I was recently invited to present to a group of 20 painting contractors all looking to get better results from their investment in marketing. Preparing for my talk got me thinking about the strategies that have been working best for our existing clients. Because we get heavily involved with strategizing, planning, and managing marketing for each company individually, it had been awhile since I stepped back to look at what is working more generally across our engagements.
That reflection led to 3 conclusions I elaborate on below.
First, let’s talk about why Scott Lollar of Consulting4Contractors wanted me to speak with his painting company clients – they were hungry for honest counsel and advice. Several had been burned by agencies with cookie-cutter packages that didn’t perform as advertised, yet left them stuck in long-term contracts. They wanted to know not just what marketing strategies they should be using, but how they should monitor and manage their vendors to ensure results.
What a great way to start out 2024! I was pleased to have such clear validation of our mission to alleviate the burden of marketing management for our clients by taking ownership of it. We act from the client side of the table to develop, execute, and monitor marketing efforts so they can focus on the rest of their business.
Anyway, let’s get back to why you’re reading this article – to find out what marketing strategies are working best for local service companies. Over the holiday break I looked at our data for 2023 and found a few interesting nuggets.
1. Google ads is the top lead source for three out of four clients that spend consistently.
If that surprises you, you’re not alone. We have a similar conversation with clients all the time… “I know, I know, we don’t personally click on ads. We scroll to the first organic result or a service provider that shows up on the map…” However, our data clearly reveals that effectively-managed search ads, complemented by some display campaigns, consistently generate quality leads.
Of course the downside of paid advertising is that the moment you stop pouring money in, the leads dry up. That’s where the next strategy comes in.
2. With every client we consistently invest in improving organic search performance as a long term strategy.
As a result, SEO is the second most productive strategy in most cases, and first in some.
In fact, some of our clients don’t need any investment in paid digital advertising because they get plenty of lead flow through organic inbound. As they say, SEO is an investment whereas digital advertising is an expense. Local SEO is a critical component of the SEO strategy for local service companies, of course. And don’t forget about Apple Business Connect!
3. Email marketing continues as an essential tool for remaining in touch with clients and generating repeat business.
I am not sure who said it first, but the claim that “email marketing is king” still resembles the truth. As other strategies for maintaining your connection with active prospects and past customers have come along, there is still nothing as effective as an ongoing email marketing regimen that engages your community.
That is what we have seen. I am always curious to hear what is working for others, so feel free to share in the comments.
Looking for help to get better results from your marketing investment? Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.