How can a flooring contractor market itself in the most efficient way possible?
Alison Relf has the answer…
THE world of marketing in the building and architectural industry is an exciting one which offers loads of opportunities for flooring contractors and manufacturers to talk about what they’re fabulous at – and tell everyone.
Communication channels and marketing techniques have become busier and more refined over these challenging ‘remote’ times as people the world over have looked at new ways to promote, research and purchase products and services.
The challenging part is developing a bespoke plan for your individual organisation while respecting time, budget, and resource. Of course, you also need to ensure someone can respond to all the amazing enquiries you’ll receive.
You may have millions to spend, you may have 10 people in your marketing department, and you may have 10 specialist agencies – or perhaps not. So, I’d suggest you take it slow, plan well, and go forth in a realistic, priority-led manner. Much research has been conducted into how best a building contractor or manufacturer should communicate today.
The go-to hub for anyone wanting to know more is your website. It’s important to get the design and workings of the website just right. Branding, content, technical information, search engine optimisation (SEO) population, photography, videos – the list is endless.
In the architectural/building – ergo, flooring – industry, the best websites are those which are image- and project-led. Of course, companies also have to consider readily-accessible information on other bits like installation team info, technical prowess and experience, product manufacturers, how and where they operate etc – but fewer words and lots of project images is the best combination for today’s busy website visitor.
Commercial visitors want to see, quickly and easily, which projects you’ve worked on, what your specialities are and how you work. A good website designer, in partnership with a strong SEO or digital agency, is a good start.
Even if you have an existing website, it’s good to go for a health check before you do anything else. It’s also advisable to look at what your contemporaries are up to.
When looking at your website, and general branding and messaging, always have your target customer in mind. How do they look and how do they get information? Who are they? It may be that you conduct a research project just to find out, from your existing contacts, what they like to see and want to know.
Are you targeting the self-build market, the architect, the housebuilder – or all? In this desk research, you may want to initiate the development of a list of key contacts – who do you want to work with?
A blog/news section, populated by a variety of key people in your company as well as ‘guests’, is helpful as is a section on project studies with quotes from happy clients and endorsements from other companies you work with. Maybe product manufacturers? Mutual PR is important as you are then tapping into a multitude of different audiences. Your housebuilders, for example, may have a greater following than you.
By sharing and conversing, you’re spreading your message further. Of course, here we are talking social media. Key for flooring companies today are LinkedIn and Instagram as they, in simple terms, are business and image-led respectively.
You may want to appoint an outside PR/media agency to produce the content, case studies, thought-leadership articles, and this great mix of stories can be used for the media, social media, and website pages as a start.
It’s not just about getting your name in the printed and digital media although that is obviously important. It’s also that, by getting to know key journalists, you are asking them to independently endorse your work and share your stories. Your key media could comprise national, local and commercial titles and each article needs to be carefully targeted.
Project case studies and thought-leadership articles are really important here. It’s widely known that architectural, building and flooring titles are holding up in the printed world too. Not everyone wants to wade through the internet; though all good publications produce a PDF flip-page version.
Finally, a useful, popular way of making your mark is through awards and competitions. You only have to search for ‘building’ and ‘flooring’ awards, and you can look for a list that best suits your work.