In a long-sales cycle industry like construction, lots of information gathering happens throughout the buying process. Whether you realize it or not, your prospects are learning about you before they ever pick up the phone. And that learning process will most likely begin on your company website.
Early on, prospects are trying to qualify you. They’re learning about your services and areas of expertise, as well as your client experience. This is the no brainer website content that you absolutely need – descriptions of your capabilities and summaries of projects you’ve completed. But in this article, I’ll assume you’ve already put those “must haves” in place. I want to instead focus on three types of content that will separate you from your competitors as the buying processes of your construction leads progress.
1. Educational articles
Most of your competitors are all talk. “We’ve built all across the country”. “We listen to your needs”. “No one else could possibly service you the way we can”. Blah. Blah. Blah. The problem with this approach is that your audience is smart. They smell the B.S. from miles away. And every contractor they find says the same thing as the last. So don’t be like them.
Instead of wasting your energy talking all about you, focus on helping your construction leads. Put yourself in their shoes. What problems are they trying to solve? What questions do they need answered on a regular basis? What do they want to learn that will help them make a purchasing decision? Five-paragraph educational articles (AKA blog posts) are the perfect solve. Educate and inform rather than blabbering about how awesome you are at delivering your services.
2. In-depth white papers
Condensing your answer to a common FAQ into a few paragraphs can sometimes be difficult. Your solutions to customer problems are often complex. And some of your construction leads might want to dig deeper, seeking more detailed and technical information. So give it to them.
White papers are like educational blog posts – just more detailed. Dive into to the common topics that lead to long sales conversations and flesh out those topics with 2-3 page (or longer) educational papers. For example, we helped one of our clients – a design-build contractor – produce this white paper called How to Manage A Healthcare Construction Project From Start to Finish. Gather the technical details that your prospects seek from the experts at your company. And turn them into content that will engage your audience and prompt sales conversations.
Oh, and a bonus comes along with writing white papers – they’re great lead generation tools. While you should post your educational articles / blog posts on your website for anyone to read, you should use your downloadable white papers as lead generation tools. If you’d like to learn more about how to make that happen, here’s an article we wrote about how to turn website visitors into leads.
3. Case studies, but written in a smarter way…
I recently read a fantastic book called Same Side Selling: A Radical Approach to Break Through Sales Barriers. (this is a highly recommended read, but the way). The authors spent a few pages talking specifically about case studies and argued that an effective case study should be broken down this way:
- 10% Client background
- 50% Client issue, impact and importance
- 40% Outcome of solution
Most traditional case studies allocate a majority of their real estate to describing a solution. But those solutions are customer-specific and therefore not relatable to many prospective customers. The breakdown outlined above instead emphasizes the client’s problem (or issue), how fixing it would impact them, the importance of fixing that problem and the outcome that was actually produced.
In short, this case study structure demonstrates problem-solving capabilities and the ability to understand the issue at hand for the customer. And it focuses on success, which is just the thing you need to sell.
Generating construction leads is obviously no easy task, but these three types of content will help qualify and separate your business. For a broader look at online lead generation in this industry, read our blog post about 3 smart ways to generate construction leads online.