Local Service Providers to Expand Online Profiles to Attract Consumers

Local marketers, especially service providers, are focused on establishing an online presence with social media this year. And many of these operators are also upping the budget for search marketing. But what specifically should these small operators be promoting in their online campaigns to attract the attention and business of consumers? A new survey by WebVisible reveals that consumers want varying information depending on the type of professional they’re seeking to hire.

In one key finding, it turns out that service providers who ‘educate’ prospective clients on their field and profession stand a better chance of getting the business. For example, an attorney can deliver content that answers a few basic legal questions. Likewise, doctors can boost their chances of winning over a new patient if they provide free online access to their opinions on specific treatments and procedures.

When seeking a provider of professional services, consumers want information on:

  • Credentials and experience
  • Referrals and recommendations
  • List of services available

Consumers who seek auto repair services have a slightly different information need. And men and women differ in what they are looking for. Here’s a list of the top pieces of information consumers seek online when considering auto repair. Men’s preferences appear in parentheses:

  • Listing of services and costs: 73% (65%)
  • Special offer/​discount: 64% (52%)
  • Personal referrals: 58% (50%)

Consumers also noted that online videos, especially those that profile the business owner or customer testimonials, are particularly helpful. And there seems to be a keen interest in discounts, especially for consumers age 44 and younger.

Local service providers will likely be using information from surveys like these to improve their online image in order to get a jump on the competition.

[Source: New WebVisible Survey Asks: In Online Searches for Local Service Providers, What Closes the Deal? For Doctors or Lawyers, Credentials Count; For Auto or Home Repair, Give Estimated Costs.  WebVisible​.com. 2011. Web. 7 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.