Construction Hardhat and Laptop Computer

Online Marketing​​ ​​For​​ ​​Tradesmen:​​ ​​The Brutal Truth You Need To Know

A guide to finally take control and get more customers from your website.

Over the years I’ve helped my fair share of tradesmen, and man… you guys are busy! I’m not even sure how you’re reading this. Oh and before we get too much farther in this guide for online marketing like a savage, go ahead and add this to your favorites right now. That way you can come back and grab chunks as time allows.

The goal of this guide is to remove the bs and get you on a path to action. Simple as that! It will show you only the concepts you need to know, with a little explanation in case you want put that Advil to work. This will be multi part guide, with future updates to close any loose ends and address any questions I get. If you have any questions(or want to tell me to hurry up and finish this) feel free to email me directly at roger@sitetreedesigns.com

***Updated (9/13/2017)


Straight to it then… you ready for the first brutal truth?

 

The Truth

La La La I can't hear you!

 

Buckle Up

It would be awesome if I could give you a “3 quick steps” type of guide and have you all setup to party. But that doesn’t exist. What I can tell you is, after you’re done(maybe even half way?) you will know enough to either a. do basic online marketing yourself, b. do the initial setup then hand it off to someone else, or c. have someone else do it all entirely. In the end it will come down to how much time you can invest, for the trade-off of saving money.

 

It’s Never Done

So you’ve got a website… job complete right? Not so fast! The most common misconception I see with my clients is that once a website launches, customers will automatically just start pouring in. (or at least enough to be happy about!)

If you build it they will come

So the website launches, and……. *Crickets chirping

You know that last time you were at the local hardware store? You glanced to your left and saw an orange vest being tackled by adventurous diy home owners? All with problems, and there’s only 1 employee for every 5 of them.

Imagine that same scenario, except reversed. 5 orange vests(websites), for every 1 customer. The remaining 4 are just standing there with their thumbs up their butt. Now multiply those numbers by 1000 or more. What inevitably ends up happening is a lot of the really helpful and knowledgeable people(websites) are forced to the back. Invisible, and essentially not there.

That’s the world business owners like yourself face online. It’s one of those big aha moments when you realize a website is a tool that needs sharpened now and then. Suddenly it becomes obvious why ignored websites fail at their job. And that in a tool shed with thousands of other tools (wait… did i just compare your competitors to tools? ahem… ), doing all you can to increase your chances of success is not just an option, but rather a necessity.

 

The Materials

There are loads of “Buzz words” tossed around in almost any field, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, online marketing is no different. Typically we ignore these high-priced words as our eyes glaze over. To avoid that nonsense I will be steering clear of them as much as possible. The next brutal truth is this; there will be a few we can’t avoid. And one of those is-

 

The Marketing Funnel

What is it? A tool to plan the journey your potential customers will take towards the purchase of your products or services.

What does it do? It breaks down your strategy into manageable stages.

There are multiple versions floating around, but here is a simplified version.

A online marketing funnel infographic
Simplified Marketing Funnel.

 

Almost everything we will be doing is going to exist in this funnel. The layers in it are made up of various tools that have one purpose; to move your prospects down the funnel to the next layer. There’s even a flipped funnel which aims to encourage current customers to share their positive experience. In turn refueling the top of the marketing funnel. (perhaps another guide for the future?)

So what does each of the layers do? From the top to the bottom, here we go.

The Awareness Layer of a Marketing Funnel
The Awareness Layer of a Marketing Funnel

 

The Interest Layer of a Marketing Funnel
The Interest Layer of a Marketing Funnel.

 

The Consideration Layer of a Marketing Funnel
The Consideration Layer of a Marketing Funnel.

 

The Purchase Layer of a Marketing Funnel
The Purchase Layer of a Marketing Funnel.

 

You need to know that only a certain percentage will make it through your funnel. And that’s normal! It is designed to find people who are either ready to buy, or just on the cusp. And everyone else is handled appropriately, depending on what works. For example, a typical tactic is to split them off into another nurturing cycle that gives them more time to try the flavor of your koolaid. That’s the real benefit of this kind of strategy. Not everyone will be ready to buy when you offer, but damn straight you’ll be there when they are.

How is this funnel able to distinguish between those who are “ready”, and those who are not? Good question! You electricians will be familiar with this next concept. Take a look.

logic gate for online marketing
A simple logic gate example to illustrate the result of a prospect’s decision to open an email.

 

That is the basic idea. Their actions decide what kind of content we send next (if at all). So at this point, you’re saying…  but bro…  this sounds like a lot of work! Enter the “Drip Campaign”.

 

The Drip Campaign

What is it? A tool that automates the sending of content to leads.

What does it do? It allows you to contact leads with relevant information based on timed intervals or actions taken by prospects.

Thankfully, there are tools available to automate this whole process. They range in features, complexity and pricing, but the one we will be using is perfect for anyone just starting out. It has most of the features we need, is the easiest to use, and is completely free for a limited amount of subscribers.

We will come back to that tool in a minute, but first let me show you an example of what a funnel with some of those conditional logic gates would look like.

Example of basic drip campaign
Example showing the basic mechanisms of a drip campaign.

 

Obviously that example moves way too fast. A sales offer immediately after (or in) the “Awareness” stage is bad. But as you can see, a drip campaign is just a series of automated “triggers” that keep prospects moving through the funnel over time. The process of “Dripping” relevant content based off a user’s decision is very powerful. This tactic alone speeds up the Consumer Buying Process by keeping your company top of mind, and naturally building trust at the consumer’s pace.

Ok, that’s enough of that! Hopefully that wasn’t too rough. Next we will be finally taking some action and setting up your Online Marketing.

 

The Guide

 

Step #1 – Local Business Listings

Adding your business to local business listings is the most basic step you can take towards your online marketing efforts. It’s crucial to your visibility online and is an incredible asset if you make use of customer ratings/reviews.

We will only be setting up the “big two”, Google and Bing. They are an absolute must, but there are many more which you can find at the end of this guide in the Resource Link List.

*Please note – All of your business information must be the same across all business listing directories. This is referred to as NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency. This goes for your website url (e.g. www vs. non-www) as well. Also, most do not accept PO Box addresses, so choose an address that you are comfortable with having online. Let’s get started.

 

Google My Business – https://www.google.ca/business/

Goto the Google My Business page to claim your business. Select the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”(if that’s you), or if you want your address hidden.

Here is the official Google My Business video if you need any help. (skip to 1:30m)

 

Bing Places – https://www.bingplaces.com/

Goto the Bing Places page and hit the “Get Started” button.

Here is the Official Bing video if you need any help (skip to .30sec)

 

Step #2 – Tools

Here are the tools you will need for your basic setup. Get signed up to them for now, we’ll take a closer look at them as we need them.

  • Lead Magnets (Infographics, pdf’s, etc.) – https://www.canva.com/
  • Squeeze Pages
    • If you are using WordPress and you’re sticking to a free option, there are “Page Builder” plugins to create pages. Some are better than others. I am going to recommend WP Lead Plus X, because out of the 15 free ones I tried, it had the features we need, and was the simplest to setup and use. Win win right?
    • If you have the budget for it, here are some of the more widely used standalone paid ones (Like always, do your research and try their free trials)
  • Drip Marketing / Marketing Automation – https://www.drip.co/
    • I recommend Drip because I found it the easiest to use and has email list capabilities built in. If you’re interested in other options take a look at the Resource Link List at the end of this guide.
    • Has a free option but does require a credit card.
  • Email Marketing / Email List
    • As mentioned above, Drip will give you this built in. A list of alternatives will be in the Resource Link List at the end of this guide.
  • Blog – https://wordpress.org/
    • If you don’t have one already your web developer can set this up for you.

Step #3 – Content Brainstorm

Before we get to far along we need to get the subject of your content in hammered out. What kind of information are you going give in your Lead Magnet? Is it valuable? Does it speak to your experience in your trade?

I’m gonna roll with a concept/example I came up with using the Canva web app I listed above. You can view it here.  *DISCLAIMER – ALL INFORMATION USED PURELY FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY

Don’t worry, in a future step we will be going over “the making of” end of it, but for now, at least we have a foundation for the messaging and language. As you can see, it’s main value add is saving homeowners money by getting insider knowledge of the best kept secrets in the electrical industry. Who doesn’t like to save money eh?

 

Step #4 – Social Media Marketing

Do you have Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter business pages setup? No? Just do it! Ask your web developer or get in touch if you need any help. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction, free of charge! Want more Social Media sites on the interwebs you can get your business setup on? Check out the list at the end of the guide.

Before moving on there is one more social media tool you should get. It allows you to post to all of your social media pages at one go, for free! https://buffer.com/

 

Step #5 – Drip Campaign

That last step was probably pretty easy depending on whether you had social business pages set up already. I’m assuming you did, so in this step we are going to start some techy stuff. (I’m trying to space these out for ya)

 

Create Your Campaign

  1. Login to your Drip.co account.
  2. Choose “Campaigns” from the menu at the top.
  3. Hit the “New Campaign” button.
  4. Name it “My First Campaign” and hit Create Campaign.

 

Email

Now that we have a campaign, we need to create the email that will have the download link to your irresistible Lead Magnet(which we will create later). You should be seeing a message telling you that “This campaign has no emails (yet)“. If you don’t, hit the “Emails” tab.

  1. Hit the “Create Your First Email” button.
  2. Enter “Your download is here!” into the “Email Subject” field.
  3. Enter the following into the big body section of the email, and hit the “Save” button.

Hello!

Here is the download we promised that will tell you 4 Ways To Save Money On Your Next Electric Bill!

We know you will find it absolutely incredible this information isn’t well known, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. To get more insider secrets your family & friends need to know, check out our blog here and keep an eye open for our next email.

And as always, your home at BetterHome’s Electrical. Have a great day!

 

The Opt-In Form

  1. Now hit the “Opt-In Forms” tab.
  2. Change the “Headline” to “My First Campaign Form”.
  3. In the “Content” panel (left side), change the Button Text to “FREE INSTANT ACCESS”.
  4. Hit the “Confirmation Settings” sub menu item.
  5. Make sure the “When should this form send a confirmation email?” dropdown is set to “never”.
  6. Select the “Post-Signup” sub menu item (right next to confirmation settings).
  7. In the “Custom Post-Submission Page” field enter “http://www.yourwebsite.com/thank-you” (with your website and without the quotes).
  8. Hit the little “Rules” pill button, and set the “Send a double opt-in confirmation email” switch to Off.
  9. On the right hand side in the “Design” panel, uncheck the “Enable the widget” checkbox.
  10. Hit the “Save Settings” button.

 

Campaign Settings

  1. Select the “Settings” tab.
  2. Change the “From” name to the name of your business.
  3. Change the “From” email field to your business email address (better to have this be a persons email rather than a generic department like “marketing”. ie. john@betterhomes.com).
  4. The “Address” field will have to be filled out with a valid address as well.
  5. In the “Signup Settings” panel on the right side, make sure “Send double opt-in confirmation email by default” is unchecked.
  6. Hit the “Save” button.

 

Step #6 – Content

Phew!!!  You still with me? Ok….   So we have our tools. But now it’s time to get creative and start sharing your trade wisdom. Again, it needs to be interesting and valuable to your potential customers. If you just phone it in, people will see right through it. I think I see another brutal truth around the corner! This can be the most time-consuming part, but once it’s done and bringing in leads, the return is exponential. And as painful as that might sound, you’ll need to regularly add to it and revise as performance stats start rolling in.

For our example, we are going to drill down on the Infographic type Lead Magnet, but there are so many different channels to explore that show your expertise, attract possible customers.

 

Lead Magnet

So you’ve already signed up for Canva right? Great! Create something you think your potential customers will find valuable. Again, my stab at it. *DISCLAIMER – ALL INFORMATION USED PURELY FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY

Here are five ideas to get your marketing brain turning if your coming up blank:

  • Top 10 things to know before hiring a contractor
  • 3 warning signs to look out for with a plumber
  • Annual maintenance checklist for the average homeowner
  • Natural Gas Furnace or Heat-pump: which is right for your family
  • How to prepare your home for the winter FREEZE (in a icey blue color with a snowflake next to it)

Once you’re done download it.

 

Step #7 – Lead Generation via Squeeze Page

This step should really have it’s own guide. Especially if you plan to use the free WordPress plugin I recommended above. Setting up, and then doing your first squeeze page can quickly overwhelm you. And depending on which plugin you choose, it will have a different setup and process for actually creating the page. For those reasons, I can only speak generally about creating your squeeze page for now. But again, email me if you need help.

 

How It Works

Just to refresh our memory here, its a single webpage offering your Lead Magnet / Content in exchange for a users information. It kicks off the whole funnel so obviously…  it’s very important.

Flow chart of a Squeeze Page
Flow chart of a Squeeze Page

 

What It Looks Like

It can look however you want, as long as its messaging/design is clear and professional. It should have at least the following:

  • Business Logo
  • Offer Title
  • An ad or image previewing the carrot
  • Supporting message
  • A form to capture the information
  • Closing footer with contact information (email, telephone, social)

 

Here is one for the example Lead Magnet I’m using.

 

The Form

As I said before, depending on which route you choose, getting the Drip Campaign integrated into your Squeeze Page will be different. But we can take a look at where(in drip.co) to find the form information you will need.

  1. Head on over to your Drip.co account and login.
  2. Choose “Forms” from the menu at the top.
  3. Select the “My First Campaign Form” form we created earlier.
  4. On the right hand side in the “Design” panel, choose the “Embedded” submenu item.

There you will find the HTML form code. You will either need to copy that into the form on your wordpress page builder, or the get “action=”” link if you don’t need the Drip.co’s HTML form.

 

The “Thank You” Page

This page can be as simple as a “Thanks! A download link is being emailed to you momentarily.”. But usually you want to use this last opportunity to “Squeeze” a little bit more out of the exchange. A common tactic is to have what is called a Trip Wire section. We won’t be utilizing this in our example, but a quick explanation is a low pressure offer for another piece of content or low cost/discounted special you are providing. So for example, you would use a thank you message like above, and then say “But while you wait..  Check this out!”.

Now, if you remember when we created the form for your Drip Campaign, we entered “http://www.yourwebsite.com/thank-you” in the “Custom Post-Submission Page” field. That is link to this page. The link must be the same in end.

 

Step #8 – Flipping The Switch

Congrats! You are about to start your first Online Marketing Campaign. An important part of a campaign is testing. It’s crucial our planned flow/process is working as intended. So that means stepping into the shoes of our potential customer going through the process and experiencing what we just created.

But before we can do that, we have to activate our campaign.

 

Activate The Drip Campaign

If you’re not already, login to your Drip.co account. If you are seeing a pop-up titled “Setup your campaign”, You can follow their wizard by hitting the “Continue With Setup” button, or;

  1. Hit the “Emails” tab, and set the “Status” dropdown to “Published”.
  2. At the top, next to the title of your campaign, change the dropdown from draft, to “Activate”.

 

Testing Your Campaign

Now through the eyes of a random person, go through your process, by opening the Squeeze Page. And as a quick aside, there is another aspect to the field of marketing called “Conversion Testing”, that deals with the area of increasing the likelihood any customer facing material will “bite”. We are not going to get into that. For our purposes, we are going to assume you are a master marketer and can sell ice to an eskimo.

Our goal here is to make sure the everything is functioning.

Pre Launch Checklist

  1. Link to Squeeze Page works
  2. Form is submitting to our Drip Campaign
  3. User is being directed to the thank you page after submitting form
  4. Drip Campaign is emailing the download link to the user

 

Houston We Have a Problem

Chances are at some point, things aren’t going to work. No worries, just go back to your Drip account and set the campaign status to “Paused”. Make your fixes and then re-activate, and test.

 

So now we have a simple campaign setup. Next we are going to get a subscriber list / newsletter & master campaign setup so the emails you collect from your Squeeze Pages can be passed to the next layer in the funnel. Until then, keep an eye out for the continuation, or subscribe to the newsletter to get notified immediately.

 

Step #9 – Email Subscriber List / Newsletter (coming Soon)

 

Step #10 – Drip Automation (coming Soon)

 

Step #11 – SEM & Ads (coming Soon)

Resources (updated regularly)

Online Marketing Resources & LInks

Directory Listings

Social Media Marketing

Content Writing

User Experience Tools

Miscellaneous Marketing Tools

 

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