Not so long ago, building exits were highlighted with incandescent signs. While the configurations of these signs varied, most used a couple of light bulbs that consumed 15 to 25 watts each. Not only would these burn out at least once a year (how many times do you remembering seeing exit signs only half lit up?), but they would chew through $20 to $40 in electricity costs, never mind the labor cost of replacing the bulbs.
This is why LED replacement bulbs for exit signs (like these for red exit signs or these for green exit signs) have been a big deal -- while they can last 5-10 years, reducing labor costs, they also use less than 5 watts combined, typically paying for themselves just in energy savings within a year.
These LED bulbs are still a great option for those holding on to those older exit signs. But as LED exit signs continue to fall in price (ours start under $20), it's becoming more and more common to replace the older exit fixtures altogether. As our images here show, these range from simple 2-faced signs to edge lit signs to signs with emergency lights built in and more.
An extra advantage to LED exit signs is the fact that they use so little power it doesn't take much of a battery backup to keep them running during a power outage (a standard legal requirement). Because of this, they usually come with this battery backup included. And yes, that's even the case in our lowest cost signs.
So when you're faced with replacing exit sign bulbs, it may be time to consider a fixture upgrade. There's already talk of a future without light bulbs -- where fixtures come with the lighting built in because the lights will last for so many years. Exit signs are one area where this is already taking place, and there are plenty to choose from to fit your design needs.
Back in ancient times -- you know, before LEDs starting replacing every other kind of lighting -- the widely used PAR halogen bulb was known in part for its heavy glass lens. This lens was necessary to withstand the high pressure of the gas in the halogen bulb, and its seal also provided a "wet" rating for these bulbs so they could be used outdoors.
These PAR lamps were used in some cases for recessed lighting (although BR lamps are a better option for general lighting in recessed cans) as well as in outdoor spotlights and in track lights when someone wanted to highlight specific objects or areas.
Although they burn extremely hot, halogen bulbs offer high quality color rendering while using less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and feature slightly whiter light than those incandescents.
As LEDs came to market, early versions didn't quite look like the bulbs they were replacing. Standard A19 bulbs, for instance, had large fins toward the back that acted as heat sinks. In a similar way, early PAR LEDs didn't have the look of PAR halogens that people preferred. And without the glass cover, many PAR LEDs were not rated for outdoor use.
But Philips has recently released a union of the old and new -- a PAR LED that looks like the PAR halogen lamps of yore, complete with a sealed glass cover that gives them a "wet" rating for outdoor use. So what's old is new, and while we may see the earlier designs sticking around for a while (given the long life of most LEDs), making the switch from halogen to LED now lets you retain the look you may already know and love.
Questions about anything in this article? Ask and learn! We’ve tried to give you the information you need to move forward in any / all these areas of marketing, but we want this to be thorough, so ASK QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS and we will do our best to answer you in the comments and potentially update the article itself. This helps everyone!
We also welcome your input as to what has worked well in your electrician marketing efforts.
When it comes to building your business as an electrical contractor or electrician, doing your work and being good at it are only part of the story. You also have to let people know what you offer and help them understand why you're a good fit for their needs. You need to market.
Now maybe you've reached a point in your career when word of mouth brings you all the business you want. Well that's the least expensive form (since it's free) and one of the most powerful forms of marketing. But until then, there's plenty you can do to grow your business.
In this extensive guide, we'll talk about both traditional approaches and newer digital approaches to marketing since both can be valuable. But we'll go a little more in depth on digital marketing since that is often less understood by independent business owners, and we hope this entire piece offers you a lot of value.
Do keep in mind that marketing is about testing different approaches to find out what works for you, which can vary by location, demographics, your target market, how you execute a particular technique, etc. That's why we can't promise that all of these ideas (or any we share in the comments) will be a good investment for you. But as a rule, these are tried and true local marketing options. And we've covered so much ground that we hope this will inspire ideas that can help you grow your business.
Table of Contents
* Tracking Results
* Vehicle Messaging
* T-Shirt Messaging
* Answering the Phone
* Business Cards
* Direct Mail
* Traditional Media
* Press Releases
* Traffic Analytics
* Search Engine Optimization
* Content Marketing
* Local Maps
* Digital Advertising
* Free Online Advertising
* Email Marketing
* Email Signatures
* Social Media Marketing
* Word of Mouth
Before we discuss all the specific approaches to marketing your electrical business, let's cover something that's important to all these approaches: tracking results. As you start putting time and money into marketing, you want to know what works and what doesn't. This way you can continue to get better results from your efforts over time. If something doesn't work after an adequate period of testing, you can put that money toward things that are working; or simply save that money if you're getting enough business from other efforts.
This seems obvious, but many people don't know how to do it or just think it's a bother. Yet if you don't track results, you're sure to end up throwing money away, probably on things you think you're "supposed" to do because that's how electricians have always done them, or because someone told you it worked for them.
One of the big benefits to digital marketing is that it's easier to track than traditional offline marketing. We'll talk about digital tracking later, but for offline marketing, here are some ideas for tracking:
In short, each time you invest in marketing, ask yourself this: "After I spend on this, how am I going to know that it was a good use of my money?" Because without addressing this, you will either keep spending on things that don't work, or you'll stop spending on things that do.
With that, now onto the fun stuff: things you can actually do to build your business.
This is an oldie but goodie. Many electricians use their trucks as moving billboards. And why not? It's a one time cost, and you're going to be covering all the areas you provide service in anyway. Let people know that you're available. The bonus is when you're parked at a home or business where you're providing service, because this provides instant credibility with the neighbors. Someone they may know trusts you enough to do good work, so this may increase the neighbor's trust as well, which is a big part of marketing's secret sauce (building trust).
If you cannot afford to have your truck permanently painted, or you need your truck for other purposes and don't always want your business advertised on it, you can always opt for vehicle magnets. We've printed with Uprinting.com before and had good results (they're useful because they offer custom sizes), but search for "car magnets" and you'll find plenty of printers. This is a low-cost way to jump start your business.
Now we're covering this idea even though it's a pretty common one because we wanted to add specific points to consider on your message. We've seen a lot of electrician trucks, and some of them are missing key information, or making it hard to see for people driving by. Here are our thoughts:
Same as vehicle messaging, you’re in front of customer prospects every time you meet someone; are you letting them know what you do? This can be subtle with just a name in script near the breast pocket of a polo shirt or button down shirt, letting people know you’re an electrician. Or it can be more bold and maybe even fun or funny if done on a t-shirt. (The choice boils down to your branding – how you want to come across to others. Casual vs. down-to-business.)
If using a t-shirt, consider a slogan that makes someone look twice and remember you, but make sure to at least include a business name and website; maybe also your phone number and/or some special service or offer, as long as these don't crowd the message.
Answering the Phone
Any interaction with customers and prospects is part of your marketing. You invest a lot of effort and money into getting a phone call – make the most of that call!
Whether you’re answering directly or you have someone answering for you, answer with a business name and project both energy and an eagerness to help. Nothing says “I don’t care for your business” like someone gruffly saying “hello” with no indication it’s a business (did I dial the right number?) or chases people away with impatience for every question the caller asks.
If someone answers your phones for you, you can get someone you know to call from time to time with a particular set of questions. Have them report back on how the call went so you make sure your calls are being answered in a way that will drive more business. You can also hire a mystery shopping company to do this for you.
Another standby marketing option, we just want to point out that there are two sides of a business card, and many people only take advantage of one. Yes, you can stick with standard contact information on one side, but consider using the other side to mention things that make you stand out. On that second side, you could also expand on the power of the business card with options like these:
We’ll talk more about websites later, but the point is to pack a lot of punch into a simple business card by expanding it with other technologies that the card pushes them toward.
On a final note, there are many ways to get your business card out to the world. For instance, besides giving them directly to prospective customers, you could also exchange cards with other types of tradesmen who you're willing to refer and who are willing to refer you.
And here's a bonus idea for getting your business card into people's hands:
This is a little different, but maybe worth a test! What if, instead of using the back of the card for more information, you opted for a magnetic business card and kept a few of them stuck to the back of your truck? You could have another larger magnet near them saying "take a card." This and the magnetic business cards could be removed when needed, but when you're in a public parking lot, this would let people take your info with them if they saw a need for your services.
This option requires coming up with a printed piece (postcard, letter, flyer, etc.) and mailing direct to people’s homes. This can be pretty expensive, but it can also get results. The volume of mail delivered to mailboxes has been decreasing since 2005, as the world has gone increasingly digital. As we’ll discuss later, digital is popular because it’s inexpensive, instant, easy to track, and offers so many possible tools and tricks.
But because of this, direct mail – once a powerhouse of selling – potentially offers a greater opportunity now than it did in 2005. People’s email inboxes are full now. Their physical mailboxes are not. It’s easier to get noticed by mail than it has been in a long time.
While we don’t have space to write a treatise on direct mail in this blog, here are a few tips:
Traditional Media Ads: TV, Radio, and Newspapers / Print
We won’t go into these in detail because this is another large topic. As with any offline marketing, the key is figuring out how to track results from any campaign, and we’ve given some ideas about how to do this. If your marketing budget is tight, you may prefer to start with low-cost, easily tracked digital marketing that we’ll discuss below.
But plenty of electricians have had success with these traditional media options, and they may not be as expensive as they sound. Radio costs far less than TV, and a 30-second local cable spot during non-prime hours could cost you under $100. (Keep in mind you still have production costs of the commercial if they don't include it in their package – again, production would be far less expensive for radio.)
It's also worth mentioning that a lot of people now listen to digital radio through services like Pandora ... which gets us back to digital marketing. Those services will let you better target your listening audience. And of course traditional newspapers run ads on their websites as well as in print.
While we're on this topic, we'll briefly mention a type of ad called an advertorial. This is where you purchase ad space in a newspaper and use the space to write what looks like editorial content, and feels like it with some level of objectivity, but it covers your business and benefits of working with you. The purpose of this is to promote trust, since people tend to trust what a media source is writing about a company more than what a company says about itself in an ad. The more you can make this look like editorial content the better, but the newspaper may have certain stipulations like a clear label showing that it is paid-for content. One approach to this type of ad is to use part of it for content and part of it as a traditional display ad for your business, so there is something visual and the offer (display ad) is endorsed by what looks like a media writer.
Similar types of advertorials can be done in TV or radio ads ... not with written content, of course, but potentially with something designed to look like a newscast or sound like a media interview.
Speaking of traditional media ... historically you could try getting coverage in local media by sending them a press release. This is still true, though this has changed quite a lot because of the internet. It is possible, for instance, to send a press release through online distribution channels and quickly show up in search engines for that release. (There are pros and cons to this that we won’t go into here.)
For a local electrician business, however, you can stick with a more traditional (and free) approach by reaching out to appropriate reporters at your local media outlets. This involves visiting the websites of relevant newspapers / magazines, TV, and/or radio and doing enough digging to see who writes about local businesses. Usually you’ll be able to send them an email with your press release.
Generally speaking, follow this format and never send the press release as an attachment. Instead, briefly tell the reporter (addressing him/her by name) why you’re reaching out and then include the press release in the body of the email. Respond quickly if they want any additional information to respect their deadline driven work and you could make a friend who gives your business some coverage from time to time.
Make sure, however, that you’re sending something of value. Don’t send a press release when there’s no real news about your business. Do send it when you have something that would interest the media’s audience – after all, that’s what they’re looking for every day. That’s their job.
Finally ... you have a website, right? So make sure the website is mentioned in the press release. If you’re lucky, this will become an active link in the article. Either way, it lets people know where to find you. Speaking of a website ...
Now we’ll start discussing the world of digital marketing, and we’ll start with your home base online: a website.
It appears that, even today, many small businesses – electricians included – don’t have websites. Since much of the population now finds local businesses through an online search, we would suggest that a website is essential. And gone are the days when you need to hire an expensive programmer to build a website. There are plenty of free and low-cost options for building them, and many provide you with nice looking templates (so you don’t have to be a designer to make something look nice); several of these are “drag and drop” simple.
Of course a complex website like Lighting Supply involves a lot of custom programming; but our blog – the one you’re reading right now – uses one of these simple drag-and-drop website builders (Weebly). And this will be more than adequate for most electricians. We find Weebly to be perhaps the easiest for beginners, but other popular options include Wordpress, Wix, and SquareSpace.
A note about Wordpress: there are a ton of plugins for Wordpress that expand what you can do with its websites. But this is only if you host your own Wordpress website -- not if you use the "hosted" option found through the link above. Unless you plan to do some advanced marketing with your website, you shouldn't need those additional plugins.
While there are some free options available from all of these services, a small upgrade usually goes a long way. This could remove the site builder’s branding; could allow you to use your own URL rather than one of theirs; and may give you several website templates and features not found in the free version. Given the importance of a website in your marketing (most of your other marketing efforts hinge on it), it’s probably wise to upgrade enough to make sure it looks professional.
A final note here: if you already have a website but it’s old or otherwise out of date, consider updating it with one of these services. Remember, you have just seconds to capture someone’s trust when they land on your website. If you don’t, they’re probably off to check on someone else’s site. And while this is a more technical matter, if people go to your site and then leave it quickly because it doesn’t look professional, this sends warning signals to the search engines (people don’t want this search result), and you risk getting less visibility and less free traffic. It’s all tied together. So do what you can to make the most of your website.
We already pointed out the importance of tracking everything you can with offline marketing. Digital marketing makes this much easier, but you still have to set it up. This isn’t hard and, even if you don’t know what to do with it today, you may one day want access to what’s been happening, or you may hire someone who needs this tracking in place.
On your website, this tracking is handled by analytics software. Some site builders come with this built in, but we wouldn’t rely on those. Consider using Google Analytics, which is a free service. Each website builder will have its own way to install analytics, so you’ll have to check out the details in your site builder.
As an example, after you’ve signed up for Google Analytics, you would choose the Property (your website) in your account and click on "Tracking Info." This provides a drop down where you can click on "Tracking Code" as shown in the image here. This will provide you with a code that you just need to highlight and copy. Then in Weebly, go to "Settings" and "SEO." You'll see an area called "Footer Code" where you can paste your code.
(Again, that's an example. In other site builders you would place this code somewhere else.)
Tracking visitors is as simple as that. You’ll start seeing how many daily visits you’re getting, what hour of the day they’re visiting, where they’re from (you’ll no doubt want local traffic!), what kind of browsers and computers are being used, and much, much more.
Later, you can set up goals for seeing what kind of traffic (ads included) lead to phone calls or contact forms filled out. This will take a little research on your part, or you can hire someone to help you set this up.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If this sounds so technical that you want to fall asleep just reading it, try to stick with us. Because if you have a website, you want people actually visiting it. And while you can do all sorts of paid advertising to drive people to your site, SEO is one thing you can do that only takes your time while giving you the chance to get long-term traffic at no additional cost. (Alternately, you can hire someone to do your SEO work. Depending on the competition in your area, this could yield quick results or results could take quite a while. You should be able to see some improvements, however, within 2-3 months, and it's possible for some results to show up within days.)
Search engine optimization involves just a few primary points:
This is a popular term these days in relation to search engine optimization and digital marketing, and we've already covered it a bit. We've talked about the value of having some quality content on your website. And if you have a lot of competition in the area, it's beneficial to regularly update your content, potentially with a blog. This blog can share tips for homeowners and businesses as well as things like news about your business (won any awards lately, which would encourage more trust in your business?) and promotions you may be holding.
But content marketing is also more than this -- it has to do with any content you produce and publish, even if it's not on your website. You might publish articles somewhere else (like Medium.com or LinkedIn.com -- just go to your profile and click "Publish a Post"); you might get quoted in a story by the media; you might publish a video to YouTube; etc. All of these are opportunities to be seen by prospective customers or to remind current customers that you're out there without always having to pay for ads. They're also all opportunities to drive people (through links) to the most related pages on your website.
Assuming you have a physical address for your business, make sure you claim or create your business listing in Google My Business and similar services (like Bing Places and Yelp) so that you can show up on search engine and local business maps when locals are searching for an electrician. Take advantage of the opportunity to update your profile in these with details about what you offer, pictures of your business, and so on. This process will naturally add appropriate keywords into your listing, helping the search engines match you to people’s searches.
Finally, ask your satisfied customers if they would be willing to review you on any of these sites. Many people won’t bother, but it often takes just a few reviews to push you into great visibility for appropriate searches. (See the image here and how few reviews -- shown in parentheses -- these electricians have ... and they have premium coverage in Google's local search results.) These reviews also build social proof about the value and trustworthiness of your business.
This is one of the easiest wins you can have for online visibility. Just don’t rely on this alone, since these may one day become paid listings rather than free.
This is a huge topic that people devote careers to, so we can only offer an introduction here. But digital advertising can be extremely powerful and in many cases quite affordable. Different types of advertising apply to different types of businesses -- for instance, unless you sell products online, you won't need to learn about Google's or Bing's Shopping Ads. (These are the ads that show a product picture, price, and brief description in response to people's searches.)
But there are plenty of other options including display (visual) ads that you run widely for branding (in the area you serve) or that you retarget people with (we'll explain in a moment); social network ads; search ads; and video ads. We'll give you a few examples here:
Google Adwords and Bing Search Ads
Use these to have an ad display only when people are actively searching for something you offer. This is powerful because you're meeting their needs when they want them met. As with pretty much any digital ad campaign, you can target people in the area you serve in order to spend wisely. In Google Adwords, for instance, just choose the ad campaign Settings and click on Locations. The image here shows an ad that covers the USA, but you can choose by zip code, a distance from a particular location, etc. Also look for "extras" like phone number extensions, promotional extensions, etc.
A word of caution: you select keywords that will trigger your ads, but you need to check "Search Terms" frequently to make sure you're not paying when people search unrelated terms. For instance, if you choose "electrician" as a term that triggers your ads, make sure people aren't searching "how to become an electrician" and clicking on your ads, since that's the wrong audience. You can add "negative keywords" to keep people from finding you under terms like that. In this example, you can add "how to become" and "training" and "school" and "degree" and "certificate" as negative keywords.
Social Network Ads
This might be better known as Facebook advertising, but of course there are many social networks where you can advertise. But electrician ads may not be best suited for a social network, where people aren't actively looking for your services but are busy socializing. I can see two exceptions to this, and obviously you can test other approaches.
1) If there is something specific they ought to be thinking about but might not seek out on their own, then you need to reach them where they are. So you might promote the need for generator installation in the spring (storm season) and fall (before the cold winter when you don't want to lose heat). On social media, though, rather than just running a static ad ... consider a video that shows the consequences of losing power without a generator. Done right, videos can be run very inexpensively on Facebook, and something like this is much more likely to be shared. The more it's shared, the more free views you can get.
2) Retargeting ads may work well here. See below.
A Note about Finding Your Audience on Facebook: While you can't advertise to specific searches on Facebook like you can on search engines, Facebook has all sorts of data on people, so you can target an audience with precision. Choose by gender, age, income, interests, job titles, and more.
Video is only increasing in popularity, and YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google) in the USA. Since Google owns YouTube, top YouTube videos for a search term also often show up on Google's search results. So it's a really good idea to create at least one video for your business and potentially to create one around each service you offer. This way you have videos that can get more search engine traffic for you and to advertise in more specific ways.
Let's go back to the example of generator installation. If you make a video of this and upload it to YouTube, you can give it a title and description including the term "Generator Installation" and your city and state. (In the description you can also write more about what's in the video.) This can potentially help you to get found for local searches around this term. This has more to do with search engine optimization.
But now you can also advertise that video through YouTube. In your Video Manager, choose the drop down button next to "Edit" and you'll see many options for your video, including "Promote." You can choose to run your video before other videos play or to simply feature them alongside videos or after videos play; in this case someone has to choose to watch it. You can run videos in response to searches, or choose particular videos that you want to run on top of. So if someone else has a video on the first page of Google search results for "generator installation," you could choose to run your video prior to theirs, and only to people in the area you serve.
There are other distribution options for videos too. This is just an introduction to the topic.
Also called "remarketing," this is probably a form of marketing you've experienced. Have you ever been to a website and then started seeing ads for that site when you visit other sites? As you probably guessed, that's no coincidence. The site you visited placed a kind of tracking device (a retargeting pixel) onto your browser and now they can run ads to you when you're using that browser on other websites. (Only on sites that already run ads -- now the ads are just more targeted to what you may be looking for.)
You can limit retargeting ads to a certain time period after someone has visited your website (when they are likely most interested and still looking to purchase something). You can use retargeting to simply boost your bids on search keywords, or you use it to run actual ads on other websites. For an electrician, this may make sense for social media ads, because then you know the person is looking for what you offer even if they're not actively searching in the medium of a social network. And you can narrow your ads only to those who live in your service area, make a certain amount of money, etc.
Conclusion: again, digital advertising is a huge topic, so our goal here is to introduce you to some options and some possible uses. You can either explore these options for yourself or hire someone to assist. But now if you hire it out, you'll have some ideas of what's possible and what you might want to do, and you'll know some of the cautions you need to make sure you're taking.
Free Online Advertising
The beauty of the digital world is that the resources are cheap and practically limitless. So unlike the cost of advertising in a newspaper or in the limited slots of TV and radio, you can put your message online for very little. And in some cases, for free.
Now the traditional word of caution is that you get what you pay for. Paid advertising is very powerful, targeted, time efficient (once you know what you're doing), etc. Free advertising can be much more manual, less targeted, and possibly useless.
But there are places like CraigsList that allow you to post free classified ads. And on the good sites like this, there really is traffic, and you have a chance to get found. CraigsList in particular has a section for skilled trades services, where you can talk about what you offer and link to your website. If you're gong to go this route, try starting with the more popular sites that have legitimate traffic. This article has pulled together a list of many popular classified ad sites.
As you probably know, it’s almost always easier to sell to existing customers than it is to get new customers. This is why it’s so valuable to stay in touch with those who already trust you. If you’re on other people’s mailing lists, you’ve seen that some industries email at least once a week to their customers.
As an electrician, this probably isn’t necessary. But you may wish to send a greeting once a month just to stay in people’s minds. Maybe it’s with a useful electrical tip ... maybe it’s with a coupon or special that you’re running ... maybe it’s just something entertaining as a casual way of staying in touch. You never know when someone will next need your services, but many people forget who their past service providers were. If you don’t stay in mind, they may just go hunting online once more, and may end up in the hands of a competitor.
Building your email list requires:
1) Signing up for a newsletter service. We’ve outlined a few options below.
2) Following instructions for initial setup. This would include adding your contact information and choosing what you want to say in the email that's sent when someone joins your list. (Maybe offer them an incentive right away.)
3) Getting a lead capture form to put on your website. This usually means making a couple simple decisions about the look of the form (from your newsletter service) and then they provide you with something called an HTML code or snippet. You don’t need to know HTML. You just need to know how to copy and paste so you can put the code onto an HTML widget on your website.
At that point, people can sign up for your list on their own from your website. You can also manually add people to your list.
Single Opt In vs. Double Opt In Lists
In most cases, subscribers will have to CONFIRM their email address (this is called a "double opt in") before you can email them. Some providers allow "single opt in" lists; once someone signs up through your form in that case, they're immediately on your list. This makes it easier to build a single opt in list.
The only danger to this is that people (or robots -- true story) can add other people's email addresses to your list. Since no confirmation is needed, you might start emailing people who never wanted to hear from you, and this can violate spam laws. So if you choose a single opt in process, make sure you don't see a suspicious flood of new subscribers at any one time.
Generally speaking, you may want to use a double opt in form on your website to prevent spam problems, but manually add your customers through single opt in since it's natural for you to email customers.
Once you have a list, make sure to send an email at least around once a month so people don't forget you and wonder how you got their email address. (You don't want them to think you're spamming them.)
Sending an email through a system like this can be as simple as sending any other email. In a text version, you simply type your message and hit "Send" (or schedule it to be sent at a certain time). Many also have graphical email builders. Many of these are "drag and drop" simple. Just drag widgets in for titles, text, images, social icons, and more.
It's also possible to send people a whole series of emails automatically after they sign up for your list. This is done with autoresponders, which are a feature of pretty much every mailing list provider. You simply write all the emails you want to send on autopilot, and you set when you want them sent. For instance, the first may be sent as soon as someone subscribes. A second is sent two days later. Another is sent a week later. And so on. This could be used to promote the different services you offer. You could also build a series of 7 emails with electrical safety tips and use these tips as a reason for people to join your mailing list. ("Subscribe today for 7 electrical safety dangers putting your home at risk ... and how to fix them.")
Mailing List Services
There are scores of mailing list services you can choose from. We're mentioning just a few options here worth exploring along with potential pros and cons that depend on your business needs. All seem to be quality services.
Website Provider: many website builders like Weebly come with a mailing list option built in. This may be included in their price or come as an add-on. This may be the easiest option, making it attractive for this reason. But because these companies are not full-time mailing list suppliers, they may not have all the features that others offer. This may or may not matter to you. Also remember that the list is then tied to your website, and if you ever choose to build a new site on a different platform, you will have to move the list to a new mailing list service, so make sure you're able to export your list.
Weebly's email lists are, by default, single opt in, though we understand you can change them to double opt in. Other website builders may have different defaults.
RocketResponder: simplicity is the key to this option. It doesn't have all the features of some other providers, but this is by design. They built it for people who didn't want to go wading through features they would never use. Lead capture forms (for collecting emails addresses from your website) are fairly basic, but easy to make. They don't offer options like popup windows or bars across the top of your website for capturing email addresses though. You can only build double opt in lists here.
RocketResponder charges a straight $20/month for unlimited subscribers and unlimited lists, which is a bargain compared to other services that increase in cost as you build a larger list. But an electrician may never build a list beyond 500 or 1000 members, so this could be a moot point, since premium services start at similar prices for lists up to around 500 or 1000 people.
So unless you plan on building a very large list, you can worry less about price and choose this service if simplicity appeals to you. RocketResponder comes with a 30-day free trial.
MailChimp: this is one of the most popular options available, though we feel the independent business owner may find it difficult to make a nice looking lead capture form for a website with MailChimp. So you might choose to avoid it on that point alone. But MailChimp is free up to a certain list size if you don't want to use autoresponders. And it starts at just $10/month if you do want to use autoresponders. MailChimp appears to let you build single opt in mailing lists.
Benchmark Email: speaking of free, BenchMark Email has a beautiful looking service and offers all the features you're likely to need (including autoresponders) at no cost up to a substantial list size. They make it easy to create beautiful lead capture forms for your website. We believe they only let you build double opt in lists.
Get Response: this is another one of the most popular options and they make it easy not only to create traditional lead capture forms but also popup boxes or bars across the top of your website (and other options) for capturing email addresses. They offer all the features you would expect as well as some others like a website landing page builder. They also let you build single opt in lists. If you join through our link you should get a $30 credit for trying it out.
AWeber: yet another of the most popular options, AWeber provides all the features you could want. Beautiful lead capture forms are easy to create, it integrates with just about every other marketing software, we believe you can choose to build single opt in lists, and it comes with a free 30-day trial.
An email signature is one of the simplest things you can use to raise awareness of your business and what it offers. Set this up once and it automatically goes to work for you every time you send an email.
If you don't use these already, you've almost certainly seen them used by others. They can be as simple as someone's name, position, company name, and URL (website address) at the bottom of every email they send. But here are some other ways they can be used:
Social Media Marketing
We've spoken briefly of advertising through social media. The other option is to simply use social media for free and engage with followers on a regular basis. If you're planning to do this, though, consider who your audience is and then read this article for an idea of where you might find them the most. You probably won't have time to engage on all the social media sites, so choose what you want to give your time to.
As a general rule, for instance, you may engage with other professionals more easily on LinkedIn; may reach consumers more on Facebook; might use Twitter to point people to your latest blog posts when they search for a related #hashtag; etc.
Social media is designed for networking and/or socializing rather than just pitching your services. So a common goal is to provide meaningful content on a regular basis and only talk about your services or specials on occasion. You can see how we use Facebook here. (Don't forget to follow us for fun lighting posts and some great deals as well.) If you're able to help your followers by answering simple electrical questions, for instance, they may come to trust you when they need to hire someone for help.
One word of caution is that all of the social networks need to make money at some point, and Facebook is a good example of a place where you could once build a natural network of people and have them all see your posts when you shared something ... but where now only a small fraction will see your posts. Even if they're following you. As a result, social media has increasingly become a "pay to play" game for businesses. So we encourage you not to put all your eggs in the basket of building a following and thinking this will be the answer to growing your business.
Word of Mouth
When it comes to advertising, nothing's quite as powerful as satisfied clients telling their friends and family about you -- i.e., "word of mouth." While there are ways to pay for word of mouth, you can get this naturally by being or doing something worth talking about. And that mainly means doing great work at a fair price and, ideally, with a smile.
But if people want to tell others about you, it doesn't hurt to make it easy for them to spread the word. So here are a few ideas on how you can help them out:
As you can see, there's a lot you can do to build your business, and any one of these areas can be explored in much more depth. We've done our best to provide you with a number of resources and practical steps you can take. (A few resources were shared with affiliate links, which just means we get a small referral fee if you make a purchase; we only shared those that we genuinely know and like, and this doesn't change your costs for those services.) We hope this gives you plenty to get started with on your way to an even more successful electrician / electrical contractor business.
Please use the comments below to add your own best ideas for marketing or to ask questions. We'll do our best to provide details so you can consider this your top resource for marketing answers. Also, don't forget to share this with electricians who you'd like to help. Thank you!
While we caution consumers against buying cheap LED bulbs because of potential quality issues, we sometimes score a great deal on name brand LEDs so we can pass along savings and bring you more than just cheap LEDs, but actually a great value in LEDs.
And while you may get free shipping elsewhere, remember that "free shipping" really means that shipping is built into the cost of a product. We offer flat rate shipping so when you buy many of these bargain LEDs at once, you're likely to save plenty even with the cost of shipping.
Now Lighting Supply specializes in commercial lighting, but of course many bulbs used in offices are also used in homes. So we've put together a couple for the home that we have at exceptional prices right now.
Since houses have typically used incandescent bulbs, whose color temperature (apparent warmth of the light) is 2700K, we are featuring only 2700K LEDs below. All prices and availability are at the time of this writing and are of course subject to change.
Cheap A19 LEDs
A19 bulbs are some of the most common found in houses. And 60 watt incandescent bulbs may have been the most common among these prior to CFLs and LEDs. While a quality dimmable A19 LED with a longer rated life is usually close to (or over) $5, we're proud to offer a couple of 4-pack options with individual bulb prices as low as $1.99. Please note that the 4-pack lamps are non-dimmable.
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