Whether work is streaming in by the JCB load or it’s squeaky bum time wondering where the next job will come from, it’s essential to ensure that you have a continuous pipeline of work coming through from one week to the next and beyond.
The biggest mistake many busy businesses make is taking their foot off the accelerator, allowing competitors the tiniest of gaps to creep in and steal business away from you. Conversely the biggest mistake quiet businesses ever make is not doing enough to get the ball rolling.
So, without further adieu, here’s our top 10 ways builders and tradesmen can generate more work.
Without a bricks and mortar high street shop window, which lets face it most building firms don’t have, a website is your store front and certainly one of the best tools in your box to generate more work.
But like powertools there are drills and there are drills. You wouldn’t trust a £19.99 “Megatool” drill to do the same job as a DeWalt XR 18V Combi, and the same can be said for a website.
So why are some websites better than others? And what does better really mean?
In answer to the first part of that question, there are – in very broad terms – 4 general cornerstones that will impact how “good” a website is. And by “good” we mean effective in generating new enquiries or business. These cornerstones are research, content, design and build, followed by a consistent steady stream of more content.
Ensuring that this process is adhered to will give you the foundations of a solid website that will, over time, with enough quality content added to it, generate you plenty of work.
The key here is to maintain a consistent level of new content on the website after it’s launched by way of posting regular blog articles, running special offers, adding a portfolio of completed jobs, perhaps tricks of the trade and other general useful nuggets that will keep visitors coming back.
2. Social Media
There’s a few options here, but for a small to medium sized local firms we truly believe there is no better social platform than Facebook to generate work.
Recent changes in the past year means Facebook business pages don’t quite do what they did organically (for free), but with a few quid chucked at Facebook ads your pride and joy achievements in the workplace can be showcased to literally thousands of potential local new customers.
As a mini blog Facebook should be used alongside a website to be truly effective, but for very small businesses Facebook alone can generate plenty of work given the right pitch.
If you’re good at something it’s worth talking about. And perhaps the cheapest way of doing this for the non-digital savvy builder is flyers.
Providing your proposition is right, ie. there’s a compelling argument for using your services, then the only milestone to overcome is how you’re going to get the pallet of 20,000 flyers out of the back of the van and through people’s letterboxes.
Don’t forget to hit local shops with a bundle of flyers too for their waiting customers!
Email marketing doesn’t have to be complex. Yes creating a HTML fully responsive email template is a thing of beauty, but a simple email to let customers past and present know what new services you offer or promotions you’re running can generate new work.
On the other hand if you have the skills, data and budget to deliver a proper email marketing campaign, then the analytics off the back of it will be invaluable and the returns tenfold.
A little more intrusive than email, but given the right offer a SMS campaign can generate new business very quickly. SMS tools are generally easy to use with minimal investment required to get a campaign off the ground… well, providing you have the numbers of past, present and potential customers!
6. PPC (Pay-per-click) Advertising
Want to get to the top of Google overnight? Consider it done. We’ve all seen the inconspicuous ads at the top of most Google searches, or on various other websites as part of Google’s partner program, and if you’ve got the budget then that could be you advertising there too.
Google PPC ads – really the only PPC ads aside from Facebook worth mentioning – are a great way to send traffic to your website by taking a hop, skip and jump over your competitors organic listings.
Being at the top of Google pretty much guarantees you a 1/3 of all the clicks, in fact positions 1-2 account for over 60% of all clicks, so despite the hefty fees that can sometimes rack up with PPC, it’s worth considering what value a new lead is worth to your business and setting a budget accordingly.
One thing to note though… your content the ad links through to MUST be relevant, otherwise you’re going to generate big bounce rates with zero results.
7. Referral sites
Trust a Trader, My Builder, Check a Trade, Rated People… the list goes on. Are they worth bothering with?
Well, in short yes. They spend a fortune on SEO, meaning they will almost always outrank a local website and if you’re fairly new to the building game then chances are you’ve not got your own website anyway or have considered many of the other above marketing channels. So, if you’re looking to inject immediate leads then these sites can be some of the best initial ways to do so.
However, there are drawbacks:
1) Initial membership fees aren’t cheap, plus ongoing fees to buy leads mean you can easily invest over a grand before you’ve even got a job.
2) You’re competing against lots of other businesses for the same job, many of whom will have ratings over and above you, which pretty much guarantees them the lion’s share of the work or at least the best jobs.
3) Because you’re competing against lots of other businesses, the virtue of doing so screws everybody on price. That’s just how it is.
4) Even once you’re established you still have to keep paying to generate more work, so ongoing costs are high.
In summary, yes they do work but you’re unlikely to be attracting long term customers who don’t mind paying that but extra for quality.
If you’re in the building trade then the chances are you’ll know someone else who is. And that’s good because it means you can share work with each other. For example, what electrician doesn’t need a plasterer or decorator to fill in all the chases and holes after a rewire, or what builder doesn’t need an electrician or plumber to wire and plumb a new extension?
Working together to pass around leads or even offering a finders fee to other firms can often lead to lots of additional work, not to mention reduced costs and a few new mates down the pub!
9. Google Business
Simple one here, but claiming your FREE Google business page can generate work and if you’ve got a website the backlink alone is worth the time and effort.
All it takes is a computer and maybe an hour of your time to get a free listing in Google where you can add all your company information, services, pictures of jobs and more!
This might sound strange, but for trades where you fabricate or fit made to measure items then this is a great way of generating more business. UPVC window and door installers, artificial grass installers, garage door specialists and some of the more unique trades are all perfectly suited to eBay, where your services and products can be exposed to millions of potential buyers.
Granted it’s not for all trades, but for certain niches it works incredibly well!
So, there we have it! 10 ways builders and tradesmen can generate more work. By no means this is an exhaustive list, but it is something that builders of all sizes can follow, from sole traders to large firms. It’s all about making the right noises to the right people.
If you need assistance with your marketing or just want some more advice on how to generate more work then by all means drop us a line below and we’ll be all too happy to help!
Need help with your marketing? Contact us below and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy.