What’s the best marketing tool for local service businesses?
Power washing, landscaping, tree-trimming, window cleaning, and other local service businesses have one thing in common; They all need to be actively utilizing their Google Business listings in order to capitalize on the local market.
IdeaSwell Knows Your Market
Here at Idea Swell, we’ve helped dozens of these businesses grow and increase their leads through all forms of advertising efforts and we feel it’s time to share some of our secrets. Okay, most of this is no real ‘secret’ as the information can be found online however we have compiled it, and organized it so that the ‘not-so tech savvy‘ business owner can follow the steps and start increasing their leads without technical expert assistance or even any financial investment.
When targeting a local area market, a local service business’s absolute best digital platform to find leads is the Google Business directory. Commonly referred to as ‘Google Maps’ this is where the larger majority of potential customers will start their search for a power wash, window cleaning or another similar type of local service business.
Google Business Listings: #1 Best Marketing Tool
Do you already have a Google Business listing? If so continue on, if not, set one up right away. They are free to create however you will need to await the verification letter which will come to your mailbox three to seven business days after you’ve created the online profile.
*That estimate is based on our own experience helping clients set up such listings.
Start setting up your GMB by clicking here.
Hide your home address
If you don’t have a physical storefront/office and don’t want your personal home address public, you can create a ‘service area’ and generate a radius around your target local area.
Click here for more information on setting up a service area on your GMB
So now you have a profile for your business but no one is calling yet and your business listing isn’t getting found.
The term we use most is ‘Google Business listing’ is also known as ‘Google My Business’ and ‘GMB‘. Google officially changed the name from ‘Google My Business’ to just ‘Google Business’, however the acronym ‘GMB’ stuck within the community of marketing professionals and hence why we still use it.
How do you improve your position on the list (aka GMB ranking)?
Optimizing your Google Business profile is going to be the key to gaining leads through your listing and this is no simple task. From taking and posting images to getting reviews along with writing content that’s both geared at ranking AND leads, the optimization of a GMB listing will take time. We suggest you invest at least two days into the project if you are just starting out. Afterward, you can tailer your time back to just a few minutes each day.
The GMB Build Out: 4 Key Aspects
1. Business Info
a). Starting with the business category on your Google Business listings dashboard’s info section, add your business category. If multiple apply, select them all.
b). Set your hours next. We suggest being honest about when you will actually be able to answer the phone. Often times business owners feel they might rank better if they select 24/7 and although there is some truth to this, we find that the customer experience is paramount to ranking. If a customer calls at 9pm and you don’t answer, they’ve already been disappointed and you are more likely to lose this lead than if they had been forced to wait till the morning to make the call.
c). Fill out your phone number & web address if applicable.
d). Business Description: this needs to contain the general summary of what you offer along with what separates you from your competition. Do not try to keyword stuff in this area, as that will not help your ranking.
Next, follow the ‘info’ section to add your business category. If multiple apply, select them all.
2. Company & Work Imagery
Imagery is equally important if not more so than any other aspect of your GMB. When taking images for use on your GMB, here are a few tips on the different images you need to help maximize your results for leads and ranking:
1. Company professionalism. Shots of the vehicle, crew and both where you utilize a feature such as portrait mode to make the images look very professional. If you can afford it, bring out a pro with a good camera HOWEVER, you will have better results with a good phone unless that professional camera has GPS data possible. On the flip side, “results” are relative. Although search engines want the GPS data, customers may be more inclined to call if your imagery is done professionally. Find a happy balance between these two options by doing both if you hire a professional photographer. Our suggestion would be to use the pro to get your ‘company’ images and your phone for the work shots.
2. The work shots: Action shots of the work happening. Videos work here too.
3. Before and after photos. *if applicable. Make sure to take these from the same exact spot and always try to shoot the worst spots as these make for more dramatic before and afters.
**Phone quality matters! If you are taking these images yourself, we recommend using a phone no older than two years.
**Location ON: Make sure your phone has service and the location services are on. This will allow the camera to capture the GPS data which you want to keep intact for the purpose of Google get-tagging the images.
How many images do businesses need on their GMB?
We suggest a minimum of ten per service you offer however, that’s just a starting point. Jump down to ‘ongoing GMB optimization’ to learn more.
3. Google Reviews
Once the GMB listing has been created and you’ve got it chock full of valuable content, it’s time to start pushing customers to write reviews for your business. This shouldn’t be hard so long as you are performing quality work and not charging in excess however, we’ve found some business owners and operators simply don’t like asking clients for reviews after a job is complete. If that’s the case, it’s time to man up!
4. Individual Services
Within your Google Business dashboard, on the left side you will notice “Services”. If you are for instance a power washing company, you would write out each of the pressure washing services you offer such as ‘Gutter Cleaning’, ‘Roof Cleaning’, ‘House Washing’, ‘Driveway Cleaning’, etc. For each of those services tries to write out at least a paragraph of information followed by a call to action sentence such as “contact us now for the best roof cleaning services in [INSERT TOWNSHIP]”. For each of these services upload an image that represents it best.
Boost Your Local Service GMB Ranking Even Further
Ongoing Google Business (GMB) optimization
In order to compete well in your local area, you need to regularly update your GMB. That said, depending on your industry and how strong the competition may be, the amount of time you need to invest will greatly vary.
Power washing companies in most US cities will likely have a very competitive market. In order to rank an up-and-coming pressure wash business, we’d suggest you make absolutely certain to get a review from every client you do work for during the first three months of operations. You should also be taking at least six photos at every job and uploading them to your GMB daily.
Google Business Posts
Much like how important fresh content is on a blog, fresh content on your GMB can quickly help companies rise the ranks.
A few posting ideas:
Utilize Google’s article posting feature and upload a quick summary of a recent job along with images from the job.
Write a helpful article that relates to your services. In order to reach a larger market, we suggest you target these for DIY, residential homeowners and the general public. Back to the pressure washing company example, they might have success writing an article on how to safely power wash their own driveway or sidewalk. You may think this is counter-intuitive as clients will simply wash their own property instead of hiring you if they find the resource on how to do it. Here’s why you’re wrong; Homeowners looking to save the money and power wash their own driveway are already looking up resources on how to do it. They are not looking for a power washing company. Within your article, you might also mention the hazards of the DIY approach to potentially turn a DIY researcher into a customer.
Although we generally suggest companies post these large, in-depth ‘how-to’ articles to their website, with a summary to their GMB, the direct to GMB post will suffice as you may not yet have a website.
Is a website even necessary for a local service-based business? We will be coming back to answer that next month so stay tuned!
Hint: If you’ve already achieved success and are looking to EXPAND your reach with more clients, more trucks or flat out more revenue, you might find that a website is in fact a viable option for your future marketing endeavors. Do your research but if you want the best in the biz, take a deeper look at the local service-based web design and marketing offered by Idea Swell.
Great article. Thank you for this. If we write a big informative style article and post it to our website first, kinda like you did here lol, how long should our google business summery be and should we use the same main feature image? Window washing company if that matters
For the GMB summery you want to post enough to intrigue a reader. The actual content of the GMB post wont do a whole heck of a lot when it comes to ranking it directly. If the post on the GMB does not get clicked, it will not do a whole lot to help the rank of the GMB. However, if it does get clicked, it will help the GMB and your website’s search ranking. For this particular post though our GMB post text content was just over 100 words.
Great post! I’ve once helped a client optimize Google My Business for his agency’s clients. There’s really so much potential if you have the know-how. However, there’s really no telling whether what you’re doing will give your business that big boost or not. So, I think it’s doing everything that you’ve mentioned and then praying (?) that you get lucky?