Whether you’ve recently learned a trade or you’re thinking about changing careers, something you may find daunting is marketing yourself successfully enough to make your new business venture work.
Here at Options Skills, we know what a huge learning curve this can be, so we’ve put together our top tips on how to best use the opportunities you have and what will help your business thrive.
1. Word of Mouth
Ensuring that you build up a network is one of the most important things you can do in business, whether it be on a trade website or promoting yourself in a positive light. Never undervalue your skillset and the knowledge you have as a tradesperson.
2. Use Review Sites and Local Directories
Review sites and directories like Trust a Trader and Checkatrade can ensure that customers are just a click away from reading reviews, finding your website and getting in touch. When you complete a job for a customer, don’t be afraid to encourage them to leave a review for you.
If you train with Options Skills, you could be eligible for up to 12 months of free Checkatrade membership.
3. Customer Service
The relationship you build with your customers is entirely down to you, and as explained previously, word of mouth is a handy tool. People are more likely to trust the reviews of their friends, families and colleagues, so behaving professionally with your customers is extremely important. A job well done will lead to another, whether with the same customer or as a referral.
The reputation you build can be one of your most vital assets when marketing your business, so make sure your customers have something good to say about their experiences.
4. Branding, Slogans and Signs
Advertise your company using memorable signs and slogans on your van, which will grab potential customers’ attention; this means you can market yourself wherever you are without even saying a word.
Branded merchandise comes in all shapes and sizes; display flyers, give out business cards and maybe offer customers a magnet or sticker. Market yourself using recognisable branding to become the first person a customer calls when they need a tradesperson.
5. Make Links with Local Businesses
Being self-employed by no means requires you to do it alone.
Make connections with businesses such as local estate agents and building companies. Advertise in local magazines and free newspapers. Get your name out there and network to improve business.
6. What Makes You Stand Out?
Find your unique selling point; your work ethic and business acumen can help set you apart from the rest. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your achievements, qualifications, and the positive traits you think a potential customer would look for in a dependable tradesperson.
7. Set Up A Website
A website acts as your portfolio and provides customers with a place to see all your services and reviews in one place.
So once you have a website up and running, remember to collect customer reviews and testimonials. People will always read reviews, so make sure they’re good ones.
8. Use Social Media For Marketing
The future is here, and more than that, it’s free. Use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to advertise your work and connect with customers and businesses. In addition, social media provides a quick and efficient way to contact customers and inform them of any offers or updates.
9. Stay Up To Date
Stay updated with new legislation and laws, and boost your knowledge by attending manufacturer training days. Training courses set up by manufacturers can be affordable and very informative, and a good marketing technique to show you have specialist knowledge.
As well as staying up-to-date with industry developments, consider developing your own skills. If you’ve been working in the trades for a while, it’s worth seeing if you can upskill and add a few more strings to your bow.
At Options Skills, we offer electrical training, Inspection & Testing, and EV Charging Point courses to further boost your skillset and get ahead as we move towards a low-carbon future. If you’re a plumber wanting to take that next step, take a look at our gas training. Or, if you’re already working as a gas engineer and want to move into renewable heat pump courses, we have a range of courses available. More skills can mean more customers and, therefore, more money.
10. Become a Business Person
You’ve completed your training; now what? Suddenly you’re the engineer, the business manager and the marketing department all rolled into one. This will mean identifying your market and preparing strategies to determine your business’ direction.
Always act in a professional business manner. Treating customers respectfully will go a long way to building a solid relationship, and loyal customers will often recommend you to others.
Try everything. If something doesn’t work immediately, it doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. The extra effort you put into marketing will be worth it in the long run.