You've got the equipment, you've got the skills, you've got the transport. But how are you going to build on these assets to generate interest from the public? Here are some tried-and-true tips that will have new customers beating a path to your door.
In business or in any other area of life, the key to finding your match is to broadcast your message. Make sure you are using all the available tools of communication so the world can hear you loud and clear.
Keep your online presence up-to-date
Let’s start with something devastatingly simple: people need to be able to find your business online if you are to succeed. It’s easy to assume that maintaining a website – any old website – will do, but this is no longer true. To really thrive in today's market, most businesses need a well-designed website to project professionalism and trustworthiness. In addition to being easy to navigate, your site has to be search engine optimised – written and designed so that it can be found easily by potential customers typing the services they want into a search site.
You should also make certain that your site is easy to view from any device. Mobile browsing has now outstripped desktop browsing in terms of numbers, and customers seeking local services are very likely to do so from a mobile phone. If your website only works well on a conventional desktop computer and your customers are looking for you on their smartphones, you've got a problem.
To ensure that local customers can find you easily, you also need to include lots of local information on your website. As well as prominently displaying your address, add maps and other information to help localise your website. That way, when people type "plumbing" or "deliveries" along with the name of your local area into Google, your site is more likely to pop up.
Social networks also typically enable you to search your local area. Should you choose to invest in, for instance, a Facebook page dedicated to your business, you could rely on your local network to share it with their friends and target potential local customers with ads. Whatever the platform, anchoring yourself within your area and community will be key.
Stay dynamic online…
Google and other search engines are very fond of sites that change regularly. Attaching a weblog to your site provides the content rotation that search engines love, and make it more likely that people will share your site via email or social media. For example, if you're providing handyman services, you could start a blog offering simple household maintenance tips. If you're not camera shy, a photoblog showcasing your work is even more impressive. If you're really adventurous, you could even consider a video blog related to your business.
Remember that nowadays, a website isn’t the end-all be-all of your online presence! Use it as a platform to tie in with social media, whether you choose to upload videos of the services your provide to YouTube or post pictures of your van on Pinterest and Instagram.
...But don't neglect traditional media
Many people, especially those in older demographics, will not be very fond of the internet as a source of information. They still turn to traditional means of finding the services they need: telephone directories, local newspaper ads, ads in local stores and businesses. It's important to make sure you keep promoting your business through these channels. If you have your contact details on your Renault van, make sure they're easy to read and that it's clear what services you offer.
Exploit word of mouth
Word of mouth is a vital means of securing custom. Keeping your existing clients happy is only part of this; you need to remind them to tell their friends, family or colleagues about you and encourage them to use your services. Make sure your customers have easy access to your contact details by printing business cards or flyers to hand out.
Bringing customers to your door can be one of the biggest challenges you face as a business owner. With these tips and a little ingenuity, you'll have all the custom you need.