Eileen Rivera

COMMENTARY

Why digital marketing matters for contractors

You’re tired of competitors’ websites having edgier content, more sophisticated designs, and innovative videos. But when you try to convince your company’s leadership to invest in updating your outdated website, you might as well be talking to a wall.

Instead of getting a green light to bring your website out of the dark ages, you’re asked to jump through hoops and “show them the money” or demonstrate return on investment before they’ll spend one more dime on marketing.

It’s time to step back and rethink your strategy. Here are three ways you can bring a compelling case forward to your management to invest in digital marketing.

First, start talking in their language. A digitally enabled website is actually a better sales tool and can result in greater top-line revenue. Through smarter content and more compelling presentation, your company’s website can result in new customers and new business – even if you’re not Apple, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble.

While the ROI connection is not as black and white for companies in the government services industries because they don’t actually transact business over the Web, it can be measured in terms of increased qualified leads, downloadable premium content, web traffic and job applications.

Second, focus on the reasons your company has a website in the first place and explain how an improved website with compelling content will better validate, verify and make your company more virtually accessible to your target customers:

Validate -- As a government services company without a real storefront where you can walk in and check out the goods or products, a website helps new and current customers reinforce their decision to do business with your company and get to know the people behind your brand. It also helps the employees you’re targeting to hire confirm their decision to work for you by helping them meet people digitally before the in-person interview.

Verify – Like consumers today do when shopping for the best bargain, a digitally enabled website gives new customers, new employees and new investors a real-time, self-service tool to check out for themselves what they heard from a colleague, read about in the news or what they think of your company from walking by your booth at a recent industry conference or trade show.

Virtual – A state-of-the-art website gives your target audiences 24/7 access to your company’s value proposition and all the reasons you want them to do business with you and not the other guy. Instead of waiting for an e-mail or phone call to be returned, they can understand what your company does, get a feel for your corporate culture and a pulse on your company’s financial stability and learn how you’ve used innovation to solve your customers’ problems.

Third, digital content is one of the best ways to demonstrate your company’s innovative spirit. Static, stale and uninteractive content is an instant turn-off to a prospective customer looking for a contractor to deliver their program or bring their new idea to life. Today, people want to see examples, hear smart people talking to them in videos and learn about how you’ve helped solve problems they can relate to.

There’s no better way than a short video with creative use of graphics, facts and statistics or a downloadable, easy-to-read eBook that can more imaginatively tell a story than three or four paragraphs of tired web copy.

Besides, one of the best arguments of all for investing in digital marketing – your customers and employees expect it.

About the Author

Eileen Cassidy Rivera is former vice president of communications and investor relations at Vangent, a General Dynamics company. She is now vice president of marketing and communications with Cognosante. She can be reached at eileen.rivera@cognosante.com.

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