Darryl and Tanya Simon founded Service Experts (previously PlumberAssist) in 2002 as a plumbing maintenance business. It has now grown it to include plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling with a team of 11.
Service Experts was a 2015 finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, and recently received a WOMO Customer Service award in 2016.
Co-founder Tanya Simon shares the company’s journey on finding a happy balance between traditional and digital marketing campaigns, from billboards and print to SEO and PPC advertising.
What have you done to market your business?
In the early days our business grew through word-of-mouth, Yellow Pages print advertising, local paper advertising and an online presence. We knew in the early days we needed to be online.
We continue to serve our existing repeat customer base that, we are proud to say, represent a big percentage of our revenue. We’ve built trust with our loyal customers who, in turn, keep referring us to friends and family. We have a solid referral program in place to constantly drive those referrals.
We maintain online and offline communication with our existing customers throughout the year and on special occasions, like their birthdays. We’ve always placed focus on our online presence and continue do this through SEO and AdWords.
Our office is located on a main road so we also capitalise on that with signage and lighting for exposure. We’ve placed a fluorescent orange toilet above the roof so it has become a memorable land icon now! Not sure what we will do when we need to move.
We have a vehicle that’s only used as a moving billboard that moves from location to location, and has a fluorescent orange toilet that sits above it for something unique and memorable. It provides a constant source of work.
Are you on social media? What’s working for you/what’s not?
Yes, we are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. Admittedly, we don’t do social media well. We do not do any direct marketing or retargeting on these platforms as we believe social media supports what we do elsewhere and creates engagement, authority and educates customers.
Our videos on YouTube have received thousands of views – our highest viewing video is more than 68,000.
What have been your digital marketing successes, and why?
Back in the early days it was much easier to be seen on the first page of Google. Now that Google change the rules so often it has become a much longer term strategy and a constant source of joy and frustration.
One day our website is #1, then it’s down again. Having a great relationship with our SEO and PPC company is definitely a reason we have digital success. It did take us a couple of years of trial and error with two different companies but now we have the formula right and it’s just a case of testing, measuring and improving along the way.
If you could change one thing about how you went about marketing from day one, what would it be?
Back in the early days when we began our business there really wasn’t an online presence – websites were just digital business cards.
Quality of workmanship and service were, and continue to be, important factors for driving referrals.
If I was to change one thing about how I went about marketing from day one, it would be understanding how to nurture the relationships online and offline with my customers. Back in those days you took it for granted that customers remembered your company name and would always use you. Now with the internet, customers have an abundance of choice when it comes to service providers
What would be your three top tips for businesses to achieve digital marketing success?
- Find the right platform for your business that targets your customer. There is no point advertising on a platform that attracts the wrong customers to your business.
- Find the right partner to deliver your set outcomes. Measure everything and ensure the platform is delivering a great ROI. Then just tweak and improve.
- Combine online and offline. Ensure one supports the other and there is consistency in your messages. Remember to nurture your customers offline too.
And what about the three things businesses should avoid at all costs?
- Avoid staying too long with a service provider that is making promises and not delivering by giving you excuses. Don’t allow them to blame Google for the reason your online campaign isn’t working. Trust us … we stayed with a supplier one year too long.
- Avoid trying to do it all yourself. Facebook advertising, AdWords – hire an expert. You can learn how to do it, but your value is greater when you spend time building your business. Partner with a great service provider who brings in the work via those channels and you focus on delivering to the customer.
- Avoid getting locked into contracts. Negotiate a win-win for both parties. Enter into a partnership with a long-term perspective. The service provider delivers new business to you via online channels and in turn creates greater revenue in the business allowing the cycle and relationship to continue.