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Friday, March 06, 2009

Surviving the recession (video)

This video, again, isn't ready for prime time -- but the interesting thing is that it took only a few minutes to produce, now that I've learned some of the basics of the Mac's iMovie software and uploading on

A few days ago, a reader responded to the second Construction Marketing Ideas video with this note:

I've watched your video on YouTube today and was very interested in some of the strategies that you described. I currently own and run my own construction business but I've only been in operation for a few months.

Currently, work is slow and it does not help with the current economic markets as they are and that is why I've begun to research better methods of enlisting new clients and work.

I was very interested in the strategy whereby you send customers letters/brochures/flyers etc stating an hour of labour for free and i would be interested to giving it a go. As i have not many previous clients, how would you recommend I carry out the task ie how do i approach the client in the flyer and what information do i need within it.

I would be very grateful if you could shine some expertise on this area of your work and provide me with some tools that i can use to gain more clients. Thanks for your help and i hope to hear from you in the near future.
Unfortunately the person who responded didn't understand the important point that the free service offer is valid for well-established businesses seeking to maintain or expand its client base; I don't think anyone starting out should rush to offer free services especially as a primary marketing strategy (this may invite people to take advantage of you, and nothing else.) Here is my response:
I think this free service approach is only valid if your business is well established and you have previous clients and wish to attract more or referral business from them. I do not recommend it as an approach to attract new business from people who have never done business with you before! You will spend much time, I fear, doing free work and not receive proper compensation for your efforts.

The challenges of building your business from scratch are more complex. Your best potential clients to start are going to be people with whom you have done some business (perhaps as an employee of another contractor). In these cases, I think you should first note who they are, and then get in touch with them. One approach is to ask for advice on the best way to get started; or for recommendations to relevant groups or associations. In your conversations, if possible, obtain testimonials about your work -- you will need these references to attract other new business. You really need to understand pricing -- rarely is it wise to build your business by being the cheapest: many people starting out under price their services (I certainly did).

In the early goings you will need more face to face and less 'marketing materials' but of course you should have a website etc. Also, be careful to ensure you specialize in a defined niche -- you must not allow yourself to be one of many!

You will find many clues in the blog and also at sites such as but there is not 'get rich quick' approach here.
Now that I've learned the basics of handing a simple fixed shot video, it is time to progress to something a little more creative and complex -- and use the video resource to tell stories effectively and inexpensively.

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