Masonry Marketing: Creating a Marketing Plan

Words: Elizabeth Graves

When asked to write an article on creating a marketing plan and budget for mason contractors, my first thought was that I didn’t know many mason contractors do a lot of marketing. And if they are doing marketing, I’d guess that most don’t have a plan and almost certainly don’t have a budget. For those of you who are in that category, it’s my hope that this article will create some ideas for you to think about.  

The first thing worth highlighting is, as mason contractors, we first understand that our industry thrives on more than just marketing tactics and promotional strategies. A commitment to building strong client relationships and delivering exceptional services that exceed expectations is the key to success in this industry. If you are a contractor that takes time to read articles like this and other MASONRY Magazine articles, I’m guessing that you’re constantly working on building these good relationships, creating value, and providing excellent quality to your clients.  

If you’re like most of my contractor friends, you rely on word-of-mouth, hand-shakes, and established relationships to secure work. I am NOT saying that should change. Instead, creating a strategic marketing plan isn’t a standalone solution but a valuable tool that can significantly enhance and supplement your reach and effectiveness in today's competitive landscape.

If you’re on the fence about putting together a marketing plan, below we will discuss why you should consider creating one for your business and how to create one.

Why You Need a Marketing Plan for Your Business

1. Increase Your Brand Awareness:

Although you may not think of it that way, your company, and the hard work you and your team put into it is your brand. Even if you're known locally, a marketing plan helps build that brand recognition beyond your immediate network. More and more contractors are expanding into other areas and nationally. By actively promoting your services online and through targeted outreach, you ensure potential clients discover your company when they need masonry expertise. This puts you into the conversation long before you may know it’s happening. Remember, according to Bright Local, 98% of consumers used online resources to find local businesses in 2022, highlighting the importance of a strong online presence. Being able to be easily discovered through your brand awareness is key to ensure you’re given opportunities that your team needs. 

2. Stand Out from the Competition:

The masonry industry is full of great contractors. But you want to be a cut above the rest. Executing on a well-defined marketing plan allows you to distinguish yourself by highlighting what makes you unique. You may specialize in specific types of masonry projects, or you provide exceptional customer service, competitive pricing, or a commitment to safety.  

3. Retain Existing Clients:

Marketing isn't just about acquiring new clients; it's also about nurturing existing relationships. A well-crafted marketing plan can help you stay connected with past clients, remind them of your expertise, and encourage repeat business. Companies love seeing their work highlighted and it will help you solidify your relationships. Remember that it takes a lot more time and effort to get new clients than it will to keep your existing good clients happy. Remembering to show them that you’re thankful for a good partnership on a regular basis is very important. Being a partner that highlights their successes through marketing will go a long way.  

4. Win New Clients:

Despite the fact that we want to keep our good customers happy, we can’t always rely on these existing relationships to keep our businesses successful. It is important to have your cornerstone clients, but we all know all too well that markets change and what may be here today could be gone tomorrow. It is very important to always be prospecting for new clients. By implementing targeted marketing strategies, you can reach new audiences and attract new clients who may not have been aware of your services. If you are in growth mode, expanding into other markets, bolting on additional services, or have an unexpected gap in your project calendar, this can be particularly beneficial.

5. Recruit and Retain Talent:

The skilled workforce is vital to any successful masonry business. A strong marketing presence, showcasing your company culture and commitment to employee well-being, can attract and retain qualified workers, especially in a competitive job market. People love a good “pat on the back” and doing this through social media, blog posts, etc. is a great way to highlight the awesome work your team is doing.  

We saw in the last two workforce polls done by MASONRY Magazine that an overwhelming majority of folks currently working in our industry came from family and friends recruiting them. Therefore, highlighting your current workforce and making them your ambassadors is one of the best ways you can help recruit but also bring back pride. A few coworkers and I make jokes over how we need to “Make Masonry Sexy Again” and create a “Men of Masonry” calendar and, while that is funny to think about, there’s something to be learned from it. We are in an industry that builds awesome projects. Our teams are proud of them, just like we are. A marketing plan can harness that pride and help you display it both for your existing folks to be proud of but also for the people that may be looking for a great place to make a career to see as well.  

6. What Gets Measured Gets Improved:

Marketing plans aren't static documents. By incorporating metrics and tracking, you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your efforts. You can identify what works, what doesn't, and continuously refine your approach to maximize your effectiveness. Companies that start marketing without a marketing plan are much less likely to track their success. Like anything else in your company, if you don’t track success, you could just be throwing away time and money. 

Get Started Creating Your Company’s Marketing Plan

  1.  Define Your Objectives:  

Just like starting a new project that has a budget, plans, and specs, your company should decide what your specific goals are in doing any marketing. Consider the above reasons we discussed above to help spark your specific goals. Here’s a few objectives that you may be considering, which we talked about above: Increasing Brand Recognition, Retaining Existing Customers, Gaining New Customers, Retaining your Existing Workforce, Recruiting New Workforce.  

Determining which objectives are most important needs to drive what you should be spending most of your marketing time and resources on. You may have a lot of objectives that you want to achieve through marketing but I recommend starting with no more than 2-3 that overlap based on what we talk about in the below steps to get started.

  1. Know Your Audience:  

Understanding your target audience is crucial for effective marketing. Based on the objectives you identified, your audience can be multi-faceted. Knowing who you need to target will allow you to tailor your messaging and outreach efforts to each audience’s needs and preferences. Doing some research on this is worth a bit of time to ensure that you cater your messaging to the right audiences in the right places. Here’s a few examples:

Example 1: You want to expand your workforce locally, you may at first think that your is only local but potential new team members could come from anywhere so having a wider reach might make sense.  

Example 2: You want to expand into providing waterproofing. Consider if this customer base is going to be the same existing clientele you have already or is this a different group. This could be a mix and marketing to existing clients could look substantially different than marketing to companies you haven’t worked with before. 

There can be some overlap in who is in your target audience, as you can see.  

  1. Know Your Competition:  

Understanding your competition is crucial. Identify both direct competitors offering similar services and indirect competitors like other building products (an example might be a project being flipped to be tilt-wall vs masonry). 

Analyze their websites, social media, and reviews to learn about their strengths (services, pricing, marketing channels, customer service) and weaknesses (limited offerings, weak online presence, negative reviews). This analysis helps you identify opportunities (niche services, new markets, stronger online presence) and threats (price wars, aggressive marketing) to craft a targeted marketing strategy that positions your company for success.  

It is important not to use negative marketing about your competitors in your marketing plan. Often negative marketing like this ends up making a company look petty and unprofessional. Highlighting your company’s strengths and differences is a much better option as a long-term strategy.  

  1. Choosing Marketing Channels:  

A key component of every marketing plan should be a professional website that gives enough information about your company to tell someone that they want to work with you — whether as a customer or a team member. Even if someone finds you on social media or just by word of mouth, they will try to learn more about you from your website. Not having one or having one that is really outdated is a red flag to a lot of folks.  

As for other marketing channels, each of your different target audiences may have a different marketing channel that works best to reach and engage them. Your objectives and audience will dictate which channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you will use.  

Don’t discount other marketing opportunities like email marketing: such as newsletters highlighting projects, sponsoring events that your clients care about, sending actual thank you cards, gifts such as hats, shirts, etc. Because people are overwhelmed by social media, personal touches like this go a long way to make you stand out. Whatever you choose to do, it should fit within your plan to align with your objectives.

  1. Developing a Plan for Messaging:  

Compelling messaging is key to capturing the attention of the right audience. You can post a lot of stuff but if it isn’t hitting the audience that you need to reach, it doesn’t do you much good. Here’s a few tips to help you with your messaging plan:

  • Getting feedback and help from your team can be an effective way to create content and boost morale as well. Your team, especially some of the “next generation”, is full of great ideas and can provide pictures and details that can help you create any marketing materials.  
  • Putting together marketing material that demonstrates professionalism and are still engaging takes more time than what a lot of people realize to begin with. Pictures of ongoing projects, employee celebrations, and interesting case studies are all things that we have seen to be popular with a lot of customers’ audiences.  
  • If you’re using social media channels, tagging companies that you are mentioning, whether general contractors and architects or vendors that you are using are good ways to get more exposure since those companies might have a larger following for your company to be highlighted by.
  • Despite algorithms always changing, most experts tend to say that frequency increases exposure on most social media channels. When worrying about frequency vs what to post, it is better to go with quality.
  • Creating a schedule for your social media posts is probably the most important thing that will help you consistently post quality content. As your team gets started, there’s a real risk of “getting sucked in” to social media when posting online. A few tips to help with managing productivity include:
    • Schedule your social media posts ahead of time. Many social media channels will allow you to schedule posts ahead of time, which will help prevent some distractions inherent to social media sites. There’s also software available that can post to multiple channels at one time.  
    • Come up with recurring themes. Our team likes to help customers create themes such as “Workforce Wednesday” or “Team Member Tuesday” that give you a consistent direction and you can easily put together quite a few posts for a few weeks at a time to schedule to help be more productive.  
  • If you’re a smaller team that is already stretched, working with a marketing company might be a better option for you, but it can be done within your organization easily with the right team members and a good plan of action. Just make sure that they understand the “masonry lingo” so it sounds authentic.
  1. Setting your Budget:  

Now that you’ve got a good plan, you can set your budget. This is crucial to ensuring the success of your marketing efforts. You need to look at it as an investment in long-term relationships rather than a mere expenditure. Whether you are planning on doing your marketing “in-house” or if you’re working with a company, you’ll want to be sure you have a good estimate of what it will take to meet the objectives you set. Spending money to create a good plan and schedule up front is just like anything else you do –- it costs up front but will cost less in the long run in productivity.  

  1. Monitoring and Measuring Results:  

Implementing tracking mechanisms to measure the performance of marketing initiatives is essential, but the true measure of success lies in the impact these initiatives have in relation to your goals. A few key metrics that might make sense to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing plan are client feedback, repeat business, employee satisfaction, and number of recruited new team members.  

Most marketing channels have reports that your company can pull to see engagement. Those numbers are definitely worth looking at because you want to continue to see how engaged your target audience is. However, engagement reports may not completely relate to your objectives being met. These are difficult for most contractors to measure with a dollar amount so here’s a few examples of things that are worth considering related to engagement reports:

  • What is it worth if you’re able to recruit a few key team members?  
  • What is it worth if you are able to get a meeting about the project you want that is with an out of town contractor who didn’t know you but was able to research you effectively through your website?
  • What is it worth for you to keep your main customers happy? Are you able to do this through highlighting them in your posts?  

These are all things that are somewhat hard to put an exact number on, but there’s a good chance that your marketing plan is helping with these things –- how much is what you want to try to determine.

  1. Evaluating and Improving: 

It is essential that you continuously evaluate and refine your marketing plan. Reviewing the metrics and effectiveness related to your objectives that we just discussed is what you want to use to drive any improvements you make.

Like anything you do in your company, this should be guided by a commitment to ongoing improvement in service delivery and client satisfaction. By remaining agile and responsive to client feedback and market dynamics, contractors can adapt their strategies to meet evolving client needs and preferences, ensuring sustained success in an ever-changing landscape.

Remember, a marketing plan isn't about flashy tactics or quick fixes. It's about building a roadmap to success, one that leverages the strengths of your company while acknowledging the competitive landscape. By taking the time to plan, strategize, and measure your marketing efforts, you can ensure your masonry business thrives in today's growing digital world.

Remember that a marketing plan isn't a magic solution, but it's a powerful tool to leverage the strengths of your company while acknowledging the competitive and ever-changing landscape of this industry. Just like the projects we take on as mason contractors, so there's no one-size-fits-all approach. This article provides a foundation, but the best plan for you depends on your goals, audience, and resources.

Ready to get started? Marketing, combined with your existing strengths, can help you build a thriving business. Invest in your future, and watch your company rise to new heights. Like anything you do in the masonry industry, this plan will constantly evolve. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help getting started or to get ideas. Part of being a member of an association like MCAA is the ability to reach out to fellow members to get their advice and seek resources. Happy Marketing!

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