Get more from your building product CPD – five MORE easy wins
Get more from your existing building product CPD materials. As a follow up to ‘More effective construction CPD marketing – five easy wins’ here are five more tips aimed at building product manufacturers wanting to boost CPD enquiry levels. Of course, these pointers also apply to CPD Providers wanting to create new materials.
1. Vary your CPD format to best suit different building product audiences
A variation on the point made in ‘Repurpose your CPD materials’. Different audiences have different priorities. Architects may want inspiration, engineers guidance on building regulations and standards, while contractors may focus on packaging, installation and maintenance. You should always write with a specific audience in mind. So if parts of your presentation are likely to appeal to different groups, why not repurpose those bits for each separate niche? After all, you’ve already written the core content.
2. Improve the effectiveness of your building product CPD promotion with the right images
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ may be cliché, but it’s no less true because of it. What constitutes a decent picture is more open to debate. An image should always make a point. If your point is ‘here’s a solution to your problem’ it’s only logical to illustrate the problem alongside the solution. Too many building product manufacturers still proudly show off their product after the decorators have moved on. Which is great in ‘before and after’ sequences, and ideal in sales brochures, but doesn’t summarise – at a glance – what your seminar is about. Imagery should help the specifier connect the dots. Make your CPD photography more effective by illustrating the problem your seminar will solve.
And while we’re on the subject, investing in good quality photography, i.e. in focus, properly lit, and snapped by a professional photographer, will always pay dividends.
3. Use social media to answer CPD questions, not to broadcast
CPD marketing is about sharing knowledge, a process that’s more difficult (though not impossible) to achieve without some form of interaction. Think back to your favourite teachers. Social media can be an incredibly powerful tool, if used thoughtfully. Linked In, YouTube, Twitter et al provide almost universal platforms from which to present problems and their solutions, answer questions, and engage in group or one-on-one discussions. The key is not to ‘sell’ your building product, but rather your building product expertise. Ask yourself: would you be more inclined to buy a car from someone you met online who immediately offered to sell you one, or from someone who spoke authoritatively and enthusiastically about cars, and who you only later found out sold them for a living?
4. Flag your building product CPD on your Home page (and make it easy to access in one click)
Major bugbear alert! I understand that Home page real estate is often jealously guarded, but if you’ve accepted the premise that building product CPD marketing encourages dialogue then why hide the obvious conversational cue? The number of building product manufacturers’ websites I’ve encountered that have their CPD buried somewhere within a ‘Resources’ sub-menu…
The chances are that visitors come to your website looking for answers. CPD marketing is about sharing knowledge – which provides answers. So place the means by which they can access that knowledge front and centre.
5. Promote your presenter alongside your building product CPD materials
A tricky one, for often practical reasons. The person delivering your CPD needs to be a salesperson, technical expert and customer services guru rolled into one, preferably with decades of experience. Your company’s credibility is linked to theirs, as is your company’s CPD message. If they can’t answer questions or don’t appear to know what they’re talking about, well…
Most specifiers have at least one horror story of having to sit through a thinly veiled sales presentation delivered by someone still getting to grips with their subject. The RIBA’s CPD approval process now goes to great lengths to minimise this occurrence.
Conversely, I once sat enthralled by a production manager in charge of manufacturing mailboxes. Some time later I was sufficiently inspired by a specification manager with more than twenty years’ experience to start enthusing about laminated surfaces. Laminated surfaces! These are the kinds of people who deliver the very best CPD presentations.
As I acknowledged earlier, it’s a tricky one – but if you have a heavyweight presenter, be sure to include their background and credentials in your CPD marketing materials.
6. Bonus win
Take time to get to know how specifiers organise their building products CPD. Don’t ignore the small practice. Many belong to formal or informal networks, sharing information and often booking building products CPD collectively. And don’t misjudge large practices either! They often block book well ahead of time, and your key contact may be a junior intern or team secretary. The RIBA’s The Changing landscape of CPD report offers some useful insights.
Author Andy Sivell helps CPD Network Providers get more from their CPD materials by writing, editing and project managing the creation of more effective building product CPDs. For more than ten years he has also compiled and edited every issue of the CPD Showcase, published monthly by NBS and the RIBA. Andy is the founding director of content marketing agency Working Titles. Follow him on Linked In.