Carpet Cleaning Leads, cleaning business leads, digital marketing, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs, painting leads, Roofing Advertising, Roofing Leads, service contractor leads

Are You Just Spending, or Investing in Your Business?

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.

If you want my team to just take care of your online marketing click here for a consultation.

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!

  1. 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.

For other tips on improving visibility and making waves with an online presence, see this article: https://blog.99calls.com/2021/03/16/maximize-digital-marketing-returns-on-a-small-budget/

  1. Improve Your Close Rate

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!

For more information on improving return on investment, learn why combining SEO with pay per click gives contractors the best bang for their buck: https://blog.99calls.com/2020/07/20/benefits-of-combining-seo-lead-generation-with-ppc-advertising/

Summary

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.

Carpet Cleaning Leads, cleaning business leads, digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs, painting leads, Roofing Advertising, Roofing Leads, service contractor leads

What is PPC Conversion Rate and Why Does it Matter?

Are PPC Leads Worth the Expense?

Turns out the cost per lead varies widely depending on the effectiveness of the marketing company you hire to run your campaigns.

Utilizing Google Ads PPC campaigns is the fastest, most versatile method of achieving a high volume of leads for service contractors. However, buyer beware; not all PPC marketing firms produce equal results. In fact, differences in performance are alarming and could mean the difference between enjoying a robust return on investment and blowing your advertising budget with little to show for it. 

There is an enormous gap between average and superior Ads performance. According to a recent article by Wordstream, a trusted authority in measuring PPC conversion results, a full 25% of PPC users report conversion rates under 1%.

Unlike SEO, or organic lead generation, which takes many months to ramp up and achieve first-page placement on Google searches (and let’s be honest, if you aren’t being found on the first page, you most likely will not be found), using Google Ads PPC to generate exclusive leads yields much faster results.

Google PPC is an auction-style platform for showcasing businesses on the first page of searches. Rather than showing in the maps (GMB) section, or the highly regarded organic results section, Google PPC ads are displayed at the very top and the very bottom of the search page.

PPC Explained

Ads are about scarcity. There is only room for 3-6 PPC ads on a page, about half posted at the very top and half at the bottom, under organic results. In order to achieve first-page placement on Google, you’ve got to be one of the top bidders. A high conversion rate is achieved when a large percentage of people who click on an Ad call for a quote (a lead). The more leads you receive for your monthly budget, the better your return on investment. 

With Google Ads, contractors are bidding per click, meaning, they are telling Google what they are willing to pay each time a potential buyer clicks on their Ad. The goal is to pay the lowest Cost Per Click, or CPC that you can but high enough to make it into a top 3 position, at least for a decent percentage of the time. Google doesn’t place 3 companies there and then walk away. The top 3 are rotated throughout the day. What gets companies up there? First and foremost is being a top bidder. 

Achieving visibility on a search is just one piece to the puzzle though. Equally as important are your click-through rates (CTR) and your conversion rates. Click-through rates are the percentage of times someone clicks on the link in your Ad to visit the landing page compared to the number of times your Ad is shown (aka impressions). If the Ad is compelling and relevant to what the person is looking for, the click-through rate will be higher. If your CTR is low, you will likely also have a low conversion rate. 

And finally, let’s talk about conversion rates. A conversion for some industries may be the collection of information (email or phone number) from a potential buyer that can be added to a telemarketing or email nurturing list. In service contractor industries, a conversion is a lead. Better, with 99 Calls, it is an exclusive lead that is delivered either through a live phone call or email. The better your conversion rate, the more leads you will receive for your monthly budget or advertising investment.

Average Conversion Rate and Why it Matters

The average conversion rate for service contractors using Google Search PPC advertising is 2.35%. This means that out of every 100 customers who click on your Ads, only two to three will actually call you for a quote. 

The worst-performing (bottom 25%) campaigns receive a 1% or lower conversion rate. One in four campaigns falls into this bottom category. In fact, nearly half of all people who use Google Ads have a conversion rate lower than 2.5%. Included in these numbers are the do-it-yourselfers who don’t think it’s worth paying the service fee to have a marketing team manage their accounts.

Imagine that your monthly Ads budget is $1000. If the average click for your industry costs $5.00, at a 2.35% conversion rate, you’d get 4-5 leads with your budget if you hire an average marketing company. 

The best performing marketing businesses, those in the top 10% of all companies, are averaging an 11.45% conversion rate. If you were using one of them to manage your Ads campaign and had the same $1000 budget and click cost at $5.00 each, you’d achieve 23 leads. That’s over 5x the lead volume for your marketing dollars! That’s why conversion rate matters.

How to Maximize Your Conversion Rate

There is a bright side to Google Ads marketing. People and businesses in the know are able to achieve excellent results with PPC advertising. The best performing marketing businesses, those in the top 10% of all companies, achieve an 11.45% conversion rate. This is far better than the average performer with 5x the lead volume for the same budget.

A small study looked at 124 customers using Google Ads campaigns managed through 99 Calls with a monthly budget of more than $300. The Google Ads specialists at 99 Calls were able to use their in-house PPC advertising system to achieve an average conversion rate across all service contractor (restoration contractors, carpet cleaners, painters, landscapers, appliance repair technicians, electricians, plumbers, HVAC, etc.) industries of 20.43%. Using the same scenario above, these contractors would have achieved 40 leads per $1000 budget, 10x the average PPC customer.

Conclusion

With the increases in online competition, SEO alone often isn’t enough anymore for a growing service business. Many service contractors have turned to PPC advertising to increase their customer base and their revenue. However, with the huge discrepancy between top-performing PPC management firms and low performers, it’s no wonder that many companies have become frustrated with PPC. They have lost trust in Google Ads. They complain that they have burned through their budgets too quickly without results. When every dollar counts, it is crucial that contractors find a top 10% company to handle their Ads campaign. Using a trusted, experienced Google Partner to manage an Ads campaign can literally make the difference between getting one lead for every 100 clicks on your Ads or 20 or more! 

Want to learn how our strategies for maximizing Google Ads PPC conversion rate can help your business? Schedule a free consultation

Roofing Advertising, Roofing Leads

What Should Roofing Leads Cost?

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

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

Lead Quality

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

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

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

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

Shared vs. Exclusive Leads

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

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

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

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

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

 

Roofing Sales Close Rate

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

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

Factors That Maximize Profits from Leads.PNG

 

Why Close Rate and Lead Type Matter

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

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

 

Effect of Close Rates with Exclusive Leads

Example 1: Close Rate:

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

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

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

 

Acquisition Cost with Shared vs Exclusive Leads

Example 2: Shared Leads vs Exclusive Leads:

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

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

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

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

 

Summary

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

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

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