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  • #987974
    Southeastdecking
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    Hi All!

    Has anyone had experiance with marketing a tradie service business? My business provides the service of design and construction of decking and feature fencing. This makes my target market middle to high income home owners in the south east suburbs of Melbourne.

    I have had success in the past with yellow pages book (print) and am convinced that people still use directories to find tradesmen…. Though now I believe those directories are more of the online variety.

    I have listed my website with various online trade directories and the yellow online listing but am not getting a lot of inquiry.

    I plan to add an information artical section to my website as well as a blog/diary of sorts documenting interesting jobs with photos etc. Im thinking this will help customers find me through google. Ongoing quality and original content helps right?

    My website was setup in a bit of a rush by my very busy brother and now I want to start refining it a bit.

    Any ideas, criticisms or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Dont hold back, I can take it :)

    #1165071
    StevenMelbourne
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    • Total posts: 47
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    Hi,

    Welcome to Flying Solo!

    Here are my recommendations:

    1. Encourage your existing customers to like you on Facebook and post reviews about you on online review websites such as WOMO

    2. Print some flyers and drop them in letterboxes around your region – be targeted and look for properties that may need your services

    3. Post your your services and your website link (which looks pretty good!) on forums such as Gumtree, other trades quote websites (BuildaQuote, ServiceSeeking etc…)

    4. Start a customer referral program to reward your existing customers for recommending your service to their friends and family. Your best way of advertising will almost always be word of mouth initially.

    I manage a website that lets local businesses quickly set up and run a referral program for free – (http://www.projectcred.com.au), it could be a very cost effective way for you to acquire new customers. We also provide small businesses with free online presence and potential referrers. Feel free to PM me for more details or email [email protected].

    Cheers,
    Steven

    #1165072
    Southeastdecking
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    StevenMelbourne, post: 191143 wrote:
    Hi,

    Welcome to Flying Solo!

    Here are my recommendations:

    1. Encourage your existing customers to like you on Facebook and post reviews about you on online review websites such as WOMO

    2. Print some flyers and drop them in letterboxes around your region – be targeted and look for properties that may need your services

    3. Post your your services and your website link (which looks pretty good!) on forums such as Gumtree, other trades quote websites (BuildaQuote, ServiceSeeking etc…)

    4. Start a customer referral program to reward your existing customers for recommending your service to their friends and family. Your best way of advertising will almost always be word of mouth initially.

    I manage a website that lets local businesses quickly set up and run a referral program for free – (http://www.projectcred.com.au), it could be a very cost effective way for you to acquire new customers. We also provide small businesses with free online presence and potential referrers. Feel free to PM me for more details or email [email protected].

    Cheers,
    Steven

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate your feedback.

    I had thought of asking my happy customers to post an online review but had not found a suitable platform to do so. Thanks for the WOMO referral, it looks spot on!

    I have used gumtree and service seeking with some positive results. Service seeking tends to attract a lot of tyre kickers but that said I have also had a few good jobs from it.

    Your referral program looks very interesting. How do you think it would work for home improvement type business? Every project I sell is different and quoted on a cost plus labour basis. I don’t have set priced packages as such to offer discounts on.

    Again thanks for your response. You have given me some avenues to explore.

    Regards
    Stephen

    #1165073
    Tony Manto
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    Hi Steven, nice to have you here to start with. Your web page looks good to me, however you don’t have any email link?

    I would have a rotating video or a picture slide as well as your gallery. You want to engage anyone that logs onto your web page straight away.

    Perhaps create a do’s and don’ts ebook type of thing that you can offer to send out to any visitors on your web page. This will enable you to capture their email address.

    I would also look at houses recently sold. You should be able to get his of the real estate sites. People that buy a new house often want to do some improvements or renovations. Create a good brochure and target wisely.

    #1165074
    Southeastdecking
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    Tony Manto, post: 191151 wrote:
    Hi Steven, nice to have you here to start with. Your web page looks good to me, however you don’t have any email link?

    I would have a rotating video or a picture slide as well as your gallery. You want to engage anyone that logs onto your web page straight away.

    Perhaps create a do’s and don’ts ebook type of thing that you can offer to send out to any visitors on your web page. This will enable you to capture their email address.

    I would also look at houses recently sold. You should be able to get his of the real estate sites. People that buy a new house often want to do some improvements or renovations. Create a good brochure and target wisely.

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the warm welcome and great suggestions. I particularly like the idea of targeting recently sold houses. I often do work for customers who have just bought homes.

    I hear you also on engaging customers more. I often find myself watching the slide shows of images when I view new websites. Great tip.

    I have the contact form rather than an email address shown. I found in the past that displaying my email just invited endless spam.

    I will give the ebook idea some thought too. I hesitate to do things like that on websites because they tend to turn me off. I don’t like to come off as pushy… Not the best trait when it comes to closing sales I know :)

    Thanks
    Stephen

    #1165075
    Tony Manto
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    I understand you have the quote section of your web page, but people might just want to email you.

    I understand you feeling on the ebook idea. I am not saying is the best idea in the world, but its just another way to capture someone’s email address. The golden rule in marketing.

    One thing to remember, its not what you like or dislike that counts, its what the customers want and what works:)

    #1165076
    StevenMelbourne
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    • Total posts: 47
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    Hi Stephen,

    Our website works very well for quote based businesses – you can pick certain price ranges for your service provided and create multiple programs based on the price ranges.

    Here is an good example of another business that uses our program who is also quote based – http://www.projectcred.com.au/betapanels – as you can see depending on the amount spent by the referred customer, the business will log the referrer under the appropriate referral program and the referrer will be rewarded accordingly.

    Our service is free to register and use so it’s a no-risk option for new businesses. If you’re interested let me know and I can send you some further info via email and set up a free profile for you so you can navigate the website at your own convenience. If you think the service can be helpful I can help you structure some programs afterwards within a couple of minutes.

    Cheers,
    Steven

    Southeastdecking, post: 191148 wrote:
    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate your feedback.

    I had thought of asking my happy customers to post an online review but had not found a suitable platform to do so. Thanks for the WOMO referral, it looks spot on!

    I have used gumtree and service seeking with some positive results. Service seeking tends to attract a lot of tyre kickers but that said I have also had a few good jobs from it.

    Your referral program looks very interesting. How do you think it would work for home improvement type business? Every project I sell is different and quoted on a cost plus labour basis. I don’t have set priced packages as such to offer discounts on.

    Again thanks for your response. You have given me some avenues to explore.

    Regards
    Stephen

    #1165077
    Stuart B
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    Hey there, I had a couple of thoughts when i read your post so I’ll try to be brief.

    I had a quick look at your website and its ok, but I think it could be a lot better in terms of the design and also it’s ability to capture leads for you.

    You say you haven’t been getting many enquiries but I see you have analytics installed. What is your traffic like? If you’re getting traffic but no leads then it’s definitely the website holding you back.

    I haven’t “marketed” a business for a sustained period but I did have a recent client who’s website is absolutely smashing it for them, and getting it to a decent ranking for their desired terms really wasn’t much effort at all.

    As far as marketing goes (online) I would suggest setting up a blog and posting articles, tips, and how-to guides to help you gain traffic over time. You could also post some videos from your mobile phone and stick them onto youtube too.

    If you’re looking for immediate sales you could look at doing a google PPC campaign for immediate exposure but you’d want to ensure your website is looking slick to maximise the chances of success there.

    I hope this is useful for you, feel free to get in contact if you have any question about all that.

    #1165078
    Southeastdecking
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    Octopus Labs, post: 191177 wrote:
    Hey there, I had a couple of thoughts when i read your post so I’ll try to be brief.

    I had a quick look at your website and its ok, but I think it could be a lot better in terms of the design and also it’s ability to capture leads for you.

    You say you haven’t been getting many enquiries but I see you have analytics installed. What is your traffic like? If you’re getting traffic but no leads then it’s definitely the website holding you back.

    I haven’t “marketed” a business for a sustained period but I did have a recent client who’s website is absolutely smashing it for them, and getting it to a decent ranking for their desired terms really wasn’t much effort at all.

    As far as marketing goes (online) I would suggest setting up a blog and posting articles, tips, and how-to guides to help you gain traffic over time. You could also post some videos from your mobile phone and stick them onto youtube too.

    If you’re looking for immediate sales you could look at doing a google PPC campaign for immediate exposure but you’d want to ensure your website is looking slick to maximise the chances of success there.

    I hope this is useful for you, feel free to get in contact if you have any question about all that.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    At present we are getting 100/month website views with around 44% bounce rate. That has stayed pretty steady since the site was launched.

    I’m putting myself together a list of things to work through for the website, focusing on engaging content and calls to action. Im thinking I need to make a marketing plan and get some help.

    #1165079
    MissSassy
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    Hi Stephen and welcome

    What a great response you have had to your questions.

    I think that as a tradie business people need to get to know you and be familiar with you.

    Your vehicle and perhaps trailer is the obvious place to start and with any signage do you have an image on there of your work too.
    Another thing is placing a sign at the front of the property you are doing work at – again with an image of recent work you have done. This can go up before and then ask if it is ok to leave for a few weeks after.
    Tradies will find that these simple measures often create more business than a website ever will.

    The website will be where people then go, after they see your sign/vehicle/trailer and then they will make contact. Various touch points make it easier for people.

    I have worked with lots of tradies and I am happy to help you create a plan of promoting your business, if you are interested.

    #1165080
    thbeach
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Hi Stephen,

    Reading the advice you have received has all been good. This is a very helpful forum.

    You are right that about directories not working as much anymore, the printed yellow pages are used by older folks mostly, while online directories are not as effective as a good website with the right content on them.

    Your gatekeeper today is Google and your website needs to have content that matches what your potential customers are looking for. Get them to your site then convince them once there that you are the one to hire.

    As a tradie you are doing the right thing by having a niche product = decks and all the associated products (servicing, maintenance, retaining walls and fencing ). It’s much easier to promote compared to a jack-of-all-trades.

    You do need to promote your business. Your promotional spend is reflected in your revenue. So if you want $100K+ pa then you need to spend a bit to get it going. You might put together a promotional budget of $10K ( that’s $200 pw averaged ) to cover: website and advertising.

    There have been many good suggestions here. I agree with checking your statistics to see what is happening.

    Yellow Pages online can help with local search but your website has to do the heavy lifting to attract customers. If it’s not then it’s not giving visitors what they are looking for.

    Your website seems to be covering everything you do, however it is not mobile friendly and that phone number, prominent at the top, is not clickable on a mobile. Your stats will tell you about mobiles visits. In some cases this can be 50% plus and you will lose them if they visit your site as is.

    The blog is essential as it adds more relevant searchable content to your site. Like the chap who suggested tips, how-tos, videos etc is spot on.

    Target the issues that you get calls for – these are people seeking solutions to a problem and want you to fix them. So cover these topics in a blog. Checklists, DIY hints, reviews about products and fixtures you use, more detailed testimonials or case-studies. Mention suburbs, the type of job, even the cost ( to position yourself and get rid of tyre kickers )

    The more regularly posted, searchable content on your site focused on your niche the more likely Google will start sending more traffic.

    Also with your testimonials, add the suburb they are from. Same goes for the images on the site – tag which suburb they are from and the the job you did eg. fencing+suburb.

    Add your name to your contact page – who are you and why should I hire you? I would like to see some pictures of you at work – give us a bit more about you please.

    I totally agree with the flyers – just a simple postcard will do – I would contact LDN in your local area – don’t use anyone else and get them to do a simple design, print and distribution. Be prepared to do this a few times per year, maybe just the surrounding suburbs you think would have the budget for your work.

    Facebook is really neat too, but you need to have a good think about what you will do with it. The one big thing I like about Facebook is the very cheap promotions that will bring traffic back to your website – promoted posts. So when you write a really useful post for your blog you can promote it on Facebook and target age groups, postcodes and interests. Often for $20 or so.

    Make sure you have a gmail account, Google+ and sign up for Google places for business This is a good place to pay for advertising into your local area, it won’t be cheap, but how much is a job worth. If you get a $2K job for a $100 spend that would be worth it (depending on your margins).

    Good luck!

    cheers
    nigel

    Southeastdecking, post: 191050 wrote:
    Hi All!

    Has anyone had experiance with marketing a tradie service business? My business provides the service of design and construction of decking and feature fencing. This makes my target market middle to high income home owners in the south east suburbs of Melbourne.

    I have had success in the past with yellow pages book (print) and am convinced that people still use directories to find tradesmen…. Though now I believe those directories are more of the online variety.

    I have listed my website with various online trade directories and the yellow online listing but am not getting a lot of inquiry.

    I plan to add an information artical section to my website as well as a blog/diary of sorts documenting interesting jobs with photos etc. Im thinking this will help customers find me through google. Ongoing quality and original content helps right?

    My website was setup in a bit of a rush by my very busy brother and now I want to start refining it a bit.

    Any ideas, criticisms or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Dont hold back, I can take it :)

    #1165081
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
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    Southeastdecking, post: 191050 wrote:
    My business provides the service of design and construction of decking and feature fencing. This makes my target market middle to high income home owners in the south east suburbs of Melbourne.
    Hi Stephen,
    I hope you can take this…

    The above statement of yours is the critical starting point.

    Your service words that stick out to me are: “design” and “feature

    When I look at your website, it does not support this image.

    Your Home page heading is:

    “Do you need a trustworthy tradesman?”

    Nothing wrong with this is you want to position yourself as “trustworthy” and “tradesman” but you have told us you want to be seen as a “designer” of “feature” decking and fencing.

    Your website needs to compliment this positioning. It doesn’t.

    Visually, it is very basic and dated. It does not support the image of a designer’s showcase.

    You compromise your primary services and positioning statement by promoting your “painting and staining” and “maintenance” services.

    On your 6 page website there are only 116 words where you tell us about your “design and construction of decking” services. Site visitors will infer a lot about your service from this, and it will not help your intended positioning.

    Then there are the words on your web pages.

    They are “churn and burn” copy. Each page is a semi-replica of the other and it shows. Your site visitor is likely to infer from this that you are a quick turnover artist who cuts corners.

    Next there are the testimonials in the right-hand column of each page. They have no relevance. Some times we are shown decking testimonials on fencing pages. Why are they rotating testimonials? What is the point? No one will see the rotation testimonials because they will only go to a page once.

    A major area for a “designer’s” site should be your showcase of graphic examples.

    You need to select work examples that match your intended customers. Don’t show pics of small, low cost jobs if you want large, expensive jobs.

    Don’t just show a blow up of a picture.

    Don’t show all jobs in a “gallery”. Galleries are usually the dumbest and most irrelevant page of a website.

    Make individual case study pages of your show case examples. Give before, during and after pics. Show us how what you did improved the design and landscaping of your client’s property. Tell us the suburbs where it was done. Give us owners testimonials for the specific examples. Talk about inconvenience and safety issues. Mothers will want to know how you solve their concerns about their kids while you built the decking/fencing.

    Group your galleries around the types of jobs. If you are going to focus on decking and fencing, you want to link to your relevant show case examples from a decking page and a separate fencing page.

    If you adopt these sorts of strategies and implement SEO effectively you should generate many times the enquiries than you do at present.

    There are no free meals on the web. If you want people to find your services and if you want them to contact you, you have to earn it.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1165082
    Need Leads?
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    • Total posts: 54
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    Hi There,

    For our clients with businesses like yours we tend to do a mixture of cold calling and online marketing, if you have time you can do both of these yourself, the online marketing will cost you nothing however you need to put in a bit of time to get the best results.

    Hope it all goes well for you :)

    #1165083
    Tony-Mosman-Handyman
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    • Total posts: 3
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    I have found a lot of clients love that I am a LOCAL handyman. I headline this in my flyers, website and ‘Google places for business’. I even changed my URL early on to include the suburb I target.

    I often ask prospects and clients why they chose to call me. ‘Local’ comes up the most. Followed by my testimonials page again highlighting the locals I’ve worked for. Have a look at my website.

    http://www.Mosman-Handyman.com.au

    This may work for you too.

    Cheers and good luck
    Tony

    PS. I have 25 years marketing experience and 2 and a 1/2 years running a handyman business.

    #1165084
    Thrive Promotional
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    • Total posts: 146
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    Apart from your website efforts and the tips others have provided .. how about:

    1) Know your market (is your description of your market correct). Once you have this sorted, go where your market goes … are there places that you would be able to set up a stand or information desk on a Saturday?

    2) Gather other trades in the area to target your market i.e. share referral, business cards or joint mailings or other marketing initiatives.

    3) Branding is a great recommendation … this is how painters get lots of on-going business. Make sure you have your name on your van, shirts, an outdoor sign board (on the signboard, also have provision to add a weather proof holder for cards/brochures). You may also like to consider a small branded gift as a thank you to clients post job, to put the ‘cherry on the top’.

    4) Always leave a great impression with clients – apart from providing what you promise .. it also includes being neat in appearance and leaving everything tidy .. don’t walk through peoples houses with your boots on ! even if they do. This attention has huge payback.

    All the best .. good luck.
    Morgan

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