Built on tradition
When we think of industries that have been slow to embrace modern forms of marketing, it's fair to say that small to medium building trades would be high on the list. It is an industry built traditional values and methods and the manual, hands-on nature of the job requires very little need for technology but things are beginning to change and more and more tradesmen are now taking a fresh approach to their marketing.
No longer rely so much on word of mouth/yellow pages
For many years building trades have relied on word of mouth, yellow pages ads and their reputation for work. For a while this served them well, but as the way we use and consume marketing information changes, this is no longer enough. People now have much more access to information online including reviews, company history and websites so ensuring your company makes an impression on all fronts is more important than ever.
For lots of small to medium building trades, cash flow can be an issue when it comes to considering potential marketing methods. Money is often tied up from job to job and the natural option would be to hold back on important marketing avenues or in some cases make poor decisions which result in costly contracts and poor results. It is important that you do your research and seek the advice of an experienced marketing agency just like a potential customer would do when looking for an experienced tradesman.
Show up in google places
There are lots of free, quick and easy ways to help give your company a boost online and help you gain trust with potential customers. The first one is Google Places for Business. When people search for a plumber or electrician for example, they will usually associate it with a location. Google results will often bring up a list of companies and a map. These top results are linked to google places so having a profile here will give you a greater chance of being seen.
The second free option is to register accounts with popular review sites such as Check a Trade or Touch Local. The internet has allowed people to have a voice and many will leave feedback about companies. You might wonder why you would want to open yourself up to potentially damaging comments but if you are a professional company you should get great comments, but in the event you do get a bad comment it gives you an opportunity to make amends and repair any damage that may have been done to relationships. Sometimes the mistakes you make can help you become better at what you do.
Quote sites like my hammer
With so many building trades available, more and more people are turning to online quoting sites such as MyHammer and MyBuilder for trustworthy and competitive quotes. Driven by a community of customers, it again relies on reviews and great workmanship. These platforms will help you build up your reputation whilst also offering additional job opportunities.
Many potential customers will look for signs of quality when choosing a tradesmen and accreditations such as Gas Safe, Trust Mark and NICEIC form an important part of that. These accreditation bodies often set a high quality standard in order to be a part of them so, by being a member, potential customers know you not only offer quality workmanship but you also take great pride in your work. Take time to research accreditations that are relevant to your industry and choose ones that will add value to your business.
Social media marketing can be a very effective tool for businesses with a small marketing budget. The main tools are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google + and YouTube. Many tradesmen might look at this list and be overwhelmed by the options and also the time involved to maintain each one. Not all of these networks will be necessary but all will give you a web presence and another way to potentially acquire new customers. There are some useful time-saving tools available to help you monitor and manage your networks including Buffer, Klout and Hootsuite, allowing you to schedule posts and monitor engagement from one dashboard.
When taking the plunge into social networking you should remember not to try and sell, sell, sell but instead offer help and advice and engage with your followers.
If you don't have a well designed, up to date website, you will most likely be missing out on job opportunities. A website is the modern day yellow pages ad and gives potential customers information about the services you offer. Google also likes to see fresh content, so updating your website with new case studies, blogs, news and useful information on a regular basis is very important.
An important part of keeping your website up to date is blog writing. This not only helps with your position in google by targeting specific keywords in your industry, but also gives your potential customers useful information that they can engage with. The more useful and interesting your posts, the more likely they are to engage and share.
Potential customers like to see the quality of work so be sure to document your work from start to finish. This is the sort of content that can be updated regularly and helps with your search rankings in google. Invest in a great camera, take great photos and videos, tell a great story and be proud of the work you produce.
Professional identity and approach
All of the above are very important for giving your business a great presence online but unless you have a professional identity and approach your efforts will go to waste. All of your marketing, your personality and your day to day approach needs to be consistent in its message and professionalism. If you turn up with messy business documents, dirty vans and looking scruffy, your potential customers will begin to look elsewhere. The introduction of a brand bible helping to dictate how your identity should look, your tone of voice and direction of your business will help keep you on track.