Marketing strategy is usually focused on the "big picture," and not the details. But seemingly minor details can sometimes have a surprisingly large effect.
Take your company's license number, for instance. A license number is such a small and uninteresting thing, and would rarely come up in discussions about marketing strategy. In fact, except for state or local regulators, it seems no one would really care exactly what your license number is. Because of this, it is rarely listed on contractors' websites.
It should be, though. In nearly all of the online guides about how to choose a contractor, the very first piece of advice is to make sure the company is licensed. Very few people will bother to check with outside sources to see whether you are licensed, though; they are just going to look for that information on your website when doing their initial search. If your licensing information is not listed on your website, they may just assume it is because you don't have one. And if the choice is between two equal contractors, with the only difference being that one has the license information listed and the other does not, they will almost certainly choose the one that they know to be licensed. Other little details that matter to customers, and should therefore matter to your marketing strategy, include:
• Insurance.This goes hand-in-hand with your license number; the same how-to guides that advise people to look for licensed contractors also emphasize choosing a contractor that is insured. After all, a contractor's insurance protects the homeowner from liability as well. You have insurance; make that clear to potential customers by listing it on your website or marketing materials.
• Certifications.Include NATE or any other certifications you have that customers might be encouraged to look for.
• Address.Even if you do all of your work on-site and do not expect customers to come to your office, it is important to include your address in your marketing strategy. Your address does at least two things: first, it lets customers know that you are in their geographic area and are likely to service their neighborhood. Secondly, it helps Google match up your website with its mapping program, ensuring that it will list the correct information for your company and list your name in local searches.
• Positive ratings and testimonials.If you carry a high rating with the Better Business Bureau or Angie's List, include that information in your marketing strategy. Don't expect that customers will search (or even be able to search) these outside sites to find your company and its positive reviews. Similarly, testimonials are an important element to include. Consumers are advised to ask contractors for references, but are unlikely to go to that trouble when many companies already list positive references online. Don't remove yourself from consideration by failing to incorporate testimonials into your marketing strategy.
• Links to social media.For consumers, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become useful tools in researching or contacting service companies. Make your profiles easier to find and follow by providing links between your site and your social media pages. Including "share buttons," which make it easier for people to tweet about or "like" your company or blog posts, are similarly small details that can help in promoting your brand.
• Search function. Including a site-specific search function makes it easier for potential customers to find all of these items. Of course, the search function is more useful and important for sites that incorporate a blog or have a larger number of individual pages.
Remember that the more obvious the detail may seem to be, the more important it is that you include it in your marketing strategy (and the more frustrating it is for customers when they cannot find it). By including such details, you increase the odds that a prospect will keep you in consideration and contact you for an estimate--and, hopefully, go from being a "potential" customer to a "satisfied" one.
Chris Vaughn is the Content Marketing Director for DigitalSherpa, the world's largest content marketing provider for small businesses. With the recent acquisition of SocialTract, DigitalSherpa is thrilled to welcome the HVAC community in to our client family. Learn more about content marketing and check out our free e-books and whitepapers at http://digitalsherpa.com. Connect with Chris and the DigitalSherpa team on Facebook and Twitter or e-mail Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.