How Home Service Providers Can Reach Millennial Homeowners
Here’s what environmentally conscious homeowners consider when choosing home service providers.
The millennial generation is projected to represent a dominant share of residential real estate transactions in the next few years. This generation will experience a massive wave of its cohort turning 30 years old. According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials are more likely to invest in renewable energy like solar panels or geothermal climate controls, compared with previous generations.
So, how do these environmentally conscious homeowners find, evaluate, and select home service providers?
Recently, Silverback Strategies conducted a research study to help home service providers across the country better understand their buyers so they can evolve their approach to marketing. The study focuses on 724 buyers who purchased home services during the summer of 2020, with results broken down by industry.
Understanding a Service Buyer’s Journey
Business owners must have a sense of their ideal customer. To reach them, they need to know what their buying journey looks like from start to finish. While the details may vary, there are five main stages every buyer goes through:
- Realization — the moment when customers recognize they have a problem to solve.
- Education — how customers gather the information they need to make a decision.
- Evaluation —the criteria customers use to see if a service provider is a good fit.
- Decision — how customers decide whom to work with.
- Advocacy — when customers feel compelled to leave an online rating or review.
The Modern Buyer Journey Starts Online
Across each industry group studied, buyers were most likely to go online as a first step toward selecting a home services provider. This was especially true for millennials, revealing ample opportunity for home services companies to capture new generations of customers and retain them for years to come.
Using search engines on their mobile device was the most popular first step. Some buyers used other digital channels to seek out solutions, like rating and review sites or various social media platforms, or they went directly to a service provider’s website.
Home service providers can take a first step toward generating new business online by strengthening their website’s technical foundation. They should also have complete profiles on review sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
Social media is a ripe channel home services companies can use to build brand awareness, especially among this budding generation of homeowners. Our research findings show 98 percent of millennial home services buyers were active on at least one social media platform, logging in at least weekly.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were the most common platforms used. Paid advertisements on these platforms are a proven way for home service providers to generate new business.
Past Customers Can Be Powerful Marketing Assets
Outside of cost, “customer ratings and reviews” and “examples of past performance” were the top criteria buyers used to evaluate service providers. Home services companies can take advantage of these insights by generating positive reviews on select platforms and showcasing images and stories of past work.
Interestingly, 45 percent of millennial home service buyers said they left a rating or review for their most recent purchase, citing Facebook or Google as the most common review platforms.
With customer ratings and reviews playing such an important role in the modern customer journey, home service providers should focus on generating more of these online reviews. This can be done by asking new customers to go to one specific platform (for example, Google) to leave a review. It may take a few touchpoints to convince customers to leave a rating or review.
Asking them in person once a project is completed is only the beginning. Most customers may need to be followed up with on channels like email, text, or social media direct messages.
The First Conversation Is Critical
Home service providers building brand awareness online have a sales advantage. More than one-third of buyers in industries like plumbing, HVAC, or bug and pest only spoke to one service provider who they ultimately hired.
Marketing campaigns focusing on getting customers to remember your brand can have a big impact. Advertisements traditionally placed on TV and radio can be effective in reaching millennials on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
In other industries like home construction and landscaping, buyers were more likely to have conversations with two separate service providers. Bigger ticket items like home construction or renovations mean buyers will conduct more research before making a purchase. Home service providers in these industries may need to highlight aspects of their product, service, or business that may stand out in the minds of target customers.
Millennial buyers were more likely to speak to multiple service providers than older generations. As relatively new homeowners, this may be because they have not yet established relationships with service professionals.
The customer journey is now digital. Home service providers will need to adapt their marketing strategies if they want to attract new generations of homeowners. Working with a digital marketing agency is one way service professionals can stay current on marketing best practices to attract new generations of buyers.
Publisher’s Note: This content is made possible by our Today’s Home Buyer Campaign Sponsors: Panasonic, Whirlpool, Rockwool, and Lee Industries. These companies take sustainability seriously, in both their products and their operations. Learn more about building and buying homes that are more affordable and less resource-intensive on Today's Home Buyer.