Charlie Mullins offers his top tips.
1. Size should be no barrier
First off, no matter what size your business is, you should look to use a creative and active marketing strategy. We’re the perfect example. You might not expect a plumbing firm to invest heavily in marketing, and many of the methods we use are not on the average small firm’s agenda, particular for businesses in the trades. But when competition is fierce, you really need to focus on reaching customers and making your business stand head and shoulders above the rest.
2. Get online
The most recent additions to Pimlico’s marketing armoury are designed to engage further with customers and the media – we now have a blog spot on our interactive website and an active Twitter account, which now has nearly 600 followers. Don’t be afraid of these new communications platforms, as they really can help generate customers. And all you need to use them is some time and commitment.
3. Be visual
Above all, you need to stand out from the crowd and this doesn’t have to mean spending thousands on flashy advertising campaigns – we have never done that at Pimlico. It can just be simple things, for example, our fleet of vans are adverts on wheels – they come complete with number plates such as ‘LOO2OLD’, ‘BOG1’ and ‘F1USH’ and play a special version of Mambo Number 5 when they reverse. Something that guarantees attention. You can now even buy your own replica Pimlico toy vans!”
4. Employees and PR
Public relations is a key part of our marketing strategy and what better way to promote your firm than a positive story about an employee. I’m proud of my workforce and we’re not afraid to shout about them. You will often find stories that are appealing to the media from within your own employee base, so make use of this free resource as a source of positive PR. Again, keep it simple, as something as straightforward as a long-serving employee can be enough, or someone attempting an amazing feat for charity. Employees are your biggest asset.
Charlie Mullins is the managing director of the UK’s largest independent plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers (www.pimlicoplumbers.com)
Do you have any other tips for marketing on a shoestring? Please leave your ideas in the comments box below.
Why you use only twitter for social media? whats the impact ofLinkedin & G+ ?
Thanks for this. I love the idea of number plates such as ‘LOO2OLD’, ‘BOG1’ and ‘F1USH’ for company vehicles, as a way to raise the profile of a company. I’m not so sure about blaring out loud tunes on their car horns when they reverse, might cause annoyance in quiet districts.