For decades, local home improvement professionals have successfully been doing business by promoting through print advertising. Home improvement professionals are uniquely situated, in that your jobs are evergreen. People will always need things like their plumbing inspected and fixed, and roofs over their head. Home improvement professionals possess specialized skills that are always required, and that most ordinary people do not have, providing job security. But if people will always need your services, then why have you seen a record decline in leads in the past few years?
The answer to that question is twofold: 1) All of your clients have moved online. 2) Consumer researching habits have changed.
1. All of your clients are online
Considering that 85% of consumers find local businesses online, if you’re still using Yellow Pages as your primary advertising platform, you may want to think again. Today, 77% of home improvement professionals spend more than half of their budget on Yellow Page ads that don’t provide ROI. Don’t let that be you. Yes, Yellow Pages had its time. In the past it was one of the best advertising platforms out there, but today it’s become obsolete. Check out this whitepaper from Go Digital Marketing for precise numbers, but know that Yellow Pages is ridiculously expensive, and when the vast majority of customer are online anyway, print ads just aren’t worth the money.
Obviously, based on our title, our fix here is to switch to digital marketing. The money you waste on Yellow Page ads could be put to more effective marketing platforms like your website, a blog, and even a few DIY videos. The best way to advertise to customers today is online. This means optimizing your site for mobile viewers, and incorporating SEO tactics to ensure your website is ranking well for specific searches relevant to your customer. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out our free Local SEO Checklist specifically for home service professionals:
Once you optimize your site for search engines, you’ll see all those leads you wanted to get from Yellow Pages rolling in from Google instead.
2. Consumer researching habits have changed
If you’ll think back to the pre-internet era for a minute (we know it’s hard, but it did happen), people who had a leaky faucet, or a dripping sink would immediately call their plumber, or look for one in the phonebook. Unless you had experience as a plumber, or were uncannily handy, there was no way you were going to dive into the complex system that is your kitchen sink without help.
With the rise of Google, however, more and more people are searching how to fix these minor issues themselves. Today, instead of finding the closest reputable plumber, people are searching Google with queries like “why is my sink dripping?” or “how can I fix my dripping faucet?”
If it’s something they can do by watching a Youtube video, a lot of people are more inclined to fix those minor issues themselves. So with all of these ambitious DIYers out there, how are you supposed to turn a profit, and why is digital marketing the answer?
Well, these people are not experts, and there’s a limit to what you can learn on Google in terms of plumbing and home repair. While some homeowners will be able to fix minor issues on their own, like replacing a strip of siding, or changing out a faucet handle, there’s still no way they’ll be able to re-roof their home, or install a new water heater by themselves. That’s highly technical work that requires a skilled professional. Herein lies the answer to the power of digital marketing:
Digital marketing functions to draw in customers in a way that builds client relationships. The bonus for you, as a home improvement professional is that you already know the questions people are asking. As a roofer, you’ve probably heard a million times, “how do I patch my roof?” As a plumber, you know people always want the quick fix to a dripping faucet.
Since you already know the questions, you can easily create quality content that addresses them, effectively meeting your ideal customer online. Providing those answers not only ensures you get found online by prospective customers, but it also builds trusting relationships that keep you at the forefront of those clients’ minds – making you their first choice when they really do need professional help.
But this only works if you’re putting out great, honest content that solves a problem with no strings attached. Today’s consumers shy away from the hard sell. They don’t want to see or hear a bunch of PR tactics when they just want to know how to fix their sink. This sounds counterintuitive, we know. By not selling in your content though, you draw in more qualified customers, and you do it in a way that makes them want to return to your site for more information.
Your goal here is to provide expertise, rather than push a product. The more quality advice you offer, the greater your authority with those customers, and the more likely they are to call you when they do have a real problem they can’t fix themselves. So make sure you’re producing content that is useful to your ideal customer, and is convenient for them to access. Once you’ve got that going, you can start to turn all of those loyal blog readers and viewers of your DIY videos into leads.
For more information on how to make that happen, check out our Digital Marketing guide for home improvement professionals:
This guide will tell you exactly what to implement to boost conversions and lead generation on your home improvement website.
And if you have any more questions on how to optimize your website or implement digital marketing best practices, make sure to get in touch!