Tradies: How to Market Your Business

You can be great in your job but the hard truth is that without customers there won’t be any work.

Many tradie businesses experience hard times or fail before they even start not because there is a lack of clients looking for the service, but simply because clients do not even know the business exists.

In this blog, we look at simple marketing strategies to get more tradie jobs.

1. Use social media

Although face-to-face networking meetups are great to connect with local businesses, social media is the most popular way of networking today.

Social media can reach more new customers without having to spend much or anything at all. Social media also provides real-time interactions to customers, either through posting content, sharing pictures of job progress, answering questions quickly online, or getting customer feedback and reviews.

The best thing is that your followers can spread the word to other potential customers through sharing and liking your business.

*Important tip: don’t spread yourself thin over the many social media platforms available. Pick one or two and invest quality time and a few dollars to develop your online business presence in them.

2. Use signage on your vehicle and worksite to promote your business

Being a tradie you are likely to have a car, ute or other 4 wheeled vehicle – this essential piece of business equipment can be a vital advertising platform.

When driving to home or work you are visible to everyone else on the road. When stationary at a worksite or carpark, people walking around will see your business being advertised.

Another way is placing signage at your current worksite. If your job requires several days or weeks to complete, ask the customer if you can place a sign detailing your business and service.

*Important tip: make sure your signage is large enough to be seen at a reasonable distance, has an eye-catching colour scheme or graphic, an easy-to-remember phone number, business name or website address that doesn’t need to be written down. You can even place a cardholder on the side of your vehicle for people to take a business card when parked.

3. Invest in a mobile-friendly website

Think about how you would normally find a product or service. You would probably pull out your smartphone or sit at your desktop computer and do an internet search. You would click on a link to a relevant business website and see if they have what you want. This is what your potential customer would also be doing and if you don’t have a website, they won’t know you exist.

Every business, whether big or small, needs a website, even if it is a single page with a description of your business and services and contact information. A website is an online business card. The great thing about a website is that once you have paid for it, the ongoing costs are minimal, making it a very cost-effective marketing tool.

*Important tip: check that your website is mobile-friendly. Lots of potential customers may require your services immediately and won’t be sitting at a desktop to search for you. Their first action will be to search on their smartphone. Google searches will rank mobile-friendly websites higher on the results list.

4. Get your free Google MyBusiness listing

Google MyBusiness listings help business owners increase their online presence and assist customers in finding and reviewing businesses in their local area. Because Google MyBusiness listings are displayed above normal search results, having a Google MyBusiness listing can increase your business’s online presence. The listing will include your business name, address with map, phone number, and website which you should already have as part of your marketing strategy.

Customers can also leave reviews of your business which you can respond to. More reviews and positive ratings will boost your ranking in Google searches. And it’s free and easy to set up so why not use it.

* Important tip: Google MyBusiness listings also allow you to post photos of your services which have shown 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a website than businesses that don’t.

5. Networking for tradies

You may think networking is for corporate hotshots in power suits. But in today’s world, savvy tradies (i.e your competitors) connect with local business groups and communities both offline and online to get ahead.

Not only can you generate new leads for your business, but you can also learn from like-minded business owners to improve your business processes. Networking is also a great way to establish strategic partnerships.

*Important tip: come prepared for networking meetups with business cards and a short 30-second spiel about what you do and why you do it well.

6. Strategic Partnerships & Ongoing Relationships

When people think of marketing they immediately think of traditional advertising such as online advertising, mailouts and radio.  Something that is often left out of a marketing strategy is strategic partnerships – for tradies, this is a big one!  This is often what separates the average tradie business from the thriving businesses that are accelerating profits and growth.

The tradesman industry is very competitive and establishing strategic partnerships with other businesses can mean huge growth for your business. These partnerships can be anything from simple ongoing relationships (such as a preferred plumber working with a builder on their projects) to more official agreements (such as being the go-to trade business for a real estate agent).

7. Word-of-mouth

Word-of-mouth remains one of the most trusted methods around. A happy, satisfied customer will likely share their experience with people they know and even people they don’t know.

But don’t just wait for them to tell their circle of family and friends. Ask them if they know anyone that may have need of your service and ask if you could contact them.

*Important tip: give your customers a reason to advertise your business. You could start a referral or reward program for your existing customers. The more people they refer to you that use your service, the more discounts or free services they can enjoy.

8. Get customer feedback and testimonials

Collect and use feedback from your customers. If they didn’t like something about the job, find out why and improve on that. If they like you or the job you did then they will recommend you.

Ask them for a testimonial either in person or follow up with an email. If they don’t know what to write, give them a guide by suggesting what to include, for example, you called to let them know when you will arrive, you cleaned up after yourself, and your quote was reliable. Reassure potential new customers by providing these outstanding testimonials of your work.

*Important tip: make sure to get in writing that you can use a customer’s words in your marketing materials

9. Offer multiple ways for customers to reach you

With busy lives, many customers may not have time to call during your business hours. And you may not always be able to answer your phone straight away. Provide customers other ways to get in touch besides mobile. Use email, have a contact form on your website, and use a social media messaging platform.

*Important tip: have an automated email message assuring customers you have received their email and will contact them as soon as possible or within a time frame.

10. Letterbox drops

A traditional advertising method, letterbox drops are great to expose your business in local areas. Taking a 10-15 minute walk before or after a job to do a letterbox drop could mean reaching up to 50 potential customers in a street you are servicing.

Doing this once a day for 5 days a week would mean reaching 1000 extra customers in a month.

*Important tip: spend a little more and leave an eye-catching magnet for customers to stick on their fridge. Magnets stay in the household in a prominent position of the house compared to a loose flyer being forgotten under a pile of junk mail.

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