Most home inspectors would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good client. A new client not only means immediate revenue, but also future revenue and possible word of mouth referrals. But it’s hard to find a good client if you don’t have calls & emails coming in.
Some home inspectors have a business network that brings in leads with nothing but a phone number or email address. But for most home inspectors, you have to go out and market your services to get a quality pool of potential clients.
I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, regional residential real estate service companies in addition to a national appraisal marketplace and several local service professionals. Based on those experiences, here are some home inspector marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more leases.
Create City-Specific Website Pages
For clients, regional searches are too big, “near me” searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. City and some neighborhood searches are just right.
That may sound obvious, but most real estate firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on cities or neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.
Create Niche Service Pages
Lots of clients have specific issues, worries and/or needs that they want. Instead of listing your services & experience in a giant list, make detailed pages about each service. Try to rank for searches like “home inspector for [service]”.
You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “home inspector for” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.
You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.
Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.
Housing Data Pages
Create resource guides for people around common housing & housing stock issues. Create lots of them. Focus on issues related to your city’s housing stock. Explore building code, geographic, and local concerns.
Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.
Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews
You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.
But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.
First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.
Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.
You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.
Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.
Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses
I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.
No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.
With home inspector marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.
Here’s what you’ll see.
It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.
The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.
Work with Local Real Estate Blogs
Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in real estate. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.
Find those and become a regular fixture. All real estate blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.
That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.
Your city pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.
Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads
A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.
Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.
Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.
You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.
Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads
Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “home inspector in [city]”.
But that search click will be very costly.
But like Facebook, you have an possible advantage – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.
Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.
Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads
Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.
Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.
But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.
List on Locally-Popular Real Estate Websites
Real Estate listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.
The key is to find a few key real estate websites that are popular in your area – and list on those. Zillow is almost always a good bet. Zillow also has an ad program for real estate professionals.
But be sure to go deeper than just real estate professional websites. Track down homeowner focused websites like Houzz and HomeAdvisor to carve out a presence there.
List on NextDoor & Local Forums
NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising home inspector.
These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for real estate.
They have a very accessible local ad service for local businesses like Home Inspectors.
Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits
Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for home inspectors for a couple of reasons.
First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.
Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.
Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.
However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.
You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.
Post Behind The Scenes w/ Photos in Instagram
Think about how you can take client photos & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think you should simply post photos on every platform, but instead use photos from listings to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
Obviously this tactic needs some careful legal & privacy planning, but if you can pull it off, the result will be genuinely interesting and will position your business as an authority that can charge more than an average home inspector.
Develop a Local Real Estate Pinterest Board
Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to care for their home. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.
Use local photos, architecture, building materials, etc from real houses to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, etc.
Identify & Market Popular Client Sources
Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.
See if there is a way to build off that success.
Cross-Promote Local Real Estate Agents
Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the agents.
Cross-Promote Local Businesses
Your clients will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have a full client book. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target client (think the local harware store, etc).
Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.
Plan Events To Get Social Media Attention
Events like training, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for local real estate agents. But home inspectors can borrow ideas to generate both direct and indirect advertising. That’s because events have a bonus effect online.
You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square. Think about seminars, help sessions, training opportunities, co-event with local developers or agents, etc.
Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media
Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of house issues and how you document issues for clients.
Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.
Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth
Referral fees are also a staple of real estate professionals’ marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.
Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., house numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.
Find & Sponsor Local Charities
Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.
First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.
Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.
Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.
There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for home inspectors. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.
Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.