In this video:
As a marketing expert, founder and a trades business owner, Corey knows both sides of the coin.
He shares 8 things about Contractor Marketing that ‘marketers’ are not telling you:
[1:43] SEO is a fools game.
[2:31] Chasing backlinks is a waste of time
[4:05] Why the best content source is YOU
[4:56] Case studies are data-mined
[9:05] How building reviews puts you ahead of the game
[10:56] Why you should be giving attention now to Pay-to-Play sites
[14:00] Should contractors capture email addresses
[16:30] Why it is very important to have a customer avatar
Related Post: The Epic Post On Contractor Marketing Ideas
I was gonna do this as a blog post but once I got into it, I figured it was just best conveyed with audio speech and a little bit of video.
So, let’s dive right into it.
Things marketers won’t tell you.
And I want to get into this topic because I get so many questions from the people that are in my group and in the community–The Home
Pro Success community–asking about marketing, asking about the same questions.
There’s a lot of misinformation that marketers provide.
There’s a lot of stuff that they won’t tell you, particularly because they are selling services.
So, in this little discussion, we’re gonna go through–we’re gonna touch on SEO, some backlink-type of stuff, lead magnet, email marketing type of stuff, lots of various aspects of marketing and things that I think maybe need to be clarified.
And also, questions that need to be answered.
So, let’s dive right into this.
Now, a real quick “Who Am I”.
I’m Corey Philip.
I write the blog homeprosuccess.com and I’m also the owner and founder of this company Gulf Coast Aluminum, a patio and screen
enclosure company in South coast Florida.
I don’t sell any marketing services.
I have some instructional courses on it.
And I’m covering all these stuff for my own knowledge and stuff that I’ve used to grow my own company.
We drive tons of business primarily from paid online traffic sources and a good bit from organic as well.
We do a lot more organic than most contractors do but that’s because, as you’ll see as we go through this, it’s been built up over time.
First thing that we need to talk about here is SEO.
SEO is a fools game.
So many people make SEO into this thing making it bigger than it is.
And now, SEO is all about publishing content.
You need to get content out there that will be found by search engines.
It needs to be high quality and engaging.
You don’t necessarily need to hire an SEO person.
And somebody who’s selling SEO services isn’t necessarily gonna do anything.
Let’s see…let’s talk about what an SEO person can do is they can go through your site and fix technical errors.
But by and large, the things that’s gonna get you results, it’s going to be the content and the quality of content that you publish on your site.
We’re gonna come back to that.
Keep that in mind.
Keep the “content” in mind.
We’re gonna come back to that.
The other thing that comes back to SEO is backlinks.
It’s not worth your time to chase backlinks.
So, many people across all the home services scope wanna go to get links.
Here’s the thing…
Most people don’t want to share or link to your home service content.
You have to have stuff that is truly out of this world and have a good brand name.
The other factor other people don’t want to link to the business that is promoting the content.
In other words, if the same content was published on Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor, people identify that as a media platform and not as business itself.
I’ve noticed this because I do run a separate blog in the trade that we do which is screen enclosures and patios.
We used to publish articles right on our Gulf Coast Aluminum website, we never really get backlinks to that.
Now, we would go and publish them on a separate blog, and that separate blog is not associated with any local business that does actually collect natural backlinks or more natural backlinks than the Gulf Coast Aluminum site.
But the key thing here is we’re not chasing backlinks.
That said if you do have an opportunity for like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or any local organization, or even any vendor.
Some vendors would put out a list of where you can find their products and services or preferred contractors.
They got it on their website.
Ask for a link there.
You can certainly do that but don’t spend hours trying to figure out, “Hmmn. Where am I going to get backlinks from?”
Publish a good content.
Build reviews which we’re also gonna get to.
You will start to get the SEO traffic.
Now, back to the content.
The best SEO content will need to be created by YOU.
It will need to be created in-house.
The best content is gonna need to reflect your knowledge, skills, and experience that will demonstrate your competency in the trade and the competency that your company has.
The best content is gonna do that.
It’s also gonna provide an insight into your company.
It is nearly impossible to outsource this.
You could outsource some good content like that, some mediocre content.
But to really get the best content, one that’s gonna resonate and really drive traffic, and really capture the audience’s attention, and really engage prospects, is going to be stuff that you create in-house.
If you’re listening to this, you might wanna get somebody on your team that can create content.
Let’s keep going.
Case studies are data-mined.
I can’ tell you this, how often this comes up.
And I usually see this in Facebook groups and sometimes in Facebook Ads from marketers and marketing services.
They’ll say “Learn how you can get 200 roofing leads in 7 days” or “$2 a pop”.
Well, to get that, they probably ran several experiments and picked the one that did well.
Or they did that over a period of time.
They may have done that in the busy season.
They may have done that right after a storm came through and the market was really hot.
So, like times when you see case studies out there, especially that marketers are trying to solicit their services that they’re providing, they’re providing data-mined information.
Either that or they’ll say “re-capture 200 qualified leads or a $1 each for $200”.
What they failed to tell you is they only captured an email address.
In some cases, an email address could be good but they also don’t tell you that you also need a nurturing sequence behind those email addresses to really make them effective.
So, the case studies are often data-mined.
What you really need to do is to:
- consider the value of your customer and compare marketing results to your current marketing.
So, don’t come out and start expecting when you hire a new marketing firm or start a new marketing service.
Don’t expect to get the same results that you’re seeing in a case study or something.
Throw a little bit of money at it.
Keep it at a controlled cost.
You can do that with all types of digital advertising.
Keep it controlled and then compare your cost per customer to the cost per customer you’re getting now.
If you wanna grow, maybe it’s fine if it’s higher cost per customer but you’re getting more leads in.
If you want to cut that advertising expense– let’s say your advertising budget is already up at 15%– that’s quite high.
Let’s try to get this lower and determine where you are relative to your other advertising sources, your other advertising channels in your local area, and in your local market.
One good way of benchmarking that is “Hey, what would it cost to buy leads from HomeAdvisor?”
HomeAdvisor is selling leads for $50 a pop and these leads aren’t exclusive.
They’re getting poured out to 5 people.
So, my benchmark is $50 a lead and it’s an exclusive lead, and it’s a well-branded lead because they consumed by content and consciously chose to call me as opposed to HomeAdvisor.
They don’t consciously choose to call anyone.
They just submit their information and then poof!
Five random people, or seven, or three– or whatever the number is in the market these days–
Basically, a handful of random people will contact them.
They don’t know anything about these companies which I’ll touch on that real quick because this is a huge a opportunity and a necessity, in my opinion, for anybody that’s buying leads.
So, we’re gonna skip off this Case Studies Are Data-Mined thing and we’re going to Buying Leads.
If you are buying leads particularly from HomeAdvisor, these people don’t know anything about your company, so what you’ll need to do at that point is quickly serve them some content.
My favorite way of doing that–when somebody submits a lead request on HomeAdvisor, they end up into your sales process, you get them pegged into a Facebook marketing campaign.
Now, you’re distributing content to them on Facebook where they are already engaging.
Of course, you could do that with display ads, or you could do that with direct emails but my preferred method is Facebook ads.
So, if somebody requests a lead, provide them content so they’ll know who you are, and you’re building that authority and trust before you go out and make the estimate or even before you make that call back to them.
Bottom line, again, case studies are often data-mined.
You need to compare your cost per customer acquisition that either what you got internally or what would it cost to buy your lead.
Focus on driving down from there.
If somebody is telling you they can generate leads for $2-3 a pop– generally, not the case.
They probably have.
Yes, they have probably done it but it doesn’t mean that it’s consistent and duplicatable.
Keep all things relative.
Building reviews is incredibly valuable.
I don’t know if I word this quite right but let me explain.
Reviews, particularly on Google, impact your result in searches.
We’re going back to SEO because everybody always likes to ask me about SEO because it’s free.
And as I have published in my content the results in SEO are declining, moving away from finding service providers like Google and going to other platforms like HomeAdvisor, Yelp, Thumbtack, Angie’s List.
Those are major ones.
But reviews are incredibly important because Google has the map up there which is largely dominated by how many reviews you get, the velocity of the reviews, how quick you get them over time, and of course, the total reviews.
So, focus on building reviews.
Those marketers obviously don’t come out and say that because:
- It makes their job, if they’re selling SEO or content marketing services feel less valuable.
- They can’t really monetize unless they got a review building platform.
But do keep that in mind.
Reviews are incredibly valuable.
So many people will say “I don’t know if want to spend $100 a month to get an automated review-building platform like ReviewBuzz, Rate.Us, Birds Eye, Top Rated– there’s a hundred of them out there and they’re all priced somewhere around $100 a month.
Some of them will low into your cost and then they’ll find a way to weasle you up into a $100 a month.
That’s been my consensus on the research that I’ve done into these programs.
But for some people are like, “I don’t know if it’s worth it…”, “I don’t know if I should do it.”
It is worth it to get all your reviews, you know.
And we do it in full scale, full spectrum.
We started out asking for reviews.
We incentivize our employees to get reviews.
And we’re also running a review-building platform.
Get these reviews built up on Google and other places might go in the future.
That’s gonna be my next point.
In the next few years, pay to play ‘directory’ sites will need to be part of your marketing arsenal.
So, with these, I mean to say HomeAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, Thumbtack,..I’m sure I’m forgetting a few.
There’s a bunch of them out there.
But these are the major ones.
Basically, they’re creating a portal.
Customers find services privately and leave feedback.
And sometimes, they’re also capturing leads like Thumbtack–operates as a lead gen and a directory.
HomeAdvisor is sort of lead gen– I think over the last years they have started to opening up in the more of like a directory.
So, you get the idea.
Major names– they’re stepping into the home improvement space.
Trying to provide a single platform for customers to find home service providers on.
And here’s the thing.
These platforms are getting traction within the market.
Customers are going on to them.
If you talked to people– the reviews on Thumbtack–I’ve talked to people that have used Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor, particularly,–
They were satisfied with their experience that they got from the service provider.
So, they would go back and they would recommend the Thumbtack or HomeAdvisor platform to other people.
So, the market is going on there.
I see this going away with restaurants.
If you are a local restaurant that really wants to thrive, you need be on TripAdvisor.
When I need to find a restaurant, I rarely go anywhere else to look for.
I get these word of mouth recommendations if I’m in a big park but if I’m in a new place where I don’t know anyone, I go to TripAdvisor– not Google, not search results, not PPC, not out of a phonebook, not a brochure.
I go to TripAdvisor.
And if you’re not at the top 20 or top 10 in your category of restaurant that I’m looking for,
I don’t find you.
And home services are going that way.
It may not be as drastic, we don’t know where it’s going.
But now is the time to get serious and consider getting your presence on there and building your reviews up, and bringing this pay-to-play directory site into your real marketing thing.
And yes, you will have to pay for your marketing costs on there.
You may have to pay for your leads but you need to build your reviews up because the customer bases are going there.
You have to go where your customers are.
Twenty years ago your customers were looking at yellow pages.
If you were one of the contractors that twenty years ago said “I’m not gonna go onto the internet. I don’t need a website. I’ll be in the yellow pages.”
Well, guess what.
Your customers have moved from there.
The customers seeking your services– the people in general, seeking for your services– I should say, your audience because they’re not your customers, left yellow pages and went online.
And if you didn’t embrace the online marketing thing, you don’t get your business online, you’ll get left behind.
We are not at that extreme yet but I do see us heading to that direction because as I have said, the folks that are using this services are satisfied, and are gaining a user base.
Keep that in mind.
And then going back to what I said, for anybody that finds you on these platforms, you need to have a marketing in mind so that once they end up in your sales funnel, you can consistently serve them content, maintain a relationship with them,– make the most of them because you probably paid to get this relationship.
Most importantly, though, differentiate yourself from other people in this space.
There’s gonna be another people in this space who’s gonna get the lead and call back.
They’re not going to set up these remarketing campaigns.
It sounds complicated.
It is not that very expensive and worth the wait ten times over.
Let’s go on from here.
Capturing email addresses is a waste of time… unless you have a serious plan for using them to drive business.
I can’t tell you how many marketers– It kinda pains me because I hear this all the time.
“You need to be doing email marketing.”
“You need to be capturing email addresses.”
“You need a lead magnet.”
And I’m really all into lead magnets and all and that’s because I’ve got an email nurturing sequence behind it.
Is it wildly effective?
I’m not gonna say it’s wildly effective but It’s very effective.
But it’s not like —(rocket gesture!) wildly effective.
It’s very effective because we’ve got a great email nurturing system.
I was going to a lot of contractors websites buying this PDF or guide, whatever.
“Enter your email address” you get this PDF thing.
What happens after that?
When I was first getting into lead magnets earlier this year, I wanted to see what others were putting in their nurturing sequence.
I knew we need nurturing sequence behind it.
So, I went out.
I downloaded it.
Thirty PDF lead magnets.
In some way, I go ahead and search like roofers buyers guide, plumbers consumers guide, new pool guide to materials.
Type in that stuff and you’ll find these PDF lead magnets on contractors websites.
That wasn’t hard to do.
But out of the 30 that I signed up for, I got– some came via email.
Some just forwarded me, redirected me to a new page where the magnet was after getting my email.
None of them,– None of them followed up with a nurturing sequence.
And that’s…in my opinion if you’re not going to nurture you might as well make the content free.
Marketers like to sell these things, like to push this “let’s start capturing email addresses and send newsletters”.
Well, if you don’t have any plans of actually doing the newsletter, I gotta tell you most people don’t actually do the newsletter.
And when they do it’s horrible.
Much better of doing the nurturing sequence behind it.
It’s like a… delivering one or two messages a day for a week and then a follow up, or something like that.
I actually got a video out there where I show my day three nurturing email.
That’s my call-to-action email.
But if you don’t have the nurturing sequence behind it, there’s no point capturing email addresses as part of your marketing or to deliver a lead magnet.
And then finally, I think my last one here.
You need to understand your avatar.
Who’s your ideal customer?
Who are you talking to?
Your messaging, particularly your Facebook advertisements, needs to be geared towards that avatar.
PPC– it doesn’t really matter because people are generally searching for electrician or whatever it might be–plumber or pressure washer, etc.
But when you’re doing Facebook ads, you need to speak to an Avatar.
Who are they?
What do they look like?
What are their pain points?
And what do they want?
You need to understand that.
In my business, a screen enclosure company, we know that our ideal customer is someone over 60, recently moved to Florida, has had a negative experience with a contractor, or has had a recent experience with a contractor, and is technologically-savvy.
So, that’s who we are speaking to.
Obviously, there’s an age demographic and they get content they can relate, consume and they know how to use.
We want them to have recently had an experience with a contractor because we want them to have a benchmark.
We don’t want somebody who’s not worked with a local contractor before.
Maybe they come from the midwest and up there, service providers, they think, maybe better.
We need to have a relative benchmark.
Who are they gonna compare us to?
Or if they’re gonna compare us to anyone locally, we are certainly gonna be better experience.
But if they got no one to compare us to, they might think we are not good.
They need to have a relative benchmark.
That’s what we look for somebody that has.
And then also we know they got pain points we can appeal to those pain points.
Finally, “just moved to Florida”–they’re likely to improve their home and have initiation or interest in improving this home that they just purchased, and move to Florida.
So, that wraps it up.
Eight things marketers won’t tell you.
Marketers generally don’t go into your avatar or make you try to understand that coz they’re just constantly intending to setting something up or trying something up.
You’re really gonna have that avatar.
Let your marketer know if you’re gonna work with them, what the avatar is and if the content appeals to their pain points.
So, that’s a wrap on this one.
Eight things marketers won’t tell you.