Online marketing checklist for tradesmen
Online marketing for tradesmen does not require a professional digital marketing agency.
I will show you the basic marketing tips you should complete before contacting anyone about stepping up your game.
The aim is to showcase your work online and to win more jobs through your website. This checklist will help you to do what your competition is not - helping you to rise up the rankings and win more work!
I'm about to tell you WHY I'm writing this list, and why I'm qualified to write this list. Skip straight to the list itself if you don't care!
Note: I ran my own trade-website startup, then worked for mybuilder.com for 2 years, since then I have worked as a project manager and digital marketer for 3bweb.com. I've interviewed thousands of tradesmen and have been on site with a bunch of you, learning how you manage your business and trying to understand how I can help. Your business adds serious value to the economy, and should be something the government puts more effort into (in my opinion).
I know that your phone is your livelihood.
I know that you get calls from companies like ratedpeople.com who are trying to get you to pay for leads.
I know you get calls from trade / business directories (yell.com, checkatrade.com etc.) on a daily basis.
I know that if you stop paying £500+ per year for checkatrade they may remove all of your reviews (and cripple your business).
I have heard horror stories about how much they charge and how little you get from it.
I have heard horror stories about how much a website developer will charge you for their website.
I know there are customers who will bribe you into doing more work by threatening to leave a bad review.
I know that the best tradesmen in busy areas will be booked up way in advance through word of mouth alone.
I know that it is these tradesmen, with an eye for quality and a penchant for service, who can grow the most from online marketing (if they want to!).
I know you all have photos on your phone of the excellent work that you do.
I know that your partner might be at home managing the admin side of your business (responding to leads, chasing reviews, filtering your emails and messages etc).
I know most of you will be on Facebook, and Google My Business at the very least.
I know that you must always feel that you can do more to make your business look established online.
I know that if your business were to follow the below tasks (I will make a printable PDF in time), then you should see huge gains in the long run.
With that over, let's get down the the checklist, ordered so that you get the biggest bang for your buck working through them top to bottom.
The marketing checklist
- Login to Google maps, go to your home address, right click and click 'whats here' or 'add a place'. Type in your company name, website link, and opening hours. You'll be sent a postcard to verify you are active at that address. This can take up to a week but it will get you showing up on Google maps when people search for your trade.
(When you have verified your business address on Google maps, you can add your company logo, photos of yourself, your van and your team. Do this. The more photos you have the higher you appear in search results on average. Get some loyal customers / friends to leave a review for you! Here's an example of a good one)
Understanding your competitors
Competition is tough as a tradesman. Unless you're in a seriously niche trade then you have to work hard to stick to your guns and avoid a race to the bottom on price. The mantra's "if you buy cheap, you buy twice" and "never accept the lowest quote" seem to fall on deaf ears with most customers...
- Create a document or spreadsheet (or note on your iPhone) and title it 'Competitor data'.
- Write a quick list of 5 competitors in your industry who you know are doing well online.
- Note down the link to their website, and the tagline they use.
- Note down the link to their blog (if they have one)
- Note down their social media links (if they have them)
- Subscribe to their blog and like their social media pages (so you can keep an eye on them!)
If you do not have a website (skip this section if you do!)
- Decide if you want your own website domain (£5-10 per year). I.e. westlondonplumbing.com or manchesterbricklayers.com (service + locations do well in URLs because people search for those rather than searching for your company name directly. You can always get yourcompanyname.com and redirect it to the better performing link.
- To try and create a strong brand you can check if your name is taken across all social networks and domains using a free tool like KnowEm.
- Decide if you are willing to pay £120 per year for a website, if you are, set up a Squarespace site on the personal account (I can get you £60 off the first year).
A Squarespace site can link together all your social media pages. So your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google my business and LinkedIn account. This is great because if all those social pages link to your website - Google will know that your website should show up first in search results.
Follow the Squarespace support guides to embed your social accounts, so when you post something on Instagram (for example), your website is updated automatically!
- If not, go for the free option which is sites.google.com and it'll link up with your Google Maps Business Profile (a.k.a. Google My Business)
If you have already have a website
- Search for 'google search console's and verify yourself as the owner of your website. You need to add the https://www https:// http://www and http:// versions of your website (sounds confusing but it's really easy when you know how) this means you can always tell Google to take people to the same version of your website, so all your visitor data is in one place.
- Look at your search console account regularly (save it to your phone homescreen!) And you can see what search terms Google is surfacing your website for. This shows you what you can write in order to improve your search rankings!
- Link your Google analytics and your Google search console account together so you can see all the information in one place.