Industry sector: Consumer services

Burglar alarm fitter: Advertising and marketing

It is important to advertise your business effectively to let your potential customers know who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. Most domestic customers don't require security installation services regularly and so are unlikely to have the name of a suitable business to hand.

Methods of advertising

An entry on and/or other similar directories can be an effective way of advertising your business. However, many of your competitors will have done the same and you'll find that some firms have spent a lot of money on large, eye-catching display advertisements. You will have to decide whether to compete head on with these firms, or to look for a different way of attracting customers. You could, for example:

  • focus on your own unique selling point (USP) in your advertising material. This might be, for example, 24 hour call-outs for no extra charge
  • advertise in other ways. For example, you could distribute a paper flyer, plastic card or sticker with your business name and contact details on it as part of a mail-shot that you do
  • look into becoming a National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) approved contractor
  • develop an effective social media campaign to promote your business to new and existing customers using websites like Facebook and Twitter

Try to include in your advertisements all the main points about your business and the range of alarms and other security equipment and services you offer. Be sure to emphasise any things that distinguish your business from its competitors.

Think about other ways of promoting your business. You could, for example, sponsor a local sports club or event. You could ask DIY stores and builders merchants if they would let you leave some leaflets on their counter for customers to see. Leaving your details with local insurance brokers might also lead to extra work - cheaper premiums are often available to householders or businesses if they have security devices fitted to their property.

Potential customers are likely to look online to find a security alarm service and to check its credentials, reputation and reliability, so a good website is essential. Your local paper may run a regular 'contact the experts' advertising feature that you could contribute to. Remember that your vehicle can be a very effective means of advertising if you have it sign-written.

Word of mouth

Word-of-mouth recommendations are very valuable to your business. Everyone has heard horror stories about 'cowboy' tradesmen who carry out very poor quality jobs and swindle their customers - and they want to be sure that you're not going to do the same to them. You will have to earn your reputation through good, reliable workmanship - but a friendly and polite manner can pay big dividends from the outset. Make sure that any employees that you have are good ambassadors for your business too.