Retool Your Online Presence: 3 Tips for Small Auto and Home Repair Businesses
October 16th, 2015 by
Everyone can relate to the frustration surrounding a defunct air conditioning unit or a well-traveled car falling apart—which is part of the reason why HVAC and auto repair companies are ubiquitous, particularly in the small business arena. As it stands today, there are over 1 million home and auto emergency companies represented in the U.S. alone. With such a large presence, it may be difficult to stand out, particularly in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing and search results. How does my company get noticed?
Thrive Analytics, a digital marketing research company, sought to shed some light on this question. Their research indicated that while the fastest-growing methods of business awareness were related to digital platforms (websites, social media, e-mail), 60% still spent the majority of their media budget on traditional types of marketing (newspapers, yellow pages, direct mail).
Additionally, their polling discovered that only 53% of these businesses had and maintained a website. However, the majority of those sites were archaic by today’s standards, and even more so when considering the ever-growing importance of mobile searching. Suffice it to say, many businesses in these industries do not get the maximum return from the growing digital market. So how can you counteract this?
1. Develop and maintain an up-to-date and mobile-friendly website.
The Local Search Association announced early this year that mobile searches have surpassed computer searches in terms of volume. Also consider this statistic from that same press release: “70% of the nearly $18 trillion US GDP is driven by consumer spending that occurs within 20 miles of home or work.”
This is an extremely important factor for businesses servicing people’s homes and vehicles, since they are reliant on proximity. Your business will run the risk of losing a market share locally that is becoming more and more dependent on search results for information.
2. Find your presence on social media.
While many businesses have a presence on social media sites, it takes more than mere existence in order to drive customers. Staying on top of your social media with relevant content and attractive profile and cover images is more important.
This is also applicable for mobile users. According to comScore’s 2015 U.S. Mobile App Report, the amount of time people spend on digital media has increased 50 percent over the last two years. Social media platforms are a huge part of this number—with Facebook ranking as the #1 smartphone app by total time spent. In an industry where social media usage is often stale or non-existent, this can be an opportunity to differentiate yourself and grab attention.
3. Think about how you are spending on marketing.
Sure, traditional marketing methods are comfortable and certainly have merit, but if you are trying to reach a new customer base, it would be foolish to not consider the shifting search demographics. Of the businesses polled in Thrive Analytics’ report, 37% of responders said lack of experience with online media was their biggest apprehension, while 27% said it was time. This is where it make sense to enlist the help of a company that understands the market and can help maximize your presence. It does not need to be a task directly undertaken by your employees, and it would represent a smart way to allocate media dollars.
For small businesses that make up a large portion of the small business landscape and a relatively small section of the digital marketing field, building up your online identity and marketing strategies could be the key to drawing in customers ahead of your competitors.