Getting your drone business off the ground can often prove to be just as overwhelming as getting your drone itself off the ground. Nonetheless, putting together and executing an effective marketing strategy is an essential component of any small business plan. (As well as medium to larger businesses as well for that matter.)
Here at Birdi, we work with plenty of drone pilot organisations and help them capture invaluable data for their real estate, roofing and solar panel company clients. To help them out (and you) we’ve put together this practical guide to marketing a drone business, complete with immediately implementable actions as well.
To start off, let’s run briefly through how to start a drone business in the first place.
For a more detailed breakdown of how to create a drone company make sure to check out our full blog here.
As with any company, if you’re considering creating a drone business it’s important to survey the market and get as bird’s-eye-view an understanding as possible of the market conditions, potential for success and your target audience. Find out more about market research here.
As part of your preparation for starting a business, it’s important to understand what goes into a drone business. For example, what sort of equipment do you need and what sort of services would your clients want?
To operate as a drone pilot you’re going to need to learn to fly. Whether you intend on being a ‘sole trader’ in your drone business or pass on the responsibilities of drone operation to future employees, it’s vital you know how to use all your drones expertly.
Business plans are vital for preparing for success. From the core mission and goals of your future business to your financial, growth and marketing strategies, it’s all outlined in your business plan. Think of it as a map outlining your road to success. You can read more about how to put together a business plan and what goes into it here.
Your plan is only as good as the actions you take to implement it. Whether it’s as simple as registering your drone business name or securing outside finance, the only way to start a business is to get started!
Once your business is up and running, you’ll need to put together a marketing plan. This plan outlines actions you intend to take to promote or sell a product or service. In our case, the service of drone operation and data/information capture.
Every strategy in a marketing plan should consider three key factors:
What sort of marketing suits the type of brand and business you are running. What’s the message you are looking to impart to potential clients and how do you want your company represented?
Your target audience, which in our case are other businesses in the industries of real estate, agriculture, and construction (among others), is going to determine what sort of channels and marketing strategies are best suited for success.
For example, it doesn’t make much sense to pay for advertising in a community newspaper that’s not targeted to your type of customers.
Your financial resources will play an important role in determining what sort of marketing strategies are realistic at this stage. Any business would love the exposure a Super Bowl ad would provide, but few can afford the $7 million price tag!
Google has over 92% of the market share in search engine usage and 86% of people use Google in some capacity to find businesses. Setting up a Google My Business profile is clearly an essential marketing strategy for ANY drone business. Luckily, it’s free to do and relatively simple as well.
Action: Set up your Google My Business account by clicking here and follow the instructions and tips.
Social media is pretty huge in the business world as well as the social world. As a drone business, there are lots of opportunities to share cool imagery, updates, posts, articles, instruction guides and videos. With Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn all viable options for marketing, we recommend choosing the 2 or 3 accounts most relevant to your target market to start off with. That being said, it’s worth signing up for as many social platforms as possible to reserve the username.
Plus, if you do engage in social media advertising, it helps to be set up from the get go.
Action: Create a social media account for your business on your chosen platforms.
Your website is the digital face of your company. We highly recommend engaging professional website developers and designers to put together a website that not only functions well but looks excellent.
Google Analytics is also an important part of any website maintenance. It allows you to gain handy insights into who is visiting your website, where they are from and what their behaviour on your site is like.
Action: Work out your website budget and begin speaking to local website designers about their rates and packages.
As we mentioned above, Google (and other search engines) are pretty influential. Search engine optimisation, also called SEO, is about implementing specific strategies to improve your website’s ranking in a Google search. There are lots of ways in which you can improve your SEO, such as content marketing like blog writing, but it’s also worth considering using an SEO specialist or digital agency.
Action: Research into how you can positively influence your website’s SEO and Google ranking.
Google and social media channels offer paid advertising opportunities as well. While Google operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, Facebook and other social media work slightly differently. The benefits of paid digital marketing is that you can target specific audiences. But it can require a pricey investment. To ensure you don’t sink in money without gaining a return on your investment, we’d recommend engaging in a paid digital marketing specialist.
Action: Begin procuring quotes and proposals from digital marketers with experience in paid advertising.
Word-of-mouth and social proofing are some of the most influential ways to convert leads into paying customers. Don’t be afraid of politely asking your satisfied customers to write you a positive Google review with a 5-star rating. You can also consider creating a referral program where anyone referred to you receives a discount on their next drone piloting service.
Action: Ask two of your top customers to provide you with a testimonial for your website or on Google.
Despite the not-so-slow movement of business into the digital world, traditional marketing still has its place. Merchandise printed with your brand name, like shirts, hoodies, caps or stress balls and water bottles, can be very effective ways to promote your business and create brand awareness. Even printing your logo on a company car or a simple pamphlet drop can go a long way to getting your name out there.
Action: Get some branded merchandise printed for distribution and create a professional flyer or pamphlet for a letterbox drop.
Networking can be done on and off line. Join local business groups and attend relevant trade shows or expos. Very useful and valuable connections can be made through networking! You can also join online business forums, social media pages/groups and other digital networks such as LinkedIn.
Action: Find one trade show or business group that you can attend in the next few months, and sign up for LinkedIn.
It might take some hard work, patience and diligence but you can certainly implement a variety of marketing strategies to grow your drone business and get more customers.
As you inevitably bring on board more clients, your need for scalable and flexible aerial intelligence is only going to increase! That’s where Birdi comes in, and when you’re ready for us we’ll be right here waiting for you.
To find out more in the meantime, contact the Birdi team today.