In October of this year, Hurricane Ian hit the gulf coast of Florida head-on. Hurricane Ian is one of the worst storms to hit the Gulf Coast in almost a decade. Clocking in at a category 4, Ian destroyed over 5,000 homes and left millions without power for several days.
Rocco Zaldivar, one of 99 Calls’ customers, is one of those over 5,000 to lose their home in the storm. Unfortunately for Rocco and his family, his home stood directly in the path of the eye of the hurricane. Being so close to Sanibel beach, their home ended up flooding completely within 40 minutes if the storm’s approach. His home is now completely unlivable.
With no true place to call “home” at the moment, Rocco and his family have been forced to stay in a hotel an hour north of Lee County, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping others in his community. Due to the nature of the industry he serves, there are a lot of people who are in need of his assistance. As a Lee County resident himself, Rocco has been traveling back and forth to help home and business owners to repair their damaged and flooded properties. Because he works in both claims adjustment and general contracting, Rocco is in a unique position to be able to provide support both with filing and managing insurance claims and property repairs, which is hard to find!
Both Florida Claims Adjusting Firm and Powerhouse Roofing pride themselves on being honest and good companies with customer service at the forefront of their business models. When you choose to work with either or both of these companies, you can rest assured that you are in great hands. Rocco gained his passion for hard work and getting it right stems from a lifetime of solid role models in his life.
Since he was 15 years old, Rocco has found himself a part of the construction industry. Thanks to the strength and durability that a youthful body possesses, he was a great fit when it came to working for his Uncle’s construction business with his cousins. After learning the labor side of the trade, Rocco went on to get his general contractor’s license. In turn, his cousins began working for him instead of alongside him.
Rocco knows the importance of hard work in order to be successful in business, but he notes that it’s also important to not overwork yourself. As a word of wisdom for future and existing business owners, Rocco recommends finding honest, loving, and humble people to surround yourself with and always following your passions.
A Study of Conversion Rates for 20 Service Industries
by Diane Lovine
As a Google Premier Partner that specializes in generating local leads for contractors nationwide, we’ve been keenly observing the changes that have been taking place with PPC marketing. We have monitored changes in the effectiveness of running Google Ads Campaigns to generate leads. Over the past couple of years, we have seen unprecedented fluctuations in levels of success. Some businesses are reporting banner years and others have shuttered for good.
Pricing Increases Have Sidelined Some Businesses
Several factors have contributed to recent pricing surges for PPC advertising on Google. Increased online competition and inflation are the two main culprits.
Over the past two years, the market has become flooded with contractors willing and needing to get themselves found on the first page of Google. The importance of being seen is critical. The result of this influx of new businesses paying for Ads is steeper competition than ever, which is driving prices up. Many contractors are feeling the effects of the increased cost of doing business using Google Ads. Newer businesses that are not yet established find it even more daunting to get the cost-effective leads necessary to acquire their first customers.
Industry-specific data collected during the first five months of 2022 corroborate these findings and will be presented below.
Measuring Conversion Rate Results
Why do we use conversion rates as a measure of success with Google Ads? Pricing per lead for a given industry varies greatly by region, level of competition, consumer demand, and many other factors.
Knowing what a contractor pays per lead only gives a small piece of the picture. In order to understand if a lead was a good value, you’d also need to know how much he or she paid for that lead. To get that number, you’d need to know the number of clicks that occurred and out of those clicks, the number of phone calls or forms filled out. That’s the conversion rate. Read more on why conversion rate matters.
To sum it up, the two main reasons for knowing your conversion rate matter are that you need this information in order to understand your return on marketing investment. You also need to know the conversion rate that your marketing company is delivering and compare that to others to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Ads management budget. Not all online marketing companies are the same, and the ones that can deliver the highest conversion rates for your campaigns are getting you the best value (high lead volume for low prices).
Google Ads PPC Conversion Rate Analysis
The Team at 99 Calls collected and analyzed data from 20 of its top-performing industries on the Google Ads PPC program. Over 125,000 clicks and 28,000 leads were analyzed by industry.
Professions With the Worst (Lowest) Conversion Rates with PPC
The good news is that even the industries that use 99 Calls for Ads management that got the lowest conversion rates (HVAC and Restoration) were still seeing conversion rates of 10% and 12% respectively. Cost per lead came in at and below industry averages ($182 and $280 respectively). For the water damage restoration industry, contractors often pay $250 to $500 per exclusive damage lead. It is our experience that HVAC, Water Damage Restoration, General Contractor, and Commercial Cleaning industries see the most formidable competition online, and consequently demonstrate lower conversion rates than other industries.
How Did this Compare With Average Conversion Rates for Ads?
The team found it inspiring that those industries that garnered the lowest conversion rates on our program are still racking in leads at price per lead lower than the industry averages and with conversion rates much higher than industry averages. According to an article by popupsmart.com, the national average conversion rate for all PPC campaigns is just 2.35%. Just looking at Google’s Search network and not Display Ads, which tend to have much lower conversion rates, the average conversion rate increases to 4.4% according to Wordstream and Unbounce.
These companies recommend aiming for 10% or higher to get a “good” conversion rate. So if the “worst” results are converting above the average, which are the best converting industries on Google Ads?
Which Industries Get the Best Conversion Rates Using Google Ads?
The 99 Calls team collected click and conversion rate data for its 20 top industries managed using Google Ads campaigns. The chart below shows data for each of the 20 industries.
Leading the pack with conversion rates were Appliance Repair (31%), Moving Services (31%), Carpet Cleaning (27%), and Pressure Washing (27%). Conversion rates this high bring in solid ROI for businesses because higher conversion rates translate into lower costs per lead. The respective price per lead received from each of the four top performers above were $18, $40, $34, and $34 per lead.
Are Google Ads a Good Investment?
Although the competition on Google to be shown at the top of searches has increased dramatically over the past 18 months which has driven up the price per click, we have found that the advertising service contractor business on Google Ads is still an excellent value.
Of course, results vary widely among online marketing companies. Some charge high monthly fees and some cut into your budget by taking money off the top to cover their services. Some charge a flat monthly service fee, often a percentage of the budget. For example, 99 Calls provides Google Ads management services for $150 or 15% of the total monthly budget. Be sure to shop around and find the best value for your business. If a company can’t tell you their average conversion rates or give clear expectations, keep looking!
DBA stands for “Doing Business As”. It is not the same thing as an LLC or a Corporation. In fact, it’s not a business entity at all. Rather, a DBA is a label. It’s a filing with your state to get permission to operate under a different name than your own. DBAs do not provide any extra liability protection for your business. Sole proprietors and corporations often file a DBA as a means to get permission to operate under a specific name. If you own a sole proprietorship and plan to claim your Google business listing or run a Google Ads campaign, yes, you’ll want to file. The good news is that it’s quick and inexpensive.
Limitations of DBAs
Filing a DBA will not protect you or your family from liability. A DBA is also not a business entity; you would need to file as a corporation or a partnership with your secretary of state (which is a good idea but not covered in this post). Last, filing a DBA will not block someone else from using the same business name. In order to keep your business name to yourself, you’d need to file a trademark or register your sole proprietorship as a corporation or partnership.
Why Register a DBA?
So it’s not a separate business and doesn’t offer protection. Why should I file a DBA? There are several benefits to spending a few minutes and a few bucks to file your DBA with your state. Because we are in the lead generation business and work to optimize GBPs (Google Business Profiles) regularly, the team at 99 Calls will tell you that’s the biggest reason to register. Google’s requirements to verify a business profile have become much more stringent. They want proof that you are who you say you are, and showing your registered DBA is one of the documents that will meet their requirements. Keep in mind that the address that you use to register your DBA must be the same one you use on your Google Business Profile. Other benefits to filing a DBA include the ability to operate your business under a different name. DBAs give you an affordable way to increase your flexibility. For example, if you started your business under a different name, but you decided you don’t like it or it no longer fits your branding or you want to run a different service under a different name, filing a DBA is the means to get permission from your state to operate under a different name. Most states charge around $50 to file. You will need to maintain your DBA registration if you plan to continue using the name on legal documents and bank accounts.
In the commercial cleaning industry, getting inbound leads for recurring cleaning services are some of the most sought-after types of leads. What some business owners fail to realize is that one-time cleaning leads can be equally as valuable.
Many commercial cleaners go to their lead providers requesting lead generation solely for recurring cleaning services. Unfortunately, doing so is not an easy feat. When prospective clients are searching online for your services, they are most commonly searching terms like “office cleaning” or “commercial cleaning near me,” and not “recurring office cleaning” or “recurring commercial cleaning.” For this reason, it makes it extremely difficult to generate only these specific types of leads via SEO and Google Ads Campaigns.
We can understand the preference for recurring cleaning services, from getting more of an initial return on investment to having a steady agreement with the client for the future. The lifetime value of your recurring jobs is very high compared to jobs that are one-offs, periodic or seasonal. However, if you look at all of the benefits of accepting one-time cleaning leads, you may just see them in a new, more appreciative way.
There are many benefits of taking on one-time commercial cleaning leads, such as:
Saying “yes” to the job gets your foot in the door to get called back for more!
Often, companies are looking to try out a new cleaning service before signing on for a long-term contract. If you do an excellent job on that first cleaning, you may just land yourself a recurring deal.
Providing more one-time cleanings throughout the year will allow you to keep your good employees busy and on payroll.
These jobs can keep bringing in a good flow of revenue, even during the slower times of the year.
Many seasonal or quarterly jobs such as carpet cleaning or floor stripping and waxing have high profit margins.
Sometimes waiting for the perfect job to come along causes us to pass on the great opportunities in front of us. Next time you receive a call for a one-time cleaning service, think twice before turning that job down. Make the best of the leads that come your way, you never know what can come of it!
For more information on commercial cleaning lead generation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Effective Lead Generation is an Investment – Not an Expense
Are you treating lead generation costs or prices per lead as monthly expenses? If so, you haven’t found the right company to partner with!
Does thinking about setting a “marketing budget” make you cringe? Do you immediately imagine your bank account balance going down, down, down? If you see your lead generation budget as a regular monthly expense, you may be wasting a lot of money! Expenses are car payments, electric bills, and internet costs. Good lead generation is an investment. Something that GENERATES revenue for your business, not an expense.
Most lead generation companies charge a flat rate per month and don’t promise anything in return. Yes, that’s probably an expense. But there are a few pay-for-performance companies out there that can prove their value to you month after month. In addition, many companies no longer require contracts, so you are free to take your investment elsewhere if you aren’t seeing the returns you were lead to expect.
Most Lead Generation May Cost You
The budget you set aside each month for online marketing is probably being considered an expense if you are lumping it in with your other costs. When times are tight, you might think your marketing “costs” should be the first to go. Then you trim other costs to save money. If you could generate reliable leads each month that turn into profitable jobs, your lead generation budget would become a necessary investment (and a sound one, at that!) If you are constantly trying to keep your monthly costs low by cutting into your lead generation budget, you are missing out on the potential to turn your service business into a cash cow. When leads become expenses are when they don’t produce measurable results.
Example: Say you have allotted $500 each month for online marketing of your remodeling business. If you hire a lead generation company that charges a flat rate of $500 each month and tells you they will promote your business online, get you onto the first page of Google and get calls coming in, but then doesn’t produce, this would be an expense.
If you hire a different company and they tell you that you’ll only pay for qualified leads that come in and you get to determine what a qualified lead means to you, you won’t be paying an expense, you’ll be investing in those customers who call you for a quote. And the higher your close rate, the more money your business will make from that marketing investment!
Return on Investment is the way businesses measure the net increase or decrease that comes from investing money. Return on investment, or ROI is the amount of revenue you bring in, minus the amount of money you invest to make it. So if you invest $500 in lead generation, and that turns into 6 qualified leads, and you win 4 new jobs, and each job is worth $1000 in profits, Your return on investment is $4000 (profits) – $500 (investment), or $3500. Imagine if you could invest $500 every month and watch it turn into $3500. Now that’s a solid investment!
Online Marketing and Lead Generation as an Investment
Customers use online searches more than any other means to find service businesses they want to hire. If you’re not there, front and center, with a great reason for them to call you for the quote, you probably won’t get called.
Good marketing entices customers to call you for a quote, which results in jobs, which means revenue for your business. When online marketing in the form of lead generation works in this way, it is considered an investment in your business. Even when times are tight, you don’t want to stop investing in good marketing, because it’s probably your best chance to build your revenue stream back up. Instead, start slow and build as you land more jobs. And don’t spend your excess profits. Keep investing in your business and watch it grow.
How to Increase Your Lead Generation ROI
So how can you spend less money per contractor lead? What is the best way to lower online marketing costs? Get seen and called more often and win more sales from your monthly lead budget!
Improve Your Visibility and Get More Calls
The more phone calls and emails you get from your monthly marketing budget, the higher the return on your marketing investment will be.
When you sign on for services for online marketing and lead generation, be sure to find a company with a complete package: Highly optimized lead generation sites that will rank well on Google, Bing, and other search engines and the ability to customize the lead generation site and listings with your unique branding.
As important as getting found is for getting calls, making your business attractive to potential customers is also critical. Entice your customers to pick up and call you by displaying high-quality photos of your work and pictures of yourself or your team on the home page. Offer a special promotion to motivate them to call you rather than your competitors.
The higher your close rate, the lower your costs per lead and the more leads you can get for the same monthly investment.
Here are the top 5 things you can do to increase your close rate, and thereby increase your returns:
Always Answer Your Phone: It seems so simple, but we see it all the time. Customers are impatient. They identify a need, search online and call the first contractor they see who looks legit. If that’s you and your phone rings, you are LOSING MONEY every time a call goes to voicemail.
Quick Quote: If you’re able to give a ballpark figure over the phone, go for it. Otherwise, schedule a visit within the next 48 hours to see the job and give a quote. Get in there before your competition.
Professionalism Pays: No, you don’t need to show up in your Sunday best, and actually, arriving in some work clothes lets potential customers know you’re a busy person who other customers already trust. Just change into a clean shirt to change and be prepared with pen and paper to take notes. Listen to what they are asking you to do, and repeat it back so they know you heard it right.
Offer Options: When you offer 2 or even three options for getting the work done, you’ll asking your potential customer not to choose between you and someone else, but between two or three price points from YOU. Offer a budget option, which less expensive materials and less expensive detail, and then one with the best quality. This also lets them know you are versatile and can work with different budgets.
Follow Up: Don’t drop an estimate and run. People appreciate a friendly reminder that you are available to schedule their job. Maybe even give them a discount if they can fill an opening you have in a given month. Persistence pays!
If you’re ready to really start growing your service business, start viewing your marketing budget as a smart investment, rather than a monthly expense, then find a quality lead generation team to make your monthly lead generation investment work for you. For more information on getting the most from your online marketing investment, give the team at 99Calls.com a call at 800-717-4669.