5 Secrets of Marketing a Small Construction Company
What follows is a (very) short list at some things that a small company can do to help increase their market share. The Zimboski Group focuses primarily on construction-based businesses and so most of the advice herein will be given with construction companies in mind.
1. Don't be afraid to look at the competition. If there is a competitor in your industry and market that seems to be successfully out-pacing the others, chances are, their marketing is a huge component. Let's look at an example involving painters:
Company A and Company B both work in the Orlando market. Each is staffed with 3-4 excellent painters. Company A and B both receive great word-of-mouth referrals from their customers. However, Company A encourages their customers to leave Google reviews. They offer customers a $20-$50 gift card to do so. It doesn't take a marketing major to realize that Company A is going to outpace Company B in new business. Potential customers read reviews on companies before making a decision to buy. At a cost of only $20-50 per completed job, Company B could keep up.
2. Money matters. Getting the biggest bang for buck is important. In the previous example, the painting companies were paying a small amount to thank customers for their business and encourage them to leave a positive review. This is an inexpensive way to build a presence in a market. Another is to use low (relative) cost methods such as Google AdWords. Currently, mostly larger firms are using this powerful, and inexpensive, tool. Using this method, Google will only display ads to targets that you've identified as having a higher likelihood of being converted into customers.
3. It starts the the owner. It can't be overstated that the owner in a small company sets the tone for many things. In the case of marketing on a low budget, the owner is vital. Without the advantage of someone being paid to promote the company, it is up to the owner to be that advocate. If an owner presents his company to everyone he knows and in an enthusiastic manner, sales skills take a back seat. Other people will recognize the excitement and will react similarly to those who have been "sold" by marketers or sales people. Additionally, no matter how small the staff, an owner's enthusiasm (or lack of enthusiasm) will be contagious.
4. Know what you don't know. This is a hard concept for some small business owners. It's hard because if the business is performing, though not to the desired level, assumptions are typically made as to what the cause(s) may be. This is dangerous. There are many resources for research in to nearly every industry and in every market in the country. Trade groups and government industry reports are available and are typically low cost or free. Knowing what you don't know is also important when it's time to decide whether or not to call in an expert. If a business owner isn't sure of what to do to grow their business, or has tried several things and failed, it's time to call in someone who can take an objective view of the situation, do the necessary research, and work with the owner to formulate a plan.
5. Finally, don't forget to give yourself credit. A quick look at any social media platform will offer a plethora of non-experts presenting opinions to the delight, entertainment, and informational purposes of (sometimes) huge audiences. Imagine if everyone who posted was a subject material expert. You are. If you have owned a plumbing service company for more than a few months, you know some things about plumbing. Use that wisdom to your credit with regular posts that highlight that expertise. Often business owners will comment that they don't want to educate their competition or teach the customers to be DIYers. Trust me, if the customer wants to do it themselves, they're going to do it themselves. However, for the customer that is simply curious or exploring possibilities, a quick search showing your expertise may just be the deciding factor in who they ultimately call to do the work.