What is the best way to reach tradesmen so that they will use the tools, building materials, or services you offer? It’s a question that is often asked within our industry and the answer is comprised of numerous components. We’re going to cover the most important dos and don’ts so you can effectively market to the trades.
Gone are the days of the one-on-one sales pitch. Technology is expected to provide information and save time, helping tradesmen make decisions on purchasing building products. Between search engines, social media, and review sites, your business depends on what others are saying and should reflect a positive image to potential clients.
Tradesmen are consumers who do their shopping when it’s convenient for them and as their schedules permit. Online channels and social media groups can provide a wide range of information in a short amount of time. Make sure your website is modern, current, easy to navigate, and provides enough information for them to understand who you are, what you do, and why your offer the best options for their needs. Online quoting and purchasing provide a value-added service after hours.
You’ll also want to keep your eye on social media groups and review sites. Make sure you address any criticism in a timely, professional, and problem-solving way. If you get a bad review or comment, do not get defensive or project a ‘care-less’ tone in any of your responses. Your reputation is built on how you handle difficult situations and bad reviews. The World Wide Web can either be your superpower or your Kryptonite, so stay on top of customer reviews and make changes as needed.
Be part of the solution
The tools or supplies a tradesman uses are their lifeblood as they rely heavily on them to do their jobs. They know what brands and retailers they like and are not always willing to change, so how you present yourself to them is of the utmost importance. The marketing efforts you put forward to gain new customers or enticing them to try a new product are a key component in growing your business.
If you really want to find out what tradesmen want so you can adapt your marketing accordingly, we recommend getting a firsthand account of their wants and needs. Most importantly, however, is that you don’t underestimate their intelligence and instinct. Don’t be a salesperson, be a listener, and take interest in what they are saying. Read between the lines. Understand their priorities and problems, and offer legitimate solutions.
Among the most important things you will likely hear are:
- Tradesmen want to see crews working more efficiently while reducing payroll man-hours.
- Stable, consistent pricing they can count on for an established amount of time. Tradesmen don’t want surprises on materials cost increases after they have provided proposals to customers based on prices they thought they were getting. We fully understand this is 2021’s most challenging task in our industry.
- Transparency on delivery, warranties, and replacements. Downtime is not good time in the trades.
- Customer service availability. If they have questions or problems, they need to know they have a lifeline straight to your customer service team.
- What can you do for them? Will your product increase their profits? Will you reward them for referrals?
- How does your product compare to others? Is the quality better? Is it more functional? Will it get the job done quicker?
Every one of these points is key when trying to earn a new account. If you provide a quality product or service that will make them more efficient, profitable, and happy to sing your praises, the outcome will be beneficial to both parties. Patience is also an important virtue as most tradesmen like to weigh all the pros and cons before settling into a commitment. But, if you make a good impression, you can look forward to a long, prosperous relationship.
There are so many different types of trades and advertising options, your marketing costs could quickly increase. Blindly increasing the advertising budget doesn’t lead to new accounts. Know thy customer.
Tradesmen aren’t always surfing the net to find out new information. If they are online, it’s likely because they have a problem they need a quick resolution for. Just like the rest of the world, tradesmen will more often than not go to Google to find the solutions they seek. Of course, you want to be part of that solution. SEO (search engine optimization) is how that’s going to happen. If you don’t already have someone working specifically on your SEO, find the right resource. It’s a very specialized business and one that can be expensive. At the end of the day, if done correctly, the cost will be worth every dime spent when you start appearing on the first page of a Google search. No one ever expanded their business by coming up on page 10.
Once you are easily found, it’s important that your website can offer solutions for any type of problem and if it can’t, a way for tradesmen to easily reach out for advice. You want to engage with them on a personal level that expresses to them that you genuinely care about their needs and want to help. The more positive interaction they have with you, the more likely you are to earn their trust- and their business.
Marketing channels and tools
Email marketing. This is still one of the most effective ways to reach both clients and potential clients. As long as your list contains true organic addresses (meaning they opted-in to receive emails from you) there’s no better way to track who’s engaged with your business. Open rates, click-throughs, and responses are all important in finding out what’s effective and what isn’t. You also want to make sure that you aren’t just using the email to sell, sell, sell. Provide value with additional content that they will find value in and that will drive them to your website, or better, to your door.
Social Media. Business pages, ads, and groups are just some of the ways you can use social media to ramp up your business. The farther your reach and the more you engage in conversation with your followers, the more success you will have within these channels. You may want to consider hiring a social media guru to handle this for you as these platforms are ever-changing and require constant attention that you may not have time for. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all platforms you will want to use for full circle coverage.
Blog. Just like this article that you are reading now, blogs are a great way to drive people to your site and provide value-filled information. Some understanding of SEO will raise your blog to the next level as you can use keywords and terms that bring traffic to your site.
Pay-Per-Click. This form of advertising is not for everyone but for the right business it can be the ultimate way to let tradesmen know you exist. It helps bring you to the front pages of search engines which is great when your target is the trades. They want quick, easy, and to the point. Pay-Per-Click does just that.
Referrals. As mentioned earlier, rewarding referrals is one of the best methods of attracting new customers. Reward your existing customers for talking you up. Offer incentives, and great customer service.
Marketing to tradesmen is not rocket science. In a nutshell, once they find you exist, provide them with a top-quality product or service, be responsive to their needs, and reward all employees who listen, care, and speak clearly and respectfully. After all, isn’t that how you want to be treated as a customer?