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Don’t Freeze Your Leads This Winter:

3 Mistakes Contractors Should Avoid as the Slower Season Begins

Fall marks the beginning of the slower season for many contractors. The period between Mid November through the New Year yields far fewer consumers looking to remodel, move or expand. People are gearing up for the holidays and the new year ahead. Add to that the uncertainty that COVID has unleashed, and the supply chain issues that have slowed the market even further, and you may be looking at a lean winter. 

There are several common mistakes that contractors make when tighter times approach. It may seem to make sense to cut back, lay off and lay low to avoid any unnecessary expenses, but savvy contractors utilize these quieter months to build. This keeps revenue channels open and puts businesses in a prime position to enjoy exponential growth when the hot season begins.

Top Three Slow-Season Mistakes: 

  1. Scale way back on marketing – It might seem prudent to cut your marketing budget as the season comes to a close. However, when the number of booked jobs on the schedule begins to decrease, this is an excellent time to review your marketing strategy and trim out the efforts that aren’t yielding results. 
  • If you are losing money on print, it may be time to pause or halt that marketing.
  • If you are paying more for leads that you are making in jobs, it may be time to find a new lead company.  There are lead generation businesses that only charge for their performance, meaning the leads they actually produce. 
  • Google Ads may also be a viable short-term option for increasing lead volume into the winter. The team at 99 Calls is still seeing a 15 – 20% conversion rate on Google Ads campaigns. Google Ads marketing allows contractors to target specific services in selected areas so that you can get more done with a smaller budget. 

There are plenty of opportunities there to gain some leads, win new jobs, and keep your team on the payroll. 

  1. Cut back on labor – Because there is a general shortage of qualified, motivated laborers in the workforce nationwide today, if you are lucky enough to have them on your team, now is not the time to furlough or lay them off. 
  • Do what you can to keep those smaller jobs coming in, even if at lower profit margins to keep your valued workers gainfully employed.  
  • We all prefer the big jobs and/or recurring business, but those smaller gigs often lead to larger, more valuable jobs in the future.
  • Not only are you contributing to your employees’ livelihood, but you are building trust and loyalty. See #1 above for ideas on getting those smaller, one-off jobs to keep your calendar full and your people working.
  1. Take it easy and chill for the winter – It may be tempting to take a long winter nap, but here are a couple of things to do before you decide to take that much-needed vacation or rest after a busy summer. 
  • Take a look at your SEO efforts. Are you promoting the services that you offer in the winter months now? It takes time for new content to get indexed and start ranking on Google. Now is the time to promote the services you want to offer in February and March. 
  • Contact current customers and offer a discount when they book winter services. 
  • Plan your 2022 budget. What are your goals for the new year in terms of growth, revenue, advertising? 
  • Take time in the slower weeks ahead to review what’s working, what isn’t and see where you can trim the fat. 
  • Take some of your summer profits and invest them in some solid targeted online marketing. Remember, smart online marketing is an investment, not an expense!
  • Once you’ve got these things in place, take a quick break – you’ll be recharged and ready to reap the rewards of your efforts!

If the thought of laser-focusing your marketing dollars and finding low-cost, high-value leads seems out of reach at the moment, consider trying the bundle program with 99 Calls. For a $349 price tag, you’ll get set up on SEO marketing which will grow over time, and a Google Ads campaign that can start working for you immediately. 

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Effectiveness of Google Ads in Generating Appliance Repair Leads: A Case Study of the First Six Months Using 99 Calls Lead Generation

by Kevin Brenes and Diane Lovine

Background Information and Presenting Problem

The owner of CSK Appliance Repair, Shawn Thompson, initially called 99 Calls lead generation through a Google search in July of 2021. He had an appetite for a high lead volume to support his goals for business growth.  Shawn found 99Calls.com when he searched for appliance repair leads in Georgia and called to learn more about the program.

Shawn was hesitant at first, and rightly so. He had tried several different companies and none performed to his expectations and objectives. He felt they were not listening to him and not willing to consider his input and suggestions. As the owner of CSK, he understood that no one knew his business better than he did. He was looking for a partner who would work with him to help him achieve his goals.

We tracked CSK Appliance Repair’s performance after six months of using the 99 Calls system. We recently reviewed those results with Shawn to gain his perspective on how pleased he was with the quality and quantity of leads generated, as well as any other feedback. He mentioned that 99 Calls’ superior customer service in applying his feedback, following up on performance updates, and actually performing to get him results is what kept and will continue to keep Shawn as a customer.

Google Ads Setup and Campaign Development

Shawn has owned and operated CSK, an appliance repair company in Atlanta, Georgia for 13 years. Because he has an established business and directory listings in place, as well as SEO efforts from elsewhere, Shawn decided to have the lead generation team run an “Ads Only” campaign, rather than adding lead generation via SEO as well, (which produces leads much cheaper at $9.99 each, but takes longer, often many months, to ramp up). 

The primary services he offers and chose to target are refrigerator repair, dryer repair, washer repair, oven and range repair, and all premium appliance brand repairs. To test the waters, he set his initial monthly advertising budget to $500 and raised it to $1500 after the first month, when he was already seeing results and gaining trust with his lead team.

Initial Obstacles and Challenges

Early challenges the team had to overcome were to work within a small monthly budget but also get the volume Shawn was hoping for. Once we established a reliable estimated cost per lead we were able to realistically set an accurate daily budget that could hit the maximum number of leads he was wanting to receive. One other small challenge that required frequent communication and a keen ear was to pinpoint the towns that Shawn wanted to target while staying within 20 miles from home. 

Results: Measurement of Google Ads Performance Over Six Months

Shawn began his lead generation with a small monthly budget of $500, but quickly raised the budget to $1500 in the second month and continued raising his budget as high as his growth rate would allow.  The chart above demonstrates normal fluctuations that we see as we set up and refine a campaign. Notice that the lead generation metrics have evened out in the most recent six months. 

Performance Metrics for CSK Appliance Repair between March 2021 and August 2021 are as follows:

  • Total Investment: $17,152.97 
  • Total Conversions” 982
  • Conversion Rate 30.20%
  • Average Cost Per Click:  $5.27
  • Average Cost Per Lead: $17.47

Shawn is now working with his 99 Calls Google Ads specialist and has trusted him with an unlimited monthly budget and a $250 daily spend, which holds the maximum monthly spend to under $10,000. Shawn worked up to this budget after seeing his lead volume increase steadily month over month while his cost to acquire new customers (CPA) has decreased to a very desirable cost.

Impact of Performance on Business Growth

Shawn is thrilled that he can achieve a high lead volume each month and pay under $18.00 per lead. The rapid increase in leads, paired with expertise and professionalism that allows him to enjoy an extremely high close rate has allowed him to grow his business substantially. Since starting with 99 calls six months ago, Shawn has then hired 6 additional service technicians. He has also increased his territory to 30 miles and has established a closing rate at 90% of all leads generated from his Google Ads.

We asked Shawn in retrospect why he decided to try 99 Calls back then. Shawn said, “If you want a good suit you go to a tailor, and that is what I did, with all the research I did on companies I knew 99 Calls was my tailor”.

For more information about Google Ads for Appliance Repair businesses or for another service area business, contact the 99 Calls lead team at 800-717-4669 or visit 99Calls.com.