B2B marketing strategies for the slow season
The ups and downs of the construction industry can be enough to give anyone a few grey hairs. The stress over how to keep up during your busy times is only outweighed by worry over how long your business can survive during the slow times.
While no single solution can make all of your worries disappear, having a solid marketing strategy can go a long way toward increasing your revenue and minimizing those peaks and valleys that challenge your business throughout the year. While we don’t recommend that you wait until business is slow to begin marketing, the extra time in your schedule can allow you to get a jump start on closing deals and generating new leads.
Focus on strategies to generate new leads
Business-to-business marketers face the unique challenge of dealing with a long sales cycle. According to a Priority Metrics Group whitepaper, the average B2B sales cycle can last almost six months, with some decision makers taking even longer to sign on the dotted line. Although that length of time appears to be shrinking annually, B2B marketers must be conscious of generating new leads to stabilize sales throughout the year.
From joining local business groups to making contacts during trade shows and industry events, old-fashioned networking remains a tried and true method for generating leads. Of course, there are some new age networking tools you should take advantage of as well. Take a look at your website. Does every page have a call-to-action that encourages visitors to sign up for an email newsletter or connect with your sales team? If not, you are missing out on collecting contact information on new leads who are already researching your business online.
Social media also offers an opportunity to stay connected with your audience, establish yourself as an industry leader and showcase current projects and case studies. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are all popular platforms that offer low or no cost lead generation opportunities. Don’t forget to ask your followers to post reviews along with pictures of completed projects. According to B2B News Network, 87 percent of B2B decision makers will search online reviews before making a purchase.
Nurture Current Leads
While your website and social media platforms are bringing in new leads, take some time to nurture the leads who have already established a relationship with you. Take advantage of the slow times and make an effort to personally connect with clients who have not yet committed to purchasing your products or services. Consider scheduling a one-on-one lunch meeting, pick up the phone and make a call or send a personalized note with information that you know will be of interest to the individual.
Unlike impersonal emails, having a conversation with a client can help you build a more personal connection. Not only does this help you understand the client better, but you may also find an opportunity to build customer loyalty before they even make the final purchase decision.
Re-evaluate your marketing plan (or take the time to develop one)
When you are juggling projects and struggling to meet deadlines during your busy season, it is easy to convince yourself that you don’t need to have a marketing plan. In reality, an effective marketing plan can leverage the momentum of your busy season and help increase sales during your slow season.
Before you develop a marketing plan, make sure you have a clear picture of your top business priorities. Are you most concerned with converting leads into customers? Do you want to increase traffic on your website so you can capture information on new leads? Maybe you want to strengthen your position over your competition. Whatever your goals, a marketing plan should be focused on supporting them with a measurable return on investment. When in doubt, consider hiring a marketing professional to help you design and implement an effective marketing plan unique to your business.
Ask for referrals
Word-of-mouth marketing will always be one of the most effective strategies for growing your business. Reach out to your loyal, satisfied customers and ask them to consider referring you to their industry colleagues. According to B2B News Network, 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. Whether you have a formal referral incentive program for your current customers, or you simply encourage satisfied customers spread the word, you can increase revenue by simply asking for referrals.