As a home service contractor, you have to constantly have new business funneling into your company. Sure, you probably rely a lot on referrals and word-of-mouth advertising, but those can’t be your sole marketing tactics. You need to find other ways to attract customers who might not otherwise have heard about you, had you not put your brand in the right place and right in front of their eyes when they were looking for the types of services you offer. With this in mind, we’ve got some digital advertising tips for home services contractors we think you should really pay attention to as you tweak your marketing strategies toward optimal success.
Advertising Trends and Insights
Catching customers’ attention has become more difficult than ever. Consumers are exposed to over 5,000 ads per day, which means it can be incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Today, there are hundreds of touchpoints where customers see ads. Doing the math, people see a new ad about every 17 seconds.
Customers will see five ads and eight influences to research, as well as up to four providers across the stages in their buyers’ journeys. This creates more than 1.7 million targeting positions! So when it really comes down to reviewing your advertising campaign, the reality is that you really need to know who your target audience is so you can deliver at the right time in the right place with the right message.
There are tons of channels to choose from, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with your options, but don’t let the chaos bring you down. If you focus on only a few touchpoints where your ideal customer visits, you’ll be more successful than you would if you were to try to hit every single available channel. Today’s customer is more informed than ever before. That’s why it’s important to know your target audience before you really start sending messages out to the universe.
There are three key channels that people use when they’re trying to decide which companies to do business with: search, social, and display.
Today, 80% of shoppers start their product or service research online. many go to their favorite search engines like Google or Bing to get started. With search advertising, you can promote your services on these platforms, so when customers are searching, they’ll find your local business. Search advertising is a very efficient channel and it’s a great way to generate qualified leads for your brand.
There are millions of searches made daily, and you have the ability to target only the people who are looking specifically for the products and services you offer. It’s quite easy to scale from one search platform to several. First-page ranking really does matter. 95% of traffic comes from the first page of search results, which means if you’re not there to capture customers’ attention, somebody else will. For every dollar you spend on search advertising, you get $8 back. Think about that ROI for a minute!
Paid search can also help fill in the gaps in areas you may not be reaching with your SEO or directory strategies.
Let’s talk about the big paid search platforms for a minute. Should you go with Google or Microsoft paid ads? The answer is both! Why? Well, they’re both pay-per-click (PPC) platforms, but there’s a big difference in the reach. Google Ads will give you about a 70% reach (or more) while Bing, AOL, and Yahoo will offer you about a 20% reach. The former platform reaches more general audiences while the latter tends to reach older, higher-income consumers. There’s less competition on Microsoft Ads platforms, while Google Ads is heavily competitive. The best advertising strategy is to use both options to capture the most people possible who could be looking for your services.
Google Search Ads actually offer two different types of ads that will show for local companies. First is the traditional Google Ads, which typically appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) and are denoted by a small “ad” box in the upper left of the space. Those are paid advertisements, which are PPC ads, so they’re based on targeting for keywords or content-based advertisements. There are also local service ads, which are available for local businesses, including home services contractors. These are cost-per-lead ads, which you can bid on to show up in this section.
Social includes (but is not limited to) platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can use various formats, such as text ads, images, and videos. Because of the level of engagement people have with social media sites, these platforms offer you an amazing ability to target your ideal audience and narrow in on consumers who can convert into paying customers. Social’s targeting capabilities are one of the main benefits of using this channel for your advertising efforts.
Social is great for several reasons because it helps you:
- Reach specific audiences
- Leverage a variety of a formats
- Nurture leads and sales
- Tap into new audiences
Here’s what you should know about social media advertising:
- There are nearly 2.5 billion active users of Facebook globally
- There are 1 billion people on Instagram
- There are 330 million users on Twitter worldwide
You can hyper-target customers using the amazing capabilities of social. In doing so, you’re bound to find prospects and customers. People use social media to stay connected or network, so understand that it’s good for generating leads and sales, but you have to engage with your audience differently than you would with search. Facebook Ads, for example, offers cost-effective reach and amazing targeting. 80% of Americans use Facebook, and more than half use it more than once a day. It’s great for targeting because you can build brand awareness without spending a ton of money.
Should you use Facebook Ads or search? Again, the answer is both! Both channels are PPC platforms, and while paid search (Google and Microsoft) offer a greater reach with around five billion searches daily, paid social (such as Facebook) isn’t anything to sneeze at; you’ll still have access to around two billion active users. While search is best for immediate sales and leads for services with high-purchase intent, paid social works well for building brand awareness, increasing your audience numbers, and giving the opportunity to remarket to previously interested visitors.
Display ads are still really a very core part of digital advertising. When you advertise via display channels, such as Google Display and YouTube, you can incorporate really compelling images and messages together in your ads. With display tactics, your messages appear across websites such as news sites, entertainment pages, and blogs. This is a really great strategy for generating brand awareness and ushering in the use of remarketing campaigns so you stay top of mind with your target audience.
While search advertising is great when you’re trying to find people who are looking for your services, it can be very competitive. Alternatively, display advertising platforms like Google and YouTube are popular with advertisers because they offer specific targeting capabilities to reach people directly in your target audience. This can be a cost-effective way to promote your services to people who are already in the buying cycle. Display is all about reach and getting attention and impressions at low costs-per-click.
Strategizing for a Stronger ROI
Did you know that:
- 67% of businesses have a limited marketing budget?
- 60% of organic traffic requires effort and patience?
- 34% of employees and business leaders don’t have the time or skill to learn digital marketing?
- 32% of companies need to expand into more marketing channels?
In other words, if you relate to some of these pain points, it’s important for you to know that you’re not alone out there. These challenges may seem familiar to you, but know that you share them with many of your peers.
Let’s talk about strategy and coming up with a plan for your paid advertising campaigns.
1. Set Goals
Successful digital ads come from well-planned campaigns that include goals and objectives. Are you trying to generate leads? Drive offline sales? Increase brand awareness? Understanding your company’s objectives will help you use your budget correctly and target your customers in the best ways possible. Goals will help you organize your campaigns so you can optimize the money you’re spending to achieve great results.
2. Target the Right Audience
Once you know who your target audience is, you can incorporate keywords, audience demographics, and other specific elements so you can reach the people you’re trying to talk to.
3. Hone Your Messaging
Effective messaging can help you land your words and images in front of the right people exactly when they’re trying to take care of their needs. Landing pages should be used in conjunction with ads to help usher your customers into your sales funnel.
4. Track Your Progress
You could set up the best campaign in the world, but if you’re not tracking your progress, you’ll really have no idea how much return on investment you’re really getting. Sure, you’ve set up a ton of goals, but ultimately, you want to look at who’s converting from a lead into a customer, and which types of advertisements are actually making you money.
5. Optimize Your ROI and Strategies
A campaign isn’t finished when you launch it; in fact, it’s just beginning. Based on the insights you glean from your tracking, you can tweak your strategies and tactics to ensure you’re optimizing your marketing efforts to achieve the best possible outcomes.
6. Expand Your Reach
When you get to expansion, you’re ready to grow. Once you’ve gotten the hang of one channel, you’re ready to move onto another. Maybe you move from paid search to social. Or perhaps you begin to integrate videos into your previously text-only content. All of these elements work together to generate leads and help you dominate your market.
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Serve your message up to the right audience at the right time and in the right place. If you need help, Surefire Local’s marketing experts are here to help. We invite you to schedule a demo to learn more about our local marketing platform today!