CI Web Group’s CEO, Jennifer Bagley, has spent the last decade talking to audiences across North America with hundreds of thousands of attendees (people just like you).
She’ll typically start with this:
Every person in the room says the same thing— Google it!
She then goes on to ask a series of questions about the search results:
Do you click on the ads?
Almost every single person in the room will say that they skip over the ads.
How about the map results?
They may or may not click on the map results.
Do you go to page 2?
Most never go to page 2, they'll perform a different search instead. In fact, we've even seen audiences where people don't know there's a page 2 of Google.
Knowing this as a business owner, what’s the strategy for showing up organically on page 1 of Google?
You will need a team that is skilled at creating a well-built, fast-loading website and a significant amount of content. A team with an expertise in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), conversion optimization, link building, and schematic markup. And you can’t just set up your website and leave it be; you have to continuously add unique and optimized content.
Heating and air conditioning companies don’t technically have a physical store that consumers visit like a shopping mall or a gas station. The only store they have is online, and it’s often neglected.
HVAC Business Case Study
In fact, in a survey of 10,000 dealers—conducted by CI Web Group, Goodman, and Amana—more than 50% had no digital presence whatsoever.
Of these 10,000 dealers, 5,680 of them had no pages at all. The problem with that is Google reads by Braille. In order for Google to identify what is in your digital store, you need to provide a page of good content for all your products and services and a page of content dedicated to all the cities you want to sell within.
That way, when someone searches for a keyword and a target location such as AC repair in [city name], your company is associated with it. For searches like this, you might have noticed that there are millions of results that pop up, depending on where you look.
Imagine each page as a file in a drawer.
Remember that scene in the movie Bruce Almighty where God is standing in the warehouse? He tells Bruce that everything he’s ever said or thought or thought about doing is in a file cabinet and then points to it. Bruce asks if he can take a look inside. As soon as he opens the top drawer, it shoots him across the room because of the vast number of files inside.
Well, that drawer represents each and every one of your Google searches. Every new search opens a new drawer with a different number of competing pages.
That’s why it’s essential to have as many pages of your website optimized so you’re found on page 1 of Google. Otherwise, your website won’t reach your potential customers.
Local Service Companies Must Take on a Digital Transformation
That means using digital technology, AI, robotics, and machine learning in an effort to improve customer experiences, to increase productivity and profitability. AI marketing and machine learning are already being leveraged to create personalized recommendations based on the real-time needs of customers as well as allow your customers to make simpler, instant decisions, which leads to a better customer experience.
Technology connects all stakeholders. It fuses silos, increases economy of scales, and increases visibility and KPI reporting while highlighting what’s going well and what’s not. Those that do not adapt their digital platforms will continue to exist and function in a scarcity mentality. Companies that successfully digitize their organization operate under an abundance mentality, where everyone in the company thrives.
While the first year may not be fun or easy,
Those who commit to meeting customers where they are will get the lowest cost per new customer acquisition of all marketing and advertising strategies and the best and most loyal consumers. Small businesses can absolutely afford to invest, as they don’t have the resources to perform the functions themselves. It’s time or money. On the other hand, large companies cannot afford to not invest as the loss of efficiencies can be massive.
Still, there are a few things holding people
back from investing in their digital store
When you don’t invest, you can’t get enough leads to see a return and you will have to discount prices.
Because of that scarcity mentality, dealers are not charging enough to sustain a growing business or pay their employees well, so they have retention issues, recruiting issues, and employee issues. They also feel like they can’t market and they end up in a horrible spiral.
A recent example of someone in this spiral comes from a dealer in Arkansas who is charging just $4,000 for an AC installation.
When you consider that dealers were charging $6,000–$7,000 back in 1975 and that homeowners are willing to pay $15,000 or more for the same service today, consumers might even feel the $4,000 price tag is a little sketchy.
These dealers are stuck in the Basic/Carnal phase of business—the first of three phases in business. They’re going as cheap as they can by doing trades and DIY as much as possible, and can’t fathom spending money on SEO and other marketing services. Those in this phase are also complaining that they can’t hire people and don’t understand why their employee retention rate is so low.
The Phases of Life AND Business
You know the phrase “Rob Peter to pay Paul”? Well, to move from Basic/Carnal to Comfort (phase 2), dealers will have to take money from somewhere else and put it into marketing in order to feel comfortable knowing they have leads coming in. Once in the Comfort phase, dealers can increase pricing by $1,000. Then another $1,000 and so on. Dealers in the second phase are perfecting their processes and focusing on visibility in the marketplace. And eventually, dealers move into the Convenience phase, where they get back the time, money, and freedom originally sought out when starting the business.
Businesses are operating as cheaply as they can by doing trades, DIYs, bargain shopping, and having to scrape for every single lead that comes through.Phase 1
This is when you can start increasing the prices of your products and services. You have visibility online and are ready to focus on quality leads and employees that will sustain them.Phase 2
You begin to see the Time, Money, and Freedom that you originally sought out when starting your business. Hire people to handle the things that you can't or don't want to take care of yourself.Phase 3