When someone needs a roofing contractor or moving company, and they Google those services in your area, is yours one of the first companies they will stumble upon? If it isn’t, then you’re losing potential business.
In the home services industry, having a strong online presence is essential to a solid marketing plan because the web is where customers go to find companies to do business with. Over 55% of consumers will run a search before scheduling an appointment. In some industries, this number is even higher. For example, HVAC repair has a rate of 62%, while pest control companies have a rate of 75%. Moving companies had the highest number, with over 82% of customers starting their searches online. If you aren’t visible online, you will miss out on these potential customers. So, how can you become more visible to this online audience? This online presence guide for home services contractors will help.
What Is an Online Presence?
At its core, an online presence is the representation of a company or person on the web. For a brand, a positive and visible online presence is a key component of your marketing strategy, especially when you’re marketing home services and related products. Using that online presence requires staying visible to the people searching for what you offer online.
Your online presence refers to the actions you take online. This includes the content you produce. Your personal social media pages and the comments or other actions you take online all connect to your online presence.
Your online presence also includes the Internet and its algorithms. The only way to have a strong online presence is to work with these to make yourself or your brand visible.
Finally, your online presence is directly connected to the public. How do people perceive the business and the actions it takes on the web? How engaged are they? Also, what are they saying about the brand in other platforms?
Benefits of an Online Presence
Why should you focus marketing energy on building and maintaining an online presence? There are several benefits to enjoy if you do, including:
- Get discovered by new customers more easily: When people are searching for plumbing, painting, or roofing services in your local area, make sure yours is the home services company that they naturally stumble upon.
- Be seen as legitimate: Today’s market requires an online presence for people to feel confident that they are working with a legitimate company, so make sure you have one.
- Promote your business around the clock: The Internet never sleeps, but you need to. When you have a visible online presence, people can always find you, even when you aren’t available to talk to them.
- Save money while attracting new customers: While there is a cost involved in creating a solid online presence, it’s not high when compared to other marketing channels. Some types of online marketing, such as getting people talking about your brand, are free. You will save while continuing to build your business if you focus time and energy here.
- Earn Google’s trust: There’s no more powerful marketing tool than Google, and when you have an established online presence, they will trust your business and website to show in the search engine results.
- Nurture customer relationships: Your online presence is a great place to build on existing customer relationships through engagement and communication.
How to Increase Your Online Presence
If you’ve looked at this list and realized that your online presence is lacking, there are specific things you can do to improve the situation. Specifically, focus on these five areas to build a solid and positive online presence.
Start with your website, which is your online storefront. Make sure it is modern and attractive, and ensure that visitors can easily navigate it. Work with a web designer to make it look its best.
Once you have a polished website, enhance it using the latest SEO best practices to ensure people will find it. Make sure you focus on local SEO, which is a key for home services companies that need to target a local market.
Use blogs to build your SEO, and put photos on your website to make it attractive and showcase what you do. Photos also provide another opportunity for SEO through tags and descriptions.
2. Social Media
Create social media pages on the platforms where your customers hang out. Then, stay active on these platforms. You need to limit the number of platforms you use so that you can stay consistent in your posts, so focus on those platforms that are going to reach your customers effectively. Make sure you only have enough that you can realistically stay engaged on them.
On social media, resist the temptation only to sell. Instead, make your page a valuable resource for your customers. Share educational content that relates to your type of home service. For example, if you run a plumbing business, share content that will help customers maintain their plumbing and avoid repairs. Also, share some entertaining content as well.
As you engage with customers, be authentic. Showcase your personality and make it feel warm and inviting.
Finally, use your social media pages to optimize your SEO. Keywords, hashtags, and accurate contact information can all be part of your SEO efforts as you build social media pages.
3. Directory Listings
Directory listings are a key component of local SEO because they allow you to keep your contact information consistent. Claim your business on the most important directory listings, including Google, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo Business Listings, Whitepages, and the Better Business Bureau.
Make your listings complete with all appropriate contact information, then compare them to ensure you are consistent across the various listings.
Work to get new reviews from your customers by inviting them to review you or incentivizing reviews. You will get some negative reviews, whether from disgruntled customers or from scammers trying to discredit your business, so use new positive reviews to negate them. Always respond to negative reviews in a positive but truthful way.
Once you have your listings, keep them updated. Answer questions and keep the contact information consistent. Use the listings to promote special offers that new potential customers will be able to see when checking reviews of your business.
4. Online Advertising
Paid online advertising is part of your online presence. There are four ways to do this, which are:
- Search ads: Search ads are paid search engine results. For these ads, you bid on keywords related to your local community and industry, and the search engines will show your ads as “promoted” or “sponsored” listings.
- Social ads: Social ads are paid posts and advertisements shown on social media. These show up in user’s feeds along with their regular content.
- Display ads: Display ads show up in online banners and images placed on search engine results and websites that offer advertising space.
- Retargeting ads: Retargeting ads use tracking to display ads to people who visited your website but clicked away. These keep your brand in the minds of potential customers, even if they didn’t book a service when they initially visited your site during their research.
Each of these uses keyword marketing to more effectively reach people searching for what you offer within your local community.
5. Email Marketing
If you are able to capture emails from your potential customers, use them. Create email campaigns that will keep your brand in the minds of potential customers. Use email campaigns to send coupons and special offers that may cause them to book additional services in the future. While email campaigns may not generate repeat business quickly, especially for an industry like roofing that is an occasional need, it keeps your brand in the customer’s mind so they can more easily find you when they do need service again.
The best part of an email marketing campaign is that once you build it, you can let it run with minimal interference. It regularly sends emails directly to your customers’ inboxes, helping you stay visible to them.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Keeping up with all five of these methods mentioned in this online presence guide for home services contractors is definitely challenging. One way to make the process easier is to put all of these into one marketing platform, which is exactly what Surefire Local does.
With Surefire Local, you can continue managing the most important parts of your online marketing plan as you build your online presence all on one platform. This will reduce your costs and the amount of time you have to spend on online marketing without hurting your results. It’s convenient and effective, allowing you to spend more time interacting directly with your customers.
Are you curious about how Surefire Local works? Attend a demo to see the marketing platform in action.