So maybe you’ve gained a new trade or decided after years of working for someone else that it is time to strike out on your own. You might be lucky enough to have an existing customer base, but if not how are you going to generate the business you need? In this article we are going to take a look at some of the simple and effective ways you can do just that.
Firstly before deciding on anything else, you need to define your target market. What is the product or service that you are offering and who are your customers? This will have a big effect on the type of marketing that you decide to choose. Once you have defined this it is time to decide which marketing tool or combination of tools will help promote your business.
One of the most cost effective ways of promoting your business, flyers have several advantages;
They’re cost effective – Buying in bulk, especially from one of the many online retailers you can purchase just the amount you need, from the low tens to the tens of thousands, as there is a large number of different companies to choose from and prices can be surprisingly competitive.
You can target your market area – If the service you are offering is mobile, and let’s face it, as a tradesperson its more than likely you will be, you need to think carefully about your target market. Is the service or product your’ offering more suitable for one type of property owner than another? If it is, then don’t waste time leafleting areas where you’re not going to be able to gain any business.
You can get your brand direct to potential customers – You know that if you purchase and deliver 10,000 flyers, that’s 10,000 potential customers who have seen, even if only in passing, your brand and your offerings.
Leaflet smart – Keep the information on your leaflet limited, if the service you offer is self explanatory don’t list all the variations of it that you can do, customers already know that. Instead tell your potential customers about how you are as a business; you’re punctual, reliable, professional, clean. If you are part of a recognised trade body include that information, but don’t let anyone else’s logo detract from your own branding. Cost for leaflets can vary massively depending on size, design, quality of paper etc. Prices can start from approximately £15 per 1000 up to £50 per 1000.
Wherever possible ensure that your leaflets aren’t distributed with anything else, thanks to email, junk mail through the letter box is nowhere near as prevalent as it once was, but people can still be adverse to a whole heap of unsolicited junk landing on their door mat. By making sure that yours is the only thing being posted through the door, the property owner is far more likely to actually take a look at it.
Distribution costs, like the leaflets themselves vary in cost depending how you choose to have them delivered. Having them bundled in with the local newspaper can cost as little as £10 per thousand, whereas having a dedicated distributor do it is more likely to cost in the region of £50-£100 per thousand.
Don’t go cheap, if your chosen leaflet printers offers a range of different paper types and finishes see if they have any samples, a leaflet or flyer printed on good quality paper or card stands out massively compared to one printed on thin cheap paper.
Rumours of the death of print advertising have been exagerated. The key is to choose the publication that has the right demographic for your company.
Local newspapers have seen a decline in their fortunes, but there has been a rise in the hyper local publications, which can work if you are looking to generate business in you immediate locality.
Lifestyle magazines have had a tough time, but niche publications offer an excellent way of reaching a targeted audience.
If you want to market your company to SME business owners and directors, try Platinum Business Magazine or Surrey Business Magazine. This is also an excellent consumer audience as businesspeople are also likely to have that all-important spending power. Request a Media pack request for more details.
Trusted tradesperson schemes
Gaining an online presence can be intimidating for those not used to using information technology as part of their day to day work. One of the quickest ways of establishing a presence online however is by making use of a trusted tradesperson scheme. These, at their simplest effectively act as online version of the paper telephone directories that used to be so prevalent in people’s homes.
There is a steadily increasing range of these out there offering a combination of different services at a range of costs. Generally these schemes require you to provide proof of the relevant qualifications, membership of any relevant professional bodies and proof of insurances. Some are as previously mentioned, just an online directory that list your business and contact details.
Others don’t act so much as a directory but as an online way of bidding on potential jobs. Generally they work on a geographic basis, i.e. a customer searching for your particular type of business in their local area using one of these schemes will have your company details listed.
Some of these trusted trades person schemes have become large enough that their logo and name is becoming nationally recognised by the majority of the general public. For these reason alone it is seriously worth considering whether joining one of these schemes as it will drive more business in your direction as more potential customers become aware of you.
It’s a fact of life these days that the first place the majority of people look for anything, be it goods or services is online. This makes having a presence on the web essential for any business. There are a couple of options that you have when it comes to how you want to establish your online presence.
The most obvious one is of course having a dedicated website for your company. This is something that if you have the relevant experience you can build and maintain yourself, if you don’t, rather than looking at some of the larger domain/hosting websites that allow you to build your own website for a low fee, instead look for a local developer. Do your research and have a look at some of their existing portfolio of work, if it looks good and it’s findable on Google (ideally on the first two pages) then consider choosing them.
Either running alongside a website or standing by itself as a lower risk approach is using social media, the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is a quick and comparatively easy way to advertise and promote your business, all three of them offer you the opportunity to set up a business account rather than a personal one for free. They then give you the option of paying for promotion.
Word of mouth
All the above are well and good, but the fact of the matter is that for the vast majority of small businesses, especially trades people, word of mouth is key. In fact one of the aforementioned trusted tradesperson schemes found that 67% of homeowners rely on word of mouth when hiring. Now although initially word of mouth isn’t going to get you very far, it’s important to remember that once you have one or two sales or customer under your belt, based on these statistics word of mouth is going to be the primary driver of business.
So how do you make sure your customers have only nice things to say about you when mentioning your business to friends, family and colleagues?
Firstly, and this point cannot be stressed enough, treat your customers with the utmost respect, hopefully as you wish you were treated by a business you were intending on paying for goods or services. Obviously cost, and quality of product is utmost in the customers mind when paying for anything, however if you take those both out of the equation the next thing that the majority of customers look for, especially when someone is working in their home is cleanliness. Make sure that you are clean and presentable, now we’re not suggesting turning up at a customer’s house in shirt and tie, but equally turning in up in dust and mud covered clothes doesn’t give the best first impression, especially when you start leaving a trail of waste and debris through their house.
On the same note, always offer to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, even if they say not to worry about it, carry about a pair of clean, slip on overshoes and pop those on. The same goes for any work that you may be carrying out in someone’s home, it doesn’t need to be complicated and you don’t need to invest in expensive pieces of kit necessarily, but tidy as you go and you’ll find you have a much happier customer.
In summary these five options amount to proven, relatively low cost methods of getting yours and your business’s name out there, one of the best parts about these is if you find you they are not working for you, you’re not tied to a massive financial commitment or marketing campaign.