With the accelerated growth of digital platforms, there are now many different ways in which you can reach potential customers.
For business owners, this can seem overwhelming at times, particularly if you feel uncertain over what channels to use and how best to understand whether or not they help you in winning new business.
Take social media as a key example. For trade businesses, this is in fact one of the best platforms to promote and market your business. But without effective execution and consistent activity, the opportunity is wasted; where having a dormant Facebook business page can, in fact, do more harm than good.
That said, what approach should you take for effectively increasing awareness of your business and driving new sales? For me, the following points have been key to marketing success:
Understand your Customers
The first rule of marketing is to identify your target audience and understand where they are likely to look in order to find your business.
For example, there is no point in spending cost and resource in building a comprehensive website if the majority of your customers have converted through direct marketing methods, such as flyer drops.
Take the time to analyse your sales leads (including the ones you didn’t convert) from the last 12 months and highlight your top 3 sources of acquisition. The majority of your marketing resource should be allocated to these exact channels to drive continued growth.
Consistency is King
Once you have identified your core marketing channels, be consistent with your approach. The Checkatrade platform, for example, is likely to sit in this top 3.
If you were to become a member of Checkatrade, the Checkatrade ‘profile’ will become your shop window, a mini-website if you like, where uploading regular feedback and publishing an engaging business bio will push your profile to the top of the Checkatrade search results, as and when a customer is looking for your trade. To maximise the Checkatrade platform for the growth of your business, we would recommend utilising all of the available online tools in the Membership area and to do so regularly.
To understand if your marketing efforts have been successful, you need to measure your Return on Investment (ROI). Say Facebook advertising was one of your main sources of income, this would-be identified by creating adverts specific to Facebook, i.e. with a seasonal offer, and then measuring the level of new enquiries as a result. As a sophisticated platform, Facebook also enables you to review ad engagement and user journey from the social media platform to your website, enabling you to really assess its value.
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Don’t underestimate Word of Mouth
The great thing about word of mouth referrals is that the majority of customers are pre-sold by recommendation before they’ve even contacted you. The message here? Do not waste this opportunity and work hard in your delivery of quality customer service to increase the likelihood of this happening.
Should you join Checkatrade, one key method of driving increased enquiries through word of mouth would be to use the Checkatrade feedback process. Consumers associate Checkatrade and its Members with quality reputation, so the more feedback you have supporting this, the better. Wherever possible, always ask your customers for feedback.
Automate Where Possible
For many business owners and trade professionals, the idea of dedicating time to marketing can almost seem daunting. To be consistent with your approach means you have to work on your marketing activity at least several times per week.
There are many tech tools available that can help you automate your efforts, saving you time, cost and resource as a result. Key examples include Hootsuite for scheduling social media activity, and Mailchimp for implementing automated email response and the delivery of seasonal email marketing offers. To find out more about marketing tech tools please read here.
To conclude, you don’t have to be an experienced marketer to be successful at marketing. By taking the time to identify your target audience and understand your top referral channels, you will then be able to implement a consistent and effective approach. Of course, if you were to become a Checkatrade member, Checkatrade’s Membership Advice team are on hand to help should you get stuck.
This article is part of our “Business Essentials Series” – Business Essentials is an informative series of business advice articles created in partnership between Checkatrade and Checkatrade Board Member, Kevin Robinson.
Here, Checkatrade members can gain insight into how they can grow and improve the running of their trade business, benefiting from marketing tips to operational advice. To find out more about Kevin and his business success within the trade sectors, please read his bio below.
Board Member Kevin Robinson:
A natural entrepreneur, Kevin Robinson is the Founder and Managing Director of Home Fixed, a family-run limited company that specialises in home repairs & installations across multiple trades including electrical, plumbing, roofing, handyman services, bathroom installation & home improvements.
In addition to this role, Kevin also directs and runs Robinson’s Roofing Limited, a specialist firm with over 25 years of flat roofing experience.
Having successfully grown and developed both businesses by over 15% in the last 12 months alone, Kevin boasts an excellent understanding of how to run and scale a successful trade business, with expert knowledge in establishing and implementing effective operational systems, and through maximising platforms like Checkatrade.