Top Lead Generation Tactics for Local Service Businesses

Matt Buchanan

The following is a guest blog post by Matt Buchanan, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Service Direct.

To run a successful local service business, you need to generate leads. Without fresh customers flowing into your business regularly, it’s almost impossible for your business to keep moving forward. Sure, repeat business is a valuable asset, but that will only take you so far. New leads are what service businesses need more than anything else, so knowing where to find them is an essential skill.

With that in mind, it helps to look at what other businesses are doing to find new customers. Where do other local service businesses turn when they need to generate leads in a cost-effective manner? We have put together a comprehensive report to address that very subject. Let’s take a closer look.

Framing the Challenges

Running a business means facing and overcoming challenges. Success never comes easy, which is why it feels so good when it does arrive. From a lead gen perspective, there are plenty of obstacles that businesses need to navigate. Only by dealing with these obstacles directly can you establish the kinds of lead generation systems that will sustain your business for years to come.

In our research, it became clear that the main lead gen difficulty service businesses face is finding quality leads. Of course these are the only kinds of leads that really matter in the end – low-quality leads who are unlikely to connect with your business won’t do you any good, as they waste resources. Ultimately, any conversation about finding more leads should be centered around  finding more quality leads. If you can find a way to track down more quality leads than your competition, you will be sitting on a gold mine.

While getting quality leads is the top concern for most in the local service industry, there are other issues that deserve attention, like boosting the amount of quality leads coming in and establishing a reliable conversion rate. Once you find a source – or sources – of quality leads, it’s important to convert as many of those leads into customers as possible. And, if you can turn up the volume of good leads flowing into your business, you will, in turn, raise overall revenues, as long as your conversion rate holds steady. 

A Clear Winner for Local Service Lead Gen

In some industries, it’s unclear what lead generation tactic is the best way to gain new leads. For local service businesses, however, there is no such confusion – referrals are king.

The best way for a local service business to get new business is to garner referrals from previous customers. There is a lot to like about referrals, including the following:

  • Instant trust. The hardest thing about securing a new client as a local service business is building trust. People don’t want to be taken advantage of and they don’t want to waste their hard-earned money. They need a reason to trust you over the competition. Building that trust is far easier when you have someone outside of your company singing your praises. When a past customer tells a friend or family member how much they love your reliable services or how friendly and professional they found you,, that comment establishes trust that you can’t get any other way. This is the magic that makes it that much easier for you to close a deal.
  • It’s free. Perhaps the best thing about getting new referral business is the cost of acquiring that new customer – $0! Any other kind of marketing is going to have a cost associated with it, whether you are buying clicks or paying for radio or TV ads. Paying for advertising is still a worthy venture, but there is nothing quite like getting new customers that didn’t cost you a penny to acquire.
  • It spreads. Earning business by word-of-mouth referral tends to grow exponentially over time. Early on, you might not have that many previous customers to spread the word. But over time your base will grow as each new job you complete successfully will be another person with family and friends to tell.

The Digital Version

When we shift the conversation and start to talk about the best online lead generation for local service businesses, the answer doesn’t actually change much – it just takes on a different form. If referrals are the best lead gen method off the internet, it stands to reason that social media would be the ideal online channel for getting new customers. After all, social media is just a digital form of word-of-mouth, so this is a natural place to get people talking about your services.

Facebook is a leader in this space when it comes to promoting local businesses. The platform is perfectly designed for this kind of promotion, as it brings people together in groups that share not only a common physical area, but common interests as well, enabling you to connect with an assortment of potential prospects all in one place Beyond Facebook, other platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can play an important role in finding new customers.

Finding the Right Mix

For most local service businesses, you won’t find anything that works better than referrals. Simply asking your past customers for referrals – or incentivizing them – is your most powerful strategy. From there, you will be able to augment your referral lead gen with other sources that bring in consistent sales and a positive ROI. Getting to that point can be tricky so plenty of testing and experimentation will be needed along the way. Every business is unique – take the time to work through all of your options to settle on the right marketing mix for you.

Matt Buchanan

Matt Buchanan is the co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Service Direct, a technology company that offers local lead generation solutions for service businesses.

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