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4 min read

Home Services Marketing with Erin Longest

By Erin Longest

Join us as HLM's very own Erin Longest provides insights from her 7+ years of experience helping Home Service businesses get the most out of their digital marketing investment.

When you're done here, check out the Part Two post.

Be sure to view the entire interview video on our YouTube Channel!

Hey Erin! Can You Tell Us a Little About Yourself?

Sure! I'm Erin Longest and I've been in digital marketing for almost seven years now.

All of that experience has really been focused on home services, especially HVAC and plumbing, with a little bit of electrical, restoration and roofing experience as well.

I started off at a digital marketing agency that was pretty small, which was a great learning experience because I was able to do a little bit of everything and wear a lot of different hats.

That agency ended up eventually being acquired by High Level Marketing, which is how I ended up here.


Tell us about some of the biggest challenges home service companies face

Building customer loyalty is one of the biggest challenges, and opportunities, in the home services space.

With how competitive the home services industry is, and how expensive new client acquisition can be, it's really important to do a stellar job taking care of the leads you get, booking them timely, and providing great service.

Little things like letting your new customer know you're on your way to their house, ensuring your technicians interact with the customer in a friendly and professional manner, putting on shoe covers, sweeping up the floor and work area... basically going the extra mile.

And then of course after the appointment, doing everything you can to stay in touch with that customer and keep your brand top-of-mind with them is just so important because you spent so much money to acquire that new customer, you really have to make sure that you knock it out of the park with your first experience and with your follow ups.

Make sure you're emailing them, getting in front of them digitally through ads - everything you can to make sure that they know your name.

The next time they have a problem, they're going to search for you by name instead of doing a generic search on Google.

So I think that the lack of customer loyalty is a challenge that can be solved if you have really great systems and processes in place.


What do home service businesses ask for from their marketing agency - aside from just leads?

The first one is definitely leads, leads, leads, more leads, qualified leads, leads. Leads is for sure, number one.

The second thing that home service companies always ask for is organic rankings.

Google and any kind of paid search has just gotten so expensive and so competitive that one of the ways to combat that is having a really strong organic presence.

That way you're not paying for a click for the rest of your life. Once you can get good rankings organically, you're not so tied to paid search and whatever they want to charge for a click.

Consistency is really important to build your organic rankings. That's actually true for any marketing activity you're involved with.

Whether you're investing in SEO to improve your organic rankings, paid search, content through blogs, email marketing, text messaging, whatever it is, you just have to be really consistent, and don't get discouraged.

When it feels like you're sending these emails and no one's responding, they're seeing them, they're seeing your name, your brand is getting in their head and that's going to matter down the road.

Another part of consistency is making sure you have really consistent messaging across the board. So training with your CSR or whoever answers the phone is so important so that they represent your company the same way for every customer who calls in.

It's kind of the reason everyone loves McDonald's. You know you're going to get the same thing every time. It's usually going to be what you expect.

So just having that consistency with your messaging and consistency all the way down the chain is super important.


Tell us about your experience with home service businesses and private equity.

Private equity is such a factor in the home services marketing game right now!

I think most of our clients have been approached by a private equity company probably many times at this point.

I think the biggest thing for home service company owners to know if they're thinking about selling their business is that there's traditionally two models for selling to a private equity firm.

One where you sell and you move on and retire or do something different, and another where you stay on board as president or general manager and continue operations.

So obviously that's a huge decision to make.

I think either way, it's hard to let go of control sometimes, so I think the biggest factor here is just making sure that, if you do stay onboard, you understand that you're not going to be in charge anymore and the company that's taking over probably has different priorities than you

Just having that gut-check with yourself to make sure you can go from being a leader, to having a seat at the table - but not having the final say on everything - is important.



Were there any marketing lessons learned during the Midwest freeze of 2021?

The Midwest had a major freeze in 2021. I mean, below zero or below freezing. I can't recall exactly, for many, many days on end in Texas, which almost never happens.

We had lots of clients, especially HVAC and plumbers, who got business for months and months and months from that.

But it was definitely a learning experience for things like your Google local services accounts where most of the time we can't get those accounts to spend what we want them to spend.

All the sudden we had accounts that spent $20,000 in a day! So, kind of a cautionary tale when you try to manipulate certain systems to max out marketing and paid ad budgets.

Every once in a while it can come back to kind of kick ya in the butt!


Author: Erin Longest

Senior Customer Success Manager

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