When you bill your commercial (and some residential) accounts, consider writing a simple one-sided, one-page newsletter discussing new products, specials and things your customers might want to think about. You can get enough new information from the manufacturer’s web site in order to write a few paragraphs. Talk about electromechanical locks for audit capability and offer a free inspection or site survey.
The Internet has become a windfall to many businesses. All someone has to do is use a search engine and type in the service wanted. I typed in the word “Locksmith Los Angeles” and received more than 2.5 million results. That makes it difficult to have your name appear in the first few positions.
Search engines use specific criterion to determine what a person is actually looking for. Each search engine is different. Knowing what a particular search engine is looking for can prove to be advantageous by including the searching information.
One important misconception is that a company must have a web site in order to reap many of the benefits. This is not true. Most search engines (i.e. Google and Yahoo) provide a free business listing. According to Google, “97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.”
Google Places for business is a free local platform that provides an opportunity to have photos and videos showing people why your services are desirable. There is even a section that helps people choose the keywords your customers are using in their searches.
Should you decide to expand to paid advertising, unlike a telephone book, you pay only when a customer clicks on your ad. For more information, go to www.google.com/places or search free business listing.
Internet yellow and white pages and for example, phpDirectory Source™ web sites can also provide a marketing opportunity for local businesses and local customers. phpDirectory Source offers a free version, branded version and a bundled special. Merchant Circle is another example for free online advertising without having to have a computer, domain name or be computer savvy. For more information, go to www.merchanciricle.com or www.phpdirectorysource.com.
The use of social networking is becoming a significant way to market products and services. Social networks include Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and Linkedin to name just a few. Manufacturers are using social networking sites to create demand using different methods of marketing, such as posting images and videos that promote their product line.
Social networking can be used to direct potential customers to your web site. Post brief updates of new products or reminders that you offer services such as safe installation, and post photos of recent installations. Note: Be sure to include contact information like email address and cell phone number, making it as easy as possible for customers to reach you.
Referrals are another benefit, particularly on Facebook and Linkedin. When one customer reads your post or views your photo and clicks on “Like,” he or she is spreading your message to all his or her Facebook friends.
A good example of social networking to promote products is a small hot dog stand where an actor would grab a quick meal. He became involved in contractual problems and would write about it on his social network. Many people became fans during the problems. He wrote about the problem and as a result the hot dog stand sales increased dramatically.
Before you get your name out, you need to determine what services you want to promote. Develop a company brochure, advertising materials and business cards. A company brochure is a leaflet that has very positive words with color photos that lists the products and services your company offers. The full color brochure is printed on heavy stock and folded to be convenient for your customer. The search engine I used found more than 30 million web sites on the query of “how to make a company brochure”.
Some locksmiths put safe dialing instructions on the rear of their business card. Others provide a calendar or have a magnetic business card that can be put onto the refrigerator.
Personalized key blanks can be ordered having your business name and telephone number. Some locksmiths like neuter bow key blanks that make it more difficult for key cutters to duplicate. Check with your local locksmith distributor for a list of companies that provide the service.
When business is quiet, take some time to create a flier, search the Internet for organizations looking for a guest speaker, or visit potential customers and drop off your brochure.
Your vehicle serves as free advertising. Feature your business name in bold print.
Forget the economy when you’re working. Focus instead on the little things that you can do to improve your customer service and lower your costs.