Targeting Your Ideal Construction Audience
Updated: Jan 9, 2020
When putting together any business material, you want to be writing it for your audience. This is especially important with any client-facing communications, where you want to interest and engage your ideal customer.
This may sound obvious, but it’s really easy to get carried away writing about all the great features of your product or service without really honing in on why your reader would want it. Trying to appeal to everyone is at best a scatter gun approach, which may mean that you lose potential customers who couldn’t see the value to them.
The best way to do this is to create a customer or buyer persona, which helps guide your decisions while you are writing. At the very least, you need to consider what your reader’s priorities and problems are, and address these.
To get you started, here are some typical audiences in construction and their concerns.
Prefer to watch? Here’s a summary:
This audience may work for the central or local government, or potentially even a regulating body. These audiences are probably not very technical – though some will be, depending on their position - so the information you give them needs to be clear and easily understood. They need to understand how your solution works on a high level and why it benefits them.
Budgets and funding are their primary concern, and long-life asset management that demonstrates value for money. They want the right solution, but it needs to be at the right cost. Because of their funding restrictions and the need for cost certainty, they will accept interim measures at the right cost if the best solution is too expensive.
So, if you are writing for this audience, it’s best to give them a range of choices. Also, raising awareness of what you offer may mean that they’ll keep you in mind for the future, when they can build your costs into their budgets.
They may read blogs, or industry journals, but are more likely to be interested in case studies and white papers.
Engineers (or architects) want to know about the latest innovations in their field, and they also want the technical details so they understand how and why your product or service works. Gloss over this and you’ll lose them.
Their primary concern is specifying the right solution for their projects. And, while budget is a concern, often this early in the project there may be wiggle room for the right solution. They want the right solution at any cost, but can be overruled by the client.
They will read blogs and journal articles to keep their knowledge current, as well as white papers. If they are interested in your offer, they will also peruse data sheets and case studies.
Contractors also want to know about the latest developments, but may want a balance between the technical details and a high-level overview of your products and services.
They want to know how you are going to improve their bottom line, either by being quicker, safer, cheaper or better quality then their competition.
They want the solution that is going to win the most work and keep their clients coming back. Quickly summarise the benefits to them of using your company, and the costs involved (if appropriate).
They may be interested in blogs, journal articles, or newsletters, but case studies and data sheets are probably of more interest to them. White papers are probably not of interest, but this will depend on the purpose of the white paper (for example, a thought leadership white paper may be useful to them, whereas one meant to sell a product is probably not for this group.)
Developers and private clients are also typical audiences, but their needs can vary quite considerably. You can have a developer who wants things as cheaply as possible, or one that has built their reputation on superb quality.
Private clients’ needs are also influenced by the intended use of the structure; building someone’s dream home is a completely different outlook compared to someone who is renovating their office building to sell.
If you work with these types of clients, consider the priorities of the ones you work with the most, and write for that audience. Or, if you want to attract a different type of client – for example, a developer who wants to build high-end, luxury buildings – write with this client’s needs in mind instead.
Do It Yourself
You probably know your clients well, so double-check that your content is clearly keeping their needs in mind. If you’re not sure, have someone removed from the process read it and feedback what they think the selling points and solutions are.
If you are creating content for more than one audience, why not include a summary about how your service benefits each person? For example, your new drainage product brochure could have summary sections for local authorities, house builders and engineers.
If you aren’t sure of your clients needs, ask them. Set up an online survey, gather research at events, or have a chat with your current clients. Even reading your competitors’ materials can give you some insights. All of this is valuable information that will help you target your audience effectively.
And for some insight into what each customer wants at each stage of their buying journey, check out my post on construction content. It also features a downloadable cheat sheet that summarises the audience types and the type of content they are interested in.
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