Billboard advertising is just one option to consider as you market your construction services. photo: Tarheelblog.com
Need to know what specific types of media outlets meet your company’s current marketing or advertising needs? Now, this is by no means an all-encompassing list, but it covers about 95% of what most contractors use when marketing their construction businesses. As with everything, these are general marketing principles, you may achieve greater (or worse) results depending on many factors.
Market Coverage: Newspapers typically cover a metro area including the suburbs, but many contractors are finding success in local “home town” publications.
Audience: This is a mass media approach to marketing that skews towards men who are older, with higher incomes and educated. You can also target readers by advertising in Business, Sports, or Home & Garden sections.
Advantages of newspaper advertising: Current with a very flexible, short lead time. Newspapers are an accepted, traditional means of advertising that offers both graphic and contextual ad copy to readers.
Disadvantages of newspaper advertising: Ultra-short life span with ads commingled with many other advertisers. No real logic behind ad placement other than section-specific ads. No one newspaper can deliver the entire consumer market.
Cost: Running ads on a consistent basis gets expensive, even in the smallest publications. Producing ads are typically low in cost. To win, you have to be “seen” a lot before you gain consumer acceptance.
Best suited for: Newspapers are better suited for a products or services with a broad appeal that can be marketed to the masses with special promotions.
Market Coverage: Normally covers a metro area, but can be targeted to specific local markets through cable operators.
Audience: Very wide reach slanted toward younger age groups. Not much market segmentation available.
Advantages of TV advertising: A demonstratable medium that provides a very strong visual impact. A broad appeal that reaches large groups of people very quickly.
Disadvantages of TV advertising: Huge cost. Local markets (suburbs) often cannot be targeted effectively. Lots of other ads create clutter while new technology offers the ability to channel surf or skip advertising altogether (TiVo or DVR). Many stations fragment the market and water down overall results.
Costs: Again, very expensive from both a production and distribution standpoint. Frequency is the name of the game in television advertising, but the market is expensive to reach.
Best suited for: Mass market approach for products with a broad appeal that you can demonstrate.
Market coverage: Usually covers the entire metropolitan area with a listening audience predicated on channel demographics.
Audience: A highly fragmented audience based primarily on the station format.
Advantages of radio advertising: This is a timely, immediate marketing platform. Again, the station format allows you to target a specific demographic depending on your objective. The use of the spoken word allows you to provide a personal message that reaches at best a passively engaged consumer, at worst, a totally disengaged consumer.
Disadvantages of radio advertising: No single station can nail down an entire market. Message recall is difficult unless your ad budget allows you to saturate the platform. In other words, radio requires repetition which requires lots of cash.
Cost: Production costs are terrible, but the saturattion of the marketplace with your campaign is going to be expensive. Quoted prices from the rate card are always negotiable in radio.
Best suited for: Contractors who are targeting a specific group with some type of sale or special promotion.
Market coverage: All businesses and homeowners with telephones through the use of area-specific directories.
Audience: Active shoppers who are ready to buy — this typically consists of emergency buyers, newcomers to the area and comparison shoppers.
Advantages of Yellow Pages advertising: Usually the Yellow Pages provides total market coverage and is used when consumers are ready to make a purchase. Measurable results with the use of call tracking numbers extend the reach of other creative media.
Disadvantages of Yellow Pages Advertising: Once you place your ad it’s there for a year, which makes the Yellow Pages flexible with a long lead time. One of the advantages is a disadvantage as well; people who are ready to buy and have already narrowed down their choices are looking for local provider.
Cost: No production cost to speak of and a low CPM make this an attractive offer for many home services providers.
Best suited for: Residential and commercial services providers offering emergency or rapid response services. Home improvement retailers and contractors just starting out can benefit from the right type of ad in the Yellow Pages.
Internet marketing or advertising
Market coverage: You pick; global, national, regional or local reach. Specific demographics are typically targeted geographically.
Audience: This normally varies depending on the website. You either want a national audience with mass appeal if you are say a franchisor or you can be highly targeted to hit a niche market right in your home town.
Advantages: A highly targeted medium that allows for personal messages to reach a large group effectively. The flexibility of Internet advertising is a huge advantage to small- and medium-size construction companies. Another benefit of marketing online for contractors is the results-oriented approach the medium provides from a cost standpoint.
Disadvantages: Message retention is difficult, but repetition of the message is much more cost-effective and therefore viable online. There is, however a high degree of ad clutter. You also have to continually work at improving your response rate over time.
Cost: Reduction in distribution costs may vary and effectiveness can be difficult to measure at times.
Best suited for: A home-improvement contractor with a product or service that has broad appeal. Marketing online is a fantastic way to promote sales or specials to help direct response through lead generation.
Market coverage: For the sake of the home-improvement contractor, we’ll talk about regional coverage here that specializes in a targeted demographic that’s often geographically dispersed.
Audience: This truly varies depending on the publication. A metro edition serving a specific geographic location can provide a highly targeted niche market for the home-improvement contractor.
Advantages of magazine advertising: A highly loyal readership with a relatively long life span. Highly polished magazines can provide visual benefits such as color impact for those in the remodeling industry. Magazines that publish monthly can be timed for seasonal promotions as well.
Disadvantages of magazine advertising: Like the Yellow Pages, magazines have a long lead time with inflexible deadlines and copy changes. Unless you’re willing to pay for premium placement your ad message can get lost in the shuffle, buried deep inside the magazine which will limit message retention.
Cost: Production costs do vary and the CPM is much higher than most other forms of advertising in the local market. Also, it can be difficult to track results.
Best suited for: Home-improvement companies looking to generate leads through a targeted or specialized demographics driven by a specific need or people living in a particular area.
Market coverage: Totally controlled by you, the advertiser, so you can either go broad with a shotgun approach or opt for laser focus to a highly targeted list.
Audience: This is going to be totally list dependent, but is often times mass mailed into a geographic area. But you can be highly targeted either through a narrow definition of an optimum client or customer or by geography.
Advantages of direct mail marketing: A timely, flexible medium that hits a highly targeted audience. Very measurable results through the use of a highly personalized messages with a strong call to action.
Disadvantages direct mail marketing: Response rates are normally in the 1% or less range. Mailing lists are always difficult to maintain and you run the risk of being lumped in with other junk mail clutter sent to your targeted audience.
Cost: Direct-mail can be a very expensive proposition depending on the response rate, but always count on having postage, mailing list, printing and handling costs added in to the overall cost of any campaign.
Best suited for: A coupon-driven direct response promoting a sale or special offer. Also good for grand opening announcements for any retail-focused contractors such as flooring companies or some remodelers.
Market coverage: Major traffic arteries within the community. Can also be placed on mass transit vehicles and other mobile billboard-type platforms.
Audience: Commuters trapped in their cars or on mass transit that regularly travel through specific locations.
Advantages of outdoor advertising: 24-hour-a-day exposure with a relatively strong reach and frequency for the everyday passersby. Could offer strategic geographic placement with good reinforcement of other media.
Disadvantages of outdoor advertising: Very long lead time and it’s often difficult to measure effectiveness. The message has to be short and sweet. Costs are also a major disadvantage.
Cost: Production and maintenance costs are very high for outdoor advertising.
Best suited for: Brand name or slogan branding. Retail establishments close in proximity to the message itself.
And that’s it. You now have a pretty good list to figure out what marketing platform is right for you. If you still don’t know how to get started, then maybe outsourcing your marketing makes sense. If that’s the case, then let’s talk soon!
Website Design and Conversion
If your website isn’t pulling the number of leads you wanted, you should consider getting a website review or critique. This is the fastest and least expensive way of getting your site to perform better, which means higher revenue with more booked jobs for you!