What a difference a year can make. When I first sat down at the table with Terry, Stephanie, and Cameron Baker of Construction Specialties & Design Builders of Horse Shoe, NC, their contracting business was beginning to emerge from the struggles of the Great Recession. However, the basics of marketing a construction company in this digital age, where Google has supplanted the Yellow Pages, were still new to them. They knew they needed a new website (which, of course, was why I was there), and they knew how dangerous it was to rely solely on word of mouth and referrals for new business. But when it came to their brand identity, the only thing they could tell me for certain was that they liked the color blue.
Now, nearly a year later, when I met with Stephanie for an SEO training session, she was overjoyed to tell me, “We are busier this January than we’ve been in years!”
Economic recovery isn’t the only factor that accounts for CSDB’s new success. I attribute it to their courage to take a hard look at their business model and marketing strategy and their openness to new ideas. They didn’t throw up their hands and settle for the status quo because it was familiar and easy. Last year, they opted for the hard road, and it’s paid off.
After our recent meeting, I asked Stephanie if she would share some of the things they did to reinvigorate their business and provide a few ideas for others struggling with marketing a construction company. For starters, of course, they agreed to work with me on a new custom website, but they didn’t stop there.
Stephanie has a written a more detailed account of the marketing steps they took last year on the CSDB website. But I’ve pulled a few quotes and inserted my own thoughts here on five things CSDB did to renew their marketing efforts in 2014:
1. Logo Design
“This was hard work, but it gave us a great place to start.”
CSDB started their new marketing efforts last March with the visual representation of their brand. They worked with our designer to come up with “a more approachable design.” Their new logo has received a strong positive response from their clients and, in my opinion, gave them renewed confidence and pride in who they are as a company. Now the logo has migrated from the website to their print collateral and even their company polos.
2. Office Organization
“Terry had saved everything for every house he had built since 1986!”
Cleaning out the office might seem completely unrelated to marketing, but I think it says something about their commitment as a whole to a fresh start. In this physical act of decluttering, they were making room for the future. And nothing can generate a new sense of empowerment like a full dumpster and an organized closet.
3. Content Marketing
“I love blogging and showing our clients — past, present, and future — what we’re up to in our family and our business.”
This is huge and it’s something I have to spend a lot of energy convincing clients to take on. Blogs and newsletters require a substantial time investment, and the return on that investment isn’t always immediately felt or seen. So I’m very proud of Stephanie and how she’s jumped into creating content that shares their company’s achievements but also educates their customers on best practices. It seems like she really enjoys blogging, too!
4. Home Shows
“If you know us, you know that we love to talk, so home shows have been a great way to talk to more and more people about why we are the builder for them.”
Nothing can substitute for face-to-face time with your clients and potential customers. Home shows can be a large expense for building contractors, but for CSDB, these shows have been a great way to get firsthand feedback on their new logo and other marketing initiatives. They’ve also proven to be a great way for adding more permission-based email addresses to their newsletter subscriber list. Even if prospects at a home show aren’t ready to move just then, a short meeting at a home show is a great way to start a conversation and to build a long-term relationship.
5. Building a Brand
“When Wolf first met with us in a discovery meeting to have conversations on what we wanted from our website, I remember him asking us, ‘What do you want to focus on that makes you different from other builders?’ I don’t think that any of us knew what to say when we were put on the spot.”
CSDB is an acronym for the first names of the Baker family children (Cameron, Stephanie, Dillon, and Brett). So when I first asked them about what makes their construction company stand out from the rest, it was fun to see them work through something that was fairly obvious to an outside observer. But their company is truly built on family, and it’s not just the ownership. Every client becomes a member of the family as well. They even get invites to weddings and family reunions.
Once they recognized that their brand was built on family, just about every part of their marketing strategy was affected. From their web design, to their About Us page, to their company tagline, to the warm colors we chose (we kept blue in there!) everything revolves around this unifying message.
Many thanks to Stephanie for sharing some ideas for marketing a construction company. If you have some marketing strategies that have helped you grow your business recently, please share in the comments area below.