Since the invention of the web in the 1990s, businesses large and small have been designing websites. The phrase "it's all about driving traffic to your website" used to be true, but now it's all about "driving traffic to your brand" instead.
"And in very few cases do people want to be sold to!"
Unless you're a retailer, the direct 'sell to' mindset has been replaced with a 'buy from' one. Your potential customers want to know who you are, what you do, and what your other customers think of you.
Whether you're a solo tradesperson, or a running a small business, people want to trust you before making that final buying decision, and there are a number of ways to do that online:
Yes, have a website. It doesn't have to be complicated; just one page will do if it has enough information presented in a readable way. Smaller businesses tend to have a few extra pages to give more detailed information and share photos of jobs and written testimonials.
A blog is where you regularly publish medium sized articles about you and what you do and even offer hints and tips (like this blog post does) to your readers. A blog can be inside your website, or it can be separate from it.
Publish a new article of around 500 words each week and include at least one good photo. Make it useful and give the reader something they can take away with them.
As a bare minimum, you should be on Facebook. Get a business page for what you do and link to your website (and blog) and include your contact details. If you can get your customers to review you then that will certainly help. Yes, you can use Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, but with 2 billion active users, Facebook is currently the place to be.
Remember to share stuff to your Facebook business page every day so people who like your page keep seeing your name, brand and words of wisdom on a regular basis. If you on a job, why not post some 'before, during and after' photos to show how you work?
If you keep an eye on the online versions of your trade and industry magazines. Not only can you share interesting articles to social media, but you can base your own blog posts about ideas that you may have.
A Regular Mailer
A big, engaged email list is worth it's weight in gold. If you go business networking and receive a business card from someone, ask if you can add them to your mailing list.
On your website (and your blog) have signup forms so visitors can give you their email. You can send your blog post out every week to this list or, if you think that's too often, do a monthly summary mailer instead.
One additional online marketing activity is advertising. We've all heard about Google Ads but they can get really expensive when you're in a saturated market.
Facebook is more reasonable with its fees and you can choose to 'boost' a blog post or website page to everyone who likes your Facebook business page (and their friends) or create a formal advert and choose a more specific audience. You can spend as much or as little as you like.
Your website, your blog, your Facebook page and any emails you send to people need to have the same branding as your business cards and any other offline marketing materials you have like flyers and letterhead. And you need a set of consistent messages to share with people via these channels.
"If your website is your shop window, then your blog is your front door. And social media? That's the sign outside that says 'come on in'!"
If there's one thing to take away from this blog post it would be this: "it's all about driving traffic to your brand" and helping those visitors to trust you. They may not need your services right away, but you can easily keep yourself in their mind when you market your business online.
And when they do need your help, who are they going to call?
Until next time ...
I estimate that, on average, I save my customers around 10 hours a week by doing it all for them. That's a huge amount of time for any tradesperson or small business owner, especially when they need to focus on working for their customers, which is why they get me to do it for them.
If you'd like to know more about how I can help you to market your business online, visit www.steffilewis.com. Prices start at just £100 per month.
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I'm a web designing, blog editing, article writing, email sending, social media savvy photographer and videographer type of girl, with over 21 years in the creative industries.
I've worked as a professional photographer in Los Angeles, USA and been a vision-mixer and producer for live television in my time. I also offer photography and video services to my clients.
Wouldn't you rather be working for your customers and clients than spending hours doing online marketing for yourself?
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