Top 15 Branding and Marketing Tips for Home Service Businesses
Considering over half of our clients at ZOO Media Group are from the home service industry, we’ve learned a thing or two about marketing these companies over the years. Ranging from franchise operations; small, family run businesses; to large corporations – there are certain strategies and marketing tactics that work better than others when marketing these types of businesses.
Home service businesses, like plumbing companies, painters, home renovators, lawn care and landscaping companies and storage solution providers all have something in common. Their respective industries are ultra-competitive. Just do a quick Google search under “home renovations Ontario” or “roofing London, Ontario” and you will see what I mean. So, what makes one business stand out from another? What marketing tactics will get the best response for your business? Here are 15 top branding and marketing tips that will help position your home business for success and separate your brand from the rest of the pack.
15 Best Branding and Marketing Tips for Home Service Businesses
Whether you are just starting out, or you have a well-established business, your brand is everything. From your logo, truck wrap, lawn signs to marketing collateral and website user experience, your brand speaks volumes about your business. As in life, when it comes to advertising and marketing – looks do count. You need your business identity to say, “competent, professional and successful.” Companies can no longer operate with a hand-drawn logo and a list of services printed off a home computer. A professional and polished brand instills confidence and trust from potential customers. A strong visual identity will also help to ensure brand recognition when it comes time for people to contact potential home service companies.
Need help branding your business? We invite you to read “Constructing The Ultimate Brand Experience” article which lists key aspects of brand building and includes a brand funnel tool to assist you in figuring out what communication pieces you need to build a strong brand identity for your home service business.
Effective Web Design
If homeowners are searching online for a reputable home service provider, an online presence such as a company website is crucial. And not just any website either. Having a well branded and designed user friendly multi-page informational website that is fully responsive (adjusts for mobile and tablets), will not only separate you from your competitors but will also help convert your site visitors into qualified leads.
What do I mean by an effective website? This means a website that provides as much detail as possible to build trust, credibility, build brand awareness and help grow your business. This also means a website that is ranked high on search engines too, so people can actually find your business when searching on Google or Bing.
Your home services business website should include information about who you are, your company’s history, mission and values, years of experience, partners and suppliers, location information, client reviews, FAQs, and a gallery showcasing the great work you’ve done.
Your website can be so much more than sharing information, you could also set it up to be an ecommerce website too – fully capable of business transactions. Not only is this an efficient way to operate, but it’s an effective way to do business especially a few years ago during the pandemic when we had to physical distance. Hopefully those days are gone. No one could’ve guessed that things could change so quickly, so businesses had to find ways to adapt.
Consider adding a detailed online form to your website where you could collect images and information from homeowners so that you may provide them with a quote online. You could use a DocuSign system to send quotes to the homeowner and have them sign off on projects without requiring face-to-face contact. Less complex services could be processed through an ecommerce site, allowing customers to easily pay online.
Another great addition to your website is a system that allows clients to book an appointment with you based on your availability. This type of tool can eliminate a lot of administrative back-and-forth and cut to the chase. As long as you keep your availability up to date, this functionality is handy for both you and homeowners as it finds a time that is mutually convenient.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating an amazing user-friendly informational and results’ driven website. I can go on and on about web design, for more ideas read our “12 Top Tips to Designing an Effective Website”.
Effective Marketing Tactics
When it comes to home service companies, certain advertising strategies work better than others. Here are some effective advertising tactics that you should consider adding to your yearly marketing plan.
Search Engine Marketing
Having a website is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a must. 81% of people perform some sort of online research before investing in a purchase. So, if your business website isn’t coming up on search engines for relevant keyword search terms, you are missing the boat. In addition to having a solid, organically optimized user-friendly website, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) tools like Google AdWords and remarketing campaigns can also pay big dividends. Google actually accounts for 90.1% of all search engine marketing! In 2020, 75% of searches never look beyond the first page of results. So, clearly, if your business doesn’t appear at or near the top of search results, you are missing out on a lot of potential business. Adding SEM to your marketing strategy will definitly help you get more site visitors and grow your business.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, to interact and connect with your audience to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website to hopefully increase sales. Did you know that in 2021, there were over 4.26 billion people using social media? People use social media for interacting with their friends and family, to follow their favourite brands, and also for research and inspiration. Social media marketing should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Your home service business can build relationships with followers when you interact with them on posts, make comments or respond to questions. Post things like great pictures of your work, such as before and after reveals and customer testimonials or inspirational quotes that are relevant to your business and industry that appeal to your target audience.
Google Business Profile
As soon as your website is launched, make sure you setup a Google Business Profile which is a free platform where you can list key information about your business on Google Search and Google Maps! Having a thorough Google Business Profile is a great way to boost your website rankings and get you on the map in your local area. You can add contact information, business hours, your company’s branding and photos, service information and post updates. Not only that but your clients can provide a star rating reviews which helps build trust.
Engage with Nextdoor
Nextdoor is another great local business social media platform where people can connect with their neighbours, post items for sale, ask for recommendations for different service professionals! You can setup a personal and business listing and post updates and engage with others in your community! I’ts free so why not?
Direct and Unaddressed Mail
Another tried and true marketing tactic we endorse for home service companies is direct mail and Neighbourhood Mail through Canada Post. Anyone that says traditional mail for marketing campaigns is dead, is simply not doing it right or they are not looking at the data. At least in our experience, flyers and postcards can be highly effective. Although response and closing rates can be low (less than 1%) – we have had some very successful campaigns clock in at almost 10%. It all depends on the lure of the graphic design and the strength of the offer. You also need to consider the potential pay-off. If your average job or product sale nets you only $100 in profit, this may not be the right tactic for you. But, if your profit per customer comes in at several hundred or potentially thousands of dollars, the ROI is definitely worth your while. Just remember to build in a tracking mechanism for responses so you can decipher what works for your business and what doesn’t.
If you are a business offering a unique service offering that someone wouldn’t search for online, since they don’t know it exists, then billboards are effective ways to get the word out and build brand awareness. Billboards are a bit pricey but they can be very effective for medium to larger size businesses. Most billboards are placed in busy traffic areas and attract a lot more impressions and views when compared to other marketing tactics. Well designed billboards with a clear simple message are a must since people are driving past it, so they need to be able to read and understand the offer. Note that outdoor advertising such as billboards and transit ads are harder to track customer engagement and action, unlike search engine marketing but should still be considered as a good tactic when developing a fully integrated marketing plan.
Vehicle wraps are another great form of outdoor advertising especially for home service businesses who are driving around town, think of it as a moving billboard! The great thing about vehicle wraps is that its one upfront fixed cost and constant exposure. What a great way to build your brand to a broad audience.
From a local reach perspective, door hangers are a very effective forms of direct marketing to build your brand and generate leads in a specific neighbourhood. Homeowners will definitely notice them, unlike flyers in the mail. Door hangers work very well for home service businesses that are ongoing service offerings and seasonal such as lawncare, landscaping, tree care and home maintenance. Definitely another tactic to include in your integrated marketing plan.
If delivering door hangers is too much work for you and your team, then placing a lawn sign on the properties your company is servicing is another great marketing tactic. Signs are a bit more expensive to print, but are highly effective for home service businesses such as home renovation, painters, lawncare, windows and door companies. Lawn signs will increase brand awareness to those that drive by the home. If your client is happy with the service you provided and allows you to place a lawn sign on their front lawn, there is a very good chance you will get calls from other interested homeowners in the area that might need the same service. Lawn signs attract attention and should be added to your marketing strategy.
Looking at more traditional advertising and marketing strategies, we still feel there are legitimate opportunities to pursue, specifically for home service businesses. Radio ads, if done correctly and are used to promote specific offers or contests, can be highly effective with a broad reach. This is especially true when they run on a.m. news and talk radio stations. Listeners tune into these stations for informational purposes and are typically homeowners in the 35-55 age range. That’s the perfect target market for most home service businesses. Getting your company name and tagline out to thousands of local consumers on a repetitive basis can also work wonders for brand awareness and recognition. Just make sure the ad copy is catchy and memorable so you get your money’s worth.
This has to be the most important ingredient to launching and maintaining a successful home service business. Not only do we work with home service businesses with our marketing and graphic design agency, but we are also consumers that have personal experiences – giving us a wealth of useful information. Crafting an awesome marketing campaign that draws in hundreds of new leads is great, but not having the right complement of staff to effectively service these leads is a disaster. Make sure you anticipate the increase in calls that a direct mail, search engine marketing or radio campaign can generate, and be ready to quickly and effectively service these new prospects.
Many home service businesses seem to fall into the “fat cat” syndrome. When business is going well, they are busy and may not return calls or follow up on quotes they provided. However, just because business is presently booming, things could change dramatically next month. Nothing spreads quicker than bad word of mouth – especially with the power, speed and ease of social media. All it takes is a few unsatisfied prospects to tell a few friends or family members about your crappy customer service or start posting negative comments online.
Conversely, a strong and positive customer testimonial is priceless. Encourage customers that are happy with your products or services to go online and provide a review. Or collect client testimonials to add to your website. While people may not generally wholeheartedly believe what companies have to say about themselves, they certainly listen to their peers. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to ensure a positive brand experience for both current customers and potential new ones.
Another small touch that can have a big impact is a simple “thank you”. Whether that is through a thank you card, an email or even a special offer for existing clients, people like to feel appreciated and valued. Take the time to personally thank your client for trusting you with their home. This speaks volumes.
If you’re a home services business owner and interested in learning more about how we can help you with any of these branding and marketing strategies, contact us for a free consultation. We work with businesses to create unique plans for their specific needs.