A steady flow of clients and customers is what every small business needs to remain competitive and survive in today’s market. This is especially true of small, independently owned heating and plumbing businesses that do not have a company brand to rely upon and only have a small number of staff to make sure that the business runs smoothly. To compete in a modern market and to bring in new clients and customers, the owners of small businesses need to learn how to stretch a smaller marketing budget.
Here are five simple tips to help the plumbing and heating small business owners make the most out of a limited marketing budget.
1. Understand that marketing is about strategy and not a quick fix to a budget problem. It takes time and commitment. Your marketing strategy should be obvious in everything that you and your employees do (business cards, employee uniforms, logo on company transportation, letterhead, giveaways). The more your business gets seen, the more customers will be drawn to your services.
2. The customer’s happiness comes first. Always, Go above and beyond to make sure that your customer is happy and that customer will be more likely to recommend your services to his or her friends and family. The best way to ensure your customer’s happiness is to give them more than he/she expects-extra services for free, discounts, etc.
3. Avoid price fluctuations. If a project is going to cost more than originally estimated, notify the customer immediately and let him decide if he has the budget to continue. Offer a discount to keep his business and avoid raising the quoted cost as much as possible.
4. Small business owners need to pay attention to referral sources. Keep a tally of where most referrals are coming from: word of mouth, advertising, passing by, phone book entry, etc. This allows business owners to allocate advertising funds correctly and helps them avoid spending money on a marketing tactic that might not be profitable.
5. A website is imperative. Most professionals in the heating and plumbing industry do not realize just how much having a website can increase the business’s profits. The website does not need to be fancy, but it does need to be functional. This is how most potential clients will research your company. A website will help customers learn about you on their own time and will be more likely to attract first time customers than any other marketing tactic.
These are some simple marketing ideas that all small business owners can put into practice today, to help them in the short run in a difficult economic climate as well as the long run in any climate.