You may well be in the fortunate position of getting most or even all your customers through ‘word of mouth’, which is great. When it is working that is. However, you have no control over whether or not it is working. But you can manage it. You can encourage it.
How do you therefore influence word of mouth, create more work or keep up the momentum of the numbers of customers contacting your business?
There are a number of ways you can do this. All have their benefits and of course all have a cost implication in time or money. What we know as ‘paper’ advertising, such as directories or business pages are getting thinner by the year.
Once upon a time there were people who would test their strength by ripping in half a Yellow Pages with their bare hands. Well that has just got easier. Have you seen the thickness of Yellow Pages or Thompson lately? Talk about a crash diet.
Alternatively you can take out a page in a local glossy magazine. The type we read in doctor’s surgeries, dentists or hair salons. Many of these magazines are often out of date. Not only that but your business may get lumped together in the advertising pages at the back of the magazine and get lost in the crowd. People don’t generally go looking for trade’s people through such magazines. The other thing to bear in mind with local magazines, is that each month you can be forking out the cost of building the equivalent of a five page website. And a website will always be visible and can always be kept up to date.
The ever increasingly and most popular way to find a business is on the internet.
A few years back we went to our computers and looked in such places as Yell.com or some other national directory. Then, we went to Google and typed the nature of the trade we wanted and the place we live. We could then see any trades person with a website, see who they were, what they had to offer, read testimonials and gauge how qualified or experienced they were. All their details being up to date and informative. The website could even draw us in with video displays or galleries of photos showing previous jobs done, the products they use or examples of the skills of their trade.
Now mobile phones and tablets are taking over as the number one technology to seek, explore and contact local business or trades. This has meant all business getting up to date with websites that are compatible with the variety of mobile viewing platforms. When people are searching for a business in their area on their phone or tablet they want the information swiftly at hand and be able to view it with ease. To then follow it up easily with an email or phone call.Increasingly people want to know more about the people behind the business.
People want to know the person, get feel for the ‘human side’ of the people behind the adverts or the websites. And that is where social media comes in. Social media sites such as Facebook and particularly Twitter, enable a business to engage on that ‘human’ level to an audience of thousands, if not millions. When you buy a product in a shop you are more likely to return if the shopkeeper has treated you well and given you that ‘human’ contact. Contact which has left you feeling important and that your custom is appreciated. Those shopkeepers and any sales people who have such insight to this will know and manipulate this psychology of human need. Then both shopkeeper and customer have a ‘win win’ situation. Well that’s exactly what business is now doing with social media.
Sometimes for many trades people the idea of advertising or marketing on the internet, whether by website or social media, is a million miles away from their everyday work. When you are working on a customer’s house, installing new windows, digging up a garden, repairing a boiler, up a ladder or fixing an electrical appliance, the world of the internet can seem an alien concept to advertise your business. After all, most trades are very practical, structurally substantial or have been created by blood, sweat and sometimes a few tears. Whereas the internet is more of a virtual world, a visual experience of text, images and videos which tempt and draw us in sometimes seductively and intellectually. The two worlds could not be more different.However, you plumbers, bricklayers, roofers, electricians, plasterers, landscapers, shoe repairers, window cleaners, gardeners, clock repairers or any of you trades people out there in the real world. You just go look in your jacket pocket, go look in the glove compartment of your van and pick up your mobile. Because that’s where that virtual world of advertising and marketing is. That is where all that social media chatter is taking place. Right in the palm of your hand.
Now, if you tell me you’re not advertising on the internet or you’re not going to consider doing so, then bare this in mind. Those people with tablets or mobile phones, of which you are inevitably one And let’s face it, who do you know hasn’t got one or the other. Well, they don’t go searching through paper directories or magazines at home anymore. They just reach into their pocket and get in touch with the world you deny. A world that reaches more people than any advertising medium has ever done in the history of everything.
BinghamBlogger for Bath Business Web Ltd