We know that marketing for contractors can be tough if you’re trying to pull together interest on your own. This list is full of recommendations to help sell yourself and your business and hopefully retain and gain new clients and contracts on a tight budget.
Customer recommendations, friends and family
The best way and the cheapest way to get your name out there is via recommendations from clients to their peers. Word of mouth is the most reliable and trustworthy way for customers to find a business they’d be happy working with. Favourable words from a family member or friend will also usually ensure that a potential customer will at least check you out, whether or not they decide hire you for the job. Incentive schemes for clients that refer you are a great way of increasing recommendations, while rewarding your clients in the process.
Along the same lines, testimonials are free and tremendously powerful. Very few of us would make a significant investment on a product, book a hotel or holiday or even read a book without reading a few reviews first. You can display testimonials on any marketing materials you produce, business cards and websites.
If you need to market your business, having a website and/or a blog is crucial. Aside from recommendations, most new business relationships now begin via an online search of some kind. Simply put, a website is how people will find you. Having an internet base for your business can also act as a host for portfolios and/or testimonials. Hosting a website and a domain can cost from as little as £30 a year.
Social Media is rapidly taking over as the new home of marketing and advertising, with big brands and corporations investing heavily in advertising and generating a following. Social Media can also work well on a smaller, more targeted scale. If you are just beginning on Social Media it’s good to start by setting up a Facebook and Twitter page, inviting clients and friends to like or follow the accounts to get you started. The bonus with Social Networks is that they are all completely free. Once you’ve got the hang of tweeting, it’s a good idea to look into getting involved with local business hashtags to create discussions and recommendations.
Talking of local business, you’ll find there are a multitude of local networking events around the UK which will allow you get to know valuable people who can pass on knowledge of your skills to potential clients as well as giving you leads on others who they suspect may need your business. These networking events are usually only £10-£20 per event so you could dip in and out when you feel they are or aren’t working for you.
Keeping in contact with clients and leads is a great way of marketing yourself. Send out seasonal messages and show an interest in keeping in contact with your client as well as reminding them of your services. Seasonal discounts and promotions also work well to secure new customers.
Focus on your niche
Being a contractor or freelancer means it can be hard to stand out amongst the bigger players. It’s a good idea to carve out a niche and focus on that in all of your marketing promotions. Having a niche as a smaller business is a great way to gain local supporters and wider appeal. Use this to help brand yourself and use that brand whenever you market yourself.