- Know your ideal customer. Sounds simple, but in order to put together an effective marketing strategy you need to know who you are trying to get the attention of. For example, you are unlikely to get the attention of a big commercial company by putting a flyer up in the local cafe. Think about who you are targeting and focus on them. Tailor your advertising for the type of client you want. If you go for a generic ‘catch all’ approach you are less likely to get anything.
- Ask every customer how they heard about you. This is easily forgotten. I’m as guilty as the next person for it. But you need to find out where people are hearing about you and asking every existing customer is the most effective way. Once you have this information you can review and refine your marketing strategy. For example, if you pay to be in the local paper every month but after 6 months find out nobody actually contacted you because of it then you can move that money to something that is working and giving you a better return on investment.
- Be approachable. Like it or not, people are nervous of approaching small companies and trades people. They may have never hired a tradesperson before, they may have had a bad experience in the past, and they may just not like picking up the phone and calling someone! To combat this, everything about your company needs to look clean, professional and credible. Simple things like having a website go a long way. It stops you looking like a fly by night company. Also, make sure you have a friendly picture of yourself or your team on the front page of your website and social media profiles. This simple trick makes people far more likely to pick up the phone and call you as they feel like they already know you a little bit.
- Be the specialist. You have an incredible amount of knowledge on your chosen topic. Time to start sharing some of it on social media. Show people what you’ve been doing recently, the systems you employ and more importantly, why you are doing it like this. Social media is a great tool for you to educate potential customers on the value of your profession. Start showing people little tips and tricks and offer to answer people’s questions on your trade. It won’t take long for you to become the go to person in your area for your specific trade. Before you know it, every time a conversation starts about your trade in a pub or supermarket, someone will turn around and say…’you should look at Dave the decorators social media’ I friends with him on Facebook and he is a real specialist and I’m sure he can help you.
- Actively ask for referrals. Most people will agree that word of mouth and referrals are usually the best leads you can get. You close more of them, and they are very cheap. So make sure you make it a process that you do on every job. Ask the customer if they know anyone else interested in using your product or service. You can choose to incentivise them with discounts if you like, or perhaps just drop round a bottle of wine if their referral leads to some work.
Bonus tip: Build your brand. Always remember that quality costs less. In the long run! Building your brand/company on quality will lead to more work.
I’ll give you an example of the power of a good brand.
Say you want to buy a car. You are looking at two identical cars, one is made in Germany and one is made in China. Without me telling you the manufacturer or the price, I’m pretty certain you’ve already decided that the German car is better. Why is this? You associate Germany with precision, reliability and all the things you’d want in a car.
German car manufacturers are so well branded and focused on quality that even though most of us know very little about the workings of the internal combustion engine we are happy to spend more money on a German car than a Chinese one.
Make your brand associated with quality and you’ll have customers willing to pay more and even wait longer for your services.