Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Overwhelming choices (and opportuniites)

A little less than three years ago, when I began publishing this blog, I set out to find other AEC industry bloggers with the intent of providing free link-backs to their sites (and to credit them with being first.) I found a few localized initiatives, but (to my surprise) seemed to have the space mostly to myself.

Meanwhile, social networking groups like were starting to gain traction,but again few knew about them -- and I recall writing my first SMPS Marketer article on the topic and "connecting" with some SMPS leaders who hadn't heard (or knew little) about these resources. (SMPS: Society for Marketing Professional Services, the association for AEC marketers.)

Today, a quick look at this blog's sidebar provides just a slight clue to the number and range of online options for online construction marketing information and relationships. In fact, the choices here may seem overwhelming, with more options and choices available each week. I'm doing my best to keep up, but I'm not starting from scratch. How should you handle things if you aren't already established in the online space?

The answer to this question has two parts. You need to look at things from the framework of obtaining construction marketing information, and, separately, executing your own construction marketing strategies.

Obtaining information
If you spend all day and all night surfing around the Internet you may find some gems, but you won't do much for your own business. Ultimately, you need to select a few key places to connect.

I've expressed some biases in my sidebar -- these aren't entirely fair, as some really good blogs and resources are 'buried' in the long list of hyperlinks, but the ones I've chosen consistently provide useful information (and I selectively visit a few favorites outside this list, and report on them in regular blog postings.)

You should of course supplement these resources with specific trade and local information sources. Eventually, I think you will have a prioritization system somewhat similar to mine -- you'll routinely check five or six key places, and have a larger list where you visit from time to time.

Obtaining marketing results
Here things require more work, thought, and planning (and some speed!) If your goal is to use online resources to promote and develop your own business, you will need to decide which resources to use, and how to give them priority.

You can blog, contribute to social networking sites and forums, build a content-rich website, and use e-mail marketing, all melded to help out with your search engine rankings. Your goal is to make it easy for potential clients to find your business and, when they do, to be predisposed to doing business with you because you convey the impression and values they are seeking.

Of course, some businesses will provide these services to you for a fee. You need to be wary of promises and claims from unsolicited spam, of course, but you are probably safe if you land on a business which has obtained a free link in my blog's sidebar. (We offer a specific publicity/media development service relevant for businesses with annual sales volumes of greater than $250,000 to $500,000, but other services can help out with smaller enterprises.)

You can also do a lot for yourself and you will have to do some things without much help (unless you want to spend a fortune). Much Internet marketing and relationship building requires your material to express your own personality; you can't easily hand this off to a third-party agency, or junior employee who needs to go to you for permission anytime he or she wishes to say anything.

From a marketing perspective, there is still some good news. In many locations and trades, you can still be "first to market" and obtain the advantage of online marketing leadership. But you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Look at works elsewhere, and what you enjoy doing, and you will likely succeed.

No comments: