Before You Consider Digital Marketing...
…you need to read this. Cutting-edge web design, excellent SEO, and an active social media presence will do very little for your business if there is no foundation for these strategies to build upon. There are certain levels of professionalism and business etiquette your brand needs to uphold in order to fulfill the commitments of eventual marketing strategies. There also need to be some marketing basics in place before you can really dive into the digital stuff. And last, but certainly not least, you need a mindset that is going to encourage you and your team to not just maintain the status quo of your business, but to enhance its potential. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most important things you need to have before getting into media marketing strategies. Check it out:
1. Have a clear mission. It doesn’t have to be in statement form, per se, but at least have a solidified idea of what your brand works to accomplish - something you can communicate to both your team and clients that exemplifies what your business stands for.
2. Stop texting your clients like you text your friends. A professional relationship is built on proper communication, not emojis and abbreviated texting language.
3. Don’t sign your professional emails, “– Bob”. Craft a professional, organized email signature.
4. Develop a calendar/scheduling system. When the spring hits and the phones start ringing, you need to know you won’t double-book or send your team to the wrong job site. Keep your calendar organized to help you keep your customers.
5. Be confident when meeting with clients. This can be as simple as a firm handshake and eye-contact – physical implications that let the customer know you are confident in your products and services.
6. Be courteous. We understand the chaos of a day in the life of a design-build professional. Going from the job site to a meeting at the office to a quote at the job site. But that’s not an excuse to treat your clients like they’re an inconvenience on the way to your next stop. Take the care and time each of your clients deserve, and show you appreciate them.
7. Clean up before going to appointments. Going straight from a job site, dirty and sweaty, to an appointment is not okay. It’s not quaint or a sign of a hard worker. It’s just unprofessional and distracting.
8. Maintain your office. If you have an office, it should be a clean, welcoming environment that mirrors the professionalism of your brand. So, keep it organized, tidy, and inviting for clients.
9. Use your home as a sales tool. If you don’t have an office, you might use your home as your “office”, and it has the potential to be a great marketing tool. Make the outside of your home a show piece for your work, and make the inside just as neat and welcoming as you would want your office to be.
10. Train your staff to reflect your business. Yes, you may be the face and voice of your brand and the one that clients see first, but the professionalism of your people on the job site is equally as important. Your team should emulate the same politeness and courtesy as your clients expect of you.
11. Have a logo. This ought to be a professionally developed and designed logo that can be the cornerstone of all your marketing materials and concepts.
12. Implement company colors and fonts. These are crucial for creating consistency across all your marketing platforms and materials.
13. Have literature at the ready. We mean business cards, letterhead, brochures, etc. Without these, branding is impossible, and potential clients can forget about you far too easily.
14. Invest in good photography. Since the design-build industry is built on the idea of appearance, clients want to be wowed by photos of your work. An incredible project does not look so incredible if the photo is grainy or has the date printed in the corner in digital clock font. Consider a photographer or investing in a good camera; showcase your work properly.
15. Supply team uniforms. Your team needs to represent a united, organized brand. This means staff shirts (with the logo mentioned above) and required job site gear, as well as professional-wear for appointments that represent your brand.
16. Get lawn signs. These are great to help design-builders establish local brand awareness. You do one job with your sign (again, with your logo) out front – next thing you know every home on the street has your sign out front.
17. Notice your demographic. After you’ve had a number of jobs, you’ll notice a pattern in the audience you serve. Perhaps you work better with jobs that cater to higher income homes. Whatever your pattern, you should begin to gear your marketing ideas toward the demographic your brand is most often associated with.
18. Know your competition. Anything that helps you stand out from your local competition is helpful in developing your brand, so study the methods and style of your competitors.
19. Start to think about a niche specialty. We’ve noticed the professionals in the design-build industry that often have the most success are those that DON’T try to do it all. Hone the skill set that you and your team have, and work toward a specialty that your brand can focus on and become known for.
20. Maintain continuity. Above all, brand development requires consistency across the board. All the materials and concepts we’ve discussed are nothing if they’re not applied seamlessly from one platform to the next.
Don't get ahead of yourself
Don't get us wrong - we love web design, SEO, and social media more than air. But it's important to recognize whether or not your business is in a good position to begin a digital marketing campaign. You need to get all your ducks (your professional ducks, basic marketing ducks, and conceptual ducks) in a row before you consider diving into the pool of digital marketing.