No matter how talented a tradie you are, your business’s profit is driven by your customers.
When starting up, many tradies fall on hard times or even go out of business. Usually this isn’t because they lack skill, professionalism or talent. It isn’t because they have a poor business plan or structure. A lot of time, it is due to a poor marketing strategy, meaning that few people know about their business and consequently they simply don’t receive enough customers to keep themselves in the green.
The good news is, that with a few simple tips on creating an effective marketing strategy, you can well boost your business’s chances of success.
Strategic Partnerships & Ongoing Relationships
Online newsletters and mass emails, radio ads, and even traditional hand out flyers – this is what most people think of when they think of marketing. It may not come to mind immediately, but forming strategic partnerships often becomes the cornerstone of any tradie’s advertising strategy.
The trade sector is very competitive and having the right partners to refer clients to you and vice versa can dramatically boost your business. You can form relationships with other tradies. For instance, if you are a roofer, you might find a builder to work with. Alternatively, you can form strategic partnerships with non-trade businesses. For instance, a builder may for a strategic partnership with a real-estate agent.
There first step to generating a word-of-mouth buzz for your business is to provide an exemplary service. People will only want to tell their friends and family about your service if it is memorable (in a good way).
You can use rewards programs or incentives to encourage your customers to promote your business via word of mouth. For instance, you could offer discounted services to customers who have successfully referred a friend.
Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Today, most people search for products and businesses using their smartphones instead of using a computer.
Your website often provides customers with their first impression of your business, so it is important that your website looks modern and professional and is easy to navigate. Ensure that your contact details are easy to find.
Google also ranks mobile-friendly website much higher when it shows search results. So whether your prospective customers are looking for your service on their phones or computers, you will definitely benefit from having a mobile-friendly site. Claim your
Google business listing
When you search for a product or service, Google business listings appear above the other search listings. Your customer will often click on Google listings first.
Your Google listing will show your business’s name, address, contact number, opening hours, website and even customer review. The more reviews you have, the higher you will rank in Google searches.
It’s free and easy to boost your business through Google business listings, so make sure to claim your business as soon as you can.
Connecting with other tradies and even local businesses in your community online, in forums, at community events or meetups, or by conducting outreach via email will allow you to identify and form great strategic partnerships. It can help you generate leads, and you may even gain a network of mentors to guide you and provide you with advice as you row your business.
It’s important that you have an ‘elevator pitch’. This is a short, 30-second spiel that describes who you are and what you do. It cuts to the chase and can be used in most settings.
Make social media your best friend
The face-to-face meeting is slowly becoming a thing of the past, with more and more interactions moving online and onto social media platforms.
Social media dramatically increases your reach – you can interact with many more customers a day than you would be able to using face-to-face interactions. This can be done by posting content, chatting in messaging services or using messaging bots, posting customer reviews, and more.
It also makes your business highly visible online. Users can review, ‘like’ and even share your business. Increasingly, people are actually searching for services near them on social media platforms, so it makes sense to keep your social media presence active and up-to-date.
To this end, it is a good idea to experiment with which social media platforms provide you with the most engagement – this is the time to look at the metrics. Then, pick the top two or three most effective platforms, for instance Facebook and Twitter, and invest your time and money into cultivating a really strong social media presence on these platforms. This will yield the best return on investment (ROI).
Use company vehicles to advertise
Almost every tradie drives a ute, van or car to transport themselves and their tools in ute toolboxes from job to job. So why not make use of all that free advertising space on the side of your vehicle?
Important elements to focus on are color, size and graphics. Your advertisement should be easy to read when parked on the street, stopped in traffic and even whilst driving.
Ensure that your business’s name and contact details are easy to identify. It might be worth investing in a marketing or advertising professional to design decals that are truly eye-catching and effective. This is a form of advertising that you will not be modifying very often, yet it will be seen by customers and members of the public constantly. That’s why it is important to get it right.
Collect customer feedback
Good feedback looks great as testimonials on your website or reviews on google Business, Yelp or other review platforms. It is also a great boost to confirm that your business is headed in the right direction.
Negative feedback is also really important and should not be discounted. It is a valuable and accurate way to find out what customers think of your service, where you need to improve, and which areas of your business you need to focus on most urgently.
Even a negative review left on a public forum can be an opportunity to promote your business. If you respond in a fair, calming manner, where you explain yourself and address the customer’s concern, you will improve your business’s image.
To increase the number of reviews and testimonials you receive, you can provide your customers with a brief survey or questionnaire via email or over the phone. To incentivize them to answer it, you can offer perks such as discounts or extra services.
Make sure that you are easy to contact
People today live busy lives, and may not be able to contact you during business hours, or may only have the time to send you a quick email or message during the day. Make sure that you can be contacted easily via all of your social media platforms as well as email and telephone. Additionally, it shows that you go the extra mile if you answer queries outside of business hours. Don’t go overboard and reply to emails at midnight, but if your phone is on hand, be sure to respond to queries as soon as you can.
If you are really unable to answer, say during a holiday, you can set up an automated email telling customers exactly when you will be able to get back to them. This will ensure that you do not lose business to competitors.
Offer multiple ways to pay
Most businesses these days are equipped to accept cash or card payments. You will capture more of the millennial and tech-savvy market if you offer alternate payment options and methods such as apple pay, PayPal and even payment plan systems such as AfterPay. Just remember to evaluate whether these systems afford you ease of use, low processing fees, and great customer support.
So what’s next?
You can market your business perfectly, but you can’t prevent against the unexpected. Even in the best-run businesses, accidents can and do happen, and that’s why its important to have the appropriate insurance policy in place.
You don’t want your business’s capital and good-will to evaporate in one fell swoop. Gone are the days of spending hours on the phone with a broker. You can visit an online insurance provider like BizCover, who provides multiple insurance quotes for tradies.