In the past, the Yellow Pages were a likely source that many people turned to – that and just word of mouth. They asked other people they knew (neighbors, family, and friends) who they might contact to get started with their research. They asked if others had done the work they were contemplating, who they might have used, what they experience was with it (satisfied or not), and what they should be looking be looking for interviewing and selecting someone to help them. Should they choose the lowest bidder, the most expensive, the most experienced …? Now, we get to add CAPS-trained professionals to the list of eligible people that would be considered.
People have many more choices today in how they search for someone to help them. The Yellow Pages still exist for those who rely on them. Word of mouth is always a popular source. Of course, the internet makes everything different. People who have access to the internet often begin their search for help online using the computer, tablet, or phone. They perform a generic (organic) search for general contractors, remodelers, custom builders, home improvements, kitchens remodels, bathroom renovations, home renovations, finished basements, or other topics they think will help them locate someone that they might like to talk with about what they are considering.
In addition to performing a search for contractors, occupational therapists, designers, or others who might help them in their remodeling efforts, there are several websites devoted to locating contractors for people or in actually booking appointments for them and scheduling a time for someone to show up to their home. Common sites for this are Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Amazon Home Services, Houzz, Porch (Lowe’s), ProReferral (Home Depot – formerly Red Beacon), and others. Some sites only apply to certain geographical areas while other sites are national. There are some just for Canada also.
These sites can be located by performing a search for contractor or renovation help, or they can be accessed directly. Another tool that is evoling is using verbal commands to search the web. Devices like Echo (Alexa), Google Mini, or ElliQ, as well as apps like Siri (Apple), Bixby (Samsung), Alice, Jarvis, Dragon, Cortana, and others have the technology to interact with the homeowner and locate services to contact.
Now, it seems that people will be able to use Google Assistant to contact Home Advisor and Porch directly through that app to begin determining work that can be done and to schedule appointments. Businesses are going to pre-screened by Google before being listed also.
Thus, with the online resources that are available for homeowners and potential strategic partners (people we eventually want and need to work with to provide aging in place solutions for our clients) to learn about and contact us, we must have a presence on these sites. The same is true for some common social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, among others.
Regardless of whether we feel comfortable in having an online presence or we don’t want a paid account on some of these sites, we have to admit that being where potential clients are searching for people like us is going to be beneficial and ultimately lead to more business.
Word of mouth referrals are great, but the question is can they sustain us or provide all of our business? If they can, fine. If not, we need to understand that online resources are an important point of contact and lead generation source. We need to be visible in as many places as are reasonable for our business model to allow potential strategic partners to see and know about us and for potential clients to reach out to us also.