2018 is a great time to be a handyman. It’s a solid business model that’s ideal for independent-minded people who want to work for themselves.
Most handymen (or ladies…still using the gender term for now. Maybe that will change soon) are really adept at a variety of home repairs, but most have virtually no idea how to market their services.
Often the business is small (just one person), but they need their marketing structured like any other SMB. People who’ve been around for years can often survive on local word of mouth, but newcomers need to get their name out there. Also, if you’re a bigger business with a few trucks, you need to expand your reach beyond just your local neighborhood.
Here are the basics of marketing a handyman service, with ideas on how to manage digital media and a few tips that will help you edge out the competition – and maybe even corner the market.
Handyman Marketing Tip #1: Anchor Your Marketing With a Professional Website
Many local handymen think they can get away without having a website. Most are wrong.
Today, a website is your business card. It’s a reference point for people who’ve heard of you, and a starting point for people searching for a new handyman.
As a small local handyman, you don’t have to skimp on website design. Professional designs on templates are cheap (you can get a free design from Marketing 360® when you market with us), so there is no reason to have an outdated or amateurish design. Professionalism engenders trust.
Mainly, you want a website that communicates what your services are, displays any deals you have, and makes it easy for people to contact you.
It is vitally important that your website be mobile responsive. Expect a majority of traffic to come from people on their phones.
Here is an example contractor mockup on the UXI® template:
You should have your website URL on your business cards, van, t-shirts, hats, and invoices. Link to it from the local chamber of commerce and other directories.
This is your lead-generation launching pad. With a bit of effort, you can outclass your local competition.
Handyman Marketing Idea #2: Control Your Reputation and Reviews
There is content that’s more influential than your best website offer. In fact, it’s only second to an unsolicited referral.
It’s online review content. Today, people looking for a handyman (a person they can trust to come into their home) check online reviews first thing. Often, they’ll find you on Google, Yelp, Top Rated Local, or HomeAdvisor and check your review profile before going to your website.
This means that having a positive review profile across several of the most popular review websites is essential. How do you do this?
It starts with your service itself. Home service businesses today need to take on a new mindset. The days of being the burly, curt contractor who “just does his job” are over. Everything you do, from how you handle initial estimates to how you invoice at the end of the job affects your marketing. Obviously, timely, well-done work is mandatory.
With the importance of this content, you can’t just leave things to chance. It’s worth it to ask your best clients to leave you reviews – in person, with follow up calls, and with follow up emails. Make it part of your process.
Be sure to monitor your content and complete your profile on all the major review platforms. If you’re paying for leads from HomeAdvisor or Google Local Service Ads, make sure to be responsive to requests.
Pro Tip: Create a Testimonials Page
Use your website content to build trust with testimonials from your best clients. Embed these on your homepage, and have a back-page with more testimonial content.
If you can, include an image of the client, which increases credibility. And you can’t beat testimonials in your company video.
Handyman Marketing Idea #3: Prepare for Google Local Service Ads
The term Google Local Service Ads may be new to you. Get ready for it.
This is a change from text-based PPC ads that have been used by services like handymen. The big differences are that Local Service Ads:
- Have you pay by the lead instead of paying based on traffic.
- Use reviews as primary content and as an important factor in how you’re ranked.
- Allow for conversions (messaging, phone call) on the platform itself (a lead doesn’t have to visit your website to convert).
- Require a verification process/background check to get signed up.
These are still in beta in most places for handyman services, but expect to have to make this switch in your area sometime in 2018.
Right now, take two important steps. First, start getting more reviews on your Google business profile. These are the reviews that show up on the Local Service Ads results.
Next, make sure you can pass the verification process with Google. They’ll do a background check and look into your insurance, licensing, and financials. If you or anyone who works for you has a criminal record, you may not pass the background check.
This platform will work well for handyman services because the lead flow should be high quality. Get positioned ahead of your competition for maximum advantage.
Handyman Marketing Tip #4: Manage Your Facebook Page
Many local contractors and handymen blow Facebook off. At this point, not a good idea.
Facebook has several features that are useful for marketing your handyman business. The exposure of your page itself is similar to having a website. And hey, it’s free to set up.
When someone is looking for a handyman, they can create a post that is designed to get people to tag businesses in their responses. This is a common way for people to ask for local recommendations.
When I make this request, it goes out to my network. People can respond and tag the page of a local handyman they like.
Messenger allows leads to send you a text through Facebook. These are usually job inquiries and often hot leads ready to hire. People use this feature because it’s simple and fast. You can note your response time, but best to try to get back within the hour.
Beyond these features, use Facebook to give some personality to your services. Post helpful home care tips, advice on tools and appliances, and updates on your services.
Handyman Marketing Idea #5: Do SEO for Your Handyman Services
As Google Local Service Ads shape up, that will be where you rank at the top of the page for handyman searches.
But you can still drive a lot of traffic using SEO techniques, and what you rank for here comes from free clicks.
Start by making sure you rank for the base keyword “handyman + service area” (for example, “Handyman Eugene OR”). Optimize your homepage for this term by using it your title tag, description tag, and on-page content (including in a header).
For other services, create back pages for each, like this:
Optimize each of these pages the way you did the homepage (kitchen remodeling Eugene). This way you can rank when people do searches for specific services in your area.
Note that you’ll have to include the service area as part of your keyword phrase to rank for organic searches.
Pro Tip: Use Craigslist
Handyman services do better than most on Craigslist. It’s a good way to generate extra leads with no cost.
Run period ads so they stay fresh for the date. Detail the types of work you do, and include a call to action on how to get a quote. Since this is a business listing, it’s recommended that you include a phone number.
Treat your listing like a mini sales page. Many handyman services have bare bones listings. Include some photos of your work and a link to your website. The better your call to action and offer, the more leads you’ll get.
Handyman Marketing Tip # 6: Make a Business Video
People online like videos. Video gets your point across quickly, is easy to take in on a phone, and also helps your SEO efforts.
Create an introductory video that covers your services and gives people a good reason to choose your handyman services:
Handyman Marketing Idea #7: Use Newsletters to Retain Clients
The difference between contractors that experience long-term success and those that just get by is client retention. The best handyman services keep clients for years.
The best way to keep in touch with existing clients is a newsletter. This is just a monthly or quarterly update sent via email, snail-mail or both. Include service updates, tips, and seasonal deals. You can also use this content on your blog and social media pages.
A newsletter is a reminder to people that you care about their business. That’s important because there is always competition lurking, ready to low-ball on price and steal your clients. Your newsletter arrives with a nice offer, the client remembers a job they’ve been putting off, and you get the call. High ROI marketing.
Handyman Marketing Tip #8: Target the Senior Demographic
At Marketing 360®, we have several handyman marketing clients who get the majority of their jobs from senior centers and housing areas.
The reason isn’t hard to figure out. Many of the occupants of these centers are elderly widows who like to have a handyman available for what are often minor jobs. Also, these clients speak to each other about this type of work, creating great word of mouth marketing. If you get in at senior housing center, you may soon find everyone who lives there is a client.
Ask around with the management, or get to know someone who lives in this type of housing. It’s a great source of steady work that’s often not too labor intensive.
Likewise, consider targeting the senior demographic as a whole with your marketing. Use hero shots that show a handyman working with an older client. Offer deals for seniors. Optimize for services they tend to request.
Baby boomers are a huge market that many businesses ignore. They can be a goldmine for handyman services.
Handyman Marketing Tip #9: Work With Rental Owners and Property Management Companies
Two of the most lucrative relationships for handyman work is with rentals and property management companies. Like the senior living center, anywhere people are renting or selling homes there is steady work for handyman services.
Network locally to meet with property management companies, realtors, and individuals who own rental properties. Seek referrals from people you’re already working with.
Also, create paid and organic search campaigns that target these keyword phrases (rental handyman services, handyman services for property management). Make sure you have a page on your website that specifically outlines how you work with the rental/property management services.
Handyman Marketing Idea #10: Take Advantage of Marketing Software
If you’re scratching your head at this moment, wondering how you’ll manage and track all this marketing stuff while still having time to run your handyman business (or have a life!), know that you’re not alone. Digital marketing is complex, even for a small, locally-based business.
But you can also get technology working in your favor. Marketing software like Marketing 360® helps you coordinate all these different marketing channels, and – most importantly – distills the data into the points that matter to your business. You also have free CRM software and email marketing to help with your sales and client retention efforts.
Here is a demo of our marketing software features.