RBA predicts construction activity could start to decline
Last week in the news, the Reserve Bank of Australia predicted that construction activity could start to decline. You can read the article here. The theory stems from the falling number of residential building approvals since its peak in 2016. If the approvals continue to decline, the work will reduce and jobs will be lost. Albeit a gradual process.
But today, right now, the story is very different.
Many businesses I have spoken to in the industry are riding a wave of plenty. Ask any Tradie and they’ll tell you they’re booked up for the next few months. That’s if you’re lucky enough to speak with them. Some are so backed up, they don’t even bother returning calls or showing up at a time you agreed for a site visit (end rant!)
But what if the prediction is true?
What if the abundance of work diminishes and the playing field becomes a far more aggressive and strategic fight? Not just to win the work, but to also keep your good employees in a job. What could you be doing to prepare your business for a downturn?
The stronger your business is, the less likely it is to be affected by risks. One strategy is to start looking at new ways to retain and broaden your customer base.
Today, for you and many of your competitors, your work comes from traditional word of mouth. It’s likely you don’t put much effort into marketing because at this point – you don’t need to. But if the decline happens and there’s less chatter about your business, you’re going to need to be found in other ways. And considering most of your potential customers will be doing their research online, it’s time to create a digital footprint for your business.
So why not do this later?
Compare it to relocating your business to a new city. Just because you start trading in this new space, it doesn’t mean the customers will flock straight in. You need to build up a reputation.
It’s one thing to create a footprint online, but building up the footprint to drive new business leads takes time.
Here are a few things you can be working on now.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free listing of your business with Google. It enables you to display important information like company name, what you do, contact details, opening hours, reviews, photos and more.
Below is a screengrab of what appears in Google search results when searching for a service.
The top section is all paid listings. The middle is Google My Business Results and the bottom is the organic search traffic.
By setting up your Google My Business page, you’re increasing your chances of being found by potential customers. It’s quick, easy and free to set-up a Google My Business Page, so it’s a no-brainer.
In addition, if someone types your full business name into Google, you’ll get a feature listing. On a desktop computer, it appears on the right side of the page, and on a mobile device, it’s right underneath the paid ads. You can find instructions on how to set up your page here.
So what’s the rush?
Google selects three businesses to appear at the top of the pack. This is where you want to be if the going gets tough. You want to be working now to tick all the boxes to get you there. Things like enriching your listing with quality content, photos, and reviews.
If you’re not quite sold, here are 5 good reasons why it’s worth having a small business website:
- A good site will help your business gain credibility. Potential customers are more likely to contact you if you look trustworthy and professional.
- It provides an opportunity for you to connect with new customers.
- It’s a great way to showcase everything you do.
- It’s 24/7. Most people are doing their research after hours. Your website means your business is available at the time your consumers are.
- And because it’s always there, unlike an ad in your local newspaper or magazine, it’s well worth the small investment.
However, owning a website is merely one part of the puzzle. If you want to leverage your site for attracting new customers, you need to be showing up in the search engine results for a variety of search terms.
And guess what. That’s not automatic.
It takes time for your business to rank in google.
It’ therefore a good idea to get the ball rolling now. Not when you need it the most.
Regardless of your business, social media is a great way to have a direct line to your current and prospective customers.
You can use this channel to communicate what’s happening on the day-to-day of your business and as a way of interacting with your people. At the basic level, the purpose of social media is to stay front of mind, drive direct enquiries to your business and or traffic to your website.
However, building up a following takes time. Take advantage of the abundance of customers you have now to drive up your community numbers.
This one’s so simple. And so effective.
When doing research, your potential customers will be looking for reviews. They want validation from independent parties that your business is credible.
The more reviews you have, the more credible you become.
So where you can, encourage your customers to share their great experience online. Reviews are valuable on social pages, in directory listings, on google, on independent review sites and of course, on your website.
It’s not a huge investment to make your digital footprint and if you take the time now, you’ll have a stronger presence when you need it the most. Need help getting started? Get in touch.
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