Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Is business slow? Maybe it’s your marketing?

Marketing & Sales

Marketing yourself as a contractor in the centre of a city may require a different approach than the type of marketing that will work in outlying areas.

CARAHS_Logo Alec's Oct 2014 Photo. jpg

This week I’m not spouting off about safety (thank goodness was the cry); I’ll ignore government interference – or their lack of a plan to crush the underground economy. I’ll even give Mike Holmes a break- as if he cares!

I’ve decided to change it up a little and talk about the marketing aspects of your business, since it was discussed between our members at CARAHS’ recent AGM meeting.

So first, let me ask you: How do you get business? Where do you feel most of your business comes from? Your company website, Facebook, LinkedIn, networking, referrals? Do you have a marketing plan in place for when business gets slow?

You might not think you have the time to put into marketing, or maybe you’re not technical enough for social media, but the reality is this: marketing is essential to growing your business.

At CARAHS we’ve also found that there is a divide between contractors or renovators in the main city centres (like Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, etc.), and those on the outskirts of these areas. In city centres, there is tons of businesses and lots people fighting for jobs – you can’t turn a corner without seeing contracting work being done. In these central city areas, aggressive marketing may not be as necessary. There is also more of a market for specialization, which increases business.

However, outside of the city centres, it seems that contractors are fighting over many of the same jobs. And due to the less concentrated market, the idea of specializing isn’t as effective since it cuts down on the amount of potential customers. That means it is more important to stand out and set yourself apart from other businesses, which includes more creative or consistent marketing.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, it’s important to have many different outlets for marketing in order to broaden your reach to potential customers. It’s said that people need 5-7 touches before they consider you for a job, so the more ways you can do that (or the more ways that they can find you), the better since it increases your credibility. And I believe credibility is the most important aspect of  growing any business.

In this day and age, no one gets any renovation work done (or buys anything for that matter) without going online to do their research: reading reviews, checking out company websites, investigating social media, etc. With so much information available at their fingertips, a more social savvy customer has developed, so if they can’t find you (or find enough information in order to make a decision), they’ll start to wonder why not, and possibly go with another company.

So let me ask you: If someone does a Google search of your name or your business, what will they find? These sites also give you a chance to engage with potential customers. When you post information, or pictures of a completed job, people can leave comments or ask questions allowing you to give real time feedback. This is essentially a new form of customer service, so make sure to reply or get back to them in a timely manner.

Another thing I mentioned earlier was having a plan for when business gets slow. It’s easy not to focus on marketing when you’re just trying to keep up with all the jobs you’re getting, but when the well runs try, then what? It’s important to have a system in place or a pool of people to fish from, to drum up more business when you need it.

CARAHS’ “Close the Quote” system is a good example of this and may give you some ideas. As a self-employed business owner myself, I know how tough it can be to find business and make money. So as always, CARAHS is on your side. We are here to answer any of your questions or discuss ways that we can help grow your business.

Give us a call toll free at 1.866.366.2930

By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. We are independent of unions and government

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2 Comments » for Is business slow? Maybe it’s your marketing?
  1. Ken says:

    Great article again Alec……not just “Mr Safety”apparently. Really well written with some great points.
    Great to see the folks at CARAHS taking on new topics and understanding the broad spectrum of roles you have to take on as a small buissiness owner. Keep them coming,I appreciate the advice.

  2. Hi Ken…I really appreciate you taking time out to comment and glad my article hit the spot with you. As a self employed person of 33 years myself, I know the ups and downs that comes with the territory and the stress of meeting monthly bills.

    It’s nice to get positive feedback so thanks again Ken. I hope your business is doing well.

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