While the medium-term outlook for construction is strong – with $8 trillion global growth projected by 2030 – shorter-term forecasts for the UK, Europe and the US present a mixed picture.
Deloitte’s report on engineering and construction last year predicted continuing pressure on bottom lines in 2020, with labour shortages constraining productivity in the US. In the UK, Mintel reported a flattening of growth in 2019, though the Glenigan Construction Industry Forecast for 2020 and 2021 is a little brighter, predicting 2% growth for the coming year.
With negative headlines, company collapses and falling share prices, morale in the sector is down in the doldrums. So, what can construction firms do to transform how they’re perceived? One answer is to develop solid communications strategies that actually address the industry’s current challenges. Below we’ll look at five ways great copywriting can help construction companies change their fortunes.
Solid search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential for any business, and construction is no different. Regularly updated expert content is an efficient way of improving your Google ranking. According to Forbes, using content to generate inbound leads costs 61% less than traditional outbound marketing. With Deloitte reporting that construction lags other industries in its adoption of digital technology, more higher quality online content is one way to address the issue. For instance, many of the world’s largest construction companies don’t yet have a blog.
Fragmentation is a key trend in construction according to Mintel’s 2019 report. Sole traders, micro and small companies now make up over half of the construction workforce in the UK. Thousands of niche operators are all struggling to establish their brands and explain what they do. When the procurement team at a big contractor carries out due diligence on a potential supplier, inevitably they will look at the company’s website. If the information there demonstrates depth of expertise, procurers will feel more confident about bringing the firm into their supply chain. For example, America’s biggest design-build specialist Korte had strong site traffic but was disappointed with its conversion rate. By analysing its traffic and targeting in-depth content to its most-visited pages, the company boosted monthly contact generation by 650% over two years. Working with a construction copywriter gives you the opportunity to share your unique insights in a captivating way, leading to greater traction for your brand.
Generating content tailored to clients’ needs helps improve retention. Major construction firms employ thousands of people, many of whom are hungry for industry knowledge that will help them succeed in their roles. Whether you manufacture solar panels, deliver wet concrete or recruit tradespeople, big contractors will find content about your area of expertise extremely useful. Again, it’s all about supply chains. Procurement teams want suppliers to share in-depth product information, research data, new methods and techniques, training materials and so on. They love it when suppliers give them added value. It can help secure preferred partner status with a global concern.
Building communities isn’t just for consumer brands; it will play a crucial role in construction going forwards. Mintel’s 2019 report mentions the UK’s disillusioned and ageing workforce. To address these issues, some construction firms are turning to social media. Last year, Jewson’s On the Tools campaign set out to support young people in construction (and convert them into Jewson customers). It brought over 3,000 young tradespeople to the company’s Facebook group, with month-on-month membership growing by over 700%. Tarmac had similar success with a social campaign for its Blue Circle cement brand. However, for social media to work you need content to share – articles, insight, infographics, video material. From news and insight pieces through to animation scripts, a construction copywriting agency can help create these materials, honing the tone of voice to perfectly suit your audiences.
There’s are opportunities to better utilise copywriting for construction companies. In a quick survey of the UK’s 50 biggest construction companies, we found that only 16 of them had clearly labelled blog, insight or thought leadership content on their websites. While the majority push their capabilities and latest wins, companies like Mace and Laing O’Rourke not only tell clients what they can do but also highlight how they actually think. Mace, for example, leads with its perspective on how construction impacts the wider community, while Laing O’Rourke invites site visitors to discover the digital version of its insight magazine, Infoworks.
Construction isn’t the only industry to suffer in recent years. Financial services and travel are examples of industries with damaged reputations. Both industries embraced content to make their offering and intent clearer to customers. It’s all about building trust, and producing honest, informative and insightful content is an effective way of doing this. Of course, construction companies are devoted to creating the built environment rather than blogging. That’s where great construction copywriting comes into play. Work with an agency that understands your business and you could very well change the perception of your company and your industry.
Meet Claire, our content strategist.
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