By Misty Knight, Zodiac Pool Systems / firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember playing the “telephone” game as a child? You sit in a circle where one person whispers to the next person what was said and then the person at the end of the line tells everyone what they think was originally said. Even though I am speaking of a child’s game, word of mouth has always been one of the most effective means of communication. Word of mouth has been the marketing staple for growth within our industry. It’s truly the easiest and most cost effective way to market your company and the services it provides.
“Refer a friend!” “Share with your neighbors!” BUT does it work in today’s society? With the touch of a button, you can get reviews for anything. Do people really just take someone’s word for it knowing that they can easily do their own research from the device in the palm of their hand?
Are you doing research before you hire someone or buy something? For example, if you are going to hire someone to install hurricane impact windows, are you calling the first person who pops up online? No, you are not. You are looking at the quantity of reviews they have online and actually reading them in detail. You go to their website to find out more information, and if that website doesn’t load fast enough, then you move on to another company and go to their website. You are doing your due diligence to make an educated decision before you buy. This is how consumers behave and it’s a reality we must embrace. Being in the pool industry for over 15 years has given me insight into what we, as an industry, need to do to make our mark in the digital landscape that drives successful businesses, big or small, in today’s marketplace.
If you don’t believe me, then take at a look at some of the stats:
-97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (Forbes 2016)
-81% of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase (Retailing Today, 2017); 80% of global search traffic is on Google (NetMarketShare)
-93% of all web traffic comes from a search engine (Search Engine J)
-80% of global search traffic is on Google (NetMarketShare)
-85% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (BrightLocal, 2017)
-7: the number of reviews a person needs to read before trusting a business (BrightLocal, 2017).
Is your website up to date? Mobile optimized? Do you make an effort to get good reviews and dispute bad ones? Do you monitor where you stand online compared to your competition? Ninety-nine percent of people never make it past page one of Google search results (Junto). Do you have a good rating in the online review websites that consumers trust most? Yelp and FB are the most trusted places to find reviews followed by Google and BBB.org (BrightLocal, 2017).
I am often asked, “Where do I start?” If your expertise is within the pool industry and not in the digital marketing, don’t try to do this on your own. It will not work effectively. Hire the right person to help you develop a marketing plan. Make sure that digital marketing company understands our industry to convert traffic into quality leads, and ultimately, sales. An effective digital marketing strategy takes highly interested consumers (or leads) and drives them to action. For example, filling out an online form or making a phone call, with the end goal resulting in a conversion or sale of services or goods. Creating momentum to drive business means understanding how consumers behave online and then setting up the proper digital components; an effective website, reputation management (i.e. reviews) and pay-per-click campaigns-to channel those consumers to your company’s digital “door step.” Doing this requires some financial investment on your part, but your business is worth it and just remember; you have to spend money to make money!