OT - trade advertising on internet, Yellow Pages etc.


Just wondered what you folks in the trade are finding the best in terms of commercial advertising these days?
Reason I ask is a joiner/bespoke cabinet maker friend of mine has just returned to work after many months recovering from a serious accident. He's still got a reasonable order book in spite of this (most of his work is personal recommendations), but obviously not as good as he's used to and would probably benefit from a bit of extra advertising.
His craftsmanship has to be seen to be believed - and I've just set him up a website to showcase it. I'm waiting to see the results of my own search engine optimisation before suggesting doing anything involving extra money on the net, but I would also be interested in any experiences anyone has of the myriad of online trade directories (and the various trusted trader ones like ratedpeople,myhammer,mybuilder springing up all over the place which have a bad smell to me).
He has an advert in Thomson Local including online, which finds him easily/prominently on a search. He also has a basic listing on Yell too - but that takes some finding, and their premium offerings are expensive.
Thoughts appreciated.
TIA, Midge
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try Service Magic, I get lots of work requests. A word of caution though be quick when responding as sometimes people have already taken on someone before you call.
AJ
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If he is that good then he will not need much advertising as the word soon gets around. That's what happened to a local garage, they put flyers through doors and generated a lot of business from the free local papers and also their own web site. If I want anything I reach for Google - so get a website together showing examples of work, how much it costs as a guide and waiting times etc. Think about what you would want to see if you were after a product or service and use that information in adverts. One type of advert I avoid is the one with "AAAAAAAAAAA11111111" at the start as I see them as desperate cowboys! Not everyone will pick the company at the top of the list. I also avoid those written in such a way they leave me guessing about what is on offer or those just giving mobile phone numbers. The danger from effective advertising is that he will not be able to keep up to demand. That will get him a bad name and people will add their own stories!
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Thanks guys.

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In that case, make sure his existing customers can advertise him when his craftsmanship is seen. Have him furnish them with flyers which they can give to friends/visitors. That kind of personal recommendation will be much more powerful than anything he can achieve in his own adverts - having your customers advertise you speaks volumes, and this will reach potential customers who will never find him via the internet.
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Andrew Gabriel
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Good idea - I can knock something together from the images I've now got out of his portfolio and onto the web site.
Midge.
writes:

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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Excellent idea. The 'third pary reference' is a great marketing tool.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman
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Midge wrote:

One hell of a subject :-) I may write the book one day.
IMO directories like Yellow Pages & Thompson are 'yesterdays papers' - no one uses them much anymore. Total waste of money for a small trader. Don't renew the ads.
The online trade directories, again IMO are a waste of time for small specialist traders, the brush is simply too wide.
Websites are an excellent online catalouge showing the product or service, but getting high up in the search engine rankings is difficult. Great tool for showing customers what you can do, but not brilliant for getting the initial enquiry. 'Pay per Click' isn't worth the money IME, a high tech con job.
I'm assuming he works in a fairly small geographical area? Have a good look around for small local 'free' magazines. There are half a dozen in my area. Not church parish magazines, they don't work IME.
These magazines typically go out to as few as 5,000 to 10,000 people, as compared to 100,000 for a local paper, but its being seen, not circulation that matters. They are very cheap to advertise in and because they contain fewer adverts than a local paper, its easier to stand out.
Because they are local they also tend to be read, especially if they contain community news - jumble sales, boot fairs etc. These magazines are always up for 'advertorial' in other words a good story to fill the pages.
Sounds like your friend has an ideal story to tell.
The other good thing about these small magazines is that they will leaflet drop very cheaply, to very small targeted areas.
So, to sum up; drop the paper directories, forget the online directories, view the website as an online catalouge, not an enquiry generator, check out the local free press and advertise with them, use advertorial and leaflet drop the high income areas.
Oh - and make sure his vehicle is signwritten!
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
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Thanks - since I posted originally, googlebot has done its thing and the initial results look encouraging with my site for him doing reasonably well in some sample searches with the optimisation I did on it. Not bad when you consider just how much is out there.
The other thing I've done is claimed his google map entry for him and done some work on that. I'd imagine it isn't quite as effective if you live in a big city - but in our town, there are few enough joiners and even fewer cabinet makers to ensure he consistently appears. Right at the top of the search listing too! It got him a couple of enquires this week, and it didn't cost a penny.
Midge.

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