5 PROVEN MARKETING TECHNIQUES THAT WILL HELP GROW YOUR INSPECTION BUSINESS THIS YEAR
25 Mar

5 PROVEN MARKETING TECHNIQUES THAT WILL HELP GROW YOUR INSPECTION BUSINESS THIS YEAR

Starting a new home inspection business is no easy task and requires a lot of time and effort. And even after you’ve achieved some success from some steady, reliable clients who kick you some business on the regular, it can become difficult to get to that next level of growth. You need to perfect your inspection service offering, select the right sales channels, research your target customers (no, you can’t simply default to “realtors”), and more.

However, no matter how good your inspection services are or the expanded ancillary services you provide, people won’t know about your business unless you market it. That might seem like a no-brainer, but marketing is an essential part of establishing your brand and generating sales leads for your inspection business. In this post, we will discuss a few of the best marketing techniques that will help you grow your inspection business both in size and reputation.

1. Tell Your Brand Story. Be Authentic. But Maybe Not THAT Authentic.

This may be the most important technique to remember from this post. For any business, it is critical to connect with its target audience and form a distinct brand image. Telling your brand story is one of the best and most effective ways to achieve that.

Brands that are authentic – honest, transparent, up-front, and proud of their unique(ness) – and have a good story about how they came to be, are often more memorable and form lasting impressions. So, if you want people who hear about your brand for the first time to remember it, tell them your brand story.

Let’s be clear though. Brands are like people. And just because someone is “memorable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean they are memorable in a good way.

For example, we all know that guy who is loud, often over-the-top, sometimes crude, fun to hang out with occasionally, but just not for everyone. We’ll call him “Bob.” It probably takes a special type of person to tolerate Bob for any extended period of time, and even those more charitable individuals grow weary of Bob’s antics and behavior after a while. However, there are a lot of colorful stories Bob tells. He doesn’t really care what people think – he’s just “keeping it real” and being his authentic self – and while we cringe, roll our eyes, and occasionally chuckle during Bob storytime hour, we’re really laughing more at Bob than with him. This is bad memorable.

Conversely, we all know that other guy. Let’s call him “Tim.” Tim is kind, responsible, funny, always positive, and you just feel great being around him. He also integrates well into your network of family and friends. He’s thoughtful – calling or sending a text on your birthday, picking up the occasional check for lunch or dinner, and giving you his full attention when you’re talking. Tim has some colorful stories too – equally entertaining as Bob’s – but he never crosses any inappropriate lines and he’s careful not to throw other people under the bus to make himself seem better in some way.

Now, if you think of Bob and Tim in terms of a brand, which do you think will appeal more to a broader audience? Tim of course.

So, when you present your brand and tell your brand story, do it in a way that is authentic and memorable, but not in a way that is “too colorful” or off-putting. Think about your broader audience and provide details that place a spotlight on what makes you and your business unique, but only in ways that generate a positive lasting impression. This is the feeling you want your audience to have – and when it’s done well, and you combine that with great overall service – you will have increased your leads and the desire for repeat business. Be like Bob!

2. Build an SEO-Friendly Website

The first thing any inspection business needs is a website where people can learn about your business and buy your products or services. If you build a website that is optimized for both the search engines and conversions, then you’ve already crossed the first hurdle. Way to go!

Now, getting organic traffic to your website should be your first priority before you start investing in other marketing tactics. NOTE: This isn’t always an easy task. So, unless you already have some experience here or are a gifted wordsmith and capable of generating quality, relevant content that connects with your audience, you probably want to get some outside assistance.

Here are some things that you should consider:

  • Create good-quality content on trending topics in your niche.
  • Do extensive keyword research before creating your website content.
  • Incorporate your primary keywords into all your website landing pages, titles, meta descriptions, etc.
  • Use structured data to get better SERP rankings for your web pages and make your SERP listings stand apart from others.
  • Focus more on local SEO and long-tail keywords.
  • Don’t forget to take care of technical SEO aspects like page-load speed and website design.

There is a lot that goes into building an SEO-friendly website, but these tips should get you started on the right path. However, if this all sounds like Greek, don’t be afraid to call in the experts!

3. Leverage Social Media Marketing

As a small-business owner, one of the cheapest and most effective forms of marketing that you can invest in is social media marketing.

If you’re willing to invest time and effort into it, you can do this in-house with minimal expenditure. And, as your business grows, you can start leveraging social media marketing tools to manage your accounts.

Just remember to keep your brand in mind at all times. It’s easy to default to a more relaxed or casual approach to marketing on social media. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t let relaxed and casual translate to sloppy and inconsistent. Whatever you post, make sure it’s consistent with your brand image, identity, and the messages you wish to convey to your target audience.

Here are some social media marketing tips to get you started:

  • Select the right platforms where your target customers are active.
  • Find your brand voice and stick to it.
  • Be regular and consistent in posting social media content.
  • Use high-quality, eye-catching visuals to attract audience attention.
  • Add your website link in your social media bios.
  • Use tactics that drive social media traffic to your website.
  • Use popular and relevant hashtags to reach more people.
  • Create your own branded hashtags to track your campaigns.

For any home inspection business, there can be a lot that goes into formulating a winning social media marketing strategy. These are just some tips to get you started. Once you have mastered these, you should dig deeper, upskill yourself, and try more advanced social media marketing tactics.

4. Establish Your Expertise in Your Niche

Not all home inspectors are created equal. That’s right. We said it. Some inspectors have years of experience while others are just inspecting their first dark and dreary crawl space for the first time. However, determining how to establish your expertise in the home inspection industry is one thing that can help you distinguish yourself from other inspectors and their businesses while building your brand image. Everyone else is probably using the same marketing tactics as you are; so, you need to find additional ways to set yourself apart.

Focusing on establishing yourself as an industry expert is one such tactic.

Here are some of the ways in which you can do that:

  • Start a blog and create informative and useful content on topics within your niche.
  • Join community forums like Quora and answer questions there.
  • Engage in discussions on industry association sites like InterNACHI or ASHI.
  • Engage in discussions on social media on relevant topics within your areas of expertise.
  • Host webinars and podcasts on useful and relevant topics. Invite other experts to get more visibility and reach.
  • As you start making waves in the inspection industry, people will start inviting you for interviews and podcasts. Make time to participate in these things as it further enhances your reputation.

5. Create and Promote Explainer Videos

This tactic, while relevant for most businesses, is especially important for home inspection business owners looking to spread brand awareness.

Even the best of businesses with amazing products and services can struggle to gain that initial momentum and get people to learn about their brand. And, if you launch an innovative product, then it is even more difficult to make people understand what it is and how it can help them.

Just as we said earlier that not all home inspectors are alike, neither are all home inspections. We know that comes as no surprise, but it’s often frustratingly true for too many inspectors who really want their customers to understand everything that goes into performing an exceptional home inspection. And how much potential time, money, and headaches a great inspection and report can save anyone looking to buy that most expensive and personal of investments – a home.

For inspectors, some great explainer videos can really help to remove any of those initial hurdles where most businesses fail to make their target customers truly understand the value that they’re providing. And these videos are a great way of demonstrating an inspector’s knowledge and understanding of the home inspection process – while also giving a little exposure of the people involved in the process and the thinking behind it.

Two examples of inspectors doing a great job on the explainer video front are Christopher Murphy with A-Action Home Inspection Houston and Rose Buckley with US Inspect.

Christopher and his team have been providing explainer videos, and a host of other video content, for several years now. Here’s a taste of some of that great content

Rose established her presence in the industry several years back – expertly creating and distributing her video content, which has helped to serve as a critical foundation for her growth and brand awareness. You can see some of this great content HERE

Bottom line, if you’re not creating and using explainer videos for your business, it’s time to start. And don’t get frozen into inaction overthinking your videos need to be Oscar-winning pieces of content. They don’t. They do, however, need to be short, to-the-point, on-topic, and have relevant value to your audience. Focus on the latter and you’ll be surprised by the positive reactions and boost you get from their production and dissemination.

What Next?

If you have a small home inspection business and are struggling to meet your marketing goals, try the tactics outlined in this post. These are tried-and-tested marketing techniques that can give you the push you need to ace your marketing game.

Try these out and see the results for yourself!

How Customer-Centric is Your Home Inspection Business?
21 Dec

How Customer-Centric is Your Home Inspection Business?

In today’s home inspection industry, competition for customers is more intense than ever. And there exists a multitude of marketing tactics any inspector can employ to reach a variety of demographics. However, while marketing is incredibly important, studies continue to show that an enhanced customer service experience quite often surpasses those marketing tactics — and serve as a powerful marketing tactic in its own right. In the following, we’ll take a look at the importance of providing exceptional customer service — and how it can actually boost your home inspection business and its bottom line.

In an article on Forbes.com, contributor Shep Hyken states that customers expect above-the-bar service with every experience, and they make decisions such as repeating business or taking their patronage elsewhere based on just one subpar experience. Hyken writes, “Your customers no longer compare you just to your direct competition. You are being compared to the best service they have ever received… Customers now know what great customer service looks like, and they expect it from you.” Sound a little unfair? Sure does! But if your customer is riding high off of their amazing meal from last night at that local five-star restaurant with the best, most charming, attractive and attentive wait staff in town, well…you better be ready to meet (and maybe exceed) those customer service expectations they now have fresh in their mind and will be comparing to your approach to customer service.

Excellent customer service even outranks quick service. Shocked? I mean, who doesn’t love quick service? We’re Americans! We want everything yesterday. However, turns out, we’re willing to sacrifice a bit of time for excellence.

After being faced with an onslaught of “potential spam” calls on their smart phones, automated call services that give them the runaround, and online chatbots, Glady.com’s 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey found that customers prefer a personalized customer experience far more than speedy service: “Sixty-one percent of the people surveyed felt they were treated like case numbers rather than people. The survey found that 59% of customers said being treated as an individual was more important than how fast the issue was resolved (53%).”

Is it any surprise that after so many years of companies making “progress” on how fast we manage the sales and service process – sacrificing that personal touch and those basic human interactions called “conversations” – that we’re now experiencing a shift back to a more human-to-human approach?

As customer service continues to evolve, staying on top of (or rather ahead of) what customers want most when it comes to their experience is extremely important. Meeting and exceeding the needs of your customers will often land you in a strong position to charge more for your services. How so? Because consumers are even willing to pay a premium to ensure they receive the kind of high-quality, no hassle customer service they expect. In his Forbes article, Hyken notes that customers will “reward the companies they enjoy doing business with by coming back – and paying more.”

And the Glady survey results back that claim, indicating that 68 percent of survey responders would pay more to the company that provides great service. The majority of the surveyors (27 percent) would pay 10 to 20 percent more and eight percent would even be “willing to pay over 20% more if the service was great.” Another study performed by McKinsey & Company reported that 67 percent of customers say they’d definitely be willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

So, ask yourself this: What would it cost you in time, money and resources to better ensure that your inspection company could provide exceptional customer service at every interaction and impression point your customer has with your business? Are you doing it already? Is it completely effective or do you need to make some improvements and tweaks? Whatever the case, once you’re truly dialed in, not only would you be able to charge more, but you’d immediately set yourself apart from the competition who believes they are already providing exceptional customer service – when in fact, they quite often are not. And that “not,” can come at a high price.

One of the biggest issues saddled with not providing superior customer service in today’s world of online reviews and social media, is that word spreads like wildfire…

According to the American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer, “Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.” That same study also reported a whopping 33 percent of Americans will consider switching companies after just one single instance of poor service. More alarming yet, Newsvoicemedia.com reports that “U.S companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.” A lot of inspectors today can’t afford to take the risk to lose even one customer due to poor service – let alone experience a wave of new or repeat customer losses as a result of crushingly negative online reviews.

Whether it’s the home inspection industry or not, companies that interact with customers in any capacity should consider themselves in the business of people — of making them happy and retaining them. This in itself can make a vast difference in a business’s bottom line. Bain & Company reports that “increasing customer retention by five percent increases profits anywhere from 25 to 95 percent.” There’s likely not a company out there that couldn’t benefit from increased percentages like that by refocusing their efforts on providing excellent customer service.

Now, back to that question of how much time, money and resources should you invest to ensure you are providing an unparalleled and consistent customer service experience with every customer interaction. The benefits of providing awesome customer service are clear, but the time, money and resources required to make it happen are probably still a bit muddy. The answer is: It depends.

There are many shapes and sizes of home inspection companies and no one inspection business owner operates completely the same. Further, depending on what business lifecycle phase (the progression of a business in phases over time) your inspection company is in, will dictate what kind of approach to take and/or changes you should consider making on the customer service front. In addition to that, you must really examine the severity of the issues that may or may not be hampering your ability to provide beginning-to-end exceptional customer service. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a far better idea of just how much time, money and resources will be required to make critical alterations and course corrections.

Now more than ever, home inspectors need to be providing a level of customer service that is truly exceptional. Your customers demand it, are willing to pay more for it, and they’ll tell others all about it. In today’s highly competitive, highly automated world, good old-fashioned customer service is king. And to achieve long-term, sustained success…you must do what’s required to earn the crown.

5 Proven Customer Service Tactics to Level Up Your Home Inspection Business
10 Aug

5 Proven Customer Service Tactics to Level Up Your Home Inspection Business

Providing excellent customer service has become one of the most highly effective ways to increase business. Consumers have time and again recognized the value of this component — and are willing to pay a premium for the kind of customer service they have come to expect, and nothing less. While it may sound like a daunting task, providing unparalleled customer service can be easier than you think. Here are five customer service tactics to help you take your business to the next level.
Read more »

Not so Fast Revenue… Profit is Just as Critical for Your Inspection Business to Succeed
15 Feb

Not so Fast Revenue… Profit is Just as Critical for Your Inspection Business to Succeed

Every business owner knows revenue is vitally important to the success of any business. Without revenue, there is no ongoing business or continued growth, no way to pay the costs of running the business…and ultimately, without sufficient revenue, no viable business to speak of at all. Read more »

On My Mind: Answer the Phone  –  by ASHI President, Tim Buell
26 Mar

On My Mind: Answer the Phone – by ASHI President, Tim Buell

To answer or not to answer your phone? This has always been one of the million-dollar questions in our industry. Here’s some context to help you make the right decision for you and your business.

Did you know it’s been estimated that as much as 85% of callers who can’t reach a company on the first try will not call back? And 75% of those same callers will not leave a voicemail. So, for home inspectors, it’s safe to assume that if you are out on an inspection with a client and Realtor® and the phone rings, if you don’t answer it, that person will most likely hang up and the business will be lost. On the flip side, if you do answer the call, you run the risk of upsetting your client and the Realtor® because you are being paid to complete their inspection and not answer the phone. Given that challenge, what exactly is a successful, in-demand inspector to do?

Click here to download this highly informative article from Tim Buell, President of ASHI

or

Click here to access the entire March 2018 ASHI Reporter