Small business owners may think of marketing as an endeavor that involves advertising like print ads, coupons, mailers, and maybe even outdoor advertising. It is easy to believe that word-of-mouth or just offering a good product or service is enough to get people to notice you. While all of this can be effective in driving some customers to your home services business, there are better and easier ways to get more customers and increase your profits.
Businesses that operate mainly offline, like home services businesses, should not overlook the benefits of using digital marketing to generate leads and interest. Your customers are online, and your business needs to be there with them.
What are the benefits of online marketing for a home services business?
Even businesses that are working in a smaller local market can use digital marketing to their advantage. It is cost-effective, scalable to the size of your market, and measurable. Digital marketing allows you to:
- Interact with your potential customers. Get to know them better and learn what they are looking for.
- Reach many more customers for less money.
- Target your audience. Getting to the right group of people at the right time with personalization is much easier and simpler with digital marketing.
- See what is working and what isn’t. Monitor the response to your marketing instantly and easily.
What are the main tasks for establishing a small business digital marketing plan?
There are several main goals to build the foundation of your digital marketing plan around.
Identify your customers
Who are your customers? What do they want? Consider things like age, location, and other family situation. Are they homeowners? Do they have children or other family members in the home? The potential “types” of people you can advertise to are seemingly endless. Use this to your advantage.
Market research is a great way to learn some of this information about your customers. This can be done by using online surveys, focus groups, or by analyzing your competition.
Identify your competition
Speaking of competition, there is a good chance you have some. Look into how they are marketing their goods and services. What are they concentrating on? Are they using digital marketing? Are they actively marketing on social media? What word choices and language are they using in their marketing?
Knowing what your competition is doing not only will keep you on your toes but can help you learn what might work and what might not work for you.
Describe your business
How would you talk about your product in casual conversation? Brainstorm what makes you the best at what you offer, what problems your product or services solves, and what makes it so great. This will provide you with a framework for how to talk about your product in your digital marketing.
Set measurable goals
Be clear on what you want to achieve. Are you looking to raise brand awareness, increase sales, or acquire new customers? These goals will help you determine what strategies and tactics are right for your business.
Learn about different digital marketing methods
There are many different channels you can utilize in the digital marketing world. Using multiple channels is ideal. The more the better. There are a variety of platforms and methods, and it can seem like a bigger project than it is when you first dive into the process.
No matter how daunting it may seem, using the internet to advertise your products and services is likely an effective approach. Nearly every customer you have is using the internet in some capacity, and probably frequently. Delaying your digital marketing is only going to hurt your business in the long run.
What digital marketing methods are best for my business?
There are several online marketing areas that are of special interest to smaller home services businesses. Keep in mind that using more than one online marketing channel is ideal. Your customers are using multiple online services, and some of them spend more time in one space than another. To get the best reach, using multiple methods is the best strategy.
Everyone is trying to sell something. The more you can present yourself as an expert—someone who knows how to solve problems and can inform, help, and educate your customers—the more likely you are to be the one to get the sales.
People inherently attribute a level of expertise to a company, and the confidence they get from a well-informed and willing-to-educate business instills a confidence in them that drives them to trust and be more likely to buy.
Brochures and other informative materials used to be the go-to method to reach out to potential customers. Today, achieving customer trust means providing articles and information on your company’s website. Advising your current customers and potential customers alike about products, services, and closely related topics can help position your company as the best in the market.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing gives you a chance to compete with larger companies and more established local companies by making your business more visible in search engine results. Because people use search to find products and services online and locally, placing high in search results for words that relate to your business is very important.
Professional internet marketers offer this service through search engine optimization (SEO). Using methods like link building, optimizing content with relevant information, and keyword research, search engine marketing can do a lot to help get you noticed.
Local Search Marketing
Location-based marketing, such as using Google Business Profiles and their Local Services Ads is a great tactic you can use to focus on more local and map-based searches. This helps with physical locations and offline businesses, giving your prospective customers what they need to learn about and contact your establishment. Your address, phone number, website, and other information can be listed.
Social Media Marketing
You probably hear about social media marketing all the time. Figuring out how to best use it can be the biggest hurdle for a company just starting out with social media marketing.
Do you want to find new customers who have never heard of you? Are you going to use it to drive repeat business? Perhaps you would like to use social media to stay in touch with current customers.
Trying to spread your business out across multiple platforms can be tricky, and potentially time-consuming if you have limited resources. A good strategy to start out is to figure out which platforms make the most sense for your set of customers.
If you have a particularly visual aspect to your business, Instagram might be perfect. Are your customers mostly professionals? LinkedIn is likely a great place to start. Maybe your customers are overwhelmingly homeowners with children, in which case Facebook is a great social media marketing platform.
Considered by many marketing professionals to be a very important and useful long-term business strategy, email marketing is promoting products and services through newsletters, promotions, and general messaging using an email list of current and prospective customers. This email list consists of people you know are interested in your business because they opted in to this list themselves.
Perhaps you have offered them some incentive to sign up for this email list: future sale exclusives, coupons, or a heads up on upcoming deals. As your email marketing list grows, it becomes more valuable and more useful.
Pay-Per-Click marketing (PPC) is running online ads where the business only pays for the advertisement if it has been clicked on. We see them all the time as we use the internet. They show up on the side and top of search results, as promotions that run before a video plays, or ads that show up inside a mobile app or in the middle of a social media feed.
Benefits of these ads include that the business only pays for the ad if it gets results and that the ads can be highly targeted towards specific groups.
The cost of PPC marketing can vary, sometimes significantly, depending on how much the company is willing to spend. Pricing for this service is based mostly on how popular a keyword is – the more competition for a specific keyword, the more expensive the ad per click.
Digital marketing for home services businesses, in a nutshell
Take advantage of as many of these digital marketing strategies as you can. Come up with a plan and combine the digital marketing methods that will make sense for your business with your other already existing marketing efforts.
No matter which combination of digital marketing techniques and methods you decide make sense for your business, do your best and remember that oftentimes many new online marketing strategies are outsourced. Email and content marketing are likely to be manageable yourself, but it can be difficult to stay on top of the other more complicated or potentially confusing digital marketing methods. There is nothing wrong with asking experts for help when you need it.