So much has changed for home inspectors in the past few years, that 2019 might as well be 2009. The landscape of online marketing is no exception. 2020 lurched even the most reluctant agents and home inspectors into the world of social media and digital marketing.
As 2022 comes to an end, the real estate market is down. Chances are, you're booking fewer inspections year-over-year. It's time to hone in and double down on marketing your home inspection business.
Now is the time to take a hard look at your online marketing habits and what is helping or hurting them. Here are 5 things we see home inspectors doing that aren't helping their marketing efforts.
Social media is a place where people go to be entertained, and sometimes to research a local business. When they do, you have an opportunity to brand yourself. You do that by hitting the record button, looking into the camera, and showing your personality to the world. Remember, everyone who sees you is imagining what it would be like to have you in their home, going over an inspection report at your kitchen table.
They probably want someone who is clear, friendly, and even a little bit entertaining. Don't forget, a home inspection can be a scary process for a seller and buyer. They want a friendly neighborhood home inspector who will be patient with their questions.
Whenever possible, you want to be replying to reviews, positive and negative. Think of each review as an opportunity to create more customers. Yes, even the worst reviews. If you take the time to respond professionally and like a human to unhappy customers, you can often turn negatives into positives. Think about the thousands of people that will see how you responded to negative feedback.
This goes without saying, but we're gonna say it anyways. Don't argue, or make excuses in such a public place. If you need to have more dialog with them, try and contact them offline or through a private channel. Other than that, keep in mind that the details of a bad review don't always matter. What matters is that someone had a bad experience, and it's ok to own that if it means showing future customers that you own mistakes, real or perceived.
Google and Yelp reviews are a major local SEO ranking factor.
Make it easy to respectfully ask for a positive review after you've blown someone away with your excellent service. The smart, time-saving approach is to customize an auto-generated email with some sincerity.
Auto-populated emails are okay if they have some personalized information, plus some sincerity. This way you get the best of both worlds - You save time, and you're being genuine.
People really don't mind taking the time to leave a review if you've served them well.
Some will ignore it because more people tend to leave feedback when they're disgruntled.
But some will respond and help if you're consistent in asking.
Those couple of 5-star reviews will make a difference in winning more clicks and inspections in local search results. In 2023, it's extremely important to be at the top of your local search results so agents and buyers will find you before they find your local competitors.
Google gives local search results (like searches for [your city] home inspector) based on relevance and trust that you'll find what you need.
They have a vested interest in showing home buyers search results of home inspectors that are near them and highly rated.
How do you make sure Google knows your service area? Telling them your Name, Address, and Phone Number over and over so they have confidence in listing you!
The best ways to do this are through your header/footer and citations on third-party directories.
It's also important to create and maintain a Google Business Profile. With a Google Business Profile, you can respond to reviews and manage how your business appears on search and maps. According to Google, verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable — you don't want to miss out on customers due to being unverified.
How closely are you tracking your ROI (Return on Investment) when it comes to pay-per-click campaigns and third-party lead generation sites?
It's important to track spend and ROI when the cash is flowing. It's even more important to pay attention to spend and ROI when money's a bit tighter.
If you've wasted money in the past, what was your research process like before starting? How long did you run the campaign?
Paid search is tricky because it takes some diligent upfront research and the right settings to make sure you're not wasting money on keywords that don't convert to inspections.
The types of keywords selected, and more importantly, the match types used, are the number 1 and 2 sources I see of wasted ad spend.
Unless you are getting a steady stream of business from it, just pause it for now. Your best bet is to work on the organic side of marketing first, as that will give you consistent and lasting results when done right.
Paid search ads can be good for brand-new guys with little visibility (and some money to spend) or very experienced guys wanting to really grow the business with a budget to refine campaigns. In 2023, if you don't have extra capital, it's a good idea to make sure any paid ads are yielding a high ROI.
We've said it over and over again; your website is your digital business card.
Think about how many times an agent's or customer's first interaction with you is through your website. If they find you on Google, it certainly is. You probably have it linked from all your social channels. An agent refers you to another realtor? You can bet that they'll look you up.
Investing in your website is the way to win. Professional design and good content go a long way and will show agents that you're a trustworthy inspector they should work with.
This is especially important in 2023, as they are fewer active home buyers compared to recent years. Your website needs to outshine your competitors to win you business.