When I launched my local computer repair business, Norm’s Computer Services, at the start of 2016 I utilised various methods to market the business. I had a flyer designed and distributed to 5000 homes in my own suburb in Sydney. I also travelled to a number of retirement communities in my local area and provided them with these flyers to display on their noticeboards. Neither of these methods yielded a great deal of fruit although I did end up having a number of faithful retirees who returned to me again and again.
Some time later I was granted a half page article in a free magazine which was distributed to homes in a number of local suburbs. Once again, the number of clients I accrued from this opportunity was low, but a number became regular customers over subsequent years.
I soon realised that the only way I would garner enough clients to make a living from my business would be by reaching a much wider market. And the only way to do this is to do it digitally. Of course I’d had a website since the beginning, but having a website and actually driving potential clients to that website are two different things.
Let’s look at three digital marketing methods which have worked for me and I would consider essentials for any local computer repair business.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) allows you to create an online listing for your business, which can then appear in Google Search and on Google Maps to potential clients. The great thing about GMB is that it’s absolutely free. The listings are applicable to both desktop and mobile environments, and they typically appear underneath a local map at the top of a search engine results page (SERP). Google will normally show three local listings under the map and a potential client can then click through to see more listings should they wish to do so.
Setting up a GMB listing for your business is extremely straightforward. It’s ideal for local businesses such as a computer repair business servicing a local area. You enter your business location or the service areas which you serve. Google will then use these details to show your service area on Google Maps.
According to a recent blog post by Moz, there are four factors which impact the ranking of your GMB listing on Google. These are your business name, the service categories you choose, your website and your reviews. It’s clearly especially helpful to start getting reviews from satisfied customers as quickly as possible.
When I started my own business, I relied heavily on the use of Google Ads. Unfortunately Google implemented a change of policy in 2018, no longer allowing third party support businesses to advertise using the Google Ads platform. This change resulted from the proliferation of fraudulent remote ‘computer repair’ providers promoting their scam activities using Google’s platform and elsewhere.
The good news is that computer repair businesses can still advertise using Microsoft’s equivalent offering which is called Microsoft Advertising. The ads on Microsoft’s platform tend to be cheaper than Google’s but of course the market share for Bing search is much lower than that of Google.
The basic concept in Microsoft Advertising is that when someone types a search term into Bing, seeking a particular product or service, a number of ads are triggered. The resulting ads will show either at the top or towards the bottom of the resulting SERP. A click on the ad takes the prospective customer to a page of your website known as a landing page, the purpose of which is to convert the lead you’ve just acquired into an actual customer.
Microsoft determines which ads to show and in which positions on the SERP based on a number of factors. These include the price you are willing to pay for the ad to be displayed for each particular keyword. This is called the bid price since you are bidding against your competitors in order to achieve your desired position on the SERP.
There is quite a learning curve with Microsoft Advertising but I can testify from own experience that it’s possible to achieve a very significant return on your investment.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy. Unlike Google My Business and Microsoft Advertising, it’s not possible to create a listing or an ad today and start generating returns tomorrow. SEO requires a much longer timeframe but I would consider it the bedrock of your digital marketing. As you invest in SEO activities you will begin to see a return further down the line.
SEO comprises three main activities. The purpose of these activities is to influence a site’s ranking on Google so that, for relevant search queries, it appears as high as possible on the SERP. I would break down the three activities as being technical SEO, on-page optimisation, and backlink building. Technical SEO comprises the activities you undertake to set your website up to be found and indexed by Google. On-page optimisation is about creating outstanding content on your site. And backlink building is about creating connections across the web so that other sites link back to yours.
SEO is something you can undertake yourself, or you can employ an agency to undertake these activities for you. If you’re just starting off it will be a steep learning curve to do it by yourself. If you do, on the other hand, decide to utilise the services of a professional agency you’ll need to select them carefully and make sure they give you clear reports on the activities they are undertaking for you.
I’ve described three essential components of a digital marketing strategy for a local computer repair business. When I launched my own business I made the mistake of relying too heavily on Google Ads. In order to have a balanced marketing strategy I would suggest investing in all three of the approaches I’ve described here. To do so is the pathway to success and profitability.