Question :
We are a small family run Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying Business operating in Auckland.  Our point of uniqueness is we have a fully qualifed female tradesperson.  How can we grow our business in this tough time as we have lost our biggest customers due to there businesses being shut down due to there own issues with Covid.  These customers allowed us to do a lot of free work for the elderly and those struggling, which we will no longer be able to provide as we do not have income.  What would be the best way to get our business promoted to get more customers?  We have not had to advertise in over 20 years so is a new thingnfor us.

Question submitted 10/05/20 @ 07:50pm
Industry: Services
  • Up

    Morena – I am sorry to hear, many are in these challenges, and trying to work out how to bring in new business while the service economy starts to pick-up again. I am sure there is work out there – because your work is always required!

    Many past customers can be a good place to start – understand your biggest customers are closed, are there others you can approach and check-in? Who is doing their work for those that closed down? Can you ask for referrals?

    In terms of your point of difference – do you know if your customers or others would value your service with a female tradie? If so, then how can you get the message out there – do you have a web site and/or can you put some messages up on social like Facebook or Instagram – if you don’t have a website check out – our initiative to get people online – https://www.manaaki.io/1000websites/

    At a time like this – it is relatively easier to get custom from people who know you, so focus on your past custom and ask them to refer you to people they know. Then move to a wider circle of people who don’t know you, and use the tools of differentiation like you have – and just note, we all need plumbing servicing – what can you do there to give houses/homes a free check-service (noting you need to have good safety protocols in place with PPE etc).

    Good luck – Andy


    Hello and thanks for contacting us! Sounds like you have a very viable and valuable business proposition, so with some carefully curated marketing I’m sure you will be up and revenue positive again very soon.

    I’d like to make a few suggestions that could help.

    Firstly, get your messaging and ‘positioning’ right. Think about who you are now targeting in your local community and what will resonate most with them, and define your messaging clearly. For example, if you are targeting mid-sized family owned businesses, what will they most relate to? What is going to appeal to them at an emotional (as well as rational) level, that will help them connect with you quickly? Try to use messaging in your communication that goes beyond the obvious such as ‘efficient, and local, and quality’ – as these are givens. Seek more unique and compelling messaging like “our customers are an extension of our family” etc or something that relates closely to your values and your way of working that differentiates you. I think, given you have a female tradesperson on staff you should definitely promote her ‘face/profile’ in your campaigns as many female business and home owners will relate to her as a ‘trusted partner’ (but not at the exclusion of the rest of your staff for fear of reverse discrimination!) So possibly featuring all your people and their values / way of working, could be a strong differentiator for you? After all, bringing people into your home and business to do the work you do is a large trust based decision.

    Secondly, think about your channels to find these customers. There many digital channels now that are cost-effective (some free) and a good way to also support and reach local businesses. Such as ‘neighbourly’, local facebook community groups, referral websites, radio, and local newspapers. Where do your potential customers go to find recommendations and how can you get your business high in their visibility? Think about your Google Business profile, make sure you get some good reviews from past customers (this is one of the fastest ways to increase your chance of being found in search) and think about creating some Google Ads. Also Facebook is a great advertising channel and will enable you to test different messages and be super-local. Visible signage on cars and poster boards at local shops might be also worth trying.

    Lastly, think of a compelling offer to get them to ‘try’ you. What about a free consultation to evaluate their needs? Or an introductory offer that includes a follow-up check-in post the work being complete. Referring a friend and receiving a benefit also works well in service industries. I think at the moment people are tight on cash, and so the more you can do to show that you ‘relate’ to them and their circumstances, the more likely they will be to try you. Plus in current market conditions, you are better to have your people working on a lower margin job, than not working at all.

    I wish you all the best,

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