To dominate your local market in 2019 and beyond, you’re business needs to be in front of your target customer offline AND online. It’s no longer just an option to have a website and an excellent online presence, it’s a must!
“But I get most of my business through referrals and I’m doing just fine…” – Well that’s great and we’re super happy for you, but what you’re really saying is that you’ve chosen to only explore one marketing channel, word-of-mouth.
Any business owner looking to grow, needs to be focused on expansion and testing/leveraging new marketing channels. The online world is much more than a new marketing channel, it’s a whole new pool of customers waiting for you to show up and wave.
Every month there are more than 247,000 searches for people looking for plumbers in their local area, if you’re not online or aren’t trying to get in front of these searchers, how are you being found by them?
Here’s the typical journey your prospective customers go through
- Prospective customer goes to their sink and realizes the water is not draining
- They investigate and discover the pipe is clogged and realize they need help
- They go to Google and type in something like “plumber in new jersey”
- Google sends back a page full of listings for them to explore
- The customer scrolls through and looks through the listing for the one with the best reviews
- The customer calls the number, books an appointment
What can we learn from that journey?
Well, in order to compete with the top players in any given city you’ll have to do 4 things really well to become the go to choice:
- Show up in front of your customer – on the 1st page of Google
- Showcase a solid reputation with reviews on multiple platforms
- Have a fast loading, mobile first, website that shows who you are and establishes trust
- Deliver 5 star experiences to your customers to encourage reviews and referrals
So let’s break down the components needs for you to hit all these areas.
1) Show up in front of your customer
Google local service ads are the first thing that pop up, followed by ads, map listings and then organic listings. What this means is that it’s not enough to just be strong in SEO, we also need a strategy to show up at the top of the page for relevant keywords as well.
Google Local Service Ads for Plumbers
Google local service ads have been rolled out recently and are a great ad type to leverage. The listings are the first thing on the page and the great thing about them is that you only pay for qualified leads. There’s a vetting process but once you get the ads rolling, it can be a great addition to your marketing mix. You can learn more about Google Local Service Ads here.
Google Adwords Text Ads For Plumbers
Adwords search ads are text based ads that appear towards the top of search results pages. They’re highly effective, due to their positioning on the page, and can quickly drive leads into your business. In order to take advantage of Google Adwords, you’ll need to sign up for an Adwords account and create your campaign. You can learn more about Google Adwords here. It’s highly recommended to work with a paid search specialist to help set up your ads and keep them finely tuned. The ads can work wonders when you’re bidding on the right keywords, but without a tight focus you’ll end up showing up and paying for clicks that you didn’t want.
Build Your Local SEO Presence
With local SEO you’re not attempting to get to the top of the organic searches section, your attempting to get on top of the map box. The way you do this is to open up a Google My Business Profile. When you’re done creating your profile, Google will mail you a post card that you use to verify.
Once verified there’s a few things you need to do well in order to rank. You’ll need to sign up, set up your profile and verify by visiting the Google My Business page.
Leverage the Power of SEO
When you search something on Google, you most likely stick to the 1st page of results. Maybe you’ll even go to page 2 or page 3 but in the end you don’t go to far. SEO is simply put the process of getting to the top of Google for the searches that your prospective customer makes. For example, if someone were to go on Google and type in “plumber in new jersey”, he will most likely pick someone to call from the 1st page of Google. Good SEO get’s you there.
The main difference between paid ads and SEO listings is that once you rank, you’re not paying anything extra for clicks. All the traffic that finds you and clicks is yours at no extra charge. That’s why SEO is still one of the highest ROI activities in most companies.
So what can you do to get in Google’s good graces and get to the top of the search results page?
You’ll need to have a fast loading website, that looks great on mobile devices and is optimized for SEO. When we say optimized for SEO, it’s to say that your website needs to do a good job of telling search engines who your business is and what you should show up for. Once that’s in place and finely tuned, the ranking power of your website lies in the quantity and quality of websites that you get linking back to yours.
Links are the way that search engines understand the web. If you show Google that lots of websites with authority and relevancy link to you, they will begin to understand that you’re an important business that should show up for the terms that you want to show up for.
There’s plenty of other nuances to know about SEO, but that’s the meat and potatoes of what will get you ranked.
Get your website tuned and get high quality links. If you would like to learn and have the time to handle your SEO, you can learn the basics through blog posts like this one from Ahrefs.
2) Build a solid reputation for your plumbing company
Take a look at the image below. There’s three listings within the maps section of the results page. Based on these three, which business would you click on first?
Most likely you will pick the one closest to the top with the most reviews! You’re not alone, most people would. Which is why it’s important to make sure that your business not only ranks high, but has a solid reputation associated to it.
So how to I get reviews for my business? By doing great work, and encouraging your customers to leave reviews.
Over time, implementing a process to generate reviews within your business will make a huge impact. Not only will your existing referrals trust you more, but new customers will be less hesitant to pick up the phone and dial, because they know you’ve been vetted by lots of other people.
Platforms you should create profiles on that normally appear on the first page of Google when someone looks up your brand:
3) Have a fast loading, mobile first, plumbing website
This is the home base of your business online. It’s where the majority of customers will end up.
If you’re wondering if you’re website is doing a good job, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your website speak to your target customer?
- Does it have real authentic imagery of you or your staff?
- Do you have click to call buttons when someone visits from their phone?
- Are there videos on your service pages and other important pages?
- Are you showcasing reviews?
- Are SEO fundamentals in place?
- Are you leveraging live chat?
When it comes to your website, you have about 3 seconds to capture your visitors attention and convince them to stay on your website. If they leave, they won’t call, simple as that.
4) Deliver 5 star plumbing experiences
The last piece here is to deliver great customer service, and a smooth experience. You can have the best marketing and website in the world but nothing will kill your business faster in this day and age than unpleasant service calls.
People are more inclined to leave negative reviews than to leave positive reviews online, which is why it’s critical to have processes in place to ensure client satisfaction and encourage positive reviews.
Wrapping it up
The goal of this post was to give you a high level overview of the various high impact components of your digital marketing strategy. There’s many other things you can leverage as well that we will save for a future post. Things like retargeting, Facebook business profile, whether you should be using lead generation services, display ads and others.
Running your own digital marketing is a time consuming task, but for the scrappy entrepreneur it may be something they would want to look into.
For business owners that are looking to outsource their digital marketing to a solid partner, Laroop can be a solid partner that can help develop a bespoke digital marketing strategy and handle the execution. You can always schedule a chat with us here.