This blog outlines the biggest opportunities for home services marketing. If you’re an electrician, plumber, carpenter, landscaper, HVAC technician, or other skilled labourer who wants to outrank their competition, read on to learn the best ways to use utilize internet marketing.
When was the last time you searched for a plumber in the Yellow Pages or flipped through the classified section of a newspaper for an emergency electrical repair? Can you even remember the last time you pulled out a paper map to look for a home services provider near you?
While these old school marketing efforts can help with brand awareness, they’re expensive and don’t offer any measurable results.
Potential customers are looking for your home services online, and if your home services company isn’t showing in the search engines, you can bet your competition is getting that lead.
Internet marketing can mean a lot of things for home service companies. Local service ads, search engine optimization, website design, social media posts, email marketing, video marketing, and organic search results are just some of the most popular ways to generate new qualified leads with digital marketing. Your most savvy competitors are investing in their online presence and growing their business through digital marketing – and you should be too!
The marketing strategies that follow are generalized to the entire trades and home services industry and as a marketing agency we always customize and prioritize these suggestions depending on our client needs assessments and specific business and service offerings. That said, the strategies, tactics, and tools that we talk about can (and should!) be utilized in almost every trades business – regardless of size, budget, or location.
1. 3 Places you Need to Show up on Google
When’s the last time you used Google? I would be surprised if you haven’t performed a Google search multiple times today. You probably found this article through Google, and I’ll eat my hat if you haven’t engaged with Google, one way or another, in the last week (unless you’re on an extended & technology-free wilderness excursion – in which case, good on ya).
The point is, Google is king of online marketing for local businesses. Google owns 92% of the market share in Canada. If someone is searching for your home services company online, there is less than a 10% chance that it’s NOT on Google. Google Ads has been so successful for service based businesses that they recently released “Local Service Ads.” These are a special type of Google Ad and are highly automated, where you pay-per-lead (rather than the typical PPC or pay-per-click).
Here are the top 3 places where people are finding your home services company on Google and how you can take advantage of them:
a) Google My Business. If you don’t have a Google My Business (GMB for short) account with at least a handful of 5-Star online reviews, you need to get this configured and optimized IMMEDIATELY. There’s nothing worse than being sandwiched in between a bunch of 5-Star competitors with no reviews (or worse yet, no listing). Trick of the pros: send satisfied post-service customers a direct review link to accumulate those reviews quickly. GMB is quickly growing into its own mini platform where you can post content and media, advertise different services, and more.
b) Google Ads. Home services professionals do extremely well on this platform, but only when they know what they’re doing. Without the right expertise, playing around on Google Ads can create wasteful marketing costs and create a significant amount of stress. To get more leads, hire an experienced home services marketing agency. There are new features added to Google Ads daily, including the very popular local services ads, and if you don’t know how to fully utilize these marketing tools, you’re wasting your ad spend. Google Ads have a major advantage over organic listings in that they appear at the very top of the search page (and often there are so many ads that you can’t even SEE the organic listings). Google is also increasingly finding ways to show ads more and organic results less (such as sitelink extensions, map ads, Google My Business, Local Services Ads, Shopping Ads, and more) which push organic searches down even further (to their obvious benefit of obtaining more ads income). Here is your litmus test for Google Ads campaign management chops: If you don’t have a Google Analytics <–> Ads sync to track conversion, don’t know the difference between phrase match and broad match, aren’t using target audience features and automated bidding strategies, and have ads running (their default) 24/7, you’re probably wasting a lot of time and money and should either quickly learn or (more on this later) outsource this digital marketing task.
c) Google Organic Search. This is what everyone thinks of when they think of Google. We’ll talk more about SEO further along in this article, but it’s worth noting that your business ranking for specific keywords in Google Search results is the prime beneficiary of SEO activities. Once you start to rank for high volume, relevant and geo-targeted keywords, you’re beginning to build your website into a valuable asset for your business that will produce FREE and consistent ongoing leads and revenue.
On a side note, as an internet marketing agency, we are driven to be Google experts (and are also Google Partners!). One of our primary focuses is getting results on Google (we have a digital marketing plan solely dedicated to this). When it comes to success on Google for home services companies, you might as well just say success on “the internet.”
2. Improve Your Company’s Online Presence
It makes me cringe to think about all the great home services companies out there that auto-lose potential customers because of a poor website design.
Having a user friendly website that converts website visits to customers should be a business essential. You wouldn’t use rusty tools or DIY accounting and payroll services, so don’t skip on investing in your web presence. When we approach marketing strategies for prospective home services businesses, the first thing we do is a website needs assessment.
How does it look? Does it align with their brand promise? Is it modern and visually appealing? How is the UX (User Experience)? Is it easy to find service information and book a service call or make an inquiry? Is the technology clunky and slow, or fast and efficient? Does it sync properly with all necessary external platforms and campaigns, or are there broken links and integrations?
These are just some bare-bones requirements of good website design. If you want to really accelerate your online presence and get more website traffic, set up online appointment booking (or integrate via cross-domain tracking to your 3rd party sales or booking platform), set up advanced call tracking, integrate your website inquiries with your CRM, and/or set up an email drop campaign that begins with an inquiry or newsletter subscription. Growing and scaling your home services marketing online begins with your website!
A poor website not only looks bad and costs you business, but it can also penalize you in your SEO & paid advertising efforts. Landing page experience is a major factor for CPC (Ad Costs) in Google Ads, and a slow or poorly linked website can cost you in Google Search ranking.
3. SEO for Marketing Home Services
What’s better than generating quality and cost-efficient leads and booked business from a highly relevant audience in your local service area deploying high performing Paid Ads campaigns?
Generating this business for free by dominating search engines!
You can think of paid ads as a kind of kindling and fire starter, and SEO as the slow burning logs that will keep you warm through the night. Those SEO logs take longer to set up (you have to chop the wood, haul it over to the fire pit, wait for it to catch fire), but once they start burning, and you hit that top 10 in Google for specific keywords it’s like magic! There is nothing better than getting more customers for free. Once that kindling is long gone those logs burn on!
A few areas of SEO that you should be working on for your home services company:
- Create the right kind of content. You could waste hours content writing for your blog or social media that gets you nowhere – or you could hop on a keyword research tool and figure out the best opportunities to rank and drive traffic in your local service region for the highest volume and most relevant keywords. A regular and well researched content schedule is key to rising through the ranks and delivering over the long term.
- Check your tech. Page speed and website technical performance plays a big role in SEO. If you have a shitty host or goliath media files on your website, this could stop the best of content efforts in their tracks. There are a few solid tools out there that can analyze your website tech specs and site speed to show you if you’re on the right track.
- Optimize on-page. Another reason to invest marketing dollars into a great website UX is that clean and clear navigation is a major factor in SEO. Having well organized site structure and ample internal linking as well as using meta data are imperative to SEO for your home services company. Also, make sure that your website is mobile friendly!
- Local SEO & Backlinks. Sometimes called “Off-Page” SEO, getting listed (and “linking back” to your website) on local directories and high authority related websites is key to your SEO ground game. We invest in a local citations tool for our clients, so they show up on dozens of highly relevant local directories and websites.
4. Measure What Matters
Almost every prospective trades and home services client that we meet with has incomplete analytics infrastructure and isn’t properly measuring what matters the most to their business. Setting up effective online measurement can give you a huge competitive advantage.
Don’t just ‘think’ you know where leads and business is coming from, know which marketing channels are most effectively growing your business with 100% accuracy.
Here is a typical conversation with a new client:
North Shore Digital: “So where do you get most of your online business?”
North Shore Digital: “where on Google?”
Client: “hmm, I think Google Ads, because we paid $1000 this month in Google Ads spend and got 20 clients through our website.”
North Shore Digital: [Installs UTM parameters on Google My Business – Installs tracking code on website booking and inquiry forms – Integrates client CRM with website – Syncs Google Analytics with Google Ads and Imports Website Conversions – Sets up Advanced Call Tracking].
North Shore Digital: “Actually, you had 12 new customers and $47,200 in revenue originate on Google My Business, 4 new customers generated through Organic traffic, 1 referral from a local service directory, and 3 with a revenue value of $2300 with an ROAS of 2.3x through Google Ads.”
Having a proper conversion, lead, and revenue tracking infrastructure and analytics set up by a digital marketing professional can help you save enormous amounts of time, money, and help identify and invest in your best producing marketing channels. That’s why we tend to (shameless pitch) recommend:
5. Hire a Home Services Marketing Expert
Rather than get all salsey with you. Here’s why you should hire an expert to help with your home services marketing:
- Free up your time. You’re not a marketer or web developer, you’re running a home services business. Your time is valuable and your expertise is in your trade. Hire a digital marketing agency to get access to a team of experts at your fingertips, so you can focus on what you do best: running your home service business.
- Keep payroll costs down. We have a team with decades of experience in specific areas of digital marketing including; Search Engine, Web Development, Google Ads, Social Media Marketing, Content Writing, Facebook Ads, Video Ads, Analytics and Marketing Consultation, and proven experience and results with dozens of clients similar to your business. You get all this …. for less than the cost of an inexperienced marketing newbie (you also don’t have to train us and we’re not going to leave you in 6 months for a Gap year in Thailand!)
- Modernize your business and online marketing strategy and keep up with fast changing technology. With our regular virtual consultations and superior customer service, we’ll keep your business on the cutting edge of online.
- Benefit from economies of scale. We spend thousands of dollars a month on agency and enterprise level marketing technology, platforms, and software. You’ll not only see the benefit of all this tech for free, but you’ll have a digital marketing team with the training and expertise to maximize its value for your business.
Grow Your Business, Get New Leads, and Crush Your Marketing Goals
Let us help you nail your home services marketing efforts. We work with home service professionals to turn their websites into a great asset that generates long-term business growth, and leaves customers wanting more. We specialize in digital marketing for home services, and work with companies on the North Shore, the Greater Vancouver Area, and across Canada.
Where do you need Help?
Ira Thomson is North Shore Digital’s Co-Founder and current Director of Analytics & Insights