If you think that competition is greater than it ever has been, you are correct. If you think sales revenue is harder to come by, you are correct. Here’s why:
OUR “ZERO-SUM” ANALYSIS AND PROPOSITION:
The Moving Industry is essentially unique in marketing because it is an industry that can be described as a “Zero Sum Game.” What is a “Zero Sum Game?” According to Wikipedia:
In game theory and economic theory, a zero–sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants.
This means that when you win a prospect’s business, all other movers in the market lose. Hence, a zero -sum game resulting in the definition of the Moving Industry as a zero-sum business. If we see the total market for prospects as a pie, when one piece is taken, there are a finite number of pieces, or prospects, remaining.
This is because the Moving Industry does not lend itself to promotion as do 99.9% of other products/services in other industries. The size of the market cannot be enlarged by movers’ promotions. For example, movers wouldn’t benefit by advertising: “Move to Detroit during the next month and we’ll give you a special price.” It will do nothing to increase the size of the moving public because, while those planning on moving to Detroit will be happy to hear of this offer, who is going to sell their home after hearing or reading an ad, just to move to Detroit…or anywhere else for that matter? If they have no plans to move, advertising by movers is not going to get them to move.
This is to say that the number of potential customers is defined, and any sales that you make are at the expense of all the other movers. More importantly, there will be no more customers acquired by advertising to provide additional people moving. This is why we are categorizing selling in the Moving Industry as a “zero sum game.”
It thus boils down to a defined number of prospects determining the size of the moving pie. Since the customer is defining the size of the pie, there is nothing that the moving companies can do to expand the size of the moving sales pie…maybe on the “storage” side, but not the “moving” side.
HOW TO GET YOUR UNFAIR SHARE OF BUSINESS IN A ZERO-SUM INDUSTRY
Battling for sales in a zero-sum industry means that the amount of sales leads coming into your moving business is critical, therefore qualifying these leads has never been more important, and then closing those leads is the difference between profit and loss.
Most of the moving leads today are coming from prospects who found your website on Page One of Google. It has about 64% of all searches in the US, and people go there when they are “in the market to buy.” That is really key. These are prospects who are closest to entering into a moving contract. Who would be searching “moving companies” unless they were interested in a move in the near future?
This means your site must be showing up on Page One of Google for at least some high-traffic keyword phrases to be able get your site clicked on, and then have the potential customer review your website offerings and hopefully request a quote. Getting to your site to show up on Page One of Google is the challenge, and that first depends on your website. Your website is the engine of your sales lead generation. If the website does not meet several critical criteria, you’re sunk.
Bottom line: The Page Rank of your website determines the amount of traffic it will generate, and this traffic is what eventually leads to a prospect discovering your moving company and requesting a quote, that again, hopefully generates a sale.
THE ROLE OF MARKETING IN A ZERO-SUM BUSINESS
By now you are probably realizing that expertly marketing your moving company in today’s environment is more important than ever. Don’t give up, because marketing today is on a more level playing field than ever before. That is the good news and the bad news.
The good news is that you don’t need to have lots of cash to market your business right along with the biggest companies in the industry. This was unheard of before the internet. Your site can be right there with the “big boys.”
The bad news is that your competitors don’t have to be well capitalized to compete with you. In fact, a four-person moving company can look as “big” online as a 100-person moving company, and they can often appear higher in a Google search than a major, one-hundred-year-old moving company.
What to do? First and most of all, be honest with yourself. Perform a search for “movers,” “moving companies,” “long distance moving companies” and “local moving companies.” These are the most searched terms. See where your site ranks by page and position on that page.
Make note of which competitors are higher ranked than your site and ask your SEO consultant to provide you with their traffic numbers. How does your site LOOK compared to the competition? Fresh and new? Old and boxy?
How many leads have you gotten in the past 12 months from your site? Are your leads up over last year? Is your revenue growing or declining? What are the sources of your sales leads by percentage?
Is your business “feast or famine”? That is to say; are you at capacity during the summer and begging for business come Labor Day? If your moving company is extremely busy for three months and starving the other nine, you probably don’t have much brand awareness or recognition. Your business is most likely busy in the summer months with OVERFLOW from your better positioned competitors. Your customers probably didn’t call you first. They settled for your company.
What should you do? Where should you turn? To your website and its optimization. They are the key in the new internet marketing age.
ROLE OF YOUR WEBSITE IN A ZERO-SUM INDUSTRY
Looking at the design of a website is no indicator of how well it will perform in generating sales leads. Beautiful sites by big van lines often perform poorly. For example, site speed rules. Google gives preference to fast loading sites. There are plenty of tools online to measure your site’s speed. Check out the speed of your site on GT Metrix. Google rewards under 3 seconds load time.
Credibility is also important. People are fearful of scams. Future customers do not trust the internet and we all know why. What can you do to lend credibility to your site? BBB logo? Memberships? Affiliations? Awards?
If you have quote forms on your website, keep them simple…as few questions as possible…and keep them prominent on your website’s pages. Images are important too, but keep them personalized. Take your own pics or hire it done. The more your website conveys the look and feel of your business, the more trust there is. Stock photos are less trusted by future customers. They want to get to know you before they request a moving quote.
The basic design and development of the site are important for the user experience. Google likes WordPress for a website platform. They have even formed an alliance with the WordPress worldwide community. https://searchengineland.com/need-speed-google-dedicates-engineering-team-accelerate-development-wordpress-ecosystem-291214
Don’t expect a “do it yourself” website platform to have the optimization potential of a platform like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Sites like built on Wix.com, Hibu and YP.com just don’t seem to rank well. The tactics used to optimize websites are either not included in your license or don’t lend themselves to the DIY sites.
Businesses in this zero-sum industry must have a top-notch website that follows the tactics mentioned above, as well as being expertly and continually optimized.
ROLE OF WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION IN A ZERO-SUM BUSINESS
Optimization of the sites by your webmaster or SEO developers is paramount in the ability of your site to leapfrog over other sites in page rank. This is really important in this zero-sum industry.
On what page does your site rank? Are you on Page One of Google for any searches? The best way to determine this is with an unbiased search tool. You can search Google to find a good one or use ours at MarketersForMovers.com.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is sure to benefit your site due to its role in assisting the user in making their visit, and subsequent navigation, more enjoyable. However, it will also benefit Google, Bing and Yahoo when their bots visit the site and index all of the content on the site’s pages too. The search engine bots can generally figure out most of what is on your website, but not always, and not all of it.
You have to help them with Title Tags. They tell the bots what is on the page. Also help your future customers with rich, robust and relevant keywords describing features and benefits in your meta descriptions.
Tell the search engines what is important with Schema tags as suggested by the search engine engineers at their website, Schema.org. Help the search engines with what your images contain in Alt Tags. Google doesn’t index pictures, video or podcasts. They need tags to tell them what is in the image/program.
There are hundreds of data points that Google looks at in ranking your website. These are a few that they publish, and others are the result of tests that we’ve made. Many others are unknown beyond the Google engineers and are a well-guarded secret.
Website optimization is part art, part science. It involves testing, testing, and more testing. Watch your Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools to see how your site is performing and how your SEO company is doing. This is their Report Card too. Meet no less than once a month.
The period of time between when you begin optimization and it kicks in is referred to as “The Gap.” You’re pouring money into SEO, but the leads are not yet coming in to create enough volume to move your sales. The best way out of the quandary is to be found with Google Ads in the short-term while the SEO is gathering steam.
In most cases you won’t need any other advertising. Be prepared to spend a couple of thousand dollars a month to accomplish your marketing needs. SEO will pay for itself after about 3–4 months. But in the interim, Google Ads may be an out-of-pocket expense that you will need to swallow.
Do what you can to alleviate the effects of a zero-sum business. There are new services and techniques that can help you out, especially on the storage side. What about incorporating them?
We hope that you have found this article informative. We know it’s not all good news but keeping you apprised of the marketplace is our job. We want to keep you on the cutting-edge and ahead of your competitors. Onward and upward!