DIGITAL MARKETINGSEARCH + SUSTAINABILITY
There’s a green revolution in the offing. Consumers have seen the documentaries;know all of the buzzwords and heard about ...
We chose HR 4226 because not only did its contents directly pertain to the home retrofitting industry, italso came up duri...
Once again, S 1321 seemed like a good choice because it had a direct relationship with your industryand because as it was ...
With the “American Clean Energy and Leadership Act” and the “Livable       Communities Act of 2010” in the federal pipelin...
How did we conclude that? Well, take a look at highlighted search terms. You’ll find a lot of interest.Between one hundred...
that was good for the industry a few years back, when consumers were launching searches to simplyfamiliarize themselves wi...
Home efficiency contractors are not, in the main taking advantage    of the opportunities online marking offers. But why w...
reposition, to assume the online leadership positions currently occupied by “green” education oriented firmsby mounting co...
BE FOUND ONLINETargeted Online Marketing1022 W. George Street #2Chicago, IL 60657(800) 288-1426 O | (773) 305-1917 FSales@...
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Digital Marketing and Sustainable Development

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There’s never been a time quite like this one. Technological revolutions are usually bottom up affairs. Fortunately “green” just hasn’t worked out that way. The sustainability surge – like the IT boom before it – depends on independent innovators, entrepreneurs and of course on the contractors who actually do the work. But in this time around Federal, State and even local governments have been actively lending contractors and entrepreneurs a helping hand in the form of spending, tax credits and even community task force initiatives.

However, if you’re in the business of on the ground sustainable and scalable home retrofitting, even efforts at that level may seem a tad distant and discontented to your company’s everyday concerns. But what if they aren’t? What if recently passed legislation drove consumers through readily accessible but mostly untapped marketing venue? More importantly, if so, will pending initiatives continue the trend?

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Digital Marketing and Sustainable Development

  1. 1. DIGITAL MARKETINGSEARCH + SUSTAINABILITY
  2. 2. There’s a green revolution in the offing. Consumers have seen the documentaries;know all of the buzzwords and heard about the bill signings. But what are they doingwith that information? How are they learning more about ever-evolving field of greenbuilding technology? When are they connecting to sustainable retrofitting contractors?There’s never been a time quite like this one. Technological revolutions are usually bottom up affairs.Fortunately “green” just hasn’t worked out that way. The sustainability surge – like the IT boom beforeit – depends on independent innovators, entrepreneurs and of course on the contractors who actuallydo the work. But in this time around Federal, State and even local governments have been activelylending contractors and entrepreneurs a helping hand in the form of spending, tax credits and evencommunity task force initiatives.However, if you’re in the business of on the ground sustainable and scalable home retrofitting, evenefforts at that level may seem a tad distant and discontented to your company’s everyday concerns. Butwhat if they aren’t? What if recently passed legislation drove consumers through readily accessible butmostly untapped marketing venue? More importantly, if so, will pending initiatives continue the trend?Are Consumers Ready to Go Green? Are You Ready to Show Them the Way?To find out we decided to ask three questions … Are online consumers reacting to “green” legislation bylaunching more search queries? Which terms and phrases are they searching for if and when they do?And finally, are sustainability contractors currently making the most of any spikes in consumer interest?Let’s start by picking a piece of legislation, taking a look at the trend lines and seeing what we can see:2|Page
  3. 3. We chose HR 4226 because not only did its contents directly pertain to the home retrofitting industry, italso came up during the holiday season; which is to say at a time when your average home owningconsumers had a few other things on their minds. So what happened online when it was introduced?So what does that graph mean? Well the top line represents the number of searches consumerslaunched during December 2009 around the phrase “green home,” the bottom line represents theebb and flow of news items around the same term and the “A” and the “B” indicate the highest profilenews items around the term. And as you can see, initially news items surrounding HR 4226’sintroduction sparked consumer interest and so the two lines closely track. But then somethinginteresting happens … the search volume [i.e. numbers of consumers searching] keeps going up –dipping only during the prime pre-holiday shopping period and then during the holiday itself – whichseems to indicate, what we could only characterize as, an unusually strong level of consumer interest.But a line isn’t a pattern, so let’s pick another piece of legislation and take another look at the trend3|Page
  4. 4. Once again, S 1321 seemed like a good choice because it had a direct relationship with your industryand because as it was a relatively minor piece of legislation it was unlikely to have earned much media.You can see for yourself the search trends in June 2009 around the phrase “sustainability” closely matchthose we took at look at from December around “Green home” … There was an opening spike when thenews of bill hit the terrestrial air waves and dips as the concerns of approaching summer caught hold ofconsumer attention but an overall trend upward as the month progressed and that actually topped outlater in the month—long after the major news items noting the initiatives introduction faded fromonline prominence. You see the same pattern on searches around “efficiency” over the same period.4|Page
  5. 5. With the “American Clean Energy and Leadership Act” and the “Livable Communities Act of 2010” in the federal pipeline being joined by bills like Maine’s Question 4 Bond and Sustainable Communities Task Force legislation in North Carolina; there will be plenty of incentive fuel to fire consumersSo it’s pretty clear that consumers are paying attention to pending “green” legislation, anticipating itthen reacting to its introduction with sustained interest [no pun intended]. And frankly that trendshould be good news for retrofitters. Since there’s legislation ranging from the “American Clean Energyand Leadership Act” to the “Livable Communities Act of 2010” in the federal pipeline being joined byMaine’s Question 4 Bond and Sustainable Communities Task Force legislation in North Carolina; there’sgoing to be plenty of incentive fuel to fire consumer interest in your home energy efficiency services.But those are just the trend lines, to get a workable picture we’ll need to look at theactual numbers. More importantly, we’ll need to take a closer look at how consumerfamiliarity – or rather lack thereof – may be effecting the phrases consumers search with.You’ll have noted by now that we relied on fairly generic “green” phraseology for the general trend lineanalysis above. And well, we did that because where the consumers were concentrating their searches.But why is that? By diving down into the search paths consumers are following to locate businesses andretrofitting services like yours—we’ve discovered a pattern that we’re pretty sure you’ll find interesting.That despite the ubiquity of “green” legislative initiates and the broadest sort of sustainability jargon.The home energy efficiency industry appears to have done a poor job of educating online consumers.5|Page
  6. 6. How did we conclude that? Well, take a look at highlighted search terms. You’ll find a lot of interest.Between one hundred and sixty-five thousand and one million searches aimed at specialized industryrepresents a considerable collection of prospective customers. And the sort of clearly expressed interestbusinesses simply shouldn’t be ignoring.But they seem to be. Take a look at the searches and numbers revealed in the graphic below.You’ll see a volume drop-off from the searches pictured on the proceeding page. The picture it presentswas surprising because while we always expect to see a search volume drop-off as narrowing modifiersare added to a search phrase—a gap as substantial as the one between 368,000 and 8,100 is abnormal.Now why is that? Looking at the search results, it seems to be because retrofitting contractors andsuppliers have left the “broad match” organic search space to the industry’s innovators and scientists.That’s a picture of the top sites in the organic space and as you can see, it’s dominated by dot orgs andbelow them we found industry independent purely informative websites such as Wikipedia. And while6|Page
  7. 7. that was good for the industry a few years back, when consumers were launching searches to simplyfamiliarize themselves with green building and home sustainability concepts, it’s a problem now thatthey’re shopping for solar water heating to take advantage of the so-called cash for caulkers program.We’ve seen this pattern before. The consumers are there but too home energy efficiency servicescontractors have risen to the task of meeting closer to the top of the organic search funnel andequipping them with the specific product and services terms and phrases that would allow them tonarrow their searches and find their way product and service providers. In short, the ground levelsegment of the industry isn’t taking advantage of the tools page search marketing offers and you’remissing customers as a result.Now let’s move on to that third question … How have home energy efficiencycontractors positioned themselves to take advantage of the way online consumers shop?To find out let’s leave the world of organic search to one side for the moment and take a look at thehome energy efficiency industry’s online presence just in terms of good old fashioned pay-per click ads.7|Page
  8. 8. Home efficiency contractors are not, in the main taking advantage of the opportunities online marking offers. But why would that be? But why would industry decision makers decide not to take advantage of the most effective advertising available to them?Given the growing number of home efficiency contractors nationwide, the number, price, and purveyorsof those PPC ads tell the whole story. First, you’ll note that [based on the low per click costs] despite thevolume of consumer interest, no one in the industry writ large seems to be aggressively engaging themas prospects in the search marketing space. Second, as you take a good over the advertiser’s graphicabove, you’ll see that the firms doing the advertising aren’t local sustainability contractors, but ratherthe same dot org’s and “green” education institutions that are already prominent in the organic space.Fortunately, that means that – for home efficiency contractors and sustainable energy and water useproducts suppliers – the current online marketing space is ripe with opportunities but not rife withinsurmountable competition.SEARCH MARKETING HAS TO PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN THIS INDUSTRYTo take advantage of the interest in the “Home Star” program in particular and the consumer demandfor home efficiency performance products such as efficient hot-water heaters and insulation, themarketing emphasis of the industry’s contractors and suppliers will have to change to match the waysconsumer are attempting to engage with their services online. They’ll need to add local search strategiesto paid inclusion campaigns; integrate online branding and site optimization in an effort to reach-out tohomeowners clearly ready to go green. Efficiency contractors and suppliers will also need to aggressively8|Page
  9. 9. reposition, to assume the online leadership positions currently occupied by “green” education oriented firmsby mounting comprehensive search marketing campaigns capable of drawing homeowners away from dotorg’s and institutes—and down into search space efficiency contracting and supply currently occupies.Marketing home energy efficiency services in the online landscape we found a will require incorporatingpaid search campaigns into existing efforts. And that’s where Be Found Online’s partnership withEfficiency First comes in. Be Found Online can take home energy efficiency contractors and make theirproducts, services and sites search-friendly. And we can deploy an arsenal of search marketing tools tomake it easier for contractors and suppliers to engage with green-minded homeowners, and simpler foreco-conscious consumers to find them.9|Page
  10. 10. BE FOUND ONLINETargeted Online Marketing1022 W. George Street #2Chicago, IL 60657(800) 288-1426 O | (773) 305-1917 FSales@befoundonline.com10 | P a g e

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