Business development for tradies
Word of mouth
An oldie but a goodie, word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to win new business. If you’ve done a good job on time and on budget, don’t be afraid to ask your customer for a testimonial or referral. Testimonials are perfect for your website, social media or on local marketing materials such as flyers and printed adverts, as they help build credibility. If you can, take a photo of the client and the project and post this with the testimonial on your website or social media – according to Facebook, posts with images get 53% more likes.
Think in bulk
For tradies who work in residential, a good example of turning one job into several is to keep track of apartment owners in the same complex who may have similar problems. It’s possible that a poorly designed kitchen pantry door, ill-fitting cabinet or leaking shower frame is universal to the entire property. Let the other residents know that you’re used to their unique issues with a simple flyer drop in their letterboxes: take a before and after photo, use a headline like “Does your shower frame leak too?” include a short testimonial quote from your happy client and give your business name, your name and phone number.
Having a professional looking website can help set you apart from the competition – especially if you pay attention to the things your competition isn’t. For example, a YouTube video showing how a simple problem such as a blocked drain might be fixed, could help grow your plumbing business and built trust with your audience.
YouTube is second only to Google as the world’s largest search engine – and with useful ‘how to’ content it may even be easier to get your video ranking on the first page of Google for those looking for that term.
Use Facebook and Twitter to your advantage by sharing relevant content, using hashtags to broaden your audience (#bestplacetobe #liveauthentic #noplacelikehome) and tapping into search tools to find out key search terms (for Twitter, try Twilert). If it’s all too hard, consider engaging a professional to show you how to take advantage of automation, so you are not spending all day on your smart phone.
You’re on the move all the time, so why not keep your technology agile too? Builders, electricians, plumbers and other tradies are in the perfect position to take advantage of mobile apps and tablets to cut paperwork, improve quote accuracy and follow jobs in real time.
Joshua Orr from TradiePad told Business Insider that using mobile tech helps tradies become “smarter” when it comes to estimating jobs. “Once you’ve done a bathroom renovation the next one is almost identical. The costs might change here and there because it might be a different sink but really you can kind of cookie cut this stuff,” he says.
Consider setting up an automatic response to emails in order to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity while you’re working. If you use Outlook for email, Go to >Tools > Out of Office and write a response something like “Thanks for your email. I’m working on site all day and check my emails every evening at 6pm. If it’s urgent please call xxxxx. Regards, yourname.” And automate birthday or loyalty offers to regular clients too, to further strengthen customer loyalty.
Find your perfect customer
If you have been in business for a while, chances are you have a good idea of your perfect customer. Build a profile by compiling details such as age, gender, income, location, and other personality traits to give you an idea of exactly who you are targeting in your marketing efforts. For example, if you have great success with first home owners on a tight budget in suburbs within 5km of a train station, target that type of customer with your marketing messages – it should improve your conversion rate and cut costs.
Write down specific goals, such as four new clients every quarter, and take a closer look at your finances to identify areas of potential improvement, like cash-flow management or supplier contracts. Try issuing invoices the day the project is completed, and follow up clients with reminders the day before bills are due.
If you need funds to boost your marketing campaign or technology investment, Prospa is here to help. Find out more.
Small business growth isn’t always straightforward. Plumber Anders Bence shares his winding path from apprentice to small business owner.View more
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