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Customer communications – the power of digital

It has never been so easy or cost-effective to communicate with your existing clients and customers and also to reach out to target audiences and engage with prospects.

Construction marketers can integrate relatively simple measures into the marketing mix and see real, measurable and often instant results.

Developing a content-rich CMS-driven website that highlights key services to its audience is only part of the way to achieving marketing success. Effective digital communications can be used to generate visitors and traffic and convert that traffic into leads and sales.

1) Create remarkable communications - Every page on your website should contain well written copy that appeals to your audience. Make sure that it appeals to existing customers by reminding them who you are and what a great product or service you provide, but also that it gives a strong call-to-action for those prospects that will read it and want to find out more.

2) Optimise & publish your communications - Ensure that your copy is optimised with content-specific keywords with links to specific landing pages on the site. Ensure that the title tags, meta description and tags all follow the main search engines guidelines.

All PR and marketing communications pieces like articles and press releases through to videoclips, podcasts and case studies should be created, optimised and shared online. Any marketing professional will find a blog the most useful tool in the online marketing toolkit.

With a blog you can self-publish. You can quickly reach the page 1 space on Google if you know how to optimise your content. You can feed your content by RSS to subscribers, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups, TCN and other construction industry-specific networks. You only need to publish it once in one place, your blog.

3) Share your marketing content - You need to be in the online space where your customers are in order to respond, participate, share and engage with them. Join LinkedIn Groups, TCN Communities, social networks and forums.

As you grow your online presence, you will find there is more and more to keep track of. You should monitor what your customers and your target audience are saying on social networks, blogs and Twitter.

On Twitter you can set up searches in your Tweetdeck or Hootsuite accounts for your company name and your products or services. You can also use RSS feeds and feed services to monitor the buzz and join in by sharing your content.

4) Get all over Google - Advances in search technology now mean that more recent content and different forms of content are more likely to appear in that much coveted page 1 of the search results. We are no longer competing against our competitors’ web pages; we are competing against all different types of online content.

It is now possible to dominate page 1 of Google with several different types of PR content. Google Caffeine lets more recent content feature higher in the search rankings. This will have a greater impact over the next six months.

Google now blends its search results to show different forms of content, and video and images often feature higher than many web pages for the terms.

5) Integrate with other marketing activity - Whether it’s your blog, your Facebook fan page, your Twitter biography, your Linkedin company page or your press release footer, all your online communications should mirror your other communications, including offline and traditional forms of marcomms.

Remember that online communications should not be a standalone activity and consistency across other marketing channels is fundamental. Digital communications should form a central part of any communications plan and should be integrated into any modern-day marketing strategy.

Kirstie Colledge is a committee member for CIMCIG and managing director of SMPR (Simply Marcomms PR) online PR agency for the construction industry.

CIMCIG are running a dynamic and practical digital workshop for construction marketers on March 17 2011. Featuring a live link from three venues, delegates can choose to attend in London, Bristol or Leamington Spa. For more details click here


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