According to recent reports, companies that execute digital marketing strategies have a 13x increase in ROI year-over-year. The latest Google research also indicates that 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphones visit a physical location within one day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.
While statistics like this can be broad, it’s probably no surprise that without an integrated online marketing strategy, your equipment rental company may struggle to engage with target buyers that your competition will happily snatch up.
In this digital age, survivability hinges on adaptability, so your rental business must adapt its marketing plans to include a robust, strategic online presence. After all, the key to thriving in today’s competitive rental market is a practical marketing approach that utilizes proven digital tactics.
As 20+ year equipment rental technology veterans, Open Door aims to help rental businesses of every size in all aspects of their growth journey. While our core focus is centralized, scalable business management, we know that equipping a rental company to meet its goals isn’t as one-dimensional as the software solutions employed to facilitate operational efficiency. Just as necessary are how you direct customer engagement and marketing efforts to realize your goals.
In this article, we’ll cover the key strategies for promoting your equipment rental business online to attract more customers, retain your existing ones, and drive growth.
The Importance of Online Presence in Today’s Equipment Rental Markets
The necessity of a strong online presence in the equipment rental industry cannot be overstated. Technological advancements and shifts in consumer behavior have created an online marketplace characterized by speed, convenience, and broad access. For instance, industry data shows a majority of customers conduct online research before deciding on an equipment rental provider.
A well-designed online presence not only increases company visibility but also fosters trust and credibility in the eyes of prospective customers. By maintaining consistent web-based marketing efforts, rental businesses show they are responsive, relevant, and ready to meet customer needs in a fast-paced, demanding, and ever-changing digital market.
Top 6 Proven Strategies for Your Online Equipment Rental Marketing Plan
The following strategies will help provide your equipment rental business with a competitive advantage in the online arena.
1. Invest in SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is crucial for ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and especially for getting in front of your target market. It’s number one on this list for a reason. Unfortunately, understanding and executing SEO strategies can also be complex, so many equipment rental businesses abandon a lot of effort around them altogether.
Fortunately, simple, low-hanging fruit SEO tactics can give you a big lift with your market and against your competition while being easy to execute with just a bit of dedicated time or with the help of an SEO/Digital Strategist contractor. In particular:
- Pinpoint Keywords that Drive Traffic to Your Site: Conduct keyword research to realize what phrases prospective clients use when searching for rental equipment and structure your site content around these keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner tool can help you understand what people are searching for and how many times they search for it each month. Other third-party tools, like SEM Rush, can provide even more robust keyword research and planner tools, along with training and guidance for beginners. Overall, this entire article could help guide how to find and apply keywords on your site (and maybe we’ll do that next!), but for now, you must get started to gain leverage from any of your digital investments.
- Properly Localize: Most equipment rental businesses attend to a particular regional market. In light of this, it’s imperative you properly set up and consistently manage your Google Business Profile (create multiple if you have different locations). In addition, you’ll want to include localization in your content and with your keyword strategy. The citations Google creates for your site based on offices and physical addresses will make it much easier to rank higher for ‘Spokane area forklift rentals’ than ‘forklift rentals’ alone. However, you’ll cover both by adding localized details for the regions you service.
- Use Meta Data: Title tags and meta descriptions are the headlines and descriptions that show in a Google search query when you get a list of webpage results. Alt text is a written description of an online image that provides an alternative when the image is inaccessible to the user. All three of these are also major SEO signals that should contain your target keywords. Make sure you have proper SEO title tags (approx. 60-65 characters), meta descriptions (approx. 130-155 characters), and alt text set up for every page, including articles and forms, on your site.
- Get Backlinks Where You Can: Obtaining, or even purchasing, an ad with a link back to your site in other online publications (even local ones, which are usually more cost-effective) is a big piece of Google’s sometimes elusive algorithm that decides how relevant you are in search results. Creating a long-term backlink-building strategy will give you the ultimate lift.
- Continually Feed Your Site: Google also loves websites that are getting content fed to them and published on them consistently, continually, and frequently because it tells the ‘bots’ that your site is still relevant and active. Constantly build your site out, add blogs or articles, add more pages, update inventory – everything helps improve your result ranking.
2. Leverage Social Media
Social media platforms are a potent tool for reaching a wide audience and continually interacting with your customers and advocates. Share relatable posts, engage with your audience, embrace your brand personality, and leverage targeted ads to maximize your brand exposure.
If you are in business-to-business equipment rentals, you should focus your presence on LinkedIn, which is a good choice for building relationships with potential clients, customers, and business partners. It’s also a place to post job openings or connect with industry leaders in a professional setting. Depending on what markets your rental company serves, Facebook and Instagram are also worth the investment, as these platforms are great for sharing photos of your equipment and creating content that people want to share.
YouTube is another excellent space where you can create videos that show off details about the cool products you offer or showcase company employees talking about their jobs. This type of content will help build trust between potential clients, and the video content can be embedded in your website for even more engagement tools within your core digital home.
3. Encourage Online Reviews and Testimonials
Consider these statistics:
- 93% of consumers say online reviews and testimonials influence purchasing decisions.
- 91% of people aged 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 86% of consumers are more likely to sign a contract with a company with positive online reviews and testimonials. (Source: BrightLocal)
All of this illustrates that online reviews significantly influence consumer decision-making. As a savvy equipment rental business owner, utilizing this powerful form of marketing within your online strategy is crucial. Online reviews and testimonials are a goldmine for new business opportunities. Start today by engaging clients to leave reviews after a successful rental experience.
Utilize online review platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and YellowPages, which offer a dedicated space for customers to share their experiences. Claim and optimize your business page on these sites and monitor your reviews regularly. Then, promote customer testimonials on your website and social media.
4. Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Paid Advertising
PPC campaigns are an excellent way to buy visits to your site. While it requires investment, a well-executed PPC or paid digital advertising campaign can deliver significant ROI through highly targeted traffic and new customers. The key is finding the right platform and creating an effective ad that fits the platform’s audience.
There are many different types of paid ads, including:
- Google AdWords pay-per-click involves bidding on your target audience’s search terms and setting up ad copy and imagery that appears when you win the bids.
- Banner ads on websites or social media platforms.
- Sponsored blog posts on leading sites that serve your core market and industry.
- LinkedIn ad campaigns that can target specific industry groups, company types, target business lists, or even people with specific roles within your industry.
In addition to driving site traffic and getting in front of businesses actively looking for rental products you offer when they need them, most paid advertising efforts also increase your SEO authority (see strategy #1), so you get multiple benefits from the investment.
5. Build a User-Friendly Website
You probably already know that a well-designed, easy-to-navigate website is essential for success with your online efforts. But sometimes, this point can seem subjective, so what does that look like exactly? Here are some tried-and-true ways to make sure you are fostering a digital space that encourages prospects to buy from you and your customers to keep coming back:
- Intuitive Navigation: Structure your site in a way that makes it easy for users to browse through different equipment categories. A clean design alongside a logical menu structure can significantly improve user experience and increase time on site.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Since most people will use their smartphones for online browsing, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is essential. Your website should be responsive and adapt to different screen sizes.
- Photos and Engaging Content: Your visitors want access to as much information as possible without talking to someone or picking up the phone. Be sure to include easy-to-find and intuitive to search detailed descriptions, photos, and information about your rental products and your inventory.
- Calls-to-Action: Make it easy for your website visitors to rent equipment with clear and prominent calls-to-action. Whether it’s a “Rent Now” button or a contact form for quote requests, guide your users through their booking journey with a straightforward call-to-action.
- Speed: Good website speed and loading times are crucial for providing a positive user experience that attracts buyers (this also improves your website’s search engine ranking). Be sure to optimize images, fonts, and media, minimize HTTP requests, enable browser and server-side caching, reduce redirects, keep third-party scripts to a minimum, and constantly test and monitor your site’s performance.
6. Up Your Content Marketing Game
High-quality, valuable content not only bolsters your SEO efforts but also positions your firm as a thought leader in your equipment rental space. Consistently publish relevant blogs, guides, videos, and product tips to educate readers and drive traffic.
The first step in upping your content marketing game is knowing your audience. Understand who they are, what they need, the questions they want answered, and the type of content that resonates with them. This may include short product demos, long-form articles about different uses for your types of equipment, or curated social media posts showcasing your clients’ innovative uses of your rentals. A dedication to regularly producing relevant, helpful content will increase visibility, provide better engagement rates, and more rental requests from your potential clients.
Taking the Next Steps
A robust online marketing plan requires regular evaluation and adaptation to changing circumstances and customer behavior. Implement and tweak these proven strategies to fit your equipment rental business model and customers. Remember, there’s no silver bullet in online marketing – each strategy serves a specific role, and a holistic approach often reaps the best results.
The broad landscape of digital marketing might seem daunting but don’t be discouraged. The online arena offers myriad opportunities to grow and succeed in your equipment rental business. Embrace the approaches we’ve covered here and look forward to a future marked by increased visibility, an enhanced reputation, and, ultimately, tremendous business success.
By implementing these six vital digital strategies and staying consistent with them (emphasis on ‘consistent’), you’ll give your rental business massive momentum for growth. From there, you must meet that growth with the efficiencies and visibility to stay profitable on the other side.
That’s where we come in.
Open Door’s scalable, all-in-one rental software, paired with our rental industry technical specialists and enthusiasts, enables complete real-time visibility into every aspect of your operational performance.