Small business getting Reviews and Referrals

Did you know that 85% of small businesses say that word of mouth referrals is their main source of new work?

Word-of-mouth marketing refers to those people who share their experiences and recommend your business to others. Essentially, this is a free advertising technique that can prove valuable for many small businesses, most importantly self-employed traders who don’t’ have a huge marketing budget.

How do I get more business?

Word of mouth advertising usually stems from a customer’s positive experience with your business. Whether it is your amazing customer service, memorable branding or the quality of work, your business will likely stay top of your customer’s mind.

People working in the trade industry know the importance of customer recommendations, and rightly so. In fact, word of mouth marketing has kept many traders in business for a long time.

There are various ways that tradespeople can increase their chances of being referred or left a positive review including:

Have branded business cards

Business cards are a very affordable and easy marketing technique for every small business and tradesman. You may think that everything has moved online now and digital is the way forward, and you’re right in some respect – but business cards are still proving to be a hugely valuable asset to many traders. If anything is going to be passed to a potential new customer on referral it is going to be your business card. If you are starting off, you can not go wrong with a simple compliment slip. They are big enough to carry your message and small enough to be stuck on a fridge with a magnet. You can even create your own whilst you are finding you feet.

Your business card acts as the first impression for your service. Your business card will influence how your potential customers see your business and brand. They can also be an extremely effective marketing tool and can help you increase your referral rate. A well-designed business card will be kept for months and more than likely shown to friends, family and colleagues – increasing your chance of getting referred. A good tip is to always include your contact details on your business card so potential customers can easily get in touch with you.

TIP – Starting off, you can do not go wrong with a simple compliment slip.

Have your own website and social media

Having your own website is a key component to getting more reviews and referrals in 2021. Your website acts as your portfolio and can influence whether a potential customer decides to work with you, or not.  Fill your website with top quality content about your trade, include many examples of your previous work and showcase any existing reviews. Sharing reviews on your website instantly helps to build trust with new visitors that may still be wary. Make sure that you have clear paths to contact on your site – it’s always good to include a simple contact form at the bottom of the page for customers to easily and effortlessly get in touch about your services.

Social media is also just as important. It allows you to upload images of your recent work and share customer reviews in order to help get your name known. You can also dig deeper into social media and target specific locations, perfect for tradesmen looking for new clients in their local area. To make the most of social media, you need to regularly post content and keep up to date with your followers, forming new relationships online and maintaining a professional brand image. If this is too much for you to work out there are organisations that can assist with your social media presence.

At the very least seek to amplify the quality of your work. Work with your customers and obtain their permission to photograph and share their project. Ask your customer to like and share your content. It will get seen by their friends and audience. Likewise you may be working for a larger organisation. Speak to them and see if you can showcase your work on social media. Make sure you add a general location to any posts so your content and reputation is relevant to where you work. Mentioning / tagging any organisations you work with will increase the chance of a like share and or follow.

Make a positive impression

First impressions really do count. Especially when it comes to reviews and referrals anyway.

Being friendly and respectful are two ways to instantly win over your customers, but maintaining a professional image also helps too. You can impress customers by turning up to work in a branded, professional uniform as this will help to showcase that you have a solid business and increase your credibility. We are all masters of our trades and can do what we do without a care to the world. But sometimes you have to turn on your presentation. Develop a process so you remember the basics. Start by asking yourself (friends or family members) how do I represent my business? Am I really polite and worthy of referring to my customers, friends etc.

We know that being a tradesman can get dirty but turning up covered in dust (or paint) isn’t the best look! Always try to tidy yourself up in between jobs so you turn up looking neat and ready to work. Remember you are being paid to work in your customers environment. That could be their office or home. Therefore you are entering their world. Keep interaction to a minimum and be efficient with you work. Put your customer in the heart of everything you do. Keep them informed and aware of anything which will affect the environment. This includes:

  • Noise
  • Interruption of services
  • Making a mess

Always do what you say you will (and more!)

You need to make a good impression with your customer in order to stand any chance of receiving a review. Think about any time that you left a positive review? You were probably very impressed with the service received. You have to earn reviews, it’s as simple as that. As a tradesman, you will increase your chance of getting a review if you go above and beyond. Always try to exceed your client’s expectations and wow them – this works wonders. You don’t have to always do something extraordinary to impress your customers, just remaining polite and respectful whilst on site, ensuring quality of work and providing a reliable service will inspire many people to leave a review.

So, how can I get more reviews?

The easiest thing you can do to increase the number of reviews you get is to simply, ask!

Although some people will do so off their own back, many will need prompting. We all live so busy lives and simply forget – so sending a short follow up email is a great way to ask for a review. The best way to go about it is following up with your customers after the job has been done, ask them if they are happy with your work and if they mind taking a minute to leave you a review.  Explain that as a small business reviews play an important role in building trust with new clients and securing future work. Reviews can be left anywhere, from social media pages, your own website or even Tradespeople checker sites.

What are tradespeople review platforms?

A mixture of paid and free, review platforms are dedicated sites for collecting customer reviews. They are websites that potential customers go to check out a business’s reputation and feedback before deciding who to work with. Popular websites that you can use include.

Checkatrade

Checkatrade is an excellent platform dedicated just to trades people. It has an outstanding reputation in the industry and is trusted by many homeowners seeking to hire a trader.

As a well-known platform, Checkatrade allows traders to use their branding on any promotional marketing activities – helping to enhance your credibility and build additional trust with potential prospects.

With over 6 million people searching for tradespeople on the site, it will certainly boost your business and increase your reputation in your local area.

Trustpilot

Trustpilot is a global open-review community that assists businesses in every sector. With this advanced software, you are able to send automated and personalised review email requests which will help to boost your review rate and business reputation.

Albeit one of the pricier options, Trustpilot does give you plenty of advanced features such as the ability to embed real time customer review widgets on your website helping to build your brand credibility.

Google My Business

Google reviews are extremely important for any local business. This is why many traders across the UK choose Google as a way to collect customer reviews. When customers are searching for a tradesman, they will often compare your service with other local businesses in your area and having positive reviews will help you to stand out.

Google My Business also provides you with the ability to list your business location, making it easier for potential customers in your local area to find you.

You can also display important information about your business including contact details, hours of work and a link to your website too.

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