With a mountain of work on the go, generating new leads could well be the last thing on your mind right now. After all, isn’t that the kind of thing left to those struggling tradesmen who are left scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel for their next job?
Look: even if you’re busy right now, your current workload is going to come to an end eventually, and if your business is going to thrive – rather than just survive – it pays to be on the ball when it comes to bringing in new work.
The only question then, of course, is this – where do you begin?
You could begin by trawling through huge stacks of marketing textbooks or sitting through another lifeless sales course, but let’s be honest, even if that didn’t sound like the most boring thing on the planet, you simply don’t have time for any of it.
Luckily, there is an easier, quicker way – following our top ten tips for generating new leads.
Ready? Let’s get cracking.
If you’re one of our regular readers, it won’t be the first time you’ve heard this: two-thirds of homeowners use Facebook to find tradesmen.
That’s according to a survey carried out by MyJobQuote.co.uk, which found that 67% of 2,825 homeowners surveyed used social media to find a company or service. Of those, 71% preferred Facebook over any other platform.
What that means for you, is that if you haven’t yet set up a Facebook page, and if you’re not using it regularly to promote your work, you’re missing out on a lot of potential new customers.
A search engine optimised website
Yes, Facebook may be the undisputed king of lead generation for tradesmen, but that doesn’t mean that having your own website isn’t still important. If homeowners aren’t using social media to find tradesmen online, chances are they’ll be using that other internet giant, Google.
When they do, you want to be sure that it’s your name and contact details that come up when they search for businesses like yours. That’s where having your own website proves essential.
Built around the cornerstones of good Search Engine Optimisation (quality content, performance, and usability), a good website can work wonders in ensuring your business gets found by potential customers.
Yet getting those customers to your site is only half the challenge. From there, it’s up to you to ensure that you present yourself in the best possible light by including the following key features:
- High-quality content to showcase your work
- Contact details that are highly visible throughout your site
- Clear, plain English content that describes what you do.
The good news is that you don’t need a degree in computer science to design a good website, nor do you need to remortgage your home in order to pay someone who does.
As we explained in our guide to digital marketing for tradesmen, there are a number of platforms out there which make building a website as easy as dragging various elements (text boxes, pictures, contact forms etc.) around a screen and dropping them into place.
The likes of Wix, Squarespace and Weebly are the most popular DIY website builder tools, whilst advanced users might want to take a look at WordPress. Alternatively, tools aimed solely at tradesmen, such as TradeSiteBuilder are also worth a look.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
Building an SEO website can be a great way to get your website to the top of Google’s search results, but let’s face it: it’s really, really hard work!
Fortunately, there is a way to take a shortcut straight to the top of Google, and it’s as simple as investing in a Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaign.
You’ve likely seen PPC campaigns in action already. Whenever you search for something on Google, you’ll notice several results at the very top of the page that have the word “Ad” in a small box next to them.
As we explained in our recent beginner’s guide to PPC for tradesmen, paying to put your website right at the top practically guarantees that around a third of all clicks from those results pages where your ad features will go to your website.
Whilst the costs involved may mean PPC isn’t ideal for everyone, if you can set aside a budget, it can prove highly effective in generating quality leads.
There are some tradesmen out there who view platforms like CheckaTrade and MyBuilder.com as a welcome boost for their business, putting them in direct contact with the customers who need them and helping them win new work week in, week out.
Then there are others who consider such platforms to be a scourge on the industry, charging excessive fees or taking a sizeable chunk out of many a hard-working tradesman’s profits. Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying that these kinds of websites can be effective.
After all, if they weren’t, nobody would use them.
If you’re considering using a trade site to generate leads but aren’t sure which one to invest in, you might find our in-depth guide to the top five most popular platforms helpful.
Remember a few months ago when GDPR made every company you’ve ever dealt with go a bit mad and spam your inbox, begging to keep in touch?
It’s tempting to look back on that as a sign that email marketing is now just too complicated and too time-consuming to contend with, especially if you’re self-employed and already have enough on your plate.
But here’s the thing: done correctly, email can be a quick and simple way to let customers know about new services or special offers you want to promote, and can still produce good results.
Just make sure you’ve got consent from the people you’re emailing first!
Send a text
SMS marketing was all the rage a few years ago, but that was before the scores of digital tools we have at our disposal today came along.
These days, not many think about text messaging, but it can be a useful way of getting the attention of potential customers.
Again, GDPR means you’ll need to be careful about how you do this, so might be a better approach for winning more work from previous customers, but it’s still well worth considering.
You can also check out our guide to SMS marketing here.
Flyers & leaflets
So far we’ve concentrated mostly on digital channels, but there’s nothing to say you can’t go old-school. A particularly good option for those of you who aren’t so technically-inclined, a well-designed flyer can be a good way to catch people’s eye.
Unless you’re pretty nifty with design software, you might benefit from paying a professional to put your flyer together to create the right image for your business. Then it’s just a case of getting those flyers out there into shops, through people’s letterboxes, or anywhere else you can think of.
Most local areas have their own business networking events which are a great chance for sole traders and small business owners like you to get to know each other and trade contact information.
If you’re a tradesman that mainly works with private homeowners, then such events might not be the most obvious source of lead generation.
However, even businesses need tradesmen’s services from time to time so getting yourself known by those businesses could well work out in your favour when they need someone like you to fix a fault, help revamp their office, or install a new feature.
Offer a discount for referrals
Having done a great job for Smith, you’d love it if he recommended you to his friends and family, but there’s no guarantee that he will. That’s where offering an incentive can come in handy.
You tell Mr Smith, and your other clients, that if they recommend you to someone else, you’ll give both of them say 10% off the cost the next time they hire you.
Sure, that 10% may take a small bite out of your profits, but if your referral scheme takes off, you’ll soon make your money back with the many new customers you’ll be attracting.
Create your Google Business page
Last but by no means least, this is a quick and easy way to improve the chances of your business being found by customers searching Google.
Your Google Business page gives you a free listing in Google where you can add pictures of your work, contact details and a link to your website. You can even use it to generate and showcase those all-important customer reviews and testimonials, and we all know how important those are.