Construction Advertising Guide: Steal These Genius Ad Strategies To Get More Construction Work
The global construction industry will be worth an estimated $12.9 trillion by 2022. That’s trillion. With a T.
With plenty of money on the table you need to find a way to connect consumer demand with your supply – and advertising is how you do it.
Long gone are the days of running newspaper ads or popping your details in the Yellow Pages. Advertising for the construction industry in 2021 happens primarily online, so we’re going to show you how to run your own successful (aka ‘profitable’) ad campaigns.
“Run ads on Google”
That’s the type of suggestion most articles offer up when you go looking for advertising help.
And while it’s good advice, it’s also garbage.
You already know that running ads is key to putting your construction company in front of the right people. And you know that platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram are where your audience spends their time.
So we’re not going to give you generic advice. This guide is for construction companies, home builders, contractors, architects and building service providers who want to skip surface-level tips and start running ad campaigns that work.
And when we say ads that “work”, we mean:
Your ads bring in the right kind of traffic
Your ads are cost-effective and minimize wasted spend
Your ads are created to speak *exactly* to your audience’s problems
Your ads generate consistent quality leads and give you the best chance of ROI
This could be building new homes, demolishing old homes, renovating bathrooms, remodelling kitchens, or breaking ground on $100 million dollar malls – it doesn’t matter.
The point is, you offer a service.
And your customers are in need of that service.
Whether they get it from you or a competing construction company comes down to your ability to advertise effectively. Jump back a few decades and advertising was in print, think newspapers and magazines, with the big boys of the industry using radio and TV.
In 2021, advertising is most effective online. This can be seen in the three most popular ad types:
On top of understanding how to use these platforms, you can supercharge your advertising approach by using ad retargeting to stay in touch with 98% of people who got away (more on that below).
Let’s get right into it.
Do you need advertising if you already have construction projects lined up?
Your construction backlog is a good indicator of your company’s health.
If you’ve got work in the pipeline, whether you’ve broken ground or not, then it’s easier to get by knowing there are still bookings in the calendar. You need a little backlog to keep the lights on and the bills paid, but there’s no guarantee the work will keep coming in.
If your backlog causes prospects to look elsewhere, what plan do you have to bring in new work when your schedule opens up?
Finding an ad strategy that brings in regular leads isn’t just for companies without work, it’s a safety net for all construction companies to guarantee you’ve always got a project backlog.
With construction ads, you can track your spend and see where leads are coming from. This lets you invest more money in advertising strategies that are working and ease up on the ads that aren’t helping. For example, Google Ads deliver an average ROI of $2 for every $1 invested. If you can turn that return into $5 or $10, you’ll be able to scale up and drive serious revenue.
Advertising is how you keep a consistent project backlog, stay in control of your spend, and ensure there’s work coming in today, next month, and next year.
But there’s a catch – hitting ‘publish’ on an ad doesn’t guarantee results, so read on to discover what will.
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Types of advertising for construction companies
‘Construction advertising’ is a catch-all term for a range of ad strategies.
Just as the term ‘builder’ can carry dozens of sub-categories and types, so can ‘advertising’.
You can throw your business name on the side of a blimp and it counts as advertising, but it’s unlikely to be very effective. To make sure your ad campaigns are working towards delivering results, we’ve rounded up the most effective advertising options for your construction company:
Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck on each platform.
Google Ads for construction companies
The Godfather of construction ads, Google Ads are the most well-known form of advertising.
Google Ads rely on a pay-per-click (PPC) model which means you’re only charged when your ads are clicked on. It’s up to you to bid on relevant construction-based keywords which will trigger your ads. For example, you could run ads that appear when people search for:
New Home Build
Commercial Construction Company
Land Subdivision Rebuild
Granny Flat Construction
If a searcher enters their keyword and thinks your ad can help them solve a problem, you’ll be in with a great shot of a click.
Google’s advertising model is beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:
Drives faster leads than SEO
Target customers based on a range of filters (age, location, interests, income, etc)
Control over your advertising budget
Easy to track and measure
With control over your trigger keywords, who sees your ads, and how much you pay, Google Ads offer exceptional value when run correctly.
And since you only pay for clicks you end up spending your ad budget on people who are interested in your services – and they’re proved their interest by clicking on your ad – so you don’t waste your budget on people who had no intention of contacting you.
The better your Quality Score, the less you pay per ad. Boosting your Quality Score comes down to relevance. When your keywords, ads and landing pages all share the same message, you’ll be helping your Quality Score go up.
Click here to increase your Quality Score
Each keyword has its own click-per-cost (CPC). The more competitive the keyword, the higher the CPC. You can save money and drive results by targeting long tail keywords, which are more specific. For example, instead of ‘home remodelling’, target ‘boutique home remodelling + location’.
It’s a mistake to focus only on your ads. Once people click on your ads, your landing page (the web page they end up on) should share the same message, target relevant pain points, and be designed to drive conversions. Specific offers relating to your ad are a simple way to connect your message at each touchpoint.
Use Negative Keywords
Adjust For Geotargeting
Target By Device
Google Ads let you assign negative keywords that you don’t want to rank for. For example, you could target a keyword like ‘home builders’ but block your competitor’s name. This will stop you from ranking when people search for your target keywords, but are actually looking for your competition.
Google Ads allows you to send your ads to people living in certain locations. If you want to target a booming suburb where home construction is on the up, set your ads to appear to those customers. This helps drive more clicks because your audience is highly interested.
Your Google Ads can be set to appear on different devices (mobile, tablet, desktop), and different devices offer varying CPC. You might find it’s cheaper to send your ads to mobile devices, which helps you spend less while still generating results.
TRADIE DIGITAL TIP: The #1 factor that influences Google Ads success is reporting. You can’t improve what you haven’t measured. Whatever Google Ad techniques you use, track the results and make changes accordingly. If it works, keep doing it. If it’s not bringing you results, change it up.
Facebook boasts 2.7 billion active monthly users, so there’s a massive audience ready to connect with.
The secret to successful Facebook Ads is to understand how the platform works. And to understand how the platform works we need to map out a construction customer’s buyer journey.
“What’s a buyer’s journey?”
Think about the last tool you bought for your business.
At some stage you ran into a problem that required the tool you just bought…except you didn’t own that tool yet. That was a problem that needed solving, so you did a little research to scope out your options. Maybe you spoke to another contractor, or read reviews online, or compared tools on Google. Once you found the tool that ticked your boxes, you bought it.
That was you walking through the three stages of the buyer’s journey, which are:
Your customer’s don’t wake up and think “I’m going to remodel my bathroom today”.
They need to become aware of a problem, consider their options, and land on a final decision. Here’s how that might play out for a customer looking for a granny flat:
Awareness: “I have a ton of free space in my yard, and I never use my yard, what should I do with that space?”
Consideration: “I could build a pool, build a patio, or build a granny flat to make my property more valuable.”
Decision: “I’m going to hire a construction company to build a granny flat because that will give me a way to charge rent and make money.”
If you can insert your business into each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll be increasing your odds of being the last construction company standing.
Facebook Ads help people in the ‘Awareness’ stage of their buyer’s journey
Back to Facebook Ads.
While Google Ads are designed to resonate with people in the ‘Consideration’ and ‘Decision’ stage of the buyer’s journey (because they typed their problem into Google and are looking for help), Facebook Ads need to trigger the ‘Awareness’ stage.
The ads you run on Facebook aren’t meant to land sales, because most of the time your audience doesn’t even know they have a problem yet!
Here’s an example of how a construction Facebook Ad can start an individual’s buyer journey.
Facebook Ad Example – Defect Rectification Management
Running an ad on Facebook offering a free guide outlining the most damaging building defects is the type of ad that’ll catch the eye of building owners and developers (you can set your ads to show to these specific people…more on that below).
These building owners and developers might have been on Facebook browsing pictures of their highschool reunion or commenting on cat memes, but your ad will stick out like a sore thumb.
Why? Because they own buildings and you’re offering a FREE guide that will tell them of the most troubling defects to watch out for. That’s going to help them save money, avoid costly payouts, cut back on late-stage repairs, etc.
In this ad example you made these people aware they had a problem – kick starting the ‘Awareness’ stage of their buyer’s journey – and driving them to click on your ad to learn more.
Facebook’s AI-capabilities mean your ads are automatically shown to people most likely to click on them, but you can further tweak your targeting with three audience selection options.
Choose your audience based on filters like age, interests, location and more.
Connect with people who have engaged with your business online, e.g. your website.
Find new audiences with similar interests to your best performing audiences.
Each of these options lets you tell Facebook *exactly* who you want your ads shown to.
This could be men, in their 40’s, who have clicked on your website, and live within 50 miles of your location. By targeting specific demographics you can create equally specific ads. That way it won’t matter if your text and image only talks to a certain person. You won’t offend anyone who feels your ad is ignoring them, because they’ll never see it in the first place!
Similar to Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads need to target people in the ‘Awareness’ stage of their buyer’s journey. At the same time, the visual nature of IG mean’s your ads will need to be image-heavy and professional – so no taking photos on your iPhone and uploading them as ads.
Instagram Ads offer exceptional flexibility, with a range of objectives to help you kick your goals. Covering 11 different objectives, you can run construction ads to reach the following goals…
Make sure you pick the right objective, as you don’t want to write an ad that’s goal is to download your new app, but set the objective to ‘video views’.
Here are some of the options you’ll have when running Instagram construction ads:
Choose your ad placements
Showing your ads to the right people is crucial, and you’re in control of where your ads appear.
As Facebook owns Instagram, you’ll be setting up your ad through Facebook’s ad wizard. If you want your ads to only appear on Instagram, make sure you uncheck ‘Facebook’ and ‘Audience Network’.
Set a target audience
This is where the rubber meets the road.
The right audience means your ads are hyper-targeted and resonating perfectly with the people seeing them. When you niche down on people’s interests and demographics you’ll see an increase in clicks and new projects.
You can set your targeting to hone in on people living in a certain zip code, or who have shown an interest in ‘kitchen renovations’, or people who have already ‘liked’ your Facebook Business Page.
It’s up to you who you target with your Instagram Ads, but the more relevant your ads are to your audience, the better your results.
TRADIE DIGITAL TIP: You can also create custom audiences based on people who have been on your website. Or, create ‘lookalike audiences’ of people who have shown similar browsing behavior online. Facebook (and by default, Instagram) uses an advanced AI-software to help create your ad campaigns, so choosing a ‘lookalike audience’ and letting Facebook’s AI work its magic can save you time.
Pick your budget, schedule and ad format
Your Instagram ads are almost ready.
You’ll need to how much you want to spend on your ads (choose from daily or lifetime budget), when you want your ads to run (for example, at night when commercial audiences are at home) and the type of ad you want to run (choose from photos, carousels, videos, collections and stories).
Once you’re happy with all of your choices, you can hit ‘enter’ and wait for the clicks to start rolling in.
If you only used advertising to bring people to your website, then you’ll be focusing on 2% of possible new customers. But by staying in touch with the 98% who weren’t ready to get in touch, you’ll increase your chances of landing a new project dramatically.
You can choose to target people based on their interactions with your site (e.g. pages visited), their browsing behavior online, their interests and more.
The benefit of ad retargeting plays into the ‘Rule of 7’ which says your prospects need to hear from your brand 7 times before they’re ready to become a paying customer. By showing ads as they move around the internet, you’re helping to reach that magical number 7 and get more work.
“How does ad retargeting work?”
To simplify a complex process, ad retargeting works by utilizing “cookies” – small bits of data that a site visitor’s web browser stores.
Cookies can help you see where people browse online, and what sites they’ve been browsing in the past.
If you’ve had people spending time on your ‘New Home Build’ page but not requesting a consultation, you can run ‘New Home Build’ ads on websites those people visit in the future.
Through running targeted, relevant ads to people who have shown an interest in your construction services, you can boost brand awareness and drive conversions.
Ready to run a construction ad campaign that generates traffic, leads and new projects?
Just as there are plenty of ways to remodel a kitchen, there are plenty of ways to run a construction advertising campaign.
You could offer the fastest build times, manage the industry’s leading contractors, have supplier relationships that pass thousands of dollars in savings to your customers, or have industry awards stretching back three decades.
Guess what? None of that matters if you can’t find a way to put your construction company in front of sales leads and prospects. To boost your visibility and grow your business, find the balance of:
Once your advertising strategy is in place, consider supplementing your efforts with ad retargeting and a few old-school ad tricks that move the needle in 2021.
With exciting growth opportunities across residential, commercial and infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to nail your ad strategy, so break ground on your next campaign and get started.
ATTENTION CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNERS: Save time and run a Tradie Digital ad campaign using the same $2.3 million framework we’ve created.
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