It’s Time For a Change In How You Think About Marketing Your Home Improvement Business
After spending the time to define your ideal home improvement customer the next step in your DIY home improvement internet marketing effort is to spend the time understanding how that customer can find you.
By now, some of the DIY home improvement marketing discussions that we’ve had might seem a bit foreign to you, as our home improvement marketing tactics have traditionally focused on the immediate lead, and with good reason. The old adage about “striking while the iron is hot” is an important one.
But I would submit to you that focus has cost us too much of two things…money and customers. Let me explain…
You may remember we previously talked about how only a certain percentage of the market for any given product or service is actually ready to “buy.” If you remember, that was only about 3%. So, for everyone 100 people that your marketing connects with, only three of them are ready to set an appointment right now. We’ve spent a lot of money over the years searching for that immediacy.
On top of that, once we take care of whatever portion of that 3% that we end up with what do we do then? We spend some more money trying to get a piece of the next 3%.
Unfortunately, too often the other thing that focus on immediacy has led to is poor customer service…It’s the “NEXT!” mentality.
Fortunately for our industry the market is forcing us to look at things a different way. Between review sites, social media and other online spaces, today’s home improvement business owner can’t afford to churn and burn customers. Nor can they continue to afford to spend 1000’s and 1000’s of dollars on high reach, low return media.
Using the internet as not only a stand alone lead generation source, but also as a collector of leads from all of our other home improvement marketing sources, gives us the ability to reduce overall marketing expense as well as the opportunity to collect and sort leads 24/7/365.
Effective keyword research allows you to turbocharge the effectiveness of your online lead generation efforts by helping potential customers find you and allowing you to create mechanisms to market to those most interested in your products or services individually.
Who Uses Keywords
We all do…the easiest way for you to think about this is to remember the last time you did some research. According to PowerReviews, 79% of shoppers spend at least 50% of their shopping time researching. Chances are you got on the internet and opened a browser (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and typed in some words that tried to define what you were looking for and it helped you get here. These are keywords.
A search engines “customer” is someone that searches for answers. Google, and the others, are constantly trying to figure out how to return the most relevant results based on the information that a searcher gives them.
One strict definition of “keyword” is “an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.” For our home improvement marketing purposes, we’ll think of keywords as words (or more often, phrases) that our potential customers use to find the products or services that we provide.
Keywords Help Lead Quality
So, if only 3% percent of anyone interested responds immediately to our marketing efforts, what about the other 97%? Those in that 97% that are potentially in the market for your product or service are in various stages of research.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get to those people and be involved in their research as they move along the process?
This is really the old sales and marketing funnel…We want to look for opportunities to put more people in the top of the funnel and move them along until they get into that 3%.
This actually goes to potential lead quality. Look at it like this…if someone in the 3% finds you and sets an appointment, do you think you’ll be the only one they set an appointment with? Probably not. This type of lead is very similar to the old Yellow Page lead, where the potential home improvement customer”let their fingers do the walking” and picked three or four companies, based on the perceived quality of their ads, to have them come out and give an estimate.
Contrast that with you figuring out how to get their permission to begin “marketing” to them much earlier in the research process. By the time they reach that 3%, you’ve been in fairly constant contact, providing excellent, relevant and free information to help “guide” them through their research process. You’ve begun to create a relationship with this potential customer long before you actually meet them face to face.
“OK, smart guy. This makes some sense. But how do I find them when they’re in that research phase?” Great question!
Keywords Tell Us Where They Are In The Process
That’s where effective keyword research comes in. The words that people use to search can give us a lot of information about where they are in the research process. The key is to take off your home improvement owners hat and put on the hat of a consumer that doesn’t understand a whole lot and is looking to educate themselves.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you sell high performance vinyl replacement windows (something which I’m very familiar with). The first thing the potential customer that is looking to educate themselves might be to type in the word “windows.”
Try that yourself…I did and I was presented with 10’s of millions of results. As you probably found, I get as many results about the Windows operating system as I did about home windows.
As they go through some of the information presented they’ll begin to learn more. For example, they’ll probably learn that are different types of window frames and that there’s these things called replacement windows.
The other thing you might notice if you go through this exercise yourself, is that each level of research yields a lower number of results, as well as you’ll also begin to see locational modifiers. We’ll talk about the competitive and geographical components during our next visit.
As they go further and get closer to that 3% they’ll get more specific…”window installation,” etc. The dead giveaways are those that are looking for cost or reviews. Think about it, if a potential window customers searches for “cost of vinyl replacement windows in Atlanta, GA,” wouldn’t you think that person is closer to being ready to set an appointment?
Next time we’ll talk about how to do keyword research and how to use it to keep your pipeline filled with more qualified, higher quality leads.