9 Steps to Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation (2021)

Joe and Mark in front of Tappanzee Bridge

Digital marketing for a local business like yours can be overwhelming.

There are literally thousands of ways you can go about connecting with local homeowners.

You’d love to learn how to market your small business, but who has the time? You’re busy doing what really matters – running your business and delivering superior customer service.

Nobody ever tells you exactly what to do, and how to do it. The strategies you find online are usually for larger, regional companies.

But, you’re a small local business, and you need to reach customers in your own back yard.

If homeowners in or around Westchester County, NY can’t find you, it doesn’t matter how good you are.

Your business will suffer.

Tired of marketing strategies that don’t work?

Digital marketing for your service business is the best way to get found by local homeowners.

Think about it.

When’s the last time you opened a phone book?

As a Hudson Valley small business, you can either adapt, or risk extinction.

It makes sense, right? If homeowners can’t find you, they can’t hire you.

If that scares you, you’re not alone. It scares most service businesses at first.

But, change creates opportunity. So instead of fearing digital marketing, embrace it. If done right, digital marketing can have a huge impact.

86% of consumers use the internet to find a local business

Source: WebVisible Survey

Creating an online marketing plan for your small business can seem overwhelming at first.

That’s why we teach you how to approach your marketing step-by-step, in phases.

Just like when you build a house. You research, plan and then build a strong foundation.

Taking the time to do it right from the start is the best way to grow your business, and reduce stress.

At Pillar Digital Marketing, we refer to this as Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation.

Our approach is actually pretty simple. It’s so simple, we can teach you how to do it.

First, learn your market and identify opportunities. Next, establish your basic digital presence, and then build on it over time. A Google My Business profile, Facebook page, free directory listings and a website are the best places to get started with online marketing.

But, before you do that, it’s essential that you understand the identity of your business.

Whether you are a brand new local business that is just getting started, or a seasoned business, your digital marketing strategy should start with these 9 steps.

Even if you think your foundation is strong, an inspection never hurt!

Building your digital marketing foundation

Building a strong digital marketing foundation for your Hudson Valley home services business is the best move you can make. Just like when you work on a home, having a plan ensures success. Use digital marketing to connect with homeowners in and around Westchester County, NY.

Once you build a marketing foundation the right way, you can begin to use more advanced strategies. Our simple step-by-step approach can easily be applied to your local home service or residential contracting company.

So first, we’re going to give you an overview of the steps. Then, we’re going to break down each step in a future post, and tell you exactly what to do.

Are you ready to start?

#1 Research your local market

Surprisingly, many businesses in or around Westchester County, NY skip this step when building a digital marketing plan. But that’s a mistake. Learning about the people you hope to do business with helps you relate to them.

Even better, conducting local market research lets you identify opportunities where homeowner demand isn’t being met. It also helps you understand pain points for your potential customers. Then, you can give them a better solution.

There are a wide range of family sizes, homes, income levels, education and culture in Putnam, Dutchess, Westchester and throughout the Hudson Valley. By studying the cities you hope to do business with, you’ll learn what homeowners near you value.

For example, our research shows more affluent homeowners don’t like discounts. They prefer hearing “upgrade” or “premium” in your offers.

Use websites like datausa.io to pull local demographics. That’s how you learn the basics about who lives in your area. Then, do some additional research to find their biggest challenges when working with businesses like yours. A survey is a great way to ask additional questions.

#2 Identify and analyze your competition

Before you can build your digital marketing blueprint for your home service business, you should know the competition. You don’t just have to identify who your competitors are. You also need to analyze their local marketing efforts. 

How well is the competition connecting with Hudson Valley homeowners? If a couple of your direct competitors are crushing their online marketing, it makes things a little harder.

The longer a good Digital Marketing Plan has been in place, the more it helps. So if you’re starting from behind, you might want to find a niche to specialize in. 

For example, let’s say you’re a roofer that’s awesome at Slate Roofing. If your competitors focus on asphalt shingle roofs, focus on slate if there is local demand.

Since many homes in Westchester are older, or have premium design elements, slate might make a great niche. This is where knowing your community demographics comes into play. 

If none of your competitors are doing a great job with their online marketing, you can take a more generalized approach.

#3 Define your target customer

Now that you’ve done some research, it’s time to define your target customer. You know your community, and you’ve analyzed how well other home service businesses are meeting customer demand. 

Having a target customer doesn’t mean you only serve that exact customer. 

Instead, a target customer let’s you focus your marketing efforts. The beauty of local online marketing is that you can tailor your message. Instead of speaking to everyone, like with TV commercials, you can tell a story that attracts the people who need your services. 

For a residential realtor, your target customer would generally be anyone looking to buy or sell a home in areas you serve. But if there’s a lot of realtors in your service area, get more specific. 

If you know from your market research that 40% of working professionals commute over 2 hours a day, offer special hours. Maybe two days a week you do showings until 9pm. By providing that additional value, you’ll set your business apart.

#4 Establish your company brand

Your business has a story to tell. Each and every business does. A great brand story will help potential customers relate with your service business.

Your branding is more than a logo and business description. It has to be compelling and memorable.

Our surveys show people want to hire small businesses that share their values. Telling an intriguing story helps people relate to you.

When you tell a great story, instead of a dry cookie-cutter business description, people will remember you. Even better, if you craft that story after analyzing your local market, you can identify the target audience most likely to relate to your story.

Then, in the branding step, you can write your story to speak to those customers. You need an attractive character that takes your customer through your process. That’s a Russel Brunson secrets strategy that works.

A key part of your brand story is consistency. The basic information about your business, and the story you tell has to be consistent.

Plus, you gotta captivate your audience.

#5 Collect your key business details

It’s important to be consistent with your marketing message.

Documenting the important information about your service company helps keep it accurate across the web.

Create a master template to collect all your important details in one place. Then, when you create your online profiles, you’ll have everything you need.

Listings on popular, reputable online directories helps your business show up more online. Some directories automatically list your local business. But, it’s often not accurate.

A survey of 350 Small Businesses by ConstantContact found that 49% of businesses never update their name listings online.

Include your contact info, your website, social media handles, business and service descriptions. Plus, any other details you’ll want online.

Industry certifications, awards, special discounts and accommodations should all be part of your Master Marketing Template.

When you write your service descriptions, write with a purpose. Do some research to see what homeowners search to find businesses like yours. Including these phrases in your descriptions is a simple, but under-used strategy.

Using the search terms in your descriptions will get you faster marketing results when you’re starting out.

#6 Make your one page marketing plan

Lots of marketing agencies give big, lengthy online marketing plans. We think there’s a better way. The blueprint of your digital marketing plan should fit on one page. A great marketing plan is clear and easy to understand. 

You should be able to tell someone about your marketing strategy in under 60 seconds. If you can’t do that, you don’t understand it yourself, or it’s too confusing. Probably both.

We focus on the details, step-by-step, and build your plan overtime. But the One Page Marketing Plan should give an overview of your strategy and include some key details.

#7 Build and optimize your Google My Business listing

Google My Business is the modern day yellow pages. It’s an online directory listing that, when done properly, ensures you show up on Google search results (SERP) and Google Maps.

You can post contact info, your brand story, services/products, locations, photos and more. 

Building your Google listing to connect with local homeowners is the best way to increase your sales fast.

Most importantly, customers are able to leave reviews for your business, and you can respond to their reviews.

On average, customers expect a business to have at least 40 reviews before trusting their rating. Customers are also willing to spend 31% more on businesses with excellent reviews.

This is an online marketing opportunity you must take advantage of. Think like your customer.

What phrase would you search if you were looking for a business in your industry? Run the search and see how you measure up.

Do your competitors have more reviews? More stars? Better photos? If so, and you’ve been around awhile, that’s a problem.

Leveraging Google listings for your business is the easiest way to build a reputation as a honest, qualified home service company that puts Hudson Valley Homeowners first.

#8 List on popular online directories and social sites

With all of the different directories and social media platforms out there, it’s difficult to know how to start. For most businesses, you should start with one social media account and the most popular directories. 

Social media has to be actively managed. Many businesses make the mistake of listing on as many social media sites as they can. We suggest starting with Facebook for most home service businesses. Facebook lets you engage with local communities.

Most businesses have a Facebook page, but few know how to use Facebook the right way. Master that, before you move onto the rest.  

When it comes to online directories, you should do as many as you can.

But, only if the websites are reputable. Never post on a page that is spamming the internet.

Now that you’ve created your Master Business Template, you can easily use that as a reference to create your listings. Also, get your  business on industry specific websites. 

For home services and contractors, AngiesList.com and HomeBuilder.com are important listings for your business.

These directory profiles don’t have to be actively managed like with social media. However, they must have accurate information about your business. Keep them up to date, and check in at least once a quarter.

It’s important to stay on top of what your neighbors are saying about you on any online directory, and throughout the internet.

#9 Design and launch your website

You need a great website. Especially, if you want to show up in search results without expensive paid ads. Your website is so much more than an online brochure.

Websites are a tool to tell homeowners about the unique value you can provide. A website is really a digital sales agent that gives homeowners the information they need.

Build your website to ensure when a Hudson Valley homeowner runs a search for a business like yours, two things happen.

First, Google returns your business over all of your competitors. Then, your website is able to close the lead so you can convert them into a customer.

A modern website is the first impression you make with homeowners. It’s more than what meets the eye.

A good website will have a great design, be simple to navigate, be optimized for search and most important, get people to contact you.

Your website needs to be customer friendly. It’s not a brochure to tell customers what you do.

Use your website to show customers why you do what you do. And, how you’re the best home service business to solve their problems.

Your site should tie the first 8 steps of Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation together. The story of your business, and the unique value you provide should be obvious to visitors.

Bonus Tips For Creating A Strong Digital Marketing Foundation

Digital Content is everything you write, photos, infographics, videos and other information you put on your website, social media or other online directories.

When you post just for the sake of posting, it won’t help.

Your home services business needs to plan the content you create and make sure it ties into your brand story.

Write with a purpose

Anything that your home services business does online, or in the physical world, should have a purpose.

A strong marketing plan uses a strategic blueprint to get you the best results. It gets you organized, so you can execute your plan.

When you first start Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation, we suggest you focus your content creation on one topic or service at a time.

Maybe, tackle a new topic each month, starting with the ones you want to prioritize.

Let’s say you want to expand your home cleaning service from middle-income neighbors in Westchester County, NY to more affluent towns.

You do some research, and learn that “Luxury Cleaning Service” is a popular search phrase in lower Westchester.

Write a blog post or a video script for the following month that naturally works in the search term. Then, use that script to turn into all of your social media posts for the month.

Maybe make a short video showing you cleaning luxurious homes, and include a customer testimonial.

By using a strategic online marketing plan to create your content, you’re able to tell Google what your business is focused on. Plus, your target customers will see.

Only Post Content that Ads Value to the Internet

Creating great content, articles, social media posts and video is the perfect way to show the local market what makes you different from your competitors.

Give homeowners a behind the scenes look at your home services business. Before posting online, make sure you can answer yes to these four questions.

Every post should be created with these questions in mind. Everyone is competing for your target audience’s attention, so give them a reason to pay attention to you over all of the others.

Maximize Your Content

Plan the content you create, and don’t just use it for one part of your online marketing. Creating great content for your local digital marketing takes time, and costs money.

That’s why you need to make the best use possible of what what you do.

For example, if you write a monthly blog post, make each month’s post part of a series on a particular topic. Then, each month write a different series related to the topic.

Once you cover everything you want local homeowners to know, you can turn it into a short e-book.

You can also take small sections of your longer content, such as blogs, to create posts on social media. Just chop up your blog posts into smaller sections. You can do the same with longer videos, or podcasts.

A local digital marketing plan is never done, and should evolve as your business grows. These first steps, when properly executed,  will help lay the foundation for success in the digital era. 

Still not convinced you should establish an online presence for your local business?


Think about this: 

If someone told you 20 years ago that you could put up a billboard advertising your business for free, to thousands of local residents, would you pass that up?

Of course you wouldn’t.

But, if you fail to embrace the opportunity to Build a Digital Marketing Foundation for your home service business, that’s exactly what you are doing.

So, are you willing to take ownership of your home service business success in the Hudson Valley? We’ll take you through steps 1 through 9 of Building a Digital Marketing Foundation for long-term success.

Our strategy simplifies what might have been too confusing in the past.

And, don’t forget, if you need some help, we’re here for you! Just ask to speak with us when you’re ready.

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Pillar Digital Marketing Agency is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses in and around Westchester County, NY. Our Learning Center has the resources you need to succeed in the digital world.

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