Is it the rise of the machines? Is it the lack of flexibility? Or is it the poor wages that encourage so many employees to ditch the nine-to-five and start their own businesses?
It is possibly a combination of all three. No job is safe as technology moves in to take over our tasks and roles. And distrustful employers simply refuse to offer the work-life balance we need to care for our children and aging parents.
For many workers, the only way to grow an income is to grow their own business. That means every year, more and more self-employed and gig workers can be converted into your customers.
What does your customer need?
Does your business rely on tradies or entrepreneurs in need of outsourced resources? Then you need to find a way to reach these very isolated individuals. What connects them all? Communications. Without email and mobile office applications, they can’t trade. Independent contractors also need a way to invoice their clients. They might use one of the several apps that arrived on the market recently. And then, of course, they need a bank account.
It’s obvious that your company isn’t the only one that a self-employed tradie or entrepreneur might turn to in order to run their business. Have you considered affiliating or partnering with one of these many companies? If they’re not a competitor, it might make sense to start working together to better reach a common customer. And if you sell niche products, what other niche products are essential for your customer?
How your customer finds you
Tradies rarely use one supplier for all their tools and equipment. They can’t afford to. Instead, they shop around for a good price. Sure, there are some retailers that have opened a supply store in every town for the tradesperson’s convenience. But if you’re not supplying to that retailer, how else can you reach your target market?
Read more about advertising to your market: The most cost-effective traditional advertising channels in the UK
Why your customer chooses you
Customer care might be a second route to attracting your customer. If you can provide after-sales servicing or maintenance for your products, it might be a desirable proposition. After all, a tradie can’t afford the time to tend to equipment failures or breakdowns. They need help with air compressor maintenance to keep their pneumatic tools running. And they need a quick and easy returns and replacement services should things go wrong. These tools are an investment.
As a retailer, you might already have such procedures and offers in place for your customer. It would be good to work with other companies that share your work ethic and approach to customer service. Recommendations are seen as helpful to your customers. They’ll remember that your brand was the one that went the extra mile to help despite not making a sale. That’s a pretty effective way to see that customer return to you over your competitor.
Your marketing strategy needs to go beyond promotions and advertising for this market. Try a customer-centric approach in collaboration with other businesses your customers use. Look to businesses big and small that your customers might know and focus your marketing initiatives on a joint offer. How much convenience can you offer the busy entrepreneur?