When you're trying to run a small trade business, it's hard to imagine having enough time for marketing, but the last thing you want is to finish a backload of jobs only to find an empty calendar the following week.
So what are some simple steps you or your office team can do to maximise your marketing efforts?
Below are marketing recommendations you can begin doing today to maximise your local exposure.
Assign someone responsible for the following
There’s a lot to do in a workday, from maintaining relationships to making sure technicians are flowing productively in the field. It’s just as important to keep an eye on your sales pipeline. Hopefully, the volume of estimates going out is an indication of upcoming work but that’s not something you can rely on.
Here are seven simple marketing processes to implement in when you get a spare moment or to assign to an office staff member.
1. Create a Google My Business page
It takes less than a half-hour to create your Google My Business page, then verify the account. It takes a few days for the Google staff to confirm your information then you’re off and running.
This is the single most cost effective step you can take to appear in local search results, and it’s free.
Once the sign-up process is complete, your free listing will include your logo, company profile information, business hours, and a Google Map image of your location.
Your listing will also appear directly in local search results.
2. Join LinkedIn
Primarily, Linkedin’s strength is to connect professionals with professionals. However, by building a network, you’re building trust, by building trust, you’re much more likely to receive referrals partnership offer and more.
With this network, you quickly build industry contacts even in other countries. LinkedIn also offers paid services such as advertising and job listings.
3. Wear your advertising daily
Get screen-printed t-shirts, jackets or uniforms for all employees to wear. Nowadays you can even use an online service where all that’s required is to send them your logo, quantity and delivery details. Many online vendors will print the promotional items on demand so it's easy to order new gear for a new employee at short notice.
No matter where you or your employees are seen throughout the work day, you're being advertised.
4. Shrink wrap your vehicle
With the company's logo and branding displayed professionally on your vehicle, you're creating marketing impressions everywhere you go.
Local prospects will begin to recognise the name of the business and therefore your brand becomes the default choice when such a service is required.
TIP: in advertising, it often pays to be bold. To become recognisable, make sure the design you go with stands out from the competition.
5. Attend social functions with a local business group
This is an old-fashioned tactic, but it holds true to this day. Most towns and cities have a chamber of commerce for various business groups. Every group you join provides the opportunity for networking, socialisation, and exchanging referrals and business ideas.
For example, if you're in a construction-related trade, join the building industry group. Meet professionals from other trades who can provide referrals, and be sure to respond in kind.
6. Join a gig platform or app like HiPages
We’ve decided to include this suggestion because for some it’s an irreplaceable tactic. Sites such as HiPages receive a mixed response from vendors. Ask around if this solution is right for you. For many, it provides a valuable stream of enquiries, for others, too many enquiries remain just that.
7. Capitalise on Existing Leads
This is an often-overlooked means of local marketing. Whenever there’s an opportunity such as Christmas or Easter or you may be having a sale, contact each of your past customers. You may like to offer them a referral bonus or just by saying Hi and thanks for your custom gets you back in their mind in case friends or family are looking for your service.
Personal recommendations create the hottest leads and they cost the least so use them wisely and use them well.
Bonus: Manage your leads & contacts
It’s worth tracking your most effective sources of leads in order to know where to place your focus and/or budget in future.
Tools such as Hubspot are easy to use and integrate with loads of existing platforms (likely platforms you’re already using such as Xero) and are the perfect way to record all enquiries. A free version is available to get started.
Remember to get your office staff on board as well. Keep filling that pipeline.