Home improvement businesses like yours need a steady flow of new customers coming in. An internet search is the first place your customers will look.
Recent studies show that 56% of people would rather message a business (on a social media platform or website) than call them for customer service. At the same time, many home service businesses are not equipped to receive messages across multiple platforms such as SMS or Facebook Messenger.
If one out of every two customers wants to reach out to you in this way and you’re not set up for it, you’re missing a huge segment of your potential customer base.
Why You Need a Local Marketing Strategy
The sheer volume of businesses competing in the home renovation market adds to the challenge of getting new customer leads and closing more sales. Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media when researching products or services in their local area.
Without a strategic local digital marketing strategy, your business will be left at the bottom of a crowded search list of competitors.
First generation digital advertising sources like Facebook referrals, Google Places, and Yelp were simply a place for customer and business owners to share their experiences. But they didn’t offer much in the way of targeted advertising.
The primary goal of local marketing online is to drive potential customers to your website sooner and encourage them to contact you in as few steps as possible.
Today, SEO and SEM optimization are far more efficient in identifying and reaching your local customers sooner and helping your marketing dollars go further. Read more about that here.
A comprehensive local online marketing analysis and strategy allows you to identify exactly which customers are reaching your business, when, and how. And by focusing your efforts and budget only qualified leads, you can avoid wasting time, money, and opportunity on low-performing outreach efforts.
Here we’ll list some of the most common challenges to building an effective local marketing strategy online and show you how to get it right the first time.
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Common Mistakes When Hiring a Local Marketing Expert
Customers who need your services are generally within a specific driving distance of your business, which makes having a local online marketing strategy essential. However, the same is not true when hiring a local digital marketing expert to help with your local marketing efforts.
The beauty of local digital marketing is that your partner doesn’t have to be local to do local marketing well. Here are three mistakes to avoid when seeking out a marketing agency.
1. Relying only on name recognition
Often, repeated exposure to a name or brand is enough for consumers to buy a product or service. But showing up lots of times does not mean better service or better results. Afterall, anyone can pay to be seen these days.
Ideally, you’d weigh recognition against other important qualities. Word of mouth, testimonials, and referrals often go just as far (if not farther) in a time when digital exposure is easy to achieve.
It’s important to evaluate local digital marketing experts as much for their strategy and results, as it is for name recognition. You wouldn’t want your customers to be fooled by competitors just because they’re familiar. The same goes for hiring a marketing agency. Look for one with demonstrated results for businesses like yours, not name recognition alone.
2. Making a decision that only considers price
Like the point above, less expensive marketing doesn’t mean it’s bad or ineffective. On the other side of that coin, expensive certainly doesn’t mean high quality either.
Don’t base your choice on price alone. Experience, partnership, and alignment of goals are more valuable than the initial price tag. Making the wrong choice upfront can cost much more in the long run. Small agencies often have low overhead. That can be an advantage for you. Certainly consider price, but don’t make your decision on that alone.
3. Lack of industry knowledge
Anyone can buy an ad on Facebook or sign up for Google paid ads. But choosing an industry-specific agency that understands the nuances of your business and puts you in front of your ideal customers gives your team a strategic advantage over your competitors.
You’re not paying for the tactics. You’re paying for experience, strategy, and deeper knowledge than you likely have.
How to Get Local Digital Marketing Right
Know your audience
Knowing who your most valuable customers are — the ones actively seeking consistent, high-quality services — requires deep insights into their behaviors and online activities, rather than just a hunch. For effective local online marketing, it’s important to understand:
- If customers are using mobile or web platforms to find your business
- If they’re seeing you on social media channels (and which ones)
- If they’re clicking on your ads (and which version)
- Which keywords or phrases they entered to reach your site
A skilled local marketing specialist, dedicated to home repair and remodeling businesses, can provide you with an analysis of exactly how new customers are searching for you, and get those leads engaged and through your sales cycle quicker.
Leverage the right channels
Diversity in marketing channels, just like diversity in finances, provides a safety net for your business. When launching your local online marketing efforts using diverse digital platforms can cast your marketing net farther and will, in turn, provide rich data points that show where your customers are. You’ll also know where to focus future efforts.
A data-driven local marketing expert can help you decide which platforms are likely to snag your customers’ attention.
Hire a trustworthy partner
You’re a small business owner and are used to doing the heavy lifting but you can’t be expected to be a marketing expert on top of everything else. You can certainly attempt marketing on your own, but you may find it too challenging.
Putting the right marketing team in place lets you get to the more important tasks at hand like growing your business. And as we discussed above, finding a digital marketing partner that understands your business is the most important first step.
Ask for transparent cost reports
More than just the flat rate, be sure to ask for numbers on the actual cost of each qualified lead. This includes full transparency on metrics like cost per click, the cost for impression, and the cost for conversion. Getting 100 clicks means nothing if they are not from the right customer.
And if your digital marketing partners are not providing you with a blended cost report — reporting all marketing costs including content, and not just paid channels — it could signal they are hiding inefficiencies and the true cost of their engagement. All this adds up to getting the most value from your local online marketing investment.
Track lead sources for ROI
Ask potential agencies how they track qualified leads. You should receive information about which ads, websites, or email campaigns lead to enhanced customer engagement and keep the flow of new leads coming.
Ask which keywords or phrases resonate the best and convert the most. These are all valuable insights into exactly how your potential customers can find you and should be leveraged in all marketing activities.
For more information on our 5 Top-Performing Local Online Marketing Tactics, click here.
Take the Next Step
You already know the value of digital marketing, but narrowing down your local online marketing strategy allows your marketing budget to go farther, gets qualified leads to you sooner, and gives you back your time for other business needs.
Contact Socius to start generating qualified local leads with a personalized local marketing strategy today.