If you’re a home services provider in 2018, you know that customers are using the internet to find you, specifically, search engines. But even though you know that search engines are an important tool for reaching future clients, you might not know how to show up in the search results. That’s where SEO, and more specifically, local SEO, comes in.
What is Local SEO?
We’ve got to start by defining the component parts:
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. What that means in non-robot/internet nerd terms is that the content, for example, a website or website page, is optimized for search engines to read, understand, and categorize the content.
We don’t want to insult your intelligence by defining what local means, so we won’t. But adding those two together, local SEO means search engine optimization for local search results. So, “West Michigan roofers” or “Grand Haven landscapers” or “Grand Rapids area remodelers.”
Why is Local SEO Important?
As a home services provider, you serve a specific area, or specific service areas. You want customers within that area, and potential customers want a service provider in their local area. No one wants to have to wait for two hours for a service provider to drive to them for an emergency repair, they want someone in their town. That’s why local SEO matters, so people in your area can find you. They are searching for service providers and using location indicators in their searches: “roof repair near me,” “roof repair Muskegon,” etc.
Local SEO is also crucial for getting to the top of that search results page. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of service businesses like yours in the world, and they’re all trying to rank for the most common keywords for your industry. That’s a lot of competition, and you’d have to pour in more time, energy, and money than it’s worth to end up at the very top of the page for a general keyword like “roofing” or “landscaping.” We say, when the odds aren’t good, make better odds (not like the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing though, just to be clear). You might not be competitive globally for your industry keywords, but you can be locally, and that’s where your client base is, anyway. You can rank first for “remodeler Cedar Springs,” because your competition is going to be only a handful of other local contractors.
Local SEO is one of the best ways for home services pros to reach future customers, so if you’re ready to start implementing local SEO best practices, you need to get in touch. Contact us to discuss your online presence, website, and digital strategy. And if you’re looking to learn more about inbound marketing, check out our sassy, irreverent, and a little bit funny smartass guide to inbound marketing below:
Professional Photography Sets Home Builders Apart Online
If you want your home building company to stand out online, professional photography is the first step. Your buyers are already online, and as they’re flipping through photos of houses on Zillow and Trulia, you want them to stop on your property. How do you impress them? With awesome, high-quality photos of your amazing work. If you’ve been considering professional photography for your home building company, but just aren’t sure it’s worth the investment, here’s what you need to know:
Why Should your Home Building Company Hire a Professional Photographer?
Professional photography is an absolute must when you’re building out a professional home builder website. Whether your website already exists and you’d like to update, or you’re thinking about getting a website for your company, one thing you definitely shouldn’t skimp on is photography. And really, it makes sense — most people buy a house because of the way it looks. Sure, most people want a home that’s structurally sound, but 9 times out of 10, the real deciding factor is what it looks like. Professional photographers are a must for any home builder looking to drive quality digital traffic, and here’s why:
Draw in More Qualified Buyers
The better your pictures look, the more quickly people will convert. If you’re putting your best foot forward online — on websites like Trulia and Zillow, as well as on your own website — it’s easier for potential buyers to picture what their own lives will look like in your houses, which makes it easier for them to pick up the phone and call.
Highly Shareable on Social Media
Another great benefit of high-quality home photos is they’re highly shareable on social media. People on almost every social media site — from Pinterest to Facebook — love a great photo of a breathtaking home. And if they really like your photo, then they’re likely to share it, which means your home makes it onto more people’s social media feeds. This expands your digital reach, and can help increase the number of qualified leads you have calling in, as it simultaneously expands how many followers you have on social media.
They’re More Attractive
The bottom line is that a high-quality photo is simply more visually attractive than a grainy photo someone took with their smartphone. Consumers love to look at really beautiful homes, and professional photography ensures your homes fit in that category. With professional photography, you ensure your business, and your brand, appear visually attractive and professional across all platforms. This is key for home builders, especially if you’re trying to break into a higher price point. Professional photography can convey the class and elegance you need to represent to attract buyers willing to make a larger investment.
So, it’s pretty clear why professional photography is so great — it positions your company as a professional, high-quality builder who can put out elegant homes — but how do you hire a professional photographer you can trust to convey that vision of elegance?
Hire an Architectural Photographer
First and foremost, it’s important to hire a photographer who has experience with architectural photography. There are tons of photographers out there who have experience doing work for realtors and housing developers, so be sure to choose someone who knows how to do the photography you need. Taking photos of houses is a little bit different than taking family portraits, and an architectural photographer will know just what to do to ensure your staged houses look like someone’s future home.
Before you hire any architectural photographer, be sure to look at the portfolios of some of your top candidates, and pay special attention to the lighting in their sample photos. Does the lighting they’ve used make the homes look larger, or smaller? Does the light seem warm and inviting, or too dark on the edges, and overexposed in the center? Quality lighting is absolutely key in architectural photography.
Many homes are much bigger than the lens can capture, so quality photographers know how to play with the light, and add in additional lighting in places with really high ceilings, so the home doesn’t look smaller than it actually is. Be sure to take a good look at your professional photographer’s portfolio before finally making a hiring decision.
Know Your Rights
The last thing to do before finally hiring your photographer is to know your rights. There are tons of different intellectual property and copyright licenses you can purchase from your photographer, but it’s good to know that most home builders usually don’t need exclusive rights. If you think about it, you’re probably only going to use the photos you have taken for a year or so, until you sell the house you’re advertising.
So, it doesn’t really make sense to purchase all the rights to every photo you have taken (it can also be very expensive). Talk to your photographer about purchasing the temporary rights to the photos he or she takes of your homes. That can be much cheaper, and then you won’t have to keep paying for those photos long after you have a use for them.
High-quality photography is one of the key ways home builders can set themselves apart online. The homes you build are your product, and they’re your best advertising resource as well. If you invest money in making your homes look good, you’ll be investing in your company’s professional image. Best of all, you can share those photos to get people excited about the work you’re doing, and grow your digital following at the same time!
Still not sure where go with your home building company’s digital marketing strategy? Evenbound can help! We often work with custom home builders and home developers to boost online traffic, and increase ROI. Check out the case study below to see how we helped push one senior care residence to the top of the market:
How Pinterest Can Work like Houzz for Home Builders
If you’ve read any of our previous blogs for homebuilders, you’ll know that we’re very pro-Houzz. It’s an excellent marketing tool for any homebuilder, because it’s full of qualified leads just waiting for your advice. What we haven’t talked all that much about is Pinterest. Very similar in layout to Houzz, Pinterest attracts many of the same users and followers as Houzz, making it another ideal social media platform for home builders to take advantage of. If your home building company is already engaging regularly on Houzz, it’s a good idea to take some of that great content you’re putting out, and post it to Pinterest as well.
Why Should Homebuilders Market on Pinterest?
Because Pinterest is a captive audience made up of your target buyers. The majority of Pinterest users are women, 77 percent of those users are between 18-54 years old, and 87 percent of women on Pinterest trust it as a reliable source for information. Women between the ages of 18-54 are a homebuilders target market. Most often, it’s the women of the household who are making the final decisions when it comes to building a home or hiring a contractor for a renovation. That’s what make Pinterest such a rich source of potential leads for home builders.
How Homebuilders Can Market on Pinterest
Now that it’s clear why you’d want to use Pinterest—your target buyer lives there—let’s figure out how to use Pinterest. It’s certainly a tricky one, since there’s no real linear timeline or news feed like you’d find on other social media platforms. Instead, Pinterest functions on boards and pins. You can create boards, and pin different articles, images, and blog posts to those boards. You can post to other people’s boards if they’re public, and you can invite people to pin things to your board as well. For you, the homebuilder, it’s best to start small.
Create a Board that Showcases Your Work
Whether you’ve got some stunning before and after photos, or you’ve got some killer images of a staged home you just completed, that’s all great content to put on a Pinterest board. Make sure you follow standard best practices for optimizing your Pinterest pins:
Link to your website
Include high quality images
Provide detailed descriptions
Don’t forget NAP
Name of your business
Address and city name
Phone number or a way to contact you
Create a Board That Draws People In
Now that you’ve got your work up there, it’s time to start drawing people in. Create a board that answers a common question that’s relevant to the housing industry, and that you know people will be searching. For example, let’s say there’s a holiday coming up. A board that puts together cool DIY projects to decorate your home for the holidays is going to draw in a ton of people, and get eyes on your company’s Pinterest.
Say you wrote a blog about 10 Classy Holiday Place Settings: pin that to your holiday DIY board, and make sure it links back to your website. This will help grow your company’s awareness, increasing the chances that you get quality leads. In addition, the more people you get coming to this holiday DIY board, the more people you’re going to have checking out your original board—the one with all the awesome photos of your past work. More eyes on that board mean more calls to your sales team about how someone can get a home that looks like the one they saw on Pinterest.
Create an Engaging Board
Finally, while you’re getting your Pinterest account up and running, create a board that engages people. As a home builder, you can set yourself up as an authority, and as a place of inspiration for those considering building a home in the near future. By creating a board that invites people to contribute, you’ll boost the number of pins your board gets, and boost your visibility on Pinterest.
For example, create a board that asks followers to pin a photo of their favorite room in the home. This invites people to get involved in the conversation, and the more people who pin to your board, the more people who are likely to see it. This boosts your authority as a place for information and inspiration, while simultaneously growing your company’s brand awareness, and reminding people that you’re an engaging, interested builder they might turn to when they decide to build their own home.
Pinterest can certainly be a bit daunting at first. It’s a bit of information overload, and it can be hard to tell what’s what when you first start. But, if you stick with it and continue to post rich, relevant content that those Pinterest users want to read, you’ll grow your following and boost your number of incoming leads in no time at all. For more information on boosting your social media marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at Evenbound. We’re here to help home builders boost their lead generation potential, and break into better markets. See how we helped one construction pro increase their average web traffic and streamline sales in the free case study below:
For most home service providers (snow removal excepted), summer is the busy season. In preparation for summer, there are a few things you’ll want to do to your site to bring in new jobs and ensure everything is running smoothly.
Perform an SEO checkup
Website maintenance isn’t the fun part of your job, but now is the time to do it, before you get busy. You won’t have time during the summer to fix any issues, and resolving them now ensures that you’re ranking as high as possible in search engine results, and therefore getting found by potential customers. Update page metadata, fix broken links, and check alt tags. Not sure how to do an SEO checkup? Read our SEO Site Checkup checklist to get you started.
Have detailed, engaging service pages
Customers hire you for your services, so your home services site needs to thoroughly describe and explain the services you offer. Your service pages should define the service and demonstrate its value, as well as explain your process and how you differ from, and exceed, the competition. If you have a generic “Services” page that’s just a bulleted list, customers aren’t going to be engaged, plus, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to use keywords. (Here’s how to write engaging service pages your clients will care about.)
Publish timely content
To attract clients looking for summer services, write content relevant to your services and the time of year. This is where your site’s blog comes into play. If, for example, you’re a roofer, some summer-oriented content might include “Why summer is the best time to get a new roof” or “Best roofing materials for keeping your house cool in the summer.” Of course, it’s also crucial that you promote the content on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and, if you’re using it (you should be) Houzz.
Invest in paid search and social media ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) and social media advertising are some of the best methods to generate traffic for your home services site. Social media ads can be targeted to people in your area who may be in need of your services, and PPC campaigns that include your location in the keywords can be highly effective.
Putting in the work now to prep your site for summer can make this busy season your busiest yet, in the best way possible. Ensuring that your SEO is on point, beefing up your service pages, and publishing and promoting content that will entice potential customers to give you a call are all ways to make your site work for you to bring in leads.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your home services website can bring in more leads and keep you busy this summer, we can help—get in touch!
Repeat customers are the best customers. When it can take weeks or months to develop a relationship with a new customer and win their business, it follows that maintaining that good relationship is a lot easier than building a new one, for you and the customer. So what does it take to keep home services clients coming back?
Do Good Work
This isn’t exactly marketing-related, or a secret, but the best way to get repeat customers is to do a great job. If people are happy with the quality of the service they’ve received, when they need that service repeated, they’ll want to call you.
Even though you know that you and your employees do good work, you can ensure that customers are satisfied with a quick follow up message to thank them for their business and to get feedback. If a customer is unsatisfied for whatever reason, you can address it right away and leave them with a good feeling about your customer service.
Ever get postcards or emails from your dentist saying that it’s time for a checkup? Chances are that you have and that it probably even prompted you to make an appointment. Many home services could benefit from a similar approach, especially with the seasonality of most home services work. If you’re a roofing company, send out a reminder every fall for gutter cleaning or pre-winter roof inspection.
Provide Expert Info
Trust is crucial to retaining customers and developing repeat business, and one of the ways you can do this is by providing relevant, expert information on topics related to your services. You should regularly share and publish content that pertains to your services, so if you’re a roofer, content on roofs and roofing: how to winterize your roof, how often to replace shingles, what are the best roofing materials, how often to clean the gutters, etc. Your customers will appreciate that you share your knowledge and will come to trust your expertise.
If you want customers to come to you the next time they’re in need of the services you offer, give them an incentive, whether a coupon for a discount on future services or a gift card to a local restaurant when they book a repeat service. These incentives will help your clients feel like they’re getting a good deal and that their business is appreciated.
You can use digital content such as blogs, digital newsletters, and email mailing lists to enact these strategies and create repeat and lifetime customers. Want to know how? We can help.
If you’re a home services provider, your services are what’s important, and visitors to your site will want to know exactly what you do and how you do it. What’s more, service pages dedicated to relevant keywords help you rank well on organic Google search results. That’s why it’s so important to write engaging service pages for your website. But how do you write service pages that will get customers’ attention?
An effective service page does four things: defines the service, demonstrates the value of the service, explains your process, and explains how your company is unique in how that service is provided. In order to do those four things, you need to know who you’re writing to and how the service will benefit this person. If you own a landscaping company and one of your services is lawn mowing, one of your audiences may be working homeowners. Your service can benefit them by ensuring that their lawn is cut every week and looks great, but another benefit is that it saves them time.
How Do You Stand Out From the Crowd?
When it comes to how your service differs from that of the competition, thinking about your audience is crucial. If we continue with the mowing example, maybe you differ from the competition because you allow clients to choose the date and time their lawn is mowed, which provides them with the benefit of scheduling for a time when they’re at work, so that you’re not in each others’ way, and they’re not being awoken early by mowers on a weekend (it’s the worst).
Explain What your Service Is, and How You Do It
Defining the service and your process is also crucial. While lawn mowing might seem self-explanatory, there are still some things people will need to know about how you do it. Do you use riding mowers or push mowers? Are they zero-turn mowers? Is weed-whacking included? How often will you mow? If it storms during a regular mow time, how will the mow be rescheduled? All of these questions are things your service page can address. If your clients can get the answers to their questions on your site, that’s less fielding questions and answering the phone for you, and the more confidence your clients will have in your services.
Once you’ve considered all of these things, you’ll have compelling content for your service pages, content that will answer your potential customers’ questions and inspire them to pick up the phone and give you a call. Not only that, well-written service pages will help your site’s SEO, which will help you get found by other potential clients.