Running a client-based business can be tough, especially when you’re just starting. To build your business, you have to market yourself and build a client base. To stay ahead, you’ll want to develop a solid relationship with your clients by providing excellent service and high quality work, which will ensure word of mouth and less need for active marketing as you move forward.
Building a marketing strategy that targets your ideal clients is a challenge that you have to face early on or you risk a failure to launch. There are lots of different methods you can utilize to build your marketing strategy, so let’s go over a few ideas and how they could apply to your business.
If you decide to go for paid ads, there are several platforms you can chose. You can pay for ads on Google AdWords, Facebook, local television, radio or print or a number of other options.
No matter the platform, the most important thing to keep in mind for marketing is understanding your customers. You can write the perfect Facebook ad, but if it appeals to college students instead of homeowners,(but that wouldn’t be a perfect ad) it does you no good.
The content of your ad is just as important, if not more so, than the platform on which you advertise. There are potential customers everywhere; you don’t have to find them. You have to send the right message, and they will find you. (Not sure about that last bit of logic)
Understanding your customers is two-sided. You, naturally, must understand the folks in your target region, but you also need to know what niche you want to occupy.
If you want to develop a specialized, high-end business, you will need to target more affluent clients with ads for exclusive services and high quality fixtures. If you are a jack-of-all-trades who can help anyone with anything, you’re better of marketing based on your flexibility and competitive prices.
One of the biggest buzz words in the marketing world today is “SEO.” SEO is search engine optimization, which means altering the online visibility of your website in organic search results. You can do this by altering the content of your page, adding media content, cross linking and many other strategies.
At the very least, you should definitely utilize your Google My Business listing. A complete and up-to-date listing helps you in two ways. First, the more complete your GMB listing, the better Google will understand your business and the higher your listing will be in relevant search results. Second, potential clients are more likely to find you and call you if your GMB listing is full.
Whether on Facebook, Google or your own website, positive reviews are a huge boon to businesses. Particularly for contractor services, word-of-mouth can be a significant source of new clients, whether direct or indirect (like reviews). Consumers often need reassurance that they are making the right choice, especially when it comes to inviting someone into their home and to do expensive work on their home.
When you complete a job, you should always tell the customer you would appreciate a positive review online and follow up with an email or even a text message with a link to your business Facebook and GMB listing and request that they leave a review for your services. Naturally, you want positive reviews, but it’s also important that they leave written details, so that reviews feel personal and authentic. Encourage this.
Build a Brand
Before you can solicit reviews, you need to ensure that they’re going to help, not hurt. Do this by building a brand. Your brand is the way you present yourself and the way you are perceived by past and potential clients.
Some parts of a brand are universal. You should always be known as a perfectionist, relatable and trustworthy. You should leave every client completely satisfied and feeling positively about their experience with you. Every client should want to leave a 5-star review and feel comfortable (or even look forward to) recommending you to a friend, colleague or neighbor.
Depending on your target audience, you should consider branding yourself in additional ways. For example, if you aim for a high-end clientele, you should avoid being viewed as “discount” or offering “good value.” That doesn’t mean you should overcharge or gouge, of course. Good value is always important, but be wary of offering discounts or deals on services.
As previously mentioned, word-of-mouth is critical to building a local business. Good word-of-mouth doesn’t just come from clients, but from other professionals, too.
Building strong relationships with the local suppliers in your area is a great way to gain new clients, as suppliers that like and respect you will be willing to direct customers your way and even recommend you to other professionals in your area.
You should also network among other contractors, whether in your field or other fields. Having ties to others in the same field can serve you well, as they may direct clients to you if they don’t have the time to take them on or you are more qualified for a specific task.
One great way to network is online, through professional forums, such as Contractor Talk. Such forums are a great place to connect with other contractors, ask for advice and share your experiences.
You can choose to implement one or all of these marketing strategies, or you may decide to just count on traditional word-of-mouth by your customers. The most important thing to keep in mind in using marketing to build your business is to know your audience and pursue them relentlessly, no matter what strategy you choose.