Marketing tips for the building industry
They say that renovating can make or break you. Well it hasn’t broke me… but it has been damn hard. Let me tell you – living without a proper kitchen or bathroom for the past four months has been testing to say the least.
Temporary bathroom and kitchen aside, over the past two years my husband and I have been planning, organising and finally… renovating our workers cottage in Melbourne Victoria.
During this time I’ve read plenty of renovation books, watched a million episodes of Grand Designs, online-shows like Three Birds Renovations, Kyle & Kara and googled till my fingers bled. 🤣
While the house renovation is about 98% finished, it’s been a long (and arduous at times), interesting and well-thought out process. We instigated the help of an architect early on to maximise the space in our small block, used a builder we’re familiar with (and worked with before) and relied on the professional skills of my husband who works in the construction industry.
Even with all this professional help – it’s been tough. So many decisions to be made and many lessons learned. While I could sit here and write out a blog post about the renovating process and give you tips about that, I’d much prefer to share my thoughts from this process from a business and marketing perspective.
So read on as I share my marketing, communication and social media lessons I’ve learned from renovating my own house.
Instagram is not the be-all and end-all to your marketing strategy
There are plenty of social media managers out there that will tell you how amazing Instagram and social media can be for your business.
There are courses to learn how to use hashtags, how to write the perfect captions and make your feed look oh-so-perfect but without the foundation of a solid business plan or marketing strategy things can unravel very quickly.
It’s easy to think because renovating, building, design and interiors are such a visual business that Instagram should be your go-to marketing strategy. I’m here to tell you otherwise 😉
It’s important to remember that while Instagram is a free marketing platform – it is just that. Before diving into any social media, or putting any further resources into social media, it’s important to take stock of all your marketing activities, take a look at your customers and ask yourself:
- Where are my leads/ customers coming from?
- What is my website analytics telling me?
- Where are my previous customers hanging out? Do I need to build a community?
- What are my business goals and how can social media / Instagram support that?
Don’t underestimate the power of an easy to use website
When it comes to marketing your business, if you don’t have an (optimised) website – what the heck are you doing?
When it came to looking for lighting for our renovation, plenty of suppliers once I found myself moving off their social media or from google search, I really struggled to use their dated, old-fashioned websites – search functionality was hard to use, categories were not sufficient and the design was… not ideal!
I’m going to tell you, this kind of website won’t deliver the results you’re after. Consider the design and functionality of your website with the same kind of importance as a bricks-and-mortar store.
Professional photography is always a good idea
Whenever I start working with new clients one of the first things I recommend ask them to do, is to invest in a new branding/ lifestyle or product shoot. Having good quality, professional photos for social media and your marketing activities is a must!
Quality photos will set your business apart from coIntermpetitors. Take a builder for example – iPhone quality photos and video is fine for Instagram stories, and perhaps some ‘before’ shots / in-progress shots. However when it comes to a quality looking feed, and a professional look – you can’t go past professional photographer shots – especially of your finished project.
My suggestion? If you don’t think you can afford this service, collaborate with other suppliers so you all get access to the photos on delivery.
A great example is BCT Group, a small builder located in inner-west Melbourne or Loxton Builders who have an extensive showcase of finished projects on their website. as well as regularly sharing finished projects on their Instagram feed.
Make it easy for your customers to find out pricing or your service information
Too many times during my renovation process I would struggle to find basic business information on Instagram and Facebook pages, even websites!
Making it easy for your potential customers to purchase from you – list pricing or contact information on your websites. Provide a contact from that’s clear to fill in – and regularly check to see if it’s working properly (this is a big tip!)
Service based providers (Interior designers, architects etc.) take note! You can create PDF downloads featuring your potential services, booking forms, down-loadable guides. It doesn’t have to be complicated!
If you can’t list your pricing, make it easy for customers to enquire about pricing – whether it be for individual products, booking consultations or discovery calls. Consider online scheduling programs if you can!
Video is king – just ask the girls from Three Birds Renovations
“People will spend 100 minutes a day watching online videos in 2021.” Source
Home makeovers, renovations and new builds can be captured beautifully by a photo – but video, you can tell a story, share the process and development and show the scale, depth and flow of a home.
There are a plethora of business owners, influencers, past renovation show contestants and renovation celebrities that now have their online TV shows (complete with Sponsors).
These videos are generally added on YouTube, and added to their website – and then shared via Social Media. So predicted reach could be HUGE depending on their following!
A couple of examples that come to mind, and I’ve used during my renovation have been Three Birds Reno’s and Kyal & Kara.
If you’re a business owner, these platforms are a potential collaboration opportunity – consider pitching your products or services, or ask about sponsorship packages as plenty of renovators (like myself) and builders use these videos as inspiration!
More video – Instagram stories
Don’t forget about Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories or even snapchat (if you’re audience is there)! Again video, and especially using story-telling, behind the scenes action and product/ service information in your stories can definitely help your business grow and attract not only a following, by turning followers into customers.
A great example of this is @lightslightslights_au who are using Instagram Stories very cleverly to educate and inspire their fans, followers and customers around lighting design and functionality.
Unfortunately I didn’t find them until too late – and unfortunately couldn’t use their service for my renovation, however their education around lighting design helped me immensely. Now some may argue, they’are giving away their best asset – their expertise, however I will definitely consider them for future renovations or builds and recommend them to friends, family or colleagues.
Don’t forget about SEO!
Where do you generally go to first when you’re searching for a product or service? Google! So, search engine optimisation is key when it comes to marketing your business.
If your potential customers can’t find you during a Google search, or your website ranking is down the list – your competitors will potential get business before you.
I can definitely recommend hiring an SEO expert to assist with this so your website can be searchable and customers can find you online!
Collaboration over competition
Don’t forget about collaborations or working with Influencers. Ever since the rise of home renovation shows like “The Block” – building, renovating and decorating your home has become a lot more mainstream and attainable.
Services for Interior Design, home staging/ styling for sale and even the use of architects are more popular than ever!
Collaborating with other businesses can help you expand your reach, increase your subscriber database, grow your following and potentially earn leads and new customers.
When it comes to working with other businesses, look for those that are complementary to yours and ask yourself, “How can we work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes?”
Approaching Influencers can have the same outcomes as above, and you should be clear on the outcomes for both parties before reaching out.
One of the best examples I’ve seen on collaborations is the girls from Three Birds Renovations or Kyal and Kara. Both undertaking building projects over the years – and filming them for YouTube series. Both of these have been clever, collaborating with suppliers, designers, artists, homewares stores and builders to work on their projects.
Customer Service is KING
Being available and accessible after a fan/follower has engaged with you on social media – or filled out an enquiry form on your website – should be dealt with promptly and efficiently.
Over the past few months I’ve experienced a whole spectrum of good, average and bad customer service, and the difference can mean gaining a customer, a positive review, a referral or recommendation, a new fan online – or the complete opposite.
One of the best has come from @zephyr_and_stone – sisters Kasia and Ania who share tonnes of inspiration, tips and first-hand advice. They answered countless questions for me during my renovation, and their use of @easycraft.panels – which inspired me to use this product on my loungeroom wall to conceal hidden cupboards.
My own home design, renovation and build experience has been years in the making. It’s been exciting, tough, tiring and ultimately rewarding. Having lived without a full kitchen, bathroom or laundry for 6 months was tough, but having the beautiful home we do right now makes it all worth it.
From someone who has spent years searching online for ideas, suppliers and contractors – there has been a range of experiences with
Our own renovation vendors:
Altereco Design – Architects
McDonald Harrison Construction – Builders
Melissa Lunardon – Interior Furnishing
If you’re in the building, interiors or design industry – please reach out. I’d be happy to chat to you over a free discovery call about your business marketing.