70+ Ways to Advertise Your Surveying Business

70+ Ways to Advertise Your Surveying Business

One thing that remains relatively constant for surveying business owners, or any other types of business owners, is advertising. In order to keep a steady flow of customers calling, emailing or contacting you in some way, you need to be constantly getting your business out there in front of potential clients.

To help my surveying friends, I’ve decided to brainstorm as many advertising ideas as possible that could realistically be implemented by a surveying company. You should always be looking for new ways to reach your clients, and there’s probably some things on this list that you haven’t tried yet.

Furthermore, the items on this list could apply to almost any kind of business.

Free Traditional Advertising

  • Customer Referrals – Probably the best free advertising around for your business.  Few things are more powerful that a recommendation from someone you trust.
  • Cold Calling – Not my favorite technique, but if you can get over the uncomfortable feeling, you may just find some local businesses in need of surveying services that didn’t know where to turn.  I recommend doing this with other businesses only, as calling private homes unsolicited is normally seen as intrusive and can have the opposite effect as intended.
  • Door-to-door – Similar to cold calling, but may be more your speed if you prefer being face-to-face with prospective customers.
  • Happy Hour – I’ve made a handful of business deals over a cold one.  When you get together with a group of friends after work on a weekday you’ll normally be introduced to new people all in a friendly festive environment.  Have some business cards handy, talk a bit about your business, and have fun!
  • Attend Business Mixers – Similar to a happy hour, but designed for the purpose of meeting other business owners, these are usually coordinated by your local chamber of commerce or other business organization.
  • Contribute Articles to Local Paper – Contact your local paper to see if they’d be interested in featuring a weekly surveying column penned by you.  Normally they’ll allow you to include a small blurb at the end of the article with info about your business.
  • Teach a Class – Many organizations such as churches, senior homes, networking groups, and community clubs hold workshops and classes on various topics for their members.  Reach out to these places to see if you can teach a class on a typical surveying service.  At the end of the class you can pass out business cards or write your business phone number and email on the board for folks to contact you with further questions.
  • Volunteer – Similar to teaching a class, you can volunteer your time for other things such as free monument recon for under-privileged households or helping an organization understand their deed or survey map.  This will not only get your name out as a friendly resource for surveying help, but it will allow you to meet community organizers who can become major allies for referrals in the future.
  • Partnerships – Partner up with another local business to offer discounts to their customers or some other kind of cross promotion.  You can partner with other businesses that provide services that you don’t, like ALTA surveys or construction staking, or you can partner with other service businesses like engineers and lawyers who can then recommend your business to their clients while you do the same for them.
  • Press Release – Any time something changes in your business, whether it be a new service offering, a new location opening up, or a new partnership, be sure to send out a press release to your local papers and magazines.  Sometimes they’ll go unpublished, but every now and then you’ll get something put in that will potentially get your business out in front of the eyeballs of thousands for free.
  • Community Bulletin – If you live in an organized subdivision or community that has a Home Owners Association or some other organized group that serves local residents, send them a note about your business by offering to give them a discount.  This form of hyper local marketing has worked really well for me in the past.
  • Write a Book – I know this is easier said than done, but writing a book is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  You don’t necessarily need to get published by a major publisher either.  A self-published book can still be sold on Amazon or online via your website with publishing provided by an on-demand publisher.  Just put a unique spin on a surveying topic or cover a specific aspect of surveying in-depth.  Who knows, you may release the next New York Times bestseller!
  • Have a Catchy/Unique Business Name – A unique and catchy business name can go a long way in brand recognition and can be a way to create buzz about your business.  Getting people to talk about your business is a great form of free advertising. Be careful here though, as this can backfire if the name is too outrageous.
  • SMS(text) Campaign – Texting is as popular now as ever, thanks to the rise in mobile phone use among members of all age groups and demographics.  You can leverage this trend by first engaging your existing customer base.  Include a check box on your invoices asking if your customers would accept exclusive offers via text message, and then ask them to leave their cell number.  Then, a few times throughout the year, you can send an offer or special via text only.
  • Hold a Contest – Engage your existing customers and attract new ones by running regular contests.  It can be as simple as asking folks to sign up for your mailing list or ‘Like’ your Facebook page.  Then you can randomly draw one of those people to receive a small prize.  Even better, make the prize branded with your logo or business name!

Paid Traditional Advertising

  • Fliers – The old stand-by, fliers have been around for ages and are effective for both lemonade stands and full-fledged surveying businesses.  This is a numbers game, so get out as many as you can in as many places as you can.  The cost is minimal if you can design your own.
  • Tear-offs – The flier’s big sister, this is simply a flier with little tabs at the bottom with your contact info.  People can “tear off” these tabs and take them so they don’t forget your info.
  • Business Cards – This is probably the first advertising tool you should purchase for your business.  Easy, portable, informative, and functional, the business card is essential.
  • Magnets – Made popular by pizza places, refrigerator magnets are a great way to get your business in front of people’s faces daily.  Give them out any way you can: in the mail, on the street.  Give a handful to your customers to pass out for you.
  • Pens – People use pens all the time.  Why not remind them that your business exists in the process?  It’s easy to get a bunch with your logo on it.
  • Stickers – A fun and inexpensive way to leave a little promotional item with your customer, or their kids, that feels like it’s a prize or reward.  Then, depending on where they put the sticker, it can serve as a mini advertisement.
  • Mouse pads – Remind your clients that help is only a mouse click away.  Mouse pads sit right next to a user’s computer, the perfect place for such a reminder.
  • Shirts – A little bit more expensive than pens, magnets, stickers, and mouse pads, branded shirts are a great promotional item to give away and wear yourself.
  • Door Hangers – Like fliers, door hangers are a great way to get your message out to the masses without being too intrusive.  Walk around your neighborhood, get some sun and exercise, and hang these on your community’s door knobs. And if you live in an area where you must give notice prior to accessing private property, door hangers can serve to fulfill the legal obligation, be informative, and serve as a reminder to your professionalism.
  • Direct Mail – Direct mail is an old form of advertising that is a great way to get your advertising directly to a large number of local prospects.  It’s really a numbers game because most folks largely ignore the advertisements they get in the mail.  However, there are a few people who read them and of those people there may be a few that need your services.  So the more mailings you send out the better.  However, it can start getting expensive, so use this method only if you have some spare money to spend on advertising.  Make sure you include an enticing offer or discount on these mailings to get people’s attention.
  • Sandwich Boards – An old-fashioned technique that still gets used today.  This works best for those of you with a store-front business.
  • Billboards – This is a fairly expensive advertising method with rental costs ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month for one sign in well trafficked areas.  However, it can be worth it as most billboards will be seen by hundreds if not thousands of people every day.
  • Bench/Bus Stop Advertising – An often overlooked advertising space, these are often less expensive than billboards, but still help get your brand in front of countless eyes.
  • Sponsorships – Many local sports teams and other organizations seek small business sponsors to help fund their team and in return, they’ll promote your business.  Reach out to them and see if they’d be interested in sponsorship.  They usually require very little monetary help, but the reward you get from helping them is not only advertising, but also respect and recognition in your community.
  • Vehicle Advertising – This is a popular method for many surveying shops. Since surveyors work outside and travel to serve their clients, it only makes sense to slap a car door magnet on your vehicle to get some advertising out of those miles you drive every day.  You can even get your whole car painted if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • TV Commercials – Producing your own TV commercial can no doubt be an effective way to advertise your business.  However, the costs associated with this can be quite high.  Not only do you need to spend money to record, edit, and produce a decent looking commercial, but you also need to buy the air time on the TV station.  The more potential viewers you have, the higher the price.  The rewards can be great, especially if you put together a memorable commercial.
  • Radio Commercials – Along the same lines as a TV commercial, but cheaper.  Radio ads may be more effective, for the money spent, than television because the majority of the time your audience is captive.
  • Ads in Local Paper – This is a tougher sell in my book, as not only is readership in papers going down, but I’m not sure people notice the ads there too often.  However, you may be able to get a good deal with local papers.
  • Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce – Most every county or area has a local Chamber of Commerce, which is a group of business owners that helps further the interest of business owners.  They usually hold networking events, meetings, and various functions that are exclusive to members which are great opportunities to network with fellow business owners and seek B2B opportunities.

Free Online Advertising

  • Website – Your first line of advertisement on the web is your website. You want to make sure you sell your services clearly enough to convert first time visitors into customers and show existing customers what else you can do for them. Of course, this “free” online resource assumes you already own a website.
  • Guest Posting – If you like to write, there are countless numbers of blogs and websites that feature regular surveying-related articles. The website owner usually lets you link back to your website at the end of your article.  This is good for SEO, and also a good way to establish yourself as an expert.
  • Link Exchange – Reach out to other local businesses that offer different and complimentary services to your own.  Ask them if they’d be interested in exchanging links.  You can list their business on a “recommended links” page on your website if they do the same on theirs.  This has minimal SEO benefits, but their existing customers may then find out about your business this way and check out your website.
  • Free Web Directories – There are many ways to list your business in directories online besides Yelp. Some examples include: ShowMeLocal, and MerchantCircle.  The more of these directories you’re listed in, the better chance you’ll have of getting found online.
  • Local Directories – Along with the above mentioned free directories, you can search Google for “yourtown or yourcounty or yourstate business directory” to find local business directories to list your business in.  There are usually at least a few of these that you can find that will be willing to list your business.
  • Google My Business – Of the major search engines, Google is by far the most used, and therefore it’s the one you want to get your business listed on.  For many local based searches, Google will present Google My Business results, which can often appear at the top of the search results.  This will also place a “marker” for your business on Google maps.  You can go here to set up your profile.
  • Yelp Yelp profiles frequently show up at the top of Google search results.  For that reason alone your business should be on Yelp.  Along with that, Yelp has a large active community of visitors and reviewers who can help shine a light on your business.
  • LinkedIn – Best for solo consultants who do mostly B2B (business to business) work, LinkedIn is a great place to show off your qualifications and network with people who may need your services.  You can join one of many LinkedIn groups for your local area and establish yourself as the local surveying expert.
  • Twitter – It’s been around for a while and it’s still useful. Try collecting the Twitter handles of your customers on your invoices or when they first contact you for service.  Then you can inform them of specials, new services, and provide value with regular tips and tricks.  There’s always the potential that they will retweet what you say to their friends which are all potential new customers.
  • Facebook –  This is still the social media site where most folks hang out. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your computer business yet, you need to get one!
  • QR Codes – QR codes aren’t as hot as they once were, but they are still a good marketing strategy these days.  These are the barcode looking symbols that you may see on posters and packages. When a person scans these with their smart phone, the phone will take them to the website that’s embedded in the code.
  • YouTube – YouTube is a surprisingly effective marketing tool that I’ve used for some of my SEO customers.  Simply create a quick video about your business, upload it to YouTube, and make sure to include a detailed description and link back to your site under the video.  YouTube videos often show up in Google search results and many people search for things directly within YouTube.
  • ePress Release – You know that press release I mentioned earlier?  You can also send an electronic copy of it to virtual press release distributors.  These services will send it all over the net to spread the word about your business.  Some of these services include: PR-InsideOnline PR, and PR USA  just to name a few.
  • Email Newsletter – A monthly or quarterly email newsletter is a great way to advertise to your existing customers.  Of course, you must provide valuable information first and foremost, but be sure to mention your services as well.
  • Infographic – A popular viral trend these days are infographics.  These are illustrations or diagrams that creatively convey a certain message. Here’s an example: infographic about infographics.
  • Article Marketing – If you like to write, a great way to get your business name and link out there is to write helpful articles for different article websites.  Most of these websites allow you to include a brief author description at the end of your article in which you can include the contact info for your business.  Some popular article directories include: Ezine ArticlesInfoBarrel,  AmazinesArticleAlley, and Idea Marketers.  A great strategy to take here is to write articles about your town or service area, this will ensure that your articles show up in search engines results for people in your area.
  • Blogging – Blogging is another double-edged sword in your publicity arsenal.  Not only does it provide fresh content for your customers and establishes you as an authority to prospective visitors, but it also helps with SEO, as Google continually states that they favor fresh, updated content when they rank websites in search results.
  • HARO – Another great place to go for those of you who like to write is HARO (Help A Reporter Out).  This is basically a website where you sign up as an expert in something (surveying, CAD, etc.) and you get the chance to be a source for a reporter looking for an experts take on whatever they’re writing about.  If you get featured as a source, often your name and business name will be featured as well.  There are some journalists that write for some big name publications that frequently use this service, so this is a great chance for you to get your name published in a legitimate nationally known news outlet.
  • Hold a Webinar – A great way to engage the small business community in your area is to offer to host a webinar.  A webinar is basically like a seminar, but it’s done completely online.  You’ll need to find a way to contact business owners (LinkedIn and Facebook are good avenues) and get them to sign up, but you only need a handful of participants to make a big impact.  Then, simply give an hour or so training class on some sort of surveying or boundary pain point, and at the end include a little plug for your services.  Lewis Howes is a great resource for information on how to set up and market your webinars.
  • Write an eBook – Offer a free eBook in exchange for contact info so you can add them to your newsletter mailing list. It could be something as simple as how to look up a deed or survey online.
  • Start a Podcast – Not only is a podcast a great way to offer advice to other aspiring surveyors, but it’s also a great way to get consulting work. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field via a podcast is a great way to increase your authority and get more clients.
  • Join NSPS  – The National Society of Professional Surveyors serves as an organized way to bring surveyors and surveying businesses together under a common ethos and code of conduct.  The association also provides its members with a listing in its directory (SEO!) and many other great benefits.  By including the NSPS branding on your website and advertisements, you show your potential customers that you’re serious about your business and that you’re part of a group of other professionals.
  • Join Your Local Association – There are many regional surveying associations or societies that you can join, with similar included benefits as you’d get with NSPS. You’ll likely have access to a free member directory and possibly even some local meetings, events, networking groups, and more.
  • Join Associations of your clients – What better way to get in front of your potential clients? Join their associations, which will give you more exposure to them. Here’s some suggestions:
    • Three chapters of the American Society of Highway Engineers
    • Virginia Transportation & Construction Alliance
    • American Council of Engineering Companies
    • Society of American Military Engineers
    • Four regional Wireless Associations
    • Three regional gas/electric organizations
    • American Public Works Association
    • International Right of Way Association
    • A local railroad engineering association
    • Three state Land Title Associations

Paid Online Advertising

  • PPC – Pay-per-click (PPC) is the most popular form of online advertising.  This includes all of the ads you see on the side and top of the Google search results, as well as many of the ads you see on other websites.   You basically bid on keywords that your ad will be targeted to, and then pay for each time someone click on your ad.
  • Advanced SEO – If you happen to be in a very competitive market, say a big city like New York or San Francisco, then it’s going to be pretty hard to get your business noticed in the search engines.  That’s when you may want to seek the help of a professional SEO firm.  These guys are experts at getting websites ranked well in tough markets, but the price can be pretty steep.  Make sure to shop around and ask other business owners you trust for recommendations.
  • Facebook Ads – Facebook is still the most popular kid in social media school.  They also allow any business to create and run ads on their network.  The best thing about these ads is that you can use Facebook’s vast amount of user data to laser-target your ads to a specific group of people.
  • LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn opened up its own ad network, which works similarly to Facebook’s, but is best for targeting business customers.
  • Mobile Ads – Similar to PPC ads, mobile ads appear on mobile phones, either via mobile-enabled websites, or within free apps on iPhone and Android.
Well, there you have it, a HUGE list of advertising methods for you to try out.  As always, a list is only as good as the action taken from it, so get out there and make a name for your business!
Did I miss any advertising methods? Have your tried any of these? How did it work out for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Wendell

Wendell

Wendell was a Land Surveyor for 26 years, then moved on to building websites for his second career. But he never lost sight of the surveying community and the other disciplines related to surveying. He's purposely stayed involved in the surveying industry because he has always been — and will continue to be — a Land Surveyor at heart.

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James Fleming
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Posted by: @wendell Join Your Local Association – There are many regional surveying associations or societies that you can join, with similar included benefits as you’d get with NSPS. You’ll likely have access to a free member directory and possibly even some local meetings, events, networking groups, and more. I would add it’s more important to join the associations your clients belong to.  Among others, I belong to, and attend meetings of:Three chapters of the American Society of Highway EngineersVirginia Transportation & Construction AllianceAmerican Council of Engineering CompaniesSociety of American Military EngineersFour regional Wireless AssociationsThree regional gas/electric organizationsAmerican Public Works… Read more »

yemizoom
Member

Hi Wendell, Thank you for this post. These would be of great help to me being a new surveying business owner.  I  thought of ways I could  reach new clients as i am just starting out.CheersYemi