Built Environment Lead Conversion Secrets

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Episode 6 | Built to Market Podcast

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Have you ever noticed we focus on the big things regarding marketing? The company website, your social media, conferences, and events. But what happens when you’ve done all the right things and leads are still not converting? 

Whether it is a new way to connect with leads or a method you might have overlooked, we reveal five things you can do to lift conversion rates for your built environment business. And the best news is that these little tweaks can pay off big dividends for manufacturers, distributors, and building industry professionals. 

Winds of change

The exciting thing - and sometimes exhausting thing - about marketing and sales is that the winds of change are always blowing. What worked yesterday might not work today. For consumers and businesses alike, the market tightens and expands. Interest rates go up, and the cost of borrowing becomes burdensome. Consumers are still spending, but what we spend money on always changes. So, how are we supposed to keep the lead conversion fires stoked? 

In general, we tend to make things too complicated regarding marketing. We get caught up with all the tactics available to us, and we lose focus on being strategic and customer-focused. Let's face it: what good is your social media, your website, or your email if they are not offering any value to your customers?

 Here are the five customer-focused marketing tactics that don’t take much to implement and keep things simple to boost your lead conversion. 

Secret #1: Chat funnels

I’ve emphasized the importance of growing your email list and how the ROI on email is $36 for every $1 spent. That’s great, but how do you get more people on your list when the last thing we want to do as consumers is give up our email addresses? 

We know that when we build our communities on social, we really don’t own them. That's right - if something should change with any platform where you have invested significant time and energy building an audience - suddenly, you have lost that investment.

You may have tried " link in bio" and other conversion strategies to try to get your social followers' contact information, but let's face it - that's not a very customer-focused strategy, is it? No one wants to click on a link that takes us out of the social platform we were in to fill out yet another form.

Now you don’t have to - chat funnels focus on the power of the direct message. You can ask your followers to DM your comment on a post with a word - say, just message the word “tips” on Instagram, and instantly within the app, a chatbot will collect the same information as the form - in the app! See how easy that was? You get a free resource without ever leaving your preferred social platform. As the marketing professional, you now have their direct contact so you can follow up with them in the future in the same app or other places, like the email inbox.

The best news? If something happens - say your favorite social platform is hacked, changes the rules, or maybe is bought by someone named Elon and rebranded... you now have a way to contact your hard-earned online community

You are primarily seeing these offers in the consumer space at the moment, but this is a great lead conversion strategy for any contractor, home builder, or distributor. This conversion strategy takes two things: direct communication with the customer and helpful customer-focused content. This combination boosts organic - not paid - leads from social media. 

Secret #2: Lead magnets 

The second lead conversion lifter you should consider is honing your ultimate lead magnet. What’s a lead magnet, you might ask? A lead magnet is an offer that you give away for free that has a value of $50 to $100. You message the offer in all your communication - on your website, social media, etc. 

The value of your lead magnet is essential. Gone are the days when someone is willing to give up their email address for just a checklist or an introductory PDF. Your ultimate lead magnet has to solve a pain point for the customer quickly. 

If you haven’t audited your lead magnets in a while, or worse, your lead magnet just isn’t performing as it should, one of two things is happening. First, the magnet itself isn’t quite right, which means there is a misalignment between your offer and the customer. What you are offering simply isn’t of enough value to get someone to give up their contact information, or worse, the offer or how you are messaging it doesn’t align with the customer’s pain - the problem you exist to solve.

How do you take an existing lead magnet from blah to brilliant? If you have some conversions, but it's just not what you want to see overall, such as leads that convert daily, then I encourage you to look at the messaging of your magnet. Chances are you are not consistently marketing your lead magnet. Or maybe the language around your magnet needs to be tweaked. Spend a little time here, and you’ll see conversion rates improve.

If you aren’t seeing any conversions at all, then you need to reevaluate the magnet itself. Is it of high enough value? Does it speak directly to a pain point the customer cares about that only you can solve? If the answer is no, I want you to consider upgrading your lead magnet to something of higher value. Something that people think you’d be crazy to give away.

Here are some examples for you of ultimate lead magnets:

  • Calculators or interactive quizzes:  These give the customer a diagnosis and suggest solutions to their problem.
  • Premium audio or video content: Such as free training that is usually paid for, or free chapters of your book - you get the idea here.
  • A challenge: convert one of your smaller paid services into a DIY version where you run a challenge over a certain period of time - say a 5-day period.
  • A free course: convert one of your paid services into a free course.

Do you sell a product? Consider adding these value-added services for free as part of your sales process. 

Secret #3: Partner programs for ad spend 

If you belong to the distributor community, particularly if you represent service companies for specific brands, you could potentially tap into the brand's advertising budget, including cooperative funds and promotional materials for representatives.

As a distributor, your partnership with specific manufacturers often entails receiving a budget of matching cooperative funds and access to pre-made marketing materials for promoting their brands. Surprisingly, more often than not, we've observed that you're not maximizing these complimentary programs to promote your business effectively. In fact, you might be missing out on thousands of valuable marketing dollars!

Are you a contractor? Are you a certified installer of specific materials? Do you incorporate particular brands into your operations? If the answer is yes, chances are there are partnership programs available that you're likely not taking full advantage of.

Are you a professional services company? Are you certified in certain software, or do you recommend specific materials? There are partner programs tailored to your needs as well.

Even if marketing dollars for advertising are not part of the partner program, there are always professionally produced materials exclusive to partners that are available to you to leverage in your own marketing. Why is this important? These materials save you valuable time and energy creating all your own marketing from scratch! Most of these materials are also great for creating ultimate lead magnets. 

Secret #4: Direct mail 

The good old-fashioned mailbox. Consider adding mail drops to your current lead generation sequences. The cost is minimal, and frankly, the mailbox isn’t crowded. Direct mail letters average 43% ROI according to the latest (2023) ANA Response Report - so this isn’t a channel you should be ignoring!

Afraid no one is going to pick up your mail? Don’t be. As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, according to Forbes. So there is an excellent chance your postcard will make its way into the right hands. 

Don’t have a list; don’t sweat it. At Illumine8, our favorite direct mail tool is the Postal Service’s EDDM tool - EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail. This is great for contractors and local service providers who want to reach consumers directly in their neighborhoods. The cost per piece is determined by the routes you choose, and because your mail isn’t going through the sorting machine, you get the most bang for your postage buck.

Secret #5: Thought Leadership content

Lastly, in our quest to boost your lead conversion, let's explore a strategy that often makes even seasoned leaders a bit apprehensive—thought leadership content.

Running a business often leaves limited space for "putting oneself out there," and who truly has the time for such endeavors? This challenge has been a source of struggle for many over the years, but it's clear that the rewards of "putting oneself out there" are indeed significant. Where most people get off track is there is an illusion that the expectation is so high. We can thank Gary Vee for that.

However, here's the kicker. People are naturally inquisitive beings. They prefer engaging with a person rather than an anonymous brand. This is precisely why influencers have gained such popularity—they humanize a brand and put a relatable face to it. 

No matter if you are the CEO or project coordinator, you face matters when it comes to the company brand. The more personal you can make your marketing, the better it will perform. So for that reason - consider one thing you can do to make your company’s branding more personal - and you can watch your lead engagement grow.

Looking for a place to start? Consider LinkedIn, the social butterfly for business. If you want more tips on lead conversion strategies for social specifically,  visit Episode 2 of the Built to Market podcast. 

Lead conversion mythbusting

Let's delve into some facts about lead conversion that dispel commonly heard myths when it comes to converting new leads for your business:  

  • Myth: Generating leads is something you don’t need to do all the time. You can turn leads on and off as needed.
  • Bust: If only life were like this! Resist the temptation when things get busy to “turn off” your lead-generating activities. At no point do you ever want to see your pipeline dry up. Think of it like exercising; it's easier if you keep up the habit; things get harder when you stop and have to start back up again.

The next most common myth:

  • Myth: If you have a website, leads will just automatically appear… aka “If you built it, they will come.”
  • Bust: I hate to break it to you, but having a website doesn’t automatically mean leads will just start coming through the digital front door. Building a website is just the start of your lead generation journey. It's like learning a new sport - you can buy all the gear - that doesn’t mean you can actually do the thing. You can have the best golf club set known to man, but that doesn’t make you Tiger Woods or Roy McAvoy.

Keep it simple

In our exploration, we've uncovered five effective strategies to boost conversion rates for your built environment business. The beauty of these insights lies in their simplicity, as even the smallest adjustments can yield substantial dividends for manufacturers, distributors, and professionals within the building industry. By implementing these tactics, you can unlock the full potential of your marketing efforts and pave the way for a more prosperous future in this ever-evolving landscape.


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