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?