It’s pre-season, the time of year when lots of our Service Industry customers are out there working like crazy to line up jobs for their crews this spring. And part of this annual ritual is the constant effort to find new clients.
Every company is looking for that magic tactic that’s going to drive customers to their doors. And while there’s no single silver bullet we can recommend to everyone, we do think lots of companies can improve many of their tactics by taking time to consider how their customers think.
For example, if you’re struggling to land new clients this year, maybe you should ask yourself if you’re using the right words. Specifically, do you use the same words to talk about your business that your customers use when they talk about it? Most importantly, do you make it a point to use their language when you talk about yourself online?
Words Matter More on Your Web Site
Most of our large customers (and many of our smaller ones) rely on their websites as the biggest part of their marketing mix. Why? Because it helps your business capture search engine traffic (find new customers) and confirms your identity and competency to prospective customers (helps close sales).
And when you talk about the business you’re in, the work you do, and the services you offer, try to use the same words, terms and phrases your customers use. It will make it easier for them to find your website and will reinforce their interest when they arrive there.
If you’re like many American businesses, you might naturally talk about the services you offer using industry terminology. But often, your customers won’t know or use the same terms as the pros. If your customers talk about you differently than you talk about yourself, it might be a really good idea to think about changing your messaging.
For example, an Asphalt Maintenance company might list one residential service they offer as “Driveway Sealcoating”. Their customers might think of an asphalt surface as “Blacktop” and search for “Driveway Sealing” “Asphalt coating”, or “Sealcoat”.
The same holds true for customers in the Landscaping and Lawn Care industries. When they go looking for someone to do the job, using Google, or Bing, Angie’s List, or the Yellow Pages, subtle differences in how they search make big differences in whether they’ll find you.
And Some Insight:
But how will you know what terms your customers use? First, we suggest the simplest trick is just to listen. Listen to your customers and to people you meet. If they’re using terms that don’t make it into your marketing plan, so are your customers!
Another trick is to use a Digital Insight tool to help you understand customer behavior. We wrote about some of these tools in This Post last summer.
Getting The Data:
We went ahead and did some research on keyword use for our Green and Asphalt industry customers. Here are a few examples of keyword search volumes for industry terms. These are insights we got for free as reported by one of the common Digital Insight software tools. We got them this February 2016. You may find some of these results a little bit surprising… I know we did!
Green Industry: (USA)
- Lawn Services ~ averages 246,000 searches/month.
- Lawn Service ~ averages 368,000 searches/month.
- Lawncare ~ averages 450,000 searches/month.
- Lawn Maintenance ~ averages 550,000 searches/month.
- Lawn Care ~ averages 673,000 searches/month.
- Landscaping services ~ averages 40,500 searches/month.
- Landscaping service ~ averages 49,500 searches/month.
- Landscape service ~ averages 60,500 searches/month.
- Landscaping companies ~ averages 74,000 searches/month.
Asphalt Industry: (USA)
- Sealcoat ~ averages 40,500 searches/month.
- Seal coat ~ averages 49,500 searches/month.
- Sealcoating ~ averages 60,500 searches/month.
- Driveway sealcoating ~ averages 12,100 searches/month.
- Driveway sealing ~ averages 40,500 searches/month.
- Blacktop driveways ~ averages 74,000 searches/month.
- Asphalt paving ~ averages 90,500 searches/month.
And sometimes, it even depends on where you are
- “Snow Plowing” gets 20% more searches than “Snow Removal” in the USA
- “Snow Plowing” gets 63% less searches than “Snow Removal” in Canada
- More searches indicates higher use, possibly indicating more commercial value… but…
- More searches may also indicate greater competition for traffic, giving less-searched terms a value of their own.
Pick Your Battles:
Consider not only the popularity of the terms but also how many of your competitors are out there competing for attention with them. In many cases, being the undisputed winner of search traffic for a mediocre keyword may be much better than being the 16th-best result for the most-popular one.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s definitely worthwhile thinking about how your customers perceive your services. And choosing your words carefully can help you do a couple of very important things that will help your business grow:
- Capture Search Engine traffic.
- Assure clients that you do what they need done.
Seems like something worth taking seriously to us.