Search engine marketing expert Josh Eliseuson and internet marketing strategist David McBee joined Jesse Buckingham, Record360 CEO, to discuss elevating digital presence and growing revenue through digital marketing in heavy equipment rental.
The discussion was for rental operators of all sizes looking to enhance their digital strategy and improve revenue from their website through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
They also discussed the strategies and tactics rental operators need to consider to better kick off their digital marketing strategy or improve what they have in place.
Below are the takeaways from the webinar:
- What are the importance and benefits of being good at digital marketing? (6:36)
- Why is there a significant difference between e-commerce versus rentals conversion rates? (11:18)
- What are the major trends in digital marketing that rental operators need to know? (15:20)
- What is the role of websites in rental operations, and what are the fundamental site elements? (18:47)
- What is the role of social media in rental operations? (25:16)
- How do you measure digital marketing return on investment (ROI)? (33:01)
- What is Geofencing? (48:32)
Alignment of marketing strategies and customer buying habits
It’s important to match the right digital marketing strategy to the customer’s buying process. After all, effective marketing begins with having a good understanding of how customers want to buy and search for things.
People who want to rent equipment, for example, don’t necessarily do a ton of research on it. They can go straight to Google, type in their search queries, and get answers in milliseconds. If you played your cards right, your rental business could be the very first thing they see.
As David puts it, “Your business can be right there in front of a person who needs your products and services at that moment.” Jesse adds, “It’s about positioning yourself when there’s intent to buy.”
Building a digital strategy around your customers’ online search patterns puts your products and services right where your customers can find them.
Digital strategy tips and conversions
To give a bit more context on the impact of implementing a digital strategy, Josh shared some of the successes they’ve had working with several rental companies on their paid search campaigns. “We always like to track the number of calls that come from ads, the number of clicks, form submissions, and the products purchased.”
He added, “If you use that data to chase down the keywords and ads or neighborhoods that are driving conversions, you can usually see a pretty big lift. So typically, the average lifts we see when clients come to us is about 50%.”
He further stated that if a rental company pays a dollar and five per click, they generally get an average conversion of 10%, which is a pretty significant ROI compared to ecommerce companies they’ve worked with where about half a percent of clicks turn into customers.
As to why there’s such a significant difference in paid search conversion rates between rentals and ecommerce companies, Josh believes it’s because “immediate need lends itself well to search marketing.”
Emergency vet, plumbing services, and equipment rentals are some of the best converting industries because they address immediate customer needs.
Jesse summed this up with “search marketing is most effective when you have somebody who is very close to making a purchasing decision so that your conversion rates end up being higher.”
Advantages and convenience of search marketing
One of the most significant benefits of search marketing is it lets you focus your advertising efforts directly on peoples’ buying intent.
It’s also easy to track your SEM performance and returns since you can determine how much you’ve spent and how many of your calls turned into conversions. This helps you decide whether to continue investing in your campaigns, making search marketing one of the best strategies many equipment rental companies can test out at a minimum.
While search marketing can offer excellent returns, other internet marketing strategies are also valuable for rental companies.
As David puts it, “It’s not to say that Google AdWords is the only strategy out there. It’s just that it’s one that we have found to be incredibly effective.”
So what are the major digital marketing trends that rental operators need to know?
Website fundamentals and ranking
COVID trends showed increases in rental companies’ equipment side, gaining about 20% more traffic than last summer because many people have been doing DIY and home renovation projects.
Another COVID trend showed massive spikes in internet consumption, which means people expect a better experience online, especially on websites.
David mentions, “A quality website that’s easy to navigate, has really clear photographs of your products and services, really good product descriptions, a good search feature experience, and most especially a good mobile experience, those things are a higher priority today than they have ever been.”
Rental operators need to understand the role of websites and the core site elements to provide an excellent user experience, starting with photos and videos.
For instance, you can upload one-minute tutorial videos of your equipment on YouTube then embed them on your website. The tutorial videos can give your customers a better experience on your site and help it rank better.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) should also be front and center on your website so customers immediately know why they should choose you over your competitors.
Other website fundamental elements that help deliver a good user experience include business contact information, easy navigation, search functionality, trust factors, and content.
Josh added that “The single biggest thing you guys could do for your SEO rankings is more content on your site.”
Blogging, keyword optimizing your content and product descriptions, and posting content to Google My Business are some of the effective ways rental companies can publish more content and improve search engine rankings.
Jesse summarized this perfectly by saying, “The best way for rental operators to rank organically is for them to be writing really good content frequently for the keywords that they want to be ranking for.”
There is a vast opportunity for rental operators to stand out from competitors online because not many rentals are leveraging content to boost search engine rankings and website traffic.
According to Jesse, “For paid advertising, there aren’t a ton of people bidding on keywords right now, so you’re actually able to rank for things for pretty low costs. And similarly, from a content perspective, there aren’t a lot of great people that are sort of developing content on a consistent basis.”
However, you don’t have to write all your content. Google has specific requirements about what they want a blog to look like, such as having 1,000 plus words, a bulleted section, and a certain number of keywords, which is why outsourcing to SEO experts can be an excellent solution.
What about the role of social media in rental operations?
Social media marketing
For David, social media is about “creating relationships online, so that when a person has a need, they remember you.”
While using paid social media ads is an effective marketing approach, you need to provide something that people would want to follow if you want to get the most out of your social media posts.
David said, “Your post should be E entertaining or E educational. You’ve got to give me a reason to follow you.”
Social media is about connecting and engaging with your audience to help build relationships. And those relationships will likely get you a sale a few weeks or months from now because a follower recommended your business.
Jesse added, “Marketing really is about humans connecting with other humans.” Building relationships allows you to add value to your audience by educating or entertaining them.
Social media is also a great channel to run paid ads because many people spend a lot of time on the platform, allowing you to get your ads in your target audiences’ news feeds.
You can also create custom and highly-targeted audiences to help tailor your ad campaigns to their needs.
So for people on, let’s say, Facebook doing projects regularly and those interested in home improvement, as Josh puts it, “you can layer in those audiences into the social media ad buy.”
Since this type of paid advertising isn’t solely intent-based, you can focus more on promoting your business as a whole and not just your products.
For example, your social media ad content can be about how rental equipment can help customers with their next project and lead audiences to your website.
Tracking advertising ROI
Now, how can rental operators measure digital marketing and advertising ROI?
An excellent strategy is to set up call tracking. Most people communicate with local rental operators through calls, so it’s crucial to monitor calls to determine ROI.
For instance, services such as CallTrackingMetrics, lets you put a piece of code on your website and identify which channels the calls came from (whether from Google Ads or Facebook), see who called, record, and score the calls in the dashboard interface.
You can also integrate this into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, allowing you to track which calls and leads end up as sales.
Another valuable feature of this type of service is allowing you to tie the call back to searched keywords, the ads your leads saw, and even the different types of audiences that performed best to help refine your digital marketing strategy.
As Josh puts it, “We can see what types of people are performing better, and then adjust our bids and our messaging accordingly.”
Another essential aspect of tracking ROI through the power of digital marketing technology is Geofencing. It allows you to see if a device at your competitors’ locations comes into your area.
So if you targeted 36 people by sending them an ad about your products as soon as they entered your geofenced location, you could track how many came to your store and rented your equipment.
Most geofencing technologies work like a bear trap where they can only show the ad to the person while they’re in the geofenced location.
To optimize your geofencing campaign, you can test how long you’d show the ad to your target customers. You can show it 30 days after they left the other location. (Sometimes ten days will do.) If it’s a car dealership, under four days is ideal.
Moving forward with digital marketing strategy implementation
While outsourcing your digital marketing can be an excellent option, it can take a bit of trial and error to find the best service providers to work with.
Josh’s advice is to “Make sure they don’t have a long term commitment, so you can try them out.” This allows you to check if your personalities work or if they can deliver meaningful results.
By committing to short term relationships with your agency or outsourcing partner, you don’t get stuck with them for a year or more and suffer terrible results if their services suck.
David added, “Make sure you’re outsourcing to someone who has expertise in the field that you want help with, or they have a staff that does, because a person who’s a great web designer might not know squat about SEO or paid search, and that the best paid search person in the world may have no clue about social media or geofencing.”
Jesse further added that “The benefits of outsourcing for this are really clear because there is such a depth of knowledge that is required to effectively navigate a lot of these (digital marketing) technologies.”
Digital marketing platforms, strategies, and tools are continually evolving. This means that hiring someone in-house with limited experience and skills would require a considerable learning curve to be abreast of the different technologies, platforms, and trends.
As Jesse puts it, “You may even spend a little bit more per hour to get somebody that is truly an expert, but you’re actually paying for the years of expertise that they’ve built up.”
You’ll get better results faster, and because digital marketing is ROI-driven, you can easily track and see which of your campaigns and marketing efforts are worth investing in because, according to Jesse, “the metrics will largely speak for themselves.”
Your digital presence has a massive impact on your revenue. Leverage the power of digital marketing by running SEO, SEM, social media, and other reliable marketing methods. Your rental company can generate truckloads of leads, sales and even nurture customer relationships effectively with the right marketing strategies in place.