The new-year festivities are over, the kids are back at school, and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. For many small business owners, this time of year can bring about uncertainty as they begin to consider how they’re going to continue to grow their business into 2020 and beyond.
Particularly when a business is still in its early growth stage, work doesn’t simply fall into your lap. Perhaps, your biggest challenge is ensuring potential customers can find you and encouraging them to choose you over someone else.
To help ease the burden of creating a steady stream of new or repeat business, we’ve put together a few tips you can use in your business.
Have an online presence
This one probably goes without saying. The internet has been a part of our lives for a couple of decades now, and we know that 97% of consumers go straight to the internet to locate the services they need. And on the internet, Google reigns as the search engine of choice.
We understand that not every business has the resources to build and maintain their own website. If this is your business at the moment, don’t worry. Potential customers can still find your contact details online without the need for a stunning website – this is where a service like Google My Business can help. This can be an easy way for people to find and contact your company without you having to invest in building and maintaining a website. Oh, and did we mention that it’s completely free to create a listing? People have the option to call, get directions, read a description of your business and, if you have one, click through to your website.
If you plan to substantially expand your business and your customer base, you really need to consider building a website. It’s a great way to build trust and credibility with both clients and prospects. There are plenty of great DIY website builders out there now, which are relatively cheap and which allow you to manage the site yourself without the need for much technical skill. Consider Godaddy, Wix or Site123, just to name a few.
If you don’t have the time to create your own site, or if you want a mobile friendly, professional looking website with functions such as online bookings or payments, it might be worth hiring a freelance web designer. This will usually be a one-off outlay for the construction of the site, but you could also discuss a rate for doing updates as necessary.
This tip ties into the previous one, but as Facebook can serve multiple purposes, we feel it deserves its own section.
If one thing is for certain, it’s that Facebook isn’t going anywhere. The biggest social media platform in the world is constantly adding new strings to its bow for businesses and can even help your Google search ranking.
People will generally search for your business on Facebook when they want to learn more about you and can’t find enough online. Facebook is similar to Google My Business, in that it allows potential customers to find you. However, Facebook gives you the option to include a lot more information about your business and can even help you promote it.
- Put as much information on your business Facebook page as you can. Facebook prompts you to fill out your page as best you can; this is so potential customers get as much information as they require to make a decision.
- Take advantage of Facebook’s review function. If a client is happy with your work, ask them to write you a review on Facebook. These are absolute gold when potential customers are in the decision-making process. People are more likely to choose a business which has multiple glowing 5-star reviews over one which has none.
- Consider using targeted Facebook ads. This is possibly Facebook’s most powerful feature. It does cost money, but you can make a little go a long way. $50 would be plenty. Here’s an example:
Say you’re an HVAC business. A great way to get more business is to create an ad targeted to home owners and businesses in your location just before summer or winter encouraging them to have their cooling or heating units serviced to keep them in good condition. Depending on the size of the area, you’re bound to spark some people into giving you a call. Here is a great article that explains how to go about it.
Follow-up your quotes
You likely spend a fair bit of your time quoting jobs. Travelling to different locations, evaluating the job and putting together a professional looking quote is lot of effort. Following up with clients is imperative to make that effort worth it.
Of course, you will sometimes lose jobs to other tradies or the client may change their mind about having the work done at all. However, if they still haven’t had the job done, for whatever reason, your phone call might be the nudge they need to make a decision. The client may simply have got busy and forgotten to get back to you.
Do a letterbox drop
This is a traditional advertising method which you don’t see as much nowadays but which is still effective. So here’s what you do – Get 500 fliers printed off with your business details on them. Consider putting together an introductory offer, such as 10% off the first service. You can also get some magnetic tape to stick on the back of them so they can be placed in a prominent location. Then, once you have completed a job, take a walk down the street and drop them in letterboxes.
This is a great way to reach a lot of potential customers. Doing this for a couple of days a week could mean reaching 500 or so potential customers in a month. Even if you get one job from this, it could make it worthwhile.
As the owner of a small business, you wear multiple hats, one of which is marketing. This article aims to show that marketing your business doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive to be effective. If you invest in the right channels, you’ll build awareness and generate more jobs, and in turn, grow your business into 2020 and beyond.
Author – Sid Ferguson