As a welder, what are some ways I can market my services?
There are many ways welders can connect with their audiences. Creating and maintaining a presence on social media should be at the top of any welder’s marketing plan. Quality customer service will set a welder apart from the rest. Joining the welding community gains you access to a wealth of knowledge and support, and contributing to the local community will make you more contacts than you’ll know what to do with.
Knowing how to weld is a skill still very much in demand. Despite automation, industries continually hire welders to complete tasks a machine simply cannot do (yet). But the challenge most welders face is getting their name in front of these companies, so they can be considered for projects currently and down the road.
To help you market yourself as a welder, we’ve put together the following post. The advice below comes from experts and successful welders who’ve put in the time and effort. They know what works and what doesn’t. How you present yourself and your work to the world is up to you, but learning from your peers can do a lot to set you up for success, both now and in the future.
Are you ready to show off your welding skills?
How to Make the Most of Your Marketing Efforts
Before you pull out the shielding gas and don your welding helmet, there’s some strategy to how you should approach announcing yourself on the welding scene. For instance, defining and capitalizing on your niche within the welding world puts you directly on the path to success. Pick one or two processes or skills you excel in and showcase those whenever possible. This may seem limiting at first, but it will help you make a name for yourself first before expanding later.
You should also focus heavily on marketing. “Compile an arsenal of marketing materials,” and you’ll have plenty of ways you can put yourself in front of the right people. We mean those who will not only provide you with work, but will network with their contacts to find you opportunities.
Finally, one of the best things you can do for yourself as a welder is to adapt. Try out strategies, measure the results, and tailor your next moves with this knowledge in mind. Be confident in your abilities but push yourself to create value in what you do. That could mean pro bono projects here and there. The importance is that you’re opening doors for future opportunities to come pouring through.
Marketing Yourself as a Welder in 2020
Now that you’ve made the move to create a business out of your welding, here are just a few ways you can market yourself to the public.
Establishing Your Online Presence Via Social Media
Creating a valuable and—most important of all—memorable online presence begins with a social media profile. While it might be tempting to simply use a personal profile, you should really focus on a professional profile dedicated to your business. No matter which platforms you choose, your brand should be identifiable across them all. A unified presence will let your viewers know you mean business.
So which platforms should you invest time in? Let’s take a look at them individually to find out how you can maximize each one for your welding business.
It may seem self-explanatory, but YouTube works best with videos of your welding process and/or final results. You can host videos on YouTube and share them via other social media platforms as well. Many people use YouTube to put up how-to videos, explaining how to weld certain metals, different types of joints, what shielding gases to use, etc. The key here is to focus on the visual element so that viewers keep coming back for more welding entertainment.
There’s a reported 845 million users on Facebook, so chances are you shouldn’t ignore this popular social venue. Oftentimes, businesses will create a business page—different from a profile—and use the space to keep customers informed about what’s going on. Most often these updates start on Facebook and are then reposted to places like Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube.
One of the perks of Facebook is that you can use advertising methods built into the site. This way, you can reach audiences both local and great distances away. You may end up having to pay for this type of advertising, but the rewards can be much greater than the initial investment.
Though Twitter might not have as large a following as it used to, there are still people waiting to hear about your welding business. As the American Fabrication Academy advises, “You should be active on Twitter by posting ideas regularly, commenting on other people’s posts, and also sharing other people’s ideas.” Support other welders on Twitter and you never know. You may find inspiration there as well.
“Using social media the right way means quality content, consistent posting, and regular engagement,” but that can be hard for a welder just starting out. There are only so many text updates you can give about your services, your current projects, and any specials you might have. So, Instagram can be a great way to still add content and connect with your customers without bombarding them with a bunch of repeated text.
The Weidert Group advises businesses to “Put Instagram Stories to good use. Consider giving followers a brief look inside your facility, post a video showcasing an employee, or a fast motion video of a manufacturing process.” Focus on the visual element with Instagram and give your audience something they can easily share with their friends. The wow factor could translate into a whole lotta money in the future.
Much like Twitter, LinkedIn marketing methods should focus on joining the conversation and connecting with your audience and other welders in the industry. Having a LinkedIn profile will set you apart as a professional. As such, you should keep your posts and comments focused on bringing useful content to others, so they see you as an expert in the welding field.
You can also use LinkedIn as a way to connect with potential business prospects. Messaging human resource managers at companies you’d like to work for—or intend to obtain self-employed work from—looks more professional if you use the LinkedIn messaging application. Referrals and shout-outs on LinkedIn can get you in front of the right eyes very easily as well.
If you’re a welder and you don’t have your own personal website, stop reading this right now and create one. There are plenty of website builders out there, most of them free. You don’t have to set up anything fancy, at least to start, so let your creativity run wild. Make sure you stay professional, but allow your unique approach to shine through.
Now that you know where you should focus your marketing efforts, let’s focus more on how you can use these platforms to gain clients. It’s all about strategy and having a clear approach. Your content might not look the same across every social media platform, but that’s okay. Keep reading to find out more.
Social Media Content Strategies
Next, you’ll want to focus on a marketing plan. It’s all about strategy and how to tailor your content to a specific platform. Here are some ideas to get you started on your content marketing strategy:
- Start out with the 1 in 7 rule: Use the 1 in 7 rule to strategize your content: of your 7 posts, only 1 should be promoting your business. The other 6 should bring some value to your audience in a way that positions you as the expert.
- Bring your audience industry news—and your opinion: It’s always a good idea to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the welding industry. But there’s also a way you can use the time you spend on reading the latest news to your advantage. Repost a story you connected with and contribute to the conversation. This puts you in front of both potential customers but also others in the industry that could connect you with clients.
- Take a crash course in SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) might sound like a big fancy acronym but really it’s about using keywords and phrases that search engines pick up on. The best news is that there are companies out there specifically created to optimizing your business for you. They can tailor your website and even your social media to get picked up by search engines and put in front of your potential customers.
- Be flexible and experiment: There’s certainly an amount of scientific method that goes along with social media platforms, but really, they’re all dynamic systems. “Learn what your customers want, what your competitors are doing, and how to adapt your company to grow accordingly.”
You’ll also want to focus on how you present yourself in the local community and with customers in-person and over the phone.
Focus on Customer Service and Memorable Interactions
Interacting with customers online should be at the head of your marketing plan. However, in-person interactions are just as important. Whether you’re video-chatting with a customer, answering emails, or just returning a phone call to your supplier, you should always conduct yourself as a professional.
The American Welding society advises: “Aim for better ways to build long-lasting relationships with satisfied customers.” Asking for referrals isn’t out of the question—in fact, it’s something you should actively seek out. A welder is only as good as his/her last weld, so make each one count—and work for you in landing another paying job.
You should also remember that your “reputation is shaped by your products and service.” Don’t send something to a customer if you wouldn’t accept it yourself. Establish and maintain a high standard of quality that puts you ahead of the competition. Sure, they may be able to do the job for cheaper, but will your welds last longer? Play off your strengths to build a reputation you can stand behind.
Join the Welding Community
There are plenty of welding organizations you should join or at least follow. As Baker’s Gas notes, “Don’t just walk into the party and start talking about yourself.” Find out what’s going on in the welding sphere and listen to the conversation before you start contributing to it.
One of the biggest reasons to join a welding community is to learn from mentors. These men and women weld just as you do, but they’ve often got years of experience to impart. It would behoove you to learn from their mistakes, take their advice to heart, and support efforts to keep their legacy alive. After all, welding just isn’t the same if there aren’t people involved.
Linking up to the community will also open the door to trade shows and expos. These events are a mecca of welding information you likely won’t find anywhere else. Sure, there’s a lot of energy and effort that goes into being a part of and even attending trade shows, but plenty a gig has been landed from the contacts made in this environment.
If there’s only one organization you join after reading this article, it should be the American Welding Society. They offer “a searchable database for people interested in requesting welding services. Join as an individual/small business owner or put your entire company into the listing.” You won’t be sorry you did.
Spend Time on Local Outreach
As much time as you spend on social media, you should also be out and about meeting with people in your community. There are a ton of ways you can do this:
- The commercial and agricultural industries are always in need of welders. You might have to start out with small jobs to prove your worth, but remember that each interaction is an opportunity to establish your reputation and a reference for the next job. Talk with owners, managers, ranchers, and farmers to see how your welding skills can benefit their operations.
- Have you ever dreamt of hearing your voice on the radio? Now’s the time to make that dream come true. Pay for a short radio spot to get the word out to folks about your new welding business. You can even offer discounts for folks who mention the radio ad’s promo code.
- Community colleges foster hands-on learning, but they need skilled technicians to demonstrate. See if welding programs in your area need welders to contribute to the classroom experience.
- Contractors often post their services at home goods and hardware stores. Put your name up there with an eye-catching flyer, coupon, or business card. Talk with the owners to see if they know anyone looking for welding services. Wherever there’s a bulletin board or a chance to hand out a business card, take advantage.
By now, you should have a game plan forming about how to connect with the world to show them your welding skills. Because we can only offer advice: it’s up to you to make it happen.
Get Out There and Do It
At the end of the day, there’s definitely a lot of leg-work necessary to promoting a business. This is especially true when your business is service oriented, as it is with welding. We hope this article has helped give you ideas and sparked your passion to bring quality welding to the masses, in a way that represents you.
The only thing left is to get out there. Create videos, post blogs, snap photos, and reach out to the community with your best foot forward. There’s a lot of opportunity to make a career in welding—and all it takes is one post to get started. Do you have what it takes?