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Tradies – Who Is Your Target Market?


Click on the video to watch it (Runtime 10 minutes and 40 seconds).

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If you’d rather read the transcript it’s here below.


Target market for trades businesses.

Who’s your target market?

Knowing who your target market is important, isn’t it?

You need to know so you decide where to spend your marketing money because you can’t spend it everywhere and you can’t appeal to everyone. You need to decide and focus.

You may have heard me use that word before. It’s important.

Just so we’re clear, what I’m talking about here is in your marketing – what type of customer you’re trying to attract. That’s not the same as me suggesting that if someone rings up and asks you to do a quote for something that isn’t your main thing, you have to refuse it. You don’t.

But, I’m talking about what kind of customer you’re trying to attract with your marketing time or marketing money. It’s important for determining how you do your marketing.

That’s important for you and it’s important for your customers too. You can’t be everything to everybody. You’ve got to be something specific to some people or you end up being nothing to nobody and that’s no good at all.

“We do everything” doesn’t persuade anybody. People need to know quickly if you do what they need to do. And they need to know if you’re any good at it and if you do it for people like them.

“We’re good at everything,” doesn’t really cut it either, does it? Even “We do all types of building” or “All types of plumbing” doesn’t really cut it. It’s not powerful and it’s not persuasive. 

I’ll give you an example.

‘Builder – no job too big or small,’  he says he can do everything. You might think that’s good and reassuring. It might be true, even.

But if I’m building a luxury architect-designed house, I want a builder who builds luxury architect-designed houses and I’m not going to call that guy who can do anything big or small.

It’s common for trades business owners to not rule anybody out. It feels like you’re losing potential business.

It feels like losing money and it feels dangerous. But the price is high and my advice to you is to do the opposite and pick your niche or your specialty and stick to it.

Remember, I’m talking about your marketing.

If someone calls and says “Can you quote on this?”, you can choose whether to do so. I’m not sure that you should but you can.  

What I’m talking about is where you spend your money and who you’re trying to appeal to.

There’s a lot going on in here as well.

By specialising, you get better and better at your specialisation and your marketing reflects this. You get more knowledgeable about that specialisation. You can talk about specific things that are real for your customers so your marketing gets more compelling and your market believes it more.

It’s true for your operations too. As you get better and faster, you get slicker and more profitable. That doesn’t happen if you always do new and different things.

It might be interesting but less profitable.

I made this choice. I’m a business coach for trades business owners. I made this choice about four years ago and in my marketing, I can talk confidently about issues trades businesses face, specifically. And I can talk in your  language. And I can talk about issues and how marketing applies to trades businesses. And I know because people tell me it’s more meaningful.

I think you should be doing the same.

In addition, when I say I’m a business coach for trades, I know that my customers go, “Hey, that’s me,” and their ears perk up a bit.

You can do the same. You can say, “I’m this kind of trades person for this kind of customer,” and they’ll go, “That’s me,” when it’s them.

Recommended Reading: Your Customers want Certainty – You should Give it to Them

So it’s very powerful stuff. Please don’t neglect it. Please don’t try  to be everything to everyone.

Types of Trades Business

Now, there are three ways you can define your target market.

You can define them as a trade business:

  1. What do we do;

  2. Who do we do it for; and 

  3. Where do we do it.

Your customers will always be asking these related questions:

  • Do they do what I need to be doing? 

  • Do they do it well?

  • Do they do it for people like me?

  • Do they cover my area? 

Let’s start with geography because it’s the simplest.

You travel for work, don’t you? The truth is, the further you travel, the more time you’re wasting on traveling. You can’t charge for that time, so it’s costly. The more you travel and the further you travel, the more of a cost that is on your business.

Although, you might do that work, it’s not ideal and it certainly is not the work that you want to be trying to get, is it?

It’s better to choose a smaller area and try to get work that’s close to home with minimal travel.

Your customers are looking for someone to do an exact thing so you’re going to think like this:

‘These guys do my exact thing’ compared to “These guys do everything” isn’t as appealing.

Example of how to choose your target market.

Let’s talk about an electrical or plumbing service and maintenance business.

You can focus on service and maintenance work for residential or commercial customers. Or as a plumbing business or electrical business, you can do construction work for builders. 

You don’t do service and maintenance work for builders. You do it for the owners or tenants of the building.

You can do everything, of course, but that will come at a cost.

You can’t take your guys off a construction job site to go fix someone’s toilet without upsetting your builder customer.

They’re not really very compatible in an actual ‘doing the work-sense’, as well as in the marketing-sense. But not only that, you need to do completely different marketing to attract the different customer types.

For residential service and maintenance, I call it the flow. Customers go, “I need a plumber”, or “I need electrician”. They’ll jump on their phone, they’ll google the plumber or electrician in their area and they’ll choose someone to call.

You have to make sure you get found when they do that. Above everything else, that’s your priority there.

They might look in the newspaper, but most people these days jump on Google. That means having a website and doing SEO or Google AdWords. I call it ‘Find Me Marketing’.

But your average business – shops, cafes, offices, factories – don’t do this as much do they? They’ve probably got someone already. And if they haven’t got someone already, pretty soon someone’s going to knock on the door, and drop in a card, and shake hands and say ‘Hello’. Or stick a magnet on the fridge.

You need to be doing the same stuff because one of those guys is probably getting the call. I call this ‘Relationship Marketing – Light’ because it’s pretty basic. And you need to keep doing it continually and build a relationship so that when an opportunity arises you might get a call.

Relationship marketing – it’s a fairly heavy investment of time, but they’re worth a lot more. Those customers do more repeat work, don’t they?

And for builders, it’s different again.

You can’t drop in on a builder and drop your card, they don’t give a sh*t. You need to be doing ‘Relationship Marketing – Heavy’.

It’s relationship marketing, but you need to explain the value. You need to position yourself and explain why you’re the right kind of a tradesperson for them and why you’ll make their life easier. You need to do a lot more selling and explaining in your relationship building. And you need to position yourself to be ready when an opportunity arises for you to do a quote or proposal for a job. 

If you can’t choose which of those markets you want to go for, you better do all three types of marketing.

You’ll be spending all the extra money and time doing all those types of marketing. So there’s a cost on your business of your message not being clear. If your website says, “We do residential service and maintenance and we do construction”, then your average builder is going to say “Which ones are they?” 

If you say “Specialist construction plumbers – work with builders helping you do X”, your builder is gonna go, “Oh yeah, I’m in the right place”.

So it’s powerful stuff. I hope have been persuasive enough. You’ll make more money and your marketing will be more effective if you choose.

How do you choose which type of marketing to do?

It’s easy actually. 

I don’t believe one’s better than the other. I don’t believe one type of market is better than the other. They all have pros and cons. And if there was one trade or one type of customer that was significantly easier to work with or more profitable, everyone would flock there and they’d be more competitive and they would get harder again. That’s how the markets work.

I think you should choose what you like. I think you should choose the kind of work you enjoy the most and the kind of customers you enjoy working with. And I think you should hire people who like the same stuff as you do.

And then you should stick to it.

You should commit your business and your  marketing. 

That’s a topic for another day. Committing is a really important part of your success.

Of course, if you want me to help you choose, you know what to do. 

There are four ways you can engage with me:

  1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me – click here.

  2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers – click here

  3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop – click here.

  4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up – click here.

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About the Author

Jon Dale

Jon likes helping business owners and especially owners of trades businesses. Life can be a bit frustrating when you run a business and a trade business can be even more so. Jon reckons this stuff is fixable and that you can fix it by making some fairly simple changes to the way you do things. In fact, he runs a free monthly webinar to help explain the process further of moving your business from manual to scalable.

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