Marketing for Tradesmen

Read our low-cost tips for boosting your public image through marketing.

Marketing and brand

17 November 2017

We all know that first impressions count. But one interesting takeaway from our recent survey of over 2000 UK consumers* is just how important public image – and therefore marketing – is for tradesmen. Making a good first impression could be the difference between winning and losing a job.

Here are our top tips for making sure you are comprehensively marketing your trade business.

Online presence

In our tech-savvy society, potential customers have many different ways to check out your credentials before they get in touch. Our research found that 40% of people have consulted online reviews of a tradesperson they were considering, while 37% have referred to a website.

Crucially, 22% said they might be suspicious of a tradesperson who didn't have a website or social media profile – rising to 31% among the 25-34 age group. Future proof your business by setting up a Facebook page. Posting regular updates will give your customers an extra way to contact you and makes you look available and well-established.

Signage and cards

According to our survey, the humble business card still has an important role to play for tradesmen. Almost a quarter said they'd be likely to distrust a tradesman who didn’t have a business card, while 44% said they would be put off by spelling mistakes on a tradesperson's card, signage or website. So, before you get any documents printed, be sure to proofread them carefully or ask someone else to give them a thorough once-over.

Photos and credentials

Almost 40% of people have looked for images of completed work before picking a tradesman for a project, so it's important to take high-quality photos of your work and display them prominently on your website or Facebook page. Likewise, if you have public liability insurance, or are a member of a recognised industry body, you should shout about this on your site – we found that 58% of consumers look out for insurance, while 55% check for accreditation.

Recommendations are increasingly moving online and so should your marketing. The good news is that it's easier than you think to make the most of these platforms.

Website templates

Google's algorithms have evolved, putting added emphasis on content, usability and mobile-friendly design. Fortunately, lots of website providers make it easy to please the search engines.

Wordpress still leads the way with its free themes and handy plug-ins. For a little extra, you can source pre-built tradesman templates from Nimbus Themes or Trade Themes. Alternatively, sites like Wix and 1&1 offer hosting and template bundles, with quickly and easily customised free templates.

Social media platforms

Facebook is a good all-rounder. There are options to request reviews and customer feedback, conduct surveys and promote posts or special offers to a tailored audience in your area. They even publish guides to help you get the hang of it.

LinkedIn is a great free way to build professional contacts or court corporate business. Build a sleek page and look for questions around your expertise to engage with. It'll boost your image as a helpful and knowledgeable tradesman.

Simpler social

Pinterest is increasingly popular with tradesmen because it's image-led, so you can share before and after pictures, renovation ideas or other projects. 40% of people look for images of completed projects before choosing a tradesman, so it makes a difference. Like Facebook, Pinterest also offers analytic tools and is easily embedded.

Instagram isn't all selfies and fancy dinners, either. Easily installed on a smartphone, it's a nice way to share professional images. Use relevant hashtags to reach the right audience and follow similar users to build a community.

Third party websites

These are particularly useful if you don't have time to manage your own online presence. Neglected social media accounts can do more harm than good if you leave questions from potential customers unanswered or display ancient status updates. Instead, let these platforms collect reviews and feedback to build trust, while spending on advertising to gather an audience.

Rated People is a good example, and once you reach a certain standing it even allows you to boost your profile by offering advice to users. MyBuilder and Checkatrade are similar alternatives, but they do apply charges in various forms so it's worth spending time choosing the right platform.


If you're keen to be more hands on, sites like MailChimp offer free templates for e-newsletters. They also let you build databases of contacts, with easy options to add new contacts as you make them.

Rating sites like Yelp or Trust Pilot are fantastic places to build a profile. Direct your satisfied customers to them and you'll soon gather a solid base of reviews. For more detailed feedback, Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo both have free options.

With all these tools available, it's easier than ever to make yourself seen. Just pick the best approach for you and get marketing.

Business insurance that measures up

Over half of customers* are suspicious of tradespeople who don’t have public liability insurance – so having the right protection in place could really help your reputation.

Find out more about AXA's public liability insurance – it’s business insurance that really measures up.

These findings suggest that how you market your business is increasingly important in terms of building trust with customers. Whether you’re a sole trader or an established business with several employees, creating and maintaining a personal brand that people can trust is vital to your reputation – and your bottom line.

*Based on an AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 consumers and 320 tradesmen in the UK conducted in November 2015.