Becoming the choice from the short list
Many HVAC, plumbing, and electrical business owners aren’t aware of how branding impacts PPC advertising in the home service business. The two seem to be diametrical opposites, right? PPC is all business, all about getting a real prospect to click on your link, while branding sometimes seems kind of like talk about rainbows and unicorns … maybe it contributes to the bottom line, or maybe it doesn’t.
Branding turbocharges PPC
You’ve probably heard about something called Google. I know … of course you have. It’s why you’re thinking about PPC. Or maybe you want to get more business out of those directory services like Angi Ads or Angi Leads (what were Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor)..
So let me ask you: how many homes have you worked in? How many vans do you currently operate? How recognizable are your yard signs? What do those vans look like? If you’re wondering what those old-fashioned questions have to do with PPC, I’ll give you my answer in one word: everything.
Let’s talk reality
You’re in a need-based business. Nobody sits there on a Thursday morning saying, “Hey, let’s go furnace shopping today!” They don’t even think about the importance of their home’s mostly unnoticed equipment in their lives until they have a need. Something isn’t working, and they’ve become uncomfortable.
So they go to Google … or one of the other channels … and look for a furnace company near their location or enter “plumber near me.” A handful of names appears on the screen. In a fraction of a second, their brain makes a choice. Do they recognize your name? If they remember seeing your trucks on the road and parked in front of homes in their neighborhood, they’re more likely to click on your name instead of your competitor’s. In other words, this high-tech choice depends on their high-touch impression of your business.
Branding vs. response
Effectiveness in most marketing channels requires finding the right balance between branding and response. PPC is one extreme in that it’s 100 percent response and zero percent branding. Television is nearly all branding and zero percent response. Everything else — outdoor billboards, radio commercials, magazine, direct mail — falls somewhere in between.
Say you’re developing and mailing a four-color direct mail postcard. If you’re not calculating its branding value as a percentage of its cost, you’re probably not making accurate comparisons between that and the other channels you use. That postcard might end up with a $200 cost per opportunity, while you’re paying just $75/click on important keywords with PPC. So PPC’s obviously the better deal, right? Well, no. At least half of the value in the postcard is the branding piece, through the impression you make on prospective or current customers, which helps to pave the way for your team to close sales.
Tracking is key
You can’t know whether your marketing efforts are truly effective unless you track them carefully and can match results with channels. And, based on the results we’ve gathered for our clients over the years, we can prove that an investment in brand will improve PPC results.
My point? The idea that you have to make an either-or choice between branding and response is unnecessary and foolish. An effective marketing plan involves a combination of elements designed to generate leads and other elements designed to strengthen the company’s branding.
If you’d like to know more about Cornerstone, and how we work as your outsourced marketing department to help grow your business, contact email@example.com. Or you can call (317) 804-5640 x108.