It’s no secret that small businesses struggle to get their money’s worth out of paid online advertising. This is even truer in the home improvement industry, which is often misunderstood by providers who don’t take the time to understand that you are looking primarily for leads, not brand recognition. But the hard reality is that paid online marketing is going to grow exponentially for home improvement companies – and it’s not getting any easier.
Advertising has grown increasingly complicated, and ad providers have not done a good job of making this quagmire accessible to small business owners. Services tend to be a mishmash of acronyms and vague promises: SEO, SEM, reputation management, social media branding, and on and on. It’s difficult to gauge whether you’ll be getting your money’s worth. In the worst cases it’s not even clear what you’ll be getting for your money to begin with. Larger businesses have entire teams of people who can sort through these issues, but ad providers will struggle to maintain small business clients until they streamline and simplify their offerings.
This piecemeal approach creates further problems, in that many small businesses pick and choose services from a variety of companies. A business owner may hire a company to handle SEO services, and while their results aren’t bad they’re not thrilling either. So when it comes time to hire someone to run the social media accounts, they’ll gamble on another company. A majority of small businesses employ at least two different ad providers, and it’s not unheard of for them to be working with as many as five.That’s a logistical nightmare.
The high churn rate can also be attributed to poor customer service. Maybe they’re just not available to answer questions or maybe they misunderstand the home improvement industry. Some companies aren’t even terribly concerned about customer retention thanks to their own structural issues, so they may work hard to bring you onboard but not work hard to keep you there.
Then there’s good old-fashioned shady behavior. The online ad industry is bloated, and that’s forced companies to make misleading or flat-out inaccurate claims about their services and the services. So you have small business owners, who are already overworked, being forced to browse through countless different sites, services and offers, many of which they don’t fully understand. It’s no wonder that owners end up with false expectations about the services being offered, and disillusionment sets in. See ReachLocal/Yodle.
There are good services out there – and we like to think that we’re one of them because we speak the same language as you do – leads. But for many small home improvement business owners it’s just not worth the cost and hassle, at least not until the industry gets cleaned up and focuses on what you need most – real homeowners who need real services from you.