12 Strong Marketing Ideas for Your Home Service Business
Home service providers rely on big profits during spring and summer. Each year as the weather warms, dispatch boards around the country fill with home remodel projects and seasonal maintenance.
But this year isn’t exactly normal…
Will the warmer seasons be a total bust? Not if your marketing game is strong.
Feast and famine cycles aren’t new in the trades. You’ve probably experienced ups and downs in the industry already (albeit nothing quite like this).
Many small business owners whittle away marketing budgets to save money during slow downs.
This leaves a lot of room (and more marketing power) for plumbing, HVAC, construction and other service contractors willing to invest in customer outreach.
Stay ahead of the competition and adapt to the reeling economy with these 12 strong marketing ideas.
Win Over Price-Shoppers With Case Studies
Homeowners are cutting back on unnecessary spending right now. You might have noticed frivolous projects are on the back-burner, while emergency services are dominating the dispatch board.
Playing it safe with finances means customers are carefully weighing their options. How can you earn their trust and show you’re the right team for the job?
Case studies describe actual situations that resulted in satisfied customers. These real stories explain your customer experience, the project journey from start to finish, and your problem-solving skills. Before and after pictures and customer testimonials add to your credibility and reinforce your expertise.
Case studies reassure price-shoppers that you’re the pro for their problem.
Beyond social proof and earning customer trust, adding this content to your website consistently helps improves SEO and increases organic traffic.
Maximize your case studies by including them in press kits, sales pitches and portfolios.
Give Free Professional Advice to Customers
Economic uncertainty is driving business owners to lower their rates with coupons. But instead of undercutting your prices, offer free advice that attracts customers and establishes your authority.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with blogs on your website. Blogs should answer your customers' burning questions and address their needs.
Get more traffic to your website by sharing the blog articles on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and any other channels where your ideal customer spends time.
By sharing your professional advice online, customers will:
Grow Your Email List With an Opt-In
You probably have a list of emails from past customers who've worked with you. But you can attract fresh leads and add to your list of potential customers with opt-ins.
An opt-in is a free resource (sometimes called a freebie, lead magnet, or free download) that interests your audience and encourages them to give you their email for it.
Most people aren't eager to give up their email for nothing, so you'll need to create something professional, valuable and enticing. Consider your ideal customer and local market;
If you offer residential plumbing service, an e-book about homeowner plumbing tips would be effective.
To grow your HVAC company, you could create a seasonal checklist for commercial AC maintenance to attract business owners.
A construction company could nab emails with a cheat-sheet on safety guidelines for the job site.
By offering relevant and helpful freebies, people will "opt-in" and exchange their email address for the goods.
Feature this free resource on your website, in your social media posts, and in company descriptions online.
You’ll start seeing new and returning customers add themselves to your email list to get this informative freebie.
In turn, this gives you an opportunity to stay in contact with potential customers.
Use Your Email List to Stay on Customers' Radar
After you’ve gathered customer emails from your opt-in, it’s time for email marketing.
Advertising with emails is a powerful tool for plumbing companies, HVAC business owners and handyman services that need growth.
But most skilled trade marketers aren’t using emails to keep business booming... Talk about a missed opportunity! Email isn't very expensive and has a great ROI (check out these impressive email marketing statistics).
So let’s say you’re a Portland, OR plumbing company and you offer a free resource on your website; you’ve made a printable e-book called “Overcoming The Most Common Plumbing Problems For Homeowners In The Northwest.”
Visitors to your website are loving it, and you’ve built an email list of a few thousand interested customers.
Now, you’re ready to start contacting them…
But what do you write?
Don’t get overwhelmed. Your emails don’t have to be fancy with tons of design and eye-catching images.
In fact, emails with simple, plain text tend to do very well. To the customer, it feels personal—like they’re being sent from a friend, not a company.
Popular and cost effective email marketing services are Convert Kit, MailChimp, and Active Campaign.
Gather a big list of ideas that would interest you if you were the customer. Put yourself in their shoes:
Helpful seasonal reminders
Discounts or specials
Maintenance or warranty programs
New services or offerings
Shared content from your company blog
When it comes to email marketing for your home service company, just focus on being helpful.
Become an authority who’s willing to share tips. Give them reasons to keep checking their inbox. And most important, include a way for the customer to contact you and a clear call-to-action.
Entertain Customers While They Wait
When a customer calls in, the goal is to get them booked right away. A quick conversation about their problem, how you can help, and what they can expect from the service appointment should last just a few minutes.
Yet there are times when you’ll have to put a customer on-hold. It happens, and that’s perfectly okay.
Except that most customers will hang up after less than 2 minutes of waiting. And 34% of those people will never call you back.
Unless you take advantage of that brief hold and sell yourself!
Instead of boring elevator music, invest in a professional voice recording for your phone system that’s entertaining.
Use a humorous on hold recording script that will catch customers off-guard and keep them listening. And mix in your unique selling points to encourage them to book when your team gets back on the phone.
Switch up this recording a few times a year to keep returning customers interested.
An ear-catching on-hold message is a simple way to reach the customer with personality and show the benefits of working with you.
Get Employees on Board With Online Reviews
Getting 5-star reviews online for your home service business is a must these days. Most customers are investigating your company online before they even pick up the phone.
Word of mouth has gone digital and your reputation matters.
Getting those online reviews can be tricky, but having your team on board helps the process along.
Communicate clearly to your technicians the importance of online reviews in your industry.
Bring in some of your company reviews (the good, the bad, and the ugly) to meetings and explore how those situations were handled.
Incentivize your team to request online reviews from every happy customer. Offer a quarterly bonus, a gift card, or some other reward to encourage your employees to get those coveted 5-star reviews.
And as soon as a review comes in, make sure to respond quickly. Develop a relationship by thanking the customer for leaving feedback. Make it personal by mentioning something specefic about their experience
Even if it's a 1-star review, show your appreciation and handle the situation tactfully. You may be able to turn a frustrated customer into a happy camper!
Invite Friends and Family to Spread the Word
With refer-a-friend campaigns, the goal is to reach new customers through loyal customers.
There are many ways to handle a refer-a-friend campaign. First, decide on the structure:
What discount or special are you offering?
How long will it run?
Is it specific to a certain service?
Do they have to spend a certain dollar amount?
Then decide who gets what. For example, your new customer hires for a bathroom remodel. They mention Joe Loyal (your past customer) referred them. The new customer gets 10% off the work and Joe Loyal gets a $50 gift certificate in the mail to use on his next service.
These campaigns do well because all three parties are getting something out of it (your older customer, the new friend they refer, and your company). It’s a win-win-win.
You can use your email list, direct mail, social media, your website or all of the above to spread the word on your refer-a-friend campaign.
Show Loyal Customers You Care
What happens after a customer hires your company and you finish the work? Do you forget about them?
Satisfied customers are the perfect place to get repeat business. They already know your process, they love your workmanship, and you’ve developed some loyalty with them.
Now’s the time to nurture the relationship.
Don’t underestimate the power of a thank you. A few days after their service, have your office team make a quick phone call to say thanks and see if the customer has any questions.
To grow your service business, customers need to feel valued. When your company takes the time to offer personal thanks, customers get all warm and fuzzy. Show your appreciation and they'll show their loyalty.
Follow up with a simple thank you postcard within a week. You could even add a coupon to the card to entice loyal customers to return in the near future. But make sure the focus of the card is to show gratitude—not just to make another sale.
Postcards can be designed and printed quickly, easily and affordably on your own. I've also had great success designing and sending postcards and email campaigns through Customer Lobby.
After the thank you, find ways to stay in communication with them. Be on their radar and you’ll be the first service company they need service in the future.
Hang Out in Front Yards
If you own a residential service company, yard signs are an inexpensive way to advertise in your service areas.
Spread your great reputation with the help of customers who love your work.
Create a kickback or incentive program for customers who will let your technicians put a sign in their yard after they complete a job.
Harts Services in Tacoma, WA told Plumber Magazine about the yard sign incentive they offer; it includes a drawing held once a month for customers willing to keep the sign in their yard for 3 months. The winner gets a $100 check straight from the owner of the company.
Not a bad way to get the word out in the neighborhoods you serve.
Hang a Banner at Your Job Site
If your service company handles new construction work, find out if you can put up a job site banner. Passers-by will see your logo hanging from chain link with all the other contractors on the job.
I can’t be the only person who notices those big banners when I drive by new construction.
Anyone driving through the neighborhood could be your next customer.
Check with the head honcho on site before stringing up your banner. Most won't have a problem with it, but it's at the discretion of the general contractor and the company or person who's building.
And don’t forget to grab your sign at the end of job completion. Keep them well-maintained and ready to use for every future job.
If you really want to convert people passing by, put a catchy headline and a call-to-action on your signs.
Sponsor Your community
The best way to get your name recognized in the community is to get involved.
Think about the people who generally call you for service. Is it parents of elementary age kids? Then sponsor the local tee-ball team. Is your customer base made of wealthy retirees? Donate to the next local charity event.
From marathons to school programs, community cleanup to animal adoption events, there are endless ways to show the locals you care.
Promote Yourself With Press Releases
A press release is a short article to announce something new about your business.
You could be sharing about a rebrand, your involvement with a charity, your hiring of veterans, or any other noteworthy change to your business that the public should know about.
Press releases are meant to be compelling and promotional. They can be published in trade journals, local newspapers, neighborhood magazines, and online.
Keep a goal in mind when creating your press release:
Do you want customers to call you?
Do you want them to visit your website?
Do you want them to follow you on social media?
Write your press release with these details in mind and don’t forget a call-to-action at the end.
I've personally used each of these 12 marketing ideas to help home service companies grow. If this list inspired you, and you're ready to get started, I'd be happy to make the project a success. Contact me today!