I’ve spoke to all sorts of business lately from tradies, shop keepers and car repairers and what stands out most is how they feel when their business is quiet. What many business owners don’t realise (unless they have a good network of business owning friends) is that if their business is slow there is a good chance that many other businesses are also slow.
It’s times like these that the cheapest way of getting new sales is by sending an email to your past clients and give them a good reason to buy or use your services NOW.
Video marketing is a fantastic tool to demonstrate your knowledge to potential customers and it is well known for it ability to keep visitors at your website for long but some business owners don’t realised just how easy it is to use.
If you’d like to set up a website for your business using WordPress or some other content management system (CMS), you’ll need your own domain name and then you’ll need a web hosting company.
You can get a website hosting package with email services bundled together from companies like Net Registry, but if you shop around, you will be able to find a good web host in the U.S. that are usually cheaper and provide better service. Here are the details about the hosting company we prefer and why.
Writing blogs, creating content, video
Content is what your customers see in your ads and on your website and landing pages. Combine the content with a Lead Capture strategy to turn strangers into identifiable humans (ie. getting email addresses and phone numbers) and you understand the value of digital marketing in the whole sales and revenue process.
Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have managed to turn the tables of marketing and advertising to something that is now massively slanted towards digital and online (and mobile) so good digital marketing skills and experience will give you an edge in almost EVERY organisation.
The key measuring points for digital marketing roles are:
- Returning visitors
- Pages per visit
- Lead capture conversion rate
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Cost per click
- Cost per thousand impressions
- Cost per lead
- Value of each sale
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We recently helped an asbestos removal company improve their digital presence by getting them off their hotmail email address and onto their own branded email using Google G Suite.
You can create a branded email address by getting your own domain name and connecting it to Google G Suite, which you can do directly through Google or by purchasing your domain name separately through a domain registrar like Net Registry, MelbourneIT, Crazy Domains, GoDaddy and many more. This is something we cover in our Digital and Social Media Marketing Courses.
Domain names cost under $30 a year
Depending on the type of domain name you’d like to register, they can cost you as little as ten or eleven dollars a year, or as much as thirty. If you decide to register your domain with a company like Net Registry, an Australian owned and operated registrar owned by Melbourne IT, you can also sign up for extra services to help you run your business.
Purchasing a domain name from a registrar directly may be preferable if you’d like to connect it to a WordPress website, but you can also buy it directly from Google when you sign up for a G Suite account. This may be preferable, as Google will handle to renewal of your domain at the same time as your G Suite account.
G Suite provides free business tools
A basic G Suite account costs just $5 a month, and comes with a raft of business tools you can use to make your business more professional and efficient. Aside from the free word processing apps you get access to (also available for free Gmail accounts), you also get free cloud storage so you can share documents with team members remotely, and access to Google calendar.
Because the Google calendar app is in the cloud, you can share access to it with your virtual assistant, so you can both schedule meetings and appointments without any clashes. Tradies can also share it with clients when they’re trying to organise a time to commence a new job, rather than going back and forth with different times and dates.
Beware domain name scams
If you choose to register your domain name separately — it does offer more flexibility, particularly if you ever want to move your email account from Google (who knows, something better and easier may come along in the future) — you do need to be wary of scams that often circulate to businesses.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently fined a company $2.3 million for sending unsolicited notices to businesses that looked like renewal notices, but were really registration notices for other domain names often costing upwards of $250.
Remember: a domain name shouldn’t cost much more than $30 a year, and certainly not more than $100. Check the fine print, and make sure you’re using a reputable domain name registrar.
To learn how to set up a Google G Suite account and start using a branded email address to increase your digital presence and make your business more professional, enrol in our Digital and Social Media Marketing Course, which covers Google G Suite and much more.
Painting is an important task that immediately improves the value of a property. If you know what you’re doing, it’s not a particularly difficult task. If you don’t have any experience, or you don’t have the time, you’ll probably head down to your local Bunnings for some advice, ask a friend, or get online.
Educate customers to win business
Transparency is an important way to build trust with customers. Giving customers honest information about painting their home won’t ever do you out of business — it’ll probably win you some and that’s why Mark created some basic videos with tips on how to do certain aspects of the paint preparation work which he normally performs.
The fact is that no one likes doing it but when people are getting painting done and they realise how time consuming and messy this task is, they’d rather get someone else to do it!
Derek Farmer, a real estate agent on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, used educational videos to help sellers (and buyers, too) understand the sales process. This helped him attract new listings because people trusted that he would be open and honest about the real estate process.
Explain your process
It also made Derek’s job a little easier, because vendors knew what to expect when they were selling their home. That meant the process would proceed relatively stress free because Derek had been upfront about the process — before he’d even met the seller — and usually resulted in a quick sale.
Vendors who had good experiences with Derek recommended him to their friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours — at one point, Derek had multiple listings, one after the other, in the same street, all due to good recommendations from previous clients.
What tips can you share?
Tradies, whether they’re painters or plumbers or gardeners, can use educational videos and blogs to demystify the work that they do for customers, and also help stand out from their competitors online and in their local community.
To learn more about using educational content as a marketing strategy for your business, sign up for our digital marketing management services or enrol in our digital and social media marketing training course if you’d like to DIY.
How to win business on the spot!
THERE ARE REWARDS AS WELL AS RISKS to providing people with a quote for work, but one of the bigger risks is offering a free measure and quote, only to have the quote knocked back in favour of a competitor’s cheaper one.
This said, despite the risks attached to offering to come out for free and quote a job, it’s still a good way to operate your business.
Why a free measure and quote is good
There are a lot of benefits to visiting a client to provide a free measure and quote, even if you run the risk of wasting your time and money should the quote not be accepted. We take a look at some of these:
You’ll better understand the client and scope of works
Quoting for a job will help you to understand the client and the scope of the project at the same time. People are put more at ease when they know they’re not obligated to pay you just to come out and prepare a quote, so you’ll have better luck getting prospects. You’ll also be able to discern the kind of client the prospect is likely to be, so you can weigh up how to proceed.
Helps you evaluate potential risks
Remember risks can involve both the physical risk of injury but also other more nebulous risks, like a client who doesn’t pay on time or is unrealistic about timeframes, costs or the types of materials required. With experience, you’ll become better at seeing the warning signs early on, but if you’re new to being self-employed, these are things you should pay particular attention to.
How to make a sale there and then
As we said in our previous post about the risks and rewards of quoting, if you make it easy for people to do business with you, you’re more likely to get quick or even immediate acceptance of your quotes. This is really important as a business, because it keeps in a steady stream of work, which is good for your cash flow, and ultimately, costs you less money — because you’re not following up on unaccepted quotes — in the long run.
Show you’re reliable and keen
In many of our blogs we’ve strongly suggested that using a cloud-based accounting application like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks makes it really easy for prospects to accept estimates and to pay you. Better still if you can produce estimates for prospects while you’re still at their home or business. This shows you’re reliable, well organised and keen.
Demonstrating efficiency, organisation and enthusiasm are clearly attractive qualities in any builder, tradesperson or other small business person who provides on-site quotes (they’re attractive qualities in anybody!) because it shows that you care about the work you do and that you’ll do it in a timely manner.
For help creating sales and marketing messages that will deliver more leads to your business or determining the right places to advertise your business online, contact the team at Virion for more information about our content marketing services.
The risks of quoting too high
THERE ARE PROS AND CONS to charging a day rate. But part of charging the right day rate involves quoting jobs correctly.
Part of charging the right day rate involves quoting jobs correctly.
And what are the requirements for quoting a job properly? You need solid experience in the field you work in, and the ability to evaluate a job thoroughly to ensure you’ve accounted for all the things could crop up once work commences.
Beware of over-quoting
Yes it is important to take into account things that could come up after you start a job that might require additional materials and time. This said, don’t factor them into your quote unless you’re reasonably sure they could occur. If you do, you risk your quote being too high.
Providing someone with an unnecessarily high quote reduces the likelihood that they’ll accept it, which only just ends up costing you money — you spent time working on the quote, after all.
Quote what the market will bear
If you’re an experienced builder, your hourly rate is going to be much higher than a labourer’s, who is paid between $20 and $30 an hour. If you’re quoting for a job that requires substantial digging, which is time-consuming, but ultimately, unskilled work, subcontract that out to a labourer, to keep the price to your client down.
Again, you’re unlikely to have your quote accepted if you’re quoting to do all of the work yourself at your regular rate. Most people will get more than one quote, so if you’re quoting above what the market rate is for a given job, you probably won’t get the work.
Make your quote easy to accept
Use electronic accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to create estimates that you can email to your clients while you’re still talking to them. This means they’ll be able to ask you any questions about the quote, and possibly even accept it on the spot.
Use electronic accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to create estimates that you can email to your clients while you’re still talking to them.
This will reduce the amount of estimates you have to spend time following up on, and also help you to better structure your work as you’ll have a more steady flow of work.
Maybe you’re a sole trader, tradesperson or small business owner who would like help figuring out the right places to advertise your business online.