Once upon a time, a locksmith was a fairly manual and had nothing to do with information technology. Tradesmen had their own shops and advertised in Yellowpages. That did the job.
Being a locksmith is being all hi-tech today. You need to generate leads for new business using online ads, websites, SEO, and various online platforms and tools. You cannot ignore review websites either.
Yellowpages advertising is long dead. The Internet is the primary mode of reaching customers. One has to live in a fast-paced world where you find your customers online. People still walk to your shop, but you need to have a very strong presence online too.
The Online Challenge
Today, all serious locksmiths have their own websites. It has to be kept in great shape, thanks to search engine giant(s). The search engine traffic is critical to locksmith business. You need to comply with all the whims and fancies of search giant(s).
For the start, you need a website that's modern.
In the 2000s, you could create simple websites using HTML editors such as Frontpage (by Microsoft). For more adventurous, learning basics of HTML didn't take more than a few days. You could easily create you own website in a couple of days. Once you had your website, you just uploaded it to your web hosting.
Today, you can make a HTML website, but there are too many technicalities to take care of. You don't make a website for computers today. You make websites that can be viewed by users numerous devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and more.
Making websites to work great on all types of devices is a challenge in itself. Also, people expect more features with modern websites.
That's not all. Google and other search engines now have more complex mechanisms for data sharing. You have things like Schemas and structured data. You need these for letting search engines know about your content.
In addition, you also need to keep your website updated.
Social Media & More
As if managing your website wasn't a challenge in itself, you need to stay active on social media too. You have Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and many more platforms. You have something called Google My Business too.
With the rise of visual media, you need to be good at crafting attractive messages with great images, graphics and videos.
What are the chances of a locksmith being skilled at all the tasks of staying active online?
Locksmith Marketing Experts
With a lot of tasks at hand, one has to spend many hours each month to maintain websites, stay active on social media, and optimize website SEO for ranking in Google & Bing.
One can start doing all of it. You just need to learn and keep learning (like, forever). Learning isn't a challenge for locksmiths. We spend our life training for latest locks and security devices. However, learning the art of web design, SEO, social media and digital marketing is a different ballgame altogether.
Do you work as a locksmith or turn into a full-time digital marketing guy?
Over the years, I have learnt to live with the changing dynamics. Instead of trying to DIY with websites & SEO, it's better to delegate the job to an expert. You have to spend dollars, but it leaves you free to earn more money.
A good web & SEO expert helps you grow. I am happy to have discovered one early on. With zero involvement, my locksmith websites and online marketing keeps working for me. I don't know how many hours I save each month. My guess would be like 30-50 hours. Staying on the first page of search helps bring me money. So I look at locksmith marketing as an investment.
Internet is going to drive and affect your locksmith business. What choice do you have other than embracing the change and grow your business online? Things aren't going to revert back to old days. Best of luck with your business!