We also welcome your input as to what has worked well in your electrician marketing efforts.
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
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:
- Any time you publish a coupon, whether in a coupon booklet or a newspaper or anywhere else, make sure it has a tracking code in fine print if it's something people will turn in for the discount. This way, even if the coupons otherwise look the same, you'll know which outlet is doing well for you. If you're really on top of things, you can even provide a new date in the fine print so you know what week of the newspaper the ad appeared, etc. This could be especially useful to see how your ads do when running alongside certain content, during holidays, etc.
- Whether you answer your phone or someone does so for you, make sure the caller is always asked where they learned about you. Have this written down. Again, you can decide how detailed you get with this. You could just keep count of the different general ways people found you (search engine, digital ad, saw your truck). Or you could track the answer to each individual caller and then see over time where you get your best customers. (E.g., "John Doe saw me in XYZ local paper and became a customer." You can then track his spend with you over time and see how much that ad was really worth.)
Don't forget that sometimes repetition of advertising builds brand awareness and trust, so that later ads may appear to be worth more than early ads. So even though it's difficult to track, some attribution can be given to the earlier ads. This is easier to do with digital advertising.
- You can purchase multiple phone numbers that all forward to the same number, but track how many calls you get from each. One is used on your truck, one on print ads, one on radio ads, one on your website, etc. Again, you can then choose to track the person with the way they learned about you and see what types of people become your best customers over time.
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.
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:
- Use visual elements (both images and white space) rather than just text. Remember that too much text makes it hard to read any of the text, and images are a great way to attract attention.
- Make it easy to see at a glance that you're an electrician. This way, if someone happens to need an electrician, they're faced with a solution. We've seen trucks that focus on other things, like the brand, that have little to no meaning for the reader. You usually only have a moment to make an impression on them while on the road.
- Include your phone number and website, and again make sure these are front and center rather than buried in a lot of other information. These are the two primary ways people will contact you, and we have seen them hard to find or difficult to read on many trucks.
- Consider highlighting an important service or feature of your business. If you can do this without crowding the overall message, this is another way to put a solution to someone's immediate needs right in front of them. "Electrical Inspections before You Buy a Home," or "24 Hour Service" are just two examples.
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
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.
- Include the number to a 24/7 recorded call where you take 60 seconds to talk about why you’re a great choice for their electrical needs; and if you’re really on top of things, you could get some audio testimonials from customers and include these on the recording. Services like SpeakPipe (added to your website) make it easy to get these audios, although you may need to ask customers to take the time.
- Besides including a link to the home page of your website, you could also include a link to a page of testimonials on your website (written, audio, or even video!) Have great reviews on a site like Yelp? Include those on your testimonial page as well. (Helps to build trust.)
- Have your business card offer a one-time use coupon (or some other benefit ... a monthly drawing?) for opting into a mailing list or phone texting list. The business card tells them how to join either list, and now you can market to them digitally in the future.
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.
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:
- You can purchase mailing lists based on demographics you want to reach. This keeps you from spending on households or businesses you don’t expect will turn into sales for you.
- You can work with a direct mail company to print and send your mailing; they can usually automate the process of getting you a list and adding the names to envelopes. They may be able to get you lower costs for delivery because they do this work in bulk.
- Alternately, if you’re sending postcards of certain sizes, you can blanket an area through “Every Door Direct Mail” at a low cost of delivery to each address.
- Postcards don’t have to be opened to be read. If you make them funny or engaging, solve someone’s problem, or make an offer that’s hard to refuse, there’s a good chance this message will be seen. Remember though, people throw out mail almost as quickly as they delete their email, so you must make your point quickly! (Headlines and compelling graphics are important.)
- If you’re not using postcards, handwritten addresses – especially without a business name on the envelopes – make the package seem more personal and may help them get opened. Sending something bulky is also a well known trick, as people want to know what’s in the package. (Maybe it’s a pen with your business info on it?) 3D Mail Results is one company that focuses on getting your direct mail opened.
- As we pointed out before ... look for ways to track results so you know whether it’s worth expanding on this effort. Consider referral codes; use phone numbers or web pages that you can track as coming from each direct mail campaign; etc.
Traditional Media Ads: TV, Radio, and Newspapers / Print
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.
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 ...
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.
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)
Search engine optimization involves just a few primary points:
- Making sure your site loads quickly and has a mobile-friendly version. These are probably both automatic with site builders like Weebly, Wix, and SquareSpace as long as you don’t add huge files to a page. So if you want to add a large image, you might use a service like Webresizer.com to make it a smaller file before placing it on your site; if you add a video, you might want to embed one from YouTube or another service so it’s “hosted” by someone else and doesn’t slow down your page load.
- Tagging your pages and images correctly. This isn’t hard. Your website builder should have a section for each page called the “meta title” and “meta description” or something similar. Ignore the word “meta” and you already know what these mean. You should give a unique title of 55 characters or less and description of 150 characters or less to each page (including spaces). By unique, we literally mean to not use the same title or description twice. Each page should have something specific to that page. Incorporate the most important keywords for that page in both tags while remembering that real people may read these in search engine results, so you want to use these titles and descriptions to encourage people to click on your search result.
- Also tagging your images with a few keywords showing what the image is about. In Weebly, just click on the image and select "Advanced." You'll find a space called "Alt Text" where you can add these keywords. If you want to get even more advanced, name your file with related keywords before uploading it to your site. This may not do a lot, but the goal is to help the search engines know in every way possible what your pages are about.
- Providing good content. Search engines love written content because it’s a good way to validate what your site is about – after all, they know that you’re showing this content to your website visitors, so it should be legitimate. They also tend to like it when you update your content; quality and frequency count. Fortunately in the electrician’s world, your competition may not be doing much with content, which means you can potentially get visibility and keep it with just occasional updates or a few solid articles related to your work.
- Establishing quality / reputation. In order to assess that your website offers what people are looking for, search engines may look for indicators like links to your site, including people talking about your site on social media. However, this is again something that’s probably not happening much in your electrical world, so this isn’t something you’ll have to wrestle with as much as businesses in some other industries. Other measures include things like how long people stay on your site and whether they visit multiple pages; so again, this is why it’s important to capture people’s attention quickly (can they trust you based on the appearance of your site?; do you quickly let them know that you provide solutions they’re looking for?; etc.) and why quality content can help.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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:
- Add links to pages on your site besides just the home page. But don't just type in the full address -- too many of those would really make your signature look cluttered. Instead, use keywords to tell someone what they'll find on that page, highlight the keyword, then link it to the page. For instance, you could have a signature like this one (below) and link the last two lines to pages on your site where they can do these things. And use that free report to talk about your generator installation services (for instance) ... after you've given them plenty of other useful tips!
Get Our Free Report on Surviving Electrical Outages
Join Our Mailing List for Monthly Tips
This can be created in the settings of probably any email service.
- Optionally, you can include an HTML signature, which gives you more graphical options. Upload an image of yourself, add social icons linking to your social accounts, and much more. There are services like this that let you make them for next to nothing; others that charge monthly fees like HTML Sig or SigBop, both of which allow you to track things like email opens.
Social Media Marketing
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
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:
- Make sure you leave them with some of your amazing business cards. After our discussion on this topic earlier, your business cards are going to be amazing, right?
- Try to get permission from every customer to put them onto your email list. This way, when you're sending your monthly newsletter, they can easily forward your emails to others. They might only do so when their friend on Facebook (for instance) is asking for a local electrician. Then your customer remembers they have your contact info in your newsletter.
- If someone is raving about your service while you're still on site with them, ask if they wouldn't mind leaving a review for you online. Make sure they know how to find the places online where they can leave a review. (This might be your Google, Bing, or Yelp listings for instance.) If it makes it easier, email them the links after they say they'll leave you a review.
- If there's not a natural opening to ask about a review while on site, follow up by phone or email a week after service to see if they're happy with everything. If they're not happy with something, fix it before asking for a review. If they are happy, ask if they'll leave a review and send them the links for doing so.
- Offer a discount on one of your services for those who refer a friend (new customers only), and let them know your friend just needs to mention your name. Better yet, give the friend a discount too.
- Network with other business people for mutual referrals. Try to get on board with at least one real estate agent, as they can use electrical inspections prior to home purchases or listings and their home buyers may have electrical work they want done after they move in.
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!