Business Website, digital marketing, Google Ads, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, Lead Management, online marketing, SEM, SEO

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing for Lead Generation and 99 Calls’ Journey

by Diane Lovine

Social media marketing has witnessed significant growth and transformation over the past two decades, revolutionizing the way businesses promote their products and services. Among the pioneers in leveraging social media to generate leads for contractors is 99 Calls. By following industry changes and adopting current trends, 99 Calls has continuously improved its strategies to deliver exceptional results for its customers. This article explores the history of social media marketing and highlights how 99 Calls utilizes this powerful tool to generate high-quality leads.

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of online marketing that utilizes social media platforms to promote products, services, and brands. It involves creating and sharing content, engaging with users, and running targeted advertising campaigns on various platforms. The definition of social media marketing has changed over time alongside advancements in technology and the shift toward information gathering and consumption via online platforms. The team at 99 Calls has had to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the industry and has adopted these six core ideas that define what it means to deliver social media marketing services.

The main ideas that define SMM include:

  1. Content creation: Social media marketers strive to create engaging and valuable content, such as text, images, videos, and infographics, for the purpose of promoting their clients.
  2. Audience targeting: SMM requires that marketers identify and target specific demographics, interests, behaviors, and locations to reach the right audience with their campaigns.
  3. Brand building: SMM helps in building and enhancing brand awareness, brand identity, and customer loyalty by consistently sharing content that reflects the brand’s values and resonates with its target audience.
  4. Engagement and community management: SMM involves actively engaging with users by responding to comments, messages, and reviews, as well as fostering a sense of community through discussions and presenting helpful information.
  5. Advertising and promotion: Social media platforms offer robust advertising features that enable marketers to create targeted ad campaigns to reach a wider audience and drive specific actions, such as website visits, conversions, or app installations.
  6. Data analysis and optimization: SMM relies on analyzing social media metrics and user data to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions for optimizing future marketing strategies. 

The Emergence of Social Platforms

The use of social media marketing dates back to the early 2000s when social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace gained popularity. However, it truly gained momentum with the emergence of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the mid-2000s. These platforms offered businesses the opportunity to engage with a vast user base and leverage their growing influence.

Initially, social media marketing primarily revolved around building brand awareness and increasing followers. However, as social media platforms evolved and introduced advertising options, marketers started incorporating targeted advertising into their strategies. Platforms like Facebook introduced advanced targeting capabilities, enabling marketers to reach specific demographics and interests.

Over the years, the role of social media marketing has expanded. It has become an integral part of many businesses’ marketing strategies, with increased emphasis on content creation, influencer marketing, and customer engagement. Social media has also become a customer service channel, allowing businesses to provide support and address customer queries directly.

Is Social Media Marketing An Effective Tool for Service Area Businesses?

As a champion of small business promotion, 99 Calls has followed the trends and assisted contractors by building an online presence through various social media platforms. However, we differ in that the core driver of business growth is the generation of quality leads. Small businesses often have limited budgets. Understanding how to best utilize budgets to gain customers and revenue has been a priority as we’ve served this unique sector. 

When budget matters, paying attention to the efforts that most result in revenue growth is critical. See this article to learn more. Analysis of data gathered from lead campaigns from over 1000 clients has yielded valuable insights on the role social media plays in best positioning a business for growth. 

Service Contractors Benefit Specifically from:

  1. Establishing a presence using reliable SEO practices and unique content
  2. Building a helpful place for users to land (Simple, attractive, compelling landing pages)
  3. Engaging users with useful information and strong calls to action
  4. Building buyer confidence by securing lots of positive customer reviews

With these pillars in place, the next most important step is to find customers where they are and convince them that this business is the one they want. Social media marketing is often about the long game. We all have brands that we follow, whether for a favorite coffee or a favorite beer. Small businesses can build a local following in the same way over the years if they consistently follow the six main ideas listed above. However, real growth requires maximizing views, aka impressions. 

SEO has become so competitive that it takes 10-12 months for websites to rank consistently on the first page of Google for valued keywords. See this article on how the first page of Google has shrunk in recent years.

The most effective use of digital marketing for service contractors is through paid advertising. Paid advertising is the best chance we’ve got to get contractors in front of buyers, and yes, posting on Facebook is helpful, and buying paid ads on FB has been shown to generate some qualified leads. However, we have found that the two most profitable paid lead products are Google Ads PPC and Google Guaranteed LSA. Google Ads pay-per-click leads tend to be more expensive, but they generate the highest lead volume in the least amount of time. Google Guaranteed requires a more extensive vetting process and time to ramp up, but patient contractors are rewarded with high-quality, less expensive leads. Many of our customers choose to target new businesses using the “Trifecta” approach, which combines traditional SEO practices with Google Ads and Google LSA.

What Lies Ahead for Social Media Marketing?

Looking ahead, social media marketing is likely to see rapid changes and further advancement. Here are some trends and changes that can be expected in the coming months and years:

  1. Rise of video content: Video content has become increasingly popular on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Brands are likely to leverage short-form video content to engage with their audiences and showcase their products or services.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots: AI-powered chatbots will play a much more significant role in social media. We’ll see more responsive AI-generated customer service and engagement practices to provide personalized experiences. 
  3. Lead Nurturing and Database Reactivation: Generating inbound leads is vital to a business’s success. Equally important is collecting data from contacts who visited a landing page but chose not to buy on the spot. The use of targeted text and email campaigns is proven to convert stale leads into new customers at a fraction of the cost. 

To stay ahead of the curve and deliver optimal results, 99 Calls has consistently adapted to industry changes and embraced current trends. As the social media landscape continues to evolve, 99 Calls remains at the forefront of the latest trends. They understand the power of great content, the growing influence of AI, and the importance of maintaining a strong social media presence. By embracing emerging technologies like AI and chatbots, our team has been able to create higher volumes of relevant content to keep our service contractors at the forefront of searches.


How to Leverage SEO, PPC & LSA to Maximize Leads

by Danielle Bugel

Organic (SEO), Google Ads (PPC), Google’s Local Services Ads (LSA) are three of the most powerful tools available to businesses for generating quality business leads. When used together, these three tactics work in harmony to produce the most robust lead volume from prominent placement on Google’s first page. Combining SEO, PPC, and LSA provides business owners with the quintessential trifecta in marketing strategies.

SEO is Your Valuable, Long-Term Marketing Strategy

Organic SEO is the process of optimizing a website for higher rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs). This includes optimizing the website’s content, structure, and coding. By optimizing a website for organic SEO, businesses can increase their visibility on SERPs, which leads to more organic traffic and leads.

Benefits of Organic Marketing:

  1. Increased visibility: SEO helps to increase your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can result in more clicks and traffic to your website.
  1. Cost-effectiveness: SEO is much more cost-effective than paid search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns.
  1. Long-term results: SEO efforts will generate long-term results, as opposed to short-term results from paid campaigns.
  1. Improved user experience: SEO can help to improve user experience on your website, as it is based on relevant content and keyword optimization.
  1. Brand recognition: SEO can help to increase brand recognition, as it increases your website’s visibility and helps to build trust with your target audience.

Get Exclusive Leads Fast with Pay Per Click Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that allows businesses to target potential customers with their ads. Businesses can use Google Ads to reach potential customers through search engine results, websites, and apps. With Google Ads, businesses can target customers based on their interests, demographics, and location. This allows businesses to reach the right audience with the right message.

Benefits of PPC Campaigns:

  1. Targeted audience: Google Ads allows businesses to reach a broad audience and target potential customers based on their search queries.
  1. Budget control: Google Ads is a pay-per-click platform, meaning businesses only pay when a user clicks on their ad. This allows businesses to control their budget and only pay for the clicks that result in conversions. 
  1. Measurable results: Google Ads provides detailed reporting and analytics, allowing businesses to track the performance of their campaigns and optimize them accordingly. 
  1. Flexibility: Google Ads allows businesses to adjust their campaigns in real time, making it easy to test different strategies and optimize their campaigns for better results.

Pay Per Lead with Google Guaranteed

Google Local Services Ads are designed to help local businesses get more visibility on Google’s first page. These ads are specifically designed to help local businesses get more exposure, leads, and customers. Local Services Ads are placed at the very top of Google’s search results page, giving businesses prominent placement on the first page. Businesses are promoted with a “Google Guaranteed” badge which is earned by Google and stands out to potential customers.

Benefits of Utilizing LSA:

  1. Top placement on Google: LSAs appear prominently at the top of Google search results, making it easier for customers to find and contact businesses.
  1. Cost-effective: LSAs are a cost-effective way to advertise, as businesses only pay when a customer contacts them.
  1. Easy to use: LSAs are easy to set up and manage, with businesses able to control their budget and target specific areas.
  1. Quality assurance: Google screens all businesses that sign up for LSAs, so customers can be sure they’re dealing with reputable businesses.

Example of a Comprehensive Lead Strategy

The chart below demonstrates an example of how using all three vehicles to drive traffic yielded results for a new customer. This customer was new to the industry and did not have an online presence established. 

Starting with an organic lead generation program sets the foundation for long-term success and produces well-optimized landing pages for the PPC and LSA campaigns. Because rankings take many months to climb organically, Mr. Steam opted to run a Google Ads PPC campaign for immediate results while undergoing the process of becoming verified for its  LSA account. 

LSA is a fantastic option for those who have the fortitude to undergo Google’s rather rigorous process and submitting to a background check will reap the rewards of generating quality leads less expensively than through their PPC program.

The Marketing Trifecta for Service Contractors

There are other marketing and brand awareness efforts that can be and should be considered when looking into the digital marketing of a business. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and others are tools that can propel a business and establish digital dominance in an industry. However, for service contractors, the gold standard leads. Generating calls, texts, and emails from interested consumers is the key performance indicator for success, and 99 Calls has found that these three tools produce the most fruitful results.

99 Calls produces superior results for businesses using organic SEO, Google Ads, and Google LSA by leveraging a combination of best practices, data-driven insights, and innovative technology.

This is done by starting with comprehensive keyword research and analysis to identify the most relevant and high-performing keywords used when consumers search for services. Next, content is created that is optimized for those keywords. A variety of tactics are used to increase visibility and rankings in organic search engine results.

Our Certified Ads Specialists leverage Google Ads to create campaigns that are tailored to the needs of each business. They use advanced targeting and optimization techniques to ensure that the ads reach the right audience and drive the best results.

The Lead Team at 99 Calls uses Google’s Local Search Ads (LSA) to target local customers and drive more qualified leads to a business’s website. They use data-driven insights to create campaigns that are tailored to the needs of each business and optimize them for maximum performance.

Business Website, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, Lead Management, SEM

How to Respond to Online Reviews: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by Eric Lovine

When deciding which company to contact, potential customers will almost certainly check your ratings and reviews on Google. When they see that your business consistently replies to reviews, you are one step closer to that next lead. When you are attentive to reviews, both good and bad, it shows potential customers that they can trust you.

The Good

Responding to positive reviews is easy. When a satisfied customer leaves a nice message about what you did well or even just a 5-star rating, your response should have the two As: acknowledgment and appreciation. Acknowledge them by using their name and show appreciation by thanking them for their review. The simple inclusion of their name gives the response a personal touch.

“Thanks for leaving a review” vs. “Hey John, thanks for leaving a review”

When a customer takes the time to leave a longer message by detailing what service you provided, commenting on your friendliness, or noting the speed and quality of the job, your response should also have a little more. Let them know that you’re happy to hear they’re happy and that you look forward to working with them again in the future. 

“Hey John, thanks for leaving a review. We’re glad to hear that you’re happy with our exterior painting services. We look forward to helping out with your future projects.”

You can also like a review by clicking the thumbs-up icon underneath. When reviews have lots of “likes”, they tend to rank higher.

The Bad

While negative reviews may seem daunting, they present an opportunity to show potential clients your commitment to customer satisfaction, as well as fixing the relationship with the disgruntled reviewer. By engaging with dissatisfied customers, you have a chance to turn their negative experience into a positive one. Studies have shown that customers who have their issues resolved are more likely to continue doing business with the company.

It’s crucial to maintain a professional tone when responding to negative reviews, regardless of how unfair or exaggerated they may be. Avoid getting defensive or engaging in arguments. Instead, acknowledge the customer’s concerns and assure them that their feedback is taken seriously.

While it may not be possible to please every customer, make an effort to address their concerns and find a solution. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and offer a resolution, such as a refund, replacement, or the opportunity to discuss the matter further offline. The sooner you are able to respond to the review, the more likely you are to reach a resolution.

Once the issue has been successfully resolved, it is often appropriate to ask the customer if they might consider editing or removing their negative review

The Ugly

Despite your best efforts, there may be instances where it’s impossible to satisfy certain customers. No matter what you say or do, the customer won’t be coming back. It is still important to respond professionally — negative reviews (and therefore your response) will be seen by others. 

Occasionally, a customer may grossly exaggerate or fabricate information that could turn others away from your business. In these instances, you may need to clarify misunderstandings or explain your side of the story. Clearly and politely present the facts, without getting into a back-and-forth argument with the reviewer.

“John, we are sorry we could not come to an agreement regarding the incomplete painting job. Our company strives to finish projects in a timely manner, and we were unable to deliver on this occasion. However, your review is not accurate. You claim we made no effort to make amends. We made multiple attempts to contact you and even offered a discounted rate for the entire project, which you refused.”


By responding to Google reviews, you are leaving potential new customers with a positive first impression. Engaging with positive reviews increases the likelihood that a satisfied customer comes back. With negative reviews, you can learn from your mistakes and potentially salvage the relationship with an unhappy customer. And for those customers who are gone for good, you can protect your image by offering perspective on damaging and misleading reviews. 

99 Calls helps businesses gain positive reviews and improve their online reputations.