Is there a “right” marketing channel for promoting your local service business?
The truth is, it’s no longer enough to use just one or two marketing channels. Consumers are interacting with brands across a variety of platforms at different stages of their customer lifecycles and they expect to do the same with local service providers.
How can you be “everywhere” and meet your customers where they are?
What’s Multi-Channel Marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is the strategy of communicating and interacting with prospects and customers across a variety of channels, such as website, online ads, social media, direct mail, email, mobile app, print ads, etc.
It allows you to stay accessible to your target market and deliver your marketing message in the right place and at the right time.
Why Multi-Channel Marketing Works For Local Service Businesses
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to establish a presence on a variety of marketing channels, consider these benefits of multi-channel marketing:
- More than 70% of consumers look up businesses in three or more channels before making a purchase. It’s important that prospects can find your information on the platforms of their choice.
- Being present on multiple channels will allow your information to be found by more prospects.
- People need to see a marketing message more than 10 times for it to have a long-term effect. Showing your ads on multiple channels increases exposure, reinforces your brand image, and helps you stay top of mind.
- Different channels have different advantages. For example, digital channels can deliver personalized promotions in real-time while offline channels are effective for building brand awareness.
The Most Effective Marketing Channels For Local Service Businesses
The next question, of course, is which channels to use. Here are the marketing channels most suitable for local service professionals:
Organic Search (SEO)
Did you know that 97% of consumers search online for local businesses? Getting found on relevant local search results by optimizing your website for SEO is one of the best ways to reach more prospects.
While Google is the most popular search engine, don’t forget to consider other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo.
Of course, driving traffic is only the first step. You also need a well-designed lead generation website so you can capture the leads and turn them into clients.
Relate article: Top SEO and PPC Trends For Local Service Businesses, Google E-A-T: the Key to Improving SEO For Your Local Service Business
PPC ads allow you to set up highly targeted campaigns that are shown to prospects located in your service area and triggered by specific keywords in their searches. They can drive high-quality traffic that’s most likely to engage your services right away.
To optimize your PPC campaigns, you need to select the right keywords, target the right audience segment (e.g., by location, demographics, etc.), and optimize your bidding strategy.
Besides typical text ads, you can use Google Local Services Ads (LSA) to get your information shown in “position zero,” above all other paid and organic search results to capture searchers’ attention and generate more clicks.
Related articles: How To Dominate First Page Of Google Search Results, How To Increase the Effectiveness of Your Local PPC Ads
Third-Party Review Sites
Consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and neighbors. Establishing a positive online reputation on review sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau) can help you attract prospects and increase conversion rate.
Since these sites have high domain authority (aka, “Google juice”,) your listing is more likely to appear close to the top of search results while the backlink to your site will help boost your SEO.
Start by claiming your business listing and optimizing your business profile on these sites. Then, implement an online review strategy to get happy customers to post reviews and manage your online reputation.
Related article: How To Leverage Online Reviews To Grow Your Local Service Business
Online Communities/Local Listings
Target prospects in your service area, establish a local presence, and build relationships with the community by using sites such as Craigslist and Nextdoor.
These platforms give you a no- or low-cost way to reach the local community. You can get in front of prospects that are searching for the particular service you provide or build trust with your target market.
Due to the different nature of these sites, they have varying guidelines. Follow the rules and develop a strategy for each platform so you can reach the right audience with the most appropriate messaging.
Lead Generation/Pay-Per-Lead Services
Platforms such as HomeAdvisors, Thumbtack, CraftJack, etc. connect local businesses with customers that are looking for service professionals in specific geographic areas.
These services vary from one vendor to another, e.g., pay-per-lead vs. monthly fee; exclusive vs. shared leads; verified vs. non-verified leads. You should select the type of service based on your needs, budget, and resources.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to nurture customer relationships, increase credibility, stay top of mind, and build loyalty. In fact, it’s almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in customer acquisition!
Sign up for an email service (don’t send email campaigns from your personal email account!) to ensure high deliverability and leverage various features such as mobile-friendly templates, automation, segmentation, and analytics to optimize your results.
Use emails to share valuable content, deliver personalized offers, and ask for reviews. Be consistent with your mailing schedule to stay top of mind and nurture relationships with your subscribers.
Related article: How To Use Email Marketing To Promote Your Local Service Business
Since most consumers are already using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) to connect with friends and ask for recommendations, you should make it easy for prospects to look you up and interact with you on these platforms.
Set up a business page and complete your company profile. Research local keywords and use the appropriate hashtags to increase exposure to users in your service area.
While you can use PPC ads on social media to promote your services, don’t forget the “social” part! You should focus on interacting with your followers, increasing engagement, and building relationships on these platforms.
Mobile Apps and Text
More consumers are interacting with businesses and making purchases via their mobile devices. Mobile apps, messaging apps, and SMS are great ways to reach prospects and customers in real-time to deliver the right message in the right place and at the right time.
SMS messages have a 98% open rate and you can also use it to boost engagement on other channels (e.g., email.) Meanwhile, mobile apps allow you to send push notifications and leverage other mobile-specific features (e.g., geo-fencing, autofill) to improve customer experience and increase sales.
There are many offline marketing channels you can use to increase brand awareness and build relationships with your customers, such as:
- Local events: boost your local presence by hosting or participating in community events. You can use the opportunity to showcase your services, build your email list, and get prospects to connect with you through other online channels so you can continue building relationships.
- Direct mail: done strategically, direct mail has almost 4 times the open rate when compared to email. Choose the right kind of format that’s appropriate for your budget, offerings, and target audience. Don’t forget to write engaging copy to drive conversion.
- Signage: vehicle decals, yards signs, branded apparel or products, billboards, local print ads, and posters are just some examples of signage you can use to build a local presence and increase brand awareness. Include your website URL or a QR code whenever appropriate to drive traffic to your website and capture leads.
- Yellow Pages: you can claim a listing for free or pay a small fee for a highlighted listing (which is different from an ad.) The fee depends on your location and you can also get priority listing on YP’s online directory.
Keys To Multi-Channel Marketing Success
Multi-channel marketing is highly effective since you can create synergy among the different touch points to amplify results. Here’s how to make the most of your multi-channel marketing efforts:
- Research about your audience to create the most effective marketing message and offers.
- Choose the right channels to meet your target market where they’re at.
- Be consistent with your brand image and messaging across all channels to deliver a seamless customer experience.
- Integrate your campaigns across channels to increase engagement and exposure.
- Use retargeting ads (e.g., on Facebook) to show specific offers to prospects who have already visited your website.
- Use both online and offline channels to enhance each other for a seamless customer journey.
You should have a lead-generating website to which you can direct online traffic and capture prospects’ information. This will allow you to continue to build trust and nurture relationships through other channels (e.g., email.)
Last but not least, track your traffic source and conversion rate to see which channels yield the best results so you can focus your budget and efforts.