In this post, learn from a small business doing an expert job in digital marketing strategy execution: Abacus Plumbing.
Abacus is a small business located in Houston, TX, serving the greater Houston area in the Plumbing, Air Conditioning, and Electrical Services sectors. In 2015, Abacus won the BBB Houston Pinnacle Award of Excellence.
When you search “plumbers in Houston tx” on Google, the first page of results returns Abacus Plumbing in the first spot in the Google Maps listings as well as on the first page in the Organic search results.
There are only three places your business can show up on the first page of Google: AdWords, Maps, Organic Listings. To show up in two out of three is great, especially when you don’t have to pay for those two placements.
What you’ll find once you click on one of Abacus’ listings is a homepage that is committed to encouraging website visitors to contact them.
Their call-to-action is displayed prominently in the upper right of the site, displaying their tagline “You Can Count on Us!” as well as their A+ BBB rating. The phone number is displayed clearly and in large font to make it easier for prospects to call them. Every good digital marketing strategy should start with your desired call-to-action and work backward, leading prospects down an easy path to perform the call and contact you.
The site also shows that they have over 5,000 reviews from customers and that they’re available 24/7. One of the first things a visitor will see on the page is an offer for new customers: $50 off of your first repair.
This offer is crucial to the success of encouraging new customers to perform the desired action, which in this case, is to call Abacus and “Schedule a Job.” Below the offer, you’ll see a written testimonial from a satisfied customer explaining why he enjoys doing business with them. Larry Kim of PPC company Wordstream says the most important factor in the success of any online marketing campaign starts with getting the offer right.
Below the written testimonial is a video testimonial from another satisfied customer explaining his experience with Abacus. This video and others are featured on the site, building trust and credibility with prospects still on the fence about choosing the right plumber. (In a world of broken promises and companies that don’t live up to the expectations they set, building trust must be a priority for any digital marketing strategy.)
The videos are hosted by Wistia, which is a great solution for hosting videos on your site because they do a great job of providing extra information about your videos in the back-end for Google SEO purposes. The videos also won’t slow your website down as much as when you self-host them.
Including a video on your website is a great way to make a personal connection with potential customers visiting your website because it allows them to make a personal connection with your business. When potential customers can identify with people who are already your customers they feel more comfortable in making the decision to do business with you.
In addition to the added trust factor, having a video on your landing page can increase conversions up to 80%. Abacus’ use of videos in their digital marketing strategy allows them to keep visitors on their website longer, giving them more chance to convince them to become a customer. People who need a plumber usually need one soon, so it’s not uncommon to have 10-20% of website visitors from a plumbing paid traffic campaign (i.e. Google AdWords or Bing Ads) to contact the business. But many website visitors will be shopping around for the perceived best plumber and best deal.
By using videos, testimonials, and new customer offers, Abacus uses a holistic digital marketing strategy to convince customers who are on the fence that Abacus is the best choice for them.
Seeing as how Abacus is found on the first page of Google for a HIGHLY competitive search phrase “plumbers in Houston tx” you can assume that much of their strategy contains things you should think about copying. In this case, their Social Media presence is certainly one of those things.
Abacus has social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, and Yelp. They have almost 1,800 followers on Facebook and over 200 on Twitter. That’s close to 2,000 people in the Houston area that Abacus can reach with offers to refer a customer, get a special return customer discount, or announce a sponsorship of a local community event.
The effects on SEO of having an active Social Media presence are clear. Their dominant presence on social media has also helped them build their brand to a highly-recognizable level in the Houston area, and with service areas numbering at a staggering 26, that’s a huge asset in an area as large as Houston.
Besides all of those benefits from their social presence, there are some advanced digital marketing strategies they can engage in with social assets.
By having those 1,800 followers on Facebook, Abacus can run ads on Facebook targeting only people who are friends of users who have liked the Abacus page. This allows you to run a campaign with laser-focus on people who you have a leg up on already. You are only targeting people who already have a reason to trust you because one of their friends already trusts you.
When you upload videos to YouTube you can use those videos as ads before other YouTube videos. Abacus can use the same customer testimonial videos that are on their website to show to people in the Houston area who have already visited their website but not contacted them yet. You can choose your own videos to target specifically, or just target people who fit your demographic profile. Abacus could target Houston pro sports teams’ videos on YouTube and have a 30-second ad played to viewers before their video starts.
The best part is, as soon as someone contacts your business you can take them off of the list to be advertised to: they will no longer see your ads, and you won’t waste money on advertising to existing customers with lead generation ads.
As previously stated, appearing for a search phrase as competitive as plumbers in Houston is a real SEO feat.
With over 35 pages and 19 blog post categories, Abacus blog (titles Alan’s Blog) is a total powerhouse. If this blog were a college football team it would be Alabama (although this year I’m hoping my Texas A&M Aggies can wear the crown of SEC juggernaut at the end of this season.)
Seriously, this blog is full of educational and relevant information related to plumbing, as well as the area of Houston in general. When it comes to digital marketing strategy, SEO is certainly one of the most important parts of the machine and, not to at all belittle the hard work of Abacus web designer and SEO team, this blog is most likely the number one contributor to Abacus’ success in the organic section of Google’s first page results.
The most important thing for Google when it comes to ranking websites in their search results is fresh, relevant content. When your website has 35 pages of informative, well-written content relating to your service lines and areas, you can bet that Google will reward that type of effort.
Blogging is perhaps the largest opportunity for small businesses across the U.S. and Europe to get more return out of their investment in online marketing. In fact, any online marketing strategy that does not include blogging is in serious trouble in the long run.
One of the most common questions business owners have about marketing is “How can I avoid wasting money on advertising that doesn’t work?” The biggest answer to that is to set up an advanced tracking system.
When you look at Abacus, they have the ability to track the source of where their phone calls come from. When you can track the source of your phone calls, you can identify which marketing channels are producing contacts and generating returns. You can see how many calls you’re receiving from Google Maps, vs. Google Organic Listings, as well as Yelp, Facebook, or various other listings services.
See the difference between the picture on the top and the picture on the bottom? The one on the bottom is using a tracking number that can change in a split second when a visitor comes to your website. The number changes based on the source the visitor comes from so that the tracking system can attribute that specific phone call to the marketing channel that is responsible for it.
Digital Marketing Strategy Explained Simply
Houston’s Abacus Plumbing is a shining example of excellent digital marketing strategy translating into excellent execution. Their use of blogging to increase search ranking on Google, Social Media to connect with potential customers, customer testimonial videos to build trust with website visitors, and their display of the over 5,200 reviews they’ve received, all work together to convince people to choose Abacus for their plumbing needs.
When small businesses approach digital marketing as an overall strategy with many moving parts working together, they can create a lead generation machine that can cost-effectively help them grow their businesses.