If you’re a savvy small business owner, you understand that the marketplace is anyone’s game. You’ve got to be quick, innovative and flexible when finding new business.
There are a number of exciting ways your trades and construction business can get noticed—and luckily, most of them are online. Find new leads, build your portfolio and watch your small business grow!
Increase Online Presence And Go Where the Homeowners Are
Homeowners don’t want to do an extensive search for the best electrician, plumber or painter—they want a commonplace to find a trusted tradesperson on the go.
In the construction and trades industry alone, there are a number of platforms where you can be listed, request reviews and build a solid business presence. Below is just some of the most popular home improvement websites.
Jiffy On Demand: This Toronto-based online business offers 24 home services—everything from pest control to HVAC experts—for homeowners who want to simply request a skilled pro to take care of a job around their house. Jiffy does the work, finds the right tradesperson from their roster and manages all payment and logistics for contractors (for a 15 per cent fee). You can sign up to become a skilled partner for free and wait for the business to roll on in. Jiffy On Demand is soon set to expand to other cities across North America.
Houzz: More than 40 million homeowners around the world look at this platform for home renovation inspiration and shopping. Houzz is a place for businesses to showcase beautiful design options and for consumers to connect with construction and trades professionals. You can create a professional profile for free and enhance it with customer reviews, photos of your work, information about your working style and more. If you’re so inclined, you can also use Houzz to share ideas and collaborate with clients in the Houzz cloud.
HomeAdvisor: If you’re an American contractor or tradesperson, this platform is a great option for finding new business in dozens of major cities. In fact, HomeAdvisor claims to be the nation’s largest online home improvement marketplace, boasting more than 35 million homeowners to their network of pre-screened home service professionals. They offer ProFinder technology that matches local professionals with homeowners. HomeAdvisor connects you to homeowners by phone, email or through appointment bookings. You can also track jobs, create invoices and collect payments.
Checkatrade and MyBuilder: These UK-based services are accessed by millions of homeowners seeking quality tradespeople. For a fee, professional members have their own web page, a spot in their local directory, as well as credentials that signify they provide trusted, high-quality work. Though the fee structure works differently for Checkatrade and MyBuilder, the basic premise is the same: lead generation and lots of it.
Trusted Pros: This Canadian company helps tradespeople find business. The consumers themselves post a description of their project on the website and tradespeople are invited to offer a quote. You can participate in TrustedPros’s network for a fee, and you’ll receive a listing in the directory and you’ll be able to view customer ratings and reviews on your profile.
Be Active on Social Media
You don’t have to be a millennial nor tech savvy to be on a social platform for customers to find you. If you had to pick just one (and we strongly recommend only joining platforms where you’ll post at least a few times a week) Facebook is probably the most effective.
The first step is to creative a company page. Here, you’ll be able to grow your following, engage with customers, share meaningful content, as well as promote your brand on community group pages. You can also include your business contact information, a blurb about your business and a ton of photos to demonstrate the great work you do. Don’t forget to post regularly!
While signpost ads and listings in the local newspaper might still be effective, these traditional methods of advertising don’t always provide the ROI you want. Advertising on Facebook is actually an affordable way of getting your name out there to a targeted group of people. Just like when you’re posting on Facebook, keep your ads short, direct and professional. You can also advertise on Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest as well!
Did you know that the second most popular search engine is YouTube? People love moving pictures even more than photos. Consider making a series of short, branded videos that demonstrate your expertise. Here are some examples of engaging videos that could find a lot of traction online:
- How-to: Demonstrate a simple project that homeowners can undertake on their own—and be sure to include a call-to-action directing viewers back to your services
- Ask the expert: Compile a list of frequently asked questions from customers and answer one per video
- About me: A great way to build trust with potential clients is to show your human side. You can do this by creating a short video where you share your professional story and why you love the work you do.
- Before and after: With a client’s permission, consider a before and after video demonstrating a recent project
For maximum exposure, post your videos to YouTube and link from your Facebook and other social media sites. Be sure to have a link to all your videos on your website and call it out in your email signature too!
It might seem overwhelming when you consider all the places you can be online, so take small steps and slowly work up. If you’re completely new to online marketing, start with a simple website and work your way up to social media and online advertising. It’s easier than you think!
About the Author: Heather Hudson is an accomplished freelance writer and journalist based in Toronto. She writes for a number of publishing, corporate and agency clients who depend on her to deliver high-quality, on-brand content and journalism with a fresh perspective. Learn more about her work at heatherhudson.ca.