Site closures, the slowing down of production, and the rise in remote working last year saw huge changes across the building industry. As the vaccine roll out continues and the world slowly returns to a new ‘normal’, we will no doubt continue to see the impacts of the pandemic on the industry for a long time to come.
Changing habits as a result of the pandemic has seen an increase importance of digital as a route to finding your products. Your audience has gone digital, now so must you.
Get in front of your audience
Digital is now the preferred route for product research, specification and purchases. A third of manufacturers we spoke to for our 2020 Business Continuity Survey said they’d seen an increase in customers asking for digital information with two-thirds currently, providing more material in electronic formats.
This is a part of a larger transformational trend: recent research from McKinsey & Company into B2B business purchasing, found that digital sales have doubled over traditional sales since the start of COVID-19. Alongside this, digital is now the preferred route for B2B purchases with manufacturers’ websites the most important source.
As the physical world emerges from lockdown, the digital one has shown the real adaptability of the internet. Specifiers are online and that’s where their search for your product starts. It’s more important than ever to ensure your website has the right information, and effective SEO to appear in relevant results.
But, your digital presence goes way beyond your website or google search ranking. Platforms such as NBS Source can augment your website by supporting SEO, granting you additional exposure to specifiers and providing them with high quality information about your products, in the exact way they need it.
NBS Source is a unified digital platform that exposes your products to specifiers with the right information at the right time, whilst helping you respond to the industry calls for transparency and standardisation in product data.
Unlike any other product search platform, your product data in NBS Source is integrated directly into our specification tool, NBS Chorus, and into design tools including Autodesk Revit® and Graphisoft ArchiCAD. This means your products can be found and added by specifiers as they are working on their project specifications. It’s a truly digital route to market.
Further to this, our new website integration tool allows NBS Source users to add specification data to their website. Product specification data is easily accessible in two places, but easy to manage – update NBS Source and it updates your website too. It also means website visitors can benefit from permalinks which provide a permanent URL always linking back to the product’s information on Source, making it easy to refer to the product information from documents, spreadsheets, databases, or objects.
Guide specifiers to your products
Your marketing strategy should make it easy for architects, specifiers and designers to find you and your products. If you can simplify the specifying process for them, you’ll be head and shoulders above the competition. Your customers want accurate and detailed product information in a digital format, including as digital objects.
A platform like NBS Source presents products in specification format, with information supporting existing and upcoming industry demands, which they can easily drop into their designs and specifications. So your products can be found, and specified in no time at all. The emphasis on high quality project specifications is increasing, and being written into the specification is the best way to ensure your products make it to the final build.
Give specifiers content that benefits them
Architects, designers and specifiers need to stay up-to-date with industry news and keep developing their skills; even more so when working remotely. You can provide them with great content to help with this in the form of how-to guides, podcasts and webinars. With no need to travel and participants able to watch at their leisure, it’s a hassle-free way to connect. This should be supported by social media, PR, email marketing and digital advertising to share your content as widely as possible; an integrated strategy is essential.
You can also share insights into new legislation and make it easy and effective to keep in regular contact with new and existing customers. NBS Source is also a great way to achieve this, allowing you to host product literature and case studies alongside your technical product information.
Go directly to your customers
When specifiers have found you, it’s vital that your staff are on hand to answer any questions a potential customer may have. Queries through live chat services are up 44%, so a rapid response time - even when working remotely - can have a huge impact on sales. We’ve recognised this need by creating NBS Source, a platform that provides everything customers need to specify your products, reducing the likelihood of questions. And through our NBS Chorus specification system, designers and manufacturers can work on project specifications together, collaboratively via the cloud.
If you’re able to respond to customer questions quickly and remain contactable when your competitors are not, specifiers will remember the quality of your service and be sure to return to you.
Gather data and use it
Instead of cutting back on your marketing activities, now is the time to optimise it. Identify where customers are dropping off and use that knowledge to make improvements where necessary; ask repeat customers for feedback, find out why visitors to your site didn’t make a purchase and test new lines and strategies to ensure there are no obstacles. If you have a marketing budget that was previously assigned to events, trade shows or print runs, this can be reallocated more effectively to digital activities.
As the industry becomes more digitised, the demands and opportunities to utilise data as a competitive advantage are becoming greater. We’re currently developing NBS Source to give you tracking features and insight into specification trends for your products and wider industry practices, so you can make informed decisions and better plan your marketing and product operations.
An end-to-end marketing strategy
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way the world works and, while some things remain uncertain, a marketing strategy that enables you to go directly to product specifiers isn’t going to change. The way you reach them, however, is changing faster than ever before.
Our cloud-based platform, NBS Source, puts your products in front of thousands of specifiers and practices with all the technical information and data they need to specify your products, across all stages of the project timeline. NBS Source is designed to make it easy for specifiers to find the products they need for their projects and to link seamlessly with our specification tool NBS Chorus, making including your products as simple as dragging and dropping them into the specification.
Find out more about how NBS Source supports your integrated marketing strategy and enables you to reach specifiers.