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Keys to Selecting Your Target Market Audience in Construction

Target Market in Construction Marketing

How to reverse engineer the right target market audience for your construction business.

Summary (tl;dr)

  • It takes 5 to 20 impressions to turn construction prospects into leads
  • The cost per impression multiplied by impressions required adds up fast
  • Selecting the right size target market for your budget can create a microcosm effect that amplifies your construction marketing campaigns
  • Hitting your target market with higher frequency is more effective than split testing (but we still like split testing)
  • The goal is to have a few people say “Wow, these guys are everywhere!

In this article, you will learn a unique strategy to select the right target market when advertising your construction services.

This is a critical step to effectively market your contracting business and win more projects, with less risk.

Understanding this can help you avoid one of the major causes of failed advertising efforts for contractors.

The Principle Behind Target Market Size for Construction Marketing

To understand this strategy, we first have to get a major principle about construction marketing right. So, let’s assume the following popular concept is true: It takes 5 to 20 impressions to get a prospect to take action on a marketing message.

If that is true, and our experience strongly suggests that it is, then you just need to blanket your market with ads and make sure everyone sees them 20 times, right?

Not so fast.

I’ll show you, in a moment, the one major challenge that prevents this from working, and why most construction advertising efforts lose money.

How much does it cost per impression to market construction services?

As mentioned, the goal is to get 20 impressions per person.

Depending on your market location and advertising medium (print, video, social, search, etc.), you can pay a little or a lot for impressions. Digital costs per impression are the cheapest and can range from $0.003 to $0.025 (1/3rd of a penny to about two cents).

Not bad, right?

However, since the broad market conversion rate is somewhere between 0.5% and 1%, then we need a lot of people to see the ads… and they need to see your contractor company ads up to 20 times, ech.

So that means we need to multiply the impression cost by our target number of impressions.

Let’s say your town has 200,000 people, (you can find this out with a quick search of your town’s population).

Here is the math:

200,000 people x $.01 per impression x 20 impressions = $40,000


The problem here is that most people don’t have a $40,000 marketing budget to test new ads.

So, they try to spend $2,000 to $10,000 advertising to a large market, only to get little or no response.

They may even change up the ads because they heard “split testing improves ad performance.”

But, they get the same result.

Now, they have “proof that advertising doesn’t work.”

Here’s why that is wrong and what to do instead.

One Major Reason Most Construction Service Marketing Campaigns Fail

As promised, here is one of the (many) reasons that most marketing campaigns for contractors fail. It’s all about the math we just went over.

Here’s what it comes down to: Contractors usually, unwittingly, select an audience that is too large for their budget. So, they don’t generate enough impressions per person to make a meaningful impact. 

Split testing doesn’t fix the audience size problem. It’s just another set of ads running to a wide audience that won’t see them enough to take action.

In fact, you will likely get a better result without split testing or optimizing your ads if you just hit your target market hard enough with a series of clear messages.

Said another way: You can advertise construction services to 100,000 people and make 2 impressions each, or you can advertise to 20,000 people and make 10 impressions each. Further, you can narrow all the way down to 10,000 people and make 20 impressions per person.

Besides the higher conversion rate due to the bigger impact of multiple impressions, there is another bonus effect.

Here is another little bonus secret between you and me (don’t share this with your competition.) When you target a small segment, you create a microcosm of influence.

That means, if the people are in the same geographic area or have something else in common, then you can influence word-of-mouth within that group of people.

That happens by focusing your many ad impressions to a group of people likely to share information with each other (including recommendations for construction services).

So, because you concentrated on building a microcosm of influence, people will start to have conversations that go like this:

Person A: “Who do you think could do this project?”
Person B: “Have you heard of {insert your name here}?
Person A: “Yes, I have seen them around a lot”
Person B: “Me too, they are everywhere. I’d call them.”
Person A: “Yeah, I think I will”

Powerful, right?

How This Target Audience Strategy Works in Contractor Marketing

To drive this point home, let’s imagine you are just 1 of the 100,000 people in the target market for your contracting business.

If you see an ad for a competing construction firm one day while scrolling through social media. Are you concerned about them? Probably not. You will likely forget all about them after a few minutes, and certainly after a few weeks.

But, what if you see the ads of this competitor 20 times, over the next 6 weeks, in 5 different locations (both online and in real life)? I bet your concern would grow, and you may develop a habit of thinking about them. A lot. You may even mention what you saw to someone else. *Gasp!*

Perception Is Reality for Marketing a Contracting Company

So, the goal is simple: Have people thinking to themselves, “Wow, these guys are everywhere!If your marketing budget is limited (which everyone’s is to an extent), then you must make a smaller number of people believe you are a big deal.

Summary of Target Market in Construction Marketing and Advertising

  • Choose an audience size that you can commit to communicating with at least 20 times.
  • Use digital advertising to keep costs down (e.g. $0.01-.02 per digital impression instead of $1 or more for mailers)
  • Spread out the impressions over 2 months to drive your message into their brains.
  • Target a group of people who are likely to interact, and affirm to one another that you are someone they have all heard about.

You can find populations for certain areas, including radius searches, with free tools online like this one.

Share this with the person who is in charge of your construction company’s marketing and advertising. I hope ir will be useful for you.

If you need help, reach out.

Written by Andrew Falde, co-founder of United Foundry Digital Marketing Agency