March 2010

Article Archives:

December 9 2010 - 9 Must Have Marketing Metrics

November 24 2010 - Is Your Marketing on Autopilot?

November 17 2010 - Are You Advertising in the Yellow Pages?

November 10 2010 - Facebook Versus Google Pay Per Click

November 2 2010 - What is the Reticular Activating System?

October 27 2010 - Meaningful Marketing Messages

October 20 2010 - The Impact of Culture on Marketing

July 2010 - Hiring a Good CSR

June 24 2010 - What do Redclick Superstars do for fun?

June 2010 - Branding Updates

May 2010 - Advertising Fads

April 2010 - Demand & Non-Demand Marketing

March 2010 - Google Trends

February 2010 - Rebranding

January 2010 - Cutting the Strings

December 2009 - Lead Source

 

The PHC industry is approaching a tipping point of traditional versus online marketing. Contractors are moving ad dollars from traditional media to online endeavors at a record pace. Earlier this decade, most contracting companies established a presence and placed an online brochure in several pages of a web site, but few of them explored additional online marketing activities, until recently. A tipping point is a term coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point:  “It's the name given to that moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It's the boiling point. It's the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards.” If we were to graph the numbers of contracting companies who spend money on pay per click or Internet yellow pages, the line on the x axis would sharply increase.
Contractors are being lured to spend ad dollars on a plethora of search placement services: Google AdWords, ReachLocal.com, FindItQuick.com, elocalplumber.com, FindAPlumber.com, ufindus.com, smilelocal.com, magicyellow.com, servicemagic.com.  The aggressive pitches from most of these types of companies is that everyone is going online to search for plumbing, and heating/cooling contractors. Peer pressure, the fear of being last or left out, and the aggressive sales tactics are all responsible for enticing contractors to experiment with online venues. 

So, if these claims and predictions are correct, we should see our industry’s keyword search terms increasing over time. According to Google, keyword searches for plumbing, leaks, water heaters, and faucets have remained steady for the past two to three years. This tells us that customer behavior is not matching the claims of “everyone is going online” to search for contractors. The keyword plumber has flat-lined up until the last Presidential debate when John McKain made Joe The Plumber an iconic fascination. So, hopefully, you have plumber in your keyword lists in your website, as well as any pay per click advertising you are doing. By the way, plumber and plumbing are two very different keywords in the mind of a customer. 

So, is it safe to assume that customers have not flocked to the Internet to search for their local plumber? Well, just because we know that searches haven’t been increasing, that doesn’t mean that they won’t start to climb. The safe bet is to make sure your customers and your prospective customers know your name. If they have a name in mind, you have a greater chance that they will search directly for you, or that if they see your name appear in the search results, they will click on your listing. 

Customers will get more and more frustrated with a broad search in major search engines like Google because all of the online directory sites, like the ones mentioned above, will appear in the search results page instead of actual local companies. To test this, go to Google, type in plumber and your local town or city. Check out the numbers of actual companies versus additional search sites. Customers don’t want to waste time clicking around, if they are in need of a plumber. They will choose the link that they are familiar with, and in the absence of familiarity, they will choose the first real company they perceive to be local to them. Google Maps is the only place, as of this writing, that is not bombarded by directory services. Obtaining a listing on Google maps is a very good idea, and it’s free.

For more about search terms and the PHC Industry, check out the blog on www.KnowWhatWorks.com.

~ Source:  Google Trends