The Ice Age is Over – Marketing and the Groundwater Industry

As a marketing company, we work with companies of all sizes and all types throughout the United States. You could call us a jack of many trades as we do it all; whatever our clients need to be successful, we find a way to make it happen. While we used to do it all ourselves, we eventually had to start hiring highly specialized people to handle some of the more technical aspects of projects like setting up Salesforce and creating psychological profiles on markets.


Our unique position has given us a birds-eye view of many industries and we’ve been able to watch them change and adapt over the years. A little over a year ago we stumbled upon an industry most people never hear or think about… the groundwater industry. 


It’s funny because water is hyper-critical to daily life, yet people never think about it until it’s a problem. We take it for granted in the United States that we have seemingly unlimited access to clean water. It’s created a hole in the marketing industry that we’ve set out to fill. Someone has to help these essential companies get found by people when clean water suddenly becomes an issue. 


This article is about the current state of marketing in the groundwater industry and where it goes from here. If you are a business owner in this sector, you will get the insights and opinion of someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about and working with these problems. Let’s start with the current state of the industry as we see it in 2020.


How I Came to Discover the Groundwater Industry in Relation to Marketing

Like most marketing agencies, we’ve done our fair share of cold email outreach. Not the spammy type that sends millions of emails to thousands of people regardless of relevance… No, we chose our targets very carefully and hand-typed messages directly to them. We were looking to connect with people and learn about their situations, not necessarily sell them anything, yet.


My partner was testing some email outreach techniques and chose a random industry, well drillers. Now, typically when you send cold email to people, you get very few responses. Maybe 1/25 will actually respond. We found the rate of response was much higher. Besides that, we were reaching actual business owners who were interested in talking with us. 


This was strange because in our experience it’s difficult to find business owners that aren’t hyper-resistant to cold outreach as they’ve been approached by thousands of salespeople trying to sell them something. Nobody has time to talk to salespeople that call out of the blue for seemingly no reason…


Our immediate question was “Why are these people talking to us?” It’s a good question. The answer is that nobody has been paying attention to this industry, but why?


My Trip to the NGWA National Conference in 2019

I did some research and found very few people writing about this industry. It’s not like the residential construction industry, our other main focus at Adapt Digital Solutions. One of the few folks we found writing about this subject was Gary Hix. Gary has been part of the well-drilling industry for decades. I reached out to him to ask him some questions about the groundwater sector. The first thing he said was, “You should come to the national conference in Vegas in December.” I’m one of those people that follow whims, so I bought my ticket and put it on my calendar. Who would pass up a business trip to Vegas anyway?


At the conference, I spoke to hundreds of people. There were well drillers, pump guys, geologists,  and tons of suppliers. I felt at home talking to this blend of blue and white-collar workers. Growing up in residential construction and landing in marketing, I understand both worlds well.


What I discovered at this conference was that this industry relies almost 100% on word of mouth. Maybe that’s why there were over 10,000  people at this conference! Despite word of mouth being the main method of finding new customers, the effectiveness of this strategy is starting to dwindle. 


The reasons I was given for this were many but the main theme was that the new generation of homeowners and business owners are millennials and where do millennials find what they need when they need it? Google of course… Not their neighbor.


So, I think I found what I was looking for. An entire industry that is finally catching up with the internet age but nobody there to help them make the transition. 


What We Are Doing About This Problem

At Adapt Digital Solutions, our expertise lies in building marketing foundations for small construction companies. These companies serve people in their local communities and are often run by families or small teams. Almost 100% of the time, very little attention is paid to marketing. It’s not until new business dries up that anyone ever thinks about it… Hmm, similar to the groundwater industry, eh?


When it’s time to take action people usually find that it’s not as simple as buying a billboard or printing some business cards. The internet world changes fast and Google is the main player in the internet search game. Getting your business found on Google isn’t easy, and if there’s another company that has been working on this problem for years, it’s almost impossible to compete with them without having a streamlined strategy.


Our unique perspective and abilities paired with great timing have set us up to be the goto marketing company for groundwater companies. 


Hold up! “Why are you writing this and publishing it online for everyone to see? Aren’t you going to give secrets away to your competition?”


Probably. I welcome any and all competition. The fact of the matter is that there are thousands of companies that need help and we can’t possibly help them all. I welcome other companies that are up to the challenge. Also, competition is good for our customers as it helps them get better services for better prices. At the end of the day it’s our mission to lift up the industry. We’re not trying to monopolize anything.


What Does Good Online Marketing Look Like?

If you’re a business owner, you’re probably wondering what a good strategy looks like so you can compare it to what you’re doing. I’ll lay out the fundamentals here so you can compare and contrast your own methods.


First of all, Google is where almost all consumers search for what they need. When it comes to groundwater, people are pretty ignorant, so the first thing they do is start typing in questions to Google. The companies that provide those answers get the attention first, so being on Google is critical.


The most critical piece is Google Maps. Every business can create a listing on Google Maps for free. On this listing, they can insert all of the relevant information about their business as well as images of their logos, team members, and projects. Customers can leave reviews that others can read to get an idea about what it’s like to work with this company. Reviews are the most important piece as having a good set of 5-star reviews allows consumers to instantly trust your company. People in 2020 actually trust reviews more than suggestions from their own family… This is why word of mouth is a dying method to rely on 100%.


The second critical piece is a professional website. Check out this website we build for a water well pump specialist in Southern Idaho. When a consumer wants to get to know your company, they visit your website. If they find a simple, yet polished website that shows your services, your team, and the areas you serve, they will understand that you have what they need and that you can be trusted. In 2020, businesses without a website are less likely to be trusted. It’s just the way it is. See this example of a company that has taken their website seriously. Once we helped them establish their Google Maps listing and a professional website, they instantly started getting more customers calling.


Where Do We Go From Here?

We are moving in this space at full force. There’s no other company like us and we hope that changes. There are so many companies that need help and we welcome the competition. It keeps us honest.


We now have skin in the game as our client base grows in this industry. I’m scheduled to speak at this year’s NGWA national conference and this is the topic I’ll be speaking about. I want to help business owners in the groundwater industry make a smooth transition into the information age before large companies swoop in and bastardize what marketing truly is. 


At the end of the day, marketing is about providing a better experience to your customers. That’s it. If your marketing strategy achieves that, your business will thrive. There are too many bloodsuckers in the marketing industry that ruin it for everyone. Just as your local remodeling contractor. They’ll tell you all about it.


The first step is to take an interest in your marketing and look at it like a way to better serve your customers. We’re here to help, so never hesitate to reach out. Thanks for reading.

What do you have to say about this?

Charles Kile

General Contractor at Kile Construction LLC
in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Owner of Adapt Digital Solutions.

Charles Kile

Director of Marketing and Lead Gen at Adapt Digital Solutions.

Partner at NL Kile Construction LLC 

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