More time spent at home due to the coronavirus pandemic had a positive impact on many home service providers, who could face even more growth potential with the effects of the economic stimulus package. In fact, a survey from modernize found 57% of homeowners plan to use their stimulus check for home improvement.
With this projected boost in demand, home service companies will need to act fast to capitalize.
First, we must look at how consumers purchase home services, which is both data-driven and emotional. A homeowner could be looking for a routine fix to a common issue, a seasonal tune-up or a redesign of their master bath. Or, they could be looking for an emergency fix when disaster strikes. Fortunately, content marketing is a tactic you can rely on residing at the intersection of data-driven and emotional factors, just like home services itself.
In August of 2020, Silverback Strategies surveyed 724 U.S. adults who had recently purchased a home service. When buyers first realized they needed a contractor, the most common first step was to go online. Depending on the type of home service buyers ultimately purchased, between 42-63% turned to digital channels as a starting point on their customer journey.
A home services content marketing strategy can help your business meet searchers where they are, whether they have a penchant for DIY or have simple diagnostic questions. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2C Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, three out of four B2C marketers report their organization is extremely, very or moderately successful with content marketing.
No matter where you fall along the scale of extremely or moderately, you can still construct or refine your home services content marketing strategy using these steps:
- Understand your audience’s common questions
- Produce relevant, helpful content
- Distribute content on channels your audience uses
Understand your audience’s common questions
Recall the 42-63% of home service buyers who went online when they first realized they needed help solving a problem. The searcher could be curious about bathroom remodeling trends because they recently binged a home improvement show. Or they could have a burst pipe that needs fixing immediately. This spectrum is critical to understand as it can significantly change how you approach your contact strategy.
To understand their common questions, ask yourself some first:
- What does that spectrum of questions and topics look like for your business?
- Does that spectrum vary by service?
- How common is the DIY mentality within your specific industry?
Understanding the above questions can help uncover and refine the various avenues available to you for content creation. For example, people with a flooding kitchen sink will move straight to the decision category, while their neighbors are just thinking about redoing their kitchen will need more work to get them to the same place. This can be overwhelming, but it’s an often-overlooked, critical step. A Content Marketing Institute study showed only 50% of B2C marketers craft content based on specific stages of the customer journey.
Other valuable sources for home service content marketing ideas exist within your own organization. Lean on your customer service representatives and ask them what common questions or concerns they frequently hear. Responses may surprise you or reinforce your previous understanding.
Produce relevant, helpful content
The online home services space is full of helpful content. The industry lends itself well to producing helpful, actionable content for readers. Legal advice? Dentistry? Space travel? Not so much.
Keep these tips in mind when evaluating if your content meets the “relevant and helpful” criteria:
- Is the topic aligned with those common questions you’ve identified?
- Does it have a clear headline?
- Is the content actionable? Not necessarily DIY actionable, but empowers users to feel like they can confidently take the next step
- Does it use the necessary imagery or video?
- Is it factually accurate?
About three out of five B2C marketers plan to prioritize the audience’s informational needs over sales/promotional messaging. This is a key component of content marketing for home services in particular: Be careful not to front-load or overload promotional messaging.
You identified what’s valuable to your customers, and you produced helpful content to host online. Now where to put it?
Distribute content on channels your audience uses
The linear customer journey has been long gone and home service businesses had to blend their traditional and digital marketing strategies to keep up with modern consumers. Fortunately, we did the research on what channels your customers are using to gather information.
Outside of search engines, social media was the next most common online channel buyers used to begin their customer journey. If your organization has an active social media presence, you’ll have an advantage over those that don’t.
Nearly 97% of survey respondents reported using at least one social media platform weekly or more frequently.
If you’re just publishing your first SEO-driven blog post, you’re moving in the right direction. Taking your blog content and updating it into a how-to video or an infographic are valuable next steps to enhance your distribution strategy. Keep these home improvement marketing tactics in mind as you expand your program and integrate it with your other digital marketing touchpoints.
“When you own a home, it never seems to be quite finished. In the quest to make it as comfortable, functional, and up to date as possible, there’s always something to be repaired, replaced, or improved,” says Andréana Lefton.
The same can be said for a content marketing strategy. It’s better to get started than to be overwhelmed by the possibilities and stall entirely. Painting the walls can be the first step toward adding on that new addition. Incremental success is possible and 51% of B2C marketers said their organization’s content marketing success is more successful compared with one year ago.
Living at the intersection of a data-driven decision and emotion isn’t bad. Understand what criteria your buyer’s use to make decisions and attract them with valuable information as they start their journey.
How Silverback Can Help
Our Home Services Buyer Research: Industry Breakdown Report is available for free to home services marketers.
Silverback Strategies also provides a variety of digital marketing services designed to help marketers better understand their customers and meet them where they are with impactful, helpful content.
To learn more, contact us today.