The Difference Between Traditional and Digital Marketing in Construction

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Person developing a marketing strategy through brainstorming with technological aids
The Difference Between Traditional and Digital Marketing in Construction

So you are here because we have had some of the best Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and have shared this on social media to gain more traction on this blog post to show you the difference between traditional and digital marketing techniques in the construction sector. By now, we can presume that you already know which way this is going. After all, you are not reading this in print media!

Not only will we discuss the differences between the two, we will also discuss the level of impressions your ads can receive in each circumstance, its effectiveness in the context of construction, and why you will need at least a basic understanding and ongoing use of marketing systems if you want increased levels of financial success and higher quality leads for your company.

Its is often perceived that only large companies can afford to make a budget for marketing their products and services. In truth this is a cognitive bias that we have on the sole basis that "if they are bigger than us they are better than us". While our logical mind tells us that is not true, our subconscious mind perceives the bigger things as better than the smaller.

To put this bias into a more general context before we dive into the context of construction and the environment in which it operates. We will use something that has been classed as hot topic in 2019 in 8 countries over the world and that topic has been the Instagram Likes feature being hidden from users in Ireland, Canada, Italy and others. In any case you follow any Instagram page, and you can observe that they are getting a lot of likes for their post, as per the bandwagon fallacy if something has a lot of likes, we as individuals are also more inclined to like it because of the fact other people have done so and psychologically speaking we want to feel like we are a part of it.

Image of Erik Lucatero holding his mobile against the floor, with the Instagram page of Erik Lucatero open
If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram!

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram!

Then you see a similar picture on your feed from a different page, and then it has a much smaller like count, while you see it as a nice picture your subconscious will also look at the like count and then automatically perceive it as a post of lower value on the sole basis of its like count.

Instagram has removed this like feature as a test to see how the app performs. While I am indifferent about its existence, as a marketer I'm not going to spend my well earned marketing money for the sake of false social proof or likes clout. All of these "Influencers" are finding it much more difficult to prove their merit and justify their costs for a shout-out if "likes" engagement is no longer a key performance indicator of the quality of genuine leads. It also tells us as a business owner and a marketer, we will need to find new and better ways to market our products and services (After all, the idea of needing to innovate in a competitive environment is nothing new)

That's the "Bigger than us" Fallacy debunked on a platform with nearly a billion users. Therefore, we can conclude that bigger isn't better anymore but rather whether you can provide genuine value to viewers who may be prospects and even eventually customers of your products or services.

But what about in the context of the built environment and construction? The same rules apply here as they do for many other industries.

Bigger companies do bigger jobs and that much is certain, and if its a big job many people are going to hear about it. Everybody in Cork Knows about the Dunkettle Interchange , and pretty much everyone in Ireland knows about the National Children's Hospital Project. Both of those big jobs are being undertaken by big businesses for a big client (in this case the client is the Irish Government)

So, If you are a small builder, designer, engineer or a small specialist contractor, what can you do you market yourself so that people know what it is that you do? You need to set up a marketing system. Notice how we call it a system rather than a process - A system can be automated but a process must be manual. I'm not saying that setting up a system is easy BUT spending time to build your system will pay dividends for your business in years to come on the back end rather than the front end.

Conventional Marketing Techniques for Small Contractors

  • Relationship Marketing - Process going onto system within 5+ years of continued success

Two businessmen shaking hands while one executive looking towards one of the two parties
Relationship Marketing - It's always a pleasure!

Relationship marketing is by far the highest quality method of lead generation and can often lead to a deal within a relatively short space of time. This is however one of the most time consuming methods because on a very simple premise - It takes time to establish a professional relationship with people and other companies.

The idea of relationship marketing is that you use your circle of influence and you aim to sniff out who wants a home renovation or who needs their plumbing looked after and when you find out who it is, you can build rapport and a casual relationship. As a result, you build trust which is the most crucial component to making a sale and this person will come to you first because they see you as a good person who can help them with their problem and provide a solution.

  • Man with a Van - System (extremely passive and not really effective)

Large white van with a vector graphic on its side, parked outside of a building
If you're a "Man with a Van", make sure your van stands out in a good way!

Every person who I know who owns a white van has their logo on the side of it with all of their contact details on it. The question is does it work?

This is known as "The Hasty Generalisation Fallacy". This fallacy occurs when someone draws expansive conclusions based on inadequate or insufficient evidence. In other words, they jump to conclusions about the validity of a proposition with some - but not enough - evidence to back it up, and overlook potential counterarguments.

Its also paired with the "bandwagon fallacy" where just because something is commonly done it is a presumption to believe that it works because "everyone is doing it".

Now it is understandable why we may be lead to believe it works because it costs about €500 to get a vector graphic printed and placed on the side of the van. Presuming that you get 4 or 5 years out of your van, the sum for "marketing" is negligible. having a vector graphic on the side of your van at least makes you recognisable and people will be made aware you are part of the locality.

  • Business Cards - Process (on the back end reducing cost per lead by retaining customers for long term relationships)

Man in a black suit, offering you to take his business card
Make sure you hand out business cards after a job well done.

Business cards are usually cheap to produce and can be printed in mass quantities but like with all things cheap there is often problems associated with it. Cheap marketing either produces dead leads and creates cheap clients.

The other problem is that the business card is not given in the correct manner. for example if you have ever attended networking events like I have, I have always been approached by a number of people who without even introducing themselves who say "Hi there, Take my business card if you need my services" at this point, I don't know who they are, what they do or what their service provides me.

On some occasions they have given myself or one of my associates 3+ business cards and often follow up and say "Oh my apologies, I meant to only give you one, but look I'm sure you might know a person or two who might find a need it" and it makes us believe that the person who provided us with the cards as extremely unprofessional, lazy and even wasteful (after all business cards cost money at the end of the day) (nice try buddy, but there is no reason for us to work for you for free).

This practice is a disgrace, and should best be avoided because first off while cold calling is in essence a pivotal part in lead generation, you need to develop a sense of trust, understanding and be in tune to the information a prospect tells you. Simply going up to people and saying "take this business card if you need my services" does not create a useful relationship with the potential lead, if anything it becomes a deterrent to avoid you because all they will think you are trying to do is extract money from them which is not the objective of marketing. Marketing is strategic in nature and is designed to differentiate you from the competition.

The best practice of handing out a business card is usually during the post-contract phase of completing a job for a client where you say "It was a pleasure to work with you on (Whatever you were doing), now if for some reason there is an issue with what we have just done or you have other work of a similar nature that you have a need for in the future, you can hold onto this and you can always contact me through any of these details Mr/s Prospect"

Marketing is defined as "traditionally the means by which an organisation communicates to, connects with, and engages its target audience to convey the value of and ultimately sell its products and services" Julie Barile – Vice President of eCommerce, Fairway Market.

Business cards serve a better purpose at customer retention once the sale of the product or service is fulfilled rather than in lead generation.

Traditional Marketing will only yield you conventional results, and as a result it will not be appropriate to scale your business with it in the modern world where the attention of prospects has shifted online and on social media a lot more frequently and are stuck on the phone.

This is where unconventional techniques must be used and must take place in a digital context. The former conventional method offers no insight as to how a consumer of your services found you and therefore it nearly becomes impossible to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. If done digitally the campaign can be seen much more effectively from insights and analytics, your cost per acquisition and much more useful data for the use of your business.

Digital Marketing Techniques for Small Contractors

  • Social Media - System (Do it and recycle over and over a few times a week)

person using a phone with multiple apps
Social Media has the purpose of giving better search engine prominence.

Social Media has the purpose of giving better search engine prominence.

On Facebook you can also list your products and services completely for free with no advertising spend in your local area. there are additional strategies you can use to have additional free ads by simply using the Facebook marketplace and having people message you for your products or services.

The truth is that if people have a problem it is very rare they will look for a solution on social media, this includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. This is because they are social apps and not problem solving ones but the point of social media is to give you a platform to share your thoughts and and suggestions and in some instances free lead generation. The reason I use Social media is because I am a content creator as well as a business owner. Does it offer useful lead generation?

Not really, but it gives me a place where I can consistently install back links into my website so that my content can rank higher on search engines if my content is listed on various platforms.

  • Affiliate Marketing - System (No win - no fee guarantee)

Woman on a laptop, covered in stickers
Scale your business strategy and turn customers into advocates with Affiliate Marketing

This is flipping the business card strategy where you can generate leads for free all while your customers do the marketing for you if they are happy with your work. But how does it work ?

When a customer buys from you, you can give them an affiliate link. With this affiliate link you can suggest to them if they share your link with a friend in need of your services , they can make money for referring a customer to you. his reward is usually around 5-20% of the project value or a flat rate sum, depending on the frequency of your service and how much it costs.

Regardless of the whether or not an affiliate marketing tactic will work on paying out your customers, some will generate leads without using the affiliate link tag and can be optimised for free marketing because of blunders made by the new consumer that caused it to fail.

Of course Affiliate links must be paid out if the process is completed. Not fulfilling the contract of your Affiliate marketeers will breach your trust and your credibility as a responsible company who lives up to the expectations of your affiliates and of course your customers.

  • SEO - System (requires long term build-up and expertise)

Computer screen full of code
Use SEO as your dark horse to grow your business in the background and over time

SEO is the acronym of Search Engine Optimisation. this is in essence free marketing based on a number of key factors. These key factors include Bounce Rate, KeyWord tagging, Geographical and localised search results, Meta Tags, HTML Tagging and embedding and much much more. how these are all free is that it is done by being searched and by listing the tags based upon the products and services you provide and who it would best serve.

Lets assume for example that you are a plumber in Cork City who has a website, as much as you would have to identify what type of plumber you are (such as domestic, commercial, or otherwise) you would also need to state where would be best to reach your market online (if you are a small local contractor or if you are a large business network) but you can also do that online as to get higher quality traffic 64% of people who look for a product or service online will make a purchase within 24 hours, which is why you will want to optimise you website for your business.

Much commerce of goods and services is done by first conducting research online, and unless it is viable to make an in-person visit the same day they will either seek a more local opportunity, or they will opt for a virtual visit first.

If You Want To Receive More Information about SEO For Contracting Organisations Contact SJP Consultancy For A Contractors Digital Marketing Strategy Blueprint contact SJP Consultancy Directly by Clicking Here. if you wish to make an inquiry you can contact us by email at where we will answer your questions in short working order.

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