It’s estimated that nearly 97% over customers look for local businesses on the internet, whether that’s through a search engine like Google, social media channels like Facebook or other websites.
Even for companies who don’t sell products online, or have traditionally relied on the internet to generate new business, there’s a huge audience out there that can be reached by having a solid presence online.
Whether you just have something as simple as having your own social media channels or listings on trade directories, you can tap into new markets and reach customers outside of your usual word of mouth networks.
Even better, if you have your own company website, you can stand out from your competition and get enquiries directly without having to compete head to head on a listings site or pay for the chance to quote on enquiries.
Stand out from the competition
Having your own website helps you to build your business in many ways, such as:
- Potential customers can find you and contact you easily
- Showcase your latest installations and services
- Show off the latest reviews and feedback
- Build relationships with similar tradesmen
- Market your brand, not someone else’s
You might already be on a website like Checkatrade, MyBuilder or RatedPeople, and generate enquiries through there. Whilst this normally does the trick for most tradesmen, maybe you find there’s a commission or payment incurred when you accept a job?
By having your own website, you can build your local reputation on your own terms, by showing off a website that’s unique to your brand and generate enquiries directly either by email, phone or social media.
How much does a website cost?
Of course, having your own website means that there’ll be some costs involved, but thankfully there are many different solutions out there to help you get online quickly and in an affordable way.
Wix allows you to sign up for free and use their website builder to customise hundreds of templates to find a website that suits your business. You can add text, galleries, videos, logos and more to show off your expertise and latest work.
You can also add contact forms, integrate with your social media channels and start building traffic as all websites are optimised for Google and easy to access across multiple devices like computers, tablets and smartphones.
It’s free to start, and premium plans start from as little as £3 per month.
Similar to Wix, but a little more advanced, SquareSpace contains hundreds of premium website templates that allows you to create mobile friendly designs with ease. Again, you can customise your site to include specific pages for certain services, add images and galleries and even create a unique logo with the in-built logo maker.
Plans start from as little as £10 per month and you can even choose your own domain name so you can get a professional looking website without SquareSpace branding.
If you really want to push the boat out, WordPress is a highly popular platform that is used on nearly a third of all websites worldwide. Free templates are available, or you can hire a web developer to create one for you.
There are thousands of additional extras to add to WordPress websites, that include custom contact forms, ability to add jobs to invoicing systems and even a LiveChat function to speak to your visitors in real time.
As a bonus, if you’re looking to sell products online, WordPress has an extension called WooCommerce, which allows your customers to buy directly from your website.
Simple online marketing tips
Social media isn’t just for keeping in touch with friends and family now. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube can have a huge benefit for your business by showing off your best work, and your human side too, allowing you to connect with previous and future customers directly.
A good social media profile will include:
- A company logo
- Your address
- Link to your website
- Contact number
- Email address
You should also be using the posting features to show off new installations, updates to your services and the latest news. By regularly posting updates and encouraging customers to interact with your posts, you can reach more people quickly and generate more enquiries.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to reach audiences in their local area through Google Search and Google Maps.
Example scenario: You own a tiling company in Oldham. When a potential customer does a Google search for ‘tilers in Oldham’ you want your business to show up with a link to your website, your contact details, opening hours and show how far away you are from them
If you’re a small business that works with customers in a local area then using this tool helps you to get seen by more relevant people in the surrounding areas.
Your customers can also leave reviews of your business - both positive and negative. Whilst everyone wants 5-star reviews all the time, you can even turn negative reviews into a positive by responding to issues in a polite and proactive way.
By claiming your My Business page and entering even the basic information required, you can start to stand out above your competition, and best of all it’s totally free to use.
Before the internet, the Yellow Pages were where you’d go when you wanted to find a tradesman. In the modern era, there are now hundreds and thousands of websites that aim to offer the same service and connect customers to business.
Whilst you don’t need to list on all of these websites, there are benefits to including your business details on some of the main directories as you’ll be able to reach more customers and, as a bonus, you’ll get a link back to your own website.
The most popular directories that you can list on are:
- Google My Business
- Bing Local
- Yahoo! Local
- Central Index
- The Mirror
Some of these, such as Central Index and The Mirror, share the same listings with multiple other websites so while you only have to input your details once, you can be posted across dozens as a result.
By making sure that you have an up to date profile you can stand above your competitors and give your customers a better chance of finding your profile online and getting in touch to ask you to carry out their job.
To sum up, setting up a website doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive and time consuming process.
You can start small and with a little bit of legwork you can start to see the enquiries coming in.
We're here to help our trade customers get back to work following the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Our stores are now open and you can use our website for delivery and click and collect to make sure you have all the materials you need.
For more assistance, visit your local store or contact our Customer Service team.