Spend less money on advertising, while increasing your leads with a ‘Professional Profile’.
Welcome back to the second edition of this 4 part series, ‘4 Essentials to help Tradies Stand out in 2015’.
In the previous post we spoke about the importance of having a Professional Web Presence and in this post we’re gong to concentrate on the importance of having a Professional Profile.
Take note however, in 2015 it’s critical that before you do anything from a marketing, or profile building perspective, you must have a professional website, or blog that represents you, or your business correctly.
This is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you’re generating hype, you need something to back you up.
You’re going to get ‘Googled’, so you need to be ‘Googleable’.
Secondly, here in Australia, 75% of us will do our own research before picking up the phone, and the first place we go is online. It’s critical that once someone goes looking for you, they can find you. Once they find you, you hope that they like what they find.
If you missed the last post on websites for tradies, click here.
Now onto building a professional profile.
At Tradie Web Guys, we work with a lot of tradies that are small businesses. Your typical ‘up to 5 guys’ kind of companies. It’s a difficult spot to be in when you’re a small business and you don’t have a huge amount of cash flow because like it or not, you’re competing against companies that are possibly spending upwards of $100,000 every month on advertising.
So the question becomes,
How can you be creative in that space and still get some runs on the board, while not playing like the ‘big boys’?
For those that have read the book, or seen the movie ‘Moneyball’, Billy Beane (the coach of the Oakland Athletics Baseball team) is competing against the biggest Major League franchise in the world, the New York Yankees. (The Yankees, by the way are also one of the most recognised brands on the planet. Up there with Coca Cola, Apple and Nike.)
That year, the Yankee’s had a payroll of $114 Million USD, however Oakland were competing against them with a budget of $39 Million USD.
In one key scene, Billy is in a pre season meeting with the teams scouts and they’re trying to replace various players they had lost the season before to other clubs with more money than them. He states, “Guys, if we try to play like the Yankees in here, we’ll loose to the Yankees out there”.
This is a powerful statement and it’s totally relevant in traditional business. He meant there’s no point no trying to out spend a franchise that has a budget nearly two and a half times what they had.
You need to get creative and you need to think outside the box. Sure some companies have large marketing budgets, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the game.
What is profile?
Your professional profile is how you’re represented in the marketplace.
To break this down, I’m going to give you an example of two different (hypothetical) plumbers, with two different profiles.
You can see from this comparison that there is a clear winner. You might also observe that a lot of the traits are things that can be easily remedied. Things like Appearance and Professionalism are all elements that can be improved, simply by making the decision.
It doesn’t take a lot of work to look and speak well to clients and if you’re the kind of tradie that shows up to your customer’s door with a coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, then more fool you.
What tools can you use to help build your profile?
You could be the best in the world at what you do, however if no one knows about it, your phone won’t ring. Here are a few areas that you could try leveraging.
A great place for you to showcase your expertise is on your website. Features like blogs provide an effective platform for you to talk specifically about projects that you have done and they allow you to educate your audience along the way.
When creating an article for a blog, you are also creating content that search engines can find. By employing some basic SEO tactics to your piece, you’re enhancing the chance showing up in search queries.
Google Apps for Work:
Google Apps for work is Gmail for business. It’s a suite of applications that incorporate; cloud storage; cloud email; Googles own version of Microsoft Word and Excel which enables people to collaborate in real time; and much more.
The reason that we choose to use Google Apps as the preferred provider for both Tradie Web Guys and our clients, is because we use that email address to form the foundation of the Professional Profile. With that Google account, we automatically get a Google+ account, a YouTube account, a Gmail for business account, and a bunch more features. Not to mention it’s integration with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
Social media can be a great place to build profile and it can be really powerful if you choose the right platforms. If you have a visual product like building or landscaping, platforms like facebook, Instagram, Pintrest and YouTube might be a good way for you to visually exhibit your work. Whereas if your product is more business to business, perhaps LinkedIn is a better avenue.
At the end of the day, you should be spending your time where your customers spend theirs. Don’t try to be everywhere.
If you’re wanting to build your name as an industry thought leader, I don’t think there’s a better place to be than LinkedIn, because it has such strong networking benefits with other industry thought leaders, which in turn leads to strong strategic partnerships.
If you’ve done a good job, don’t be afraid to ask for a review.
Professional profiles always have great reviews and testimonials.
It’s all about relating to people. If someone can see a review that’s been left by a person from a similar background, on a subconscious level half their apprehensions have been diffused.
You can ask your customers to leave reviews on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp and many more, however one of the most powerful methods is the video testimonial. A legitimate video testimonial, will serve you very well. Sure, they’re not always the easiest to obtain, however they’re definitely the most powerful.
The media is a greatly to build your profile as an thought leader. Don’t be afraid to write a Press Release, or contact your local paper if you’ve done something out of the ordinary. The difference between a press release and an ad, is a press release is not about selling, it’s about telling a story. It shouldn’t be biased and it can often represent opposing views.
The other significant difference is that people will actually read a press release 😉
Leveraging others to enhance your profile.
If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up being nothing to anyone!
Collaboration is the new black. Working with others in your industry is a sure way to grow your professional profile as it highlights your ability to network and it also proves that you’re open to opinion.
Find another person that has the same market as you, but with a different product or service and buy them a coffee. Swap ideas; conduct an interview for a blog; feature them in an article; take selfies with them, whatever it is just get out there!
You’ll be amazed at how many strategic partnerships you’ll be able to form, by getting in front of people. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Here are some action steps for you to apply to help you improve your profile:
1. Scrub up and look the part.
2. Start a blog.
3. Secure your social media accounts.
4. Build your LinedIn profile.
5. Collect 5 legitimate written testimonials.
6. Get 1 video testimonial.
7. Speak to 3 potential partners and document each encounter.