Finding new clients for your home renovation company can feel like a full-time job. You’re already doing the work, responding to RFPs, visiting job sites, and the dozens of other tasks that come up each week. So, what are you doing to grow your business?
Word-of-mouth recommendations are great, but in an increasingly crowded market, you’ll always wonder if they’re enough. You could work with a marketing agency, but paying for mailings, newspaper ads or radio spots won’t yield a significant return – and it’s always difficult to measure.
So, you’re at an impasse. How can you attract more customers without spending money on approaches that seem outdated and ineffective?
The key is to rethink your marketing approach to meet the demands of the digital age. You can attract new customers to your business without spending a lot of money on expensive advertising. Marketing today doesn’t have to be a confusing or expensive exercise. Instead of sending out your messages and hoping that the right people hear you, you can make sure that customers come to you themselves – not through word of mouth, but inbound marketing.
In this article, I’ll talk about that:
– An overview of inbound marketing
– How do the principles of inbound marketing apply to home improvement services?
– The basics of electronic and digital marketing.
Get a basic understanding of how modern digital marketing strategies can attract website visitors who can enter your sales funnel as eligible customers.
Let’s dive into the course.
Free course: the basics of “you ask, you answer” with Marcus Sheridan.
Inbound marketing: an overview
Inbound marketing is simplest at the most basic level, it starts from a basic assumption: The Internet has changed the way people shop. When customers consider a purchase – any purchase – they first gather information. To do this, they use a computer and a search engine.
Studies show that about 93% of all purchases begin with a search engine.
Shoppers begin by typing in questions and searching for pages that answer them. They continue to read and learn, moving closer and closer to purchase.
As they read multiple articles on the same site, that company becomes a source of information they learn from and trust.
All you have to do is answer their questions thoroughly and honestly.
If you answer all of your customers’ questions, they will trust you enough to buy from you.
And you don’t have to spend money on an agency every month to get a handful of low-quality leads.
People who recruit questions related to your industry are much better qualified for your services than the general population that receives your newsletter. Think about it: if you’re a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, wouldn’t you rather send your offer to someone who just Googled “how much does a heater cost” than to everyone in your city?
So how can you find out what your potential customers are looking for? Start by thinking like a buyer.
Think like a homeowner
When homeowners are looking to renovate or improve their property, what is their emotional state? Are they excited about the new project or are they dealing with a burning question?
Whatever their feelings, you can be sure of one thing: they are very leery of the idea of being scammed.
All too often, we see stories in the newspapers about home service providers who overcharge and don’t deliver enough. Since homeowners have no real experience with the cost of a new boiler or building a retaining wall, they are at an informational disadvantage and are too often taken advantage of.
If you’re in the home renovation business, you’re already having a hard time gaining the trust of your potential customers.
And if you’re spending money on traditional advertising like mailings and radio ads, you may not be helping. According to a recent study, 96% of consumers don’t trust advertising at all.
But do not despair. There’s another way.
Nothing builds trust like inbound marketing if it’s done right.
Think about it. When a homeowner is looking for a service for their home – whether it’s building a deck, installing a new roof, or finishing a basement – whom do they turn to? They start searching search engines for answers. They want the information to become more knowledgeable buyers.
We believe that if your customer asks a question, you should answer it, even if it means you have to talk about something uncomfortable like price or product defects.
Here’s why: if a customer’s search leads them to your website and they find your content useful and honest, they’ll be more willing to trust your business and more likely to contact you if they’re willing to talk to someone about their needs.
So how can you find out what people are asking, and how can you respond to those exact questions? Use these tips to help you get started.
5 Topics are guaranteed to drive traffic to your website.
Buyers everywhere are asking the same questions. Whether they’re buying a wedding cake or a blowjob or renovating a kitchen.
At IMPACT, we divide these questions into topics we call the Big 5, and we believe they’re universal.
So, what do people want to know?
The first question is, of course, cost. We’re all skeptical when a website doesn’t tell us the cost of a product or service. Does “Call for a Price!” really work? I have my doubts in this regard. Of course, it’s difficult to say exactly how much something might cost – especially something with as many variables as a new kitchen – but customers want to have an idea. If you’re upfront about the cost and explain the factors that change that number up or down, you’ll give customers what they’re looking for.
When we make a purchase, we want to know what can go wrong. That’s why we’re so attracted to one-star ratings. Being aware of worst-case scenarios helps us feel prepared for what could happen.
Some reviews come with problems. These can be product reviews or reviews of entire companies. As a company that provides home services, you know how important reviews are. According to Inc, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends’ reviews.
4. “Best of” lists:
customers often ask questions on Google that help them find the best solutions. According to HubSpot, search queries with the phrase “near me” are increasing exponentially. So you can imagine that search queries like “the best plumber near me” and “the best flooring contractor near me” are very popular.
Paint or stain? Gas or electric? Whirlpool or GE? Consumers want to see products side-by-side to know what they look like. By covering these comparisons, you demonstrate your expertise and help your prospects feel informed so they can make the best choice.
Develop a content strategy for inbound marketing.
So, you’ve got it. The five main principles are not magic, but they are effective and versatile. You can use these themes to form the foundation for your entire marketing strategy.
If you can cover the five main themes for all your products and services, it will help you start your inbound marketing strategy off on the right foot.
What is a content strategy?
An inbound content marketing strategy manages your content marketing initiatives so you can stay on track and focus on finding customers on your website.
A good strategy includes both written content and video content. We’ve found that video generates credibility even faster than written content, but the text can provide more depth and specificity.
So, approach each of your strategic topics with both types of content.
Have the right team members
If you’re serious about content marketing, we recommend you fork over the money you’ve spent on traditional outbound marketing and hire in-house staff – a content editor and a videographer – to support your efforts.
Then, when you’re ready, you can begin to address those key issues with content that customers will find, value, and share.
If you can’t hire staff, there’s nothing wrong with that. You can do a lot of it yourself, but you’ll need time and energy to do it well.
Put the marketing strategy into action.
At IMPACT, we’ve worked with dozens of home improvement companies that specialize in roofing, plumbing, foundation repair, insulation, remodeling, and more.
Below are examples of companies (some are our clients, some are not) that build trust and drive sales by doing inbound marketing that answers the most important questions their ideal customers are asking.
1. talk about the value
Our first example is a Michigan company called Retro foam. Amanda Ringler’s article addresses the cost of spray foam attic insulation, an aspect that is sure to engage prospects interested in their services.
How much will spray foam insulation for the attic of an existing home cost in 2022?
Note that the article addresses many related questions (which gives me the impression that they know their customers). It also gives a cost range and explains how much your energy bills could be reduced by spray foam insulation.
A video is included with the article. Notice that we immediately see the high production values, but without it coming across as stifling, to the summary, or sales.
2. honesty about the problems
When installing a roof on a residential or commercial property, many variables affect the cost, durability, and more. In this article, West Roofing Systems of Ohio goes into detail and talks candidly about the downsides of a popular solution: green roofs.
4 Problems and Solutions for Green Roofs.
I like it when the author, Rufus West, specifically addresses problems and adds solutions and alternatives so customers feel fully informed.
In this video, they go over the pros and cons of green roofs made from sprayed moss. You’ll hear the experts speak and see pictures of the roof installation at the same time, so you’ll get a clear idea of what the process entails.
3. Impartial and helpful reviews (articles).
Good examples of reviews are hard to find. That’s why buyers rely on Yelp, Angi (formerly Angie’s List), and other sites that post unbiased reviews. Nonetheless, there are such examples, too.
Homeowners looking for a do-it-yourself driveway repair solution want to know they’re getting the best value. A company called Seal with Ease offers product reviews for this reason. However, when you dig a little deeper, it turns out that they are paid by Amazon to recommend certain products.
Still, I think their criticism is justified because Seal with Ease doesn’t manufacture the products they sell and the article details the pros and cons of each product rather than simply touting the most expensive products they review.
What sealant should you use for your driveway?
4. best of” lists presenting numerous options.
Yale Appliance sells all types of home appliances directly to consumers in their Massachusetts stores. Because they sell and service so many products, they know firsthand the differentiators and innovations that set one model apart from another.
Watch as Nic Dednah lists the 10 best dishwashers for 2022 in this article, taking into account cost, features, reliability, and more. Note the beautiful photos, the many links and videos on related topics (love the sound comparison!), and much more.
Top 10 best dishwashers for 2022.
Although this video only covers one model, the pros and cons are presented in such detail that they relate directly to the customer’s life. You’ll learn that if you clean a lot of silverware – for example if you have a large family or host dinner parties frequently – this model may not be the best for you.
5. Real comparisons to help shoppers feel informed.
Installing a pool is a large and expensive undertaking that a customer is likely to buy only once in his lifetime. So how will he know he’s buying the right thing?
A fundamental question regarding your pool is the construction material. Should you choose concrete or fiberglass? Read how River Pools in Virginia compares the pros and cons of concrete and fiberglass in this article, rather than just proclaiming that fiberglass pools are better:
Concrete Pools vs. Fiberglass Pools: An Honest Comparison
I also love how author Holly Jender addresses cost (another topic on everyone’s mind) by breaking down the cost of a 10-year operation in a handy chart.
Now watch the same content in a video. Again, we see high production values and a fast-paced, entertaining format. As viewers, we know we can find more information in the article, but the video promises an overview in two minutes – something that is explained at the beginning.
Thinking bigger than the Big Five
While the Big Five is a good starting point, the home improvement industry has its own set of questions that buyers around the world want to know. These include millions of questions like “What is…” and “Can I…”.
When planning your content strategy, sit down with a few team members and come up with questions that your buyers might type into search engines, such as:
– What is a roofing shed?
– When is the best time of year to replace a roof?
– Do I need a general contractor to repair it?
– What is an epoxy coating for plumbing repairs?
– Do I need a new oil tank?
– Do I need to have my boiler cleaned every year?
You get the gist.
Once you’ve built a library of valuable content, you can focus on creating value-added content that helps you engage more potential customers.
This could be a guide to everything you need to know about metal roofing or a checklist for starting a window replacement project. Site visitors can give you their contact information to download this information as a free e-book. This is how you grow your audience and mailing list.
Inbound marketing strategy: email marketing.
Engage with your audience through email marketing as you built your data base . In doing so, however, try to be helpful, not sales. Remember to think like a customer. What kind of emails do you want to see in your inbox?
If your emails contain useful and educational content, you will continue to build trust and build relationships with your audience.
Remember, customers distrust sales pitches.
This is the ideal place to offer a checklist or guide to help people understand a process they’re not familiar with. In other words, think about what information you can provide to make the customer acquisition process easier.
Any email campaigns you launch should invite your customers to join the conversation by providing them with relevant content. Help them feel like they are being well informed and treated fairly.
You can use marketing automation software to send the right emails to the right customers at the right time.
The ideal website for inbound marketing
Businesses that want to get into inbound marketing often worry that they need a new website. In almost all cases, this is not the case. You don’t need a new website to get started with inbound marketing – you don’t even need an excellent website.
Unfortunately, many website development agencies will gladly take your money and sell you a complete website redesign that you don’t need, telling you it’s essential to your inbound marketing program.
Even if your current website is a little outdated, it probably has all the features you need for successful inbound marketing:
1. can you publish a blog?
2. can you create links between blog articles or use a markup system to organize content?
3. can you use CTAs and landing pages to target potential customers?
If your website can perform these three functions, you can probably get started.
It is important to keep in mind that your website is for your customers, not for you. Focus on their problems and challenges. Speak their language.
Visitors will see your site as better than your competitors’ if you have useful and attractive content that interests them.
Start with your content strategy.
A content strategy is a detailed and scalable resource that you can use to guide all of your inbound marketing. While it looks different for every business, you can start with these basic elements. If you’re not sure what topics to cover, start with the five main ones. Know what your customers are thinking and what questions they are Googling about those topics at that moment.
Then, as a secondary source, contact your sales team. We recommend holding regular meetings between marketing and sales every two weeks to find out what questions your sales reps are hearing from customers. If certain questions keep coming up, be sure to answer them in detail in your content.
Finally, use resources available online to generate ideas for topics. Semrush, AnswerThePublic, and Google Trends are all great resources to help you figure out what users are searching for.
Remember, when your customers ask a question, you need to be ready to answer it – and do so openly on your website. This transparency is critical to building trust and attracting customers.
If you want to use content marketing to grow your business, get inspired by the examples above and contact us to learn how our coaches and trainers can help you take control of your digital sales and marketing to achieve your business goals.