Earning the business of homeowners can be tricky. Traditional advertising isn’t going the distance as much as it once did in a crowded market of handyman services, all vying for the business of fickle consumers. If door hangers and cold calls aren’t cutting it, you might have to up your advertising game. From the tried and true to the innovative, we’ve rounded up some advertising options that will get the attention of homeowners in your community.
Be Active on Social Media
Recent statistics indicate that 2.3 billion people are active on social media. If you want to capture the attention of homeowners, have a presence on popular platforms like Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Brief, light-hearted posts featuring photos or videos of your work, trends in your industry, tips and advice are a great way to position yourself as a friendly expert. And don’t worry about being on all the social media. Choose one or two to start and update often for best exposure.
Advertise on Social Media
While you’re on social media, invest in a few paid ads. (Here’s how to do it on Facebook.) It’s refreshingly inexpensive compared to traditional advertising and, if you’re feeling really savvy, you can take advantage of targeted ads that ensure they’re being seen by the exact demographic you’re looking to court.
Sponsor a Team in Your Community
If you want to take advantage of subliminal advertising to a key demographic, consider sponsoring a kids’ soccer, hockey, baseball or other team. The next time a parent needs the home service you provide, she’ll remember your name from the jerseys that run around and advertise for you a couple of times a week. It also generates goodwill in the community, always a bonus for earning the trust of homeowners.
Ask for Word of Mouth Referrals
Don’t be shy about coming out and asking for word-of-mouth referrals. When you’ve satisfied a client, finish the job by asking them to spread the word in their neighbourhood and among their family and friends. Other ways to get the word out are to add a line to the bottom of your email signature indicating that you welcome word-of-mouth referrals, posting a photo of a grapevine on social media and a few lines about how much you appreciate clients spreading the word about your work. It never hurts to ask!
Ask for Testimonials, Reviews
According to recent research, 88 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And when it comes to trusting someone to do great work in your personal space, an honest review means a lot. Make it easy for your happy customers to sing your praises when you’ve made them happy. Hand them a customer satisfaction card to fill out (and promptly record their testimonial on your website), send them links to sites like Houzz, Yelp and Home Advisor with a request to leave a review and follow up by email a few weeks later to prod them again if they haven’t. You might even offer a discount on an upcoming service for a great review or referral.
Post Profiles Online
In addition to creating profiles on Houzz, Yelp and Home Advisor, consider Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local and other service-specific sites. When customers are searching for home services in their community, sites like these make them feel like they’re finding expert professionals they can trust, particularly if you need to be accredited in order to be a member. Having a profile on industry associations will also ensure you’re seen as a pre-vetted service provider as well.
Have a Website
Most consumers use the Internet to research and find service providers, so it’s no longer optional to have a website. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—sites like WordPress, Wix and others can help you create a serviceable site in less than an hour. A basic website should include: contact information, testimonials and photos of your work, a list of services and an “about us” page that helps the consumer get to know you.
Go to Trade Shows
If you offer a home service, you should be at every home and garden show in your community (and the surrounding communities too!). All you need to attend is a friendly smile, a stack of business cards, a brochure listing your services, experience and testimonials and you’re ready to go. Bonus points if you run a contest (a great way to get prospective customers’ contact info) and branded giveaways like Frisbees, pens or things that relate to the work you do, like mini-measuring tapes.
Be an Expert
Do you have a lot of knowledge and experience in your industry? Share your expertise with radio, TV and print journalists who cover lifestyle or home design beats in your community. Reach out to news organizations or reporters directly offering to be an expert source for an upcoming article (you might even offer a few seasonal or myth-busting story ideas). And consider pitching a column to your local community newspaper in which you offer tips on a different team each week.
Run a Workshop
There are a lot of DIYers out there who could really use some of your expertise. If you’re a confident public speaker, rent some space in a local hardware store, library or community center and offer a workshop that helps homeowners do some of the less complicated work that you do. When they need the help of a real expert, you’ll be at the top of their list.
Partner with Other Professionals
If you offer a service that often goes hand in hand with another, it might be worthwhile to team up with them to offer discounts on complementary services. If you’re not interested in taking on a partner, consider approaching small business owners like you to set up a mutual referral agreement. Their success could be yours too!
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.