Your 2016 Marketing Road Map: 12 New Ideas to Try This Year

Road map cover

Does your marketing strategy need a pick-me-up? Try making one small change each month to ramp up your home inspection schedule.

We’ve compiled 12 easy tactics to try this year to reach new customers and expand your reach, both online and in your community.

January: Blog

If you don’t have a blog, start one, preferably on your own website. Provide useful content like tips for homeowners, then share your posts with friends, family members and colleagues.

Another idea you can accomplish with a blog is to take questions from actual customers (or make them up based on questions you’re frequently asked), then answer them on your blog. It’s not only an open forum to interact with your readers, but a great way to keep your site updated with fresh content, which the search engines love.

February: LinkedIn

Set up a LinkedIn account to connect with other home inspectors, realtors and other professionals in your field.

Join a few relevant LinkedIn groups, which are great place to stay up-to-date with industry trends and learn new tricks of the trade. We’re part of the Home Inspectors Forum and ASHI Home Inspectors, to name a few.

LinkedIn marketing for home inspectors

March: Email marketing

Get into the habit of sending out regular emails to your mailing list. Don’t have an email list? Focus on building one. You can start with your list of recent clients and grow from there.

Read our post on starting a home inspector newsletter here.

April: Twitter

Use Twitter to make short statements your client base will find helpful. Then, help people find them by using relevant hashtags like #homeinspection and #realestate.

Inspector Pages regularly receives new website visits and email subscriptions via the posts we share on Twitter.

Twitter marketing for home inspectors

May: Facebook

Set up a Facebook page for your home inspection business and invite your personal contacts to ‘like’ it. Then, update it each time you write a new blog post. You can also share photos from your work in the field, ponting out common home repair issues others should watch out for.

You can join Facebook groups to network with other home inspectors and share knowledge. Gary Smith’s group, Professional Home Inspector, is regularly updated with useful discussions from members.

June: Network Outside Your Niche

Attend a non-home inspection related event, like a business owner’s seminar or a chamber of commerce meeting. You don’t know who you don’t know—in other words, there are thousands of new leads out there just waiting to meet you!

Helpful hint: Exchange business cards with new acquaintances and ask if you may add them to your email newsletter.

July: Direct Mail

Believe it or not, direct mail is still a highly effective medium for bringing in new business. You can invest in a custom mailing list, like new homeowners in your area, or you can do mail marketing on the cheap by printing a few thousand fliers and spending a Saturday dropping them in local mailboxes.

You direct mail piece should be simple and eye-catching, and include a specific deal recipients can redeem, like $50 off any service.

Direct mail marketing for home inspectors

August: Vehicle Marketing

Cover your vehicle in a custom wrap that shows off your business and contact details. Your customers will get a great first impression from your professional-looking truck, and you’ll pick up new leads from people who see you out and about.

The best thing about vehicle wraps is they’re a “one and done” marketing tool: pay for the wrap one time and reap the benefits for months or years to come. Learn more about the benefits of vehicle wraps in this blog post.

September: Open Houses

Visit open houses to get to know new realtors you’re not acquainted with. It can be easy to fall back on your trusty old list of contacts, but you never know when one new introduction could spark a whole new stream of business.

Read our tips for open house marketing here.

October: Publish An Article

Write an op-ed on a timely and interesting topic and submit it to your local paper or realtor’s magazine. If it gets cold where you live, for example, you might write a set if tips to help homeowners to prepare for winter. You can do this year-round and pick up some great free publicity.

Newspaper stack

November: Update Your Website

If the last time you refreshed your website was when you had an AOL email address, it might be time for a revamp. Inspector Pages offers a number of professional, diverse templates that are easy to install and come pre-filled with the essentials, like About Us and Contact pages.

December: Refresh Your CTAs

If you’re not collecting a steady stream of leads from your website, you might want to try updating your site’s CTAs, or calls to action. These are the elements that encourage people to go from visitors to leads.

Try changing the size and position of your contact form. Play with a new color or tagline on your Contact button. Add a contact form to the sidebar on every page of your site.

Little changes go a long way to making big differences for your business. Need help implementing any of the above? Get in touch with us at support@inspector-pages.com.

For more marketing tips delivered directly to your inbox, sign up using the form below!

Newsletter signup

How Much Does A Home Inspector Make?

Have experience in construction or real estate? Want to work on your terms and set your own hours? A career as a home inspector may be perfect for you, but you’re probably wondering: how much will I make?

Salary Basics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home inspectors bring in an average salary of $56,040 per year. This translates into $26.94 per hour. Pay in the field is largely contingent upon factors including experience, geographical location, and employer size.

Home inspectors who gain employment through a construction company can typically expect to attain paid vacations, health insurance, and retirement savings plan. The 11% of home inspectors who work as independent contractors pay for benefits on their own.

Salary Variations Based On State

It’s important to remember that geographical location can significantly alter a home inspector’s salary. Inspectors in the District of Columbia earn the highest annual income: $81,930. Individuals employed in California also generate a relatively substantive annual income of $71,300. House inspectors in Florida generate about $53,410 each year, while Pennsylvania workers earn about $48,100 annually.

Salary Variations Based On Industry

The salary earned by a home inspector will vary based on the industry.

The BLS reports that inspectors who work for power and electric companies bring home the highest salaries–$71,900. Those who work for natural gas distributors earn $67,420. Additionally, home inspectors who worked for the federal government earn an annual income of $65,440.

Roughly half of home inspectors are employed by municipal governments. The annual salaries of these individuals is about $55,250. Inspectors employed through construction, engineering, and architectural firms bring home annual salaries of $53,460.

Educational Requirements

To become a home inspector, individuals must first typically attain a high school degree. However, some employers require job candidates to attain an associate’s degrees before being offered a position. The associate’s degree is effective in preparing people with knowledge in relevant fields such as drafting, construction technology, and home inspection.

In some cases, employers will accept a certificate in place of a degree. Additionally, some employers will hire candidates who hold bachelor’s degrees as opposed to industry experience.

Job Outlook

The BLS reports that the number of positions for home inspectors will grow by 18% between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is slightly higher than the national average, which is 14%. The growth rate is attributed to increasing demand for safety in the residential property sector.

Areas undergoing significant population increases will have particularly plentiful vocational opportunities for aspiring home inspectors.

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector, it’s important to consider what type of salary you can expect to earn. By reviewing the short outline provided above and considering the factors that come into play where you live, you’ll get a better idea of whether it’s the career path for you.

Just getting started as a home inspector? We’ve got plenty of free marketing resources for you in our blog. Or, sign up to receive regular email updates below.

Newsletter signup

9 Client Gifts that Don’t Suck

9 client gifts

‘Tis the season… for generic gift baskets. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a cheese platter or popcorn tin, there’s definitely nothing memorable about them, either.

One year, a client of ours remembered that the whole office had loved her homemade salsa at an event earlier in the year. She sent jars of the stuff—on ice—to every person in our office. Now that’s a holiday gift to remember.

Need some inspiration to close out the calendar year? Here are 9 gifts perfect for home inspectors that will wow realtors and clients alike.

1. Flashlight

You never have one when you need one (well, you probably do, but the rest of us…). Show clients the light with a high-quality flashlight and a clever message, like ‘Wishing you a merry and bright holiday season.’ Throw in extra batteries for bonus points.

2. Local Coffee

Your realtor contacts will love you for this one. Visit your local gourmet coffee shop and pick up a bag of their best beans. Instead of a gift bag, put the java inside an inexpensive French press and presto—a gift that will really get them going.

garlic grater

3. Garlic Grater and Oil Dish

I received one of these as a gift and can’t count how many times it’s come in handy in the kitchen. It’s one of those things you’d never think to buy for yourself, but you use again and again once you have it. Perfect to help recent clients break in a brand new kitchen.

4. Local Outing

Instead of a physical gift, give tickets to a baseball game, a round of golf or an hour massage. It’s an extra special way to say thank you to your very best sources of business.

Fortune-cookie

5. Custom Cookies

Everyone knows the best part of Chinese takeout is the fortune cookie at the end. Send clients an inspiring, funny or heartfelt message of well wishes for the year ahead with a custom fortune cookie. They’re inexpensive to order online, and clients will love the midday snack—complete with your business name inside.

Book

6. Light Reading

Often excerpted in magazines like Reader’s Digest, 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know offers useful, basic tips on everything from warding off ant invasions to growing the best lawn on the block. Have a favorite handyman read of your own that you’d rather give? Have at it.

7. Holiday Cheer(s)

If your colleagues are the cocktail-loving kind, gift them the ingredients for your favorite happy hour indulgence. For example, a fifth of bourbon, a bottle of bitters, a sack of sugar cubes and a jar of maraschino cherries to whip up the perfect Old Fashioned.

Christmas homemade gingerbread house cookie on wooden table

8. Gingerbread House

This holiday classic becomes uber-relevant for the real estate crowd. Add a clever customization with a fondant sign that reads ‘Inspected by [Your Name Here]’ (most bakeries can tackle the custom request).

9. Personalized Present

If you really want to impress, go the route of our salsa-gifting friend and come up with something your colleague or client will love on a personal level.

Work with a realtor who teaches yoga? Gift a new mat or water bottle. Have a client who mentioned a passion for cooking? Spring for a cookbook or local cooking class. While you don’t need to use this level of personalization for every client, it’s a wonderful way to leave a lasting impression on those you want a lasting relationship with.

Do you give holiday gifts to your work contacts? Follow us on Twitter and tell us what you give!

Free Download: Homeowner’s Winter Checklist

WINTER CHECKLIST

The start of winter is the perfect time to check in with your past and current home inspection clients to share some useful winterization tips.

We’ve prepared this handy checklist that’s free for you to print, email to clients or share on your blog.

The text is below, or you can download a printable version by right clicking here and choosing ‘Save Link As…’.

We hope you’ll use it!

 

7 Steps to Get Your Home Winter-Ready

Cold weather is almost here, and along with the holiday cheer comes drafts, leaks and other not-so-fun issues that can wreak havoc for homeowners.

Follow our handy winterization checklist to make sure your home is ready for the cold snap.

1. Insulate windows.

If you don’t have double-paned windows, now is the perfect time to consider them! It’s a home upgrade that will quickly pay for itself.

If you’re not ready for all-new windows, ensure the edges of your existing ones are sealed. If there are gaps between the window and the frame, a new sealant may be in order.

2. Seal doors.

Doors are a common culprit for heat-stealing drafts. A weather strip costs less than $20 at most home improvement stores and will keep your heating bill down, not to mention keeping your doorway free from weather damage.

Most weather strips come with an adhesive backing for easy installation that only takes a few minutes.

3. Inspect your roof and attic.

Winter is one of the most taxing times of year for your roof. Find signs of wear and tear while the damage is still reparable by conducting a roof inspection or hiring one done.

4. Insulate your attic.

It may sound counterintuitive, but you want your attic to remain cold during the winter to prevent ice melt that can lead to damaging ice dams. To keep it chilly, make sure it’s properly insulated and there are no drafts sneaking in from the house.

5. Drain your sprinkler system.

Most of us pay attention to our home’s pipes, but it’s easy to forget the sprinkler system! Make sure it’s drained before the temperatures dip to prevent damage.

6. Change furnace filters.

This oh-so-simple fix can lead to major problems if it’s ignored. What’s more, a clean furnace filter will ensure your unit runs efficiently, saving money on your heating bill.

It’s also a great idea to have an annual furnace tune-up from a qualified professional to prolong the life of your unit and identify any problems before they become emergencies.

7. Adjust your thermostat.

No need to keep the house at a toasty 72 while you’re away. For those in cold-weather climates, the Department of Energy suggests keeping the thermostat set at 68 degrees and turning it down between 5 and 10 degrees when you leave the house.

By taking a few simple steps ahead of the cold, you’ll save money and lower the likelihood of emergencies that could trip up your holiday plans.

View From The Top: Drone-Assisted Home Inspections

drone

When Jonathan Zeissler of Evansdale, Iowa was laid off from his job at John Deere Tractor Cab Assembly, he saw it as a unique business opportunity.

Zeissler has recently had a home inspector come to check out his house, but to his dismay, the inspector did not get up on his roof because it was too tall.

It sparked an idea for Zeissler.

He invested $1,500 in a Phantom 3 drone with a camera on its belly and spent several months learning to use it. Then, he opened Illuminate Inspections LLC, the area’s first drone-assisted roof inspection service.

“The personal experience of having a home inspector inspecting a home I was buying, not being able to get a report on the roof was the number one driver, once I decided to go into business for myself as a home inspector,” Zeissler told the WCF Courier, who reported on the story.

“How can I not do that for my clients? That’s when I investigated the costs and how user-friendly it would be. This would work perfectly and take care of that problem.”

He even offers his clients a complementary aerial shot of their home, which he says most people love.

Zeissler’s certainly not the first to use drones in the home inspection business, but he’s evidence of a growing trend.

Do you or would you use a drone during your home inspections? Let us know on Twitter @Inspector_Pages.

3 (More) Marketing Ideas for Home Inspectors

creative marketing

The sky (or at least the tallest billboard) is the limit when it comes to marketing, and we’re always looking for new and creative ways to help you get your home inspection business out there.

If you’re just getting your business off the ground or have yet to devote much time to marketing, our post on 6 Marketing Strategies for Home Inspectors is a great place to start.

Ready for more? Great. Here are three more ideas to market your home inspection business.

1. Print Door Hangers

There’s a reason people still use direct mail advertising; sometimes old fashioned ideas still deliver results.

Door hangers are a minimal-effort way to reach a ton of customers quickly—especially if you target homes that are on the market and neighborhoods with a lot of real estate movement.

via VistaPrint.com

via VistaPrint.com

You don’t need to be a designer to create one; an online printing site like VistaPrint offers pre-made templates you can use to create your design.

For a clean look you should keep the text to a minimum, but be sure to include a few key elements:

  • Company name
  • Services
  • Phone number
  • Website

Once you’ve got a design, order them through the mail for around 10 cents apiece. Carry a pile with you in your vehicle and make a habit of hitting a few houses in between inspections each day.

2. Host a Workshop

This idea takes a bit more effort to put together, but can pay off big time in the form of realtor relationships.

First, you’ll need to put together a workshop topic.

What questions do people ask you over and over? Is there an issue you continually have to resolve for realtors or clients? These things make great ideas for classes.

Once you have your topic, build an outline of five or six different subtopics you’ll cover within the workshop.

For example, a workshop on historic homes might look like this:

  • Introduction to Historic Homes
  • Foundations and Roofs
  • Inside the Home
  • Preservation and Maintenance
  • Common Problem Areas
  • Audience Questions

A one-hour workshop is ideal for your first time, so shoot for spending about ten minutes on each topic.

We’re willing to bet you could talk at length about most of these subjects, so you should have no problem coming up with talking points. Transpose these talking points into a Power Point presentation, and there you have your first workshop.

The next step—and probably the trickiest—is to find the right platform to hold it. You’ll need to identify the right contact person and may need to be a bit of a squeaky wheel, but remember: this is all about establishing a relationship that will benefit you over time.

teach a class

Here are a few places to pitch your workshop:

  • Realtor’s associations
  • Large real estate offices
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Neighborhood associations

If you can get ten people to sign up, you’re in great shape. Consider giving your first workshop or two free, then charging if you see people are responding well and they’re paying off.

The day of your workshop, provide light refreshments and leave a few minutes at the beginning and end to meet each attendee.

Be sure to collect business cards for each person attending so you can follow up. You could even raffle off a prize as an incentive for people to leave their cards.

As you can see, if you did one workshop per quarter, your list of contacts (AKA referral sources) would grow quickly.

3. Outdoor Advertising

No, we’re not talking about your face on a billboard (though that can work too). Outdoor advertising includes any form of outdoor signage that publicizes your business.

There are two we think work well for home inspectors: vehicle wraps and yard signs.

Vehicle wraps cover all or a portion of your work vehicle, advertising your business no matter where you go. If you have a dedicated work truck or fleet, it doesn’t make sense not to use vehicle wraps.

We cover more on the vehicle wrapping process and payoffs in this post.

You’ve probably seen plenty of yard signs for landscaping services; home inspectors can use them too, and once they’re printed you can use them again and again at no added cost until they wear out.

Here’s how to use yard signs for your business.

After you complete an inspection, follow up with the new homeowner a few weeks later (you should probably be doing this already to gather positive reviews!).

If they did in fact go through with their purchase, ask if you can place a yard sign at the edge of their property for a month. In exchange, offer them a small compensation like a Starbucks gift card or entry into a raffle drawing.

Many satisfied customers will be happy to oblige your request, and you’ve got yourself one month of free (or nearly free) advertising.

Want more ideas to market your home inspection business? Follow us on Twitter @Inspector_Pages, or sign up for our free weekly newsletter below.

Newsletter signup

 

5 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Home Inspector Website

website mistakes to avoid

All business websites look a little bit different, and many design elements of your home inspector site will come down to personal preference.

But there are a few design no-no’s you should almost always avoid, no matter your taste or your industry. Check your site today for these 5 critical errors.

1. Too many fonts.

Once you see all the font options available, it can be easy to get carried away.

“I’ll use this font for my headers, and this font for my menu, and this font for my text…”

A good rule of thumb is to stick to just two different fonts per site—one for headers/menu options, the other for body copy.

Not sure which two fonts to pair together? There’s an app for that.

FontPair.co is a free site that suggests great-looking font combinations hand-picked by designers.

While all home inspector websites will be a little bit different, there are some mistakes you should avoid no matter what your site’s layout or content looks like.

A nice font pair from FontPair.co

A nice font pair from FontPair.co

2. Patterned backgrounds

Patterned backgrounds on a website almost always make us cringe immediately.

In fact, we searched specifically for examples of “good” patterned backgrounds for use in this post, and couldn’t find a single one we felt confident enough to cite.

That right there should tell you—unless you’re working with a highly talented web designer, stay away from patterned backgrounds at all costs.

Instead, stick to a solid background in a subtle color. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a solid white background.

3. Broken links

A broken link is exactly what it sounds like: a link that takes the visitor to an error page instead of the page they’re expecting.

Broken links are bad because not only do they inconvenience the reader, they take away from your credibility.

There are many reasons broken links can happen, especially if you’ve had your site for a long time, have changed the titles of pages or have switched hosting providers.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to check your site for broken links that takes just a couple seconds.

Go to BrokenLinkCheck.com and type in your URL. It’ll return a list of all the broken links on your site—hopefully it’s not too long.

Clicking on the little link that says ‘url’ next to each broken link will show you the page of your site that contains it, so you can go in and correct it.

Good thing we checked--we had two broken links of our own!

Good thing we checked–we had two broken links of our own!

4. Not optimizing for mobile

In 2014, mobile web traffic surpassed desktop web traffic for the first time.

This tells us something: approximately half (if not more) of your website visitors will be checking out your site from a mobile device. And if your site isn’t optimized, that’s half your traffic that will probably click away as fast as they came in!

The easiest way to optimize your site for mobile is to use a theme—Wordpress or otherwise—that’s mobile responsive. Most modern themes released within the last few years will have this feature.

If your site isn’t mobile responsive and you don’t want to change themes, we strongly recommend you invest in a web developer to produce a mobile-friendly version of your site.

5. Hard to find contact info

If the visitor wants to contact you, don’t make them search for a tiny contact link hidden in your footer!

We recommend having your phone number within your site’s header, so it’s displayed on every page of the site. Another great option is to include a contact form on all or most of your pages, either at the bottom of the content or within the sidebar.

Want more free website tips and tactics delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below. 

Newsletter signup

How To Launch a Home Inspection Email Newsletter

Email marketing for home inspectors

Last week we talked about email marketing (it’s not dead—far from it) and introduced you to some of our favorite email clients for managing your list.

This week we’ll lay out a step-by-step guide to launch your own email newsletter—along with an explanation of how it’ll work to generate more home inspections.

Why does email marketing work?

As we mentioned in our last post, email is the number one marketing tool for lead retention. Why is this? The key here is depth rather than width.

This means that rather than casting a net that’ll catch 20,000 mediocre leads, like with a newspaper ad, email marketing allows you to cast a small but powerful net that’ll catch a couple hundred awesome leads.

Marketing to a small group of highly targeted leads is much more effective than blasting your message out to thousands of people who couldn’t care less about you or your home inspections.

Building your list

Begin by compiling all the emails of friends, family members, neighbors you can think of, along with anyone you work with on a regular basis. You should be able to come up with a few dozen people right off the bat.

This is your list.

Using one of the platforms we outline here, add these folks to a new mailing list. Send out a short and sweet email blast to the entire list letting them know you’re launching a weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly) newsletter.

MailChimp's Creat List screen

MailChimp’s Creat List screen

Let them know you’d love to have them as a subscriber, but if their inbox is already packed to the brim there’ll be no hard feelings if they hit the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom (depth, not width, remember? Don’t waste time marketing to people who aren’t buying what you’re selling).

Once this blast has gone out and a few people have inevitably unsubscribed, you have a solid list of contacts to start with.

Build on this list little by little by adding an email signup form to your website.

We recommend adding your signup for to your home page and your contact page at a minimum. If possible, it’s a great idea to add it to every page of your site, either in the header or sidebar.

If you use WordPress, you can do this by installing a plugin like JotForm or GravityForms. These plugins allow you to build a contact form, then paste it onto your site’s pages with a little bit of code.

Within the form’s settings, you can opt to have each new subscriber imported directly to your email client (if this sounds too technical, Inspector Pages’ Managed Package might be helpful for you).

Sending your blasts

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of your email list is not to sell, sell, sell!

It’s to build value to subscribers who will one day become your clients. Marketing giants Gary Vaynerchuk and Neil Patel are both big advocates of building value as the number one way to drive conversions over time.

One of Inspector Pages' weekly newsletters

One of Inspector Pages’ weekly newsletters

How can you do this? By providing content that’s highly relevant and useful to your subscribers. If you’re thinking hey, that’s the same thing you told me to do with my blog! You’re exactly right.

In fact, your blog posts make great content to share in your email newsletter. Here are 20 ideas for posts to spark your creativity.

Then, get to sending. Send out one email every week/every other week/every month filled with great information your client base will love.

Stories from your inspections.

Warning signs to watch out for.

Tips and tricks to save money on home maintenance.

The list goes on.

When you provide this much value to someone who’s not even your customer, who do you think they’re going to call the minute they or someone they know is in need of a home inspection?

You guessed it—you.

And when you do have a special offer or discount available? Absolutely use your email list to promote it!

That’s how email marketing can work for your home inspection business.

Want more free marketing tactics delivered directly to your inbox? Join our weekly newsletter entering your email below.

Newsletter signup

The Most Effective Marketing Tool Is…

Email marketing for home inspectors

What’s the most effective marketing platform to reach your customers? As a home inspector, you probably get a good deal of your new leads from word of mouth.

But what comes next? Social media? Paid search? You might be surprised to hear that the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention year after year is email marketing, according to marketing research firm eMarketer.

If you want to turn your existing clients into repeat clients—and more importantly, lead generating machines—an email newsletter is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.

Below you’ll find three programs that make is easy to send your own subscription newsletter, little-to-no technical skills required.

mailchimp

  1. MailChimp

Considered by many to be the gold standard for small business email marketing. MailChimp is easy, user friendly, and inexpensive; at the time of this post, Mailchimp allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers completely free of charge.

You can import your list of contacts, then create a great-looking email filled with text and images using MailChimp’s darg-and-drop editor.

If you want to get fancy, upgrade to one of the platform’s paid plans to create drip campaigns (an automated chain of emails that go out to your subscribers on a pre-arranged schedule over several days, weeks or even months).

 

vertical response

  1. Vertical Response

Vertical Response is incredibly similar to MailChimp in terms of ease of use and features, with just a few less bells and whistles.

Vertical Response offers a free plan that’s more limited than MailChimp (up to 4,000 emails per month to 1,000 subscribers), but its monthly plans are slightly cheaper, starting around $17.

Vertical Response will get you a drag-and-drop editor, integration with your social channels, and a feature we especially like—phone support for both free and paid users for those times when you can’t quite figure it out on your own.

 

sendy

  1. Sendy

Sendy is what we’d call a stripped-down version of an email platform, though it’s the favorite of some of the most effective marketers. This is likely because of its incredibly low cost—just a fraction of a penny per email sent after a one-time $59 setup fee.

If you prefer a cheap, no-frills but effective platform, Sendy is the way to go. You get all the basics you need, including an email editor that allows for text and images.

Our favorite Sendy feature is the ability to see exactly who has opened your email, so you can re-target them or follow up with those that left your message unopened.

Sendy does require you to have your own domain (www.yourname.com), and it’s not quite as turnkey as the first two; you’ll need to complete few extra steps in the beginning to get fully up and running.

Want more free marketing tools and tips delivered to your inbox? Join our weekly newsletter (which we currently run through MailChimp, by the way) by entering your email below.

Keyword Research: An Intro for Home Inspectors

keywords 2

If you’ve dabbled in search engine optimization, you know the importance of keywords in attracting organic and paid search traffic to your page. But “keyword stuffing”–filling your site with tons of keywords that are unnatural and awkward–is a major no-no for modern SEO.

But keywords do still have a place in any good SEO strategy. We’ll show you how to use Google’s keyword planner to find new search terms and keywords to target for your home inspection website.

Using keyword planner

Google’s keyword planner is a free tool is mainly used for paid keyword research, but it’s also a great way to get an idea of what your potential customers are searching for. The, you can write about those keywords on your site to attract more visitors.

To use keyword planner, sign up for an AdWords account using your email address and website.

keyword research with keyword planner

Once you’re logged in, mouse over the ‘Tools’ tab at the top of the page. Select Keyword Planner from the dropdown menu.

Begin a search for new keywords by clicking ‘search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.’ For the purpose of this example, we’ll use the phrase ‘home inspections’ with www.inspector-pages.com as the landing page.

keyword research with keyword planner

Complete the rest of the form by filling in your industry, target language, and location. Then, click ‘Get ideas.’

The keyword planner will return a chart showing the search volume for this term over time–how many people searched for it in your area over a week, month, year, etc. You want your target keywords to have a steady or increasing search volume.

We’re going to be interested in the section beneath that chart. Click on the tab labeled ‘keyword ideas.’

Here you’ll find a list of keywords related to your industry, specific to your location. For each keyword, you’ll see the number of monthly searches, the competition level and the suggested bid (used for AdWords campaigns).

Keyword research with keyword planner

If we sort the form by number of monthly searches, we can see that the most-searched term is what you’d probably expect: home inspection. But as you work your way down the list, you’ll see some other related terms you might not be focusing on: building inspector, house inspector, etc.

Competition level

The next thing we want to zero in on is the level of competition for each keyword. You can see the first few on the list have a high level of competition, meaning there are lot of other people targeting those same keywords in your market.

But if we scroll down the list a bit, we can find several other similar keywords with a decent amount of search traffic but a low level of competition. These are the low-hanging fruits we want to reach for.

Keywords4

To capture people searching for these terms, you’ll want to make sure each of them are addressed on your website. Ideally, you’ll set up individual landing pages that specifically talk about each of these keywords. This will capture searches and lead them to other pages on your site.

How to capitalize on these keywords

Let’s say you decide you want to focus on ‘radon inspector,’ (assuming, of course, this is a service you offer). You’ll want to create a designated landing page on your site where you talk all about your radon inspection services. You could show photos, offer pricing and of course, include a call-to-action for interested customers to contact you. You’ll also want to be sure your location is mentioned on the page.

Because there are a significant number of people searching for this term in your area, but the competition is low, searchers will be more likely to land on your site than your competitors’ and, in turn, book a service with you.

As you can key, it’s easy to get lost in Google’s keyword planner, searching variations on any and every term related to your industry. And you should! It’s a free way to bring more web visitors in the door each month.

You can take this keyword research one step further into the paid realm by setting up AdWords campaigns for each of your target terms. Kissmetrics has a wonderful tutorial to get you started with your first campaign.

Want more free marketing tips and tricks? Follow Inspector Pages on Twitter

Satisfied Customer

“Wow! InspectorPages was a great find for me and my business. From the start of the sign-up process (which included 2 months free to get to know the system), to publishing my site, the customer service help was perfect. I could count on Danny to help me with any problems I ran up against. He was invaluable. I am very happy with my website and it’s continuing upgrades of functionality and ease of use.”

– Mike G. of Safety Home Service