faye Siegel
Increased consumer spending and the lowest regional unemployment rates since 2008, combined with an ever-growing project lead list — reported daily by CIS — including SuperStorm Sandy cleanup and reconstruction efforts here, are keeping contractors busier than they have been in a long time.
However, just because the work is out there doesn’t mean GCs are going to give your company a chance to bid. They either have to find you, or be willing to take your call. Regardless, to become a go-to subcontractor – even if yours is a niche business — you must create awareness of your reputable brand in the marketplace.
Large, established companies have huge marketing budgets and often hire in-house professionals or consultants to manage their branding and outreach efforts. That’s why you see their ads coming and going. However, small-to-mid-size construction companies may find it challenging to spend money to create and reinforce something as nebulous as “brand,” especially if they are working on a limited budget.
Don’t spend valuable resources – your time and money – focusing on companies who are not likely to buy what you’re selling.
Experts advise these firms to think about marketing more as a critical investment in future growth, and less as dollars out the door. The key to seeing ROI from a marketing investment, however, is to make sure your efforts are targeted at the appropriate audience. Don’t spend valuable resources – your time and money – focusing on companies who are not likely to buy what you’re selling. If you get the marketing job done well, you have the best chance of ensuring that GCs will contact you when they need you — or at least answer your call.
Consider these tips as you grow your brand.
1. Offer great products and services. Sounds obvious, right? Maybe, but as your company grows and you begin to offer additional value-added products/services – make sure the value is clear to your customers (not just to your company’s bottom line.) When you evolve your product line, make sure it’s both new and improved, and not simply “new.” Give customers a reason to stick with you and refer you to others. Offer potential customers a reason to consider you in the first place. Also, remember, while each day presents a new opportunity to win back former clients, a new product or service launch adds fuel for that fire.
2. Be unique. It’s likely your customers have a wide variety of companies to choose from to get their work done. All of them, like you, are saying they are the best, most cost-effective option with superior customer service, etc. Just like you. To grow your business, figure out what your company does that’s different from others in the industry. Market that.
3. Be consistent. Sure, times change and products and services evolve. The one thing that should never change is your company’s brand. Brand is the sum total of your customer’s experience. Have a great logo and tagline; use them all over the place — marketing materials, website, trade shows, advertisements, and social media – to create marketplace awareness. Be consistent when it comes to the quality of your work and work ethic. You want customers to know they can count on you – each and every time they call. Communicate regularly with your customers in a voice they understand; you are in the same business, so use appropriate jargon and tone to make them feel comfortable.
At the end of the day, creating a brand and continuing to keep it “out there” will take time and money. However, your company’s reputation and future success depends on creating trust. When you are consistent with your messaging (brand), you create familiarity. When customers come to know you, they will trust you. Also, they will refer you — and that’s the fastest way to grow your client list and become a go-to resource in the market!
Your brand is literally your reputation out in the marketplace. Nurture it. Always.