marketing-for-tradies

Tradies, the backbone of the Australian economy – Slugging it out day after day fixing leaky taps or installing new floorboards. Make no mistake, it is back breaking labour yet they put their money where their mouth is and persevere. Maybe it’s their relaxed attitude or casual appearance but they oftentimes have a reputation and perception that’s quite far from the truth.

 

Take for example the controversial Snickers ad that’s having a little fun with the trade industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqgjTZQiySw. Their hard working, down to earth attitude and modesty however can also be their downfall as they often do very little if at all to promote their services and even getting more word of mouth ( a large portion of their revenue stream) is overlooked.

 

This digital (and traditional) marketing for tradies made simple article will try to address some of these issues and highlight some points and strategies tradies can use to promote themselves and their business to drive in new and returned business.

 

While marketing techniques for tradies follows marketing principles for any other industry, there are a few areas you want to put your efforts on to get maximum returns and that is local SEO and Word of mouth. This is because unless you are a large corporation that can serve customers in many states, you will need local customers – this is when local SEO comes in and word of mouth is what’s going to give you an edge over your competitors.

Digital Marketing

DigitalMarketingGraphic

Website:

A website that contains great and relevant content with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) optimised with your industry specific keywords will not only do great in local search but also act as a platform for customers to sing your praise.

 

A website that has shareable buttons will make things easier for your clients to share content and your business details with their friends and family. Social media buttons on every page is even more ideal. For special offers, you will need an opt in form to collect your customer details. Put in some extra efforts for your term and conditions and what’s covered in your rates and it will separate you from the good to the great.

 

Location Location

Make sure your business name, type of business and location in searchable html form and map form are included in relevant pages (Home and Contact Us page minimum). Ideally you want a different page for a different location if you have multiple locations to maximise the benefits.

 

Clients

Are they happy with your service? If so, ask them for reviews. List them on your website. Link to them. Show other prospects you are doing great work within the community.

 

Case Studies

A highly targeted case study that’s well written and addresses the right issues with measurable results will do wonders to promote recognition and credibility with other local clients.

 

News

Have you recently made contributions to the local community or school or have you purchased a new van or ute for your business? Share it! Even small or what may seem insignificant events can help to boost your recognition and establish rapport with your local customers. Sometimes what seem like insignificant news can play to your advantage because you appear more real and easy to work with than larger corporations.

 

Testimonials

Testimonials on your website provides great social proof. Whenever someone says something great about you or your business ask them if you can use their comments. If your service area has a tight knit community, recognising that a comment or testimonial comes from a friendly neighbor will definitely put you in their priority list when they need your services further down the road. It your clients have a linkedin, social media or business page, linking to them will create valuable real-world connection.

 

Reviews

Study have shown people mainly write reviews when they are not happy with a product or service. That’s why it’s imperative that tradies go above and beyond to ask for good reviews. Review snippets can be seen when people search for your company or when you advertise on Adwords with reviews extension so it’s a core aspect of your business you want to put effort into and get right.

 

Social Media

Social media is king when it comes to sharing content online especially for B2C businesses and of course for tradies. Depending on where your customers hang out, at least two social media accounts are recommended.

 

Google + and Google My Business account:

For customers to leave reviews, a Google + account does wonders. If your business is already listed on Google, make sure to claim it with a Google My Business account and add contact information such as your business phone number, location and website to boost your local search ranking.

 

Local Search Engine Optimisation

Local-SEO-for-tradies

With recent algorithm updates, Google is giving higher priority to local businesses on search result. This means bigger companies with huge advertising budgets no longer have the upper hand and small businesses are enjoying a much needed boost to their business online. To find out more and how to rank higher in local SEO, please visit our blog how to improve your local SEO. In it we emphasis on the three ingredients to get right with local SEO

  • Set up Google My Business Account and link it to your Google+ profile
  • Add location data to your business account emphasising on address and telephone number
  • Link to local established websites such as community, school or newspaper

Having claimed your locations and phone number will enable your business to be found locally and be well on your way to ranking a high position in search engines.

 

Search Engine Marketing

Adwords

Proximity search is the key here because you don’t want to waste your money from customers who are outside your location of service. Demographic also plays a vital role – are most of your clients aged between 40-50? Are they self employed? Etc… A highly targeted adwords campaign will do wonders for your business guaranteed!

 

Traditional Marketing

Although digital marketing plays a major role in promoting your business, we must not forget about traditional marketing. In fact, for local businesses a traditional approach may be what separates it from larger international companies that serve the same industry.

word-of-mouth

Word of Mouth

For businesses that only serves clients within a particular location, word of mouth is especially important in spreading the word so to speak. This being said, seldom do tradies leave a platform for their customers to sing their praise. The idea is to make reviews and sharing of your content as easy as possible. Below are some ideas you can use to promote word of mouth the old fashion way:

 

Business cards

You’ll be surprised at how many times tradies forget this. They turn up for work, complete it and leave an invoice and off they go to their next client or the local pub. A basic business card is one of the simplest things you can give to a client. A business card set up as a fridge magnet or with a promotion for returning customers is an even better idea.

 

Connecting with Local Chamber of Business or Meetups

If you’re servicing clients locally, it is especially important to become friendly with the locals (from a business perspective and also personally of course!). You may want to check out a local Meetup group or join your area’s business chamber. A local business chamber also has the resources to help you start and grow your business.

 

Branded Company Car

With such fantastic branding, who else am I gonna call?

 

If you’re constantly doing jobs in a particular region, a company car will do wonders to your brand recognition and promote word of mouth.

 

We hope you got something out of our marketing for tradies made simple article. Bear in mind, these are just tip of the iceberg. What marketing strategies has worked for you? Please share below or subscribe to our Newsletter to the right for future articles delivered straight to your inbox.

 

Marketing-to-Chinese-Consumers-header

With its natural beauty and laid back lifestyle, Australia has been and still is a top destination among holidaymakers. While New Zealand holds the number one foreign visitors to Australia for many years, it has seen stagnant growth. The country that’s making the most of their holiday down-under now is China. In this article, we will focus on the Chinese buyer mentality and shopping habits and how you can market to Chinese consumers locally and online to get your business China Ready.

 

As Chinese people get wealthier, they are shopping and  traveling more and Australia remains one of their top destinations. As a matter of fact, China has overtaken New Zealand now as the number one foreign visiting nation in Australia with almost 1.5 million visiting last year [2].

 

Not only are they visiting more, they are also spending more. Research has shown Chinese spend more more than $8000 per trip, more than the UK and the US (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/chinese-tourists-spend-more-money-in-australia/7633736).

 

Cashed Up and Ready to Spend

Chinese tourists spend $2500 per trip on shopping and with its widespread counterfeit problem at home, Chinese visitors like to splash out on branded clothing and accessories. Organic foods and supplements are also a hit. It doesn’t matter if they can get the same brand in their country, they will always pay more for an identical product in Australia because they know they are getting the authentic product and not a counterfeit or a watered down version.

 

Why are Chinese Traveling to Australia More?

It’s not that Chinese are traveling to Australia more, it’s that they are generally traveling a lot more as a nation. Apart from Australia, the Chinese also love to visit France, the US, Japan and the Maldives.

tourists-in-Australia-by-country

Foreign visitors to Australia by country – Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Chinese’s explosive growth in the past decade compared to other countries.

 

Not Just Tourism

Shopping holidays are common for Chinese people but at home, they are also spending up on Aussie products.

 

Periods of Buying Frenzy

During the Chinese new year ( mid February), student holidays and Xmas time are when they tend to spend the most. However, the day they spend the most by far is Singles Day November 11th.

 

Singles Day November 11 or 11/11

Is like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Click Frenzy in that most retailer partake in nationwide discounts. The date November the 11th or 11.11 was supposedly for single people to indulge by spending on themselves but it has now turned into a national shopping event. Singles day is an online only event and it sets the record as the world’s largest online sales event in one day.

singles-day-sale-numbers

In 2016, 23.39 billion worth of sales in one day was reached – more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

 

Pandas during singles day 11/11

Yes, this is exactly what happens during Singles Day 11/11.

 

What Chinese People Love to do When Traveling

Chinese people love bragging rights. They like to flaunt their wealth especially in front of other people. It’s not necessarily an act of vanity but it is a cultural thing. Chinese have a proverb ‘ren yao lian, shu yao pi’ which translates to “people can’t live without ‘face’ or reputation just as a tree can’t live without it’s bark”. So it comes with no surprise that they like to shop when they are on holidays. They will splash out more on souvenirs to take back home than they will spend on tourist experiences here. This is because it’s in Chinese culture to buy souvenirs to curry favour for business and to show other people they’ve been to a particular place or destination.

 

Don’t be surprised if you see Chinese tourists spending more time on taking and posing for photos than actually enjoying the event or attraction.

chinese-tourists-on-beach

Two young ladies having fun on the beach. Don’t expect this to be the norm back home because in general Chinese girls prefer whiter skin than a tan as it’s deemed more beautiful.

 

Now that we identified the spending power and some shopping habits of Chinese buyers, we need to set up an action campaign that takes advantage of it. Below are some ways to promote your brand and products to Chinese customers:

 

How to Have Your Business China Ready

Having a translated Chinese brand for recognition

A vast majority of Chinese people doesn’t understand English and how to pronounce words written in English so in order to promote your brand there, a translated Chinese name will do wonders for localisation and recognition. This will make your brand easier to remember and be readily accepted. For a good translation, take into consideration phonetic sound, name, meaning and message behind your brand.

Below are good and bad examples of English translated Chinese brands

coca-cola-chinese-translation

Coca Cola to ‘ke kou ke le’ which literally means tasty and joyful.

 

Lost in Translation – American brand Best Buy’s translation is ‘bai si mai’ which sounds similar to best buy in Chinese. However, to a native Chinese the meaning is ‘Think 100 times before buying’. It’s easy to see why it failed to connect with Chinese shoppers.

best-buy-fail-china

Better ‘think 100 times before buying’.

 

Retailers Missing Out on Boom

Tour operators/ staff – Although, not every store will need a Chinese speaking staff, having one doesn’t hurt and shows your enthusiasm to welcome them as customers.

 

Signs

At the very least, have signs in your shop, business or attraction that says a welcoming message or instructions. Do not be over reliant on Google Translate however.

 

UnionPay

You may think everyone has a MasterCard, Visa or American Express credit card. Wrong! China’s most popular Credit Card is actually UnionPay. In fact Union Pay’s long held monopoly over the domestic card market only came to an end in June 2016 (http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1968737/chinas-55-trillion-yuan-credit-card-clearing-market-now). In the meantime if you want Chinese clients, apply for an account to accept Union Pay with your bank soon.

 

Menus & Pamphlets

To cater for Chinese clients, menus and pamphlets that’s written in their language will make their stay more enjoyable and memorable so they can share with their friends in person or via social media. When designing menus and pamphlets do NOT forget to include QR code to link to additional resources such as your website or social media!

 

QR (Quick Response) code

While originally created for the automotive industry in Japan, QR or Quick Response codes have taken the Chinese by storm and remains hugely popular to this day thanks to Wechat, China’s version of Whatsapp that has a built-in QR scanner thus allowing more than 600 million of its active users access to its functions.

QR-code
QR codes are still widely popular among Chinese

 

Avoid Taboos and Superstition

When planning your marketing material, there are a few things to keep in mind. Avoid the numbers 4 and black colors besides both of these resemble death and bad luck. You may find buildings that are missing the 4th or 14th floor in China. Gold, silver, rose similar to the new Apple Iphone is normally favored by Chinese people as it’s good luck. The number 8 is also good luck as it sounds like the word ‘fa’ which translate to ‘prosperity’. So pricing a product $888 is a better pricing strategy than $444.

 

Digital Marketing to Chinese Consumers 101

A big part of succeeding in China is having your brand recognised online. With over 1.1 billion active mobile phone users, China is at the forefront of the digital economy and how you market to them will determine your success or failure.

 

Have a Chinese Website

Having a Chinese website is advantageous as it builds rapport and authenticity. Potential customers will quickly abandon a website if it’s in a language they do not understand. Having a Chinese website will make it viewable and searchable in China’s largest search engine Baidu thus Opening your door to millions of potential new clients.

In summary, having a Chinese website can have the following benefits:

  • Gain Trust
  • Create New Opportunities
  • Be More Competitive
  • Be in native search engines
  • Increase Sales and Bottom Line

 

Why Google Translate Doesn’t Work

Google translate is good at getting the general idea of a sentence and works most of the time but do not be too reliant on it. Below is a literal translation:

English Text Google Translated How its Actually Interpreted
Get your foot in the door 让你的脚在门里 Let your foot trapped inside the door

As you can see above, sometimes Google Translate just plain fails. The reverse is also true. Just go to any Chinese website, hit Google Translate and see what you can understand from it. To really connect to Chinese buyers, you will need a multilingual website.

 

Ways Your Website Might get Blocked by the Great Firewall of China

China has a very strict censorship and surveillance system in place and for websites that don’t adhere to their views politically you can be sure they will get blocked. While there are no sure fire ways to know if your website will get blocked, a good guide is to look at existing sites that are blocked and not associate your website with them or link to them.

For a list of the most popular websites that are blocked by the Great Firewall of China check here. You can see many of the most popular websites today are blocked including Google, most social media, pornographic and news websites. Another way you can disassociate yourself from blocked websites is having a dedicated server rather than shared hosting with known blocked websites.

 

So I Should Host my Website in China?

After reading the above, you’ll be under the impression it’s best to host your website in China. That way you can get unrestricted access and faster speeds. Not quite. You will be under the scrutiny as outlined above and maybe even more so. To have a website in China, you will require a business registration number, be currently operating in China and have an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license. Getting an ICP license is a long and complicated process that we do not recommend you do yourself. There is a way around it though and that is not in host in China entirely.

The Solution?

Host in surrounding countries with a more lax registration process. This allows for the fastest speeds and unrestricted access.

 

Chinese Social Media

Wechat or Weixin in China is a popular messaging app similar to WhatsApp in the western world. WeChat has functions and features to that of Facebook and Whatsapp combined which is why many people prefer it over WhatsApp. Likewise, people who want a simplified platform prefer WhatsApp. While we won’t be comparing the two in this article, we will point out that Wechat is by far the most commonly used among Chinese people.

Wechat also offer companies and businesses an option to create an Official Account. Similar to a Facebook business page, an Official Account allows your business to provide article feeds to subscribers. To apply for a Wechat account please visit http://apply.wechat.com/

Note: Wechat users will have access to Chinese and International accounts. However, Chinese users of Weixin will NOT have access to International accounts created on Wechat.

Weibo – Twitter like alternative in China. Use it to follow celebrities and advertise your current products and services.

Hopefully this articles provides you with some insights on how to sell to the Chinese consumer. It only touches the surface. In part 2, we will explain in greater detail on how to promote your business digitally in China and how Chinese culture influences buying habit and preference.

That side, all businesses are different and do not take a one size fits all approach. What’s been working for you? What hasn’t? Please share comments below.

To get your business China-Ready regarding branding, multilingual website localisation, digital marketing and more, please do not hesitate to contact us with your requirements.

References

[1] What Chinese tourists like and dislike about Australia

http://www.traveller.com.au/what-chinese-tourists-like-and-dislike-about-australia-31kby

[2] Chinese tourists spend record amounts but Australian retailers risk missing the boom

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/chinese-tourists-spend-more-money-in-australia/7633736

[3] China’s 55 trillion yuan credit card clearing market now open for competition

http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1968737/chinas-55-trillion-yuan-credit-card-clearing-market-now

Australia Tourism plans towards 2020

http://www.blockedinchina.net/ – Test if your website is blocked in china

Destination NSW – Strategies for China Tourism in NSW

Guinness book records for Singles Day 

Buying a website for your business nowadays is a no-brainer. Besides being a virtual representation of your company and its values, it can also acts as a storefront and interactive guide to your clients online operating or making money for you even while you sleep.  Now, you are sure buying a website is the way to go to get your business noticed online and as you started to do a little research, you quickly realise a website can cost anywhere  between free and a few thousand dollars for a small business website. What’s the catch? You ask yourself. Well, there definitely is a catch and the below are some of the hidden and not so hidden costs of building and owning owning a website.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

First things first, companies that offers to let you build your website for ‘free’ are either selling you and your clients private information online somewhere or there will be a monthly fee involved. there may also be upgrade modules down the track for your website that will cost you money. Truly free almost always guarantee the website will be hosted overseas with lagging internet access speeds that dampens the user experience. It’s your online reputation were talking about, do you really want to come across as cheap?

free-lunch
If it looks to good to be true…

Ownership of the Website

Think when you buy a website that you own everything on it? Think again. For ‘free’ and often DIY website makers, you actually don’t own the rights to the website yourself. If in the future, you want to take your website elsewhere either because you’re not satisfied with their services or you want additional functions they don’t offer, you will find you need to pay a hefty ‘leaving’ fee.

Customisation

The degree a website can be customised is often proportional to the cost of the website. For websites that cost a few hundred dollars, you will find it is usually from a pre-made template. Therefore, there will be many similar sites or even identical websites using the exact design somewhere. If you want your website to have its own identity and stand out from your competitors you will need a website that is is unique and customised to your businesses services and values.

Proprietary software

Is your website made from open source software such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal? If it’s not open source, it means the platform that your website is built on is owned by the company that made the website. Before you sign up for a website, ask them what software they build their website on and if it’s open source. If it’s not, chances are they will make it almost impossible for you to switch companies further down the track and will charge you an arm and leg for maintenance and training. We have seen customers overpaying thousands of dollars on a relative simple website because they went with a company that uses proprietary software.

proprietary-software
We imagined that’s how you’ll feel too if you went with proprietary software

SEO optimised

The purpose of a website is to be seen. Without SEO, you might as well advertise on your local newspaper because it will not rank well in search engines. Granted a small business may not have the budget to compete with existing behemoths in the same industry but the most fundamental thing they can do so is to have their website optimised to rank well. For a well known ‘free’ DIY website company, this options can come with a premium later down the track and after you’ve spent hours setting up your website.  

Easily editable

Is the website built by CMS? CMS or Content Management System allows the end user i.e you to easily edit the content of the website without previous programming knowledge. If the website is not built on CMS, it will almost always be static or you will need to learn a programming language to actually change the content or pay the provider a fee or recurring fee for changes. Content is still king to having your website rank well so you definitely want to be able to edit content yourself to save money.

Server location

Where is the location the server is hosting the website at? Preferably you want the server to be in the same country as you’re operating in for conveniences with support, reliability and speed. Stay away from companies that offer ‘free’ or cheap hosting because not only will they provide sub-par service and connectivity speed but they may also sell your and your clients information to third parties.

buying-website-location
Location is also important when buying a website

Communication and support

Are you and your service provider speaking the same language? What does having someone within the same country or similar timezone mean for your business? If your business is critical and it should be, having someone who can speak the same language as you can make your road easier.

Maintenance

Does your website designer provide adequate maintenance for your website? Security and bugs can cause your business lost opportunities and tarnish your reputation that cannot be easily fixed. This can be a trap for young businesses or self employed because they often think a website will stay the same condition indefinitely. Similar to a car, a website will require maintenance due to emerging threats and newly discovered vulnerabilities in the system.

Make you you are very clear with this with your provider upfront because we have seen clients paying more in maintenance than their actual website per month.

Time

Finally, you need to take into consideration the time it takes for you to set up your website. If you’re going with a DIY plan, it could take you anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple of months to get a decent looking site up not including all the added costs of plugins and monthly maintenance fees. All that time, you could have have spent marketing your brand and bringing in customers to drive your business forward. Quite frankly, if you’re not prepared to spend a few hundreds dollars on a website, you are either not prepared to be in business or you lack confidence in your business plan. In either case, sticking to your day job might be a better option.

What you can do

As you can see from the above, there are many factors affecting the cost of a website and many dangers to look out for. In the end, You really do get what you paid for and ‘free’ is not always free. Dishonest website development companies capitalises on the mums and dads by offering the cheapest option available to lure them in then later reveal the additional costs and premiums they need to pay in order to make a semi-decent website with limited functionality and customisation.

The best way to avoid the hidden costs is to ask your website provider upfront on things you don’t understand and the costs involved outlined in this article. Don’t be afraid to ask the meaning of the jargon they’re using.. Anyone who is too high and mighty to explain to you probably aren’t a good fit for your business anyway.

And finally, Research and read up on the starting a website and the steps involved. Talk to other like minded people.

Do you have other factors we’re not aware of? We’d love to hear it. Please comment below.