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Monday, January 17, 2011

Construction marketing: Where should you advertise, now? Where not?

The CMI Facebook page
If you are considering an advertising campaign, consider first Facebook.  Consider last, The Yellow Pages.

These are blunt generalities.  In truth, you should assess your business, its demographics and ideally spend some time face-to-face with your best and most valuable current clients (and those who you think will be the most valuable in the future) to learn which media they follow, which interests they have, and where they hang out.  Then you naturally can co-ordinate your advertising with their interests in mind (and while you are at it, hopefully obtain some testimonials you can use in your own marketing.)

Facebook's power is its ability to link the existing social networks and friendships with some detailed demographic data, allowing you to target your message quite exactly, referencing the traffic to your (free) profile page, where (if you are doing business correctly) you'll have plenty of "likes" and positive testimonials and recommendations.  These of course correlate with the natural word-of-mouth and referral process, but the whole thing is put into hyper-drive.  (Of course, there is a risk here:  If you screw up or deliver crappy service/value, you can expect the worst type of wildfire negative word-of-mouth publicity possible.)

Facebook today is like Google keyword advertising was about five years ago.  Marketers who caught the Google bug in the mid part of the previous decade discovered they had uncovered a golden source of truly inexpensive leads.  Those days have now passed and prices for relevant keywords have skyrocketed to the point that you need to be extremely thoughtful, careful, and targeted when you use AdWords -- or you risk blowing your budget in days.  (Of course, the risk is still much more manageable than conventional print or electronic media; you can test and revise your message with exceptional speed and are not beholden to the media sales reps or contracts for campaigns which simply don't work.)

While consultants can offer to help you with this keyword and Facebook advertising, I recommend you do some testing and evaluation yourself.  Google AdWords has, indeed, become relatively complex and the standard defaults could cause you to waste lots of money, but Facebook is still quite simple and easy to administer.

Compare this to the Yellow Pages where you may need to spend a small fortune on an annual contract with no escape.  Yuck.
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