There are plenty of options to pick from when looking on how to grow and market your business.
Specifically looking at SBOs and the service industry, it can feel like a gamble with any of them when you’re not familiar with the difference.
This is my breakdown of how service, trade, construction and related businesses should map out their marketing plans to be as cost effective as possible.
Most landscapers, for example, are stuck in the Angie’s List rut….
Angie’s List works by taking in service requests from people in a local community. Then, they take that request (that lead) and sell it to like 30 different companies at once for $45 a pop.
That’s a quick $1,300+ for them with no effort… but it leaves businesses buying those leads all fighting against each other to actually make the sale.
If you don’t have a dedicated team ready to send phone calls, text messages, and emails within the minute you receive that bought lead… well, one of the other 29 companies is probably already talking to them.
And even if you do get lucky and are one of the first businesses they speak to… you KNOW every other contractor in the area is still going to follow up with them after you. Good luck.
Here’s what you should do instead:
(assuming you’ve got a good website up already)
Google Business Profile.
Get it set up.
Here’s the link to do it yourself: https://www.google.com/business/
People can find your listing when looking at the google map, they see your business listing in searches (sometimes) and it enables Google Reviews (customer reviews) that show up with your business listing.
It’s free, and it’s always there once set up.
You want to get this done ASAP.
Where does your audience live? Facebook? LinkedIn? Get on there and get in front of them.
You don’t need to be a god-tier writer/marketer to write a post saying you can help fix their car or renovate their bathroom. There’s no guarantee this will bring business, but the thing is… there’s absolutely no risk to it, and someone who doesn’t know you exist will never buy from you. So, get out there and make sure they know you exist.
Google Search Ads.
I’ve run Google Search Ads for a couple niches in the larger service and construction industry for a while (auto shops, landscaping, home renovation, roofing, marital arts gyms), and nothing comes close to the quality of lead you get from it, in addition to the cost effectiveness when you really know what you’re doing.
With that experience, I’ll always argue for service industry businesses to start their paid marketing (SEO included) with Google Ads.
- Your ads ONLY show as a search result for people already looking for your services, and only in that moment they are looking.
Think of it this way. Every search for “landscaper near me” is someone looking to be sold a landscaping project at that exact moment. If they come to your site and fill out your lead form, that’s a hot lead… and it’s one that ONLY YOU have. You’re not stuck competing against 29 other businesses like you are with Angie’s List.
This is a tie between two things:
- Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are great for the few services that don’t work well on Google. For example, if you do commercial snow removal in the winter, and you don’t want to spend time or money on residential snow removal leads – you probably want to avoid Google. However, with Facebook, which while generally less efficient than Google, you can use the copy (written words/text) in your ad to spell out that you only provide commercial snow removal – so people who want residential snow removal can see this, and then choose not to contact you. So, no time wasted.
SEO is the single most cost efficient option to bring in a lot of leads in the long run.
But it’s the last I recommend setting up (still set it up when the others are complete).
That’s because it can take up to 9 months to start providing any return at all. It takes time to do the work, there’s a lot of research and building to do to increase your DA (domain authority). [domain authority is what determines your search result rank]. And even when the work is finished, it takes time for Googles’ web crawlers to find the updates, and acknowledge that they lend more credibility/authority to your site, and decide to point more people to it.
And you’re going to be paying upwards of a few thousand dollars a month for this work, for up to 9 months, before you get results.
Start with the small stuff: Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business) and Social Posting. They never hurt, they’re easy to do – you can usually handle it yourself, and there’s always a chance of them giving you more business.
I’ve had people reach out to me about projects by commenting on facebook posts I had written 8 months ago and forgot about. It helps.
From there, start reinvesting the profit into Google Search ads. Grow the account until there’s not much room left to grow without expanding your service area.
Keep growing your ad account by increasing the budget, reinvesting the profit made from your ads, and eventually you’ll find your budget isn’t being entirely spent.
At that point, start looking into either SEO or Facebook ads, whichever makes more sense. If all of your services are covered and marketed through Google Ads already, then maybe SEO would be the smarter choice. If you have services that you want a bigger pipeline of leads for that Google doesn’t work for, then go into Facebook. The point is, once you’re here, you have a lot more options depending on the direction you want your business to grow in.