By Brian Sherman
As consumers shifted to a home-based reality over the past 18 months, their financial focus moved toward initiatives like home maintenance and improvement and away from travel and eating out.
As such, the home services industry saw tremendous growth. Those businesses that were established online and set up to serve in a socially distanced world saw their businesses grow as demand skyrocketed.
Those who weren’t struggled to meet the new digital needs of consumers.
In 2022, we can expect to see even more movement in this direction. Consumers have gotten used to home services businesses providing digital alternatives to traditionally offline offerings.
If you operate a business in the trades, you can set yourself up to succeed and grow in the approaching consumer landscape.
Here are five must-try marketing strategies that will help you not just transition, but also transform your business to meet the needs of your customers in 2022.
Online or In-Person Home Services? Advertise for Both with Hybrid Service Offerings.
Out of necessity, the business world made a huge shift online in 2020, which only grew in 2021. Video conferencing services like Zoom exploded in growth as people made the almost overnight transition from in-person meetings and events to virtual ones.
Talk about adapting on the fly. This forced adaptation made many trades businesses aware of how little online presence they actually had. Those businesses that did not adapt found themselves struggling to meet the demands of customers who wanted covid-conscious solutions. Like many other industries, home services businesses knew they had to adapt or die.
Now, the world is reeling from a prolonged lack of human connection. Many consumers prefer the in-person option once again.
The best thing you can do is provide both, or change the way you do business by including virtual steps as part of a traditionally in-person plan: Go hybrid.
For instance, if you are a plumber or HVAC professional, you can offer a virtual consultation via Zoom to speak with a potential customer and give an assessment over a live video chat.
Through that assessment, you could give an estimate and move toward the in-person solution of providing repairs. You could even coach a consumer through a done-with-you solution and charge a consulting fee.
This same methodology could be applied to home services businesses across the board. When marketing your business in 2022, let your audience know you offer online alternatives to your standard in-person services.
Borrow No More. Own Your Audience.
If you operate a home services business, online marketing is a must. By now, that’s not news to you. While word of mouth marketing still reigns supreme, how that word is shared is often through an online channel.
Facebook, for instance, is a favorite among home services businesses. You can promote your business, advertise your services, and friends can recommend you to others easily.
However, while Facebook and other social media platforms are incredibly popular for advertising, there is one important aspect that you must consider:
You don’t own those audiences. They do.
Meaning, when Facebook shuts down for an entire day (like it did in early October 2021), your audience goes dark, too. If that is your primary channel for bringing in customers, your business comes to a stand-still.
There is a simple solution, though: Email marketing.
With email, you can communicate to your audience when you like. They are far more likely to see and interact with your message than on social media sites.
Plus, you can freely advertise your products, services and any deals you want to offer. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your audience due to unforeseen circumstances.
So, link your social media posts to a simple landing page and offer them something in exchange for their email address. Then communicate with them regularly and ethically. Email marketing is considered by experts to be the best form of online marketing for nearly every type of business.
Use Social Media to Tell Stories, not Promote Yourself.
Social media sites provide great platforms to reach your desired audience and promote your home services business. But there’s a problem …
The spaces are noisy.
It’s just plain hard to stand out, and pure organic reach is all but obsolete. Most consumers have trained themselves to ignore advertising on these platforms. Without the right strategy, you could throw away a lot of money trying to get in front of and attract leads.
There is a solution, however, and it’s surprisingly simple: Storytelling.
Nobody likes ads, but everyone loves a good story. As a home services business, using social media as a tool to tell stories about how you served your customers will prove far more effective than following the crowd of noisy self-promotion.
Marketing in 2022, especially on social media, will revolve around storytelling. Share story-centric reviews and ask your customers to do the same. Invite readers into a story and give them a good ending. Dramatic before-and-after photos of recent projects will do the trick.
Automate Your Most Time-Consuming Marketing Strategies.
With such a dramatic shift toward online spaces, home services businesses like yours must adapt, show up and get noticed online, where your customers are. Plus, you’ll need to use social media platforms and email not just for marketing, but as a tool for conversation with your audience.
This means you will likely need to consistently publish more content than ever before, and be available to communicate through these online channels.
You’ll also need to offer digital solutions to traditionally tangible methods, like invoicing and payments, among others.
As you might already know, this can be overwhelming, especially if it is not already a major part of how you do business. You have two options. First, you could hire someone to publish, promote and manage your business online, an expensive cost you might not be prepared to pay.
The second option may prove to be the best: Automation.
Easy-to-use software like Thryv transforms your business into a digital frontrunner. It automates tasks like scheduling and appointments, customer communications, social media marketing, email marketing, and even sales and payments.
It’s like hiring several tech-savvy employees, all experts at growing and managing a business online.
That’s the power of automation, and in 2022 it is a must-have for home services businesses who want to do more than survive. Your customers will not just anticipate it, they will expect it.
Abandon Generalities. Become Personal.
The shift is already in full swing, but in 2022, the name of the game in marketing is personal. Your audience expects you to know and understand them, intimately.
For instance, Google already attempts to display search results that are personalized to each user. They take into account your online behavior, search history, shopping habits and so on.
To truly reach your customers, you’ll need to meet them where they are and speak directly to them. This is where tools mentioned above like Messenger and personalized email can make your business stand out, be remembered, and most of all, be trusted.
Don’t just be another business; be a person … who happens to have a business that can help.
The Future is Uncertain, but Brighter than Ever
For home services businesses, 2022 will prove the need for more digital adaptation. While that may seem daunting, with the right help, it can be a smooth transition that positions you for a year of unprecedented growth.