Consumer expectations are changing rapidly and marketing technologies are evolving at a fast pace to help businesses meet their customers’ needs and stay ahead of the competition.
It’s not always easy for local service businesses (e.g., painter, plumber, landscaper, house cleaning service) to keep up with all the new marketing trends. What should you focus on in 2020 to get the most from your marketing budget?
In this article, we’ll show you how to expand your reach, build relationships, generate more leads, and increase sales in 2020.
Top Marketing Trends For Local Service Businesses
For local businesses, search engine marketing (SEM) will become more important than ever. Meanwhile, consumers expect a highly relevant customer experience, regardless of how they interact with your business. Here are the key trends you can’t afford to ignore:
1. Mobile Ads
88% of searchers that look up local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. It’s therefore important that your website shows up on the first page of relevant search engine results.
Mobile PPC ads could be the key to driving significantly more traffic to your website in 2020. You should keep an eye on the new ad formats and features that Google rolls out regularly to help advertisers generate better results. For example, you can create text ads, image ads, and call-only ads to optimize your ROI.
In addition, use Google’s Smart Bidding feature to automate your bids. This machine learning technology leverages various data and signals to help you optimize conversion by adjusting every bid. You can also set up your bids to focus on searches from mobile devices so you can effectively target searchers that are most likely to convert.
2. Voice Search
More than 66 million Americans now own a smart speaker (e.g., Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant,) presenting more opportunities for voice search in the home. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, 30% of web browsing — including searches for local services — will become screenless. Not to mention, 75% of smart speaker owners search for local businesses on a weekly basis!
Since voice search only presents the top search results, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website is search engine optimized so it can rank high in relevant searches.
You can increase the chances of getting found on voice searches by writing conversationally, creating content based on commonly asked questions, formatting articles to signal relevance to search engines (e.g., use header tags and bullet points,) using long-tail keywords to minimize competition, and including local keywords in your copy.
3. Social Media Marketing
While social media marketing has been around for a while, user behaviors have changed significantly. Today, you need to create useful content and interact with your audience in a way that will drive engagement, traffic, and conversion.
Post informative and high-value content to build trust and credibility with your audience. Write your posts in conversational tones, focus on establishing a dialogue, and use the platforms to build relationships instead of drive sales.
Visual content, particularly videos, is most effective for engaging an audience. Many platforms now offer a new format — Stories — which allows you to share images or short videos and add hashtags or polls to increase interactivity while fostering relationships with your audience.
Did you know that 82% of consumers read online reviews on local businesses? In addition, among those who do, 97% also read the businesses’ responses to the reviews. The number of people who use reviews to aid their decision-making is only going to increase as more consumers turn to online searches to look for local service providers.
Having great online reviews on third-party sites (e.g., Yelp) is key to building instant credibility that’ll help you attract more leads. To leverage the power of online reviews, take control of your online reputation by:
- Setting up and completing your online profiles on major review sites.
- Responding to comments promptly, whether they’re positive or negative.
- Asking happy clients to leave a review and make it easy for them to do so.
- Encouraging reviewers to use their real names and be descriptive in their comments.
- Share positive reviews on your website and social media.
5. Marketing Personalization
Consumers expect a customized experience when they interact with brands and service providers. For example, 80% of people are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Thankfully, there are many marketing technologies that will allow you to implement a personalization strategy at scale so you can build relationships, drive conversions, and retain customers at a reasonable cost. For example, you can segment prospects and customers based on their locations or inquiries so you can send the most relevant content and offer via email or targeted ads.
In addition, a centralized customer database (e.g., a CRM system) can help make sure that all information is updated in real-time so you can deliver a cohesive and personalized experience through every channel (e.g., phone, live chat, email.)
6. Live Chat and Chatbots
Consumers want to get the information they need when they need it and many expect live chat as part of the user experience on a website. Live chat, combined with rule-based or AI-driven chatbot technologies, allows you to offer immediate assistance to customers who have simple questions or route the queries to the appropriate team member.
Using chatbots strategically will not only help you lower operating costs but also streamline the customer experience to increase conversion and improve customer satisfaction. To deliver the best experience, make sure you’re setting up the chatbots with your target audience in mind and consider the context of the interaction while keeping the tone on-brand and personal.
It’s also important to identify which processes should be automated and what queries should be directed to a human agent right away to minimize delays and frustrations that could impact the customer experience.
Final Thoughts: It’s All About the Customer Experience
The top marketing trends in 2020 will focus on delivering a seamless and cohesive experience during the entire customer journey — starting from search and social media content through customers’ interaction with your company through various channels.
Getting found by high-quality prospects via search and making sure they’re directed to a high-converting website that offers clear navigation, valuable content, and engaging experience is the key to generating more leads.
In addition, with an outstanding website experience that’s coherent with your PPC strategy, you can increases engagement, signal relevance to search engines, improve your SEO ranking, and drive more high-quality traffic — creating a virtuous cycle that will keep on giving!