Every heating and plumbing business does marketing, even if it doesn’t go further than sticking a logo and name on a van. 

But not everyone can say that they have created a successful and systematic marketing plan that helps their business attract work and grow year on year. 

Tradespeople can find themselves thrown into the deep end with marketing, some giving up as fast as they try it. By taking a step back and thinking about four marketing fundamentals, you should find a clearer sense of direction and spot ways to improve your marketing. 

Here is an overview of each of those basic elements:

1. Strategy

There are countless marketing strategies out there. You could post flyers through letterboxes, wrap your van, place a sign outside your customers’ door, run online advertisements – the list goes on. 

All this choice isn’t necessarily a good thing. While all can provide value, not every one of them is necessarily suited to your business at its current stage. 

For example, successfully running adverts on Google comes with a much steeper learning curve than sending out service reminder emails to your customers. A sole trader simply might not have the time to learn how to do this, and could get similar results from something much simpler to set up.

If you haven’t been getting the results you want from marketing, it could be as simple as this. Focus on the ‘easy-win’ marketing strategies before moving onto the more complex ones, follow results, and don’t get caught up in what others are doing.

2. Consistency

After deciding which marketing strategies are right for your business, you should think about consistency. We mean two things by this: whether you have given it enough time, and whether the marketing materials you are producing maintain quality. 

Some strategies like SEO and review marketing can take weeks, if not months, before you start seeing results. Throughout this time, it is important to maintain your effort and track results. Giving up too early often means you aren’t experiencing the full potential and are cutting it short. 

Other strategies like social media and email marketing require consistent effort to push out content. It can take a while to get the ball rolling for both of these strategies, but don’t let the quality of your content slip until you have got enough data to make a proper decision.

3. Audience 

Marketing is almost useless if you aren’t targeting the right audience. For example, if you are running digital advertisements, make sure they are targeting people who are searching for your services. Likewise, it is absolutely crucial for service businesses to target people in their local area. Finding customers in Edinburgh is pointless if your business operates in Kent. 

Another thing to look at is your own customer base. New customers are harder to find and harder to convert. Just because you have already worked with a customer doesn’t mean you can’t market to them. In the gas industry, for example, annual service reminders are a huge source of work. 

They are also a quick and easy marketing campaigns to set up and even automate. 

4. Messaging

The last fundamental to consider is your messaging. This applies to all your different marketing efforts and refers to the way you present your brand to your customers. It could include everything from your logo, fonts, word choice, and content. 

The question businesses need to ask themselves here is whether their messaging properly targets potential customers and is written in a clear and engaging way. 

To start with, check that your marketing materials actively point towards solving a problem your customers have (also known as a pain point). Rather than simply talking about your services, you could mention the benefits. 

This can be things like getting the house warm for winter or doing a landlord gas safety certificate before the due dates. 

Apart from this, make sure your business is consistent with its design style across all marketing materials and include call-to-actions like ‘call us today’ or ‘book an appointment online’ to provide customers with a clear next step. 

Key takeaways

Every trades business has a different approach to marketing. But, at the core of it all, good marketing needs to be consistent and strategic. 

You will also need to know exactly who your ideal customer is, and how to speak in a way that engages this group. 

Remember – when experimenting with marketing, it is crucial to keep track of your results. Being able to identify what has worked and what hasn’t is the only reliable way you can plan for the future and focus on what is getting results.