Electricians, if you don’t already have an online presence, it’s high time you started building one. Phone books are becoming increasingly obsolete, newspapers are read by fewer and fewer people under the age of 70, and while word of mouth is still the best way to get new business, the internet is now the best way for customers to share their experiences and let friends know about you.
So, if you haven’t taken the plunge yet, here are some things you can do yourself to build an online presence and make sure potential customers can find you.
Get Seen in Search Results
The first thing someone with an electrical problem is probably going to do is pull out their phone or open their laptop and do an internet search for “electricians in my area.” They’ll take a look at the first few results that pop up, read the reviews, and call the electrician they feel is right for them.
So, how do you make sure you’re in the search results?
The first thing you should do for your business online is to create or claim your Google business page. This link will take you to the place to do it. On that page, click “Manage Now.” You’ll be asked questions about what kind of business you own, where you’re located, what kind of contact information you want to show, etc.
Once you answer the basic questions and verify your address, you’ll be able to access your Google business dashboard. The main thing you want to do here is to update your contact info and location, add hours, etc. Once you’ve created the business page, you’ll show up on Google as a business, and customers can start leaving you reviews, which is essential to building your online presence. More on that later.
Facebook Business Page
The second thing most people will do when they need electrical services is get on Facebook and post something like, “I need help installing some new lighting fixtures. Who do you recommend?” Past customers might recommend you, but it’s best if they can share a link to your Facebook business page.
This is another page you can create fairly easily by yourself (it’s separate from your personal Facebook profile). You can find online tutorials to do this from beginning to end, but in short, you’ll find the button that says “Manage Pages,” then Create a Page. You’ll be asked for basic business info and will have the ability to add detailed descriptions of what you do, who you serve, prices, etc. You can have all the information you’d have on a website but without the expense or work of building a website.
Like Google, the Facebook business page is another place your customers can leave reviews. Reviews are the real driving magic behind being online. A few good reviews can take you from being a faceless, questionably trustworthy electrician to a friendly, personable business that customers want to hire. If you’re worried about getting bad reviews, don’t be too worried. You can respond publicly and privately to customer comments to try to resolve issues and show future visitors that you take customer satisfaction seriously.
Encourage customers to leave you reviews. Oftentimes, you just need to ask, in person at the time of service and again in a follow-up email a few days later. Incentives, like offering a discount for future service or hosting a prize drawing, are also good ways to get more reviews – just be aware that the incentive must be equally available to anyone, whether their review is positive or negative.
Do I Need a Website?
The short answer is, no, you don’t have to have a website. A website is great, but only if you’re willing and able to keep it up to date. An outdated website is almost more of a turnoff for a potential customer than no website at all. So if you’re a one-man or woman show and not interested in learning to manage the site by yourself, it’s probably better to stick with the suggestions above and leave a website alone until you can hire someone to do it and do it well.
If you are willing to learn how to do some basic website maintenance, there are many platforms that are user friendly and made for people with all levels of technical experience. Check some out (many have a free trial), and if you can, find someone who knows the platform to walk you through it.
You may get offers from young, enthusiastic web designers who are willing to build you a site for free but don’t accept unless they’re willing to use a platform you’re comfortable with and then to train you to update it once they’ve finished building.
As you can hopefully see, getting yourself online isn’t too difficult or demanding. Make sure you’re comfortable managing each page you open before moving onto the next one, and don’t ever let your information become outdated. These few strategies will help new customers find you and let past customers share their experiences with others, building your credibility, and helping you get more business with less effort.
We love to hear from you! If you don’t have an online business presence yet, what’s stopping you from getting one? Let us know in the comments.