What New in 2018 for Internet Marketing
Many customers today are turning to Google to help them find a plumber to fix their kitchen leak. Or a carpenter to remodel their bathroom. Or a landscaper to provide them with lawn care. People are using Google to find every type of local product and service.
Whatever line of services you provide, the concept is the same. If you aren’t investing in internet marketing today, you’re losing business to your competitors.
1. Google Local Service Ads: A Marketing Tool Designed for Contractors
Google Local Service Ads are going to change the way contractors do business. Google began testing these ads in 2015. They have announced that they are keeping and expanding the program in the near future. They have pushed other search results such as pay per click and Google maps listings further down on the customer’s browser. You’ll want to pay attention to these ads. They are a great way to stay in front of your customers.
Locksmiths, electricians, HVAC, and garage door services are currently using Google Local Service Ads, but Google has promised to expand their reach to more industries in 2018.
The ads are currently available in 17 cities. They are going to be expanding to large cities across the continental US. Most likely, they will be coming to a city near you soon.
So how do they work? Google has designed these ads to address a customer’s search for a product or service such as, “plumber near me.” Google then provides a list of Google Guaranteed providers at the very top of the search results. The customer may select one or more providers to call, text, or email.
The providers are then charged for that lead, if it valid. The majority of leads will be valid. Some examples of invalid leads would be solicitation calls, spam, or if the service is out of area or not offered.
One incentive to keep in mind is that Google Local Service Ads are available at a lower cost than pay per click ads right now. This may be to encourage business owners to get involved in the new advertising product.
How to Prepare for Google Local Service Ads
How should you prepare for when Google Local Service Ads comes to your area? First, you need to make sure you are taking care of proper licensing and insurance for your business. You also want to get Google Guaranteed when it becomes available in your area. Google Guaranteed is intended to provide consumers with a greater sense of trust as they search online for the products and services they need. This is huge for your business, and brings us to the 2nd trend for generating leads online.
2. Customer Reviews—Why They are So Important
Customers are paying close attention to online reviews. Studies have shown that 97% of consumers are reading reviews. Those same consumers are reading an average of 7 reviews before making a purchasing decision.
When a customer knows nothing about you, reviews will be determining factor of whether or not a customer can trust you. It ultimately determines whether they will choose to do business with you. If this isn’t convincing enough, reviews are also extremely important to Google. They play a major role in how Google determines your SEO ranking among your competitors.
You may have noticed that customers are more inclined to leave a review if they are dissatisfied with your product or service, than if they are satisfied. Here are some suggestions to help you overcome this obstacle.
The first is using a site called http://www.getfivestars.com. The way this tool works is interesting.
You enter in your customer’s name and email address. By the way, if you aren’t collecting email addresses, you need to be!
This program will then send an email to thank the customer for doing business with you after you have completed a service for them. It will ask them if they would like to fill out a survey based on the customer experience they received. If they provide a positive response to the survey, it will then send them to a link encouraging them to leave you a positive review.
What to Do with Negative Reviews
You may be wondering how to handle negative reviews. It is best to respond to all reviews, both positive or negative. This will speak volumes for the type of customer service you provide in your industry.
If you receive a negative review, it is best to apologize for the poor customer experience, and then go above and beyond in meeting their needs from there. Show that you are concerned about making it right with your customers. Explain that you will do what it takes to make them feel content with the outcome.
Lastly, it is important to never leave fake reviews. Consumers are good at determining if your reviews are honest. If you do not execute your review strategy with integrity, it will hurt your business in the long run. Authenticity is everything.
2. Google’s Mobile First Index
The third key to staying ahead of the curve in 2018 is being aware of Google’s Mobile First Index. This is going to be a change that will widely impact your businesses’ rankings.
When Google crawls the internet, they scan and index the majority of the websites. Based on all the information it finds on these websites, it creates a ranking system and displays it on Google’s search engine.
Google completes this process for two separate search indexes. One for desktop sites and one for mobile sites.
One Index in 2018
In 2018, Google plans to merge both mobile and desktop search indexes into solely a mobile search index. This is because consumers are now doing more than 50% of their internet browsing from mobile devices. Google is therefore putting a ton of emphasis on how competitive your mobile site is compared to your competitors.
What does this mean for your business? A responsive site is going to be best option. A responsive site creates the exact same user experience for the customer viewing on a desktop, and the customer viewing on a mobile device.
If you are not able to have a responsive site, due to how your site is built, you will absolutely want to ensure that most of your content on your mobile site matches the content on your desktop site. This can be a bit of a challenge, but is crucial to keeping your site ranking well.
You can test to see how mobile-friendly your device is by visiting this link: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
John Leutermann shared this information in a NARI University Webinar. In case you missed the live webinar, it’s now available online. Watch the Webinar.
NARI offers webinars on a monthly basis to provide education and training on topics that are industry related. Visit NARI University online to see a list of upcoming events.
About the Author
As owner of Big Rock Marketing and with over 10 years of digital marketing experience, John Leutermann specializes in helping contractors leverage their businesses online.
Big Rock Marketing is a digital agency specializing in SEO strategy and Digital Display Advertising. You can receive a free website audit by visiting Big Rock Marketing.