Posted on: 04 October 2018
Relying on word-of-mouth may be an effective marketing tool but for the modern tradesman, there is far more to consider in order to effectively attract new customers.
From creating websites to compiling case studies, tradesmen must juggle a myriad of marketing techniques if they are to emerge from the proverbial haystack of skilled workers.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top tips for marketing as a tradesman.
1. Set up a website
A website is one of the first things customers look for in their search for a company. Not only does a website legitimise a company’s offering, it can also set them apart from other businesses offering similar services.
The first thing you should prioritise when building a website is putting useful customer information at the forefront. Here is a list of important information you should include:
- Your business name and address
- Contact details (such as telephone and e-mail)
- Information about your business (if you have a unique selling point, state it clearly in your ‘About Us’ section)
- Any trading bodies and trading standards scheme you are registered with
- Any qualifications which are recognised in your sector
- Photos of previous work and comments from happy customers
If you haven’t built a website before, don’t worry, you don’t need to be a coder to make it look professional. In fact, there are plenty of online website builders which do all the work for you. Platforms such as Wix, WordPress and SquareSpace provide users with easy-to-use templates.
2. Be visible
While there are many methods for ranking well in the search results, some are more effective for small businesses than others. Here are some top tips:
- Organise your website’s structure - This means making your website easy to navigate. In short, you should consider how easy your pages are to find and how well they link up with one another. If you’re unsure of how to structure your website, there are a few online guides which have all the information you need.
- Optimise your website’s text/copy - For this, you should include relevant phrases which are frequently searched for. For instance, if you’re a plumbing company in Bristol, the phrase ‘plumbers in Bristol’ would be a phrase you should include in the titles of your pages, along with headings and body copy.
3. Get listed
To support your search ranking efforts, you’ll want to get your business listed in local online directories. Some of the most popular and trustworthy directories your business should be listed with include:
As well as service and trade-specific directories (some charge you to be featured):
- Top Tradesmen UK
- Trust a Trader
- Which? Trusted trader
4. Utilise social media
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching audiences who are yet to come into contact with your business. In fact, according to Screwfix, 48 per cent of tradesmen claim to win new business solely with the help of social media channels. What’s more, social media platforms are free to use, so you don’t need a huge budget to get started.
Facebook should be your first port of call. This is the most popular social media platform in the world and should be perfect for targeting key customers. Anything from deals/promotions to case studies (before and after photos are particularly eye-catching) should all be used to peak the interest of Facebook users. Many people also often rely on Facebook to locate a business’ website and/or contact information – so make sure to have all your details on your page.
5. Send out business cards
Sometimes the simplest marketing tactics are the most effective, and this is certainly true when it comes to business cards.
Small, cheap and easy to distribute, business cards are fantastic for keeping all your most important information in one place. This should include your name, your business name, your industry, website URL, company social media usernames, contact details and a company logo (if you have one).
You can then post them through prospective customers’ doors and hand to people you meet on the job – you would be surprised how many people prefer to be handed a business card versus searching online.
6. Collate case studies
Unfortunately, it’s not all about flashy websites and pretty business cards. Customers typically choose tradesmen who have offered them real-life examples of their work.
Customer testimonials and before-and-after photographs are just two examples of ways you can let your best work do the talking. Put customer feedback in prominent sections of your website, and be sure to use the most positive snippets on marketing materials. You may also want to get your clients to post images on their Facebook account and tag your business name in it.
7. Gather reviews
According to research by BrightLocal, 73 per cent of consumers trust local businesses more after reading positive customer reviews. Therefore, it is a good idea to share your company reviews across your website, social media channels and your business flyers, to help build up credibility and expand your reach.
8. Send out emails
If you have a database of contacts, email marketing could be a great way to let them know you’re in business. In fact, email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than the two biggest social platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
If you are emailing new customers, make sure you have consent to send them marketing messages. Your welcome email will be your first point of contact. Use this as a chance to show off your personality and offer special deals to help peak interest.
If, on the other hand, you are targeting return customers, you should use email marketing to give them a reason to come back. Often, incentives such as discounts are effective at attracting repeat customers, while birthday emails and offering helpful advice can be powerful, too. Platforms which offer marketing automation, such as MailChimp, are handy if you are unsure when and how to target your database.
Once you’ve decided who to target, the next step is to structure your email so that it doesn’t end up in their junk. Here are some top tips for effective email marketing:
- Be concise and relevant to their needs
- Personalise as much as possible
- Include ‘rewards’ for opening the email
9. Sign up for Google My Business
Although this is a local listings service, Google My Business (GMB) is by far the biggest and most influential of them all and, thus, should be given special attention.
Unlike other listings sites, GMB presents results in a dedicated area of Google’s search results page. To register with GMB, firstly you will need to fill in an application via Google. Here you will need to upload company information, such as your address, opening hours etc. Customers can also review your business through GMB to give it an overall “star rating”.
10. Be helpful
With thousands of businesses listed online (a search for ‘electricians in Nottingham’, for instance, produces more than 300,000 results), it sometimes takes more than just a GMB listing, great website and snazzy business cards to get people interested in your company. Today, more and more people are hunting for tradesmen who not only offer a first-class service, but go the extra mile to help their customers.
Video sharing platforms, such as YouTube, are excellent for building brand awareness. According to HubSpot, 90 per cent of customers use product videos to help them make purchase decisions, while adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates of 200-300 per cent.
The reason for this is simple: video creates an informal dialogue with prospective customers. Creating “how-to” and explanation videos allow you to interact with new audiences and build trust.
Now you know how to market your business, the next step is to make sure you have the correct insurance in place. Browse Premierline’s range of tradesman insurance policies to get started. Looking for a specific trade? You can find insurance policies for plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers, handyman and electricians, too.
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