Whether it’s landscaping, roofing, plumbing, air conditioning or window replacement, all home service providers want to be listed first when it comes to search engines. Can your customers find you quickly and easily? Are you using social media to its fullest potential? Could your analytics be working even harder for you? Here are some basic tips to ensure that your marketing campaigns are not only getting your company discovered, but are driving the right customers to your website, as well.
1. Target Your Marketing: As a business owner, you’ve probably been advised to think big, but stay local. The same goes for your marketing plan. Don’t waste money advertising in remote regions you simply can’t service. Instead, focus on targeted marketing to your service area only. Consider advertising through Google AdWords and on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn — these avenues can be very helpful and cost-efficient, and can align your ads to specific job titles, hobbies and locations. And don’t forget to optimize online community sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and even Craigslist. Most of these sites allow customers to review your services, and reviews can bolster any viewer’s trust.
2. Go Local: When devising a local marketing strategy, it pays to obtain endorsements from other local businesses or municipalities. Becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau both serve as stamps of approval for your company. From there, consider joining a city committee that relates to your business. For example, if you’re promoting your services from a “green” angle, consider becoming active in an environmentally focused committee. Conduct some research for local networking events, fundraisers and panels — all are opportunities for community participation and grassroots marketing.
Consider placing ads in local publications to reinforce your position as a trusted community member. Offer sponsorships for community events, like races, walkathons or charity auctions. Provide discounts to community organizations, including schools, museums, libraries and other nonprofits. Let your community know you care.
It’s easy to think big picture, but don’t overlook the power of a handshake, so to speak. Carry business cards everywhere you go — sometimes the most informal chance encounters are the ones that can reap the most benefit. And make it a priority to follow up with anyone who reaches out — even if you end up having to say “no.” Be straightforward, prompt and clear in follow-up correspondence, and remember to take the time to spellcheck. Every impression counts.
3. Think Seasonal: If your business undergoes seasonal highs and lows, understanding when they happen and how to plan in advance are critical to all of your marketing campaigns.
- Home heating providers know that their customers are searching online for pricing starting right after Labor Day to lock in the best service at the best price.
- Landscaping business owners providing fall clean-up services are compiling email lists to send to their snow plowing contracts to prepare for the first storm of the season.
Ultimately, paying attention to when customers are making decisions is a must. For example, it’s unnecessary to spend thousands on direct mail pieces in November for air conditioning. Customers are not in a summer mindset as they are getting their boilers cleaned and tuned up for the long winter ahead. Planning for a March direct mail piece is a smarter choice. Determining the seasonal timing of your business will ensure that you plan to spend your marketing dollars exactly when your target customers are looking for you.
Remember, you want your customers to feel appreciated. Consider offering discounts for customers who commit to a contract in advance or sign up for scheduled maintenance long-term. Be creative with your outreach, even when the season is quiet. Sending a note at the holidays or posting community-related news on social media is a simple, cost-effective way to stay in touch, even in the off-season. Ultimately, the goal is to let your customers know they’re valued, even when they’re not calling for service.