Successful Strategy to Get Your Renovation Company to the Next Level

Every year here in Canada and the United States, millions of dollars are spent by construction companies in the hopes of getting clients to notice their brand and hire them. There are so many construction marketing tips and strategies online, it’ll make your head spin. But before you exit this page and open up the next article, hear me out.

We’ve been working with home remodeling and renovation companies here in Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland for a long time. I’ve had the pleasure of working with construction companies of all sizes. The ones that are the most successful focus on the two elements: First, is the right message. Second, is a clearly identified audience.

Identify Your Target Market

It doesn’t pay to spend your whole day looking for the perfect construction marketing method. It’s a waste of time staring at advertisements trying to figure out which aspect of them you should take and implement for your own business. At least, not until you’ve identified your target audience, the clients who are eager to say yes to what you have to offer. Whether they are in Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver or Richmond.

Getting your mind wrapped around these two key elements will make it much easier for you to carry out whichever construction marketing strategy you decide on.

So, what is that right message to your audience. The first step is to find out who your audience is.

Who is Your Audience?

Without the right message, you’ll find any marketing tactic you use to be futile. From plumbers to home renovation companies, it’s only possible to figure out what your message should be once you’ve determined your audience. And before you can even figure out who your audience is, you need to identify who you are and what you have to offer. This part is often a bit difficult. Thankfully, I’ve got a few simple questions that will help determine your answers.

What Sort of Construction Firm Are You?

Some companies remodel homes, others focus on exterior home renovations, or you could be a company installing flooring and countertops. Whatever they do, we can use three categories to identify each construction, home renovation business.

Three types:

  • Specialty/Trade Contractor
  • General Contractor
  • Agency Construction Manager

Specialty/Trade Contractor

Specialty or trade contractors are the most prevalent type of construction firm. Their contracts will either be with owners or general contractors. If an owner needs to upgrade the plumbing in their building, they’ll work with a plumbing contractor. However, if the building needs to be expanded, they’ll sign a contract with a general contractor. From there, the general contractor will subcontract parts of the project to trade contractors.

General contractors

General contractors usually have a contract between themselves and the owner. They will sometimes have contracts with specialty or trade contractors, those who are constructing certain pieces of a project. Like the plumbing or electrical work, as an example. But, most of the time they are holding all the contracts. General contractors sometimes administer and manage the construction, and sometimes they’ll self-perform.

Agency construction managers

Agency construction managers don’t self-perform construction work and they don’t hold contracts either. They’ll have a contractual understanding between themselves and the owner. However, they have no contractual authority over specialty contractors or the trade in general. Agency construction managers advise and represent the owner throughout the project.

Understanding Contracts

Contracts are a major aspect of the construction industry. The one you’ll eventually end up in a contract with is your audience.

What’s Your Niche?

Now that we’ve figured out what kind of firm you are, it’s time to determine which market you’ll do business in. There are a whole bunch of niches within the construction industry but we’re going to focus on these three:

  1. Institutional/Government
  2. Commercial
  3. Residential

You’re working within the institutional/government market if you’re constructing a new bridge over the Fraser river or adding a brand-new wing to Vancouver General Hospital, for example. There are specific rules and procedures that owners must follow. They may need to pre-qualify your business before you can begin working on their projects.

The commercial market includes buildings like restaurants or sports arenas. The rules and procedures are a little less strict. Within this market, you’ll find yourself working with developers quite often. They supervise the management and build-out of commercial projects.

The residential market pertains to housing. You’re operating within this marketing if you’re building a fence around a house in Burnaby or constructing a condo in New Westminster. The audience in this market isn’t as construction savvy. Residential work can be quite profitable… and quite challenging. So for those companies working from Delta and Maple Ridge to Abbotsford and White Rock, you can move to the next level if you can understand more of the basic of target marketing.

How Is Your Audience Going to Hire You?

Figuring out how your audience is going to hire you supplies you with a lot of insight into which marketing approaches to take. These are the three most popular ways:

  • Low-Bid
  • Best Value
  • Negotiated

Low-bid is when an owner chooses a contractor based on price alone.

Best value is a term for when owners consider more than just the cost. If you’re bidding on a bathroom renovation project, the owner won’t make a decision solely based on your price. But if your price is much higher than your competitors without a valid reason (in the eyes of the owner), then you just might lose the bid.

Negotiated contracts are settled based on a company’s qualifications or a positive relationship that exists between an owner and the contractor. The job is awarded and then prices are negotiated.

Figuring this out is important, so don’t skip this step. If you were planning on working in the institutional/government market, expect lots of low-bid contracts. If that doesn’t sit well with you, adjust your target and choose markets that aren’t required to use low-bid.

If you’re fine with low-bid contracts, it wouldn’t make sense to hire a construction marketing agency. Hiring the best construction estimator would be the best step.

What Are Your Advantages and Disadvantages?

Your home renovation or remodeling companies advantages and disadvantages can help you identify the clients that are most likely to hire you. Here’s an example of how one of your “disadvantages” can help you find your audience. If your specialty firm is owned by a woman, it would be a good idea to seek out general contractors that take on government projects. There are often participation goals for minorities and women, and general contractors struggle to meet them.

For example, let’s say that your advantage is that you an extensive network of subcontractors, you’ll be able to ramp up and take jobs whenever available. You are always able to take new work on.

The Target Audience Equation For Construction Firms.

Now that our key questions have been answered, you can fill in the following questions. Our target audience is (general contractors/owners) within the (type of market) who hire (type of firm), based on (hiring method), and favor (disadvantage/advantage).

Here are a couple examples:

Our target audience is owners within the residential market who hire specialty contractors based on best value, and favor firms that use environmentally friendly methods.

Our target audience is general contractors building condominium complexes who hire trade contractors based on low bid, and local business enterprises.

Determine the Best Marketing Message

Figuring out who your audience is is pretty simple. Here’s the difficult part: identifying the right message to send your audience.

Thankfully, you’ve got one factor in the equation figured out. You’ve determined your target audience. Now, here’s some important advice from me that’ll change how you approach the marketing game.

There’s no way to sell someone something that they don’t already want to buy.

You can’t come up with the best message by sitting and taking notes on various advertisements within the construction industry. Find out exactly what your audience wants to throw money at.

Figure out the best message by determining what drives your audience. What are their dreams? Hopes? Fears? What do they dream of achieving by renovating their backyard? What does the renovation experience look like in their mind? What did they love or hate about previous renovations?

Speak with your audience to learn this information. Talk to those who have already renovated their backyard, or had a new hospital wing built, for example. And speak to those who are thinking about having it done. Then, use the information you’ve gathered to create a message that separates your company from the competition.

If you’re not the best writer, that’s fine. There are tons of resources out there to help you learn how to write copy. It may also be a good idea to hire an experienced construction marketing company so that your message is communicated in the best way possible. Discovering what motivates your audience’s decisions is the most important aspect of this step.

How To Deliver the Right Message

You’ve got your audience and you have your message. Now, it’s time to select the method to deliver your message. “Channels” are the various ways you can reach your audience. The channels you choose depends on the audience you’re aiming to reach.

Generally, there are two categories of marketing channels: direct and indirect.

Direct Channels

When your message is being sent straight to your audience, it’s direct marketing. Some examples of this are:

  • Phone call
  • Emails
  • Postcards and brochures
  • Responses to RFQs (requests for qualifications)

Indirect Marketing

The title says it all. Your message is delivered in a more informative or educational way through indirect marketing channels. Here are some examples:

  • Website
  • A blog
  • Articles in publications related to your industry
  • Networking
  • Speeches and booths at industry events
  • Social media
  • Print or internet advertisements

Certain channels will work best for reaching your target audience, so test a variety of channels to determine which is more effective. As an example, if your audience isn’t the type to attend industry related events you could probably skip them to focus more on other channels. Choose one or two channels and try them out. Don’t implement them all at once.

You might have to rely on outside resources to effectively use most of these channels. If you have no graphic design experience, it wouldn’t be the best idea to design an advertisement for your local newspaper. Seek out the right people to assist you.

Building a team with valuable skills is often the best way to tackle construction marketing. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can implement every key aspect of construction marketing by themselves and do it effectively.

In Summary

Construction industry marketing can be challenging. However, you’ll have persistent success if you keep it simple by delivering the right message to an eager audience. Focus on these two central elements and you’ll be surprised at how effective your marketing will be.

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Writing to David is like standing in hip deep, icy cold water and casting a fly, is to a fisherman. His happy place. Topic doesn't matter as it is the act of writing that reels David Wright in. Construction to sports, David has written it all and yet he keeps looking for new things to experience and then write about on his journeys through life.