Editorial: Put yourself out there
Are you doing enough to sing your own praises? Knowing this modest, nose-to-the-grindstone industry, I suspect not. When I set out to look for industry professionals to interview or drilling businesses to follow on social media, I must say that sometimes you folks are tough to find!
That – and a chat with a longtime industry supporter – was the motivation behind Julie Fitz-Gerald’s interview with Chris O’Shea, business advisor with Business Development Bank of Canada Advisory Services. O’Shea shares helpful advice on how to market your business online. There are two good reasons to have an official website and social media pages: to find new customers – and to help them find you.
As O’Shea describes the psychology behind people finding you on the internet – as so many people do. “How does someone become aware of you as a business to know that you exist? Then, do you have experience in drilling wells; do you have the ability to provide me with a solution to my problem?”
Who are your potential new customers? Obviously, those who need water wells and will pay for them. They may be homeowners, commercial landowners, farmers, municipalities – anyone who needs a water well dug, drilled, serviced or sealed, or a pump installed.
If you want to grow your business, it is worth your while to put extra effort into advertising or promoting yourself in the places – online and offline – where they spend time with their guard down. If done with purpose, exploring Facebook or Twitter is not a waste of time but a great way to learn what makes people tick.
Consider the psychology behind these customers’ purchases. Are they young couples buying their first home outside of a large city like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, where the prices are sky high? Do they know their way around water well and septic, or will they look to you to answer their questions? Are they families looking to live off the grid?
Contacting homeowner and real estate associations are great ways to find these customers. Attending local home shows is another. Just this spring, a friend and I attended the same trade show separately and ended up hiring the same contractor to do home renovations. Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. But if you’re not there at all, you won’t know what connections you’re not making.
One way to get into home shows is by joining your industry association at its booth. The Nova Scotia Ground Water Association talked up the benefits of being at the Ideal Home Show in Halifax this spring: “This is a great way to help promote your company while promoting the NSGWA. You get to meet and talk to potential homeowners and promote your business. This is a ‘word of mouth industry’ so why not?!”
This sounds like a low-risk experiment with potentially big gains. While you may miss out on a day’s drilling, you may also meet your next new customer (who can refer you to another), help out your association and possibly gain continuing education points all in one go.
If you’re on the fence about trying a new advertising gambit, try starting small: attend one day of a home show or set up a Facebook page that includes photos of you, your crew and if possible a worksite. Mention a tricky job or celebrate finding water. The more that people know about what you do, the more they’ll appreciate the indispensable knowledge and skills you have.
In the words of the BDC’s O’Shea, “go out there and try some things, see what works, fail miserably, try some more and just keep trying and doing things.”
Good luck – and let us know how it goes!
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OGWA Student Scholarship Awards Fund Raising Golf Tournament
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