The Streetwise Guide to Generating Customer Loyalty Via Your Website

Your website is the only ‘owned’ media you have at your disposal, meaning you have complete ownership and control over its content and how you use it. You don’t have to ‘earn’ exposure for that media like you do with social media, and you don’t have to ‘pay’ for exposure like you do with paid advertising. But websites are generally seen in the industry as just a virtual shop window for the products and services each company offers, meaning their content has only a fraction of the potential it could have. That is why when someone goes the extra mile and offers visitors more than just a window, when they offer a whole interactive department store to browse, they are guaranteed to generate more customer loyalty.

‘But people only come to the site to see what we offer’ I hear you say. Yes they do, but that’s only because you don’t give them any other reasons to come and have a look. But if you became an industry resource full of useful and interesting information and ways to interact, you are giving your customers a reason to be loyal and return. Here’s our streetwise guide on how to turn your website from a shop window into an industry resource.

Have a Library of Useful Documents

Offering the right content will attract and please the right audience, so having a library of useful content relating to your company is the best place to start. Your library should include easily accessible and valuable information such as CAD drawings, BIM files, images and technical datasheets, etc.

You can also kill two birds with one stone here. If you are offering valuable information for free, people are usually willing to offer something in return, so its common to ask for people to register their contact details, such as a phone number or email address, in return for the information. You can then use this information to build your email and/or mobile marketing database.

Whether you choose to offer the information in return for registration or simply leave it up there for all to see, keeping an eye on how many sign-ups/visitors your library is getting and what are the most popular documents will give a useful insight into the kind of information your visitors value, and will help when deciding on future content.

Have Interactive Tools

Consider the information your customers will need to calculate or consider when they are looking at your products and services. Any interactive tools that make it quicker and easier for them to make any calculations needed before purchase are going to be what makes customers want to come back and use your website again over your competitors’.

Have Informative Blog Content

If you don’t already have a blog, set one up. It’s free, it helps towards SEO and its great for keeping people updated on what your company and the industry are up to on a regular basis. When it comes to writing blog content, you need to consider the audience and purpose of the blog with each new topic. Is that topic relevant of your company’s area of expertise and in your customers interests? Is the level of technical information right for the audience? No-one likes to be patronised, but at the same time they would rather not be bombarded with jargon either. The more relevant and informative your blog content is, the more your customers will want to return for future posts and share the posts.

Again, you can use visitor and post statistics as an insight into what content and topics are being received well and which ones are flopping, which can impact on your future topic choices.

Hold Interactive Events

Engage your customers by holding interactive events, such as regular Q+A sessions, free webinars, etc. This will not only allow your customers to feel they have a voice and allow them to feel closer to you as a company, but it will also give you an insight into what they are thinking, the big questions they are asking, etc. This will then allow you to tailor your website as a resource to answer these questions, fulfil these wants and needs and therefore generate customer loyalty.

The ways in which your website can become a resource for your customers and generate loyalty and return visits is endless, and it all comes down to getting to know what your customers value, what they want and need, and giving that to them.

The StreetwiseSubbie.com Ltd website is an example of how a construction industry website can be a resource for its customers, take a look around it and see what we offer to our customers. We would love to hear your feedback!

On social media? Tweet us @StreetwiseSubbi or connect with us on LinkedIn!

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The Future of Construction: All you need to know about BIM

BIM, construction, specialist contractorsThere are many predictions and opinions of what the future of construction will be going around, but it seems BIM (building information modelling) is one of the most talked about and most beneficial advances for the industry. So we thought if it is going to become a part of our future, we should get up to scratch on what it’s all about.

What exactly is BIM?

BIM uses advances in technology to effectively digitalise the entire building process up to the physical build itself, giving a multidimensional vision of how the finished product should not only look but how it should function. BIM not only takes into account the 3 spatial dimensions of the building, but allows time and cost to be added as 4th and 5th dimensions, giving a more realistic projection of the life cycle of the project right from the word go. This allows any issues to be highlighted and dealt with as early as possible, making it easier to keep to schedules and budgets, and giving all sectors coming together to work on the project to see the full detailed vision.

What Are The Benefits of Using BIM?

There has been a lot of opinions flying around on how BIM will benefit the construction industry, and even more on how it will only hinder us. We have highlighted some of the main areas we think BIM will be most beneficial to the building sector.

  • Reduces Errors and Need For Rework: With the technology to create a fully functioning digital simulation of the outcome by inputting all the data, it is far easier to spot and fix errors early in the process, which saves money and time on reworking.
  • Reduces Conflicts and Changes During Construction: Because BIM offers a shared working model with collaborative ownership, it allows for everyone to make changes at the earliest stages and for everyone to be up to date on the changes made instantaneously. This means there is reduced conflict between teams during the construction stage and everyone remains on the same page throughout the project, from design to construction.
  • Opens Doors To New Clients: As many companies are already starting to require BIM on projects, having the necessary software and skill set to be able to provide this will open up new clients and projects for you.
  • Improved Quality of Project Outcome: The reason so many people are already requiring BIM on projects even before the 2016 deadline is because it helps to improve the overall outcome of the project, with reduced rework and errors, better relationships with clients and improved collaboration between teams.

The Government’s Plans for BIM

By 2016 the Government have announced the requirement for a collaborative BIM to be submitted for every proposed project.  With its construction sector modernisation programme aiming to reduce the carbon burden and capital cost of the UK’s built environment by at least 20%, BIM is a central part of achieving these aims as it can offer more efficient ways of working throughout the life-cycle of building projects.

So beginning to understand and take onboard BIM now could seriously benefit your business in a variety of ways, and seen as the government are set to introduce it as a requirement for the future, it is only a matter of time before we will all be dragged into the digital age, whether we like it or not, so you may as well get a head start!

The Streetwise Guide To Being Well Prepared In Business

The past few years have not been plain sailing for a lot of us in the construction industry, and we have already lost 5,500 companies to insolvency in the space of just 2 years. The year ahead isn’t set to be easy either, with no-one truly knowing what is round the corner. That’s why we have put together our Streetwise guide to being well prepared for any eventuality in business:

Ask Questions and You Will Get Answers

If you have some questions that can’t be answered by a quick Google search or you are unsure about a new business move, don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice. There are plenty of people you can ask, from the seasoned pros at StreetwisesSubbie.com to forums full of retired construction industry veterans and others who are still active in the industry and have the experience and knowledge to help you out.  For example, our LinkedIn group, The Nationwide Alliance of Specialist Contractors, is brimming with over 1,100 members discussing business issues, industry topics, advice and personal experiences.

Good Estimation = Healthy Profit

If you are not making a healthy profit from your jobs, it is time to question why this is so. In many cases, it could be due to the accuracy of estimations being made, leading to you expecting more from the job than you are actually getting profit wise because you are basing it on assumptions that aren’t well thought out. Be sure you’re estimator is experienced and knows the job well, or your company will be the one that suffers for it.

Emergencies Will Occur

It is inevitable that at some point during your business’s lifespan an emergency of some scale will occur, and so you need to be prepared for this eventuality. For example, if you were taken ill do you have a team who you know you could trust and rely on to keep everything running smoothly without you? If not, it’s time to start building one.
Be Flexible and Ready For Change

The construction industry may have been stuck in its ways for many years, but it could change at any moment, especially with the turbulence its suffered over the last few years. It may become necessary to change the focus of your services to keep your head and shoulders well and truly above the rest if changes occur, and being ready to do so instantly gives you a major advantage. Start to look at other areas and niches in which your company could operate, and even start taking on some small jobs in those areas now. After all, more work equals more money and security.

What Do You Know? 

Do you have plenty of construction industry knowledge but feel like you struggle with the general business aspects of running the company? You aren’t alone there, many people are feeling exactly the same, and its hard times like these when it really begins to show. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Purchase some worthwhile reading, seek out useful business resources online, and you may even consider taking a course if you are more of a hands on kind of person. Check out our recommended business books for specialist contractors.

What Can You Offer?

Holding a class or seminar in your local area is a rewarding activity in more ways than one. It not only allows you to offer people advice and knowledge from your own experience but also has great potential for word of mouth advertising for your company and meeting new potential clients.

Its Not Just What You Know, But Who You Know

Network with people from other industries such as mortgage lenders, estate agents, etc who are looking to add value to their services. If you create mutually beneficial relationships you could become one of the companies they turn to when in need of added value.

A Little Help From Your Friends 

Not everyone in the construction industry is in direct competition with each other. In fact when we work together we can earn more money and get complex jobs done a whole lot faster when we are in contact with a variety of skilled construction professionals in all areas who are willing to team up.

Don’t Cut Marketing, Improve It

When money gets a little tight, many people first begin reducing their sales and marketing spend to save money in the short term, but this could seriously damage your long term revenue. What you need to do is rather than just cut things willy nilly, sit down and chat with your marketing manager or talk to a professional in the marketing and advertising sector about what exactly needs to be done to keep the business growing and what needs to be spent. Without a constant steady flow of marketing and sales strategies you will find it harder to gain new prospects and stand tall in the industry.

Stay On Top With Your Accounting

Whether you choose to do it yourself with the help of computer software and help guides or decide to call in a professional to help you keep things running smoothly, your accounting needs to be kept healthy and in order if you want everything else to follow.

This guide is there to help you keep on top of all aspects of your business and prepare for every eventuality be it having trusted people there for emergencies, back up plans for cash flow issues or helping hands for new opportunities. For more advice on keeping your business well prepared, and information on how StreetwiseSubbie can help you do that, visit our website www.streetwisesubbie.com.

Amazing – We Are Celebrating The “1,300th” Member of the UK’s Nationwide Alliance of Specialist Contractors in Construction and Engineering!

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Martin Dempster-Jones Area Sales Manager at Thermo-Floor Ltd as our 1,300th member. 

And the group has grown by 100 members in a single month! Here’s the link; http://linkd.in/cvfM9X 

With hundreds of owners, directors and senior team members, this group is rapidly becoming a fantastic focal point for all UK Specialist Contractors who are serious about growing and protecting their business in 2013, irrespective of their size or specialisation. 

Here’s a sample of the current discussion topics;

“Is there a correlation between size/turnover of Contractors and their unwillingness to pay?”

“Are you implementing the no retention policy?”

“Contractors drive down supply chain costs and their profits soar!”

These and many more great discussions, news, information and market intelligence are waiting for you in this group. So, please help us to spread the good word and see how quickly we can add our next 100 members!

Please invite all your UK based Specialist Contractor colleagues both inside and outside your company to join this group.

Here’s the link; http://linkd.in/cvfM9X

And now you can also keep up to date on all things Streetwise on our blog! You can find it here; https://streetwisesubbie.wordpress.com/

And if you would like more information about any of the above, or the great ways in which we can help your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out our web site at http://www.streetwisesubbie.com/