The New Year is here; 2015 has arrived and it’s time to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward from an online marketing perspective. A lot has changed in the past 12 months, so it’s very important that you review your online marketing strategy to ensure it’s up to date with the latest changes in the online space.
In this article I will outline what I feel is the ideal online marketing plan for your plumbing or HVAC business in 2015, and alert you to some things you should avoid.
Here is a high level overview of what you need to be doing online in 2015:
- Make sure that your website is optimized for conversion, search and mobile
- Put together a content marketing strategy
- Place a renewed focus on Google Maps Optimization
- Don’t forget about the importance of reputation management
- Implement a strategic Pay-Per-Click marketing campaign on Google AdWords and Bing Search Network
- Tap into the power of Social Media Marketing
- Market to your existing customers via Email Marketing
Website optimization for mobile, SEO & conversion
It’s 2015, so it goes without saying that you must have a solid website for your company. With that said, simply having a website is not enough. You must have a website that accomplishes three critical objectives:
- Converts visitors to callers. Your website needs to have great content that engages your visitor, answers their questions / concerns and compels them to call you verses the competition. Having strong messaging, authentic photos (pictures of you, your team, your trucks, etc.) and easily accessible online reviews and testimonials will greatly improve your website conversion rates.
- Is properly optimized to help you rank on the search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) when customers are searching for your services in your area. You can do this by helping the search engine understand where you are located, what services you offer and what your service area is. I recommend having pages for each of your distinct services (plumbing, drain cleaning, water heater repair, water filtration, fixture installation, garbage disposal repair, etc.), and each of the top sub-cities that you serve. Once you have the pages added to your website you’ll want to get your geo modifier (city) and service (plumbing, drain cleaning, etc.) in the Title Tag, H1 Tag and content on your site.
- Is easy to access on mobile devices like iPhones, Androids and tablets. The fact is, more and more consumers are looking for plumbing & HVAC services from their mobile phones. It’s imperative that you create a seamless mobile experience for them.
A content marketing strategy
With the latest changes in the Google Algorithm (Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon) it’s become essential that your website be a great source of information. Gone are the days of setting up a simple site with only a few pages and letting it sit. In today’s search engine optimization, content is king. Not only do you need good unique content for your website, you need a content marketing strategy.
When Google released their latest update to their search algorithm (Hummingbird), the entire focus was on voice search. They needed to adapt their search results based on how people are searching now and will be searching even more in the near future — by speaking their questions into a mobile phone. So Hummingbird is looking for Q&A based content. Armed with that knowledge you should create ongoing blog updates on your website that answer your customers’ most frequently asked questions, e.g., “What is the difference between tank and tankless water heaters?” or “Why should I consider trenchless sewer replacement?“
I recommend updating your blog (on your website domain) at least once per week or four times per month at a minimum.
Google maps optimization
When you run a search for “Your City Plumber” or “AC Repair in Your City,” the most prominent results are the Google Map Listings. Statistics tell us that around 60% of searchers click on a map listing when they run a search and the map populates. It’s essential that you place a renewed focus on getting ranked in the Google Map in your area. Here are a few best practices for accomplishing this:
You need to claim and update your Google My Business Listing at www.google.com/business. If you don’t know your username / password I highly recommend that you track it down from your current provider or claim your listing by following the simple verification process.
To rank well in the Google Map listings you need the following:
- A real commercial location in the city where you want to rank.
- Citations (web references) of your company’s name, address and phone number on directory sites like Yelp.com, Angieslist.com, BBB.com, etc. There are more than 300 online directory sites relevant to plumbing and HVAC businesses. You want to be found in as many of them as possible with the same exact name, address and phone number. Google looks at this as a major authority factor.
- As many (legit) online reviews on public sites like Google, Yelp, YellowPages, etc. as possible. All other things being equal, he who has the most consistent citations and online reviews wins. You must have a systematic process in place for getting online reviews from your real customers in your true service area to win at the Google Maps Optimization game in today’s market.
Don’t forget about the importance of reputation management
Online reviews are critical for getting ranked on the Google Map, but that’s not all. The fact is, your online reputation is critical for conversion. If a customer is thinking of hiring you for their plumbing or HVAC needs they will most likely look up your online reviews before calling to book their appointment.
- What comes up for your company if you search “Your company name online reviews”?
- Do you have lots of positive reviews? Do you only have one or two reviews? Are there negative one and two star reviews coming up first?
Even if you have an outstanding company that provides stellar services, the Internet may be painting you in a negative light.
- You have to know what your reputation looks like online.
- You need to have a process for getting new reviews from your real customers on a consistent basis.
- You have to have a monitoring tool in place to alert you as new reviews are posted across the web so that you showcase the good while being aware of and addressing the bad.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this article. I will discuss more online marketing strategies for you to implement!