Crash Testing A New Contractor Leads Funnel

by Corey Philip
July 27, 2018

Some have called me the crash test dummy of service business marketing.  I love finding new, cost effective ways to generate more leads, and increase sales.  Lately I’ve been doing a lot of crash testing; among other things.

I’ve actually been spending most of my time in the actual sales of my company — trying to identify weaknesses and make some refinements, and consistently improving my own sales skills which I publish quite a bit about on this blog.  I’ve been testing a new lead generation funnel (which this post is about).  My ppc campaigns have been revamped with some new landing pages that change content based on user behavior.  I took a nice trip to Romania too, to get my fix of 2 wheel mountain sports.  And then I’ve also slightly been planning for the next marketing course.  If you’ve been following me, you know that I’ve hosted the Formula For Facebook Advertising twice now.   The next course will encompass that and then some.

But for now, I’m sure you’re interested in the new funnel.

It is essentially a lead magnet funnel, using a pdf ‘freebie’ to capture a lead consisting of a name and email address.  That’s it.  No address.  No phone number.  No service selection.  This differs radically from all the leads I’ve captured in the past which had the aforementioned required for submission (by the user).

From there, to make these funnels work, you need one hell of a lead nurturing system after the user opts-in to the lead magnet. The lead needs to be nurtured to the point of requesting an estimate. That is the tricky part!

Lead Magnet Funnel Fallacies

These types of funnels are often used in marketing case studies by marketers / coaches / agencies / gurus, as they can quickly pull in ‘leads’ at a low cost. Ever seen a headline such as ‘Learn How We Generated 100 Leads For $200 in 24 Hours’? It was usually done with a lead magnet. The problem is, those 100 leads are weak. All you’ve got is a name and email address, of a lead who has just expressed interest in a freebie. They aren’t requesting an estimate. These leads are essentially valueless to a contractor at this point! The marketers publishing the fruitful seeming headlines leave that detail out.

Many contractors do indeed create lead magnets, that’s no secret. Just google ‘[your service] Free PDF Download’ and you’ll find examples. However, I am yet to find any with a solid nurturing sequence in place. In research for this funnel, I signed up for 14 contractor lead magnets hoping to see a killer nurture sequence. In the 5 days since signing up I’ve been miserably let down. Only 1 of them sent me a follow up email to confirm I received it. No surprise though, the nurture is the trickiest part. As marketing professional, if you’re not going to nurture the lead you might as well just make the content publicly available on the blog and not put up an opt-in wall.

===> If you’ve seen a great contractor nurturing sequence, let me know in the comments!

Contractor Lead Magnet Distribution

The lead magnet is essentially worthless if no one gets it, so it needs a a distribution channel.  To make it effective it needs to get distributed to a quality audience! For most contractors, this is their public website!

That’s a problem on my website, as a result of our content marketing efforts.  You see, while our content marketing efforts generate substantial traffic, most are from outside of our service area and / or looking for information (or to buy materials for diy).  If the lead magnet were made available to this audience we would be overwhelmed with essentially valueless leads in a nurturing funnel that is opening a direct line of communication.  We would get flooded with inquiries asking things such as:

  • If we know any referrals in their area
  • How to handle dispute with their current contractor
  • Where they can by DIY kit.

Most of the folks asking these questions, would not have reached out to us to ask, however since they are getting a nurturing email asking “is there anything we can help you with?” they reply and ask.

To avoid this the plan is to only distribute using targeted Facebook ads which let us reach our specific service area.  Yes this a Facebook advertising ploy =)

Website distribution isn’t totally out of the question either.  I’m looking into some programs that would allow use to make the lead magnet exclusively available to websites visitors in our specific area.  OptinMonster looks to be the easiest solution.

That said, Facebook ads is my primary means of distribution and what I am going to be testing thus far.

Nurturing Sequence

This is the magic sauce, which is far from magical at this point.  Naturally the lead magnet is delivered by email, and from there the user is dripped a strategic sequence of content based emails.  For initial testing it is a 9 day sequence, but I could (and likely will) extend the sequence into several months.  We must consider these leads are early on the buying process — likely still only in the awareness phase and not yet giving consideration.

Email isn’t the end of the road though!  Email inboxes are bloated.  Persistent emails annoy and frustrate leads.  Spam filters catch your messages.  And email usage is on the decline… It’s down 18% among 25-35 year olds.

So I’ll be nurturing heavily with Facebook Ads as well!

The option also exists to deliver the magnet and send nurturing messages via Facebook messenger.  This is a whole nother mountain to tackle.  An interesting and fun mountain no doubt, but one that should wait until this funnel is conquered as it is now.

Experiment Results So Far…

It’s been 3 days since the first leads dropped into the campaign.  The initial signs show traction.  We’ve gotten a few requests for estimates, enough to call the funnel “very profitable” however the total cost per lead is about 3x the cost of what it is for the ‘Perpetual Funnel’ that I have been running (and perfecting) for a few years.  That should drop as more leads make their way through the nurturing process, and as I get more data to use for refinements!

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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