Facebook is a powerful tool to grow a business, and a home inspection business is no different.
Using the right approach is important to effectively use this platform as a business growth tool.
In this post we’re going to discuss two effective and specific ways to leverage Facebook to benefit your overall business’ success online.
As with everything, there are right and wrong ways to do something.
Facebook is no different.
Facebook is a place to network, not shove your service offerings down the throats of every sorry sucker you come across.
You look like an amateur when you do this.
Should you be advertising your services?
But use discretion, and always lead with value.
From a customer perspective, Facebook is used in two major ways:
Real estate agents may be more business minded when on Facebook, as they commonly use this platform to network on.
Still, lead with value don’t just ask for business up front.
In this post we’re going to discuss three strategies and how they can specifically be used to generate more business for your company.
These strategies are:
Facebook groups are becoming a common way to engage with other people on Facebook.
This is powerful, and from a marketing perspective is actually a fairly new concept.
When it comes to groups, don’t just go into Facebook groups to spam your services.
You’ll get kicked out and you won’t get any business out of it.
Worse yet, you’ll look like a total dummy.
Go into these Facebook groups with a mind for being helpful., and offer that value consistently over time.
If you play the short game in your personal and business networking and are expecting to thrive, you probably need to rethink your entire approach to business ownership.
There are groups for just about everything under the sun on Facebook.
We only care about the ones that are going to contain people that may need your services.
To find these groups, use the search function.
Just type in the types of things we will discuss in a minute to find relevant Facebook groups.
Find relevant real estate focused groups to join and become active in.
They’re generally networking friendly.
You can find groups specifically about available listings in your area, agent to agent networking, Q&A forums for new home buyers, investor networking, mortgage related etc.
See what is out there for your local area and be sure to network with direct-client prospects as well as agents.
You may also want to try to get into marketing related groups that cater to agents.
These will likely have hungry real estate agents that are more inclined to network with active business owners.
Here’s an example for a Dallas Real Estate Investor group I found after a 20 second Facebook search:
Find local Buy and Sell Groups on Facebook and stay active in them and get to know the members.
These are groups where locals buy, sell and trade used items.
These can be a hotbed of people that are quick to refer people they like.
If you can display your expertise on home maintenance, saving money in real estate etc. you can position yourself as the go-to authority.
If you can get your name out there as the go-to home inspector you’ll actually get tagged by people if somebody asks about a home inspection or real estate related question.
You can also occasionally post home inspection offers in these types of groups because of the the commerce nature of them.
Keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to touch base with people that are hosting sales strategically.
Remember to add value and don’t just plug your services over and over.
Local networking groups are a good place to find other networking-friendly people in your community.
A strategy to get noticed here is to tag people in the group when people post relevant content or questions.
For example, tagging a local mortgage broker that is in the group if someone asks a mortgage question can be a good way to stand out to the broker and engage them.
I’m beating dead horse at this point, but lead with value to stand out.
Answer questions, be helpful and don’t just plug your services and never show your face again.
You can even start your own group.
This is a great way to gain authority and influence within your community.
Think of how you can tap into your skill sets while providing real genuine value to others in your community.
Also, keep the audience in mind.
You want to ideally position yourself in front of people that will be buying or selling a home.
You can also team up with a local real estate agent, mortgage broker, loan officer and credit repair person.
These are all people that have similar interests as you, and serve the same market.
Get creative, but for example you could start a group called “First Time Home Buyers Forum” and steadily bring in people looking to buy their first home.
Then when you have them there, deliver a ton of helpful information so they remember you when they need an inspection.
Retargeting (also known as remarketing) is an online marketing tactic that is relatively cutting edge.
Not a ton of business owners know this exists, so when you have it set up you immediately stand out from the crowd.
Facebook Retargeting may sound complicated, but it is VERY simple:
It gives you the ability to show a Facebook Sponsored Ad to somebody that lives in your service area and has just visited your website.
It’s that simple, and the results are wonderful.
It gives you the power to automatically follow up with people (website visitors) that you wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to communicate with.
A home buyer finds a home they love.
They want to buy it, and live in it with their family.
They want to make it their home.
But – they need a real estate inspection.
Their real estate agent gives them a list of local inspectors.
Their uncle tells them who they used.
Great aunt Sue tells her the company she used 15 years ago.
And then they get to researching.
They want to find a qualified inspector they can trust and offers outstanding value for their price.
They head to all the different websites of the suggested inspectors.
They type in “home inspection company” into an online search engine and start browsing the different companies that show up in the various online directory websites (like Yelp) as well as directly in the search results.
Maybe they’re calling inspectors on the spot and asking for quotes.
Maybe they’re writing down the stand out companies on a notepad to call later.
Regardless of how they’re doing this:
They’re being bombarded with people claiming they’re the best person for the job.
Now, imagine if this same person, after getting completed swamped with information about home inspections goes onto their Facebook account to kick and relax.
And then see this on their Facebook…
Oh, look at that… a Sponsored Ad that speaks directly to their problems & needs and helps them decide on who to call.
Remember that sales saying “The money is in the follow up”?
Well, this is no different.
By showing a hyper-relevant and hyper-targeted advertisement to this prospective home inspection client, you can immediately begin to stand out from the plethora of other inspection companies.
It also positions you as a cutting edge company because chances are none of the other inspection companies have taken the time to set this up for their company, or even know it is an option to set up.
And the best part?
Because you know exactly who you’re talking to with these targeted ads (the person that visited your website aka that person looking for an inspection), you can clearly communicate the BEST and MOST POWERFUL reasons why they should choose you.
Having this opportunity allows you to break away from the “race to the bottom” heard (aka, competing on price and price alone) by positioning positive reviews and unique selling propositions in front of them early in their decision making process.
AND it likely gives you the ability to reach these people BEFORE they talk to the cheapest inspector in town and pull the trigger on who to hire.
Don’t forget: People buy on perceived value.
This unique & very affordable way of showing relevant ads to your prospective clients is an excellent, and effective, way to help them make the best possible choice…
Hiring YOU to be their trusted home inspector.
Get to work and start implementing Facebook Remarketing & Facebook Groups into your marketing plan.
And if you want to get in touch feel free to use the following form:
The digital marketing industry is wildly unregulated.
There are high quality people out there that will do you right – and there are also some sleazeballs.
In no way am I trying to tarnish the SEO (or online marketing) industry, but I do want to provide transparent, useful advice to you as a small business owner.
So, with it being so unregulated…
The answer is: Education.
Know a little bit about what to expect, rather than go in blind hoping for the best.
Here are five ways for you to keep your prospective SEO company accountable while also getting the most out of your investment.
Before you start, there should be some form of written agreement, regardless if it is a signed contract or not.
A good service agreement will outline exactly what outcomes are expected, and who needs to do what.
Not all SEO companies will disclose exactly what they do each month, however there needs to be something in writing that will determine if the campaign was a success of failure.
This generally includes some collection of deliverables (tasks), goals, timelines and anticipated results.
If there is a guarantee the company will stand behind in the agreement, even better. That said, be wary of people promising #1 ranking positions.
A good example of an effective guarantee is ours (I know, so modest) – we offer our clients free campaign management if we don’t get X results in Y time frame. (We’ve never had to work for free!)
Ensure you have a service agreement in place with your agency prior to starting any campaigns that outline important aspects of the campaign such as goals, payments, deliverables, reporting frequency and duration.
Having clear expectations on reporting timelines and metrics is another crucial aspect of having a good relationship with your SEO company. With SEO, results don’t happen overnight, however all progress is measurable.
As mentioned, the reporting method should be outlined in the service agreement. You should understand what these reports are saying.
The three most common forms of reporting are task-based reporting, ranking based reporting, and traffic based reporting.
Some companies will include more than one of these into their reports. All three of these are legitimate reporting methods, however scamming can exist in them.
Here are some less than admirable methods to keep an eye out for.
With keyword based reporting, some agencies will remove key words that aren’t showing good progress from monthly keyword ranking reports. This is to hide the bad and only show the good. This is a big red flag, and unethical, in my opinion.
Make sure the same keywords are on your reports month over month, unless there is a specific reason for the keywords to change.
Another keyword based concern that pops up is when agencies use “long-tail keywords” to show results, rather than the seed keyword(s). A seed keyword is a major service keyword that generally drives the most traffic – eg. “Chicago Home Inspector.” A long-tail keyword example would be “Home Inspector in Chicago Illinois that does basements.” While you want to be ranked in Google for both, the seed keyword will drive a while lot more business than a big long-tail keyword like that.
Ensure if there are any agreements in place, the results are based on the seed keywords and not the long-tail keywords.
With traffic based reporting, some agencies will display incorrect information. What I mean is, they’ll include traffic sources (people visiting your website) from all sources, such as social media and direct website visits, not just search engines. Furthermore, you only want to have the local traffic reported. It generally doesn’t matter if someone from Florida visited your website if you only service Chicago.
Ask for traffic reports to include traffic from search engines and also from website visitors that are local to your service area. This can all be done from within Google’s free platform Google Analytics.
Another way to protect yourself is to ensure that you are getting access to the important accounts that they make for you, so that you still have access after you part ways.
This one is very common; however, it is less of a scam and more of a “I don’t give a shit and am not going to prioritize you” attitude by the company after you stop paying them.
Some very common accounts that will be made for you are Google analytics, Google search console, Google my business, Bing, and Google tag manager. Regardless if you continue to work with them, do your own SEO, or work with another company – you’ll need to have access to these accounts.
It can be a major headache to get these login credentials from a company you are no longer paying.
Ask to be made the “primary owner” or Administrator right when these are created – not at the end of the working relationship.
Talk to your SEO provider about what the end of the working relationship will look like, before the end of the relationship.
Do this at the beginning, when you’re not vulnerable. Ideally, before any money has changed hands.
They should have a system in place that delivers you the client all of the necessary login information that they created for you.
For example, let’s say an agency creates 100 local business directory citations for you.
Then, a few years later you end up moving. Naturally, you – much like many other inspectors – will change their “Google My Business” address to their new address.
If you don’t have login information to all of the local citations that they created on your behalf, you need to go in and request access and prove you’re the owner before you can make any changes.
This is very time intensive, versus the other option of simply logging in and changing the address and postal code.
For the uninitiated – having inconsistent business information like this floating around will harm your SEO – here’s an article we have on how to check your business information consistency. (Arguably one of the most important factors in SEO for “local” businesses.)
Simply ask them what their end of contract process is. If they don’t have one in place, that may be a red flag unless you’re working with a very new, or a very small company. This isn’t a deal breaker, but tread with caution and use your judgement.
One very important aspect of SEO are backlinks.
This is simply getting other websites on the internet to point back to your website.
It is one of the most complex areas of SEO and you don’t need to understand it, but you want to be aware of the methods used, and where you’ll be left when you stop paying the provider.
When links are placed strategically, rankings increase. When those same links are removed, rankings will fall.
Some companies will remove the links after you stop paying their monthly retainer. Others will leave them in place. You want them left in place.
At My Market Inspector we use 100% “white hat” links that remain intact after the client leaves.
Some companies will make their front-end offer of SEO very cheap, knowing they won’t need to uphold any links used during the campaign after you stop paying – they can simply “point” your old links to their new clients.
Non-paying old client drops, new client rises in rank and the SEO agency’s paying clients are happy.
Ask your SEO company if the links will remain in place after the end of the working relationship. Also make sure they’re not referring to social media or citation links either – ensure they’re high quality backlinks.
An SEO company’s favorite client is one that shuts up, doesn’t question anything and keeps paying their monthly retainer.
A lot of companies actually fall into this category.
Again, there is a lot of shroud around SEO and what we do, so it is easy to keep people thinking we’re working a lot harder than we really are. I’m not saying that you need to be pestering your agency every day or week – but if upward momentum stops on the monthly reports, question it.
If you do hit a ceiling and progress stops, there are two logical outcomes:
1) You stop paying and move on
2) You begin targeting new keywords
The sad fact is, most companies will continue paying thinking they’re “getting more SEO” while in reality, the SEO company isn’t doing much to benefit them anymore due to already being optimally placed.
This is always subject to the amount of competition in your area – if you’re in an urban area and 5 of your competitors are all actively optimizing for “home inspector Chicago” – you may want to continue targeting that keyword to maintain your footing.
After all, SEO is kind of like a game of “king of the hill” – so use your own knowledge of the competition before taking this last one into consideration.
Specifically ask your SEO provider when you will reassess the objectives of the campaign, and how that will impact any on-going investments. Timelines are great here as it keeps us digital marketers under pressure to get results.
Alright, those are six key areas that you should be aware of when hiring an SEO company.
Did I miss anything that you’re curious about? Let me know in the comments below.
Oh, and if you are hiring an SEO company, contact us to get a quote.
Have you ever noticed that after visiting a site, you see more of their brand’s advertisements on your Facebook™ feed?
It’s not paranoia – this is a modern marketing technique that has a really high success rate coupled with a very low cost rate.
In this article I’m going to show you a method to increase your booked inspections from online sources, using a cost effective online advertising tactic.
What I am referring to is Facebook™ Remarketing.
Basically, it allows you to show ads on the Facebook™ platform to people that have visited your website recently.
Aka – when they’re very likely in a “buyer” mindset.
Let’s take a look at a few important aspects for the average home inspector to take into account.
The biggest benefit is it gives you a chance to directly speak to someone that has been on your website recently.
Often times, people browse websites before making a call or purchase.
Perhaps they were given your card along with a few others from their real estate agent.
Perhaps they found you on Google, or from a local ad.
Regardless of how they found you, they probably looked at your website… and then proceeded to look at every single competitor in sight as well.
By showing them an ad after they’ve just looked at 10 services that are all offering a similar service – it gives you an opportunity to stand out and be the service provider they go with.
Think about it like this…
Traffic + Website + Remarketing = Added Growth Potential of your business.
If you’re already getting website visitors, remarketing can reach them again and help nurture them into becoming a customer.
It also gives you an opportunity to offer them some sort of incentive to take action.
Maybe a simple “Call in the next 24 hours to take advantage of infrared scanning for free” – or something along those lines.
Or, just show them an ad with your brand on it. Remind them that you exist and are ready to help them.
Another way is to take the “helpful” route – show them a blog post that you know the typical person looking for your service would find helpful.
Whatever way you go, you need to make sure the ad adds value to the customer, stands out to them and ultimately makes them take action and call your business. (See our Remarketing Ad Formula for detailed instructions.)
Where you’ll have some sort of “call to action” – basically, a big fat button with your phone number on it.
Alright, I’m rambling.
Because you only show your ads to people that have visited your website, the volume is very low, and the interest is high.
If you cut through the techno-babble, all this means is you get a higher percentage of people buying at a lower cost than you would with other forms of advertising.
Another big factor as to why it is so much cheaper is because you’re providing the “targeting” to the ad space provider (Facebook™.)
You’re just telling them “Hey, show my ad to this person.”
There’s four distinct steps to setting up a retargeting ad. And bare with me – it may sound complicated but it’s actually very easy to do and well worth your time as a business owner.
If you’re a DIYer, here are the steps:
First step: Get setup for Facebook™ ads (Facebook™.com/ads/manager)
Second step: Setup and add your Facebook™ “pixel” to your website
Third step: Set up a “custom audience” in your Facebook™ Ads manager.
Fourth step: Create the ad within your Facebook™ Ads manager.
Fifth step: Turn the ad on
You only need this set up once and then you can easily switch this on or off as you like, for that specific ad.
You can get super creative with this remarketing stuff. You can use it to target people that have visited specific pages on your site even! Hint: There’s an incredible strategy to connect with real estate professionals if you get creative.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to post below to get in touch. Good luck!
How would you feel if you went over to Google.com and typed in your services and saw your company pop up on the first page of the Google search result pages?
You would probably feel pretty excited and proud.
Most small business owners strive to have optimal Google placements, but don’t know who to trust to get them there, or how much to invest – or if it is even worth investing in.
Today we’re going to look at just that: How do I know my investment in SEO is going to benefit my company?
The biggest factor in determining this is the number of people searching for your “keywords.”
For example, if you were in Houston, how many people a month are typing in to Google “Houston Home Inspection.”
We have an extensive free training on our blog if you want to learn more about SEO keywords for inspectors. But let’s stay on track.
It’s simple, more searches per month equals more potential leads coming into your home inspection business.
Now it’s important to remember that not all those people searching will click on your website, and not all the people that click on your website will actually call you.
And even if they do call you, you still may not close the sale. We won’t dive into these variables because they are more technical than we need to get right now.
By determining how many searches a month you’re getting for your keywords, you’ll be able to predict if it is a wise investment, or not.
You can do this on your own with nothing more than a free plug-in.
It just takes a minute to install. if you’re using Chrome or Firefox, there’s a free plugin I like called Keywords Everywhere.
Once installed, all you need to do is type in variations of your keywords.
Here’s a short list to get you started, but you may also have other services you want to include.
Just make sure whatever keywords you use bring up businesses similar to yours in Google when they’re typed in.
Home inspection houston
House inspection houston
Home inspection houston tx
House inspection houston tx
home inspection houston 1,600 searches a month
house inspection houston 90 searches a month
houston inspection 720 searches a month
home inspection houston tx 320 searches a month
house inspection houston tx 30 searches a month
That comes out to a total of 2760 searches a month.
Now, there are two simple ways to get an idea of what your ultimate ROI will be.
The first one is comparing it to similar Adwords costs.
The second is an estimation of new revenue from this exposure.
Let’s take 2760 (searches a month) and take 10% of it. This assumes that after you’re placed optimally on page 1 for these keywords, 10% of all the people searching for these terms will land on your website.
10% of 2760 equals 276.
Then multiply 276 by the average cost per click (the Keywords Everywhere plugin tool will tell you this when you look up the search volumes.)
Let’s say the average is $6 per click.
This means that the value of traffic per month is $1656 per month – if you were to pay Google (through Adwords) for the traffic.
This is just an estimate of course, and we are making assumptions, but it a valid way to get your head around what you’re actually paying for when it comes to SEO.
Now, the second method is to calculate it based on projected closed deals you get from your search engine traffic.
We’ll use the numbers from our first example and pretend 276 people visited the website. 5% of those people called your company and you closed them. Let’s say your inspections run $300 a pop. (Again, I am being very conservative across the board.)
We simply take 5% of 276, and multiply it by 300.
This means your traffic would be worth $4140 in new revenue to your business each month.
Those are the two strategies I use when explaining Return On Investment to business owners – and while neither are ever 100% accurate, they’ve proven to be viable enough to continue to use.
While tracking this stuff is a bit bloated, you can do the majority of it through Google Analytics.
The biggest factor in getting lots of internet leads is having a website that actually builds trust.
You need this before you do SEO – otherwise, you’re putting the cart before the horse. If you have a great SEO placement, but no one calls your business, you’ve just pissed away time or money getting there.
And worse? The changes you need to increase your “conversion rate” may drop you down in the search engines if they’re significant.
It’s why we have a premium training showiung home inspectors exactly what to add to their website, what pages to have and also how to structure it for future SEO potential.
The content we go over is “non developer” friendly, and is intended for inspectors that want to build their own SEO and “conversion” friendly website. Basically, a website that will actually turn a website browser into a customer. If you want to learn more, just click here.
Hope you got something from today’s post.
Have you ever paid for SEO? Did you get a ROI? Post below your experience to help other inspectors make informed decisions.
In today’s post we’re going to jump into an interview I did recently with a real estate sales representative in my area.
Jess Hornung, of justlistwithjess.com, goes into some great detail and shares insights on:
Jess shares some huge insights with us.
This is perfect for new inspectors looking to get into the mind of a Realtor®.
Andrew: Hey Jessica, thank you for taking the time to meet me today. How are you?
Jessica: I’m Good, thanks. How are you?
Andrew: Good! Alright – let’s dive in. As you know, I work with home inspectors and as you also know… they like to market to real estate sales representative. With your area of expertise, I am hoping to get some deeper insights into how the average inspector, or even the new home inspector, can stand out to you as a Realtor.
Andrew: Jumping right in, how often do inspectors drop by your office and present to you?
Jessica: Often. We get several inspectors come in that present to us.
Andrew: What do you think of the presentations?
Jessica: They’re good. I like meeting new inspectors, especially when I need to call someone on short notice for a client. It is very saturated though… there are lots of inspectors in the area.
Andrew: So, it sounds like a quick response time is important to you.
Jessica: Yes, definitely. My problem is that sometimes I need an inspection very fast. Like, can you come tomorrow morning if I call you this afternoon? In a hot market we have 3-5 days to get everything done, and the inspection needs to be done before other things that need to happen in that time frame.
Andrew: What makes a home inspector stand out to you?
Jessica: Responsiveness and flexibility. Again, when my clients are chomping at the bit and the housing market is in a bubble, I need inspectors that are ready to go. This scenario isn’t always the case, but when I know I can count on an inspector they stand out to me.
Andrew: Do you do many pre-purchase inspections?
Jessica: Not in this area, no. I see areas with more money having more inspections like that. More money, more likely… like in Toronto. Buyers book several showings to find their perfect home and don’t want to pay for an inspection if they aren’t even going to get their offer accepted.
Andrew: Do you find you supply your clients with referrals or do they generally have someone they know to inspect their home?
Jessica: Sometimes… if the client doesn’t have one then I will give them options. I never push just one inspectors to maintain my professional and ethical obligations to my clients. Most home buyers ask for my opinion. More savvy people, like experienced buyers or investors usually have their go-to inspector already.
Andrew: What is important to you when referring an inspector?
Jessica: Warranty program or insurance are important from a buyers perspective. It is an added bonus if they go out and get the certifications before they’re forced to by any upcoming bills. Also WETT certified inspectors are great. Especially for old wood burning appliances. It can save time and money by all being done in one go if the insurance company requires it, rather than coming back again just for the WETT inspection.
Andrew: How did you connect with your first inspector?
Jessica: Networking events. When I first started I went to a lot, and still go out sometimes, to networking events in the area. I met an inspector that was starting up at the same time as me that was also attending the events. This inspector also came by and did a presentation for us at Coldwell.
Andrew: What made him stand out to you?
Jessica: He was flexible. Also his availability is amazing. He’s so busy because of it… very well known in the area. He also knows how to present his findings to the client without blowing things out of proportion or terrifying the client. He’ll be straight forward with the client. He’ll say things like “This is an issue that needs attention. It’s not a big fix, but you should be wary of it.” And he may even give a soft estimate sometimes. He helps the client feel comfortable and helps them understand it a bit better.
Like, one time, not this inspector, but this other person scared a client into thinking there was a big issue with the property. The issue was a non GFCI outlet… while very important to address, this isn’t a deal killer and shouldn’t be presented in that way. It’s a cheap fix.
Andrew: Alright, let’s pretend a brand new home inspector opens up shop in your town. What makes you do business with them?
Jessica: Being available on short notice is a good way to stand out and get in front of my client. Like we talked about earlier, in a hot market sometimes we need an inspection the next day. We’ll have 3-5 days generally, and we’ll need to process the mortgage in that time too, so we really have less time than that. The banks all want an inspection before they will approve loans. The faster the inspection, the easier it makes it for me to do my job, which is to get the client their dream home. If we miss deadlines, we can miss out on the deal all together.
Today’s post is aimed at newer inspectors, and is going to mark the first post in our “agent focused” series.
I’ll be honest… we’re not covering anything ground breaking today.
If you’re already running a successful home inspection business, don’t waste your time.
Heck – we’re not even talking from our area of expertise today!
But this stuff is super important. So much that we felt the need to touch on it before diving in.
Our agent marketing series will soon be back inline with our “digital” theme – and we’ll be showing you some pretty cool ways to leverage your website, facebook ads, emails and social media to better connect with agents, build rapport and ultimately – get leads.
We even had one of Coldwell Banker’s Realtors® tell us exactly what makes an inspector stand out to her, how a new inspector can get called from her, why she continues working with inspectors – and even how she chose to work with her first inspector when she was new!
Now, ask yourself…
What would your inspection calendar look like if you had real estate agents calling you on a regular basis needing inspections for their buyers?
It’d probably look a lot more full than it currently looks.
Meaning more revenue for you, and a more successful business.
The sad reality is that after putting in so much time to get in front of agents, most inspectors don’t get a shot, and if they do they don’t get a callback.
Unless your inspection really was sub par, which is unlikely because if you’re reading this website you care about your business, then the agent was likely unhappy with the outcome in some way.
Does that mean you did a “bad” inspection?
Agents can be your best friend, but you need to treat them right.
There are agents out there that will only work with inspectors that consistently deliver overly soft reports.
You don’t want to get caught up with these people. When their ship sinks, you’ll go down with it.
An ethical and high-quality agent wants you to do a good job for their client, just like they want to do a good job for their client.
And let’s be real, they’re not going to get on the roof! They need you!
That doesn’t mean they want you to pick apart the house, and then deliver it in a raw, unrealistic and unflattering manner, and kill their deal.
Unless the house really is worth running away from!
Realtors put a lot of efforts into their job, and if they can’t trust their inspector won’t shoot their deal dead on the spot, they won’t call them.
Simple as that.
Now, I cannot stress enough, this does not mean you need to leave things out of your report. That would put you at risk.
In fact, I’m not telling you how to inspect at all.
You’re the expert!
But remember, unless you’ve partnered with an unethical agent, there’s no reason to think the agent is trying to pull a fast one on their client and run off with the commission money.
Much like the home inspection industry, real estate is also a referral business.
The fix here is simple. It’s a mindset shift.
Don’t come into the inspection with a bias of “All agents are out to rip off their clients, and it is going to be at my expense due to liability issues.” (Be honest, you’ve thought this.)
Come in with an objective mindset, one that is cured from bias, and stays focused on the task at hand: inspecting the property to the benefit of your client, the home buyer (or otherwise.)
Combining this objectivity with a smooth delivery, one that has an intention behind the tone, can mean the agent making the sale, and ultimately, getting your client into the house of their dreams.
I can hear some of you newer inspectors rolling your eyes right now (don’t ask me how.)
I know… doesn’t actually help you get in front of agents to get the damn inspection in the first place.
Or does it?
It actually does.
We can use this information in our marketing.
We can position ourselves as ethical, objective home inspectors, that look to serve their clients at the highest level, and make it strategically known that we only work with other ethical, high quality professionals, such as real estate agents.
The next time you have the ear of an agent, strategically weave these concept into the conversation. (I know, I probably sound like a manipulative bastard right now.)
The next time you have the ear of an office, bring up an example of that time you didn’t kill the deal, even though there was an issue. Because you told your client about it in an objective and personable manner, that didn’t make them feel overwhelmed and scared – if in reality, it really wasn’t a deal killer.
As a new inspector, you also have a huge advantage against more established inspectors. (Sorry more established guys – but it is true!)
You likely have more time to
However, I am going on a tangent now, and much like you, I need to maintain my objectivity. (We’re going to deep dive into some awesome (and easy/low cost) tactics on how to really market yourself to agents by using the internet in the near future.)
Alright, that’s it. I hope I have conveyed the importance of maintain your objectivity while at inspections, and the importance of your tone when delivering the report to your client.
Well… if creating meaningful, profitable and symbiotic relationships with the real estate agents in your area is important to you.
Be sure to check out our new video series and let me know if it was helpful on Facebook (or what I can change.) Always love to connect with new inspectors!
One of the easiest ways to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to positioning your home inspection business in the “Maps” listings on page 1 is to screw up the”NAP” in your citations.
The NAP, or Name Address Phone number, is a very common word in the SEO world, and a fairly common term in the home inspection industry.
That said, it’s executed poorly, and worse, inspectors don’t seem to clean up their own NAP mentions when necessary.
This gives you the edge, because applying this information you’ll be gaining on your competitors while they unknowingly deter Google from loving to rank their website.
I once took on a home inspector that had three different mailing addresses tied to his phone number and business name in various online directories due to moving a couple times.
This alone really screwed with his SEO.
All a NAP refers to are the most common aspects of a typical citation for your business online, being your business Name, Adress and Phone number.
A citation is any instance where either your business name, address, business phone number, ZIP/Postal code and/or website appear.
Google loves NAPs, and that is why the term is thrown around so much when people are talking about search engine optimization (SEO.)
The NAP is a very, very important aspect of SEO for “local” businesses.
It is so important that I actually won’t take on a client that refuses to publicly display their address on their website. I once had to let a client after they decided eight months into a campaign that they didn’t want to reveal their address online anymore – after our initial discussion in the first month of the importance of it. Needless to say, they lost their Map Pack rank in Google to a competitor soon thereafter.
It has that much of an impact on SEO in the long run.
“But I don’t serve people at my location, so I don’t need it on my website.”
“I don’t want my address online. People will show up on my doorstep.”
“I have children, I can’t have my address online.”
All fair points, and at the end of the day this is 100% your call. And there are tactical workarounds – but we’re straying from the topic. Let’s refocus.
Because the NAP is so inherently connected with a citation, we may be swtiching between the two, but this blog post is about the NAP, and how to leverage it to get higher rankings in Google.
This should be required reading prior to setting up any of your own business directory citations.
You need to know this before actually creating the citations, or you’re doing yourself a disservice, and your competitors a service!
Also, just FYI, it is important to understand that a citation does not need to have a backlink to your website for it to have positive SEO effect.
We have three major “areas” that we want our NAP to show up.
These are the highest importance when it comes to “local search engine optimization” (aka the type of SEO that is going to help your home inspection business.)
They are Google (inside business.google.com), business directories websites (ie. Yelp) and your website (preferably on every single page, aka in the footer.)
Alright, that was easy. Moving on.
Your NAP should be displayed the same everywhere online, when possible.
When it comes to displaying the NAP, follow Googles lead. Always.
All this means is that however Google is showing your address in the Google search results, that is exactly how you need to display it on your website, your citations, and every other place that you mention it online, like forums or featured articles.
So, if you were google your company name and see your address displayed in the Google search results like this:
Joe Smoke Home Inspections
401 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States
But then went over to your website, and it was displayed like this:
Joe Smoke’s Home Inspection Services
401 Suite E Ontario Street, Chicago, illois 60611
You would then need to change your website NAP to match the Google structure, even though both instances of the NAP make perfect sense to the human mind.
Remember, you always want to mimic Google.
The reason for this is because it makes it easier for Google to find you and it helps ensure you get credit for each citation you build, rather than spread out the “power” over a few different variations of spellings. This is a little technical, but Google actually sends what is called a “spider” to “crawl” your website – it basically digitally “reads” everything and makes connections with other information indexed by Google. Make it easy for the spider to recognize you!
Also, if you’re more advanced, you can set up your Schema information to be identical to your correct NAP making it even easier for Google to give you credit.
If you’re reading this still, I want you to know…
Most home inspectors screw up their local SEO by leaving their address off their website.
Usually, it is because of privacy reasons.
This gives you the edge.
If it was a horse race, it’d be like racing against a horse with a lame leg.
Alright, now for an aspect of the NAP, or citations, that almost no one talks about.
What the heck do I mean by that, you ask?
Well, if we just talked about how important it is to mimic google in every way when typing out NAP out on the internet…
You can bet your bottom dollar that there are going to be badly structured mentions of your NAP all over the place, unless you have no internet presence or are very new.
This actually hurts your SEO, and having bad citations can sometimes mean the difference between being in the Maps listings on Page 1 or not being listed at all.
You already know how to structure the NAP.
But, how do we find any offenders?
Well, we use tools!
You’ll need to download NAP hunter plugin for Chrome.
There are other tools similar to it, but this is the best one I have found.
It is simple, clean and elegant – it gets the job done.
Alright, here are the steps:
We need to set up NAP Hunter and run it after installing it. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to do this.
Click here to download or view the standard operating procedure that I use when training new team members to do this for my clients. No email required.
You’ll need to wait a few minutes for the plugin to work after you follow the instructions.
Once it has finished running, you’ll be prompted to save a CSV file onto your computer. This will have the information that we need to actually start diving in.
The audit can be done in three distinct steps.
First, delete all of the duplicates – make sure to leave one of each website so you can manually check it later.
Second, go through the entire CSV, and delete all the irrelevent websites listed. These will be things like news site, websites that don’t actually have your information on them, websites you cannot edit, etc.
If you find blatant citations in business directories that you didn’t create, and you can’t edit, don’t delete these – take note of them for another day.
These are generated by data aggregators. All you need to do is find out which company shared the data to make this happen, and then edit it at the source – it is a very common practice in the business directory world.
Lastly, visit each link one by one and edit the information to reflect your correct NAP address. It is important to note that some citations will automatically default “Street” to “St” and if that is the case, you’ve done all you can do and it is okay to leave it that way – so don’t worry.
If you’d like a video example of how I personally perform the audit for my clients, I’ll need an example website to use. Post your website below with “You can use my website” and I will start your audit for you, record it on video and then post it here for you, and everyone else to learn from.
In a perfect world, you’d create your home inspector website and then, without any further effort of investment of time or money, you’d begin generating leads through that website.
Well, if you’ve been around for any length of time, you know that doesn’t just happen unless you live in a small town.
You have local competitors, and worse – those pesky massive directory sites that steal a lot of the top positions away from you and your business.
It’s why I’ve taken the time to produce this mini-course on keywords for home inspectors.
We’re going to use 100% free tools and techniques to get a cutting edge professional keyword list.
Let’s cut that cost for you and bootstrap your way to an excellent keyword list to use for your online marketing campaigns.
Most web developers understand the basics of keywords, and they may include a few here and there, but you need to really buckle down and study if you want good results – or hire a specialist.
Lucky for you, this SEO specialist is willing to spill the beans.
When it comes down to it, lazy SEOs, or people that don’t specialize in SEO simply plug a Keyword into some keyword tool (like Google Keyword Planner, AHRefs, Moz or SEMRush) or use obvious keywords and don’t generally go beyond that.
By learning how to find these keywords without relying on these tools you’re going to uncover keywords that your competition have no idea about, and also find lower competition keywords.
I have a friend that uses the phrase “Ready, Fire, Aim!” when people are doing things backward.
It applies here.
But, there’s more to keywords than just researching them.
Here are the three aspects of keywords you must hit out of the park:
I’m going to walk you through this entire process, start to finish. We’ll be using real-world examples for a home inspection company and start building a keyword list.
Just follow along and things will start falling in place for you.
The first section is going to be very text heavy. The ideas here are best outlined that way.
Once we move past the first section, we’ll be looking at more videos than text.
Follow along with these videos and you’ll have a valuable keyword list in no time.
And better yet – the knowledge of how to do this for every single blog post or service moving forward.
By learning how to do this without costly monthly subscription tools like Ahrefs SpyFu, Moz and SEMRush you’re going to save money in the long run.
You’re also going to find tons of opportunities that are less competitive because not many people really know how to do manual keyword research. This means there’s a less crowded road to the top – which is where you’ll be sitting if you do this step right.
We’re only going to use free plugins to make this all work.
That said, in our Agency we combine by hand techniques with paid tools – we love SEMRush and Ahrefs they’re incredible tools that go far beyond keyword research!!
Let’s get to it. I’m going to show you some behind the scenes tactics that we use in our Agency to get real results, for real businesses.
Before keyword research starts, we actually need to consider keyword planning and mapping.
Let’s start with planning.
We need to consider the following to get a true, professional sense of what keywords to use.
We will go into more detail for each of these sections, with specific examples for home inspectors. This is, in my opinion, one of the most critical aspects of the keyword process.
We’re going go into the following questions and topics and pick them apart to really find your true keywords. These keywords will match your service, industry and geographical location.
Let’s pick these apart to get going.
As we go through these questions write down your answers on a piece of paper. Or better yet, a spread sheet – I personally love Google Sheets.
We’re going to be coming back to them and using them to actually find a usable list of keywords and determine search volumes at the very end.
Who is it that you’re trying to attract to your website? Who is your ideal prospect?
This one is a bit obvious. What services do you offer?
The most obvious one should be home inspection related keywords. Include main services here.
Less commonly targeted keywords by SEO/inspectors are ancillary services.
Do you do mold, roof, infrared or other specialty inspections?
List all of these too. It’s important to only list the ones you’re qualified to do – NOT all of what’s out there.
Are there any reasons why someone would out of the blue need an inspection in your area?
Make sure to stay within your qualifications and state regulations on this one, if relevant. These causes will jump out and be obvious to you.
Some examples here include:
Regulations and qualifications are two different things. Both of these topics should jump out at you and be obvious.
People will type in “certified home inspector” or “certified roof inspector” to find qualified people. Don’t miss these keywords – you can also get specific by thinking about using terms like:
Now, you’re obviously going to need to include the city you want to rank for.
Make sure to jot down all the terms that are relevant here. Include cities, suburbs, towns, etc.
Ensure you do the most research into your main city – ideally, wherever your Google My Business address resides. When you list these, try to keep them organized in the spreadsheet so you know which suburbs go with what cities.
Keeping tabs on this stuff should be easy for an insider such as yourself. Think of any of these that may exist for you and note them in your handy spreadsheet.
There’s two easy ways to generate ideas here.
First, put yourself in their shoes. What are they thinking – what matters to them at the time of them needing a home inspection?
Look around the internet for people with concerns. Use google. Look on real estate forums.
Check out negative and positive reviews of competitors to see if you can pull out anything. If someone types in their review “I was really worried about XYX but James made the inspection go off without a hitch.” – That’s your cue that this probably isn’t the first time someone has worried about it.
Second, what questions do you get asked by prospects/clients?
Keep a running list.
Chances are these are great topics for your website, because if they’re asking you – there are probably people typing them into search engines as well.
A good example of this is a blog post on the topic of “Should I use my real estate agent’s home inspector?” – this is a valid concern many people face.
Always provide value!
Your competitors that are highly ranked in Google have already figured out what works. Check them out and see what they’ve done!
I kept this towards the end of the keyword planning list because I don’t want you getting lazy and JUST doing this step.
I strongly urge you to perform all the steps leading up to here to best rank in your local area for the terms your prospects will be using.
Once you have, let’s jump into this video.
Watch over my shoulder as I pick apart the competition and steal their keyword ideas.
Lastly, let’s jump back into Google and figure out what they think. This is a strategy that is excellent at producing “long tail keywords” and what we call in the SEO world as the “LSI keywords” – which is related content, as Google sees it.
I strongly recommend you install and activate the Chrome/Firefox plugin “Keywords Everywhere” when you follow along with this video.
This plugin is going to be instrumental in your keyword research process.
When you do this exercise, make note of any search terms that have any search volume.
The tool will tell you if they do or not.
Personally, I just bold these items and worry about them later. If you properly indicate which ones have volume, it’ll make your life easier.
Another cool tip that runs parallel with this technique that we don’t go through here is to use Google’s keyword planner to identify what “generic” keywords (aka keywords that don’t include your city in them) get search volume in your specific area. You can do keyword research on a more local level with that tool – but it’s a bit more advanced than we get into in this training.
You’re going to get some incredible insights, that essentially fall under the 3rd part of this article, keyword research.
The planning phase is the heaviest section AND THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTION, so good job.
You’re doing great. Let’s move on.
Keyword mapping is a simple concept but not one that people always take into consideration.
It’s essentially pre-planning where the different content (different topics/keywords) will be going on your website.
This is a crucial step.
When filling your website with great, optimized content you need to avoid something called “keyword cannibalization” – which is basically where you confuse Google by optimizing (whether purposefully or accidentally) different pages for the same keywords or topics. This isn’t good for your SEO, and can actually be a detriment to good rankings.
By taking proper planning into account from the get go, you can avoid this nuisance all together without ever really learning what the heck “cannibalization” really is (it is less terrifying than it sounds, full disclosure) and better optimize your content in the long-run.
To get an understanding of how we can do this, let’s jump back into a video.
What keywords are related to others? What naturally fits onto a page together?
Would it make sense to randomly start going into detail about radon inspections on your roof inspections page? No – you could briefly mention it and link to its own page about Radon and the benefits of an inspection though!
By doing this, you’re creating highly relevant pieces of content that Google loves to rank when people are looking for that information.
In general, I will use industry standard keywords and hot buyer-intent keywords in the main navigation (the header or header menu) and I’ll generally add more informational keywords as blog posts (eg. “What to look for in a new home purchase.”)
So for example, on a Chicago home inspector website, I may have 5 main pages. Let’s say home, radon, mold, commercial and roof inspections.
On each of these pages, I would include all the keywords that someone may type in together.
For example, someone could potentially type “Internachi certified mold inspector in Chicago” into Google. If you’ve added the words certified, Internachi and Chicago to your mold page, you’re getting way more brownie points from Google than someone that didn’t.
This list goes on, but you’ll need to use critical thinking. For example, including “hail” keywords on your roof inspection page could be beneficial.
Add words that people use to describe services in Google to every single one of your main service pages.
“Best” for example – people may type in “best home inspector Chicago.”
If you’re hitting these keywords, Google notices.
These are called “Maps qualifier keywords” because they actually produce a Maps section showing local businesses when prepended to local terms like “Chicago home inspector.”
Some examples in the home inspection industry are ethical, best, expert, professional, high quality, fast and certified. The list goes on – be creative! When combined with expert on-page SEO, stealing the Maps listings on page 1 become a lot easier.
Now, one thing we haven’t discussed yet is… search volume!
Which is funny, because that’s where most people start. Luckily, you know better!
In fact, I’d go as far to say you’ve learned some techniques that people that flat out sell SEO to business owners don’t even employ!
Alright, I’ll get off my soap-box. Let’s get back to this and wrap it up.
Alright, what we have currently is a spreadsheet of keywords, or topics.
Effectively, a dog’s breakfast.
What we now need to do is actually construct our keywords.
What keywords are actually getting search volume at a local level?
“Local” keywords are the ones that will drive new inspections for you, because people in your service area will use them. Eg “Chicago home inspector.”
An example of a local keyword would be “Chicago home inspectors” – it is a term that someone may type in when looking for your service.
The other topics you’ve scraped together will dramatically support these keywords, while also reaching new search engine users.
Putting out this high quality content is an excellent way to increase your overall SEO, because having positive “click thru rates” and “dwell time” are good SEO influences. But, I digress… let’s get back to keywords.
This is magical. It is where I start finding out what types of keywords exist (that have search volume) for a specific city. Follow this video and you can too.
The FINAL research strategy is up next.
This is what I do at the very end of the process. I ONLY do this after I’ve painstakingly gone through every single service offered using the method above.
Before we jump in, please note this is for your LOCAL terms. High buyer intent terms – things like “chicago home inspector” – NOT for blog topics such as “Should I get my new home inspected.”
The website we’re using here is http://mergewords.com/. It’s free, and doesn’t require a sign up.
Watch over my shoulder as I construct a keyword list for a chicago home inspection website.
We’re done with keywords.
Well… until we need to actually optimize the website with these keywords. On-page SEO is a beast unto itself.
If I’ve done my job, you’re now convinced that keyword research is absolutely critical in your SEO efforts.
Because it is.
Leave me a comment below if you want further clarification on anything.
Oh, and make sure you get on my email list if you’re not – it’s a great place to stay up to date on best practice SEO tips for your home inspection business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a nice addition to any home inspector’s marketing plan.
That said, SEO has changed drastically over the years – and some websites are simply behind the times still using what used to work.
Although SEO can be complicated, it’s getting easier with each passing year if you keep up to date.
The reason is simple – it’s getting harder to game the system, and Google is rewarding high quality content.
Now, we’re going to skip all of the basics like getting your NAP dialed in, getting listed in directories, getting inbound links, setting up your Google My Business, setting your website up with keywords etc. – that said, this all still applies.
At the end of the day… that information is widely available and won’t make you stand out because everybody knows to do this.
That’s why I’m going to dig into this tactic that allows my clients to enjoy tons of predictable website traffic that actually converts into customers.
The most important thing you need to know right now for SEO:
Google ranks websites based on “relevance.”
Relevancy refers to the closest piece of content that matches up with what the Google user typed into the search box.
Let’s look at a couple basic examples and then look at it from a home inspector’s point of view.
Let’s pretend these three websites about cats exist:
Website #1 is a website about the best cat food.
Website #2 is a website about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats.
Website #3 is a website about the best cat food for house cats.
Best cat food is very generic and broad. There are lots of websites offering this information.
On the other hand, websites about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats or house cats will be less in numbers.
If someone searches for “Best cat food for hypoallergenic cats” and there is a website or web page specifically speaking about the best cat food for hypoallergenic cats – it’ll likely rank above a much more “powerful” website that is just about a non-specific type of cats’ food.
You can use this to help your ideal customers find you online, and get to the top of the search engine pages faster.
Most home inspectors will optimize their website’s home page for all their keywords.
Because they do that, this gives you a massive advantage.
Let’s say you have a competitor that is ranking their home page for the terms ‘residential home inspector,’ ‘commercial inspector,’ and ‘real estate inspector’ for your city in Google.
You can easily compete and ultimately out rank them by creating pages for each of these terms on your website – each page would be highly optimized for each ‘category’ of keywords.
If Google encounters a person in your geographic area typing in search terms relating to these keywords, they will favor the most specific content.
There are two more incredible perks to this strategy:
Try this out on your website and let me know how it goes. I’ve had great success with this over and over and it is something that I share with people learning SEO as it was one of the biggest “aha” moments in my career.
If you want to get fancy, you can also set up Facebook retargeting on a page-specific level. But we’ll save that discussion for another day…