Starting a business can be difficult, especially if you are a tradie – there is a huge amount of competition out there, with lots of electricians, plumbers and carpenters opting to run their own small business and work for themselves.
If you run a small business offering your trade services, or if you are thinking of branching out on your own, here are some marketing tips to help tradies create happy, return customers and a thriving business.
Review your marketing strategy
It is always a good idea to review the strategies you have been using to market your business to new customers and what you’ve been doing to retain your current customers.
When you pick up a new customer, ask them how they heard of you so that you can see any trends in what is working in your marketing strategy. If you’re spending a lot of time or money on one marketing tactic that doesn’t seem to be bringing in any new customers, it might be time to cut that from your strategy and try something else.
Attend industry events
A great way to get your tradie business more exposure is to attend industry events. Better yet, if you can get the opportunity to present as a guest speaker you will be able to not only position yourself as an industry leader but also meet new people and potential customers at the different networking functions held during most of the events.
Perth run many different events throughout the year catering towards different types of trades such as the Perth Tradie Expo and the Perth Home Show.
Know your competition
It is so important to know who your competition is and what they are doing that may have an impact on your own business. Look at their advertising and their website. If they have an e-newsletter, sign up to receive it too.
We would never recommend copying your competition, but knowing what they are up to from a marketing point of view will ensure that you are keeping one step ahead of them, reducing the risk of any of your current customers jumping ship and going over to the competition.
Understand your customer and target your advertising specifically towards them
Advertising works best when properly planned out and targeted. Spend some time really getting to know who your ideal target customers are, what their needs are and where they hang out (online and offline) so that when it comes time to advertising to them you have a better chance of reaching and appealing to them.
The way you would target your advertising towards a 50+yr old male is going to be very different to the way you target a 21yr old female, they will both have their preference of publications or online media that they read and the actual messaging within the advert will have to read differently to appeal to the two very different audiences.
Understand what these differences are so that you can get the most bang for your advertising buck.
Build a strong digital presence
In this day and age where everything is online it is more important than ever to build a strong digital presence. Spend time (and money if your budget allows it) on building a great, informative, user friendly website to improve your SEO rankings.
If you don’t have a huge budget for this or don’t have the technical knowledge to build a website on Wordpress, try one of the smaller website builders such as Wix or Squarespace. Not on Facebook or Instagram? Well you should be! According to Social Media News Australia, there are over 16 million monthly users on Facebook and 9 million monthly active users on Instagram in Australia. That is a lot of people you could potentially be reaching with an effective social media marketing strategy!
Give your customers multiple ways to contact you
There is nothing more frustrating than something going wrong in your house and needing a tradie ASAP yet you’re unable to get through to anyone.
Give your customers and potential customers multiple ways of reaching you. Mobile and email are usually pretty standard for most tradies, but why not give your customers the opportunity to contact you through an online enquiry form on your website, or through Facebook messenger.
The most important thing to remember with this one is however that if you’re offering different contact methods, you need to actually be responsive on them – you don’t want Facebook messages sitting there too long without a response or your customers will go elsewhere.
Make sure you’re listed in all relevant directories
Although people tend to not use the hard copy yellow or white pages any more, there are still the online versions that people will often look to when searching for a tradie.
There are many different online directories offering free or paid listings such as Hipages, Service.com.au, SearchaTradie or LookLocalWA that you should research and consider whether it is worth listing your business on. Listing your business in online directories can also sometimes have a positive effect on your search engine rankings.
Stay up to date with industry trends
In order to identify growth areas for your business, keep up with your competitors and to assist you in understanding what your customers may expect from a job, it is important to always stay up to date with industry trends. It pays to become a member of different industry groups such as Master Builders WA and CCIWA to attend their events and receive their updates and information, as well as keeping an eye on industry websites such as ACI Forum for further updates.
Always check in with your customers to make sure they’re happy
Word of mouth is a hugely beneficial marketing tool for tradies. Most people will take the word of a trusted family or friend over what they have seen advertised to them on Facebook.
In order to get those positive word of mouth referrals, you need to keep checking in with your customers to make sure they’re happy. Once you’ve finished a job, actually ask your customers how you went, if they are happy with everything or if there is anything they think you need to change. It may seem like an inconvenience but making sure your customer is 100% happy before you walk away from a job will increase your chances of getting more referrals or even repeat business from them.
Spend time generating reviews online
Word of mouth referrals go a long way for tradesmen who operate their own businesses. It’s great when a past customer verbally recommends you to someone they know, but are they leaving you an online review as well?
Online reviews are super important in this day and age where everyone is online. Potential customers are searching for tradies online every day, comparing your business to others in the area. Having some reviews online in places such as Google My Business, Yelp or on your Facebook page can really help you stand out from your competitors.
But how do you get more reviews online?
Try asking at the end of a job when you’re discussing the final details with the customer, or send an email with links and instructions on how to leave a review. There are plenty of opportunities to ask for a review, it may feel a little out of your comfort zone but it could benefit your business greatly seeing all those 5 star reviews when someone searches for your business online.
Get in touch with Social Bay Creative today if you're a tradie and would like some help planning your marketing activities.