How To Generate More Free Leads With Google My Business

If you render services at client locations (e.g., contractors, painters, roofers, cleaners, HVAC, electricians, plumbers, etc.) you may not have a flashy storefront to attract new businesses.

Thankfully, most people are now doing their research online when looking for local service providers and you can generate leads for free by getting found on Google.

However, many search terms are very competitive and it’s quite challenging for local businesses to get top positions.

But did you know that 95% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results?
That means being shown on page one of Google can have a direct impact on lead generation and revenue.

The good news is, you can get to the top of Google search results for free with local SEO by optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

A GMB listing allows your business to get shown in the local pack, which is displayed at the top of a SERP (search engine results page) for local service queries.

For instance, if a searcher includes the location, adds “near me” in the search, or uses a mobile device with location services – she’ll more likely see your business in the search results.


The first step to leveraging GMB for lead generation is to set up your listing – we have explained the process in this article.

Next, make sure your listing is optimized so not only will it show up in the local pack but is also attractive to your ideal clients or customers so they’ll click through to your website and/or get in touch via phone, email, or contact form.

How To Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing for Local SEO

It’s important to ensure that your GMB listing is as complete and client-attractive as possible. Here are 12 ways to make it work harder for you:

1. Add a Description

You can now add a description of your business to your GMB listing. Although Google doesn’t say how this information impacts ranking, we believe it uses the description to help determine the most relevant listing on SERPs.

Fill out the description section by going to the info tab on your GMB dashboard and selecting the “edit” option on “Add business description”:


Keep in mind that even though the section has a 750-character limit, only 250 characters are shown on the knowledge panel. Make sure you’re including the most important information, such as keywords and location, at the front of the description.

2. Answer Questions About Your Business

Users can post questions about your services and Google encourages those who are familiar with your business to provide answers.

This type of user-generated content can help complete your profile and improve your ranking. Encourage your happy clients to answer questions related to your services so prospects can learn more about your business.
GMB card

3. Highlight Services On Your Website

When a service is mentioned on a business’s website, it’ll show up on GMB results.
If you want to capture leads that are looking for a specific type of service (e.g., “emergency plumbing” instead of just “plumbing,”) make sure you have it listed on your website.

Do some research to find out the exact keywords or search terms your ideal customers use to describe your services so you can incorporate those phrases in your website content.


4. Complete the Category Section

It’s important to indicate the primary category of your business by editing the content on the “info” tab.


You can also add more categories. However, keep in mind that including too many could reduce the chances of your primary category being shown in the top 3 of the local pack.


5. Get Five-Star Reviews

Google encourages businesses to ethically ask their clients or customers for online reviews, which appear next to the listing in Google Maps.

84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations while positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Great reviews can help your listing stand out and generate more leads.

Reviewers can remove or update their comments so respond to every review and contact your clients to resolve reviews with low ratings.


6. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website

When your listing captures the attention of potential clients, they’ll click through to your website.

Since many local searches are performed on mobile devices, your website needs to be both desktop- and mobile-friendly (e.g., fast load time, easy to navigate.)

In addition, make sure it’s professional and succinct, with a clear call-to-action for visitors to contact your business or make an appointment online.

GMB allows users to create a simple website for free and it’s a great way for a new business with a limited budget to get up and running quickly.

7. Keep Your Access Secure

You should create or claim your GMB listing as soon as possible and keep the primary ownership.

You can give out management rights to your team but not the ownership in order to retain control at all times.


8. Get More Attention With GMB Posts

Consider GMB posts as “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up in your GMB listing on Google searches.


You can use GMB posts to drive more leads to your website by sharing special offers, latest content, new service packages, or special events etc. Don’t forget to include an image to capture more attention.


9. Leverage the Booking Button Feature

If you use an online scheduler for clients to make appointments, you can leverage GMB’s booking button feature so users can request a service appointment directly from your GMB listing.

This feature integrates with many online scheduling software applications, making it fast and convenient to get new clients to try out your services.


10. Communicate in Real Time With Messaging

More consumers are used to interacting with businesses via live chat and messaging, which are great ways to communicate with potential clients one-on-one in real time and increase conversion rate.

GMB offers a messaging feature that enables prospects that come across your listing to engage with your business via text messages.

All you need to do is to verify your phone number on the Messaging tab:


11. Enhance Your Listing With Photos and Videos

Google flat out says “Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.”


As visual content is getting increasingly popular, searchers expect to see more images and videos about your products or services.

With a smartphone, it’s super easy to post photos to your GMB listing. Install the Google My Business app, log in to your GMB account, click the menu button, click Photos, click ADD PHOTOS, and select the photos you’d like to post or take a new photo. Very easy!


Your photos and videos don’t have to be super polished either – some of the best visual content is captured on the fly, showing you in action servicing your clients. And you should always take pictures of your great work, with the customer’s permission, of course, to show your local market your great craftsmanship.


12. Monitor Your GMB Listing

Did you know that anyone can edit or add information to your GMB listing without your first being notified?

Even though Google may send you an email notification about the changes, you shouldn’t rely on it.

The best way to confirm that your GMB listing information is accurate is to log onto your dashboard regularly to make sure no one has made any unwanted changes.

13. See Results – Insights

After all your hard work, its good know whether you have actually produced something of value. Click “Insights” on the menu bar and Google will show your GMB Listing’s activity. See how times people saw your listing, how many times people visited your website from the listing, and how many people called you directly from your GMB listing.



Getting ranked on Google SERPs is an effective strategy for local service businesses to get noticed, generate leads, and get new clients.

Google takes many factors into account when ranking search results, including GMB listings.

Besides making sure that your listing is complete and accurate, don’t forget to interact with your potential clients and ensure that you’re providing relevant information – which is key to improving ranking in the local pack as well as general organic searches.

Roofing Advertising, Roofing Leads

What Should Roofing Leads Cost?

How much is a roofing lead worth? That depends on many factors. The main considerations in determining lead value to a roofing contractor are the quality of the lead, how many other contractors are competing for the same job, and the likelihood that the contractor will close the job.

If the average roofing job in the US brings in a profit of $1000, would it sound reasonable to pay $100 for a lead? For some contractors, this question yields a resounding “yes” and for others, that price point is not sustainable. Let’s analyze lead pricing and lead valuation based on the factors presented.

Lead Quality

What defines a “quality” lead?  First, is the call a live transfer, or a stale inquiry? Did the lead come from an email request or a live phone call? After years of collecting data on lead types, we have found that email leads tend to come from “shoppers”, while phone calls come from “buyers”. Although leads that are sent through email are valid and are often closed, phone calls are far superior to text messages or email inquiries. Motivated buyers are more likely to pick up the phone and speak with a contractor.

And when customers call for a quote, the contractor is more likely to set an appointment when given the ability to speak directly with the buyer. He’ll already begin the process of establishing rapport, developing a relationship and winning new business. When working with a lead generation company, you’ll want to ask how much freedom you will have in determining what would be considered a qualified lead.

99 Calls allows contractors to define “qualified lead” by defining specific towns in which to be promoted and specific services that will be provided, such as reroofing, roof installations and roof repairs. If a consumer is calling for a service not offered by the contractor, or from an area not covered in the specified territory, it is NOT considered a qualified lead and is not billable.

If you’re being sent leads from 70 miles away, you’ll have to consider the time it takes to get out there to provide a bid and will need to factor your time into your total cost for acquiring the job. If it takes hours to provide one estimate for a roofing job, that’s time that could have been better spent giving multiple bids closer to your office.

Shared vs. Exclusive Leads

Another very important factor in determining a fair price for roofing leads is the number of contractors the lead is being distributed to. Is the lead being shared with multiple roofing contractors, or is it exclusive to one contractor?

Shared leads tend to be considerably less expensive than live, exclusive leads, but the chances of closing the job are greatly diminished. The last thing a roofer wants is to enter into a bidding war over a job. If a lead is sent to 4-6 contractors, a bidding war will almost certainly ensue, which will drive revenue and resulting profitability of the job down. Consumers frequently go with the lowest price when given multiple bids. Being forced to give “low ball” bids can quickly diminish earnings.

In addition, the close rate on shared leads is much lower, of course, than on leads that are exclusive, as the competition for the same job is higher.

Some roofers prefer low-priced shared leads. If you’ve got lean operating costs and high lead volume so that you can work under a lower profit margin, and are a superior closer, you may benefit from buying discounted shared leads.

However, most contractors would prefer to operate with higher profit margins and avoid bidding wars. Although exclusive leads cost 25-50% more than shared leads, the close rate could as much as double, especially if you answer your phone when it rings, speak with the customer and present yourself professionally. In this case, exclusive leads will bring a much higher return on your investment dollars and will be more valuable to your business. For more information on shared vs exclusive leads, see this LinkedIn article.


Roofing Sales Close Rate

The close rate of the contractor also plays a tremendous role in the value of a lead. Most contractors understand that being a trained sales professional isn’t necessary to increase close rates.

Being honest, clean cut, friendly and professional goes a long way. Arriving on time and bringing a portfolio to meets with prospective customers, having testimonials from prior satisfied customers and a solid local reputation will really set a contractor apart from the competition. One of the best things a contractor can do to increase close rate is simply answer the phone, especially when purchasing live, exclusive leads.

Factors That Maximize Profits from Leads.PNG


Why Close Rate and Lead Type Matter

The two biggest factors in determining your budget for buying leads are the close rate for jobs and whether the leads are exclusive or shared with other roofers. If you’ve hired a sales person to close jobs, you’ll also have a commission payment to add to your expenses.

A roofer’s ability to close jobs makes the difference between winning enough bids to run and even grow a business or not being able to scrape by. Shared vs. exclusive leads will affect acquisition cost, or the cost of acquiring each roofing job. In the examples below, let’s say the average job yields $1000, before factoring lead cost.


Effect of Close Rates with Exclusive Leads

Example 1: Close Rate:

Contractor “A” is a real professional. He closes 1 of every 3 leads. If he’s paying $100 per lead, his job acquisition cost is $300, since he wins one job for every three bids that he provides, on average. Subtracting the $300 to buy three leads from his average earnings of $1000 per roofing job, he is netting $700 per job. That means he’s paying 30% of his earnings to land his jobs.

Contractor “B” is less professional. He doesn’t follow up after dropping off a quote, doesn’t frequently answer his phone, and doesn’t present himself as “polished”. If he closes 1 of every 6 leads, he’s paying $600 for each new job. That’s 60% of his earnings being spent to land the same $1000 job.

Both contractors still must factor in their fixed, or indirect, expenses into the equation. These are the expenses they pay regardless of the number of jobs they close, such as rent, utilities, work vehicles and insurance. Once these are subtracted from the gross profits of each job, the actual profit margin is figured. As you can see from the example above, contractor “B”’s profit margin will be significantly lower than contractor “A”’s.


Acquisition Cost with Shared vs Exclusive Leads

Example 2: Shared Leads vs Exclusive Leads:

There are many companies that sell leads to multiple contractors, such as HomeAdvisor and Networx. Some contractors find them to offer a great value. Other roofers will avoid distributed leads at all costs.

If Contractor “A” is buying SHARED leads, even if he is a fantastic closer, his close rate will decrease. He’ll be competing with multiple contractors, which often leads to bidding wars. He may need to lower his prices to be competitive. Having to lower prices to compete comes right off the top! Shared leads will decrease the close rate of even the best salesman and will decrease profitability of each job.

Less professional Contractor “B” will far even worse in a shared lead situation. If he’s only closing one and six jobs with EXCLUSIVE leads, having to lower prices to compete with multiple bidders could put him out of the game entirely.

If a contractor isn’t careful and lowers pricing too much in hopes of winning the job without attention to his acquisition price, profits could be minimal or worse. By the time labor and expenses and leads are paid for, (let alone those indirect expenses) he may have actually LOST money on the job!



Before a roofing contractor decides an appropriate price to pay for leads, he should decide if he is after exclusive leads or shared leads. Contractors can expect to pay $35-$180 for live, exclusive roofing leads, and $18-$85 for shared leads.

Great closers and contractors who are quick to answer calls will fare well in any situation and may benefit from buying discounted shared leads. All contractors, and especially those who are quick to answer and return calls can benefit from exclusive leads but must be willing to pay more initially for them, knowing that the ROI will be more robust.

For more information on lead generation for roofers and on purchasing exclusive roofing leads priced under $40.00, call to speak with a roofing lead specialist from 99Calls.com at 800-717-4669.


Get Free Leads with Google My Business

One of the easiest ways for local businesses to get leads for free is to have an optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing. A GMB listing is also the only way to be #1 on Google for many local services. That’s because only businesses with GMB listings are shown in the Local Pack, at the top of Google search results, for local service queries, for instance, searches for painters, cleaners, or other service contractors.


Figure 1: Google My Business Listings are displayed in Local Pack at top of Google search results.


What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free service that allows business owners to easily list their company with Google and manage information that is presented to the public. GMB listings contain basic business information such as company name, address, phone numbers, website, services, and hours of operation.

Google My Business also provides features to encourage businesses and the public to communicate with one another including:

  • Posting specials and events
  • Asking questions
  • Submitting and displaying reviews
  • Publishing photos and videos
  • Private messaging

GMB information card

Figure 2: Information card resulting from Google My Business listing.


How to Create or Claim Your Google My Business Listing

To start you’ll need a Gmail or Google account. If you have one, log in.

If you do not have Gmail or a Google account, you can sign up here:


Once you have a Google account, you can create or claim your GMB listing. Google My Business is constantly changing. For this reason, it is best to follow the current instructions from Google. Click the link below to view Google’s instructions to “Add or claim your business listing”.


When creating or editing your GMB listing, you’ll want to follow Google’s guidelines to avoid complications, such as having your listing suspended. You can find the guidelines here:


Common problems local businesses encounter when entering or updating company data:

  • Use your full official company name. Do not add “keywords” to your company name. For example, do not change “Johnson’s Painting LLC” to “Johnson’s Painting – Interior & Exterior”. Two reasons:
    • 1) It’s against Google guidelines and if they detect it, your listing will be flagged and removed from search results.
    • 2) Google attempts to match your business to various online and offline data sources to determine its “prominence”. Variation in business name may result in Google assigning less “prominence” to your business and lower rankings.
  • Use an actual physical mailing address. Google does not accept PO boxes as an address. Google also does not accept addresses that are commercial mailing facilities such as UPS Stores or Mail Boxes Etc.
  • Use your local phone number as the primary phone. If you have a toll-free number list it as a secondary number. Reality is people expect local businesses to have local phone numbers. Toll-free numbers are for non-local companies.


Verify Your Google My Business Listing

You must complete verification of your GMB listing. Failure to verify your listing will generally result in your business being removed from Google’s Local Pack. Seriously, why would Google show an unverified business when there are so many verified businesses?

To verify your business Google will usually send a letter, mailer, or postcard to your business address via USPS. The mailer will contain a verification code. When you receive it, simply follow the instructions. Complete the verification process as soon as the letter arrives. The sooner verification is completed, the sooner you’ll start getting valuable leads. Fail to complete the verification process and your business will not be shown to motivated potential customers in the Local Pack.


Figure 3: Contents of Google My Business verification mailer.


Important: If the verification mailer does not arrive within 2 weeks, login into your GMB listing, verify your business address is correct, and request Google to send another mailer by clicking the “I don’t have a code” link circled in red below.

GMB I dont have a code

Figure 4: Google My Business administration page for unverified business.


Learn more about the verification process here:


or watch the fun video below:


What if my GMB listing is already claimed?

This is a common problem. Many GMB listings have been claimed in the past, generally by former employees or former marketing companies.

In this case, you’ll want to request ownership of the listing. Requesting ownership is easy, though it can take a couple weeks.

Instructions for requesting GMB ownership can be found here:


Important: Avoid creating more than one GMB listing for any given address and local phone number. Google tries to prevent multiple listings, but if duplicates slip through, Google periodically scans all local listings and flags duplicate listings. Flagged listings are generally marked as inappropriate and removed from search results.

Once you have created, claimed, or re-claimed ownership of your GMB listing, you are ready to put it to use.



The author, Fred Lovine, is president of 99 Calls which specializes in highly cost-effective lead generation for contractors and local service area businesses such as roofers, painters, plumbers, cleaners, electricians, damage restoration, handymen, landscapers, pest control, paving, photographers, and more.