It is a well-known fact that having top-notch skills in your trade is the best way to provide value to the market. As a tradie, you do everything you can to practice and learn new skills. You’re ready for any construction job. So why aren’t you getting new clients?
It’s not always a question of expertise—oftentimes, it’s a question of marketing.
There’s a common notion that marketing should be left to marketers. But marketing is a crucial skill to drive the success of your business goals. A 2018 article by Entrepreneur even contends that your business design should be “marketing first.”
Employing marketing efforts without having a clear grasp on how to market may cost you more money than what your efforts are worth.
This article on capturing leads was written by tradies, for tradies. We’ve all been there—making loads of effort only to hit a wall. It covers proven tips and tricks for marketing your construction business. By the end of it, you should have a handful of starting points for renewed marketing efforts that produce results, and a new skill upgrade.
If one of your main worries is spending too much on marketing, going digital is one of your safest bets. Not only is it the easiest marketing tool to setup—it’s also where the majority of your customers are.
Today’s consumers rely on the internet to find their purchasing options, compare them against one another, and even make purchases. Consumer searches have become more personal over time. This means that if they ever encounter problems, or need products or services in their day-to-day, they will turn to the internet for solutions.
Given this reality, digital marketing isn’t just a supplement to your business—it’s a must-have gateway to your customers.
There are two main ways you can leverage the digital space:
- Run a website
- Run social media profiles
Run a website
Key website features
Think of the website as an online office. You want it to resemble a neat and informative space where customers can run through your sales process. It should contain all the information they need to know about your company.
People who drop by should get a clear idea of your expertise. Showcase your past projects, awards, and major accomplishments to make it easier for customers to see why you’re a far superior option to your competitors.
Beyond having great content, your website should be easy to navigate. When customers visit any of your web pages, it should be very easy to take valuable actions (ex. reading more blog articles, submitting an inquiry). Having a messy website can cause your potential leads to drop off and never come back.
Building your website
You shouldn’t feel the need to hire a world-class developer to build your website when getting started—it’s enough to hire a developer with a reasonable amount of experience in building websites for businesses. There are web developers specialising in websites for specific businesses, so be on the lookout for those specialising in yours to get maximum return on your investment.
If you’re not yet ready to pay big bucks for an outsourced developer, you can opt not to start from scratch by building your own from websites like Squarespace or Wix that come with convenient templates for businesses looking to own a site with minimal effort.
Most of them are easy to use, and have the tools you need to put yourself out there. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to build your own business website.
Whether you’re creating your website with a web developer or building it on your own, one key step is to make your website search-friendly. Great SEO helps customers find you more quickly. It mainly involves using the right keywords to help you rank higher on search engines.
Another way you can boost your ranking is getting linked and promoted in people’s blogs or pages. A tool you can use when doing this is Google Analytics’ Campaign URL builder: it lets you create custom links to your website that’ll give you insight into where your visitors are coming from.
Having good SEO is important because 72% of search clicks come from the first page. If you rank for the right and relevant keywords, you’re a step ahead of your competitors.
Your website shouldn’t only be a warehouse of information about your business: it should funnel visitors to further points of contact like your phone line or email. Clear and convenient calls to action on your website can go a long way towards maximising the value of your website.
Users today prefer the fastest and easiest experience available. By making communication seamless, customers will not have the opportunity to second guess you.
Run social media profiles
Social media is perfect for making a name for your business. People make their interests, ambitions, and preferences clear on social media through their activity, and they use social platforms to express frustrations about problems they encounter. You can use this as an opportunity to get to know them and find out what they need from a construction business.
To capture leads on social, build a profile that contains all the necessary details about your information and post engaging content that informs and/or entertains your target market.
It’s also important to market your expertise to prove that you know what you’re doing—anyone can set up a Facebook page, but successful businesses position themselves well. Be clear about the services you offer, and be diligent in responding to your followers’ questions and comments.
More than having your own profile, being on social also gives you opportunities for community marketing. There are Facebook groups for every interest, niche, and sector; in fact, 2017 saw tens of millions of active Facebook groups.
Join (or create) a local group related to construction, and take the chance to answer questions from people seeking help or advice related to your area of expertise. You can offer free advice to group members with smaller projects, and use it to build a reputation as a friendly expert.
Once you’ve gained their trust by engaging them in value-adding conversations, you can then advise them to give you a call for larger jobs.
Aim for Referrals
Another path you can take in trying to earn more construction jobs is to utilise the power of referrals. The easiest way to do this is to leverage your existing clients: when you’ve truly won a client over, their network becomes your potential network too.
Everyone needs construction work at some point. This includes your existing clients’ friends, family, and co-workers. If they’re happy with the services you’ve provided them, they might just go out of their way to sell you.
In order to earn referrals, you first have to take care of the quality of your service. Clients respond well when they feel they’ve received more value than they initially expected. This means reminding your staff to be kind and responsive, and treat each job as a chance to solve problems—not just a chance to earn a paycheck.
Aside from the efforts, you make to provide quality service during the project, you should also make it a habit to check up on your customers. It costs nothing to give them a call or an email to ask how your work has been holding up and if they need any additional services.
Small follow-ups increase the likelihood that they’ll think of you the next time their friends are in the market for a construction company. This status is helpful not only for getting them to refer you but also in retaining them for possible future work. This maximises their lifetime value to your company and earns you more for the effort you spent to win them over in the first place.
A company’s relationship with its customers is a two-way street. Instead of focusing solely on making your customers talk about you positively, you can also try helping them look good by offering spot visits to their friends’ homes to assess renovation opportunities.
They may not need your services right away, but having those conversations early on allows them to get to know and consider you in the future. Getting your name out there is a good start.
Finally, if your cash flow is steady, you can also offer a commission to clients who refer you. This is optional; shared goodwill is usually already enough to get people to refer you to others. Providing a small token will just serve as additional encouragement for your referrals to promote you more actively.
The last path we will suggest you take is to go the traditional route. Traditional marketing is using above the line activities like posting fliers, billboards, and newspaper ads. While going digital generally means lower cost for higher returns, you can still reap the benefits of traditional ads if you find an affordable spot in a high traffic location.
Traditional ads can appeal in areas with an older population. The older population is a good target market for the construction business and it’s easier to catch their attention with traditional ads. Data suggests that older generations are more skeptical of digital ads, so it’s better to use media they’re more familiar with.
To make the most of your traditional ads, you ought to design them well.
Here are a few points to remember when designing traditional ads
- Text in ads should be short and persuasive
- Visual graphics should communicate sturdiness and professionalism
- Always include a big, bold call to action
Text in ads should be short and persuasive
The main objective of ads, in general, is to capture your desired audience’s attention. You want to communicate more with less. Effective billboards, for example, only comprise of six words or fewer. You should aim to condense your key message and convince your audience that you’ll provide something valuable.
Keep in mind that your audience is likely on-the-go when they encounter traditional ads. You want to leave a lasting impression given that context. Buzzwords like trusted, quality and fast should capture their interest.
Visual graphics should communicate sturdiness and professionalism
First impressions are everything when it comes to traditional ads. We’ve all encountered ads that attempt to be witty and funny—that’s good for getting attention, but overdoing it may send the wrong message.
There’s a time when people admire cheeky ads, and it isn’t when looking for someone to take care of their house. First impressions can easily affect your reputation in situations where limited context is available.
You can maximise the impact of your ad by focusing on key advertising characteristics that will convey the right psychological impression to your audience. You can use images that communicate strength and power. Mix this with typography and colours that express credibility, and you’re sure to have outstanding ads.
This website contains guides on using typography and colour to improve your design.
Always include a big, bold call to action
Finally, remember that calls to action are always key in getting leads and conversions. This is especially true when people are given limited time to process the information in your ads. Including your phone number and email address will make it possible for them to reach out to you.
When designing your ads, make sure that your calls to action are given prime real-estate on the page or billboard. You want to draw the viewer’s eye to your contact information, and display the information in a way that’s easy to remember (yoursite.com works a lot better than https://www.yoursite.com, for example).
With the right marketing tools and amount of effort, earning more construction jobs isn’t that hard. The key to making the most out of your marketing budget is starting small and scaling from there, based on the data you have to see what’s most effective for your business.
Your outstanding skills combined with the right marketing strategy will help you in getting the leads that you’ve been waiting for. The foundation for every successful marketing endeavour is building good relationships with old and new clients, and maintaining them as you go along.