26th May, 2020

Tips for tradies under lockdown: Marketing

Lockdown may be easing, but the current climate is a far cry from last year’s. Here’s how the trades sector can better market to consumers during this time.

In the previous two articles in this series, we looked at COVID-19 compliance issues and stimulus packages for those in the trades and construction sector.

Today, it’s time to look toward the future.

As you deal with the reality of this “new normal”, you need to find avenues to keep business coming in.

Marketing is one of the key ways to do this.

Whether you’ve always invested time into marketing your services or are new to this arena, now is the time to get proactive and remind current and potential clients you’re open for business.

Some of your competitors may have pulled back on advertising and other initiatives at the moment.

This provides you with the opportunity to obtain more of a foothold and build momentum for the future.

1. Take stock of your situation

Start by examining where you are right now in terms of marketing.

If you have campaigns, whether print, social media, or other digital ones that were scheduled for release soon, see if the messaging in them is appropriate.

It’s important to be communicating with people, but you don’t want to do it in a tone-deaf way that just puts people off.

READ: A beginner’s guide to market research

Also, chat with your current clients to find out what their headspace is. Research the market in general, too.

The more you know about what’s going on in people’s worlds and heads, the better you can target your marketing.

Another tip is to ensure that all your marketing assets, including your website, email signature, social media pages, and anything else you use to communicate with customers, include helpful messaging around COVID-19.

Share with readers what steps you’re taking to help customers and the wider community (and your team, where relevant) stay safe and healthy.

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2. Consider different timeframes

As you plan out your marketing ideas, consider what you can do right now to generate awareness and business.

Also, think about initiatives to work on during recovery, as COVID-19 restrictions ease, and life starts to return to a more “business as usual” period.

It’s vital, too, to create and invest in a long-term marketing strategy.

For example, you could take time in the coming weeks to educate people about renovation work or products they can consider once they’re feeling more confident about things.

READ: Marketing for tradies — Getting the most from LinkedIn

Consumers are generally spending more time at home now than usual, which gives them the ability to research any new home or remodelling projects they want to start later on.

Help people to do this, and you’re more likely to get their business when the time comes for them to hire a contractor.

Alternatively, has the impact of this health issue made you look for new services to offer to your target market?

You may have noticed that some of the needs of your current audience aren’t being fulfilled and that you can enter this gap.

Or perhaps you want to start servicing a different market altogether, such as a specific niche like eco-conscious consumers or retirees.

Either way, if you have or plan to diversify your service offerings, start marketing this now.

The sooner you create content relevant to these new areas, the quicker your name will be associated with particular job types, and the earlier your website can start to rank for related terms.

In the short- and mid-terms, invest more time, energy, and where needed, money in what’s currently giving you leads.

This might include updating your website, checking in with past clients to see if they have jobs, or asking recent customers for referrals.

You might also send regular emails to stay in touch with your list or pay for Facebook or Google Ads.

No matter the platform, refine your offering and messaging to suit the current reality.

Show people you’re willing and able to work and can do so safely and to deadlines.

3. Get creative

As we’ve all seen with the array of videos and memes posted online in recent weeks, many people around the globe are using their lockdown time to get creative.

Why not do this with your business, too?

Everyone is craving inspiration, entertainment, information, and connectivity, and don’t particularly care where this comes from.

As such, if you can create content relevant to your services that showcases your personality and helps to build a connection and generally have an impact, you’ll be a winner.

RESOURCE: Your guide to cash flow management

Brainstorm ways to deliver positive messages and highlight your values.

In particular, share stories or other factors that personalise you and your company in an optimistic way.

For example, you could create a quality video reel that demonstrates before and after pictures of jobs you’ve completed, and add voiceover or graphics that relate to themes of home, family, and togetherness.

You might like to get in on the live streaming trend and run an “Ask Me Anything” session for people interested in getting work done to their property.

This is a helpful way to increase engagement and awareness.

Alternatively, perhaps you know some interior design experts whom you could interview over Zoom about the latest trends in home or office design?

Another idea is to talk about your team members.

Share stories about them and their role in your business, or funny shots of them going about their work.

Use humour wherever you can, and also make sure that whatever you post is authentic and not so sentimental that people feel manipulated.

Now is the perfect time to be innovative and try new things.

READ: Blogging builders — Content marketing for tradespeople

We have no control over the pandemic, or many of the impacts this has on our businesses and lives.

We can, however, be proactive and take control over the ways we market our services.

Clients need trades resources now, and into the future, so take steps to ensure you’re the one getting the work when a call goes out.