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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The book

The proof copy arrived today of my first book, Construction Marketing Ideas: Practical strategies and resources to attract and retain profitable clients for your architectural, engineering and construction business.

Seeing the book in print for the first time, I also see some things that need to be corrected. Fortunately, this is not a big problem with Print on Demand technology. I'll read through the book with a marker this weekend, sending the revisions to my designer. I'm confident the changes are straightforward enough we can give the go-ahead for release and full distribution without another proof copy. This means the book I expect will be released within the week.

As soon as it is ready for release, I'll update the webpage and offer for pre-purchase orders.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sending you down the road (construction marketing) . . .

. . . to the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog at

Sunday, March 28, 2010

SEO: How important is it for construction marketing?

Getting your website to the top space on key search engines for relevant keywords is the modern-day more-than-equivalent of achieving top billing both in size and impressions on the Yellow Pages. It is "more than equivalent" because the dynamic power of high rankings coupled with immediate action -- visiting your website -- can make all the difference in lead discovery and conversion for your business.

How do you achieve this ranking?

The best answer is to create a site rich with useful content, worthwhile whether or not people actually buy anything from you. The content, of course, should relate to topics relevant to your product or service.

The next stage is for your site to attract enough links from other (credible) sites who find your content valuable and worthy of reference. You can of course set up relevant Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn groups and pages, and post on relevant forums (where you may be allowed to reference your site within your signature.)

Finally, you might approach bloggers and other editorial sites and encourage reviews/comments. As well, you might start your own blog and update it frequently (a good way to move things ahead.)

This process should take more time and effort than money but can be highly frustrating as you do the work and don't see direct or measurable results.

Some services purport to be specialists in Search Engine Optimization and some perhaps provide value for your money. However, you may find you pay a lot of cash for disappointing results.

As well, you may find you have optimized the wrong thing. Your keywords may not be relevant to end-users and you may find few if any real customers respond to you.

I would advocate becoming a true expert and showing why on your websites. Help people understand the issues and challenges you can help them solve and solve some real problems both in words and images to help people along.

Then you will have a worthy site in its own right, whether or not the search engine forces wish to recognize your construction marketing ideas.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Playing with extremes?

Can you succeed at construction marketing by going beyond the edge (and not risk your business doing it?) I'll share an example in tomorrow's Construction Marketing Ideas blog at the actively-maintained site,

Friday, March 26, 2010

The travel story

You can read the story in the actively-maintained Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

To the printers

Last evening, I uploaded the Construction Marketing Ideas book contents and sent instructions to the printers for the proof copy. Hopefully all will go well. In the final check before sending the image files to the printer, I found our designer had failed to include the book index! He fixed that quickly.

As a bonus, indexer Julia Petrakis completed an exceptionally thorough final copy editing, I think improving the book's quality.

Of course you will find substantial Construction Marketing Ideas at the actively maintained blog site,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Construction Marketing Ideas book

Within a few days, we will order the printing of the new Construction Marketing Ideas book.

Meanwhile, the blog continues to be updated daily, but the real content is at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nothing here (but construction marketing ideas)

Actually, most of the ideas are now at the new blog site, at But there are useful archives here so I will continue this site and occasionally provide some useful ideas here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Long days

I had an interesting and challenging discussion with a potential representative for the Design and Construction Report today, exploring the business philosophy and methodology. The question: Am I perceiving the enterprise from a perception based on my blinders and not the bigger opportunities out there.

She has a point. Of course, however, if you are exploring other ideas it is wise to keep things firmly grounded in practical circumstances: Change is hard for anyone.

More on this and other topics in tomorrow morning's Construction Marketing Ideas blog posting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lots of work

This week.... but you will always find new material at the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lessons learned (again)

I'm happy that behind the scenes, yesterday's blog postings helped make some changes possible, creating business and growth opportunities for everyone involved.

The public media can be a sledge hammer in attempting to resolve private issues and certainly I am aware of its power. Accordingly I observe one essential rule in these pages (and in the real, current Construction Marketing Ideas blog where all the real stuff happens). I never write identifiably negative information about anyone in these postings unless they specifically give me permission or (in rare situations) the negative behavior/actions is already out in the public space.

Still, we can accomplish a lot with sometimes not-so-subtle hints.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sales talk and real communication

Today, I received an email from a business person seeking to develop a relationship with us. The text read like canned content and had the aura of hype. Unfortunately, for the person sending this email to me, I had some information which would not help his cause.

Conversely, yesterday, Daniel Smith reported to me that a project that appeared to be unfeasible because of lack of interest from potential advertisers/clients had suddenly sprung to life. Daniel had managed to draft a "final opportunity" letter totally devoid of hype or "sales talk". It read softly while giving readers enough information to decide, if they wish, to spend several thousand dollars. Several did.

I wish I could pin down where sales talk-writing ends and genuine communication begins. It isn't easy. Sometimes persuasive marketing messages follow the standard cliches, but most of the time they succeed with a degree of authenticity based on real communication rather than canned language and scripts.

When you find this type of formula, your construction marketing will succeed; when you follow the path of least resistance and turn into a stereotyped selling machine, many if not most of your potential clients will run for the hills.

So, stop "selling" and start communicating.

I'll write more about this topic tomorrow at the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Construction Marketing videos

The great dream

Can we find the magic to construction marketing success? The more I study the field, the more I learn the answer is "yes" but the route is not always as straightforward as you think.

I cover some of these aspects in the upcoming Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter, which is distributed every second week. You can request your free subscription with the communications box at the top of this page.

In the meantime, for some observations on how to overcome "voicemail jail" while selling, you can visit the latest Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ottawa Renovates Magazine (Spring, 2010)

The Joomla problems for the Ottawa Renovates website are beyond my capacity, so I've put out the word for contractors to help solve the problem. Hopefully we'll get it fixed before the thousands of copies are distributed with the Ottawa Citizen.

I'll continue work on other aspects of the Construction Marketing Ideas story tomorrow at the real blog site,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Putting Ottawa Renovates Online

Lots of "fun" tonight figuring out Joomla and stuff to update the Ottawa Renovates! site with the latest issue. For some reason, material seems to have disappeared from the templates and I'm struggling with the problems.

In the meantime, you can visit the regular blog at

I hope to have the other problem solved tomorrow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A referral sale?

Today, I took things closer to the edge than usual with a 12-hour "referral sale". The results proved to be intriguing and I will report on them in tomorrow's real Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Finding construction marketing answers

You'll find some useful answers at the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog site.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I need it, as I will continue posting here daily until the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog is number two in search engine rankings.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Just returned from the CSC Toronto Trade Show. The most interesting development: Observations that the LEED program and environmental certifications may have some challenges and might not be doing what they are supposed to achieve. Lots of work to investigate that story ahead.

In the end, our business is discovering useful ideas and challenging assumptions. Out of that, hopefully, we will find some marketing genius. These matters of course are covered in the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog at another site.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

CSC Toronto show

Tomorrow morning, I'll be flying to Toronto for a day at the CSC No Frills Show. the event is an opportunity to reconnect with key people within the AEC community, in Toronto.

If you would like to meet me there, please email (I'll have my Blackberry with me).

You can also of course visit the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog at

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Not much to say . . .

Tonight, but will have some useful content tomorrow at the real Construction Marketing Ideas blog.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A year's difference

This time last year, I faced difficult and frustrating challenges. The recession hit like a ton of bricks just as i had loosened discipline, financial management and controls, thinking (a few months earlier) that all was well.

Wrenching, painful days continued as we made cuts while "extravagances" incurred in the good times continued. It is a hard feeling to enjoy little pleasures knowing that you are losing so much money that your business in jeopardy.

Today, we are much leaner and I have to work harder, but the business again is profitable. I need to hold on to the reins for a while to clear down the debt, but it is a relief to have weathered the storm.

Tomorrow, at I'll write some useful material related to the topic -- Construction Marketing Ideas.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

What really defines the "best construction blog"?

This evening, I received an email questioning the validity of the Best Construction Blog competition. The writer told me, essentially, that the blogs which won aren't really that good and by setting them as an example, others might think these reflect the best achievements possible.

Of course, the Best Construction Blog competition more accurately reflects the blogger's ability to network and encourage supporting votes; in essence, to prove success at marketing/sales. Since the competition is set within the framework of the Construction Marketing Ideas blog, these results (from this perspective) then have some validity.

However, the email writer has a point: If the objective is to measure the blog that truly achieves a business's marketing goals, then maybe we need another judging methodology.

Then again, there is the story of the Change Order Boat . . . Over the years, the posting you can access by clicking on the image has been one of the most popular ones on this blog. And if you think of marketing folly (if the boat owner really cares about marketing), you would have to give the Boat story an A+ for absurdity.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Really tired

Just prepared the Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter for distribution tomorrow morning, after a truly busy day where I combined work, family, and business management -- and confirmed the results of the Best Construction Blog competition.

You can read my analysis either within the newsletter (which you can still request at this site), or at the new Construction Marketing Ideas blog, where I do my serious thinking and writing.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Best construction blog competition results

Here are the results from the best construction blog competition which concluded at 5 pm today.

I'll provide some insights into these results at the new Construction Marketing Ideas blog tomorrow morning.