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|Original Message Added : 18 Oct 2008|
Any advice you could offer on how to promote the business would be invaluable as I am just starting off. Luckily, I have still got some of the clients from my old company who are giving me work.
Thanks in advance for any advice and the website is brilliant too.
|Reply : 20 Oct 2008|
1. Before you do any promotion you should do a marketing audit. Get one there for FREE. Why? Because you want to ensure that any marketing you do, will make progress for your business and not just compound any existing problems.
2. Having done the audit, you need to identify WHO your prospects are you want to reach. You need to write down all the criteria you want in a good customer. (This is your prospect profile)
3. You need to write down how you can find or reach the people who meet your criteria that you want to work with. (A prospect contact profile)
4. Calculate a marketing budget and identify the best ways to generate an ROI on your marketing spend.
5. Identify your top 5 priorities, and implement a plan of action.
6. Ensure you practice BBRW with each new client/customer.
Hope that helps.
|Reply : 20 Oct 2008|
It rather depends on whether you see this as an opportunity to (b) create a valuable business that you may wish to sell one day, or whether you are merely (a) looking to supplement your lost earnings.
If it is the latter, (a) then networking is a valuable starting point. I imagine most of your business will come from personal recommendations and the best way to build these up will be getting out there and getting your name known. However, it is important that you ensure you are always consistent with your pitch and that there is no confusion about why someone should ask you to help with the plumbing and maintenance rather than your competitor.
If it is the former, (b) then you need to focus your effort on your business (not 'in your business'). Do you have a business plan? If you do, then no doubt it will start to address many of the things Fraser lists above. Who is your ideal customer? Are they residential or corporate? Is the name A.D. Maintenance helping to communicate the added value you bring? Do you have a vision for the business? If you do, how big is your vision? Is it one that gets you really excited and, if packaged correctly, would it excite potential investors (giving of their time or their money) to help you achieve it? What, in your mind, do you need to do to achieve your vision and grow a valuable business?
Therefore, in answer to your question (and if it is your wish to develop a valuable business first and foremost) we believe you should create a compelling brand. One that will position your business as 'one of one' not 'one of many'... Everything else will then flow from this point.
It is our view that every business should develop a brand strategy at the same time as it creates a business strategy. Together they are the yin and yang of well-planned businesses. A brand strategy will help you to clarify your strategic vision as a brand promise and will set you on the way to being the proud owner of a unique business - essential to future proof your earnings for the long-haul.
If you think that only large businesses need to create a brand strategy, then we ask you to think again. If you want to know more about how a smaller business can develop a brand strategy then please do get in touch.
|Reply : 20 Oct 2008|
It's good that you already have some customers from your last job. This will provide you with some financial stability and the 'space' to find new customers.
Given your business type, a superb (and low cost) route to getting customers is through word of mouth (the marketeers call this 'referral marketing'). Some great tips on how to win customers through this approach can be found at http://www.mcassociates.info/articles_61.htm
Before you are tempted to spend money on other forms of promotions, including advertising and direct mail, you may also want to take a look at 'Why most advertising doesn't work' http://www.mcassociates.info/articles_47.htm and 'Effective direct mail' http://www.mcassociates.info/articles_50.htm
|Reply : 20 Oct 2008|
I agree with Mark in that you have to be clear about your overall game plan - are you seeking to keep the money rolling in with regular work or are you aiming to build up a larger business with employees and a brand etc. I would call this getting clear on the vision of your business.
Having done that, you might need to spend a moment or two considering your business model. Do you want to do lots of smaller jobs for householders or a few larger jobs with construction companies?
I agree with Mark that branding can be a useful tool, but I'm not convinced that it's something you would do at the beginning when you're just finding your feet. Until you have more clarity on the business direction, who your ideal clients are, what they want, what they're prepared to pay and what you offer that is better or unique, then it will be incredibly hard to come up with any kind of believable brand backed by an ethos, a track record, a message that conveys your unique value etc. Also, it can be an expensive exercise that you don't want to repeat if your branding is not representing you correctly, so I would hold off on that one just for now.
Having said that, there was a company in London that was featured on a TV programme who paid a lot of attention to branding and differentiating themselves from the "me too" mob of plumbers. However, he was targeting a very specific demographic in places like Kensington and Chelsea, and was hiring male and female ex-middle managers fed up with corporate life and who wanted to become plumbers. One assumes that his clientelle felt more comfortable with a plumber who was a bit more like them. This was a very strong differentiator, and he took that and the concept of professionalism and applied it to all areas of the business - not just the visual identity. The company stood for something and that was then represented through his branding i.e. livery, uniforms, name, strap line etc.
More to the point now would be to do as Fraser suggests and figure out who your ideal client is and what it is that they want. How are you uniquely placed to deliver them the results they want?
Once you know who your ideal client is, then you can work out where and how to connect with them and contact them. For example, if you want to work with construction companies on new builds, then how can you get in touch with them? Who is already in your network, who could introduce to the other "movers and shakers"? If your ideal clients are householders in upmarket areas, then how can you contact them? Ask yourself where your ideal clients go to look for plumbers? Friends? Yellow pages? Thomson's? The internet?
It's also worth thinking about what those different types of client value most. For example, some householders might prefer to pay a little bit more if you come recommended by a friend AND if you have a reputation for getting the job right the first time, being courteous and cleaning up properly before you go. Other people might prefer to pay less but be less concerned about when you turn up or whether you get the hoover out before you go!
I hope that helps a little bit with the thinking and planning,
PS Visit my website for a report entitled "3 Secrects for Attracting All The Clients You Can Handle" by clicking here.
|Reply : 21 Oct 2008|
|Reply : 2 Nov 2008|
You need to determine the profile of clients you are targeting and create a marketing plan to effectively communicate with them. Private or commercial? Public or private sector? Bristol or North Somerset? Don't say everyone, because you will not have a budget to match and your message will become diluted.
I know Portishead very well and also St Mary Redcliffe. If I can assist please email me.
So, define your client, be very specific. Next, get in the clients head. Where do they go, what do they like, who do they network with, where do they obtain information to make informed decisions from.
You will be amazed what can be achieved with a minimal budget and hard work.
|Reply : 3 Nov 2008|