Marketing tips for tradesmen and women as the trade industry is a funny old thing. One minute you’re begging for the phone to stop ringing so you can get some work done and the next your hoping it’ll ring so you can get some work.
There several ways you can market your company, whether your just starting out or you’ve been going for a while but you’re not sure what your next step is to move forward.
Below is a list, not particularly in any order of importance, of how you can market your business to ensure a steady flow of work, no matter what trade you’re in.
First things first, as this one always seems to be the o’dependable remark that these old schoolers like to comment with.
Word of Mouth
Back in the days when people actually communicated with each other properly word of mouth was a great, free way to get your name out there. You do some work for someone, they then recommend you to a friend or family member etc etc. Unfortunately whilst this way is useful, it’s always good to get personal recommendations, this way just isn’t bringing in the amount of work it used to.
I believe this is mainly due to a couple of factors; 1.) People just don’t communicate with each other like they used to. Social media has played a huge part of how we interact and you just don’t have the local community that you used to have to enable you to work your way into a circle of people who will pass you around like you’re the village bike. 2.) People don’t want the responsibility. Now it seems stupid to think that someone doesn’t want to recommend you to a friend or family and I’m not saying that everyone feels this way, BUT people don’t want to take the risk that you may do a bad job, as it’s then their reputation and their guilt because it was them who recommended you to a friend. I know what you’re thinking, this doesn’t sound right, but think of it this way. When doctors don’t want to give you a definitive answer to an ailment or illness, because if they’re wrong they’ll look bad and at the very extreme, may get sued. Do you not think that people would simply not bother recommended someone for the reasons listed above?
Word of mouth does work well in some instances so don’t rule it out, but also don’t rely on it to bring in a steady income. Yes there are exceptions, but there are also other ways to build upon your growing business. Keep on reading.
Online Local Directories
Again, once the pinnacle of a tradesmen’s marketing campaign. A yellow pages ad could have brought in thousands once upon a time, now less and less people are using local directories as a way of finding you. Some do, but the majority don’t. Old companies that used to thrive have tried to move online such as Yell, Yelp and Thomson Local, but they’re not bringing in the amount of work that they used to and just don’t have the pulling power to bring in viewership due to the likes of more innovative online companies who have been more successful in advertising to the general public.
However, do not rule them out. When it comes to building citations and back links for your website and search engine listing these sites do prove to be very valuable as they generally have high PA and DA scores, so using them for link building is highly recommended and who knows, you may get the odd one or two people finding you on there also.
Always use the free listing option, it’s not worth paying.
Online Niche Directories
Similar to the above, except more specific advertising to people searching for your particular trade or service. This is the likes of Checkatrade, Which? Trusted Traders etc etc, there seem to be new ones each week. These can work, depending on where you are and whether or not you utilise them. I signed up to Checkatrade when it first came out in my area about 8 years ago and I went from happily turning over £60-70k to doubling my business within a year and having to take on extra staff just to keep up with the amount of extra work I was getting. At the time I was paying about £700 a year for the service, I believe this figure has also double since then, but it’s still worth it if you use them properly. This means doing whatever it takes to stay at the top of the list, as per Checkatrade ruling that you need regular good reviews to keep at the top.
Having multiple listing on these sites can get expensive, they can also be time consuming and a bit of a drain when you’re constantly asking customers to leave multiple reviews on sites. My recommendation is to use the most popular to you and focus on that.
The easiest way to figure out which is more popular is simply by going on Google and searching for a service that you provide in an area that you work and seeing which comes up on the front page.
Online Pay to Play/Work Directories
I was going to include these with the likes of the above, but they are slightly different so here’s a different sub header for them.
By pay to play I mean using websites or apps such as Rated People, My Builder, Bark etc. Directories where you have to pay to get in contact with the client. I have a personal distaste for this type of advertising, but unfortunately it has been useful in the past when I was building my business at the beginning.
It’s pretty straight forward, you sign up, fill in your information and upload a logo, add your contact information and then wait for a job to pop up.The trick I found when using these is speed. Once the job notification pops up if you’re interested BUY IT, then don’t just sit around with your thumb up your ass, CONTACT THE CUSTOMER, then go and look at the job and if you’re still interested PROVIDE A QUOTE!!.
It sounds patronising, but I do know of tradesmen and women who buy a lead when it pops up and only get round to ringing the customer when they’re a little quiet, or maybe a couple of days later when they remember they still need to call such and such. The type of person who uses such sites, I’m afraid to say, in my experience aren’t looking for quality, they’re looking to get the work done as soon as possible for as little as possible, so speed is of the essence and don’t expect to make a killing.
This is why this type of advertising is great for someone just starting out or maybe to use to gap fill because you haven’t followed this article and all of a sudden you’re a little short on work.
Search Engine Business Listings
These are along the likes of Google and Bing, with Google My Business being probably the most in-depth and informative type of listing that can really help your business.
I’m always surprised at how little people utilise the Google My Business platform, mainly because I know how well it performs when you use it properly.
The most important thing when using GMB is to make sure all the information displayed is exactly the same as what’s on your website, your social media profiles and any directory listing, then keep it updated, post pictures, upload posts, anything that is useful to your customers will get your listing ranking higher than others when they do a simple Google search.
It’s just the same as posting on social media, but a lot more effective.
If you want to rank higher with your Google listing and don’t have the time to do it yourself then feel free to email me on email@example.com or check out our page Google My Business for our fees.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I don’t believe the hype around social media. From my experience all I seem to see on the likes of Facebook are people asking for a “cheap & reliable plumber” or other suggestions similar to that.In my opinion there is no such thing as a “cheap” and a “reliable” tradesman, these things just don’t go hand in hand. Cheap and unreliable maybe.
Unfortunately social media pages such as Facebook are so inundated with advertisements people don’t often bother even reading them unless it’s something they’re truly interested in or it provides them with information that they didn’t already know. Social media has been butchered with “click bait” and “get rich quick schemes” that it’s almost impossible to run a successful ad campaign anymore.
What I find most useful with Social Media is the networking side, there are a lot of local groups where business owners get together to share information or ask for recommendations. It’s a great way to meet new connections, especially at the moment when networking events aren’t really going ahead.
Websites and Search Rankings
Probably the most expensive option, but arguably the most organic, natural business growth option that has huge benefits to any business.
Getting a website built isn’t all too expensive. The websites I build start at £650 plus hosting, more info can be found here.The expensive part to any website is what happens behind the scenes as such. SEO.Search Engine Optimisation and all the work involved in it can sometimes baffle people, it’s confusing and also sometimes misleading, especially when Google updates its algorithm.
If you’re looking into doing your own SEO I would highly recommend doing a course first, you can find plenty on sites such as Udemy that will teach you how to effectively use SEO to improve your search rankings. If you want your SEO managed by someone else then check out our fees here or feel free to get in touch to discuss in more detail.
Search Engine Optimisation is a lengthy process, with Google sometimes waiting up to 6 months before you start ranking well on certain keywords. There is no quick fix or short cut to SEO, so think of it as a long term strategy.
To provide you with some inspiration and show you the benefit of increasing your website ranking I’ll tell you this.
A Google search for Plumber in Bristol comes up with 5 organic rankings, after Google Ad placements and the all important Maps section.The number one ranking website for this search term gets over 4000 organic website visitors a month!! Number two gets almost 3000!That’s over 4000 people looking at your website because they’re searching for a service you provide.The top organic listing in that same search on page two of Google gets 140 visitors a month. They’re getting 3.5% of what the top of page one gets.
Why did I put the most important section at the bottom of this article?
My short answer is this. If you haven’t got this far down you’re probably not all that interested in marketing your business. Save the best until last. So for those people who have read this far down, thank you and please do get in touch if you have any questions at all, I’d be more than happy to discuss anything you’ve read in this article or any other marketing related questions you may have.
To grow your business you need to implement all these marketing tips for tradesmen that I’ve listed above. Not necessarily all at once, but to get the most out of your marketing you’ll need every angle covered. Try the free ones first and keep your over heads low to begin with, my biggest mistake when first starting out was spending too much on marketing, because although a lot of my campaigns worked I ended up having more work than I could handle so a lot of my marketing budget was wasted because I had to turn the work down.
Start slowly and build gradually and have that number 1 spot on Google as a target firmly in your mind.
If you have any questions about this article or anything else marketing related please don’t be afraid to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out via our social media platforms.