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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sustainable construction marketing: When advertising works

While undoubtedly most successful construction businesses obtain most of their new business from repeat and referral clients, virtually everyone in business has the challenge of finding sustainable, predictable revenue going forward.

This can be a challenge especially if you provide contracting or professional services for large-scale projects.  Each project consumes tremendous amounts of time and resources (and generates hefty amounts of revenue) but you can only handle so many projects at any time or your business will be stretched beyond its capacity.  On the other hand, if you "run out" of work, you are in big trouble.

Contractors (mostly in the residential space) with smaller projects have a different sort of challenge.  They need to refill the pipeline constantly and have to find new business in a reliable and manageable way.    The challenge is finding the right leads, converting them, and then finding more. . .

Retail-focused contractors have a clearly available resource: Advertising.  Once they've found the right media and are able to track and manage the leads the advertising generates, they can effectively control their lead and sales flow -- testing new variations and media to improve the results, and adapting the advertising volume to overall sales and lead conversion rates.  (In hard times, when results are less effective, they may need to advertise more; but they are not throwing good money after bad, because they can reasonably anticipate how the advertising will work.)

So advertising in a variety of media can make a lot of sense if you are running a consumer-focused business.  But what if you are a general contractor, an engineer or an architect looking for work on projects worth $500,000 -- or $5 million?

Here, I think a different kind of "advertising" is more effective.  You need to put yourself near the people who make the decisions and build their respect and confidence.  And then, when it is time to present the proposal, make sure you prepare a great presentation -- and rehearse it.  See this posting from Mel Lester with some practical suggestions on what you need to do.

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