Construction Lead Generation on the Web

The construction industry has a wide variety of specializations. Costs and profits vary widely between civil engineer contractors, house builders, and renovators. However, there is one common thread to all sectors of the industry – lack of cost control can ruin a company.

Whatever type of building work you specialize in, you need to find clients. You need to get the biggest bang for your buck, and so you should be tracking how much you spend on getting work. The sales force of the construction sector works on two metrics to assess value for money. These are the cost per customer acquisition, which is abbreviated to CPA, and the cost per lead, which you might see written as CPL.

You know that you don’t win every contract you bid for. Not everyone puts out tenders for work, and if you cater to the general public, you have probably spent hours talking to potential clients who never come through. The difference between cost per lead and cost per customer acquisition is that a lead is the people you get in touch with and a customer is someone who signs on the dotted line.

Lead Generation Methods

Sales methods for construction are the same as those for any other industry – they start with marketing. You need to find people who might want building work done, so the first step in the process is to get the contact information of potential customers. Someone who you are able to contact for work is called a lead. Traditional marketing methods go out and look for potential customers and then hound them until they sign up. Unfortunately, the modern consumer is much more sophisticated and these marketing tactics no longer work. The Internet is largely to blame for that resistance because most people research their needs online first before going out to find potential suppliers. The Internet, however, provides a great channel for the new methods of marketing. This strategy is called inbound marketing – the old method of hunting for clients is terms “outbound marketing.”

Inbound Marketing for Construction

Inbound marketing is passive and it requires cunning. The theory works on the recognition that potential customers are on the Web researching construction issues as they formulate their plans to build. They might not yet have the budget, or a firm idea of what they want. However, if you can grab the attention of those people who are in the research phase, gain their trust, and maintain contact with them, you will be in pole position for the job once they decide to commit. You need to get noticed by those potential customers and get them to give you their contact details, so you can log them as leads.

Lead Generation Cost Savings

Getting your marketing effort online is not just a question of finding leads. You can actually get those leads at a much lower cost. Inbound marketing experts at Hubspot calculated that the CPL of inbound methods is 40 per cent of the costs of outbound marketing – and that applies across all industry sectors. Keep in mind that they are talking about the cost per lead, not cost per customer. You can bring your costs down further if you also implement inbound sales methodologies to convert leads to customers.

Online Lead Generation

The first place to start with getting your construction business online is to get a website created and set up. You might worry that this process is complicated, and you would be right. Gone are the days when businesses put up a single-page website and then waited for the phone to ring. First of all, people need to find your website and the best place to connect to in order to get that traffic to your site is a search engine. According to statistics website, Net Market Share, Google performs 71.11 per cent of all Web searches. The next largest search engine is Bing, which has a market share of 10.6 per cent. From these few statistics, you can understand that the online marketing world focuses its efforts on the methodology that Google uses to pick and order its search results. You need to know how to get onto the first page of Google’s results when people type in search terms that describe the services you provide. Methods of reaching customers through search engines, such as Google are described as “search engine marketing,” or SEM.

Search Engine Marketing

You might have heard that Google is one of the most valuable companies in the world. They don’t run their search engine as a charity – they make a ton of money. The search engine places paying listings at the top of their results pages. The strategy of paying for inclusion on a search engine is called “pay per click,” or PPC. The practice of placing ads on other websites is also covered by this term. The cost of a paid position on a search engine varies according to the popularity of the chosen keywords. Getting high-volume keywords can soon burn through your marketing budget. However, SEM consultants know the workings of Google’s methodology and can slash the cost of PPC advertising through reserving less expensive search terms that include the more expensive terms within them. Don’t let the concept of PPC put you off inbound marketing. You can get your construction company website listed in Google for no charge at all.

SEO for Construction Companies

Getting listed by search engines is called “search engine optimization,” which is usually written as SEO. Search engine optimization is the art of getting noticed by Google, indexed for relevant keywords and scored to appear at the top of results pages. You don’t have to pay anything. This category of listing is called “organic results.” Despite these listings being absolutely free of charge, they are not worthless. Internet research company, Conductor, found that 64 per cent of website visitors arrive at those sites through organic searches. This compares to 6 per cent of Web traffic that is attracted by PPC adverts. Just as today’s consumer researches products and projects before committing to a provider, the general public is skeptical and resistant to advertising.

How Google Works

Google has a program called a Web crawler. This program connects to the World Wide Web and searches through the first page it finds. It collects all the keywords on that page and then follows a link in the page to another Web page. Eventually, the Google Web crawler, which is known as a Googlebot, will travel to every Web page in the world. There are many instances of this program running all the time. The number of Web pages in the world increases constantly and so the Googlebots discover new pages and revisit pages that have already been logged. The very basic function of SEO involves getting the Googlebot to register the page for the right keywords, which are the search terms that potential customers will enter into Google when they are researching construction projects online.

Rankings for Construction

Google registers billions of pages and logs each against particular search terms. Many Web pages will be registered for the same keywords. A second phase of Google’s research gives each page a score for that keyword. When a searcher enters those keywords into the search engine, Google’s program displays all the records in the database that relate to them and orders them by score, with the highest-scoring entry first. This ordering method is called the ranking. Search engine optimization will get your construction business a higher ranking, and so you will gain greater visibility.

Rankings for Success

According to a study by Web tools producer, Caphyon, 71 per cent of Web searchers do not go beyond the first page of results. The first 5 results get 67.6 per cent of the traffic. This shows you that getting a high ranking can mean the difference between getting leads online or languishing unnoticed. It is important to rank for the right keywords that properly explain the services of your construction business. You may read about the value of traffic volume, but this is a false measure of success. You are never going to convert visitors to leads and customers if they aren’t really looking for your type of services – someone planning to build a bridge is wasting time by looking at a plasterer’s website. So, you will increase your conversion rate if you start off with getting accurate keywords onto your website.

Construction SEO Strategy

The main factor that Google uses to assign rankings relies on the links that point into each page on the Web. Each page has a score, which is divided up and passed on to the pages its links point to. Therefore, it is very important to get people to link into your site. Not only do you want links, but you need them to be quality links. Google enhances the score of some sites because of a perceived authority on a particular keyword. Getting links into sites that relate to construction will get you more points than links from general websites. How do you get those links? Well, this is probably the hardest part of SEO. You could just call around academic and news sites, which have very high authority, but you might be on a hiding to nothing. Whatever you do, don’t pay for a mention, because Google will penalize your site if they find out and then it will be impossible for your business to get on the first page of search results. The main strategy most websites use to attract links is content marketing.

Content Marketing for Construction

“Content” refers to all the information that appears on a website. This includes blog posts, articles, images, graphs, infographics, sound files, and videos. The advantages of content are twofold – it contains the keywords, and also attracts links. You might still have to call those academic news sites to get a link, but it will be a whole lot easier to grab their attention if you have interesting information on your site. Rather than promoting your site, you promote its content, which will attract links.

Construction Content Ideas

Content that attracts inbound links is termed “link bait.” The types of information you could put on your site to attract links include reference information, guides, and topical subjects. Reference information could include a glossary of construction terms, conversion tables from Imperial to metric measurements, and cost calculators. Guides could include home improvement how-tos, information about the planning process, and details on how to get a building permit. A news feed is a good idea because Google awards extra points for “fresh” content.

Social Media Marketing

Put yourself out there. Social media marketing boosts the number of people who become aware of your site. Another attraction to this form of outreach is that it helps the general public to get to know you – people are more likely to buy from people they know than from a total stranger. Reviews are also great marketing tools, and comments sections and contact forms on your site enable visitors to feel that they are welcome. All of these personal steps will improve your conversion rate, because ultimately, you want to make website visitors feel that you are there to help rather than to sell. That is the core principle of inbound marketing.

Construction Marketing Tools

Although the prospects of getting your construction business online might seem daunting, it is worth the effort. As you progress on the journey of turning your company into an online enterprise you will discover tools that can help you improve the performance of your marketing strategy. You can even get apps for your smartphone, so you can run the company while you are out onsite.

Digital Marketing

Start the journey to adopt inbound marketing. The methodology will improve your turnover, your customer service, and get you noticed around the community. You will cut your costs per lead and improve your conversion rate, making your firm more profitable.


Inline References

Hubspot: Inbound Leads Cost 61% Less Than Outbound

Net Market Share: Desktop Search Engine Market Share

Webopedia: SEM – search engine marketing

Webopedia: SEM – search engine optimization (optimizer) – SEO

Conductor: Organic Search Is Actually Responsible for 64% of Your Web Traffic

Organic Search Is Actually Responsible for 64% of Your Web Traffic (Thought Experiment)

SearchEngine Watch: Organic vs. Paid Search Results: Organic Wins 94% of Time

Moz Blog: Google Organic Click-Through Rates in 2014

Other Sources

Google Keyword Planner: Construction lead generation

Search Console Help: Googlebot

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