Call a plumber! Home service firms need memorable numbers

Call a plumber! Home service firms need memorable numbers

If you’re an architect, property manager, home security specialist or home services contractor, marketing strategy may not be your top priority.

At the same time, your business is likely to sustain only minimal growth if you rely completely on word-of-mouth advertising for your next gig. You’re investing in your future if you take steps to develop at least a basic marketing strategy that can reach audiences that need or want your expertise.

“As a contractor, you do not need a strategic plan to build jobs, bid work and make money,” notes a recent Entrepreneur article contributed by Contractor Resource. “Those things can be accomplished, to some extent, even in a reactive mode. (But) once a contracting firm grows beyond the ‘mom and pop’ size, it becomes like any other business. It does not need a strategic plan to survive, but it probably does need one to really thrive.”

One of your first steps toward better marketing may be ensuring you’re reachable, since many contractors have a reputation (earned or not) for being difficult to contact. Your first step might be securing a toll-free vanity phone number that can be advertised on your vehicle, business cards, paid ads, website and/or social media. Capitalize on the fact that consumer phone use has reached epic proportions; in fact, BIA/Kelsey predicts calls to businesses from mobile devices will reach an annual 162 billion by 2019.

A prime way of emphasizing your availability? Consider a vanity number that’s ridiculously easy for would-be customers to recall. Research shows consumers are more likely to remember vanity 1-800 numbers than numeric toll-free numbers and more likely to retain them over URLs. In RingSquared case studies, strategic use of vanity numbers has led to a minimum of 25 percent call increases.

Customers who see your number and choose to call you are like gold. They present huge advantages over customers you must seek out yourself — they’re present, ready to converse and already interested in your offerings. In fact, customers who reach you by phone are 10 to 15 times more likely to buy than those who reach you via the web, says BIA Kelsey.

Vanity numbers also offer other benefits. They knock down barriers formed when customers have to write down or search for your number, they create a credible nationwide presence for your company, they’re easy to install without changing your current number and they establish trust by letting customers know you wish to hear from them. Further, their cost is at a near-historic low.

Some ways a memorable phone number can be used in your marketing:

  • Think about whether to incorporate words, repeater numbers or a combination. Choose words that clearly communicate your business function or advertising message now and as you grow. Repeating words is one option, or you may add extra letters or digits that aren’t actually dialed.
  • Consider different numbers for different departments. If your firm provides multiple trades, for example, you might use words involving plumbing, electrical and carpentry for separate informative combinations allowing for direct access to those departments.
  • Think about how memorable imagery and/or music might be incorporated into your number for ad purposes. Radio jingle? TV ad? Clever graphics?
  • Your company vehicles may be ideal moving “billboards” advertising your number. Because the average driver in the U.S. logs some 13,476 miles per year, analysts estimate a car ad can reach up to 70,000 impressions in an average day — more than either billboards, radio, direct mail, local mailers and mass transit ads. And vehicle ads cost as little as 35 cents for each 1,000 pair of eyeballs, reports
  • Could you match your vanity number with your domain name for cross-media marketing?
  • When designing ads, prominently repeat your phone number in the headline and partway through your content. On your website, make the number easy to view on each page.
  • Consider optimizing dynamic number insertions (DNI) so you can track and analyze incoming calls. The methodology is enacted by a code added to your website (similar to JavaScript) that allows you to track incoming calls to gain data about your audiences and ad spend effectiveness. Combined with customized online tools, DNI can provide even more detailed insight into your customer base, bringing you more bang for your buck when creating and placing ads, engaging customers, personalizing the customer experience, optimizing product mix and driving sales.

If you work in home services, much of your work week is likely eaten up by hands-on work. But building a basic marketing plan around your phone number doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive and could offer an excellent ROI.

“All too often, contractors are assumptive about their business: they assume the business trades only on price, or they simply have to take the market as it comes,” advises the Entrepreneur article. “You must engage the strategic management process if you ever hope to develop a superior competitive position. The good news is it can happen by design, and there is no reason that designer couldn’t be you.”

Let RingSquared help you choose a strategic vanity phone number that drives in customers seeking your expertise.