I was asked to comment on a recent Pew Internet study report* about online product research by Americans and its implications for remodeling firm marketing. My take on the research report is in line with other reports and information I have reviewed on consumer buying trends and our experience with our clients.
The Pew report states that “58% of Americans have researched for a product or service online”. That, though, does not reflect more interesting data on how those who are likely to be your target customers are using the internet for research of products and services. For example, according to the report, among “internet users” 78% not 58% say they at least occasionally conduct product research and 32% say they have posted online product comments (think references, word of mouth, your reputation online). 46% of those in the survey reported using sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 5% just 5 years ago.
Adults over 65, who were part of the survey, researched significantly less on the internet than did those 30-64, which means your primary target for remodeling projects, which is often in the 30-64 age group, uses the internet more than the average for research (80% and higher). Those in higher income brackets do more research online than those in lower income brackets, 83% of broadband users report doing online research compared to 67% of non-broadband users. Those with some college or college degrees research more online than high school graduates and much more than those with just some high school education.
While the Pew report was not measuring the way people looked for and researched remodeling firms, I don’t see a reason why the research habits of the various groups and subgroups in the study would vary for home remodeling purchases compared to other services and perhaps products. And…in almost all cases, when there was a group that used the internet for research more than another, it was a group that more often than not fit better into a likely-to-ideal remodeling prospect profile. My take on the percent of prime prospects for remodeling is that over 80% of them use the internet for research and, I expect, for remodeling services as well. This indicates to me that remodelers’ must have websites and should seriously consider search engine optimization, social media, and local search marketing as part of their remodeling firms marketing efforts.
*The study was by Pew Internet, Pew Internet and American Life Project, a project of the Pew Research Center and was called “Online Product Research 58% of Americans have researched a product or service online”. Dated September 29, 2010.