This is a helpful list of questions (in no particular order) you, the construction marketer, may want to ask yourself just before hitting that “go live” button for your newly re-designed website.
There is a FREE downloadable document at the end of the post to give you some guidance and advice on each of the questions and what you need to do or check to ensure you launch your construction business website in the best possible way.
It’s your responsibility as a marketer to ensure all the necessary tasks, elements and checks are in place to improve performance of your website from the word go. Continue reading →
2017 is nearly here and it’s time to start planning those objectives right? Hopefully you’re well under way with it anyway.
To help you define your objectives, here are 3 big trends I’m seeing which may or may not impact your digital strategy next year.
Your online stockists/merchants are gobbling up your organic search traffic
Do a broad search for your product. You’ll notice some ads at the top with an image and a price. That’s Google Shopping feed.
You’ve got an image. You’ve got a title/description. You’ve got a price.
And you’re organic listing has been pushed off the page or just pushed down out of view.
What does this mean?
It means, you are no longer getting the traffic you once used to get – now your stockists are diverting some of it away from you to them. Most likely, it’s subbies, homeowners, contractors and the like who once used to come to your website but now go to an online stockist. Seeing a price is a crucial aspect in this.
Specifiers, may still come to your site who are more performance/design led – but may prefer an online stockist also to get a price.
What am I seeing?
I’m seeing a 5-15% drop in organic search traffic YoY (small drops each month) across many building product manufacturer websites to key category pages. It’s to early to say this is the reason, but it certainly is pointing that way.
This drop is the traffic which once came to you – no longer needs to. Not all. Just some. But still enough to take it seriously in 2017.
What can you do about it?
Build closer relationships with these online merchants. Work together.
2. Moving away from “brochure websites” to “task based” websites
A big trend to take note of in 2017 is the rise of “task based tools”.
Many building product manufacturers have been doing this in the form of simple calculators but now many are also re-positioning from ‘information’ led websites to ‘task based’ websites and launching very comprehensive online task based tools with rich user experiences and multi device capability to help one do their job faster and better.
If you can embed your building product website and tools into your audiences workflow – you’re onto a winner baby!
What does this mean?
It means that if you still have a brochure website – it’s time to wake up. Pull your finger out. Go learn and understand your audiences workflow and develop/create something that will help them do their job faster and better – and more accurately. If your competition already has something, then go do it better than them.
What am I seeing?
Brochure sites create one night stands.
Task based websites create longer lasting relationships.
Websites with some form of task based tools continue to see large volumes of repeat visits and re-logins to accounts. This is where loyalty lies. As well as offering a superb technical support service complimented online too – be it through tools, live chat facility or social media channels.
What can you do about it?
If you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about building some sort of tool to help users select the right product for the right application or to carry out a simple specification to help specify your product for a project.
Either way, it’s not just about downloading brochures anymore.
3. Increasing content exposure through SEO
Something I’ve noticed occurring more frequently on Google search results pages is the inclusion of “featured snippets” or “rich answers” for building product related search queries.
Featured snippets are boxes at the top of a results page which appear for question based searches. They usually display an extract and an image from the content on the page which best matches the query.
Where snippets have been shown for content I know of, traffic has spiked massively.
Another benefit is that it helps build brand awareness and establish your company as an expert in the topic.
However, I’ve seen snippets come and go and you can see the spikes in traffic when posts have been picked up by Google and the drop the next. I think if the click through rates (CTR’s) are low for your content – you’ll be swapped for someone else. Google is constantly tweaking and testing different snippets. So one day it might be you, the next it might be your competitor.
Also, on many occasions, the snippet shown is actually from a piece of content which isn’t even ranked in the top 3 positions of Google. An SEO win!!
What does this mean?
So it means, when you’re publishing content in 2017, you’re going to have to pay EVEN MORE attention to writing clearly and to the point, presenting content in a clear way, formatting and structuring it properly – all before hitting the publish button.
There’s no set formula to get your content picked up by Google – but the posts which I know have been included usually contain short paragraphs and answer the topic of the post in the opening section and for list type posts, you will need to format your page so bullet points or numbers are formatted properly.
Welcome back, folks, for another episode, another video. In this video, I’m talking about what are search landing pages. Something that I’ve often recommended to clients in order to scale websites, in order to grow traffic. It’s often used as a tactic primarily to target a very niche audience or a very specific set of search queries by producing content, by producing relevant landing pages only accessible via search, search engine.
So is a little bit of a tactic which can be used, like I said, to scale websites, to grow the number of pages within a site, and tactically positioning them for specific set of search queries. So I’m going to run through an example, give you some hints and tips on what you can do in order to get started, and some of the things to watch out for as well.
So firstly, you may have read over the last year or so about Google trying to stop what they call doorway pages. To be honest, this is very similar to doorway pages, but they’re not as spammy. So doorway pages were often used by…an example might be solar panel companies. They created lots of pages on their site, where if you search for solar panel companies, [inaudible 00:01:44], they would come up. And there would be a page that is the same as Loughborough, Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, Coventry. It’s the same page, same content. The only thing that changes is the place name on that page. So this really is focused around a smaller set of queries and being much more relevant and much more value-adding, which we’ll come on to shortly.
So let me run through an example. You often get people who are searching for products for their specific application. So they will have your product, they will need your product, but it will be going in a specific project where there’s a specific requirement. So you’ve got dude over here who has a specific requirement. He then goes over to Google and googles for his product for a specific application. Hope that makes sense.
So an example might be decking for schools. Now, you may be thinking, “Okay, well, decking is a piece of decking. You know, it’s the same piece of wood whether it goes in a garden or whether it goes in school or a pub or a restaurant.” The thing is dude over here searches for product for his need. And it happens. I see this all the time across many different products. People search for their product, for their application. And they’re trying to narrow down the choices, having to filter out all the information, and stop themselves…or try and reduce the need or research time to actually think about, “Well, this is a great product, but does it actually fit where I need it to go?” So this searching by application helps reduce the number of options if you like.
Another example is insulation for. It might be underfloor heating. It might be on a pitched roof. It might be in a wall. It might have really kind of specific requirement. Guttering for high-rise building, bungalow. People search for their product for their particular application. And this is where search landing pages come in.
And these pages when…so when dude over here searches for something and lands on this search page, this page is actually so specific to his query or her query, that they don’t really need to navigate anywhere else. So this page has got a nice image that is relevant to that particular application. There’s some supporting text, maybe some key features and benefits. You’ve got downloads. You’ve got a video maybe. You’ve got a sample so you can try. Maybe you’ve got a download to a case study or a technical manual, and then you’ll have a call to action form. So you want to try and convert that user.
So you may only ever have one or two people access this page in a month. But the value of that enquiry will be very, very high. It will be someone wanting your product and for the application that you won that enquiry for. So you’re reducing the enquiries where they don’t know whether they’re needed, but you’re increasing the number of enquiries where it’s the right product for the right application.
Again, that page is not accessible through the website. So somebody comes through the homepage, they can’t get to it. They can only get to this page via Google. And you want to make sure that that page is ranked number one or number two in Google, and it’s optimised with the right page title, right heading, the copy is well-written, it’s linked to from other areas maybe. But again, you don’t really want people finding this page other than from Google itself because it’s so relevant. It’s so niche.
So the three things to look out for here is specific. Think about your product and your application, and tailor that page so it’s very specific to that query.
Value add. Make sure you’re adding value on that page. Make sure that that page contains everything that they need. Technical tables, performance tables, technical data sheets, BBA certificates. Whatever it may for that specifier or that contractor to be able to take that information away with them.
Call to actions. Don’t forget call to actions. I’ve spoken about this in the previous video. People who come here have a very high intent, or they will have a very high intent, to want to request a sample. They’re ready. This is the right product for the right application. Now, you’ve got to try and make that page work hard enough to try and convert them there and then.
So hopefully, that gives you a little bit of an idea on how search landing pages can help. You can particularly use them for schools, hospitals, roadways, highways, bridges, residential buildings, high-rise buildings, bungalows as mentioned before. The options are endless. But what you will want to do is make sure that you’re not constantly duplicating yourself. You’re making changes. You’re making amendments, and each page is relevant to that query.
Hopefully, over time, you will see ranks getting better for these pages. Maybe their traffic is a lot better as well. But generally, it’s the quality of the enquiry that we’re bothered about here, not necessarily traffic. It’s the quality of the enquiry.
So as mentioned before, if you’ve got any questions, do tweet me @priteshpatel9. Contact me through the website. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to get in touch. I’ll be quite happy to help you out, pop you an email or maybe even record a video with some of your questions, and I’ll happily answer them.
I’ve been recently thinking about the duties of a marketer.
Most marketers I know of, and based on my own experience as an in-house marketer, would be 100% focused on the target audience (prospects) and existing customers. Retention and acquisition.
But 0% was focused on making the company look attractive to new talent. You know, the next Procurement Manager or the Software Engineer or the Marketing Assistant.
Typically, a website would have a half arsed Careers page built with a very short piece of text (so dull it’s almost a cure for insomnia) and a list of current vacancies.
And that’s about it.
So I decided to check out a few sites and collate some interesting approaches which others have taken and put it into a bit of a list for you – maybe you can take a few of these ideas from others and start allocating budget towards improving the image and perception of your company on your website?
Maybe one of your website goals in 2015 is to generate 2000 organic applications via the website. In other words, not via any agencies. (Tip, use campaign tagging and separate landing pages). Continue reading →
SEO has changed massively over the last 3-5 years.
There used to be a time when you would pick some keywords and then stuff them into as many pages as you can then…..voila!
There used to be a time when Google would release a major update to it’s algorithm twice a year. Now it’s like almost every month.
There used to be a time when you could pay someone, or an agency, who would build you 50 links per month……regardless of where those links are placed. Trust me, I’ve found links to a Quantity Surveying business from a site that sells boats in Australia. I’ve found links to a Construction Consultancy from a cosmetic surgery site. I don’t blame anyone other than the marketers of the businesses – put it down to ignorance and naivety?
There used to be a time when SEO was always about pagerank. Now it’s useless but you’ll still here agencies selling you this metric. Continue reading →
Over the past few months I’ve been helping a few construction and non-construction clients find their next Digital Marketing person. I’ve been helping them vet CV’s and conduct interviews, advised on questions they should be asking and what tasks they could and should be giving applicants.
I’ve been a little bit disappointed to be honest (finding balance between academics and real life experience) and so I’ve decided to write some tips to help those looking for a role in digital marketing get that job and what employers will be looking for. Continue reading →
Some of you maybe aware of a new campaign launched last week by the UKCG (UK Contractors Group) titled “Born to Build” with the aim of attracting the younger crowd to take up careers in construction.
I think everyone in the industry has a duty of care to make every effort possible to make the industry attractive to work in. It’s a great campaign and I’m glad to see that the focus is on the young professionals, not the brands or people behind the campaign. Continue reading →
M&S released its latest trading update this morning and blamed the poor sales mainly on the website moving to a new platform.
Let’s just remind ourselves that they spent £150m on the new website.
“Marks and Spencer has reported a big drop in online sales after its move to a new website platform hit trading. Sales at M&S.com were down 8.1% in the 13 weeks to 28 June, with M&S chief Marc Bolland admitting the new site had an impact on sales.
Mr Bolland blamed teething problems with the website for the fall in sales. The latest results mark the 12th quarter in a row that sales at M&S’s homeware and clothing division have fallen” Source: BBC