Offline advertising is tough. Running a local business and having to pay monthly costs for a retail location, employees, and inventory is even tougher. The good news is that the internet, while it might seem like the competition, it does make the process of running a more efficient and profitable trade business a whole lot easier.
This is exactly what we are going to be covering in today’s article. Not just how and why to rely on what the internet has to offer in reference to running an offline business, but also how one can squeak past the competition and even increase revenue and profits in the process.
Below we are going to cover some of the most effective ways one can increase exposure to their trade business (ie: plumbers, electricians, contractors), while also finding some new ways to improve productivity, finances, and bringing in new customers in the process.
Outrank the Competition with Power SEO-Rich Articles
Of the many different things the internet had taught us, one of the most important is that it gives the little guy a much-needed advantage when it comes or ranking in Google against the competition. While big names like Lowes, HomeDepot, and Amazon will likely rank for generic terms, it’s the long-tail and local search terms that smaller and individual contractors and trade businesses can rank for.
To best accomplish this, every business should have a blog on their main site. When releasing articles from your blog, they should be very detailed (with 2,000+ words of text), and also very niche specific to an individual topic or need. A good example of this would be if you were a repairman and wrote an article on “How to fix or clean home gutters”. Not only could you go into detail on the topic, you could also get location specific as well, then provide a “Request a free quote” from within that same article.
It’s not just about providing a service to potential customers, it’s also about showing them you know what you are doing as well. While all of this is happening, you may also find your blog generating a decent amount of new leads through its valuable content and latest long-tail search rankings.
Keep Better Track of Your Time and Invoicing
One of the biggest problems with running a trade business or making money off your expertise is that your earnings are limited based on hours in the day. With so much emphasis on this, it’s important to make sure you are earning every minute you get. It’s not just about getting paid on time, it’s also about making sure you have a good handle on your incoming and outgoing money.
Again, this is where the internet and technology really come into play to help smaller and local businesses. In the past, it would likely take an accountant or learn how to use advanced invoicing software to manage all of the incoming and outgoing payments. Even worse, dealing with all of those little paper receipts that are used whenever a job or estimate is done.
Thanks to the use of online invoicing and financial management software, this aspect of running a business is a whole lot easier. A perfect example of this would be invoicing software for hvac service. Just like any other trade business, an HVAC contractor will need to take calls, show up to a job, provide an estimate, process credit cards/payments, and then send out an invoice or bill. This all sounds normal and fun — but at the end of the year when you need to do your business taxes, this will seem like a full job in itself.
In the trade business, being an individual contractor, plumber, electrician or anything in between is tough enough. Throw in the additional paperwork and management of finances, and they could soon find themselves working two jobs. Online software and finance solutions are making this process a whole lot easier.
Make Yelp, Angie’s List and Local Directories Your Friend
Everyone has heard of sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local and all the other local directories that are supposed to help individuals find businesses and contractors online. These are great for everyday customers, but they can actually be a nightmare for businesses listed on such services. Why? Simply because they take the control and review process out of the hands of the business. If negative feedback is left, there isn’t much you can do about it.
Instead of hating against these sites, it would be best for a trade business to spend some time on making them more professional, securing them for your business, and also linking back to your main site whenever possible. The easier you can make it for customers to contact and find you, the less likely you are to find negative reviews.
Improve Your Reputation, Exposure, and Service with a Website
With so much attention on making a great first impression and managing your reputation online, it’s important to not only monitor local listing sites like the ones above, but to also have sites of your own.
It would also be ideal to have your main site appear at the top of the search results for your brand versus other sites like Yelp appearing first. A few methods to improve your trade business reputation online is to make sure it’s listed on all major social platforms, and that each link back to your main website. The more quality links back to your main site, the easier it will be for you to rank at the top of Google for your name and brand.
Something to always keep in mind, is that more people are using the internet to find information and take immediate action. If you don’t have an online website that makes it easy for a potential customer to find your address, phone number, or to request a free quote through your site, you are going to lose business. Make it as easy as possible for your audience to take action at all times.
Using Remarketing to Bring Lost and Repeat Customers Back
Remarketing is a well-known method for increasing engagement and bringing visitors back to a site or landing page, but not as many marketers and brands are using it. The way this process works is simple. If someone comes to your website (and leaves), or is on your email list or following your profile on social media, you can set up a remarketing campaign to show advertisements only to them. A perfect example of this would be if you had a local trade business and placed a ‘cookie’ on your site, then showed
The benefit here is that these ads are shown only to relevant audiences, and are a great way to bring back repeat visitors to complete a task. Two of the most popular platforms for setting up remarketing, are Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.
Trade Business Owners: Follow these tips and watch your business grow!
If you are currently running an offline business or in the ‘trade business’ space, my hat off to you. It’s not easy, and it’s likely only going to get tougher as more people look to the internet for answers, self-help tutorials, and buying products at cost. However, if you take the time to implement each of the recommended tips and methods outlined above, you will do just fine — if not better than ever before!
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