Considering over half of our clients at ZOO Media Group are from the home service industry, we’ve learned a thing or two about marketing these companies over the years. Ranging from franchise operations; small, family run businesses; to large corporations – there are certain strategies and marketing tactics that work better than others when marketing these types of businesses.
Home service businesses, like plumbing companies, painters, home renovators, lawn care companies and storage solution providers all have something in common. Their respective industries are ultra-competitive. Just do a quick Google search under “home renovations Ontario” and you will see what I mean. So, what makes one business stand out from another? What marketing tactics will get the best response for your business? The following tips will help position your business for success and separate your brand from the rest of the pack.
Whether you are just starting out, or you have a well-established business, your brand is everything. From your logo, to marketing collateral to web experience, your brand speaks volumes about your business. As in life, when it comes to advertising and marketing – looks do count. You need your business identity to say, “competent, professional and successful.” Companies can no longer operate with a hand-drawn logo and a list of services printed off a home computer. A professional and polished brand instills confidence in potential customers. A strong visual identity will also help to ensure brand recognition when it comes time for people to contact potential home service companies.
When it comes to home service companies, certain advertising strategies work better than others. Today, the majority of advertising and marketing opportunities are online. Having a website is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a must. 81% of people perform some sort of online research before investing in a purchase. So, if your business isn’t coming up on search engines for relevant search terms, you are missing the boat. In addition to having a solid, organically optimized website, Search Engine Marketing tools like Google AdWords campaigns can also pay big dividends. Google actually accounts for 90.1% of all search engine marketing! In 2020, 75% of searches never look beyond the first page of results. So, clearly, if your business doesn’t appear at or near the top of search results, you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
Looking at more traditional advertising and marketing strategies, we still feel there are legitimate opportunities to pursue, specifically for home service businesses. Radio ads, if done correctly and are used to promote specific offers or contests, can be highly effective. This is especially true when they run on a.m. news and talk radio stations. Listeners tune into these stations for informational purposes and are typically homeowners in the 35-55 age range. That’s the perfect target market for most home service businesses. Getting your company name and tagline out to thousands of local consumers on a repetitive basis can also work wonders for brand awareness and recognition. Just make sure the ad copy is catchy and memorable so you get your money’s worth.
Another tried and true marketing tactic we endorse for home service companies is addressed and unaddressed admail. Anyone that says traditional mail for marketing campaigns is dead, is simply not doing it right or they are not looking at the data. At least in our experience, flyers and postcards can be highly effective. Although response and closing rates can be low (less than 1%) – we have had some very successful campaigns clock in at almost 10%. It all depends on the lure of the graphic design and the strength of the offer. You also need to consider the potential pay-off. If your average job or product sale nets you only $100 in profit, this may not be the right tactic for you. But, if your profit per customer comes in at several hundred or potentially thousands of dollars, the ROI is definitely worth your while. Just remember to build in a tracking mechanism for responses so you can decipher what works for your business and what doesn’t.
Your website can be so much more than an electronic place-holder. It can be an e-Commerce site – fully capable of business transactions. Not only is this an efficient way to operate, but it is an effective way to do business during our current physical distancing. No one could’ve guessed that things could change so quickly, so your business needs to find ways to adapt.
Adding a detailed form to your website would allow you to collect images and information from homeowners so that you may provide them with a quote online. You could then use a DocuSign system to send quotes to the homeowner and have them sign off on projects without requiring face-to-face contact. Less complex services could be processed through an e-Commerce site, allowing customers to easily pay online.
Another great addition to your website is a system that allows clients to book an appointment with you, based on your availability. This type of tool can eliminate a lot of administrative back-and-forth and cut to the chase. As long as you keep your availability up-to-date, this device is handy for both you and homeowners as it finds a time that is mutually convenient.
This has to be the most important ingredient to launching and maintaining a successful home service business. Not only do we work with home service businesses with our marketing and graphic design agency, but we are also consumers that have personal experiences – giving us a wealth of useful information. Crafting an awesome marketing campaign that draws in hundreds of new leads is great, but not having the right complement of staff to effectively service these leads is a disaster. Make sure you anticipate the increase in calls that a direct mail, AdWords or radio campaign can generate, and be ready to quickly and effectively service these new prospects.
Many home service businesses seem to fall into the “fat cat” syndrome. When business is going well, they are busy and may not return calls or follow up on quotes they provided. However, just because business is presently booming, things could change dramatically next month. Nothing spreads quicker than bad word of mouth – especially with the power, speed and ease of social media. All it takes is a few unsatisfied prospects to tell a few friends or family members about your crappy customer service or start posting negative comments online. Conversely, a strong and positive customer testimonial is priceless. Encourage customers that are happy with your products or services to go online and provide a review. Or collect client testimonials to add to your website. While people may not generally wholeheartedly believe what companies have to say about themselves, they certainly listen to their peers. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to ensure a positive brand experience for both current customers and potential new ones.
Another small touch that can have a big impact is a simple “thank you”. Whether that is through a thank you card, an email or even a special offer for existing clients, people like to feel appreciated and valued. Take the time to personally thank your client for trusting you with their home. This speaks volumes.
If you’re a home services business owner and interested in learning more about how we can help you with any of these strategies, contact us for a free consultation. We work with businesses to create unique plans for their specific needs.