It's important to let your potential customers know who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. Effective advertising and marketing can help to do this.
A good business website is essential so that customers can find your services online. Think about getting listed in online directories - perhaps on Yell.com, on 'contact an expert' directories run by many trade associations, or an independent network like INDi. If you're an authorised Sky Local Expert then your contact details can be listed in the searchable database on the Sky Local Expert website.
Social media can be an effective way of marketing your business and making contact with customers. Think too about using forums and blogs (although be aware that some forum websites ban blatant advertising in forum posts). You could consider trying to obtain work through job-referral websites like Mybuilder.com and Rated People.
Of course you can pay to advertise online, but this can get expensive so you'll need to be sure that this type of expenditure will pay for itself in additional sales.
Other ways of advertising
Think about other ways of promoting your business. Perhaps you could:
- distribute a paper flyer - or perhaps a sticker with your business name and contact details on it - as part of a mailshot or door-to-door
- advertise in your local paper. Some run a regular 'contact the experts' advertising feature.
- advertise in local print directories
- ask an independent television retailer if you can advertise your services through their outlet. They might be prepared to display your advertising material, flyers or business cards, and perhaps recommend your business to their customers
- sponsor a local sports club or event
Try to tell people as many of the good things about your business as possible in all your advertisements, particularly things that distinguish your business from its competitors. These might include trade association membership or formal qualifications.
Remember that your vehicle can be a very effective means of advertising if you have it sign-written and keep it clean and presentable.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth recommendations are very valuable to your business. Horror stories about 'cowboy' installers who bodge jobs and swindle their customers aren't uncommon. Even some professional installers get a bad reputation for lateness, unreliability, poor service and shoddy workmanship, and people will want to be sure you're not one of them. You'll have to earn your reputation through hard work and good service, but even small things like politeness and considerateness can pay big dividends. Make sure that any staff you employ are good ambassadors for your business too. You want to be sure that if a neighbour of a property where you were working approached one of your staff with a sales enquiry they would be dealt with politely and helpfully.