Whether you are a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician or a hairdresser, the long hours you have to spend on the tools mean advertising solutions need to work hard for your business. These four options all take time to set up, but with a bit of tweaking and monitoring can cost effectively keep sending customers your way.
There’s a reason why for every $1 spent on digital advertising 40c goes to Google (well, that’s in the United States, at least) – the search giant delivers results.
If you think about the time that is best to reach a potential customer with your advertising, it is definitely at the point they are looking for a service like the one you deliver. That’s why Google allows businesses to attach their advertising to search phrases like “emergency plumber in Brisbane”, “cheap Melbourne electrician” or even “best builders in Bondi”.
Tradies can set up an advertisement, which looks similar to the entries that are served up in a normal Google search. These ads show up above or beside the natural search results. The business owner chooses a number of keywords or phrases they want to target and then they bid to appear high up the search rankings. Often the more popular keywords cost more to advertise against.
As a good place to start for your ad, think about the phrases that best describe your trade (e.g. should you bid on both ‘electrician’ AND ‘sparky’ or ‘plumber’ and ‘plumbing’), and your location (e.g. Sydney plumber would be popular, but maybe Parramatta plumber is cheaper to target and better suits your business).
Google works on a pay-per-click model so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You also set a daily budget so you don’t overspend.
If Google is Goliath, then Facebook is mini-Goliath. The social media giant raked in $US27 billion in advertising revenue in 2016 putting it at number two behind Google (with $US79 billion). What Facebook offers is really sophisticated targeting of potential customers, which means less wasted advertising spend and your ads showing up within the News Feed of more likely customers.
There is ‘core’ audience targeting – based on gender, age and location – but one tool that could be really useful for tradies is the ability to send ads to a ‘custom’ audience. Facebook allows a business to upload the contact details, like phone or email, of current customers to whom it can then serve your ads. While this won’t help bring in new customers it might help a mechanic remind old customers to bring their car in for a service or pool owners to get their pump checked and pool cleaned before summer. Another way the custom audience targeting works is to send ads to Facebook users who have previously visited your website. This might serve as a prompt or a reminder to people who are interested in your service but maybe didn’t make a booking or go through with a transaction initially.
This website is like a matchmaker for people with problems – about 40,000 jobs are posted each month – and tradies who can fix them. Customers like the online platform because it automates the process of seeking a number of quotes, and businesses like it because it is a simple but effective lead generator. The way it works is a customer posts a job and then ServiceSeeking.com.au sends an email or a text message to appropriate suppliers who have previously created a profile.
It is then up to the businesses to respond with a quote, which can be done on a case by case basis or via automated templates created ahead of time. Customers can decide based on the quote, but also other information in the business profiles, like reviews and portfolios of previous work. Businesses are charged a monthly membership fee that varies depending on how many leads they want to be sent.
Your own website
This last option requires a lot more effort but only costs the time needed to transcribe your thoughts and set up a blog. The idea is to create content that answers some of the vexing questions that customers have when they need to use a particular tradie for the first time.
So, instead of just using Google to search for a phrase like “plumber in Perth” a potential customer might type “how much do plumbers charge?” or “how to avoid being ripped off by a plumber?”. If you can write a series of succinct blogs answering these types of questions, and then ensure your website is optimised to rank highly in Google search results, you’re likely to capture customers looking for information about your trade. By providing honest answers to their questions you are likely to be called upon to quote when they are ready.
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