Digital Must-Dos

Mark L. Johnson / May 2018

You can’t operate on a whim in business. Good strategy is essential, especially your digital marketing strategy. When was the last time you updated your website, published an e-newsletter or shared a company video online?
    
I have a passion for digital marketing and review digital communications all the time. So, I can’t help but be picky when I see so many old websites, poorly written copy, broken hyperlinks and sites that don’t render well on mobile devices.
    
Recently I reviewed 10 AWCI member contractor websites and found some interesting things. Of the 10 sites, eight featured links to social media pages and six sites were responsive to the size and orientation of the device accessing them. That’s good.
    
But of the 10, only one had an active news feed. No site had a newsletter sign-up page or subscriber pop-up form. Only one walls and ceilings contractor had a newsletter signup link on his website, but the link was broken. Another contractor had newsletters archived online, but the last one posted was two-and-a-half years old.
    
Most sites felt old and stale. Most lacked the latest design thinking, such as using large photographs, parallax page scrolling, gradient colors and large H1 headlines. Sadly, only one site had a company video posted on its home page—though it was not located “above the fold” and couldn’t be seen without scrolling down the page.
    
What would I recommend that you do? These three things:

Update Your Website
Don’t design your website for desktop PCs. Instead, build them for mobile screens. Why mobile? Two-thirds of the world’s population connects online via phones and tablets, said Hootsuite in its “Digital in 2018: Data, Trends & Opportunities” webinar. Last fall, Facebook reported that 85 percent of its advertising revenue comes from mobile ads. Worldwide, the average internet user spends six hours a day online, and the user base and time spent online is growing. I fully believe that these stats apply to your prospects and customers, too.

Partner with Influencers
Influencer marketing involves grooming relationships with people who can help build your business. It’s the hot marketing trend of 2018, and the FCC has started to regulate it—see sproutsocial.com/insights/influencer-marketing.
    
You’ll want to find collaborators who regularly post content online—say, a professor who specializes in construction safety research, or maybe a local newspaper reporter who writes about architecture and urban development. Ask yourself: Who is in a position to influence GCs, architects, owners and job candidates in my market area? Find them, and see if they will share some of their content with you.
    
Of course, you can become an influencer yourself by producing content in clusters—that is, diving deep into certain topics and thereby becoming an expert. One firm’s site I reviewed has plenty of posts on immigration, contract workers and labor brokers. Their blog roll serves as a content cluster of thought leadership on these topics, which no doubt generates plenty of awareness and buzz for the firm.
    
By the way, influencer marketing is a great away to appeal to Gen Y (millennials) and Gen Z (youth born 1995–2016). Younger generations rely on recommendations and reviews when making decisions, so influencer marketing could boost your recruitment efforts. Don’t discount that idea.

Produce Videos
Technology makes it easy to create and post videos online. But why should you produce them? Because videos are engaging. A study by Wordstream found that social videos and live streaming generate 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined.
    
In summary, it’s time to ramp up your digital marketing program. No, you don’t have to write blog posts every week—or even every month. Go for fewer, bigger and better posts to deliver brand value. Think of ways you can inspire others—such as your workforce or architects who stand to be impressed with your project work. Focus on education, such as job site safety. Create a short company video—1 minute and 30 seconds is the gold standard for video length. Finally, update your website design.
    
These are this year’s must-dos. They will help clarify your company mission and goals, push you forward in building your brand and help cultivate new customers.

Mark L. Johnson is an industry writer and marketing consultant. Reach him at @markjohnsoncomm, and at linkedin.com/in/markjohnsoncommunications.