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Why tradies can’t rely on just word of mouth anymore

Why tradies can’t rely on just word of mouth anymore


You’ve been in business for a while now. Perhaps a long while. Things are going well and business has been consistent. Except that it’s not. The phones are slowing down, your word of mouth recommendations are starting to dry up. Where is your next lead coming from?

It is undeniable that word of mouth has always been the best marketing out there, but as communication channels have changed and become more advanced and people have more information at their fingertips than ever before, word of mouth has also evolved.

Today, your potential customers are still asking their friends and acquaintances for recommendations of products and services, but more so they are doing it through their online channels. You only have to join a Facebook group to see how common this is.

Now while your previous happy clients may recommend you to a prospective customer at a BBQ, its almost 100% guaranteed that that customer is going to check you out online before they take any action. That means they’ll be looking at your website and social media before making a decision. If they like what they see, you may go on the list of providers they contact. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll be contacting your competitors that are doing it better. Yes, even if you’re more skilled than those competitors.

So what are the considerations you need to make if you’re serious about getting a steady stream of new customers asking for quote? Here’s but a few.


If the answer is no, you’re already losing business. You need to have a website which outlines who you are, what you’re great at and provides evidence. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate 10 page site that requires intense management (websites still need ongoing management but you need to decide how much time you have). A website can be a 1-3 page online presence that wows your customers and urges them to learn more, or better yet ask for a quote.

Now while a website is the FIRST step, it certainly isn’t the only one..yep, there’s more.


That means in Google My Business Listing, maps, organic listings and (or) in Google ads. Google is king, like it or not. Yellow pages are a waste of time, they sold their database to Google years ago, local trades pages may be slightly effective but unless those directories are well known to people, it is unlikely that customers will be going to find them. Similarly if you are on page 3 of Google, no one will ever look for you there.

You need to take action and ensure that you are being found on Google. How do you do that? Well here is a (short) list of things you need to do.

  • Have an effective website and tell Google it’s there (this is called indexing)
  • Have a complete Google My Business Profile
  • Create ongoing new content on your website that is shared on the internet, creating more links to your website and giving it more authority (telling Google it is worthy of showing it higher in its rankings
  • Use keyword effectively on your website
  • Link your website to your Google account including Google analytics so you can measure how many people are going to your site where that traffic is coming from.
  • Ask your customers for reviews. And learn how to manage the bad ones.

There’s more, but I will leave you with that for now.


Facebook is a must. Even if you choose not to use it, you need a business profile listing your services, hours of operation and communication channels, Add some images and a few posts for good measure. If you feel strongly about not using the profile, you can leave a message on the page giving your potential customers information about how to contact you.

If you are going to use Facebook a clear strategy for what you will post, how often and to what end is vital. Remember too that your website needs to have a pixel installed if you are planning to be able to measure any activity that is coming from your Facebook page to your website.

If you choose to use Instagram, you need to commit to it. If you have a trade that has a visually appealing outcome, then Instagram can work well for you. People love before and after shots, but that may not be so appealing if you are a mechanic. Remember to use hashtags effectively. Think about what your customers may be searching for and use those terms in your hashtags. Oh and maintain a visual consistency…choose a style and stick with it.

Posting content is important but if you have a small number of followers you may as well be yelling into an empty room. More on advertising in a moment.


Capturing emails and maintaining email messaging with your customers is one of the most effective ways of keeping your business top-of-mind. But don’t bombard them with wordy emails or put yourself under too much pressure to deliver a monthly newsletter. Trust me, they aren’t waiting for your email. Again a clear strategy for your marketing encompassing all your channels will give you an advantage, and take the guess work out of what to send to who and when.

Your email capture can be from your website or landing page, or a Facebook advertising campaign, or both. Remember to keep it short, sharp, informative and give your customers plenty of opportunity to engage with you.


Facebook advertising has become one of the most effective ways to reach a specific audience by delivering interesting content and value to your potential customers. If done well and strategically, Facebook ads can be the most cost-effective way to reach new leads.

Google ads can be complex and expensive if you are not sure what you are doing. However, when done right, they can put you at the top of the paid ads search results and get you instant leads. Remember to do effective keyword research and not over-expand your geographical reach.


Google advertising can give you instant results, but what happens when you turn the ads off? Your website disappears from Google searches. To get to, and maintain page one Google search rankings an SEO campaign is a sure-fire way to get to the top. Unlike Google ads, this is a slower process. At the start, if you are starting from a lower position, it may take up to three months to get to the page one spot, once you are there, you will find there is a battle for the top stop with your main competitors, but together with a good social media presence, you can be the king of the castle.

SEO has longer-term results than advertising, it takes a lot longer to be knocked off the front page if you stop all activity.


Back to the word of mouth. Human recommendations aside, most people will look at your Facebook and Google reviews to help them make decisions about your services. If you consistently ask your customers to leave their reviews, you will soon find you have a bank of golden feedback that will put you up in lights. Don’t worry about the negative reviews, there are effective ways of managing these and given that your good will outweigh the bad, most customers will make a reasonable judgment that you are good at what you do and occasionally you come across a disgruntled customer.

So there you have just a snapshot of some of the activities recommended to make you stand out online and attract new business. While it can seem like a lot, so is building a house or repairing a broken driveshaft. You wouldn’t leave the roof off or forget to put the wheels back on.

If you’re interested in knowing more and getting your marketing up to speed, check out our TRADES NOTICIBILITY SCORE SURVEY. It takes just 3 minutes to complete and in return, you receive a free report outlining how far you have already come with your marketing and identifying key areas recommended you tackle to get those phones ringing off the hook. It’s absolutely free and if you don’t like what you see or aren’t interested in discussing any further, we won’t be offended. But come on..who doesn’t want more business?




A Trades Noticeability Score is a score out of 20 which determines how well your digital marketing is performing.

To create the score we review the following in depth:

  • Your website including
    • quality of website, contents and call to actions
    • social integrations
    • Google indexing
    • Blog activity on your site
  • Google
    • Google my business listing – existence, accuracy and quality of information
    • Reviews
    • Integration with website and analytics
    • Google Ads
    • Rankings in Google searches
  • Facebook
    • Facebook business profile
    • Integrations with website
    • Quality and frequency of content
    • Audience engagement
    • Reviews
    • Call to action buttons
    • Messenger platform
    • Facebook Ads

 The final score is based on the cumulative total of our findings.


By reviewing your digital marketing presence and the quality of content and engagement with your audience we are able to determine our recommendations for improving your marketing, increasing your exposure to your target audience and getting you more leads.

No score is determined to be BAD, it simply tells us, and YOU how far you have already come, and what you can do in the future to get in front of your customers.

Based on the score we provide you with 10 actionable steps to implement TODAY which will help in improving your marketing.

The next step in the process is to meet with you over a coffee, chocolate milk or a beer to talk about what you can do in the future.

We are a local Brisbane business with 18 years in marketing, including experience in old school marketing like TV and Press advertising. We’ve seen it all. We understand that the current marketing world can be complicated and it’s hard to know what to do and when. You are no doubt great at what you do, which is why people come to you to have their car fixed, deck build or house painted. Working with us let’s you do that best as the leads roll in without having to worry about where the next customer will come from.


  • Building websites and landing pages
  • Setting up social media profiles
  • Creating marketing strategies so you know where you are going, email, social media and promotion
  • Managing your Facebook advertising so that you stop wasting money
  • Managing your Google advertising so you get seen
  • Creating email campaigns so you can keep in touch with your clients
  • Photography, so that your business always looks its best
  • Google my Business management
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so that you are always #1 when someone Googles your services

So all that is left to do now is to fill out this form. This gives us all the information we need to check out your existing marketing and put together a comprehensive report. It will about 3 minutes to complete and it’s 100% risk free because if you don’t like what you see or don’t want to talk further, we won’t hold it against you, but come on, who doesn’t want more customers calling?

Talk to you soon.

What is SEO? Why do I need it?

What is SEO? Why do I need it?

What is SEO? Why do I need it?

It used to be as easy as having a yellow pages ad, but as technology as changed and competition has grown fiercer, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has become a near necessity for business marketing.

Sure if you have a spare $50,000 you could run a successful radio campaign. Or perhaps place an ad in the paper, but the reality is, these days people are searching for products and services using Google, and if your business isn’t appearing at the top of those Google searches, then you are missing out on customers.

So what is SEO? And how exactly does it’s milkshake help bring all the boys to the yard?

What is SEO?

The first thing you need to understand is how search engines (okay just Google, the rest aren’t important), rank pages and decide which should appear at the top of the search.

To put it simply Google sends out its team of creepy crawlies “spiders” or “bots” to “crawl” hundreds of millions of web pages and collect information such as page content and links to and from the page.

Once collected, the data is analysed by the search engine’s algorithms (these are like prewritten pieces of code that set rules upon the content) to determine the relevance of the page to the nominated keyword and compared to all the other pages that are also competing for that keyword. Yes it is a digital popularity contest.

It’s a bit like this. You say you have an ice cream stand. The bots go to the stall and determine whether you have a stall, ice cream, a sign that says ice cream, some literature about ice cream, and some pictures as proof that indeed there is ice cream at that location. Oh and that picture also needs to be named “ice cream”. It is also important that you have more information, more images, more links and more ice cream than the business up the road which is also claiming to have ice cream.

So when a customer, hungry for a double choc chip cone, goes to Google in search of a tasty treat and types in “ice cream”, Google uses this information to determine which page should come up first in the search.

Simple right?

How does SEO work?

Okay so you get how Google ranks and displays the pages, but how does Search Engine Optimisation actually work?

SEO works by putting the right information into your website allowing the spiders and bots to find you easily and determine that you have all the right data to rank for the keywords which are being searched.

SEO also performs the function of making your site user friendly so that the bots can tell Google it is a good site.

SEO builds links to and from your website, telling Google that it is credible (that is if the links are to and from other well ranked websites)

The way that all of this is done is by painstakingly changing the information within your website including

  • creating relevant names and titles of pages and page descriptions

  • adding keywords into web page content

  • changing the names and description of images, and

  • ensuring the webpage is clean and free from missing pages and URL errors.

Off page SEO works to add links across a variety of digital media channels including social media platforms and article submission sites that lead users back to your site.

Why do I need SEO?

Running a quality SEO campaign will result in having a bot friendly website which helps Google to rank your site highly.

Did you know that 90% of people searching for products and services do not even make it past the first page. No one is searching page 10, and I will bet a kidney that no one has ever searched page 1000.

Having a website which appears in the top 10 search listings under your relevant keywords will mean more customers to your website and more customers to your door.

In short, SEO will bring the boys to your yard whether you are selling milkshakes or ice cream, car parts or body parts (if you are selling body parts we will unfortunately be unable to do any work with you because that is illegal).

Why choose SEO over Google Adwords?

The difference between SEO and Google Adwords is that Adwords will place you at the top of the page almost immediately (the more money you spend the higher you will go), however once the campaign ends, your presence disappears immediately.

Search Engine Optimisation on the other hand will keep your site optimised month after month and the more work and content you put in, the higher your ranking will be. SEO is therefore a longer term solution.

How do I start?

There are plenty of DIY SEO plugins for websites that can get you started. A simple Google search of DIY SEO will give you the best ranked sites and plugins (isn’t that ironic).

The thing to remember is that good solid SEO takes time, research and consistency. If you have time to work on your site for hours on end then I absolutely encourage you to start today. If not…. Well I know of a few tried and tested outsourcing options..wink wink

Digitally Yours

Ala Pie


Why it’s not enough just have a website.

Why it’s not enough just have a website.

Because if you build it, they won’t just come…

Many people and businesses build websites and believe their job is done; it’s time to kick back and wait for the clients to roll in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. You can build it, but the people won’t just come, essentially because they don’t know it’s there. It’s very rare that people will just stumble across a website without some kind of marketing strategy in place to tell them it’s there, and why they should visit.

Unless your website is simply acting as a statement of your business’ legitimacy, you will need a marketing strategy which includes SEO (search engine optimisation), an ongoing social media presence, content writing (a blog), as well as someone to help you manage the whole process.

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to run your online business, you may have been told by well-meaning friends or acquaintances that SEO is dead. The truth is, if you want to generate traffic to your website, you need to ignore those people. In fact, SEO is more important than ever in a competitive market. Every day, millions of people (your potential clients!) use and trust search engines to find solutions to problems, answers to questions, and products they need. The majority of users tend to scroll no further than the top five search results, so it’s essential to employ good SEO if you want to be ahead of the competition.  

As well as SEO, an ongoing social media presence has a huge potential to increase sales by increasing brand recognition and visibility, generating a loyal following, increasing opportunities to convert customers of another brand to your own, and increasing conversion rates. It may be time-consuming, but building up a large, organic social media following has been shown to lend trust credibility to your brand.

Many business owners don’t see the point of having a blog on their website, believing they’re not bloggers; rather they have a product or service to sell. However, you need to remember that a blog is a constant source of outgoing information and a way you can keep customers up to date with latest products and developments, while getting them onto your website.

Your blog is also a way to keep your site higher in the search engine rankings, as you’re consistently producing new content. Think of it like this: If you have a bricks and mortar store, but you never get any new stock, people will stop coming. Your blog is your new stock that keeps customers returning.

Digital marketing can be a lot of work, but it’s essential for an online business. If you have any questions or need help with your marketing strategy, we can take care of everything from building your website, to SEO, social media, and even content writing.

Remember, your best customer is a stranger you have never met, so you need to get the word out there so they can find your business, and keep giving them reasons to come back.

Branding. What is it and why is it important?

Branding. What is it and why is it important?


Why is branding important? A brand is your business identity. It legitimises you and gives your business a look and feel. It sets a tone and a direction for your business. Most importantly it creates a visual and non visual persona that allows your customers to become familiar with. Using consistency, building brand trust, and then brand lust. And once you have brand lust, you’ve made it because everyone wants what your brand offers.

Brand lust is an important player here, and for those of you who aren’t familiar think about how companies like Coca Cola, Gucci, Billabong, Topdeck, BMW, or KFC advertise their products. Rarely do you see them going over any features or benefits of their products or services, they simply make you want the feeling their brand represents and the experience they are making look so fun, fancy free and quite frankly irresistible.

But brand is so much more than a cool logo. It is the tone of voice, the colours, the price, the packaging the product comes in. It is the font that you use on the packaging.

The advertising itself should speak to the desires of the target audience.

Depending on your product or service here are some questions to ask yourself when creating your brand overview.

For the sake of a practical example lets say I am selling organic fruit icy poles in wholefood style stores.


How old are they? What are they into? What do they eat? Where do they party? What clothes do they wear? What do they desire? What are the lacking in their lives? How can your brand fit with them to fulfil that need or desire?

My target audience are young health conscious people aged 18-30. Possibly vegetarian, fruitaian or vegan. They are environmentally conscious. Love the outdoors, love animals and love the wunderlust lifestyle. They’re middle class, but do not strive for an upper-class lifestyle. They lack choice of healthy summertime icecream options.



Most likely a bright, happy, outdoors sunshine based colour scheme will appeal in this example. I want to represent fun, friends, exploration, vibrance.


I want to exude fun, health and a childlike playfulness.

The font should be modern, beautiful, simple and non standard. I want to fill the brand with loads of colour and contrast it with a simple modern typeface.



I want to use words that speak to the adventure and the freedom of my audience. I want them to come of a word journey that says I am healthy, I am free I am happy and its all thanks to this colourful organic icy pole in my hand.


They’re environmentally conscious so natural recycled or biodegradable packaging is vital.

It should be minimal, colourful and make the product itself look like fun a paper bag.



The same crowd that is happy to buy $25 avo on toast (remember Tim Gurner) fit into this category of people so they won’t hesitate to drop $6 on a single icy pole knowing it is made of organic fruit. Do your research and see what the competition charges. Also look into what it costs to make the product and packaging and any other associated costs including distribution and marketing. Then look at how much money you want to make in your first year and divide the two by one another. This will tell you have many unit you need to sell to achieve your financial goal above your expenses.


$50,000/$3.5 = 14,285 to break even
So if your product was $6 you would need to sell 34,285 to make $50,000

(okay this is a REALLY bad business idea… do not run this business if you want to get rich..but you get the picture)


Where is your product and service going to be available?

My icy poles will be in all organic stores across Australia. I have purposely targeted organic stores because it fits with my brand. I want to have my own fridge which will look like an old school icecream stand and for promotional days I will have a staff member dress like a 1950’s icecream (wo)man and give samples.

So there you have it. Brand 101 complete. Now go forth and create something amazing.

Creatively yours, Ala