When it comes to marketing your trade business, there are three fundamental elements that you MUST consider:
- 1Market: who is your market?
- 2Message: what is your message to this market?
- 3Media: how do you plan on getting your message in front of this market?
Although simple, very few people actually nail these three steps in the marketing of their trade business. They struggle to understand who their market is, they struggle to actually identify, refine and develop a powerful and CLEAR message (congruent across their entire business), and they struggle to communicate effectively or consistently in their chosen media – both online AND offline.
But why do so many trade business owners struggle to market?
The large majority of trade business owners skip straight to step three.
Typically starting with social media accounts, paying a ‘Guru’ to do Facebook ads that don’t work, building a cookie cutter website with no real depth and poor core messaging, putting together a generic and shitty flyer that no prospect will be interested in etc. This is a big mistake.
To be successful in marketing, you MUST follow the order – otherwise your marketing just won’t be strong enough, and you will sit amongst the industry average… which is just that, average!
So, let’s break down each step…
The first step is to clearly identify and understand exactly who you’re talking to, i.e. your market. If you aren’t clear on exactly who you’re talking to, you will have very little hope in convincing people to choose your services, because you won’t be in tune with your target market and their needs, likes, dislikes, language, personality and so on.
The clearer you are on who you’re talking and selling to, the more powerful and direct you can be with what you’re actually saying/doing, and where you choose to market.
A 300-watt light bulb can light up a room; a 300-watt laser can cut through steel.
If you are too broad with your marketing, you are only making things harder for yourself! Get specific first, and everything else will flow from there. Powerful things can happen when you have clarity and focus.
This is all about:
(1) Firstly, breaking up your business into all of the different revenue lines (i.e. the different work types), and then clearly outlining the percentage of work that each type represents for the business. For example:
Now, we can understand that you’re not just marketing to everyone, but in fact, three different individual markets. And within these three individual markets are:
If you have surface level, ‘cookie cutter’ marketing (online and offline) that is generic and the same as everyone else around you, how could you possibly expect better results?
More often than not, you know everything about the markets you serve. You understand the client, you understand their pains and frustrations, and you understand what they’re looking for and how you can best serve them! What you need to do now is just communicate this IN DETAIL within your marketing material. Speak to each individual market and treat them as separate, because they are!
(2) Secondly, identify who your clients actually are (for each market). Here’s a hint… it isn’t everyone! Who is the specific decision maker that you want to pursue and need to be talking to in your marketing for each market? Is it a homeowner, a stay at home mum, a husband? Builder? Tenant? Property manager? Small business owner? Get incredibly clear on who’re talking to. The more detailed the understanding of this person(s), the better.
Now, that you know what markets you want to serve and who it is that you need to be talking to (or convincing), the next step in the process is to develop your message.
The standard for trade businesses, or even construction in general, when it comes to marketing, is nothing special. Typically, generic, high-level and broad, corporate, ‘look at me’ marketing that does very little in regard to convincing people to choose your services.
Messaging is like a gun… If it’s high-level with very little targeting, it’s going to be more like shooting airsoft from afar (i.e. low focus & low impact). Whereas, if it’s direct and highly targeted to a specific market and audience type, your messaging is going to be more like shooting a sniper rifle from close range (i.e. highly focused with maximum impact)!
To develop strong messaging in your business, you need to:
(1) Firstly, become intimately in tune with your audience(s). This is about tapping into their emotional psyche by clearly understanding their unique problems, pain points and bottle necks.
(2) Secondly, once you’re intimately in tune with your audience, you need to develop messaging that clearly explains how you’re uniquely suited to solve their problems, pain points and bottle necks. What do you do that is different from your competition? What is your unique process? Philosophy? Pricing-structure? Why should they choose you over anyone else to help them in their situation? How are you different? What proof have you got? What makes you the safer option? What risk reversals have you got in place?
Note: You need to do this work for EVERY market you serve!
Now that we’ve covered your market/s and message/s, it’s time to focus on the third and final step in the marketing process, media. Different audiences ‘hang out’ or can be ‘found’ and reached on different platforms. You need to understand where your audience (for each market) will be best reached – as some methods will be more effective than others in different markets.
For example: If you were wanting to get in front of management of Hutchinson builders or even win contract work with a property manager, it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so on Facebook as a cold outreach.
The media or the way you use media to work for a homeowner likely won’t work for a tier 2 contractor. They’re different markets operating in different spaces that require different ways and approaches to reach them, whether that be online OR offline.
If you fail to use the right media, marketing can feel like you’re swinging a bat blindly in the dark, just hoping to luck out and reach the right person or stumble upon a system or strategy that actually works… which is not what you want.
Get clear on exactly what is the best way for your business to reach your target audiences!
Nail these three m’s, and your marketing WILL trump your competitors – that I can guarantee!
But make no mistake… this may be a simple concept to understand, but it takes time, hard work, focus and articulation to intimately understand your market, develop your messaging and communicate it both effectively and consistently.
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