While many business types within the home services industry are considered “essential services” and therefore allowed to continue serving customers through the current shutdown, they still need to remain vigilant of changing consumer trends during this volatile time and adjust their business and marketing strategies according to consumer behavior. Even with reduced volumes of business and more limitations on how customers can be served, there are plenty of opportunities for home services franchises to continue meeting the needs of consumers.
One way to explore these opportunities is to take a look at how consumers are searching for products and services online during this time, as this reveals shifts in how people are looking for solutions to their needs. Let’s dive into the latest Google search trends for a couple of home services sectors for a better understanding of how consumer behavior has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the use of appliances is constant and essential in most households, it’s not shocking to discover that even with a virtual nationwide lockdown in place, people still need their broken appliances repaired. This is especially true as more and more Americans work from home and begin using their appliances more frequently, causing more wear and tear as well as appliance breakdowns. Search trends on Google have shown that people are still searching for appliance repair at a consistent rate, with little to no dip in search activity.
Naturally, many customers are concerned about the safety of bringing in a repairman or technician into their home. If you have an appliance repair franchise, you can counter this fear and set your brand and business apart from the competition by addressing worries and creating content that shows how your employees of your franchise are taking every precaution to protect customers.
For example, you can create videos, blog posts, or social media updates showing the personal protective equipment technicians are wearing on the job, or highlighting the robust COVID-19 service protocol that is being used by your franchise. This helps to demonstrate that your repair technicians are being especially mindful of best practices for health and safety, which will be key for attracting business in this climate.
Interestingly, even though plumbing is also considered an essential service, this home services business type is experiencing different search trends than appliance repair. Searches for plumbers have seen a decrease in the month of March and extending into April, suggesting at first glance that homeowners and renters may be less willing to hire plumbers than appliance repair technicians during this time.
However, as many plumbers know, while a few plumbing problems can be solved with some DIY help from YouTube, many issues require professional expertise and equipment. With more people trying to disinfect and sanitize their homes, news outlets have been reporting increased incidents of backed-up toilets (ones that can’t be handled with a normal plunger) due to people trying to flush cleaning wipes away. Not only that, but plumbing emergencies continue to occur and need to be dealt with, leading to consistent search trends for more nuanced terms such as emergency plumbers and drain repair.
As a plumber, understanding that consumers are putting off less urgent plumbing needs but still need help solving plumbing emergencies may be the difference between getting jobs and having silent phone lines. Reevaluate your marketing campaigns to address shifting consumer needs during the crisis. Pivot advertising dollars to the channels where customers are engaging right now.
Recognize that consumer behavior has changed as well. With more people staying home and spending time online, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have seen a surge in usage and activity. Social media has historically been a vehicle for brand awareness and has generally seen lower marketing costs compared to paid search, therefore making it an attractive advertising option when you’re dealing with a lower budget. By creating and publishing content (such as blog posts and videos on simple DIY fixes), you can position your plumbing franchise at the top of potential customers’ minds so they know who to call when a real emergency arises.
In uncertain times, it’s essential for your franchise to make educated and calculated decisions about your marketing, as these are the decisions that will help determine the success of your business both now and in the long run. Check our COVID-19 resource page in the coming days as we analyze search trends for other franchise industry sectors. You’ll also find videos, articles, infographics, and more that you can use to build a marketing plan that will help your business persevere in these challenging times.
If you have any questions about the information you find, just reach out to us here — we’d be happy to help you overcome any challenges you’re facing.