By Lisa Thai
2020 was a year of tremendous change for the home services industry. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to adapt to new methods of doing business. While this naturally proved a challenge, home services professionals collectively rose to the occasion. As a testament to our field’s innovation, substantial numbers of these changes are likely to remain in place long after the pandemic passes.
With a new year upon us, it’s helpful to understand the emerging digital marketing trends so those in the home services field can best position their companies for growth in 2021.
SEO: Staying at the Top of the Search Results
While it may seem to be an overly technical concept, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply about making sure the words and information presented on your company’s website are likely to appear in relevant search results. The act of optimizing your site can lead to substantially higher traffic volume. With that, of course, comes more leads and jobs.
Moving forward, we can expect SEO practices to play an increasingly crucial role in a home services company’s ability to thrive in their local market.
SEO refers to more than just keywords—many elements, such as user intent, quality of content, links, or your site’s technical setup, can impact its position in the search results. Since most searches happen through Google, well-optimized sites usually focus on displaying information through the lens of Google’s best practices.
Google picks up on inconsistencies between the content on websites and the information found on your Google My Business (GMB)—and having mismatched information can even result in a suspension of your listing. Because of this, it’s necessary to ensure your data—such as your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation—is kept current and matches what is on your website.
Additionally, the industry is seeing a spike in searches made on mobile devices. In response, Google has switched to a mobile-first index, meaning they prioritize sites optimized for mobile use. This new trend requires your site to be responsive across all electronic devices and mobile-friendly. The information published on your website should still be educational, but simple enough to digest on handheld devices.
Voice Search, the Next Big Thing
Along with the popularity of mobile devices, voice search is also becoming mainstream. According to Google, people have increasingly incorporated voice searches into their daily lives since it allows them to multitask, receive information instantly, and simplify daily routines. This is why including an optimization strategy for voice search will be increasingly important in the coming year and beyond. More site traffic leads Google to believe your page is relevant, which can potentially result in ranking higher overall on a search page.
Knowing there is a growth in voice search means home services professionals must learn how and when people use it as a tool. Because it is much faster to talk than type, long-tail keyword searches are becoming more common than the usual short-tailed keyword searches made when typing. Additionally, people using mobile devices want immediate search results that are direct and to the point. This makes it extremely important that your website’s content is not only accurate but concise.
For any home services company looking to grow, tailoring the information to a potential client’s needs and search platforms will become more and more vital for your success.
Start Bidding on LSAs
Since their introduction, Local Services Ads (LSAs) have become a popular form of advertising for home services businesses. This is likely to remain the case in the new year, especially considering that Google is adding a new bidding feature to LSAs that will make them even more effective.
The bidding feature changes the way LSAs function and makes the platform far more competitive. However, it is helpful to remember that changes in structure usually require changes in strategy.
This new tool allows you to set your account up so Google automatically sets your bid for you and decides how to allocate your money to bring in as many leads as your budget will allow. Alternatively, you can pick from a range of cost per lead choices for your bid as well. Bidding will be a factor in determining your ranking on search results, and Google will also take into consideration your online reviews, your proximity to the person searching, and the rate of your responsiveness. Providing accurate information on your profile regarding the services you provide, your physical location, service areas, and hours of operation all feed into the optimization for your ads and overall customer experience.
Video Content is King
Google’s focus is on providing searchers with as much useful information as possible. This means the search engine is always adapting to how people are searching to stay helpful and relevant. One of the biggest trends we are seeing is a shift in the way people consume content. Audiences are moving away from the written word and becoming more interested in engaging with video, which opens up new opportunities for your business’s marketing strategy.
Evidence shows that by 2022, online videos will take up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. From a business perspective, if you are not incorporating video into your campaign strategy, you are missing out on capturing a large share of the market. In the future, staying current will mean including videos in your marketing campaign and creating content that adds value to your business and appeals to your customer base.
Utilizing video can give your brand exposure in the online spaces where people are consuming content. Platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok continue to surge with user engagement, while Facebook plans on transitioning to a more video-heavy structure. With more eyes on video content, you should maximize over-the-top advertising, which allows you to take advantage of sites such as Amazon and Hulu. These platforms are based solely on providing video content for consumers and can be a great channel to reach your customer base.
Creating Trust Through Content Marketing
The Rule of Seven says a prospective client needs to see your brand at least seven times before buying from you or utilizing your services. It takes a high volume of advertising to build that degree of trust, and historically that comes with a hefty price tag.
Fortunately, social media’s popularity allows home services businesses to boost their visibility and establish trust with potential customers at a minimal cost. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok can serve as advertising channels with a direct line to prospects in your local service area and even beyond.
The method for engagement can be simple. By posting original video content, memes, before and after pictures of jobs, and staff highlights, you can communicate your business’s unique character and help stand out from local competitors.
Some companies use their social media accounts to blog about issues relevant to the home services community and their customers, which helps establish your brand as experts in the field.
No matter how you choose to use it, social media can provide a steady avenue to reach potential customers and help attract attention to your business.
In marketing, the goal is to be found and stand out amongst our competitors, and the emerging digital landscape allows many opportunities to do just that. By understanding the trends affecting the home services industry, you can build a strong digital marketing plan to generate better leads and more jobs in the coming year.
Lisa Thai is an Internet Marketing Manager specializing in the Home Services Industry. For the past six years, she has been putting her focus on creating strategies and campaigns to achieve businesses’ overall goals. Scorpion is a premium provider of marketing and technology solutions for the home services industry. To learn more, visit ScorpionHomeServices.com.