We don’t have to tell you why marketing is important. It’s understandable on a basic level — you want your business to be more successful, therefore you have to advertise it, sell it, tell people about it. You know from the second you start a business you’re going to need good marketing.
But marketing isn’t free.
At least not for the most part.
You’re expected to spend with business cards, uniforms, website (design and hosting), perhaps even outdoors, banners, and the like.
Most of these are, indeed, necessary to create a solid marketing effort that covers every base. But at the start, you might not have resources to burn, so let’s talk about ways you can improve your marketing game without spending much, or in some cases, at all.
Keep your social media pages updated
We’ve talked about this recently, but the condensed version is as follows:
Keep your business pages up-to-date.
This statement might make it seem we’re saying you should post incessantly every day of the week, but that’s not the case at all. It just means you should have your contact information on those pages (including business hours) updated, and respond to messages on those mediums as often as they come.
And of course, create new posts regularly.
People will always Google you or look you up on Facebook, so make sure that:
- They can find you there in the first place. In other words, if you still don’t have a Facebook page and/or Google business page, create both right now.
- You reply when they contact you. Facebook even has a feature that shows how long you’ll likely take to respond if a customer gets in touch. This is measured by how fast you reply to new messages, so try to reply as soon as you get them. If you’re fast enough, Facebook will show onlooking viewers you reply “almost immediately”, which greatly encourages them to talk to you.
- Your page has recent posts to show you’re active. As said before, you don’t have to post every day, especially not vapid content. But do make the effort to post every week — project pictures, updates, something like that.
Doing these will cost you nothing, and will automatically make it easier for potential customers to find and engage you. Here’s a bit more on that, if you’re interested!
Boost your page on Facebook
While on Facebook, you might consider boosting your business page from time to time as a way to advertise it to potential local customers.
You can easily fit this in your budget since the price range goes as low as $5 for a short and quick boost. Play around with it to get more likes (and therefore followers) to your page. This is especially useful since Facebook lets you choose the demographic you want to reach (gender, age, area, and so on).
Set up a simple website
It doesn’t have to be very flashy or complicated, you can go a long way with a simple website that gets the job done.
In this case, we’re looking for a website that proudly presents your business, project pictures, customer testimonials, and contact information. Straightforward stuff, really.
Your website, as simple as it is, will serve as a statement. A potential customer lands on your home page and to them, that shows effort, commitment, engagement. You took your time to set that up, therefore, you care.
From there they can get to know you, see your business is legit from the testimonials, and be direct to your Facebook page where they can contact you directly and stay in touch from that point onward.
It’s a powerful tool.
But now for the big question:
How much does it cost to set up a website?
Hiring a developer and a designer (or a marketing agency) will not be cheap.
Granted, you’re due top quality work if you do, and do not mistake us for a second, because if you CAN afford such a service you won’t be disappointed.
But in most cases it will cost you hundreds of dollars — anywhere from $400 to $1000 depending on the complexity.
What’s the alternative for a small budget?
If you’re tech savvy you can probably set up a decent-looking website in just a few minutes with these tools, because the system already does all the heavy lifting for you.
But it is worth noting you don’t want something that looks generic. Even if you’re opting for a service like this, it’s worth hiring a designer to make your website look nice with the tools provided and not like someone just replaced the images on a template, which at times, can be very noticeable.
A nice place to look for design pros is Fivver. Here you’ll find freelancers offering work for great prices. A quick look at the website section shows prices starting at $50 for a simple website, sometimes even cheaper when using Wix or Squarespace (which makes it easier for them as well).
As a ballpark, you can probably set up a simple website with $100 or less this way.
And as for good pictures of your business and the projects you partake on, we’ve already discussed how to take better project pictures using your phone.
Ask for testimonials
Testimonials are one of the most reliable ways to display trust in your business.
And they’re free.
Encourage customers to leave testimonials on your Facebook page — people trust testimonials as a way to determine if your business is good or not.
And for your website, pick some of your most glowing reviews from Facebook and proudly display them there. If you still don’t have any, simply ask some of your most recent customers for something nice.
Work on your presentation
Yes, maybe you can’t afford some of the really cool things right now — uniforms, fancy business cards, customized notebooks and phone cases, and so on…
But that doesn’t mean you should lack in presentation.
First of all, some of these things are novelties. They’re nice and definitely help with causing a good impression, but having a custom version of everything does not define “good presentation.”
Here’s what you should really do:
Have a simple, but well designed business card. It doesn’t have to be engraved in metal, it doesn’t need to fold into a little shape, it doesn’t need to be an envelope thingy. Just a simple, straightforward business card with your logo, name, and contact information goes a long way. The less gimmicks, the better.
Have good manners and etiquette. It’s quite common for contractors to get really comfortable when entering other people’s homes, and to a certain extent, customers understand that. But always do your best to show respect for their home — yes, it’s your work environment, but it’s also where they live.
Be well dressed and presentable. Having a custom uniform is really cool, but simply being presentable as a human being is already enough to warrant trust and earn you points in presentation. As a contractor, some days will take the sweat out of you, so leave a few extra shirts in your car in case you need a quick change throughout the day and you should be good to go. Clients you’re meeting at the end of the day shouldn’t feel like they’ve opened the door to someone who looks (and smells) like they’ve seen a thousand battles.
How do these work as good marketing, exactly?
Simple: referrals. Clients who are impressed by your presentation will ALWAYS bring it up when referring you to someone else.
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This post is not sponsored and has no endorsements in any way. All suggestions are based on providing you options based on solid research and contractor advice.