Knowing where the roofing industry is going in the digital marketplace helps you prepare for the future.
By Art Unlimited.
Google’s Bite Will Be Worse Than Its Bark
We’ve already seen the movement of Google using the Business Listing section to drive customers to instant gratification and convenience. Choosing to turn a cold shoulder to Google could mean biting the hand that feeds you, because Google is going to start ranking websites locally by your Google Business Listing involvement.
Our prediction for 2018 is that Google will start using Local Service Ads (formerly Google Home Services) to get contractors who have the coin to show up higher in paid ad spots. Organic search efforts will continue to drop lower down the page with the presence of more ad space in search results. If you are not utilizing Google Adwords (or aren’t spending enough), your phone will slowly stop ringing. In talking with roofing contractors from across the U.S. at this year’s International Roofing Expo, we’ve found that lack of tracking and proper digital marketing investment has made many contractors start to see a drop in call volume like never before.
What’s even more interesting is that the work you’re doing to build your reviews on your business listing aren’t even the same reviews that show up in Local Service Ads (LSA)! The reviews you gain through LSA are separated off into the LSA platform, and if you leave the program, you lose the reviews gained! Thus, those who choose to stick with the program long term will see a higher ROI.
Google Guaranteed Businesses Will Sneak Further Into Voice Search
We’ve been hearing some rumblings for a while about Google Guaranteed providers and how that’s affecting other industries. So, what exactly is it? Google wants to background check businesses (this is happening currently in quite a few contracting industries such as Electrical, Heating & Cooling, and Plumbing) to ensure they have relevant insurance and licensing. If a business has met the required qualifications, Google is so committed to standing behind this background checked business to the point that Google says they will refund dissatisfied customers. We foresee this entering the roofing industry in the next year.
- Google will guarantee a service provider and reimburse a customer who is dissatisfied for up to a lifetime cap of $2,000 per customer.
- Google will place a nice green check mark by your business’s local listing, signifying that Google will guarantee your business. This appears in voice search results (Google is also pulling in BBB, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor information as well to “work with” other listing programs and not appear biased).
- It can take an “indefinite” amount of time to pass their background check requirements
- If something is not satisfying, customers can file a claim.
With the higher volume of voice-activated searches, Google is taking the opportunity to show Google Guaranteed providers first in the list of results displayed. Soon, “Find the phone number for a roofer near me,” will be a hands-free way to show up above your competitors.
The caveats to this program you may ask?
- You have to recertify your business every 3 months
- You have to get a background check on every employee
- You have to report any staff changes and get new people background-checked
- If you get any “serious or repeatedly negative customer feedback,” you could see your rankings drop. (Just throwing it out there that Google might feel a $2,000 payout is serious enough to de-rank you.)
- You can add pricing into your Home Service Ads, so customers can potentially price-shop away!
- As price per lead increases, you will see a smaller amount of players stay in the game, and those that do will inherently reap additional benefits (and get to keep their LSA reviews!).
- Being a part of BBB, Home Advisor, and Google Guaranteed could become the trifecta unicorn of voice-activated search. (Just like in the Boy Scouts, those badges mean work!)
DIY Videos Will Create Higher Competition for Brand Names
With educational videos galore, consumers are starting to enjoy finding out how to do things themselves. This doesn’t mean that roofers will lose all their customers. Those in the middle income bracket that try to DIY will try to tackle the parts of the project that they feel confident accomplishing to save a little on their roof replacement. Roofers can utilize this information by educating potential customers in their time of need to build trust and be prepared for their replacement. Roofers can also work with manufacturers to explain the decision making process behind choosing the right kind of roofing products for a home based on roof type, climate, practicality, etc.
Manufacturers will start using educational material to target consumers specifically with their products and terminology to ensure customers know what they want when they call a roofer or go into the store. Here’s an example of product advertisements showing up below a DIY video on PEX plumbing. In many cases, DYIers will be able to view and purchase supplies for projects they are working on below the video itself!
As consumers become more educated on their options, roofers need to increasingly display their expertise to customers by knowing their product offerings and having educational material to back up the recommendations they make to those homeowners.
Your Brand Will Come At The Cost of Labor & Material
As with any industry that has gone through a labor shortage, we will start seeing fewer and fewer brand names across the internet. If you can keep your employees, and keep them happy, your roofing business will survive. Within the industry, it will become increasingly hard to find workers. We’ve already heard the horror stories of other companies incentivize entire crews to jump ship, so what does it mean to create an amazing work environment where your team shows you loyalty?
Further to that challenge, what does it mean to showcase your amazing work environment through your marketing channels to make sure other people hear about you? Keeping your brand active and relational across the web keeps your hiring market aware of who you are.
The cost of labor is not the only problem we predict becoming a struggle for small to medium roofing companies. Manufacturers are struggling to find labor as well. Technology has been a pain point solution for them. By making more automation and increasing production times, they can afford to offer bigger discounts for bulk orders. As brands gain more weight with consumers, they’ll know what they want to buy and who offers it. Roofing companies that order in bulk are going to reap the benefits.
If there’s one thing small roofers are passionate about, it’s quality work. This needs to be constantly reinforced in the mind of the consumer, as bulk discounts will make it a certainty that small to medium-sized roofing companies won’t be in the same price ballpark in the near future.
Chatbots Will Be A New Lead Channel
Consumers are just scratching the surface of finding information by asking technology. The next step in a detailed search is asking experts within an industry for additional information. But wait, they don’t want to call you. Thus, enter the chatbot.
Chatbots are ready and able to answer your customers’ questions 24/7. There is, however, a difference between a chat service and a chatbot. A chat service, instant chat, or live chatting, is when a human being behind a computer seeks to help a customer answer a question. You can hire companies to do this very thing for your business. A chatbot is where you program a robot to answer someone’s questions, but their responses are limited to what you program them to learn about and answer questions about.
We predict that chatbots will increase within websites and social media all over the industry this year. They will help draw in customers and gather lead data with minimal effort. In our research, we’ve found older generations still have negative tendencies towards them, but within the next few years, they will become a normal part of information-gathering.
As with all predictions, time will tell us if they are correct. We’re pretty passionate about keeping our ear to the ground for changes that will be happening in the roofing industry soon, so we should be seeing many of these roll out sooner than later. There is, however, a lot that we do know about digital marketing today that can help your roofing business get to the next level. Contact Art Unlimited with your questions. We’re glad to help!
Source: rooferconfee =>2018 Digital Predictions for The Roofing Industry