The way businesses in the building material industry market themselves is constantly changing. If you aren’t using digital marketing as a method of promoting your products, you could be falling behind the competition.

To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve done some research and identified the top four digital marketing trends for building material manufacturers in 2019

1. B2B Buyers Are Behaving More Like B2C Buyers

In recent years, there has been a shift in the way businesses make their purchasing decisions. Key decision makers are no longer looking through a phone book to find a vendor to purchase a product or service from.

Businesses (including distributors, dealers, builders and contractors) are realizing the benefit of researching who they do business with to ensure they are getting the best value and a good quality product to go along with it.

These businesses are now using the same methods as regular consumers to research what options are available and to determine the best possible solution to their problems.

For example, B2B buyers are using online reviews to influence up to 60% of their purchase decisions. It’s likely that distributors, contractors and other key partners in a building material manufacturer’s value chain are looking at reviews of your products and services. If you don’t have any online reviews, it may be time to implement a targeted strategy to receive some.

In addition to the common review platforms such as Google My Business, there are online review sites that specifically cater to certain industry niches. Listing on these sites can make it much more likely that you will get your review in front of your ideal customers or industry partners. For example, online review platforms like FinancesOnline make it easier for companies to identify and evaluate B2B and financial solutions for their business based on categories of solutions. Whether you’re looking for the most suitable CRM solutions for effective client management or popular architecture software solutions for 2D and 3D designs, these services are much more targeted and relevant than reviews on Google (For example, see the Renoworks overview prepared by FinancesOnline).

For building material manufacturers, the most influential reviews are likely to come from the builders and contractors on the ground using and recommending their building products to homeowners every day. For these reviews, sites like Consumer Reports and even Home Advisors are great ways to get your products in front of builders, contractors and homeowners.

B2B buyers are also using social media more often to make purchasing decisions.

In the building materials and renovation industry, we see evidence of this every day.

You’ve likely noticed ads in your social feeds from other manufacturers, distributors and construction companies. Sometimes we even get targeted messages through InMail on LinkedIn regarding a product or service.

In fact, studies found that 79% of B2B marketers believe that social media is their most effective marketing channel. Social media gives you an opportunity to educate and engage your audience so that they have a better familiarity with your brand and offering. It gives your business an opportunity to stand out from its competitors and reach people at the times when it matters the most. Used properly, it can help your company get it in front of distributors, dealers, contractors, builders and other B2B buyers who might have an interest in your product (not to mention the homeowners who ultimately choose your product).

2. Chatbots and Live Chat

Decision-makers want information about your products and they want it quickly. Being able to deliver that information quickly and effectively is a great way to engage the buyer.

One of the biggest marketing trends today is the use of Chatbots and Live Chat. These systems enable us to answer questions online in real time. Studies show that 92% of customers feel satisfied after using a live chat and it can increase conversions by 20% and have a return on investment of up to 300%. Chatbots have also proven to be effective with a return on investment of up to 400%. With ROI like that, a well thought-out chatbot strategy is well worth the investment.

Chatbots and live chat interfaces could be very helpful for building material manufacturers.

Manufacturer websites receive traffic from many different types of customers. On an average day, your website may receive visits from distributors, home builders, contractors, dealers, retailers and homeowners. Each of these potential customers may be looking for something different and may purchase or use your product in different ways. A Chat Bot could help segment this traffic by asking them questions about who they are, collecting important information for your CRM database and directing them to the parts of your website that they are most likely to find relevant to them.

3. Marketing and Sales Automation

Email marketing may be one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, but it still packs a serious punch when it comes to creating a successful marketing campaign.

Email marketing has one of the best ROI’s in digital marketing. On average, companies can expect to earn $38 in revenue for every $1 spent on email marketing.

That being said, consumers are more sceptical than ever of online marketing. It’s important that email campaigns are authentic, valuable and not “spammy”. Marketing automation tools like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, Hubspot and Marketo, enable building material companies to create targeted campaigns that have meaning to other businesses.

But there is more to these tools than just email and marketing automation. They can also be used to automate sales processes.

Traditionally, the sales process for building materials has been tedious and time consuming for sales representatives. But thanks to sales automation systems, sales representatives are able to keep track of new leads and categorize them based on where they are in the buyer’s journey with ease.

They can also engage leads with relevant content and help familiarize the customer with your brand. Using email automation, sales representatives can nurture leads and automate the sales process.

Companies that use sales automation software have been able to achieve conversion rates of 53% or higher and an annual revenue growth rate of 3.1% or more. Given the heavy reliance on sales employees in the building material manufacturing sector, sales automation has an enormous potential to streamline many manual sales processes and increase revenue for manufacturers.

4. Website Improvements

One of the most important things you can invest in as a building material manufacturer is a good website. Websites are the face of your business on the internet and they play a critical role in converting leads, building brand awareness, providing information about your product and programs and giving distributors, builders, contractors and homeowners useful tools to interact with your products.

Surveys show that 80% of marketers in the renovation industry will be investing more into website improvements to create a better user experience in 2019. One of the best ways to obtain ROI from your website improvement budget is by building in a visualizer or improving on your existing building product visualizer.

Visualizers and configurators give homeowners and contractors an opportunity to visualize what their home is going to look like before purchasing or installing your products. They can also drive new leads to preferred contractors, build brand awareness, increase engagement with your brand and result in repeat visitors to your website.

Studies show that engaged customers make 90% more purchases. Repeat customers spend 33% more than new ones and spend 60% more in a single transaction.

But why rely on third-party survey data? Good building product visualizers also collect analytics data that can show you how your customers are interacting with your product specifically.

Well, there you have it. These are some of the biggest marketing trends we’ve noticed in the renovation and building materials industry for 2019. Take these tactics into account when planning your digital marketing campaigns and communications strategies for the coming year. These trends aren’t going away anytime soon and are sure to be worth every penny you invest in them.

Interested in more emerging trends in the building materials industry? Take a look at some of our other articles here.