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How Far Away Is the Average Home Services Customer?

Woman in her kitchen on the phone in front of her laptop

The more you know about your customers and how they’re looking for services like yours, the easier it is to appeal to them and win their business.

One of the customer insights you should be aware of is where your customers are located… specifically which communities they typically live in and how close they are in relation to your business. When you’re equipped with this information, you’re able to make smarter decisions about your marketing, such as where to show your ads and which customers to target.

To give you a starting point in your research, we decided to share some of our internal data that shows how far away the average customer is for home services businesses.

People are searching locally for home services professionals

We started out by doing some keyword research and analysis, and one of the biggest trends we noticed is that localization matters A LOT when people are searching for a home services provider like a plumber, HVAC professional, electrician, etc. “Localization” refers to people’s use of location-specific terms in their online searches—these are terms such as a city name, a zip code, or the phrase “near me.”

The reason localization is so important is that it is a strong sign that the searcher has a high level of “intent,” meaning there’s higher probability that they’re ready to hire a professional right then and there (rather than just doing general research about a problem). Let’s look at a few examples we found.

According to our research, as of March 9th, 2020, here are some of the most popular terms people use when they’re closer to the point of hiring a plumber, HVAC specialist, or electrician (rather than researching a problem):

  • “plumbers near me”

  • “plumbing near me”

  • “+plumber +local” (meaning both the terms “local plumber” and “plumber local”)

  • “hvac near me”

  • “furnace repair near me”

  • "heating and cooling near me”

  • "electrician near me"

  • "electrical contractor near me"

  • "electric service near me"

Notice a pattern? All of these search terms include some form of localization, with the term “near me” being especially popular. We also wanted to see what type of growth has occurred over time for these types of keywords, so we looked up the search trends for “repair near me.” Here’s what we found:

Google Trends graph showing rising popularity of the search query "repair near me" from 2015 to 2020

As you can see, the popularity of the search term “repair near me” has seriously spiked over the past few years, showing that people are thinking hyper-locally when searching for businesses that can help them with their home services needs.

Google infographic stating that mobile queries for "repair near me" have grown over 110% in two years

Distance plays a factor in how you attract new customers

All of this information about the locality of customer search trends brings us to our next point...

Distance can play a huge role in who sees your ads and who ultimately decides to contact your business to ask about your services or schedule a service appointment.

We analyzed the paid search advertising campaigns (the ads that appear in search results) of more than 900 plumbing, HVAC, and electrical service businesses that work with Scorpion. The data reflected campaigns from over the past year, from March 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.

From this research, we found that these home services professionals saw the highest volume of impressions (ad views), clicks, and leads (people reaching out to the business) when the potential customer was within 15 miles of the business, with the sweet spot being 5-10 miles away.

Our data found that 65% of impressions, 67% of clicks, and 72% of leads came from within a 15-mile radius of the business.

A graph showing the number of impressions (in 1,000s) over distance (mile interval) for home services ad campaigns

A graph showing the number of clicks over distance (mile interval) for home services ad campaigns

A graph showing the number of leads over distance (mile interval) for home services ad campaigns

So, what does this tell us? It says that it’s smart to focus your marketing efforts on potential customers right in your immediate community (and nearby communities you serve) if you want to increase their chances of attracting more jobs.

Here’s what happens when distance increases...

Next, let’s look at how a greater distance impacts your ability to get people reaching out to your business.

Here are two charts based on our client data, which show what happens to your click-through rate (CTA) and conversion rate as the distance of the customer increases.

For reference, your “click-through rate” (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on your ad after viewing it. Meanwhile, your “conversion rate” is the percentage of people who become new leads for your company by taking a specific action, like filling out a web form or calling your office.

As we can see from the data, the click-through rate does not appear to be as dependent on distance, as the highest CTRs occur for both nearby and far-away customers.

However, for the conversion rate, we see a clearer pattern—the percentage of people taking action after viewing a home services business’ ad (filling out a form, calling your business, etc.) steadily declines as distance increases. This means the farther away a customer is, the less likely they are to “convert,” or contact the business for more information.

The one thing to remember

If you’re going to remember one thing from this data, it should be that customers tend to look for and choose home services professionals who are closer to home. As a result, you should think about how you can add more localization to your marketing efforts.

You can do this by using keywords that incorporate “near me” and name of your community, as well as the names of nearby communities where you want to do business. You can also select a smaller mile radius when setting up the geographic area you want to target for your digital advertising campaigns on platforms like Google and Facebook.

Do keep in mind, though, that customer trends vary from business to business and from location to location, so you will need to do some research into what makes the most sense for your particular business.

If you need help determining the best way to target your ideal customers, contact us and talk to a home services digital marketing expert from our team!