A guest post from Lifestyle Tradie!
When it comes to running any business, the saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is true.
You have to spend money on marketing to attract customers in order to increase profits. But unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the marketing that you’re spending money on will actually work.
The success of your marketing activities can depend on your business, the location, and even how you’ve implemented each particular marketing strategy.
It’s for this reason, we use marketing strategies that cost very little or nothing to complement our larger cost marketing.
So without further ado, here are 7 ‘outside the box’ low/no-cost marketing ideas you can implement in your marketing plan.
1 — Industry referral networks
The trade industry is saturated with high-quality businesses. Take advantage of this by establishing a referral network with other high-quality non-competing businesses.
‘What does this mean?’ you may be asking…
A referral network works on the basis that you (let’s say you’re a plumber for the sake of this example), refer a non-competing business such as an electrician, carpenter, locksmith (the list goes on) to customers, friends, family, and people in the area who ask for your recommendation. And that they will do the same for you. It is a free method of gaining leads and is a win-win for everyone!
Another side to this is building a network with competing businesses. Whilst you may not want to ‘be friends with the enemy’, connecting with similar businesses allows you to collect overflow from each other’s work.
For example, Bob the electrician’s schedule is jam-packed for 3 weeks however one of his customers wants someone there for an emergency ASAP. The customer is going to go to another electrician for the job no matter what (it’s an emergency!) so Bob can refer the customer to you. Whilst Bob may have lost the customer this time, at least the work is kept among mates!
Our Lifestyle Tradie members are constantly referring other members in the same area as them when they have a job available to them but can’t complete it, and sometimes the referrals even extend across states!
2 — Facebook community groups
Increasingly customers are turning to Facebook Community Groups to find products & services. There are even hundreds of local Facebook community groups specific to certain industries!
These groups are often an awesome way to gain free leads, either by responding to customer’s requests or by advertising your business’s Facebook page in the group.Ensure you have a read of each group’s rules before posting!
3 — LinkedIn relationships
LinkedIn is traditionally used by the corporate world for networking, and as such is often overlooked by non-corporates.
However, having a LinkedIn profile allows you to establish connections with industry professionals. As an example, as a trade/service business owner you may wish to connect with real-estate and strata professionals to help you gain new customers.
When you connect with others in the trade industry, you will also be exposed to their connections and posts which more often than not, will centre around industry trends and ideas, providing you some awesome tips & tricks!
On top of this, when a customer searches your business online your LinkedIn profile will come up in their search. Your profile will show your credentials, endorsements, your business information, and an image of yourself and your work. This all gives you and your business credibility with the customer!
4 — Branding
Your business’s branding is one of your most powerful marketing tools. Not only does it attract new customers but it also creates brand recognition, keeping your business top of mind! Some affordable branding options include…
- Magnets: it is very commonplace for households to have business magnets either on the front of the fridge or down the side. Give one to every customer and even mail them to residents in the local area.
- Stickers: this is a powerful tool particularly for tradies and is super easy e.g. for plumbers, place a sticker on your customer’s hot water system that informs them when their system last had a service and when it needs its next. Or for electricians, place it on the switchboard. This is a constant reminder to the customer and they will likely ring you, the business they know already has experience with their house, when they need their hot water system/switchboard fixed! Think about what would work in your industry?
- Signage: branded signage outside work-sites or your office is basically free advertisement to locals in the area.
5 — Customer referral campaigns
When needing a professional, people often turn to their friends and family for recommendations.
By developing a customer referral campaign and incentivizing people to recommend you to others (in our own plumbing business we use discounts and Gift cards as incentives) you can gain repeat customers at low-costs!
6 — Press Release
Is your trade business doing something noteworthy? Have you recently received an award? Are you helping out a charity? Do you or your staff have an inspirational story behind your success?
If you’re doing something of interest, it is likely that the media will want your story!
Instead of paying for a newspaper, radio, or any form of media advertisement, write and send a press release to your local papers. If they like it enough, they may use it and you’ll receive thousands of dollars of free publicity in your local area!
7 — Community sponsorship
This is the sponsoring of your local sports teams (think, your son/daughters soccer team!), surf club, scouts, and much more… Allowing you to tap into a large community of local (potential) customers and giving your business a good reputation at the same time!
These are just some of many low-cost marketing ideas for your business! If you would like to discover more (both online and offline), as well as other trade-related education join us at The Next Level Tradie live event.Click here for more details & to grab a free ticket!
Husband and wife team, Andrew & Angela Smith, are the co-founders of Lifestyle Tradie, a membership to inspire, energize, connect and educate tradespeople and their partners, helping trade business owners fast-track business and lifestyle success.