024 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

24 B U S I N E S S F E ATURE Going further than ‘word of mouth’ Rose Hayes, of Cartwright Communications, explains why forward-thinking installers who want to build a fresh customer-base, or simply continue to grow, should consider applying Word of mouth has been, and will continue to be, an incredibly valuable business tool for installers. While it will always deliver repeat business, especially for those that are well-established, there are a number of ways that you can stand out from the crowd, either to build a reputation from scratch or to continue growing and expanding. Taking the time to consider these options is even more pertinent as the demands and expectations of customers continue to evolve. Yes, they will ask friends and family, but unlike 20 years ago, their next step is to instantly search for that company online. If you are complicated to find, your website reflects what you offer in a negative light, or customers are talking about you without being monitored, they can quickly move through their list and start their own search. So what’s important to consumers and how can you stand out from the crowd? 1. Be easy to find Modern consumers expect search engines to quickly and effectively answer their questions, whatever they are looking for. Sixteen to 20% of daily Google enquiries have never been searched for before, so it’s safe to assume that whatever industry you work in, someone is trying to find a service just like yours. The best solution is still an attractive and informative website. This doesn’t have to be an expensive job, but it must have all the essentials covered; from hours that you’re available, various ways to get in touch, an over view of services, and any consistent charges that customers can expect such as call-out fees. For those that may have received a recommendation and are, therefore, looking for you by name, a business listing on Google will give them all of this right next to their search results. 2. Once they’ve found you, make sure you stand out However people can find you, whether you want to stick to a directory listing, are an avid social media user, or simply run a clear and informative website, your personality and values will be what stand out from the competition. Ninety per cent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so engaging images are important. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ photography is always popular; adding any further information about the project and its location to add credibility. Online videos now account for around 50% of traffic and this is expected to increase to 70% this year. With smart phones and various free apps making it easier than ever to create your own short clips, why not show potential customers your work in progress, or demonstrate your expertise with short advice pieces. Being seen as ‘local’ can be a huge advantage, so reflect this is your copy where possible and don’t forget to shout about anything that makes you different like any awards or groups that you’re active in. Finally, customers expect Gas Safe accreditation and public liability to be made clear from the out-set so remember to clearly refer to them wherever possible. 3. Refer to your great reputation While ‘word of mouth’ alone might not be enough to achieve your grand business plans, the value of a good review or testimonial is undeniable. “Testimonials are fantastic content no matter your medium so always ask your customer if they would mind giving you In fact, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on positive reviews. After all, good companies care about their reputation both on and offline. Testimonials are fantastic content no matter your medium so always ask your customer if they would mind giving you some feedback. If you have a Google business page set up then it’s easy for anyone to leave reviews. It’s worth monitoring these as any that Google agrees are inappropriate can be removed. 4. Be proactive in talking to people The extent to how much of this you do will depend on your business ambitions and how much time you want to devote to it; although there are varying options. For instance, social media isn’t right for every business. After all, to be truly successful you need to be consistently creating the visual content already discussed, such as a series of advice videos. But, traditional marketing techniques are still beneficial, ensuring customers have your website details for that all important review, or even gathering emails to send out quarterly emails with business updates, can make all the difference. 5. Constantly evolve Finally, it’s crucial that you keep updating and refreshing any content or details relating to your business. Consumers want to see that you are active and many will simply assume you are too busy, or even out of business, if an online presence is old and out-of-date. Implement a monthly routine of adding new feedback and any project images or videos. Make the most of any business achievements or significant contributions to your local community; not only will this content portray the sort of business you are but it will help strengthen your search engine presence too. *Rose has over ten years’ experience working in communications across the heating and plumbing sector. Find out more on Twitter @Cartwrightcomms. additional marketing tactics www.hpmmag.com May 2017 enquiry number 117 some feedback”


HPM May 2017
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