Small business marketing these days is in a constant state of upheaval. The old ways that contracting businesses drove leads–such as the Yellow Pages or Direct Mail–are no longer enough to drive the bulk of your sales. As people looking to find information about energy efficiency related contractors turn increasingly to the web and social media, a strong online presence is critically important to your business success.
A strong online presence doesn’t have to be difficult and doesn’t have to require expensive consultants. Based on our experience with what works for energy efficiency related contractors, here are six upgrades–some easy, some geeky, but all high impact–that you can make to your website and your overall online presence to help your site perform in local searches. You can do them all at once, or one at a time as you get free time, but if you make these upgrades, you’ll be in much better shape than you were before.
1) Get Your NAP On Every Page of Your Site.
Your NAP is your Name, Address and Phone Number, and it shows up wherever your business is listed across the web. Each place that it appears is referred to as a “citation,” and, generally speaking, the more citations you have across the web, the better. It’s one of the key ways that the search engines determine the validity of your company. It’s very important that your NAP is consistent everywhere (do a search for your phone number, your business name, and your address, and make sure that all the results show the same information in the same format).
It’s also important for search engines to identify this piece of data (often referred to as your “footprint” around the web) with your website, in addition to the directories that it appears on, if you want your website to show up when people search for your business. Put your NAP on every page of your site (the footer is a great spot), and remember to keep it consistent.
2) Get Your Titles and Descriptions in Order.
Your page titles and descriptions are the most important content on any given page of your website. They’re what Google and other search engines typically display in search engine results; so they should be clear, keyworded, and should read like a sentence (think when you write them: would you click on that? Or does it look like spam?) Ideally, they should have one or two keywords at least, and some geographic information (for example, “XYZ company offers energy audits in Madison, Wisconsin).
3) Have a Page for Each Service You Offer.
This is slightly more advanced, but don’t stress if you don’t have time to write 50 new pages of content for your website today. Remember that people searching for your services will search using any one of those keywords: it could be “green remodeling,” it could be “spray foam insulation,” it could be “duct sealing,” it could be “energy auditor.” Your ability to win search for these terms depends on there being matching content on your site for those searches. Set yourself a sustainable plan to have a page for each of your basic services. This is the first step towards ranking in searches for those terms.
It’s also important that your “services” pages are well structured. Ideally, you would have a primary “services” page that would appear in your site’s primary navigation, and the additional pages for individual services organized as sub-categories thereunder. Use the main services page as a navigation page, with links to each of the additional pages.
4) Get Google Analytics Set Up.
Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool, and it’s very user friendly whether you’re an internet professional or a small business owner just diving into web marketing. It’s very easy to set up an account, and once you do, you can start measuring the effectiveness of just about everything you’re doing based on how many visitors your site gets, how those visitors behave, and whether they fill out a contact form, sign up for your email list or call your phone. Imagine a blower door running 24/7/365 and feeding you a constant stream of data.
5. Take Control and Give Some Love to Your Google+ Local Page
As a local business, your Google+ Local page (formerly Google Places) is one of the most critical elements of a successful web presence. Google refers to the Google+ Local business page as “your brand’s home on Google,” and setting it up and taking charge of it is one of the most important steps you can take if you want your business to get found by people in your area that are searching for your services. You’ve probably noticed that most searches for terms related to home performance, like “insulation contractor” generate a blended search result with pins. If you don’t have a Google+ Local page, you cannot make these lists. Make sure all of your contact information (including your name, address, phone number) is correct, ask some of your customers to write a nice review, and you’ll be in great shape.
6) Put Some Effort Into Your Facebook Page
We’ve talked to home performance professionals across the country who tell us that they know they should be doing social media, but they just hate Facebook. Of course, we understand, but whether you love it or hate it, Facebook is now a critical citation for local businesses, meaning: you should start a page (a fan page, not a personal page) and be sure to include an accurate NAP (name, address, phone number). After that, you can decide how much effort you want to put into growing your fan base, creating content and engaging with visitors. For those who may be reluctant, just keep in mind that the viral nature of Facebook–people spreading information about your business across their social graphs–is word of mouth on steroids.
Best of luck with your marketing efforts in 2013, and feel free to get a hold of us at Energy Circle PRO if you have any questions!
Peter Troast is the Founder/CEO of Energy Circle PRO where he works with hundreds of energy efficiency, HVAC, remodeling, building and auditing contractors across the country.
P.S. This is part of the entire arbitrarily proclaimed Home Performance Marketing Week series:
- Your Home Performance Marketing Plan
- Some Marketing “Don’ts” For Home Performance Contractors
- Are Existing Customers YOUR Best Source of Business?
- Improving Online Lead Generation: 6 Simple Things
- The Gas Pump Pitch
- Guerrilla Marketing in Home Performance
- Your Marketing Worked. You Got the Phone Call. Now What?