Its been an incredibly busy year for the consultancy, which is now four years old. Here’s a few highlights and some information about what we’ll be doing in 2016.
Construction Marketing Award
Back in October we blogged that our client SIG Design and Technology has been shortlisted for ‘Best Use of Content Marketing’ in the prestigious CIMCIG Construction Marketing Awards. We’re delighted to report that of the 6 finalists we were selected for a special ‘Highly Commended’ award behind the winners, British Gypsum.
It is fantastic news that SIG Design and Technology has received the recognition for an extremely successful and innovative content marketing strategy, which brought excellent results in its first two years of implementation, including an exceptional return on investment.
The core of our success has been a hugely successful Roofing Design Blog, which is generating vast amounts of traffic to the client’s website. The blog has produced a dramatic increase in visibility to the site, on occasion out-performing well-established competitors in some of the clients markets. One of our blog posts published in the autumn of 2013 is currently returning 2000 page views a month and generating dozens of enquiries.
Over the initial 2-year programme, our strategy attracted 831 blog subscribers, a 285% increase in content downloads from the site and an eightfold increase in contact form enquiries. Specifications increased 89% in number and 73% by value. This has contributed to an increased return on investment of net specifications managed to order from 277% to 330%, all without any significant increase in marketing spend.
Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, it is great to see awards that recognise the importance of return on investment in marketing.
The award is great news for Just Practising as well. I’m particularly delighted because SIGDT were one of my very first long term clients, with whom we started working in 2012. We’ve continued to evolve the strategy and 2015 has been even more successful.
The techniques we used to deliver these impressive results, and secure recognition from the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group, are available to all our clients. If you’d like to get us involved in a similar project with your company, please get in touch to know more.
Other Consultancy News
In March 2015 we incorporated to form Just Practising Limited, and this has coincided with a growth in longer term projects.
But I’m not planning to turn our business into an ‘agency’ with scores of junior staff; the intention is to continue to focus on providing targeted, strategic advice to our clients.
Just Practising has a new approach to social media which works with the client-facing people in your organisation, with your existing systems and external agencies, providing additional support only when you need it. We’re interested in results – identifying measurable goals and deliverable outcomes, and finding innovative ways to use the internet to achieve your objectives.
Several of our clients have new or refreshed websites this year, drawing on changes in how their audiences are using technology and learning from their previous activities.
This April Google confirmed the importance of mobile-friendliness for websites if they are to be visible in search, and this has been a motivator for some of the changes. The key issue however, has been how to improve visibility in an era where people are increasingly busy and looking for very specific advice and information. We’ve worked with a number of clients who have started blogging properly this year for the first time, and are now beginning to see the results.
#SocialBIM Videos – Learn about BIM
This year I’ve had the huge pleasure of working with The B1M to produce a new series of videos about BIM, Social Media and Collaboration. The videos are designed to introduce concepts and provoke discussion around the topic of Building Information Modelling from my perspective as a specifier, construction professional and social strategist.
The videos were great fun to make, though somewhat nervewracking! Fred Mills and Tom Payne, founders of the B1M have been incredibly supportive and patient, and I’ve learned a huge amount both about the whole process of producing popular videos people want to watch, but also about some of the key issues facing our industry today. I encourage you to subscribe to The B1M YouTube channel if you’re interested in learning about BIM and participating in a debate which essentially will decide the future of our industry.
If you haven’t watched the videos you can watch them on the channel here or read the blog posts that go with them one at a time:
- Why Social Media for AEC?
- How Can Social Media Support BIM Knowledge Sharing and Learning?
- How Can Social Media Support BIM Workflows?
- How Can Social Media Democratise the Building Design and Operation Process?
- Collaborative Working in Construction: Why don’t we do it?
- Conversations: People Will Talk
- Mistakes: People will Find Us Out
- Sharing: People will Use Our Stuff
It is my intention for these videos to be the kind of thing you might email to a friend to illustrate a point, or share with your colleagues to promote debate about BIM in your organisation. Next year we’re planning more, so if you’d like to suggest topics we should cover or want to add your 2d to the debate, please comment below or get in touch. You can also tweet me using the hashtag #SocialBIM of course!
Content Marketing Workshop
I’ve been providing ticketed training workshops ever since the consultancy started, and this year was no exception with four sessions at the Building Centre in London on Social Media Strategy, Linkedin, Twitter and Blogging. As the consultancy has taken off I’m doing more and more in house training and mentoring of this sort, so we decided to do something different for our ticketed sessions in the second half of the year.
This autumn we ran our first Content Marketing Workshop for construction product companies in-house marketing teams. The workshop was very successful with a full attendance from a range of companies and some very good feedback. Attendees welcomed the interactive nature of the workshop and the opportunity to look afresh at how to obtain, generate and disseminate quality content. Of course we shared some of the insights from the success of the consultancy over the last four years too.
We’ll be running the workshop again on 1st March 2016 at the Building Centre in London. Places are already filling up, so do book your place if you’d like to come along.
LinkedIn for Sales Teams
Next year we’ll also be offering a half-day workshop on LinkedIn specifically for members of your company involved in sales. LinkedIn is an excellent toolkit for sales professionals. We’ll look specifically at selling to architects, provide plenty of tips and workarounds for using a free LinkedIn account to best effect, and there will be plenty of hands on experimentation and discussion so bring your laptop!
The workshop will be at the Building Centre in London on 21st June 2016. Sign up to my Training Newsletter if you’d like to be notified when Booking opens.
If you’d like to consider in-house training and you can put together a group of 5 or more, do get in touch. Whilst we recommend training to be part of an overall strategy, we do make it available as a stand alone service where appropriate. Get in touch for more information.
Events, Speaking and Live Blogging
This year has also been very busy one for public appearances. Alongside the consultancy I have been all over the country attending, speaking, live blogging and even MC’ing events.
- In January we began delivering in house CPD sessions in several large consultancies on ‘how to be safe and sensible online’.
- In February I spoke at the Social Media for Business Conference about ‘Social Media: Where are We Now?‘.
- In March I spoke at Ecobuild for ACO in a PechaKucha session entitled ‘Why People Share Stuff Online’ and began filming with the B1M. I also gave a presentation to the sales team of a large product manufacturer with whom we’re working next year.
- This April I was MC for the first time at the ThinkBIM #GreenBIM event in Leeds on Behavioural Change, and also live blogged the WorkPlace Trends Spring Summit.
- In June I participated in the first ever BIM4SME Awards which were a fascinating insight into how SME’s are driving forward with BIM, with some considerable success.
- We live blogged the SPRA Single Ply Roofing Association Conference in July, and the Cradle to Cradle debate at the RIBA, and ran another clutch of in-house training sessions. I spoke at the AEC Hackathon, the first to take place in London. Also in July was the BIM4M2 seminar introducing construction product manufacturers to BIM and the independent tools BIM4M2 have produced to help manufacturers get involved.
- In October I live blogged the RIBAJ #PerfectRoof seminar and the First FIS Annual Conference for the interiors and fitout industry. It was also the fourth year I’ve live blogged the Workplace Trends Conference, always fascinating and very active.
What does 2016 bring?
2016 promises to be a year when the construction industry faces up to some interesting challenges. Industry is optimistic about growth, but facing severe skills shortages. Whilst there is plenty of scepticism about promises for growth in areas such as housing, it remains the case that there is plenty of work to be done, often with fewer people and less money.
This applies to marketing too, with many of my clients seeing freezes or even a decrease in their marketing budgets this year, at the very point where demand is increasing. In this context we will need to be smarter workers, finding more innovative and efficient ways to deliver the goods. But first, it’s time for a break.
After such a busy and successful year I could do with a lie down! We’ll be closed from Friday 18th December reopening on 4th January. I’d like to thank my fabulous Just Practising team for supporting all our work, and congratulate our clients on a very successful 2015. Merry Christmas, see you on the other side.