If you’re like most tradies who run their own business, your day starts early and finishes late.
If that isn’t already enough, after you leave the worksite there are quotes to put together and invoices to send – which means you have precious little time or motivation left to put together a marketing campaign to promote your business. Plus, as a small business, it’s also likely you don’t have much of a budget to devote to marketing – so, although promotion is probably on your “to do” list, you may be feeling like it’s all too hard.
But the trouble is, if you don’t put some effort into promoting yourself, you won’t grow your business – and before long things will start to go downhill. The good news is though, that promoting your business doesn’t have to cost you a fortune or be hard work. Here are 5 ways you can get your name out there, and get more work, with minimal effort – and without spending a cent.
1. Online Business Listings
Back in the day, when someone needed a tradie, they’d whip out the trusty Yellow Pages and call around to get some quotes. These days, the first port of call is usually Google – so make sure when people are searching, you’re easily found. Claiming your Google My Business listing is a fast, easy and free way to get noticed online. It’s simple to do – just enter your details and verify your address, and you’re up and running.
A Google My Business listing boosts your SEO (search engine optimisation), plus, it gives you access to analytics and tracking. You can also list your business for free on local classified sites such as StartLocal or True Local for added exposure.
When it comes to effective marketing for tradies, there’s still nothing quite like a referral from a satisfied customer to get you more work. Do a quality job, and people will recommend you – it’s as simple as that. Aside from doing great work, it’s often the little things that will impress people. Whether it’s returning calls fast, being on time, cleaning up after yourself or just being friendly, it all adds up to a positive experience for your client.
Referrals should be a core part of any tradie’s marketing strategy and the best tradies build up an impressive client base on the back of them. But don’t forget the opposite is also true, and a bad job can cost you customers fast.
Online reviews have become so important, as they give your web presence a personal touch. A recent survey found over 90% of respondents who read positive online reviews were influenced by them – which makes them a powerful point of difference. Think of reviews as a virtual referral which give readers a small taste of what it was like to work with you, an idea of your level of expertise and the quality of your work.
To build your online reviews you need a system in place to encourage your customers to post one – this can be as simple as a note on your invoice or a follow-up email after the job is complete. Google reviews not only help to grow your business, they’ll also improve your SEO. Plus, it’s easy for your customers to leave you one – they just search for your company name, click on “write a review”, and tell the world what a great job you did! Other popular review sites include True Local, Word of Mouth and of course, Facebook.
Building on from reviews, the next step is to gather some testimonials to post on your website. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to provide one, either by speaking to them directly or sending an email – if you’ve impressed them with your work, they’ll likely be happy to oblige.
But here’s a word of warning: if your testimonials are just a couple of generic sentences, they’re unlikely to have any impact. The best testimonials have a personal touch and include a description of how you solved the problem – to get this you may need to give your clients a couple of questions to answer or some examples of previous testimonials for guidance.
Social media is a great way to engage with potential customers and to build a reputation as a trusted source of reliable information in your field. Setting up a Facebook business page is a good place to start, and when you invest a little time in posting relevant content, you’ll build yourself a following. This puts you in the front of your connection’s minds, so next time they need a tradie, you’ll be the first one they call.
It’s also worth getting social in the real world – for most tradies, the bulk of their customers will come from their local community, so including local marketing strategies is a must. Whether you donate something to a local school or sporting club raffle or put a flyer in the window of the local coffee shop, make sure you have a positive presence in your community too.
Marketing doesn’t have to be time-consuming, or expensive. If you invest a little time and effort in the right marketing channels, you’ll build your reputation and expand your customer base – which are both critical elements of growing your business.
Over to You
Are you a tradie who’s had success with free marketing strategies? We’d love you to share! And if you’re looking for some inspiration to help you get started, you can download our “Promoting Your Trade Business for Free” checklist here.