Building Materials Marketing Conversion Tactics
Choosing which building materials marketing conversion tactic is right for your product relies on understanding your audience and their buyer’s journey.
Imagine walking into the grocery store. Immediately, a store employee walks up to you with a new sports drink and proclaims its benefits and price asking you to buy it now! You’ll probably brush that person aside and continue shopping for the items on your list.
Imagine instead that you walk into the grocery store and see an employee setup at a little table with a sign highlighting the benefits of a new sports drink. The employee asks if you’d like to taste a sample. You may or may not try the sample, but you likely did not immediately brush it aside. You may even try the sample, like it, and buy some.
Now imagine you could only buy that sports drink in pallet-sized quantities for hundreds of dollars. You wouldn’t even consider buying it unless you were able to taste a sample. That level of customer buy-in is what a building materials product manufacturer needs to generate leads and close sales for hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The buyer’s journey for a building materials product starts with a considerable research phase that typically lasts weeks to months, depending on the customer type. B2C audiences, like home owners, will buy on the shorter end of the sales timeline. Their B2B counterparts, the architects and contractors, may begin research long before they’re ready to buy, and when they are it could take months to make a purchase. Despite these two sales cycles having drastically different timelines, they do share common traits. Most importantly, both audiences crave tangible information to help guide them into a buying mode.
Finding the right marketing conversion tactic comes down to matching the research needs for each customer type with the lead generation ask. Each customer’s research needs will ultimately identify a tangible piece of marketing collateral or sales support that your company can provide in return for capturing their contact information. Having the customer willingly enter into the sales funnel results in a more active and warm lead that will be less likely to drop out of the funnel and will be more favorable to future communication.
The value returned to a potential customer for providing their lead information at a conversion point can take many forms as long as it contributes to helping them along their buyer’s journey prior to the purchase point. Let’s look at a few ways to engage a customer without immediately soliciting a sale.
Samples & Swatches
For many building materials products there are multiple versions of the product in various patterns, colors, materials, and shapes. Sample packages and swatches are one way of providing a tool kit that any customer can use to make their decision on a purchase. The benefit to this conversion tactic is that you have given the customer full control and flexibility for their final selection process. In some cases the product itself can be previewed in the environment it will be used (think flooring, tile, siding, etc.). This method can be costly though as postage, handling, and the product itself all incur monetary or inventory related expenses. Understanding the ROI of a sale and typical closing percentages will help justify if this conversion method is a good fit.
Pros: Tangible collateral, customer control and flexibility.
Cons: Costs associated with postage, handling and inventory usage.
One step below actually delivering product samples would be printed sales collateral. Examples of this type of collateral would be a catalog, brochure, or product sheets. These are each tools that can be used across all customer types that would provide enough value during the customer’s research phase in exchange for their lead information. The quality of information provided along with branded design presentation will make or break this tactic. Sales collateral is your passive sales representative and should always be a high-quality presentation of the brand and products.
Pros: Tangible collateral with detailed information.
Cons: Costs associated with postage and not entirely representative of the product.
Continued Education / Newsletter / Whitepapers
Content is king, educational content is even better. A very low-risk way to generate brand and product interest is to publish public and private opt-in content that helps educate your target customer base. Here you may not even have an audience in a research mode, let alone a buying mode, but you will have enough value in the content provided that you may ask for their basic information for something like an email newsletter where private articles or whitepapers on topics that surround the product are released. This audience may be a long play, but at least you have their subscribed contact information to be top of mind when they are ready to convert down the road.
Pros: Works well with a long sales cycle and informs audience research with soft touch points.
Cons: Investment in time to develop and must maintain consistency to maintain interest.
A cost-free approach (besides time) would be providing consultation services on request if the customer needs help understanding the product lines or how the product may work in their situation. Aesthetically forward products such as floors or tile may require design help that could position your company as a knowledgeable partner in the process. For products that have technological or functional features that may require configuration to the project, this value add may even be a necessary step to completing the sale.
Pros: Positions your company as an industry and product expert to provide value during research and planning.
Cons: Target audiences may not trust this to be a sales-forward experience.
A quote request or online generation system is likely a conversion tactic that will identify with a buyer further along in their journey as it does come with a bit of that “purchasing” feel which may scare off some customers still in research mode. Nevertheless, this can still be a useful tool for customers, especially those in purchasing roles. A quote request can feel a bit more like a consulting ask than a quote generator, which may feel more like an online cart.
Pros: Self-guided technological experience giving the user full control.
Cons: Could feel too much like submitting an order and takes some time to submit.
Each of these pre-purchase building materials marketing conversion tactics could work for your company’s products, but they will do you little good if you aren’t tracking the activity related to whichever you choose to implement. Here is where your ROI can be calculated. Your advertising and organic content efforts will be driving customers to these conversion points so tracking where the conversion originated from (social, search, print, video) will highlight which channels are resulting in the highest conversion percentage. This will allow you to potentially adjust efforts towards any particular combination of channel preference, ad spend, and conversion type. From there, knowing your typical sales cycle length and closing revenue amount will allow you to calculate your ROI for any given campaign effort.
Lastly, if you have the ability to connect any one of these conversion tactics to a CRM integration, make sure you do that. As we’ve already established, the sales cycle is long enough that you will need multiple touch points and having documentation of those sales interactions will help boost your sales closing percentage.
For more information on how we’ve implemented these tactics for our clients, you can read up on our building materials marketing rundown page or check out the Thermory USA case study. Additionally, we’re always posting relevant information regarding building materials marketing on our LinkedIn page.
If you’re interested in learning how our strategic marketing and creative team can work with your building materials company, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give Tim a call at (716) 332-1640 x2.