Appliance Repair Leads, Carpet Cleaning Leads, cleaning business leads, Contractor Leads for Winter, digital marketing, Google Ads, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, Off season marketing, online marketing, online marketing costs, painting leads, Pay Per Click Advertising, PPC, Roofing Advertising, Roofing Leads, service contractor leads

Don’t Freeze Your Leads This Winter:

4 Marketing Tips To Implement this Winter

3 Mistakes Contractors Should Avoid as the Slower Season Begins

4 Strategies to Implement in 2023

As colder weather rolls in, many contractors begin to pull back on their marketing efforts, but the winter is a great time to do just the opposite! While the demand for many services slows down between November and February, there are still many benefits of holding your marketing efforts steady.

1. The winter months may not bring in the highest volume of leads each year, which will allow you more time to focus on other aspects of your business, including marketing. 

  • The winter months are a great time to beef up your SEO!
    • Add fresh content to your website like photos, videos, and blog posts.
    • Confirm that all information on your website and online listings are up to date and make any necessary updates.

This will help your website rank higher when warmer weather comes back around, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

  • This is also a great time to figure out your game plan for your Google ads campaign for the upcoming year.
    • Think about what budget you would like to set, what services you want to target, and what areas you want to focus on marketing in.

2. Run some Google ads for winter/indoor services

3. Start running Local Service Ads (AKA Local Search Ads)

  • Google Local Service Ads, or Google Guaranteed offers an additional avenue to show off your business on the first page of Google. LSA is a pay-per-lead program which offers the benefit of a lower lead cost than pay-per-click advertising. If you begin now, your campaign will be further optimized for your busier months!

4. Run a reactivation campaign to convert old leads

  • If you have a database of “old” leads that you aren’t doing anything with, you’re missing out on potential revenue! Reactivation campaigns are a great, low-cost way to book more jobs at a fraction of the price of a new lead.

Get ahead of your competitors and utilize your winter months wisely by focusing on your marketing efforts while you have the time. Using multiple methods of lead generation may seem daunting. Luckily, companies like 99 Calls can help you manage your marketing efforts and get a return on your investment!

3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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. 

Get Started Here

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Business Website, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, SEO, Uncategorized

Solving the Problem of Duplicate Google Business Profiles Being Created by Google

By Dipa Gandhi and Diane Lovine

Problem Discovered

Late in 2021, the team at 99 Calls noticed duplicate Google Business Profiles (GBPs) had been created for many of our clients’ service area businesses. After some investigation and confirmation with our clients, it was apparent the duplicate profiles were generated by Google. In many cases, even though we had already built a GBP representing the customer as a service area business Google was auto-generating a secondary and often incomplete listing. 

99 Calls primarily works with service area businesses; those that travel to their customers to perform a service, rather than from a brick-and-mortar building where customers go to receive a service. Google’s own established guidelines specifically state that businesses that service their clients at their residential or business location should not display their street address on the GBP. 

It was determined that Google was using information from the Contact Us pages of the lead generation websites to auto-generate duplicate listings. These listings kept the addresses visible and promoted the Contact Us pages of the sites as the landing pages on the GBPs. This resulted in dozens and dozens of our customers having 2 GBPs; one with their address hidden as is in compliance with Google’s best practices and with the home page of the lead site used as the landing page, and the other with the address visible and showing an actual pin location that promoted the Contact Us page of the website as the landing page.

Below is an example of a customer who ended up with two GBPs, one that was successfully created and managed by the team at 99 Calls and the other that was auto-generated by Google:

Duplicate Auto-Generated GBP:

Original GBP Managed by 99 Calls:

Google’s Business Profile Guidelines

As per Google’s guidelines, businesses such as plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors, and other trades should keep their addresses hidden on their GBP, allowing them to be represented as service area businesses. This prevents Google Maps from having an actual pinpointed location and instead displays the service area served by the business. The duplicate listings that were being generated by Google were out of compliance with their own guidelines.

Correct GBP: Service Area Shown:

Incorrect GBP: Address Shown with Pin:

How 99 Calls Fixed Duplicate GBPs

Having 2 GBP listings with the same business name, address, phone number, and website can impact SEO efforts, hinder lead volume results, risk a suspension of the live active GBP we manage, and cause confusion for people searching. 

Since 95% of our clients are service area businesses and do not have a brick-and-mortar location, we submitted suggested edits regarding the duplicate GBPs to Google. Specifically, we suggested that the businesses no longer existed at the locations indicated. We waited 30 days, and then if the duplicate listing had not been removed, we contacted Google Support for additional help, explaining the situation and asking them to remove the duplicate or merge it with the original GBP that we manage. 

Effectiveness of Removing Google-Generated Duplicate Listings

In some cases, the duplicate listings had been removed within 30 days of the suggested edits. More often, the duplicate listings were still showing and our team contacted Google support for further action. Within 60 days, almost all reported duplicates had either been removed or merged by Google, leaving just 1 GBP for the business.

Google Removed the Wrong Business Profile!

However, a new problematic issue was noted. In many cases, Google was merging the 2 GBPs but keeping the (incorrect, auto-generated) duplicate GBP. After the merge, what was shown was a GBP with the reviews still intact, but with the address visible and the landing page that people are being directed to as the Contact Us page, rather than the homepage of the website. Also, the business category is often slightly different than what it was prior and the business hours were removed. Unfortunately, this means we had to go to the GBP dashboard and correct the problems on the profiles. Luckily, once these edits were completed and the listing was back in order, the problem was resolved for our customers.

How to Prevent Google From Creating a Duplicate GBP

The team at 99 Calls recognized that Google was using the information contained on the Contact Us page of our lead generation websites to build these second (duplicate) listings. By removing the Contact Us pages from the sites altogether and utilizing an About Us page only, we have been able to avoid further issues with these duplicates being generated. 

Business Website, digital marketing, Google Ads, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, Nurturing, Online Appointment Booking, online marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising, service contractor leads

Phone Etiquette Achieves Higher Sales

Phone Tips from an Experienced Customer Service Representative

by Devon Osborne

The way you conduct yourself on the phone with potential customers can be the determining factor in whether you get the job or not. Proper phone etiquette may seem straightforward, but it can be easy to slip up and speak to potential customers or business partners as you would speak with a friend. Making an outstanding first impression, in a good way, of course, will help you convert more jobs. 

Dos

  • Answer the phone with a professional greeting. Introduce yourself & your company 
    • Customers want to know whether or not they’ve reached the proper party as soon as possible. Start your conversation off on the right foot with a professional greeting like: “Hi this is [name] with [company], how may I help you?”
  • Return calls quickly
    • Missing calls is something that is bound to happen, but it is important to return calls promptly. A good rule of thumb is to try and respond to missed calls within 24 hours, but the sooner the better! If you have difficulty being available to answer calls, consider hiring a receptionist or using an automated process for responding to missed calls such as this one.
  • Speak clearly
    • Don’t Mumble! You want your customer to be able to hear what you’re saying, don’t you? Speaking clearly and confidently can help avoid unnecessary frustration and build trust with the customer.
  • Listen to what the customer is saying, take notes, & don’t interrupt
    • Why are you answering the call if you’re too busy to actively listen to the customer’s needs? Having a conversation with someone who is not listening is maddening. Agree on a time that you both can speak and call back. 
  • Be kind
    • Would you choose a company to work with if they were rude to you? No. Being kind is an easy thing to do and it goes a long way. Just be nice!
  • Eliminate background noise
    • If you’re in a noisy environment, make it a point to move to a quieter place. 

Don’ts

  • Don’t use unprofessional language
    • This should be a given, but please don’t use unprofessional language like cursing. This is a professional phone call you’re on, so you should act like it. 
  • Don’t make it complicated
    • Asking customers to text you their address or asking them to call YOU back at a more convenient time is off-putting. When you make it complicated for them to get the information they need from you, they will seek it elsewhere.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or chew gum
    •  If you were face to face with the person on the other line, would you do this right into their ears? Hopefully not. Swallow the mouthful of food or drink that’s in your mouth before picking up and take a quick break from eating for the entirety of the call.
  • Don’t use the bathroom
    • If you’re using the bathroom and get a call, please don’t answer the phone. Finish up your business and call the person right back, believe me, they’ll appreciate it. You may think you’re being discreet, but I can promise you that they know.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep
    • It is always best to be upfront and honest with potential and current clients. If there are things that you know aren’t possible, or are not entirely sure of, be very clear about that in the beginning. Making false promises with customers never ends well and can land you a negative review.

digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, SEO, service contractor leads

How to Close More Sales: Quick Strategies for Service Contractors

Try These 3 Strategies Now to Win More Business

Do you notice some of your competitors seem to stay busier than you? You may even know that they cut corners, use uninsured workers, or lower quality materials than you do. Wonder how they manage to get more jobs? First, it may simply be that they are investing more in advertising and lead generation. It may just be a difference in lead volume. If that’s the case, there are steps you can take to compete with them online. 

However, there are also immediate steps you can take now that are simple and effective. Competition among local service contractors is tighter than ever. How can you make your business stand out and stay “top of mind” with your potential customers? 

We’ve outlined three areas where you can have an immediate and substantial impact. Impress your potential customers and win more business by following these guidelines. 

1. Perfect Your Presentation

Your appearance: It may seem obvious, but first impressions really are critical. People often decide within seconds if they find you trustworthy. It doesn’t take much to win over your prospective clients. Always carry an extra clean shirt, a stick of deodorant, and a comb in your vehicle and spruce up before you pay a visit to give an estimate. If you’re a smoker, keep that clean shirt in a Ziploc bag and have a stick of gum handy. Last, don’t forget to greet your customers on time and with a warm smile.

Your pitch: Before you arrive to give a quote, call or text your customer to let them know you are on your way. This not only impresses them, but also reminds them to be there and ready for you. The team at 99 Calls vets the lead calls that our customers receive and we’re always amazed at the number of clients who have to call the contractors because they didn’t show for an appointment. If you end up running late, no big deal. It happens, but keep your prospects informed!

After you introduce yourself, and exchange greetings, be prepared to give a short pitch or elevator speech about yourself and your business. Successful business owners often let the customer know about their experience, any certifications earned, and other points that will put a customer at ease. Do you run background checks on employees? Are you going to be present at the job site? Let them know. If you have a reference list, give them a copy. Some contractors arrive with a 3-ring binder with photos of jobs they’ve completed. 

Demonstrate that you hear them: Be sure to listen and take notes when the customer is describing their issue and what they would like to do to resolve it. Be prepared to give suggestions on how the issue can be resolved in the most cost-effective and efficient way. Once they have shown you what they want to be quoted, be sure to ask questions to clarify your understanding. Then repeat to them what you heard so there is no miscommunication.

2. Polish Your Proposal

Quick turnarounds impress. Provide your prospective customer with a written (electronic) quote within 24 hours of your visit. If you really want to impress them and have quoting software, work up the estimate on your tablet right after you leave and send it in an email within an hour. If you really, really want to impress them, send a text message letting them know you’ve just emailed their quote! Be sure to include those finer details on the estimate that the customer brought up during the appointment.

Offer 2-3 choices. Rather than giving them the option to go with you or go with a competitor, offer 2-3 options for getting the job done. Order them in terms of cost, time estimates for completion, and complexity and give reasons why each could solve their problem. When giving 3 options, make the second seem the most favorable or the most valuable solution. People like to choose a practical solution, one that will save them money but still give them a quality product. Consumers are always searching for the best value they can find. Make it easy to choose yours.

3. Be Persistent

Persistence pays. Over 90% of contractors do not follow up on their estimates. They wait for the customer to call them. If you are telling yourself, “If they want the job done, they will call me.”, you are missing out on many opportunities! People get busy. They forget. The project goes on the back burner. What brings it back to an urgent issue? Often, either the item finally breaks beyond repair, or a contractor contacts them at the right time and gets the “yes”. How can you be that contractor? Follow up. By phone and email and text.

Yes, people are being bombarded every day with solicitors emailing and texting and the old 7-touch rule of sales may be overdoing it but people still need “touches” or reminders. A gentle nudge that they need the service done and especially that you’re the right person to do it can make all the difference. There is nothing wrong with following up the next day by phone to ensure they received the emailed quote. Then, send a quick text 3-4 days later to ask if they have any questions. Try again in 10 days to two weeks to let them know you’ve got some time coming up on your schedule. Most customers do not find well-timed follow-ups annoying. They often appreciate the reminders. And when they do decide to get the work done, guess which contractor is first on their mind?

On Getting More Leads

The steps outlined here are meant to be simple techniques that can be executed quickly. The results will be immediate. What was not touched on was potentially the most impactful (and most challenging) way to close more sales, which is to get more leads to bid on. If you close 25% of the jobs you bid on and you give quotes on four jobs per week, you’ll likely win one new job each week. Double your lead volume and you’ll double your sales. Here is more information on getting more leads by investing in lead generation

Business Website, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, Online Appointment Booking, online marketing, online marketing costs, service contractor leads

Should I Add an Appointment Booking System to My Website?

Pros and Cons of Using Online Calendar Booking for Lead Generation Sites

by Diane Lovine

The team at 99 Calls has increasingly been asked about online calendar bookings for lead generation sites. Many service contractors are utilizing appointment scheduling software for their lead generation websites. Most often, small businesses report using appointment-setting features to allow customers to schedule free consultations.

The Cons of Adding Online Calendar Booking Features

Some home and business services contractors choose not to add this new technology to their sites. The main reasons cited are concerns that it will be too complicated to manage by their team and their customers. Often, this stems from the contractor not having technical experience or access to a web consultant or software developer. After all, a calendar for booking appointments on your website will need to sync with the calendar used by office staff so that you don’t end up overbooked. The best remedy is to purchase a calendar booking tool and have someone else manage it. Many lead generation companies now offer calendar booking as part of a service package.

Another concern expressed by contractors is that using an appointment setting feature to book an appointment for a quote is less personal than speaking directly with the customers. If you are a contractor who is available and prefers to answer the phone each time it rings, you may want to continue with the personal touch that you offer. 

The Pros of Adding Online Calendar Booking Capabilities 

Although there are a few valid concerns regarding adding this technology to websites, the pros overwhelmingly outweigh them. There are many reasons why giving customers the option to book a repeat service or an appointment for a quote makes sense.

The top reason for adding online appointment booking capability to lead sites is that it adds convenience both for contractors and their customers. Most service contractors run small businesses and the office staff is not always available to answer incoming calls. Contractors are working in the field and often can’t pause what they are doing to answer calls. The result is missed calls, which results in missed business opportunities and ultimately, lost revenue. 

Another benefit of installing an appointment calendar is that it makes businesses more accessible to potential customers during off-hours. People are often searching for home services during evenings and weekends when service businesses are closed. Providing them with the ability to book an appointment for an in-home or even over-the-phone quote is simple for them and means their search for a contractor may end with you! 

In order to keep up with today’s consumer demands, the question becomes “How” to add a calendar, rather than “Whether” to add one. Installing and maintaining online appointment scheduling programs can be expensive, so you’ll want to shop around. Some businesses report spending $199 per month on the service. With some research, you’ll be able to find a service that can work with your existing website and provide support at a fair price. 

Due to high demand from our clients, 99 Calls now offers a calendar booking feature that can be customized and added to websites. The maintenance fee of the calendar feature is just $29 per month. Click here to learn more. 

Business Website, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs, SEM, SEO

Why Aren’t My Clients’ Reviews Posting on Google Business Profile?

by Dipa Gandhi

Have you had your clients tell you they left a review on your business’s Google Business Profile (GBP) but when you look it’s not showing up or publishing? Many business owners and GBP managers are asking this same question daily.

We all know the importance of getting people to write and post great quality, positive reviews on your business’s GBP. You should continually encourage your happy customers to review your business. It’s understandably frustrating when you’ve provided an excellent service and a happy customer tells you they gave you a positive review, but it doesn’t show.

This blog will help explain why Google decides to publish some reviews and not others. For a refresher on the importance of Google reviews, refer to Part 1 of Google reviews blog series, https://blog.99calls.com/2022/04/01/importance-of-reviews-on-google-profile/). Here is a quick recap: Reviews on your GBP not only make your business stand out more, but also helps your GBP rank higher, add to a positive consumer experience, gain trust, and increase conversions. So when you have clients tell you they’re leaving or trying to leave a review for your business but it’s not showing up, it can be very concerning, and trust me, the SEO team at 99 Calls has also experienced this, so we can relate to your situation.

Google has strict algorithms in place to vet all the reviews. The purpose of this is to show search users true and factual reviews and block fake reviews. Unfortunately, sometimes good, legitimate reviews can accidentally get weeded out with the bad ones.

Some common reasons your clients’ reviews may not be showing up are:

  • Your business offers Wi-Fi that customers connect to and you’ve logged into your Google My Business account from this Wi-Fi.
  • The review contains a URL or phone number that is considered to be a form of solicitation or advertising.
  • The review contains a word Google doesn’t like, such as profanity, racial terms, hateful content, or offensive content.
  • You hired an SEO company to post reviews for you.
  • You have an onsite review station (iPad, computer etc.) at your location.
  • The user who left the review is located nowhere near you or has never physically visited your location.
  • Offering a reward or discount to a customer for leaving a positive review.

For more information from Google on restricted or prohibited content in reviews, refer to this link, https://support.google.com/contributionpolicy/answer/7400114#zippy=.

The next time your clients ask you why their reviews aren’t showing up even though they’re leaving them, check with them to make sure none of the above requirements are being violated. It is possible they are not following Google’s review policies.

digital marketing, Google Ads, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs, Pay Per Click Advertising, PPC, service contractor leads, Uncategorized

Which Service Industry Businesses Perform Best on Google Ads? How Does Your Conversion Rate Compare?

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. 

However, Google Ads is still one of the most effective growth strategies available. The findings in a March 2022 study found that Google Ads was still a less expensive marketing option than Facebook and Linkedin. When done well, Google Ads still produces a solid ROI for service contractors. 

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! 

Business Website, Carpet Cleaning Leads, cleaning business leads, Commercial Cleaning Leads, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, SEO

How to Gain High Quality Reviews on Your Google Business Profile

Part 2 in the Series: Importance of Building High Quality Reviews on GBP

by Diane Lovine and Dipa Gandhi

We’ve learned the importance of having lots of high quality reviews on your business profile. More and more, business owners need to build a high volume of  positive reviews to help them rank online and stand out among their competitors. Reviews can make or break a business. 

The challenge is getting your customers to leave positive reviews on your site. 

Unhappy customers are ten times more likely to leave negative reviews about a business than highly satisfied customers are to leave positive reviews. How can businesses motivate happy customers to leave positive reviews for them?

Ask on the Spot

  1. Service businesses can equip their field agents with tablets that can be used to prompt customers to log onto their Google or Yelp account to leave a review on the spot once each job is complete. When customers are asked to leave a review sometime in the future, they often forget and it becomes inconvenient.
  1. Some businesses choose to hand out their business card after the job is complete with a QR code that takes customers directly to their Google Business Profile (GBP) link, or any other review site, to write a review. Providing a QR code is a quick and easy way for customers to leave a review.  

Make it Simple

  1. Some lead companies now offer comprehensive solutions for reputation management and can set you up on a system that automatically sends links to Google upon completion of each job. This is often a free or inexpensive add-on service as part of a business services package.
  1. Whether you pay a service that sends links to your customers or you send a link yourself manually, the name of the game is to make it as simple as possible for your customers to access your listings and provide a positive review. 
  1. Any time you can reduce the time spent looking for a citation or website to leave a review and eliminate the possibility of leaving a review to the wrong business, you’re increasing your chances of building more reviews. 

Follow Up

  1. It’s OK to send an email reminder a day or two after a job well done if you find that the customer has not left you a review. You might send another after a week or so. If you still don’t get a response, drop it for now. Persistence is great, but the last thing you want is to be a nuisance.
  1. Follow up in 8-12 months again with a nurturing email or a promotion to stay top of mind with your customer. You want them to remember you when it’s time to have more work done. This gives you an opportunity to win their business again and another chance to build your online reputation. Lead generation companies often provide database remarketing and lead nurturing as a part of their total business growth package. Ask your 99 Calls rep for more information if this sounds interesting to you.

Initiate A Process

  1. Be sure to request and store your customers’ information including name, email, address and cell phone number. Once each job is complete, send an email explaining that reviews are much appreciated an very helpful and include the GBP review link. Customers may prefer to leave a review on a different site such as Yelp or Facebook which is also great. Keep in mind timing is key. You want to be sure to send the email within a day or 2 after the job is complete so the customers initial reaction to the completed job is still fresh in their mind and is transmitted to the review accurately.
  1. Along with sending an email, you may be able to save your customers even more time by offering to provide a template of a review to eliminate additional steps of trying to figure out what to write. This would also ensure the customer leaves a quality review, with content and the type of service provided rather than just a star rating.

Challenge Your Employees

Another creative way of gaining reviews is to offer incentives to your field agents. Gamefy it by offering a prize for the employees who get the most  customer reviews. You don’t want to directly offer your customers incentives to leave a review on GBP as it is against Google’s policies, but an incentive for your field agent might achieve the same goal without violating Google’s policies.

No matter what method you use to gain reviews, your ultimate goal is to gain those positive reviews on a frequent basis to build trust, increasing rankings and ultimately get more leads. The key is to make it quick and simple for your customers.

Want a refresher on why it’s important to get reviews on your Google Business Profile?Refer to the blog from April on the Importance of Reviews on your Google Business Profile.

Business Website, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, SEM, SEO, service contractor leads, Uncategorized

Multiple Business Websites: Harmful or Beneficial?

by Diane Lovine and Danielle Giarrusso

What is the impact of having more than one website?

Does it increase your visibility online? Does it confuse your customers?

There is conflicting information about whether using a multiple domain strategy (having two or more websites) will hurt or help a business. Often, the information is based on assumptions about the content and setup of the sites. Here are the facts:

Some lead generation companies say that a second site is a bad idea. Here are some of the arguments that have been made against having multiple websites:

1.   “Having multiple websites produces duplicate content (a big no-no for Google rankings).”

Having two sites with very similar content (or the same content) is definitely harmful. You will almost surely suffer losses in your rankings for both sites.

However, if you have a lead generation site with entirely different content than your branded site, pages from each site have the potential to rank highly, which improves your odds for a more expansive online presence.

2.   “Promoting multiple websites will confuse your customers.”

When people search for the services you provide on Google, they don’t know about you. A lead generation site is built to rank highly and present you as an option to them. Most branded sites don’t rank as highly as lead generation sites but are useful to your customers who are looking YOU up online.

Once you get that lead (probably through your lead site) and establish contact with the customer, you’ll hand out your business card which will take them to your direct phone number and branded site moving forward.

3.  “Using multiple websites will divide your results, weakening your rankings.”

It is true that having one authoritative presence online is ideal. But if your one presence is minuscule, it pays to make a bigger splash. The 99 Calls team builds sites that rank for a variety of keywords in multiple locations, almost always outranking a business’ primary website. The expectation is that your lead site will rank higher over time, and your original site will stay the same.

Other instances when a second site is warranted include having multiple small offices within a state or region and having multiple products or services that aren’t quite related. In these cases, having a targeted site for each circumstance makes sense.

A second (and third or more) site would be beneficial when targeting various geographic locations if you have a physical address for each location. If this is the case, having a “microsite” for each satellite office is beneficial. Google loves to show businesses that are extremely local to the searcher.

A second site is also beneficial if you promote multiple unrelated services. For example, if you are a licensed remodeling contractor and you sell real estate on the side, it makes sense to separate those services into two sites so that you can better target each service.

4.   “Promoting 2 sites for the same business will cause you to compete against yourself.”

If you have the same headings or are promoting the same keywords in the same location on two different sites, you are probably competing with yourself.

Would you rather compete against yourself or your competitors? Adding a lead site gives you the potential to dominate the first page of Google, knocking a competitor back to page 2!

5.   “Having two websites will get you in trouble with Google.”

Not quite. Multiple listings in the same town for the same business is definitely problematic though! 

If you build listings, especially a Google Business Profile that use the same address or phone number for the same business, you are putting your online presence in jeopardy. You can only have one Google Business Profile in a given geographic location.

The bottom line:

If your primary website is not generating enough leads, hiring a reputable lead generation company that uses a second site for leads can be a smart strategy for growth.

A multiple domain marketing strategy is more expensive, but if the ROI is high, you are maximizing your marketing budget and your potential to optimize your lead volume! You may own a larger slice of the first-page real estate on Google and enjoy more inbound leads as a result.

99 Calls has been selected as a Google Partner and utilizes a unique SEO strategy to get businesses highly ranked in their local areas for the services they offer.

digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, Uncategorized

99 Calls Partner Spotlight

Earth Landscape

April is National Lawn and Garden Month. It’s that time of year when we can get outside and enjoy all things Spring. Each week of this month, we’ll be shining the spotlight on some of our partners who help to keep outdoor spaces looking beautiful.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Curtis Dragon, owner of Earth Landscape, which is located in Salem, Massachusetts. For over 35 years, Curtis has specialized in practicing landscape solutions using organic products and sustainable practices. His most recent focus is on getting organic products on the market that are not just “earth-friendly”, but also price-competitive as compared to synthetic products.

Background

I asked Curtis, “How did you get into the landscaping business”? 

Curtis went to an agriculture high school. Students were presented with a variety of trades, and with the urging of his father, he chose horticulture and agriculture. “My dad was a truck driver and a carpenter. He guided me in this direction because he saw that there was an opening in the industry and a chance to grow as an entrepreneur”, Curtis said.

The Push for Sustainable Landscaping

I knew that Curtis has a special niche in his practices. He focuses on providing organic, or sustainable landscaping services in Massachusetts. So I asked about his inspiration for going into organic services. 

Curtis explained that in school, students were pushed to get their agriculture licenses so they would be certified in the use of DDT. Where he is from, agribusiness is synonymous with the use of petrochemicals. It is standard to use harsh chemicals for weed and pest control. One day, his class was up in the potato fields during a hands-on lesson. Curtis went on, “Our professor was so proud of the power of the chemicals to kill weeds and pests. He sprayed the whole area with them.” There was a pond at the bottom of the hill. The next day, it rained. As the group of students returned to the fields, Curtis was horrified to see ducks and birds lying dead by the pond and fish floating belly up. The destructiveness of synthetic products had a profound impact on him. “Bells went off and I thought there must be a better way”, he said. Curtis discovered Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. It was his first exposure to sustainable gardening and he still uses it today. That was the beginning of seeking alternatives. 

Over the years, he has moved away from the term organic, which usually conjures up a sense of “expensive” and moved to “eco-minded” or “sustainable-minded” terminology. He continues to educate others to overcome the stigma that organic is much more expensive than synthetic products. 

Challenges of the Landscaping Business

When asked what unique challenges he has faced with his business, Curtis quickly responded, “Seasonality!”. It hit him quickly that the growing season is short in New England. He had to find a way to make a living year-round. Curtis earned a college degree in horticulture and agriculture and got creative with learning ways to hone his tool to provide income throughout the year. The answer was product development, running workshops and becoming active with related organizations. 

In an effort to find affordable organic products that he could use in his landscaping practices, he discovered that the standard system of using petrochemicals is incredibly inexpensive, but that organic products have come a long way. In fact, Curtis learned to develop his own line of organic products that are competitively priced and can compete with synthetic fertilizers, such as Miracle Grow and Miracid. Curt uses a blend of kelp and fish, which are derived from ocean waste (fish bones, guts, etc) and ferments them in 55 gallon drums. This is just one of many creative ways to create beneficial products from waste products. 

In addition to using these “homegrown” organic fertilizer products, he now sells them to consumers. Why is that important? His products feed the soil, which feeds the plants. He can customize the pH depending on the result needed (neutral for grasses and annuals, acidic for perennials, shrubs, evergreens). People are raving about being able to purchase organic lawn and garden fertilizer that is both effective and cost-competitive.

Curtis uses sustainable practices to control grubs and other garden pests in ways that protect the environment and surrounding plants and enrich the soil. For example, seed oil only goes after the grubs. The water becomes a carrier of the oil, which penetrates their exoskeleton and stops them from feeding. 

How 99 Calls Helps With Landscaping Leads

Curtis attributes over 25% of his business through the years to leads generated by 99 Calls. The content team worked with him from the beginning to customize the lead website to focus on being found by new customers who are specifically looking for sustainable lawn and garden solutions. Although this is a smaller niche, the customers are “preselected” and he’s happy to have a more condensed audience. He receives fewer leads than if he advertised as a mainstream landscaping company, but they are of higher quality to him. 

Goals for the Future

Demand is changing. Consumers who began buying organic food years ago are now searching for additional lifestyle choices that support sustainability. This is naturally bringing eco-sustainable-minded people to businesses like Earth Landscape. Curtis hopes to continue to educate them on the lowering cost of organic practices and will continue to produce these products himself and bring them to market. He is working on packaging and promoting these products. 

As if that isn’t enough to keep him fully committed, Curtis is also writing a book around a term he has coined, “Eco terrascape”, which he describes as a system of sustainable practices. 

Further Recommendations

In closing, Curtis disclosed that 95-98% of Landcare businesses are still doing it the conventional way. They are removing material from their lawns; filling trucks up with cut grass, debris, and paying to dump it! By following these methods, landscapers can actually make more money if they will go into sustainable maintenance practices. The soil food web needs that. Green grass is 70% nitrogen and water. They are taking it out of the system and having to put it back in by watering and fertilizing. Simple practices such as using mulching mowers will feed the system and save water. There are many benefits to sustainable gardening, for workers, homeowners, and the environment.