Construction Capability Survey 2016

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The results are in! KND Digital’s construction industry digital capability survey reveals how builders are marketing online. Over the last 6 months we surveyed and analysed seventy-five construction and building company digital strategies (mostly Master Builders Association members) and discovered how they get an edge in a highly competitive market.

2016-DigitalCapabilitySurveyResultKND Digital assessed each business with our 100-point ‘Digital Compass’ strategy assessment tool.  The survey covers quality web presence, conversion strategies, search performance, use of customer databases and email marketing reach.

The survey revealed some fantastic insights into how the industry is using the web to capture market share.  The average score was 54%, so there is definitely room for improvement, but let’s dig deeper to see what’s working and what’s not.

The good news is, 95% of businesses had a website with consistent branding and strong usability (83%). It is our interpretation that the industry understands the importance of the web and that their website is the primary way prospects RESEARCH them. Whilst we had anecdotal comments suggesting they didn’t get business directly through their site, unfortunately over 50% of sites looked in need of a refresh.

In our experience, a good website doesn’t always mean sales will pour in the door, but builders could make their site work harder by prompting prospects into action. Only 23% had a ‘Call to Action’ on their site.  And, only 7% had a ‘give-away’ or offer to collect valuable marketing data or create a sense of urgency.

Most participants scored well on a technical level. 74% of sites are built with online systems that are easy to edit. Only 5% of websites validated correctly according to web standard W3C, this can seriously impact on site performance and search ranking.

Interestingly, only 48% of sites were built to adapt for mobile devices with only 5% having a dedicated mobile experience website. Mobile traffic is responsible for 30% – 40% in late 2015 and Google is now penalising websites in that are not mobile responsive.

We found most businesses had a broad digital marketing strategy, but in many cases it wasn’t a holistic approach. Only 13% of websites were optimised for search. Many businesses believe all their work comes from referral. This may be true, but those referrals will still look up your site to see your work. If they can’t find it, the site is a waste of money.

Strong rankings are assisted by fresh content. 33% of participants had news-style content published within the last 3 months. Ideally, content should be published least monthly, but only 11% had content that had been published within a week of the assessment.

The overall result for social presence and strategy was 32%. While this is not great, it does represent the challenges that SMEs face. A social media presence requires significant time and resources to maintain. 56% had a Facebook page, but only 8% had posted recently.  LinkedIn had some reach with 23% having a presence but Pinterest and Twitter had very low take-up. Do potential customers hang out in those spaces? Of course! Are their opportunities for builders in those channels? Of course, but you also need a creative proactive approach to have cut-through. This is the barrier to entry for this industry in our opinion.

At the core of every good digital strategy is Customer Relationship Management  (CRM) system – a database that collects, manages and communicates to customers and prospects. We include this in our assessment because digital strategy is more than a website, it is an integrated approach and that’s where a CRM is critical.

A quarter of building companies surveyed use a CRM, but only 12% use it for business intelligence such as sales pipeline information and performance tracking.  These businesses had recently used their CRM to communicate back to clients in the previous 3 months and 5% in the 4 weeks prior to the survey.

Most of these numbers are very low, but each industry must be assessed individually. The building industry has a unique way customers buy and interact. Understanding this also represents a huge opportunity for business owners to market smarter and make their digital presence work harder to expand their market share.

Develop a systemised approach to nurturing prospects and customers with regular news, updates and offers. That will encourage them to remain engaged with your business. Capture their details in a CRM, perhaps with some notes on where they are in the buying cycle. This will allow you to offer the right solution at the right time.

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