7 steps to growing a 7+ figure NZ trades company.
THE TRADES INDUSTRY IN NZ IS BOOMING…
HERE’S OUR TAKE ON HOW TO SCALE A 7+ FIGURE TRADES BUSINESS.
6 figures is fine but how about 7? We’ve put together 7 steps to 7 figures specifically for the NZ trades industry.
Step One: Know what your competition ate for breakfast.
Competitor research and analysis is another way of saying ‘look at your competition, take notes of what you think is working for them and apply it to your own business’. It’s best to research your competition, even the little fish. What are they doing well? What are they doing wrong and what is your competitive advantage? Start critiquing your own internal processes and set some KPI’s. What could you be doing, better than them?
Things to consider:
- Are they going forward or backwards?
- Where’s the majority of their work coming from?
- What platforms are they advertising on?
- What are they currently doing better than you?
- What’s their website like?
- What can you do better than them?
Step Two: Audit your value proposition regularly (aka your services).
Businesses naturally evolve over time and as industry and tech changes so should you.
However, it’s extremely important to ensure that your business is evolving in the right direction. From our observations within the industry, businesses that recognise their strengths, that know where they make most of their money, and then implement change to focus on these areas, are the ones who experience rapid growth.
What this looks like in real time:
- Establish your range of services.
- Work out which ones cost you more/less.
- Work out your margins factoring advertising cost cross service + wages.
- Consider changing the direction of your advertising and employ the next members of your team to ensure you’re making BANK.
Step Three: Position your brand, perception IS reality.
Branding is much more than a name, slogan, logo or design. Today, ‘brand’ is a bit more complex, and even more important in today’s world of marketing. It’s the perception that a customer has when they hear or think of your company name. It’s what forms first impressions and it says a lot about your business, it helps to position your brand and ultimately establish trust in your business.
As a first impression, branding is ‘make or break’, can the customer instantly know what it is that you offer? If you’ve nailed it, they’ll look further, in which case does your slogan give them enough information to enquire? From there, do your fonts and colours appear to be uniform? Are your email footers and quoting documents well presented? Do you appear to be organised enough for them to trust you with their investment?
If you’re not quite convinced, let’s take a closer look at where your branding will end up:
- Firstly, your mum/dad will see your brand.
- It’ll be on every business card, email footer, staff shirt and invoice you ever send out.
- All of your Facebook friends will see your branding.
- You’ll likely spend over $1000 signwriting each work vehicle you buy (which means if you live in Auckland, hundreds of thousands of people will see it on your car in traffic each year).
- Your ex-partner (s) will see your branding.
- It’ll be all over your website – it’s the first thing major property developers or architects will see when considering working with you.
- Every dollar you spend on marketing and advertising will be pushing your brand.
Step Four: Measure twice, cut once.
When it comes to websites, it’s really important to get this right. Your website will be the central hub for new and repeat business, it’s a reference point for developers, architects and new workers. If you _____ this up, it’ll end up costing you more, not just in the long run, but every step of the way.
As we’re first and foremost a digital marketing/advertising agency, our priority has been in delivering cost-effective, well-formed marketing /advertising campaigns. We first started designing and developing websites as a reaction to the number of poorly built websites which we were being asked to market on. These websites were either built on platforms which search engines (Google) couldn’t read and/or the UX (user experience) was too difficult to navigate, therefore, marketing/advertising these websites was not cost effective.
Not having a cost-effective platform to advertise on means you’re NEVER going to be competitive in your digital space. It’s like trying to build a house with a spoon when everyone else has new milwaukee electric nail guns. Your website needs to be built on an adaptable and scalable CMS, SEO structured platform with clear calls-to-action and seamless UX throughout.
We could write about websites until your eyes dry up, if it’s something you’re wanting more info about, Leon will gladly talk your ears off over a few beers in the office sometime, just request a meeting.
Step Five: Show them you work and they’ll show you the money.
People these days are super visual – When considering tradies for a renovation, restoration, or other project, people are more inclined to go with a company which, as well as being found on Google and having seamless UX, have the best examples of their work displayed in a gallery on their website.
Document what is happening on the construction site on social media every time there’s something worth sharing. For big projects invest in quality photo and video content (We recommend before and afters). You can use this content to keep your website and advertising material current.
Quality content = more cost-effective marketing through social media.
Decent showcases = bigger and better contracts.
Bigger contracts = more money.
More money = bigger boat.
Treat your photo and video content as the foundations of your companies growth, you wouldn’t build a house on foundations you found on an iPhone 4 from 3 years ago so don’t treat your business any differently.
Video is an area that is growing at an incredible rate, and these statistics show why:
- 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service
- 76% say it helped them increase sales
- 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video
Step Six: All exposure is good exposure unless you’re BP and you spill oil.
Marketing and advertising works best when the service/output is at its best – word of mouth is still the most qualified lead, it has potential to create a long line of business referrals if you’re offering a fantastic service.
Marketing means, no matter what stay visible and at the forefront. Having a consistent flow of inbound leads means you can go fishing for longer periods at a time and leave admin to sort the quotes and paperwork. It also means when it comes to selling your business, your company will be worth more.
Once established, you can stop paying for Google Ads. Ranking on page 1 search results organically for all related terms in your industry helps to establish you as an industry leader. Cold call salespeople call this SEO and more often than not they outsource it to India. We recognise it as an essential part of your overall strategy. Work in this area generally consists of blogging, backlinking, copywriting, web development, mobile optimisation, schema markup, blood, sweat, and tears.
Having a community of people following and engaging with your business on social media will bring in more business. The general rule of thumb is that social media is best used to share your company’s story and culture while allowing people to connect with your brand on an instant, personal level. This forms an intrinsic sense of involvement/ a relationship between your followers and your brand, once they like your page, they’ve shown allegiance to following your journey. However, established an engaged audience won’t happen overnight. You’ll need a content strategy a high-level understanding of Facebook Business Manager and an advertising budget.
A well structured Google Ad campaign will help to bring in short-term leads as well as repeat business. These are paid leads, between industries these generally can cost anywhere between $3 – $15, only ever charged each time someone clicks through to your website – this is where having the right website helps to impact whether the person gets in contact, as well as how much you’re paying per click.
We generally recommend pairing this with a display network campaign targeting all past website traffic. It’s a reminder that you exist, builds brand recall and ultimately contributes to the likeliness for a potential lead to trust and choose you. If poorly set up, again, you’re going to have an extremely hard time being competitive and establishing ROI (return on investment).
Digital marketing supplements other traditional marketing efforts, on a larger scale they work well together. Ever thought of doing radio ads? Maybe a billboard or even a brochure?
Most traditional advertising has the same end goal as digital campaigns, to make a sale, complete registration etc.
As an agency, we’ve worked on projects with a range of different budgets, across a range of different platforms; radio, billboards, busses, flyer drops, bus shelters, tvcs, you name it. We can tell you now, if you’re willing to stick to your guns and invest, traditional advertising is worth considering. We can also tell you that the budgets we’d recommend here are around 15-50k per month, with a stern recommendation to invest for at least 3-6 months.
What these projects also all have in common is that they had a large digital presence to help to convert the ‘inbound’ leads aka website traffic. For trades, we would recommend running digital without traditional, but not traditional without digital.
Step Seven: We’re in 2018, adapt or die.
Integrating modern software and tech will help you to manage performance and scale your business growth faster.
Modern technology is the lifeblood of several innovative trades companies which we’ve come across in the past few years, they’re always winning, we recommend using the following software to sustainably manage your business growth.
- Xero for accounting – keeps track, provides accounting analytics.
- Pipedrive for managing leads – link your contact form to Pipedrive (allows you to juggle a large number of leads).
- Co-construct – Project managing and tracking.
- Facebook and Web chat functions – use them properly.
- Use Touch Voicemail – Acts as your PA on the go, sends your voicemails to you as a voice recording inside of a text message and allows you to chop and change your voice message greeting easily.
Every trades business offers its own unique value, whether its price, speed of delivery, location, machinery, expertise, experience and/or quality of output. We like to think we’ve given a pretty detailed and thorough outline of what we think you need to do to scale a 7 figure trades company, but we still recommend talking with an industry professional to form a strategy unique to your business – if you’re looking to take the next step, complete our online brief form and we’ll be in touch to arrange a meeting.