Small Business Marketing in 2023 for Home Improvement Businesses.
2021 was a great year for home improvement businesses. Many companies were able to ride that COVID wave for a while but business tailed off towards the end of the year.
The home improvement industry has enjoyed unprecedented demand in the last 2-3 years with businesses typically enjoying an extra 50% turnover without any additional effort to find customers. Those business owners who have jumped on the wave and ridden it hard have seen their businesses grow 3 or 4 times the expected norm.
Comments on social media groups have been interesting to watch. While some business owners have been bragging about unprecedented demand, others have scratched their heads, wondering what they did wrong.
If you enjoyed being busy in the last couple of years as consumers spent more on home improvements than ever before, you’ll want to know how to continue growing your business at that rate.
Did you take the opportunity to grow your business for the future, or were just happy to take the extra while it was there? If you took on extra staff to cope with demand, what will happen now that work levels are returning to normal? If that’s a worry for you, read on. The power of Google means that you can take control of your website traffic and generate the same demand that you enjoyed in the last couple of years.
For ambitious business owners, the last two years have provided a wealth of information that can be used to grow a business even in a recession.
In this article, we will look at three aspects of marketing for home improvement businesses.
1. What was the difference between businesses that were busy in the last three years and those that were not?
2. What can we expect from 2023?
3. How to maintain the level of enquiries that businesses enjoyed in 2021/2022.
So what was the difference?
We’ve received many enquiries from home improvement business owners who have struggled to stay afloat in a year when others are fully booked until March 2023. The most common question – ‘what are we doing wrong’? In truth, it’s likely that they didn’t do anything wrong and the businesses who have been busy didn’t consciously or deliberately do something right. With so little pro-active marketing in this industry, it’s likely been a bit of luck that their websites have been found, not because they are great, but because they are not as bad as the rest and are possibly better established.
The difference can be summed up simply. If you were found on Google when potential customers were searching, you had a good chance of growing your business. All of the audits we conducted this year showed the same problem. Inadequate websites that were not found on local search or organic. The biggest problem was cheap websites that were image heavy and too few words for Google to understand what the site was about.
What changed for the consumer post covid?
More people took to the internet to search for home improvement products and services. Consumers who could not spend money, usually reserved for holidays and leisure pursuits, chose to spend money on their homes. With the whole family at home for more of the time, the way that we live has changed. The big open-plan spaces are not practical when used as an office and for homeschooling. Homes that were previously adequate seem too small to house the same family but with different demands.
It makes sense that increased disposable income and changes in the demands of living mean that people have prioritised home improvements.
While some businesses may be so well known in their local area that they don’t need to advertise at all, most businesses rely on being found on search when a customer decides to buy a new product. With Google occupying over 90% of searches, the first port of call for most consumers is Google. Fortunately, the fact that your business has likely been busy thanks to Google also provides the solution in the data that Google provides.
What’s going to happen in the New Year?
We’ve monitored many companies of varying sizes for organic website traffic for the last two years. It’s clear that searches for home improvement services started to decline for most around July and have gradually decreased to the numbers seen pre-covid in November/December.
It’s hard to predict the market for 2023 with so much uncertainty. The last few years have caught up. Home improvement spending in 2021 has taken some of the 2023 customers out of the market. We are in uncertain times and that means consumers spend less.
Shares Magazine stated in its October 2022 edition that ‘Home improvement market grinds to a halt as consumers retrench’. They further stated, ‘Recent trading updates from various builders’ merchants and building supplies companies suggest homeowners are no longer spending as freely on ‘doing up the house’ as they were during the pandemic.’
How to maintain or increase the level of enquiries of previous years.
Search engine marketing allows a business to be responsive to demand almost on a daily basis. The old days of planning your marketing spend in advance are gone. You don’t have to wait until a three-month advertising campaign is finished to find out that it didn’t work and you’ve wasted your money.
With search engine marketing, you can make changes based on data, almost on a daily basis if you wish.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
SEO (search engine optimization) and pay-per-click (PPC) are two of the most popular forms of search engine marketing. SEO is an organic form of marketing; it can be done without spending money. While PPC campaigns cost money, the adverts only appear when someone searches for your chosen words or phrases, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
The secret to success in 2023 is to use a combination of organic and paid marketing to control the amount of traffic that visits your website. First, you need to know how much traffic your website has had during the busiest periods. When you know that, you can replicate results.
Using Google Analytics to replicate success.
Hopefully, by luck or design, you have installed a Google tracking code on your website. Even if you don’t know and have never looked at it, there’s a good chance it was installed when the website was built and has been quietly gathering data for you. Click here for more information on how to find Google Analytics.
Assuming you know how to find Google Analytics, go to the overview page. There is a wealth of information, but we are just concerned with quick and simple in this article.
On the first audience overview graph, choose a date range from Jan 1st 2021 to the last day in December and look for where the highest peaks are.
Find the busiest period from 2021 with Google Analytics.
In the graph shown, I can see that the 6 week period of April and the first half of May were the busiest. For this company, this was all organic traffic. Taking the 7,000 visitors and dividing by the 48 days selected, tells me that on average, we had 145 visitors each day during the busiest time. To keep business going at the same rate, we need to keep website traffic at the same level.
In this case, we do not at this stage, want to maintain business at its highest point which equated to approximately £220k per month. Rather, we are aiming for approximately £160k per month on average for 2023 so we want consistent good quality traffic of 100 visitors per day.
There are other nuances to improving traffic such as increasing engagement and reducing bounce rate but this is a good way to start. You can’t improve the traffic that you don’t have. Once you start analysing the data from Google Analytics, you will be surprised at how much power you have over your own business.
We had already started working on Search Engine Optimisation in the previous July. If we look back at the same period for the previous year, we can see that traffic in 2021 for the same period was 7 times higher. This is a combination of the COVID phenomenon and the work we had done to make sure this company was on the front page of Google. The 2020 graph also includes the early lockdown period when the business was closed.
Using Google Analytics to Grow Your Business.
If we now look at the complete year for 2021, you can see that we were able to use this data to increase traffic through SEO and PPC to maintain enough traffic to generate the same level of sales in the following month. This company doubled its staff in 2021 so it was essential to have a solid plan based on data to ensure that the new staff would have enough work through 2022 and beyond.
In the home improvement industry, small businesses have always been able to survive on word of mouth. A good tradesman is often referred enough to keep the order books full. The difficulty is that you can only spread man-hours so far and it’s impossible to build a business like that.
It will become tougher for businesses to grow without knowledge, or employing someone with the knowledge, of search engine marketing. Changes are happening so fast that SEM needs to become a daily part of running a business.
Use our profit calculator to work out how much profit you will make when you change the variables in your business. 3 Ways to Increase Profit.
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