Get a website
With 70% of UK household having internet access in 2009 and that figure being set to rise even further, no builder can afford not to have some sort of online presence.
Even a simple 1 page website with your company name, list of services and contact details can get you more business and won’t cost a lot to set up.
Use a professional email address
If you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up a website it pays to get a professional email address too. Think about how you’d feel as a customer asking for a quote for building work worth thousands of pounds and getting an email back from an address like firstname.lastname@example.org
Think about what sets you apart
In marketing speak this is known as your USP or unique selling proposition. If there are other builders in your area doing the same as you, have a think about how you could make your business stand out.
For example you could highlight your great customer service or that you turn quote requests around quicker than any other local builder.
Use your previous customers to market your business
Word of mouth advertising is a great way to help you market your building business. Rather than ignore your previous customers and chase new business yourself why not give them an incentive to refer you to their friends and family? You could offer a free gift or % discount for every referral you receive.
Offer something for free online
Offering something for free can be a great hook to get people to contact your business. For example if you have a website you could offer a free report to download entitled “10 questions to ask a builder” or something else that potential customers may find useful and will help you come across an expert in your field.
Improve your customer service online and offline
Some builders and other trades people have a bit of a reputation for not being great at customer service.
Responding to quote requests and complaints whether they’re via the telephone or your website in a quick and efficient way will improve your reputation and help you stand out from other builders who aren’t so professional.
Choose your method of advertising wisely
When it comes to spending on advertising you need to choose wisely in order to avoid wasting your money. Would you rather pay for a small advert in a local paper that nobody reads or advertise your business online using pay per click advertising where you are in full control over your costs?
Ask for testimonials and put them on your website
Get into the habit of asking all of your customers for testimonials. If you’ve done a good job most of them will be more than happy to do this. Once you’ve gathered these, you need to get them on your website so that potential customers can get a better idea of the quality of your work. It’s no good just saying you’re a quality builder; you need to show some proof.
Create a video
A great way to stand out from the crowd and let your customers get to know you is to create an online video on a useful topic such as “How to spot a cowboy builder”. Video sites such as YouTube are incredibly popular and will drive more visitors to your website.
Get your name out there online
Adding your business details to as many free online directories as possible is a good way to raise your company’s profile. You should also get a free Google Local Business map listing for your building business so that people searching for your services locally will be able to find you more easily online.
Jamie Fairbairn set up his blog Search Blogger in Autumn 2010 to provide small business owners in the UK with a range of free online marketing tips.