Content Marketing For Trades Professionals
A Masterclass Streamed Live by Expert Trades
Below is a transcript of this Masterclass. Please excuse any grammatical errors in this post. We have aimed to get it as close to the original as possible while making it a read that makes sense.
Okay, guys. I’m not actually going to read this, but I’m going to keep referring back to the board. Four things to do today. What we’re going to do is we’re going to start talking about content marketing and what it means, because there’s so many things and so many buzz words that are thrown at you, and it’s really difficult to sort of understand what to do as a trade. What I’m going to do today is basically give you a base understanding of what content marketing is, and how I think that you guys should be thinking about it moving forward.
Firstly, let’s cover off what content marketing is. In a nutshell, the best way to explain it is … How is it, Jamie? Content marketing in a nutshell, it’s the process of telling a story before actually going to a purchase. If you just think of it like that, that’s the best way of explaining it, okay? Basically everything that happens before a customer physically wants to buy something from you, and content marketing doesn’t matter whether you’re an e-commerce shop selling a widget or whether you’re a trade professional selling a service. The content marketing side of it is everything that happens before that actual transaction takes place. There’s nothing really else to that.
It takes lots of different forms. That’s sort of this stuff, which we’re going to get on to later, but you’re going to see this is on the board at the moment, and this is our Chubb safe, okay? This is basically our bank account. I wanted to just put some stuff on here to sort of emphasise how we have to think about content marketing. Too many people think about content marketing like a …
I wrote it down here earlier, actually. You’re probably wondering why I’ve got 16 year old boy written on the board. Too many people think about content marketing like a 16 year old boy on the first date, trying to close too early. Content marketing is not the sort of thing that happens as someone walks into your shop and they buy. This is the story telling. This is the trust.
When we’re thinking about creating content and we’re doing content marketing properly … Camera is back to front. I’m doing the reverse camera on the iPhone. When we’re thinking about content marketing, we’re thinking about putting, the best way to explain it, is good will, into the bank account, okay? Into the safe. This all comes in term of adding value to your customers, before actually asking for a sale. This is content marketing at its best.
Marketing For Trades by Expert Trades
What you’re trying to do is give someone as much value as possible by fixing a very, very specific problem. What you do is your company builds you up as an authority in that space. When they come across you and your services, they think about you first. That’s the end goal. Best way to think about it is this is content marketing.
If you look at the data of Expert Trades, one in four websites that we sold last year came as a referral from someone that hasn’t even got a website from us. Last person who made a comment, Gary, why on Earth would you recommend one of your mates to say, go and use Expert Trades to build a website for you if you don’t have a website from us? It’s because we do stuff like this. We give as much value as we can and show that we know what we’re talking about because we build websites from £200 to £25’000, from a trade to a merchant. But we do this is our content marketing plan.
I know that 95% of the Expert Trades community will never ever buy anything from us, but I don’t care because as long as we keep giving you value, then once one of your mates, because that’s the way the industry works, says, “Do you know someone?” We come top of mind. That has proven itself last year. What we’re focusing on this year is keep doing great content and building community and delivering value. Think about what we’re doing right now as content, as a content marketing strategy. This is the sort of thing we’re talking about.
Reasons why you want to do it. It’s basically to separate yourself from everybody else. If you can build yourself up as an authority, then price isn’t the question. We know that you might be doing a commodity job. Fix that tap. Paint that wall. Whatever it is. You might be doing a job that it is a commodity that anyone within your trade set can do. Any skilled painter can go and paint that wall, okay? But when someone wants a wall painting, you want them to think about you and only you. You want to carve yourself out as THE person, THE point of contact, THE authority, about painting walls.
How do you do that? Normally what people do is they go to Google, put a search in, and say I need a decorator. They check your trade pages, the Yelp pages, or the search results. They pick someone. They call them and they say, “How much to paint this wall?” The question is always about price. We want to take the question away from price, okay?
Simple matter of fact is if you deliver lots of value up front then price is a secondary thing because they already want to use you. They’ve already got a yes, rather you trying to get a yes, you’ve already got one on the table. It’s down to you then to find the right deal for the customer. I promise you that if you start building yourself up as an authority, price becomes less of those conversations because they want to use you. Okay?
Along with the fact when you’re delivering content, it’s difficult to get in front of the right customer at exactly the right time. Basically you’re waiting for them to pick up the phone or waiting for them to find you on spot one, two, or three on Google search results. That’s really difficult to do and rank for and always be there. Even if you are there, it comes back to the problem that we spoke about earlier, the conversation, again, is all about price, because they’ve just found you fresh off Google search. Don’t get me wrong, being on Google search rank one is going to fill your lead funnel up, but you’ve got to make sure you’re converting them at a price you guys want to do business at.
Then what you’ll see as you grow your business, you might want to stay as a one, two, three person being. How do you actually add more revenues? How do you increase the business? At the moment, you’re just trading time for money. The good thing about content marketing is as you become an authority, you get to charge more per hour or more per job, because they want to use you, okay?
There’s a lot of benefits to content marketing. The thing is, just to drive home, don’t think of it like a 16 year old boy. Don’t try to close too early. Don’t give up on it too early. Content marketing is the exact opposite of PPC.
How To Start Content Marketing For Trades
We’re talking about PPC. PPC is pay-per-click advertising. Direct. Instant. I’ve got a problem, I put it into Google. It’s a commodity thing. I want to buy something there and fix my issue. You would never do content marketing around emergency boiler repair. You just wouldn’t. That’s not the type of customer that cares about authority at that point. They have a big issue that they want fixed and they want it fixed now. They go for the first person that can get out.
Make sure that you’re thinking about whatever you do as a business, that it maps against the buying cycle. We’re going to get into this now, okay? Have this picture in the back of your head all the time. When a customer comes to you, you want leverage. Normally you don’t have it. Fact. It’s a customer calling up, saying I want a job done, what can you do it for? We want to reverse that around.
We want to be on the map. If someone calls Darren up and they say, Darren, I want this job doing. I just found your number on Google. What can you do it for? Fine. It’s a much different conversation than, “Hey Darren, I’m on your e-mail list and saw you on Facebook. Thanks very much. I wondered if you could come around do a quote for me?” It sounds very easy for me to say and do this now, but I promise they are the different types of buying trends that you see when you do content marketing well.
That was for example. People don’t call a job and drill us down on price. They know we offer value. We know the price of what it is. They want to know the extra stuff, the support, all that good stuff that should be part of the conversation. Not just I want a website, what’s your lowest price? We don’t deal in that world. Always think about adding value and putting stuff into the safe. Give as much value as you can so when a customer calls you up, you can open that. That’s the goal.
If any questions come up, by the way, I will try to get to them during this. Need to flip image. Can’t do it. Is this all back to front on here? This topic came up the other day with Jamie. By the way, I’m really, really happy that 25 people are in the audience. This is, I think, our biggest single viewership at one consecutive time. Don’t worry about reading this. This is going to be up in the comments. We’ll do a bit of content and we’ll put it into a blog post or something when the new website goes live.
I want to refer back to this. Step 1: simple as this, do you know who your customers are? Let’s do a little bit of an exercise, guys. Tell me who you think your ideal customer is. You’ve got 1,000 people standing in front of you. Who is a customer of your product, your service? I’m going to wait a second. I know there’s a delay. I want to hear some of you guys define who you think your customer is. Who’s going to be brave enough and chuck it in? I’m not moving on until at least one person tells me who you think your customer base is. I need a countdown timer. I’m going to lose viewers. I know it takes a while to type out.
Just to point out. Tony, people with money to spend. You can’t read this and I’m glad you said it. This has the words, “Anyone with money is your customer.” Old ladies, getting closer. Home owners. Okay, guys. You guys are on the cold face of it; That answer, anyone with money, when doing content marketing, is the thing that will kill you quicker than ever. You’re going to spin your wheels. You’re going to waste your time. If I ask in a more …
Hold on, this looked good. Liam Hurst. Quick question, Liam. Are you the chap … and I apologise for not remembering exactly. You have a WordPress site, green branding, with a click head to download brochure-esque, on your website. His answer was something along the lines of 40-50, a certain demographic, with this sort of thing. You guys are on the cold face of it every single day. From previous research, women aged 32 to 46 in Coventry.
Now we’re getting somewhere. The reason for this is if you don’t know your target customer, your exact target customer, you’ve got to make content for everyone. You can’t do it and you can’t win. What your job is, is to understand your exact customer. People who want a quality job.
How do you define people that want a quality job? I think about it in terms of how do we market to that person, how do we isolate and find that person? Liam, I thought that was you. Your answer just shows that. Liam Hurst has a website and when we were doing, I think we were doing the website tear downs. I came across his site and reviewed it. He has a download. He understands content marketing. He’s doing a good job. That shows with his answer of who is your customer.
What I’m saying is if you understand your customer is not anyone with money, which everyone thinks, then all of a sudden you can be ‘something to someone, compared to being nothing to everyone’. Super important to do, okay? Be something to someone, compared to nothing or not much to everyone.
Example is this. When we did our website master class, Matthew Ford ran it for a bit and I did one follow up to it. In that master class, what we did is we told people who we were good for and who we were not good for. We said to people, here’s your three options when getting a website. If you want this, we’re not good for that. If you want this, we’re definitely not good for that. We actually gave you the name of our competition.
Why? Because we know the type of customer that we want to attract. If we say to most people, you’re not good for us, you need to go here … Happened today on a phone call. We had a guy call me up at the desk, talking to me. I want to use your app to get me set up. Great. Why do you want to use it? I’m a gas engineer. I want to do gas search. Great. What does your team look like? There’s five of us. Hmm, not so great for us at the moment. Do you care about other people logging in and seeing quotes, invoices under one account. It’s not ideal, blah blah blah. I said, here, at the moment, we’re not a good app for you. We’re really specific around the sole trade and one person companies, one, two, three person companies, as long as you don’t mind having that data shared openly because Mr Joe Bloggs we don’t have multi-user access.
I’m going to find the guy. I’m going to tag him in here because we had this conversation exactly today. He said, when are you getting it? Is it in your pipeline? Are you building it? I said, yeah, but I’m going to be realistic with you. It’s not at least until four or five months ago. Ok, I said, four months is being optimistic, five months is realistic. He says, I can get by until then. Call me when it’s ready.
By knowing who your customer is, you build trust straight away. We send people to different website providers. Wix, do it yourself. We never send anyone to Sole Trader, don’t worry about that. If they want something very, very specific or bespoke, we say we don’t do that sort of stuff, go there. We recommend them. If you can be that person, then you’re going to build trust and authority. Anytime anyone mentions a website, they’re going to go, go to Adam, go to Expert Trade, because even if they’re not the right people, they know the right people. You want to be that person.
What you’ve done is you’ve isolated who your customers are. Easy way to do this, easiest way to work out who your exact customers are is look back over all your trading history. I don’t just mean the data, okay? When you walk into a house and you’re doing a job, just think, who’d you tend to see? When someone picks up the phone and calls you, who’s calling you? It’s different per trade group. It’s always very different. It’s all different depending on trades.
I don’t want to be generic and blasé, but you might have a female calling up a decorator regarding the front room because if my wife, who I think is in the audience, said can you please organise, I want to get the front room painted. I’d say, listen, I’m going to get it wrong. You sort it out. Whereas if I want to get a new patio out the back and say to my wife, can you please do me a favour and go and get three quote from some landscapers to get a new patio out in the back. I want some natural pavement. She’s not going to do it.
Who picks up the phone and actually speaks to you the first time? That’s a big insight to who you should be attracting. Think about who your customers are. Just have a think. Who pays the bills, who does that, who physically hands over the money, but as the sales funnel actually starts, who starts that conversation with you?
Think about your customers. Don’t create any content until you fully understand who your customers are. You’re going to be wasting your time.
Step 2: your sales process. I’m not going to dwell on this one for too long, but you need to understand what your sales process actually looks like. You’ve got a funnel. I’m going to call it a funnel because I drew a funnel. You’ve got a sales funnel. What normally happens is your transactions start about here. With the sales funnel, the more you put in, the more that comes out the bottom. The more you put into a funnel, the more that comes out the bottom, okay?
We can go into marketing tactics about having a leaky funnel. That means when your website’s breaking or it’s not communicating or the UI or UX isn’t right. We’re not going to get into that. That will be another day. Important around content marketing till.
You start the conversation down here, okay? What content marketing does is it brings the conversation up to the top of the funnel. Content marketing brings the conversation to the top of the funnel. What I mean by this……
Let me try to read the comments. There’s always a lady in the house who initiates jobs when there’s design elements. Hard structures, it’s the bloke. David bang on…. that’s what I was trying to get at. Completely agree. If you know that, then when you’re doing your content marketing, to understand the top of the sales funnel, you understand, take your trade for example … If you understand that hard structures … Let’s go with that. Design, female. Anything hard structured, male, then as you’re coming up with your content marketing strategy, you should know that. I need to get people into the top of the funnel, so who do I need to attract? Adam, you can catch up later. Who do you need to attract?
This gets us onto Step 3: What we’ve done so far is we’ve said understand your exact customers. Understand how that sales funnel actually works. Who calls you up first? How does that process start? Who do you need to get your company in front of to bring trust up? Because there’s definitely no point in getting your company, if you’re a decorator, in front of me, because I’m never, ever going to start thinking about my front room getting decorated. I don’t care about it. IF you understand that it’s the females in the house that look at it and go, well, that’s looking tired, I need to do something about that. Make sure your content is specific to those guys, females. You know what I mean.
We then get onto the third step. Content marketing takes loads of different forms. Remember, this is just a piece of content that is made, that someone sees. They build trust with the brand, whether they buy from you or not. And you’re putting all this goodwill into the safe, for when you need it later on.
Let’s just take the example that we’re running with at the moment. Female of the house, how do you get in front of them? What platforms are they using? Then you’ve got to start thinking, actually I’m a painter and decorator based in Birmingham and I want to get in front of affluent females aged between 29 and 36 that … They’ve probably just bought a first house or at least home owners or on that ladder.
Then I need to think, where do these people hangout? Where’s the water cooler? Where are they all gathering? Because I know that Pinterest, for example, or … Is that a metaphorical safe?
That is a metaphorical safe. Danny, if you just tuned in, I’ll cover that in a second again. You need to understand which demographics of people use which platforms, okay? Pinterest, bang on, David.
Free Marketing For Trades
Pinterest demographic massively skews towards females. Pinterest is that social media platform that probably none of you are using. Actually, if you’re using Pinterest, I’d love to know. Pinterest, anyone using Pinterest? Tim, yes, cover that in a second. Pinterest for boilers? No, NO, Do not put boilers on Pinterest. Generically, boys aren’t on Pinterest browsing for boilers, okay? Pinterest. You’ve got a design side of your business. You do interior design. You do wallpapering. You do decorating. All that good stuff. Then you need to be on Pinterest. Chris, I can actually see that working for you because you’ve got something visually appealing. I’m not saying you have something that is visually appealing. I’m not going to comment on that because this will become a picture in Facebook with a quote that I won’t be able to come back at you because it’s that point in time. If you’ve got something visual, then make sure you’re on a very visual platform. Simple, Pinterest, Instagram, okay? Make sure you’re on Pinterest if your product intends to start the funnel with a female buyer, because that’s where they are.
What we’re talking about now is Step 3: which is what content do you create? You can be creating Facebook posts. And I swear to God I’m defriending every person I see now that puts a photo of them … John, are you still in the audience? If you’re in there John, if you put another photo of you like this in front of a boiler, I’m going to defriend you. I’m not going to kick you out of the group. I’m going to defriend you on Facebook, okay?
Let’s talk about this. You might not be able to see it, I’m not sure. We’ll put the picture up on to the video after we’re finished with it. This is your job every time you put content up as a content marketing strategy. Don’t do it, John. Every time you put something up, you have to be fixing a problem for your exact target customer. John, I’m glad you’re here, but do not put another photo up like this. If you do it, make sure you have before or after because posts actually add value. What you need to do, and think about it, every time you’re thinking about content, is am I fixing someone’s problem? It’s never about you. Content marketing is always about the person that’s watching, viewing, reading your content. How are you going to take that, fix that person’s problem, and put goodwill into the safe?
I’m trying to pull this all together, gents. If you fix someone’s problem … yesterday, today actually. Again, on the phone. “Can you please help us please regarding our website?” Yes. Got off the phone. Website’s down. Not hosted by us. Not our website. Picked up the phone to us. I’ve got log ins to GoDaddy. It’s not working. What happened? Blah blah blah. We fixed it. We didn’t charge. Why should we? He’s come to us because he trusts us. But I know that guy now, every time he’s thinking about a website or when he wants a new website because his current one is looking tired. I’m not sure if you’re in the audience, it really is. You’re going to come to us. Fact. Because I spent 45 minutes on the phone with you getting a website live and didn’t charge you a penny because we care about our community, because we put all the goodwill in the safe.
This is what we’re doing right now. I’m putting goodwill in the safe. Because I know that whether you use this for content marketing or you grow your business ten times over in the next two years and you go, actually, I’m becoming a mammoth of a business now, we need to properly think about our marketing and content marketing, trying to do it to scale. Who do you call? Expert Trades. Simple. On the tip of your tongue. You know us. You like us. You trust us. That’s what you need to be positioning yourself in front of your customers. And it’s hard. It’s definitely not easy. There’s definitely a way to start it and do it effectively, very, very simply, which we’re going to get on to because there’s going to be a little bit of a giveaway at the end of this.
We’ve got to think about what platforms we’re going to talk to people on. There’s this that’s the problem. I know you can’t read it. It’s backwards and all that jazz. Don’t do too much, okay? Pick one or two channels maximum to start off. Think about what we do as a business. We were on lot of channels. We’ve condensed it right down. What you need to do is really think about this process, guys. I want you to go away and just nail this, Steps one, two, and three.
If anyone wants to e-mail me, you know what it is, it’s email@example.com. I don’t need a platform. I’m going to edit this out, by the way, and post, when it goes up to youtube. That’s just for you, Chris.
Step 1: understand your customer. It’s not anyone with money. Step 2: understand the sales funnel. Who picks up the call? Who do you need to get in front of? Step 3: the person here that starts that conversation, what channels are they on?
Do you agree with the 80/20 rule? Definitely. You’ve got to. 80/20 rule … I can’t remember the name of the guy. It’s real simple. It’s 80% of your revenues come from 20% of your customers. It’s that four to one ratio that tends to be in the same in life. 80% of the results of Expert Trades come from 20% of the staff. However you want to play it. That 80/20 rule, completely agree.
Pick the channels that you want to use, okay? I have a question. Put it in the numbers below, guys. Sorry, I’m coughing a bit now. Think about how many customers you’ve served since starting business, how many customers you serve on a day-to-day basis. Have just a quick think. How many people do you actually serve since you started business, done some work, to where you are today? There’s going to be a lot, okay? You might think of yourself as, we don’t have that many customers, because we do eight week projects, we do commercial stuff, we do loft conversions, we do big, expensive kitchens fit-outs. If you think about since you started trading, you’re going to have a lot of customers that you’ve interacted with.
First job is what I want you to do from now on, moving forward, regardless of what you do with content marketing. Firstly, put something on the bottom of your invoices that, please note, click here to opt out. I can help you with all this, and … You want to add these people into an e-mail list. That’s what I’m getting at. All your previous customers that you’ve probably got on an e-mail list somewhere, from going through your sent items, searching the word invoice, you’ve probably got tens or hundreds of customers that you’ve worked with.
What I’m trying to get at is these are the first people that you should be building a relationship up with. Don’t think of it as I’ve already transacted with that person, they are dead to me. It doesn’t work like that with content marketing. What you need to do is you need to go to those people because you’ve done a good job. I know that because if you’re in here thinking about content marketing, you’re thinking about building relationships with customers, which means you give a shit. Simple.
What you need to do is e-mail all those customers out. Get them to a list. When you want to start e-mail marketing. You might be saying, I haven’t gotten them to opt into an e-mail list. Blah blah blah. If you check within the T’s & C’s with something like MailChimp. If they’re a customer of yours and have transacted, it doesn’t fit on the thumbs up, that’s a fine list, and it doesn’t fit on the thumbs down, that’s a bad list. You have to respect when you e-mail people. You can send them one e-mail.
What you need to do is get all your e-mails of your customers together, get them into a list. We can help you. I will do a video on how to add your e-mails into MailChimp if that sounds interesting. Add them all into a list. When you’re ready to start e-mail marketing … What I mean by ready, I don’t mean ready to send one e-mail. I mean ready to be consistent with one a month, at a minimum. You’re going to be thinking, oh my god, what do I send? We’ll cover that in a second.
You can send all the e-mails out to your previous customers and say, “Hey, my name is Adam Chapman, this is my business. In the past, we’ve done some work with you. We did Boiler installs. We loved doing it. In an efficient way, it’s eco-friendly. What we’re doing moving forward is we’re doing a monthly newsletter because we want to keep adding value to all our customer base because we really appreciate you transacting with us and choosing us for your work. Please click here if you would like to keep receiving e-mails from us. Please click here if you don’t want this content monthly. Just so you know, the type of stuff we’re going to be sending is how to save money on your energy bills, new technology that makes your house more thermally efficient, family and friends discount in case you know anyone that needs any service.”
Notice what I’ve done here. I don’t advice doing this one straight here. But, value, value, sales. If you’re looking at anything you’re doing and there’s more sales than value then you’re doing it all wrong, okay? Think about your e-mail list. Get it into an Excel spreadsheet. We’re going to end up getting into MailChimp. Bring it into the Expert Trades app. Whatever you want. I don’t care. Get all your customers together. Then when you’re ready to start e-mail marketing, then what you need to do is ask them to opt in for future communications, but you get one chance to make them interested.
You’re probably thinking, why on earth would I want to spend my time focusing on someone I did a boiler install for last week? They’re not going to buy another boiler for another 8, 10, 12 years. Why do I keep bothering them? Here’s why.
How To Do Marketing For Trades Professionals
What did I say earlier on? You might not have been here. One in four websites that we sold last year came from a referral from someone that we haven’t even sold a website to. That’s because they’ve been on a master class. They’ve picked up the phone and called me and asked for help with their own website. They’ve spoken to Matthew Ford, who is possibly the best at customer service that I have ever met in my life and is so empathetic and does too much for everyone. That’s why he got the job.
Because we do all this stuff, they go, you’ve got to choose Expert Trades. Just get referrals. Mrs. Jones that had a boiler, when you’ve left she’s already forgotten about you because you’re great at what you did, but people expect great. You only hear about it if you did a shit job. How do you stay top of mind so when Mrs. Jones’s next door neighbours are around for tea and go, I’m thinking about getting a new boiler. How much is your energy bill? you go, I’ve got a guy that actually sent me something out on energy bills. I’ll dig out the e-mail. He did our boiler. That’s the exact sentence that we’re working towards.
We’re putting all the value here, so when someone, somewhere needs something that you offer and has had a touch point with your business, they only choose you. Then it’s not a commodity.
‘Got to fly, Adam. Cheers, Tim. Hope you enjoyed it. By the way, Tim’ … I won’t go into everything that Tim does, but technically absolutely brilliant.
We’ve done step one, two, and three ok guys; Step 4. I was supposed to be ticking these off. That was the plan. You see I’m organised today. Step 4. This weird picture that I’ve drawn that you might be able to see, is all about testing. You might send an e-mail to a subject line. This is probably where we should do a deeper class around this because I don’t want to just skim over it and make it sound like it’s easy. You need to make sure you don’t give up. People give up too early. They don’t track. If you’re tracking the data …
Think about marketing here. You’re a marketeer. You’re not a plumber. You’re not a heating engineer. You are the Marketing Director of your business when you’re thinking about content marketing. Take the hat off that you’re the guy on the tools. You’re now the Marketing Director, okay?
Think about the data. We need to work on making sure that we understand what your customers like. That’s why there’s a difference between the type of customer that wants a £10k extension to the type of customer that wants a £2k boiler, to the type of that wants a £300 wall decorated. All different. All want to see, hear, and be treated in a different way. That’s what we need to think about. This is all about not being stuck to one thing.