It’s not every day that a customer is searching for a home service contractor. In most cases, shopping begins when something goes wrong, and suddenly, there is a need. Understanding how customers are using the internet to hunt for the right contractor could be what gives you the upper hand. If you understand the search patterns and the red flags that attract and detract customers, you’re well on your way to beefing up your digital marketing for the better. Buckle up for more leads and better customer service with this introduction to how customers use the internet to find home service contractors.

1.) Reviews Are The Internet’s Currency

Without a brick and mortar store to snoop around in and ask questions, shoppers crave the feedback of other people. They want to know all of the ins and outs of how your services are provided without necessarily having to be “pitched” by someone from your company. Enter the importance of the review. For our purposes here, let’s just overgeneralize where the review is happening; it could be Angie’s List, Yelp, Google+, or Facebook. Reviews on sites like these not only offer credibility and value to your business but they can also help your search engine ranking.

After the rollout of a Google update in 2014, the search engine giant started factoring in reviews to page rankings. If your site has received feedback on any of the sites listed above (especially Google+), those reviews will pop up right alongside your business’ name. For example, the image below is a Google search for HVAC service providers in Grand Rapids, MI. Notice the stars beneath the business names, indicating their reviews.

Of course, these reviews are not the only thing that determines your search engine ranking. Just be aware that these reviews are important. Negative reviews can do just as much damage as positive reviews can do a world of good.

2.) Social Media Is A Home Services Contractor’s Friend

Like reviews, social media is another glimpse behind the curtain. In addition to using social media—like Facebook—to see reviews, customers are curious what people are saying about you and how you are responding to those people. Social media is becoming a measuring stick for your company’s customer service.

In a lot of ways, the use of social media for customer service makes sense. A Forbes article by Jayson DeMers argued that platforms like Facebook are a win for both company and customer. For customers, leaving a post on a page yields faster responses while allowing them to be publicly outspoken. They’ve had the opportunity to let off steam and feel like they’ve been heard. At the same time, social media kills the funnel that many customers get thrown down, forced to go through contact forms, phone menus, or email conversations. Instead, a quick post on a Facebook page is a one and done deal.

For companies, having conversations be public can be a great advantage too. Potential customers get to see how quickly you’ve responded to a concern or complaint and how you handled it. Having a body dedicated to monitoring Facebook can seem overwhelming, but the cost reaps big rewards. When something goes right—like Susie was over-the-moon for how great her experience was with your team—social media is the first and best place that your business name can be shared. By having a strong presence that serves your customers, your customers will return the favor by tagging, sharing, and reviewing your page for all of their friends and family to see.

3.) Shopping Isn’t Just Done on Laptops/Desktops Anymore

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about what devices customers are using to do their home services shopping. Still leading the pack is the use of laptops and desktops, coming in at 50%. The close second? Mobile. Today, 38% of shoppers are home service hunting on their phones.

This is the part where is you haven’t updated your site in a while or you know for a fact that it’s not mobile-friendly, we start begging you to think about getting a refresher. In today’s tech-savvy world, a mobile-friendly site is a must. Bad user experience, like trying to access a site on your phone only to be met with the humongous website version, can kill leads. If your mobile-friendly site is slow, you’re in just as much trouble. A mobile user will wait maybe 30 seconds if they really, really want to see your site and service offerings. Otherwise, by about 10 seconds of waiting, you’ve lost 25-50% of potential leads. Scary, right?

4.) Take Action

You might be reading through this and experiencing information overload. Just know that being overwhelmed by your digital marketing is ok. To help you out, we’ve created an easy to follow Home Services Digital Marketing Guide that goes through the steps of reining in your online efforts. Use it as the first step to getting your digital to work harder for you.

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If you’ve read through the guide and you’re looking to start digging into your site’s analytics, search engine optimization opportunities, and user experience to generate more business, let’s talk.