Winning work isn’t always easy, so make sure you focus a decent amount of time and energy on getting re-booked by current clients. For this, communication is key. Always ask for feedback about how the job went and ask if there’s anything you could have done better or differently to make sure they use you again. Sometimes it’s easier for people to simply cut off a relationship with a contractor and start again, so make it easy for them to work on your relationship so it can grow. All too often a contractor will lose work and have no idea why – good communication can minimise the chance of this happening.
Reviews have never been more important than they are today. A five star rating given by a happy customer in any industry is worth 10 adverts which simply tell the world how fabulous you think your services are. Talk to your happy customers and ask them to share their feedback publically, either on your website or social media channels.
Most contractors have a Facebook page and lots also have a Twitter feed, but simply ticking the social media box isn’t enough. You need to be active, engaging and committed to make the most of what is arguably the most powerful free marketing tool out there.
Social media is all about community. Do you interact with your followers? Do they interact with you? Do you interact in any industry groups? In your profiles, think about what you can offer the community you’re hoping to build. Perhaps it’s through tips, news, competitions or offers and discounts – maybe even just funny videos(!) Also make sure you spend time retweeting, liking and posting on other companies’ pages and posts. Not only will others appreciate your engagement, it also exposes you to their followers, who might like what they see and just so happen to need your services.
Despite having just extoled the virtues of social media, there really is no comparison when it comes to face-to-face networking. Yes, it takes time and pushes many people out of their comfort zones, but getting involved in networking events is one of the best uses of your time as an SME business owner. That personal touch is one of the huge advantages you have over the bigger companies and getting out and about and meeting potential customers is a great way to let people experience it in the flesh.
Trawl through the industry press and figure out how you could help fill some of the pages in the magazines and online news sections. Do they have an appointments page? Do they ever need industry insiders to comment on current trends? Has your company recently done anything newsworthy? If you can’t find a way in, don’t sit around and wait for something to happen for you to get your name in a magazine or on a website, make it happen. Run a survey about a current hot industry topic and get the results out to the industry magazine’s editorial teams.