26th May, 2020

Marketing under lockdown for trades and construction

The business climate may be erratic, but spending some time on marketing will help you secure current and future revenue.

Business disruptions such as health-based lockdowns or big economic downturns are hard to deal with. 

However, the upside is that they can provide an excellent opportunity to concentrate on other activities. 

For example, the trades sector can use downtime to better market to their target customers.

Marketing is one of the best ways to look to the future and develop ideas to keep business coming in, no matter what else may be going on in the world.

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 of your unique value and the services you offer.

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 for the current situation.

Should you be communicating an additional level of care given to COVID-safe procedures? What does your audience need to know and what’s their preferred way of hearing from you?

It’s important to be communicating with people, but you don’t want to do it in a tone-deaf way that puts people off, so it pays to a) know your customers and b) have performed some basic market research.

READ: A beginner’s guide to market research

Most peoples’ first instinct is to contact favourite clients to ask for their thoughts, and that’s great. But a new idea or approach can come from anywhere, so it’s worth taking in a broad variety of viewpoints.

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, current messaging.

Be sure to share any 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 the priorities for your business once restrictions ease, and life starts to return to a more “business as usual” framework.

It’s vital to create and invest in a long-term marketing strategy.  Basically, you want to develop a system of processes to help you maintain your marketing efforts even when you have a full roster of clients to do work for.

For example, you might take a bit of downtime to improve your business website and start a Facebook or LinkedIn page for it, but then you’ll also need to develop a habit of maintaining those online presences into the future.

READ: Marketing for tradies — Getting the most from LinkedIn

Can you afford a business pivot?

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, many people are finding new service niches to address as a result of the pandemic, while others are deciding to give their business offering a overhaul simply to try out something new.

Either way, if you have or plan to diversify your service offerings and you’re ready to get it in front of potential customers, then marketing is your next step.

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 will start bringing in eyeballs.

In the short- and mid-terms, invest more time, energy, and where needed, money in the activity you know is delivering new and return custom.

3. Get creative

As we’ve all seen with the array of videos and memes, people around the world have, at various times, had to get creative under various stages of restriction.

Why not do this with your business, too?

Everyone craves inspiration, entertainment, information, and connectivity during hard times, and these are powerful feelings to tap into. So long as you’re able to do so in a way that is authentic and relevant to your business, you could find great success in social platforms.

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 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, suppliers or mentors (without naming names, unless you’ve asked their permission).

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 and little say in the business restrictions that may be put on us at any time as a result, but, as business owners, we can be proactive and take control over the ways we present our services to market.

Your clients need trades jobs done now, and will continue to into the future, so making the right moves today means you’ll be in demand tomorrow.