It is time the construction industry realised that proper marketing holds the key to growth and survival – particularly in the current economic climate, says Jan de Beer, professional writer and publicity consultant.
De Beer has extensive experience in journalism and has consulted on media matters to dozens of construction and engineering companies and associations in a long career, including MBA, The Concrete Institute, Castrol, SA Paint Manufacturing Association, KBAC Flooring, Gauteng Piling, Chryso SA, and Concrete Society of Southern Africa.
He says digital marketing has become a vital tool for companies, particularly as there are now few print journals in circulation. “Websites are vital to promote a company’s work and acquire more clients. An impressive, up-to-date website reassures prospective clients that a company is doing well and busy – but what does a website with a last posting of company news done, say, in 2012, tell you? It rings alarms bells indicating, for example, that the company lacks professionalism, has not had news to be proud of for years, and may well be on its last legs.”
He adds: “A website allowed to languish becomes a weapon of destruction. How are visitors to a website to know that ancient facts about the company are still relevant? If a website is not cared for, it is far better to simply remove it to prevent it driving potential business away.”
That “News” section – with news (blogs) professionally written and illustrated – on a company’s website is a powerful and affordable and yet often totally neglected aspect of marketing. Blogs should be updated once or least twice a month by a competent writer ideally working in liaison with a website administrator who can keep tabs on the performance and readership of a company’s website. “Companies simply have to ensure that their latest news get posted regularly – irrespective who handles the task: the receptionist, PA, or a professional web administrator.”
De Beer says Google also focuses on quality of the content on a website. Higher scoring is attributed to good copy and relevant titles, for example, and a regularly updated site will be ranked more prominently to assist the site owner achieve a spike in traffic.
News to post on the company website could range from a new product, new staff member, projects landed, or simply authoritative, informative copy along generic lines on the type of product offered by the company. “If you are selling a quality range of paint brush, for example, tell your website visitor what to look for in any paint brush. Subtle marketing can achieve remarkable results.
“Owners of websites who fear that they may struggle to find time to provide content for news blogs, should realise that an experienced writer could make their task much easier. He or she could simply work via emailed mini-questionnaires regarding the facts of a selected project or product, a relevant brochure to draw information from, or personal research,” De Beer adds.