By Shawn Van Dyke

Shawn Van Dyke was a guest speaker at the JELD-WEN booth at the recent NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. He spoke about how to differentiate your construction business through social media marketing. This is a summary of his seminar.

Many construction companies claim to offer the best service. The problem is most construction businesses market their services in the same way. They plaster beautiful pictures of their finished projects on social media and detail their five-step planning-to-completion process on their websites. Marketing your construction business in these ways is not wrong, but it is not the most effective way to differentiate your business from your competition.

You may be the best at what you do, but, as StoryBrand CEO Donald Miller says, “People don’t buy the best products or services. People buy the ones they can understand the fastest.”

The reason McDonald’s sells billions of hamburgers every year is not because they make the best hamburger. Mickey D’s sells billions of hamburgers every year because their customers understand what they get.1 McDonald’s sells consistency.

If you want to differentiate your construction business through social media marketing, then you need to make it easy for your customer to understand what they will get. Show your customers the benefits they will receive when they do business with you.

Stop talking about yourself, your process and your service. Your customers don’t care about you, your process or your service. Your customers care about themselves. They care about how doing business with you benefits them. Once they engage with you, then you can explain to them how “it” works. Until then, follow this three-step social media marketing plan to engage with your potential customers.

A three-step marketing plan for your construction business

Follow these simple steps to increase the effectiveness of the social media marketing of your construction business.

STEP ONE — Showcase your clients’ stories, not your work.

Your customers don’t care about you and don’t understand your process. Stop talking about those things and show your customers something they can understand — people like themselves.

Every good story has an unlikely hero who has to overcome a conflict. Along this journey the hero encounters a mentor who helps the hero achieve success. You are playing the hero when you post pictures of completed projects and talk about your process. You are the center of attention when you talk about how your quality exceeds the industry standards. You are telling the story most businesses tell.

Tell your clients’ stories. Paint them as the hero in the story you are telling. Talk about the problems you solve. Show them pictures and videos of your clients’ smiling faces and use their words to describe the obstacles you helped them overcome. To take another line from Donald Miller, “Be the guide; not the hero.”

Advertise the problems you solve, the benefits your customers get and show pictures of your customers’ successes. Your clients should be the focus of your marketing efforts. Your work is just the backdrop.

STEP TWO — Give away something extremely valuable.

Everyone likes something for free. Give your customers something for free in exchange for their email addresses. Really? An email address? No one wants an email from my company.

You’re right. No one wants an email from your company, and no one cares about your “newsletter” (see Step One). But people want to know how to solve their problems. That’s why you should create a lead magnet and give it to your potential customers. Your lead magnet should identify a problem your customer is facing and provide a solution to that problem.

When you solve a problem for your customers for free, then they will see you as an authority. They will see you as a guide. All your potential customers have to do is give you their email address in exchange for that valuable piece of information. Those email addresses are the most valuable pieces of online real estate you can develop.

Social media platforms change every day. You don’t own the platform. You use someone else’s platform. But they don’t own your email list. You own that. They can’t take those email addresses away from you.

When someone decides to give you their email address, they grant you permission to market to them. Send your potential customer more valuable information. This establishes trust. Once your potential customers trust you, then you are ready for the final marketing step.

STEP THREE — Tell your customers to do something.

The most important step in the marketing process is to get your potential customers to buy from you. Your customers won’t buy from you if you don’t make them an offer. Marketers call this a call to action (CTA).

  • Download your free design guide.
  • Schedule your free evaluation.
  • Book an appointment.
  • Start your free trial.
  • Buy now.

These are examples of CTAs. Calls to action work if you solve a problem and establish trust with your potential customers. Not every potential customer will take action. Not every potential customer will buy from you. That’s OK. Keep sending them more valuable information and one of three things may happen:

  1. They will continue to view you as an authority and tell other potential customers about you.
  2. They will eventually buy from you.
  3. They will unsubscribe from your email list.

Any of these outcomes is a good thing. They will A) generate other leads for you, B) buy from you or C) they will self-identify as not your ideal clients.

Effective social media marketing strategy

Author Srinivas Rao wrote a book called “Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better than Best.” The title says it all. Every construction business owner thinks they are the best (or at least they should if they want to be successful). They market their services from their point of view. Talking about yourself is what everyone else does.

Be the only one who tells your customers’ stories. You won’t have to compete with the best because your potential customers will never notice them. Your potential customers will understand your message much faster than your competition’s and hire you.

Identify your potential customers’ number one problem. Guide them through a process that leads to their success and call them to take action. This simple social media strategy will increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and grow your construction business.

Shawn Van Dyke is the author of “Profit First for Contractors” and “The Paperwork Punch List.” Want to talk with Shawn and get results right now? Schedule your session here.

To learn more about JELD-WEN, visit the website.

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