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Marketing Your Home Service Business Online: Part 1
If you own a need-based home service company and you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably well aware of the fact that the Internet has dramatically changed the marketing and advertising landscape. You’ve discovered that traditional marketing and advertising strategies—like Yellow Page advertisements—no longer offer a considerable return on investment. In fact, you probably already know that your potential customers are searching for your home services online.
What you DON’T know is how to approach online marketing.
“Hold on now, young lady,” you might tell me with a cigar hanging out of your mouth and a golf club in your hand (that’s how I imagine most of our clients). “I’m already doing online marketing. I’ve got a website and a Facebook page and if you search my company name, here I am right here on Google maps.”
“It’s not enough to just have a website,” I’d tell you as I expertly navigated our golf cart around the course (I may not be good at golf, but I most certainly have a lot of practice driving a golf cart—aka my smart car.).
In this three part blog post series, I want to change the way you think about online marketing for your home services business. If you make it through all three parts, I guarantee that you’ll be able to determine whether your current online marketing strategy (if you even have one!) is up to par or whether it’s *insert the negative equivalent golf reference here* (sorry I told you I wasn’t good at golf.).
How can I guarantee this? Over the past six years, my company has helped more than 120 home service companies (in a variety of industries) radically change the way they approach advertising and marketing—allowing them to cost-effectively increase the number of leads and sales they get from the Web.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Selecting a Web Marketing Partner
When you run a need-based home service company—whether it’s HVAC, plumbing, restoration, etc.—you have a lot to worry about. You simply don’t have time to effectively manage a successful online marketing campaign on your own. Whether you choose to hire an online marketing company or nominate someone on your team to handle the task, keep the following things in mind when selecting your new Web marketing partner or evaluating the one you already have:
Does your online marketing partner understand your business?
They should be familiar with your industry, products, and services; understand your business’ seasonality and your competitive differentiators; and more. Of course it’s up to you to provide them with this information, but if they aren’t asking these sorts of questions, they’re doing you a huge disservice.
Your company is unique; that’s why you aren’t best served by a partner with a cookie cutter approach to online marketing. To grow your business online, your Web marketing partner needs to understand the full picture—your competitors, your market, your goals, and more.
Can they help you navigate and prioritize the ever-changing digital marketing world?
Did you know Google updates its search algorithm 500-600 times a year? And that’s just Google. Think about all the other places your customers are searching for you online: Bing, Facebook, Angie’s List, Yelp, etc. You should be able to rely on your online marketing partner to stay on top of these changes and help you determine the most cost-effective ways to market your business online.
Do you have someone you can call to ask questions?
So many online marketing companies have “set it and forget it” approaches to online marketing. Which is fine if you’re not really serious about using the Web to grow your business. My guess is you’re not like that, though. Most of our clients take full advantage of our dedicated account managers to advise them on everything from how to respond to negative online reviews to helping them set up a new remarketing campaign to fixing any problems that might pop up on their website.
Are they driving actual growth?
A lot of online marketing companies will show you numbers that are essentially just fluff. Who cares if you have a bunch of number one search engine rankings if they aren’t doing anything to drive qualified traffic to your website that will convert into leads and sales?
One of the greatest things about online marketing is that everything can be tracked. Your online marketing partner should be able to connect this data to leads and sales for your business. At Blue Corona, we do this with a combination of advanced Web tracking as well as phone call tracking and tagging. We can tell you which leads came in from which sources, allowing you to accurately determine the ROI for all of your advertising strategies.
Do they make the most of your finite resources?
Most need-based home service companies have tight marketing budgets and limited resources. We’d hate to see you waste them on “black hat” search engine optimization and other SEO scams. When it comes to SEO, things are almost never apples to apples. If one company tells you they can do SEO for you for $30 a month and another tells you they can do it for $300, don’t think you’re getting the same product or service. As cliché as it sounds, you truly get what you pay for with online marketing.
Be extremely wary of companies who guarantee mass, fast results for cheap. When it comes to getting quality, organic (non-paid) search engine traffic, if you want long term results, you need to make a long term investment to establishing your brand as an authority in your respective industry in your respective market. Companies that manipulate the search engines to get fast rankings eventually get caught—leaving you worse off than where you started.
There’s More Where That Came From
Stay tuned for part two and three of this blog series where I’ll discuss the importance of setting appropriate expectations, reasonable goals, and being data driven as well as what an authoritative online presence looks like and why it matters.
I’ll be honest with you—I want your business. I like helping companies use the Internet to grow their business. I like being the 24-year-old at parties dropping smart-sounding acronyms like “ROI.” But at the end of the day, the goal of this blog post and series is to simply help you understand how your home service company should approach online marketing. If by the time you’re finished reading, you decide you’re ready to learn more, feel free to contact us—it’s just icing on the golf ball. Okay sorry next time I won’t try to force the golf references.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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