Google Earth for Marketing your Contracting Business
I remember when I first started using Google Earth. Mainly for hunting and finding access points for fishing. Then I could not stop using it for many other things. From hiking and finding cool spots not to far off the trail, that I would not other wise know was there to checking in on an area for contractors I work with.
As business owners we all know or should know that Google Maps is essential to your business marketing plan, but not much, if anything is said about Google Earth. So, let’s get into one of the ways Google Earth can help you market your business.
Social Media Posts and Ads
Since Facebook Pages no longer gets the reach it once did, without boosting or running ads. Many service businesses now go directly into the local town, city or HOA groups to post their services. This is a perfect place to post your Google Earth marketing tactic, that I will explain later in this article.
(Note: You still want to be using your page as it is another marketing platform for people to research you.)
When you see how this Google Earth tactic works, you will want to use it on your website. It not only helps you stand out in your local marketing area, but people when viewing it, associate themselves to your web page. Kind of like a breaking news alert with their neighborhood mentioned, they think “Hey, I live there or near there”.
It also gives them a marketing area you work in. (I use this in the websites I build. It is a local marketing area web development silo tactic).
When we do searches on any search engine, Google, Bing, etc. as we type in what we are looking for that “Near Me” pops up as a suggestion right below the browser bar. Pizza shops near me, Sporting Goods near me, etc. Annoying but also a good thing at times.
How you use this for Local SEO serves a few purposes. One, if your business is not near or as close as your competitors are to the web searcher, your prospect. Two, it lets Google, Bing and the other search engines know more about where your service area is. These are two and there are a few more that we won’t get into in this article, but these two alone are a reason to use the Google Earth tactic in this article and start using it in your marketing.
Google My Business
I won’t go into a big speech on how important GMB (Google My Business) is to your business, but should be in your weekly or better yet daily marketing routine.
Using this Google Earth tactic in your GMB is yet another way to power your local exposure and gain a few customers a month from it. You use it to make posts, add images (even a video) and make area specific offers.
The Tools You Need
There are only four tools you need, but I will include five tools which the last one is optional. I use these tools daily for marketing my clients. There is a free versions that you can use, even though I use the paid version as I need the upgrades and use them for more volume. The free versions are fine for a DIY marketer.
As the tactic is named Google Earth Marketing, you will need to use Google Earth. It is free and most of us have it and use it anyway, so I won’t waste your time explaining it.
You can use any screen capturing tool you want, I use this one as it is in my Chrome Extension bar on my computer for everyday use.
You will be capturing multiple images so make a file and start snapping shots, labeling and saving for later use.
Canva lets you design, edit and alter your screen shots and save them as PDF, PNG and JPG images. Google My Business lets you post any of these formats, but I like to save them as JPG because the next tool only accepts them as JPG and is an important tool for the Google Earth Marketing tactic.
When we take images with our phone or some cameras, the image is tagged with a location if that setting is on or available on the device.
This is an important step in the tactic because it makes the image GEO TAGGED to a specific location on earth. Remember the “near me” in the search bar we talked about earlier?
After you have made your Google Earth layout (how to below), made a snapshot with your image capture tool, altered it with Canva and added a geo tag to it with your image tagging tool, you will want to compress the image before you load it to your website so it doesn’t slow down your website load speed. This is important for SEO and mobile pages.
Google Earth Marketing
Step by Step
Get out your Excel Spreadsheet with all your current and past customers addresses on it. You do have this don’t you? If not, you should at the least, but I prefer my clients to have a CRM (Hubspot). You are going to use this list for the next step.
Open up Google Earth, zoom in on your marketing area and from the list of customers you have, start dropping pins or this case X’s on the properties you work at or have worked at. It should look like this. Note, this is a micro of the marketing area and shows just a development. I like to do the micro’s first then zoom out and get all the accounts my clients have. Taking several screenshots and labeling each as I go.
Snap a screenshot and save it to a file. You want to have a main file, with a name like GEO Marketing or something similar. In the image in step two, it is zoomed in to a specific development, you will want to have a large area and several smaller areas if you have them. You want as many as you can get. The one above is Robin Farm Development, Mullica Hill, New Jersey. So, you want to label it as such for the developments or areas you work in. Keep notes think micro to macro (small to large). You can micro it down to the road and macro it out to as large an area you have.
Now that you have a bunch of images saved there are a few things you can do. But first you need to go to Canva and make the images a JPG, because most screen capturing programs saves them as PNG.. It is all according to what you want to do with the images, but I like to have two version per image. One, just a plan image and another with text on it. Like below.
Open up your Geo Tagging software. Upload the images and pick the location or a central location for the macro images and tag them. This writes EXIF data to the image.
You want to drop a pin in the development or town where the image is located. It will give it the proper longitude and latitude of the location.
You then want to write a good name for this image. Use the service you are providing and a location name. You can also use a keyword here from your keyword list. Like roof repair, metal roofing, etc. if you are a roofing contractor. I have used hot water heaters, tankless hot water heaters, hot water on demand for plumbing contractors in developments where the homes were at an age that they were starting to need new hot water heaters.
Then you want to describe the image. I like to use the service keyword and the companies name here. Like Lawn Care ABC landscaping or Metal Roofing ABC Roofing Company, Hot Water Heaters ABC Plumbing.
Step Six (Optional)
Go to your image compressing software and compress the image and save it in your file, but label it with some worded like (compressed, tiny, etc.). This is what you will use on your website only as it will make for a faster load speed, which makes your site, more mobile and SEO friendly.
This is the process. Yes, it takes time I do dozens a day for clients. But, they work in so many different ways for their marketing, so let’s get into how we use them and why.
Using the Images in your Marketing
Uses for Social Media
Shows places you service. With a X marks the spot. You make post with headlines like “Here are some of the properties we serve in Robin Farm” or “Properties We Serve in Robin Farms”. You make a post on your Facebook page and then share it to the groups adding the image specific to the area.
What this does is associate your business with the area. If someone lives in this area, they will be checking out that yard or roof or whatever service you provide. They may even know someone that lives at one of your X’s or admire a landscape you did or saw you working there.
Post the image to Instagram. In the location part, put in the development, town/city, etc. this will make it more visible to people in this location. Then use a few hashtags that are local focused. In this case #RobinFarms #MullicaHillNJ
Uses for Website
When I develop a website, I use the “Silo Method” as it works great for service -based businesses websites.
Here is a short description of what a silo is:
“The term siloing originated as a way to identify the concept of grouping related information into distinct sections within a website. Much like the chapters in a book, a silo represents a group of themed or subject-specific content on your site. The reason this grouping is such a high SEO priority is that search engines award “keyword” relevancy within their index based on the page and then the rest of the site with the most supporting relevant content.”
Ok, we take the image that is compressed and is the one with the largest map of our area, the geo tag is centered for our marketing area and we place this on our home page. Now this image is anchored to the page. The data that is attached, tells the search engines, this is “Near Me” in search for visitors/searchers.
It also give the visitor to your website a visual of where you have customers or have done work. They qualify themselves as “Yes” I am in that area. Just like in using it for social media they can see an X or pin as close to their residence.
As for siloing, you use the small or micro marketing area images on your other location-based pages on your website. You do use location based micro page or subpages on your website, right? If not you should. Remember, it is not just your home page you are trying to rank or get your customers to visit. They all lead to your contact me page or should. Plus, they should have a contact method on each page.
Ok, on to the next use.
Any good website SEO program uses keywords as a method to rank. In our example we would have targeted keywords for our service, but also location-based keywords, like Mullica Hill, New Jersey and Robins Farm Development.
But, now we have a visual SEO tool helping the page and search engines rank the page. If nothing else it makes it clear to the search engines what this page is about. This image is in several places through out the internet by now so it has some juice. It’s on Facebook and Instagram, your website and now on to the next place to use it, your Google My Business Page.
Google My Business Uses
As I and many other marketers have said, use your GMB at least once a week.
I like to place these images on my clients GMB as photos, videos, posts and offers.
First a simple upload of the image to the page, then a post explaining the location or locations that the business serves. I also like to use them in offers. Like, now doing such and such service for a discount, sale or something to entice those living in the area. They associate the area both through text and a visual. As they read, they are thinking location/service, but the visual is location association at its best.
Let’s wrap it up.
We have learned in this article the what, how and why. That leaves who and when. The who could be you or me. Then when is now. Get busy using this marketing tactic today. If you need help get in touch.
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Until our trails cross,
RJ “Master Marketing Misfit” Cooper