Contractor Marketing Guide for Home Improvement Lead Generation

Contractor Marketing Guide

Home Improvement Lead Generation

The Ultimate How-To Guide to Effectively Grow Your Home Contracting Business through Lead Generation Marketing

Introduction

Digital marketing and ultimately lead generation is a critical driver that impacts the growth of any business. For local home service businesses specifically, there are unique challenges that come along with competing in the hyperlocal digital marketing space. Being able to consistently and cost-effectively generate leads can be the single most important factor separating success from failure.

A study by Marketo showed that companies with sound lead generation practices achieved at least 133 percent more revenue than those that don’t have good techniques in place. And, while business owners and marketers alike say they understand the crucial role that lead generation plays in boosting the bottom line, they also say that it’s the greatest ongoing challenge.

In our recent 2020 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, 41% home improvement business owners we surveyed said that lead generation was their top marketing priority. At the same time, 45% of those home service business owners also stated that generating quality leads was their biggest challenge.

When you take a look at all of the marketing methods available today, the biggest opportunity for home service businesses is digital marketing. In the past, the lion share of marketing efforts have been around direct mail, referrals, word of mouth, and other offline sources. Today, digital advertising tools and technologies have evolved in a way that is leveling the playing field for local home service companies to compete on a larger scale. 

However, that competition is fierce. When your audience is limited to a specific service area, and all the companies in that area are aggressively trying to get the same precious online visibility, it inevitably drives up the cost to achieve that visibility. Your efforts can quickly become a money pit and burn through your budget.

2020 Marketing Lead Generation Bench Report

Chapter 1: The Lead Generation Lifecycle

The term lead generation is tossed around a lot these days, and it has become an umbrella term that can mean different things to different people. By definition, lead generation is the marketing process of attracting and converting prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or services. For a home contracting business, this is typically via marketing campaigns with a goal of getting a potential customer to call and schedule an appointment or fill out an inquiry form.

Anything that you create with the goal and potential to gain more customers is a form of generating leads. The end result is hopefully turning a lead into a satisfied customer that then turns into a brand champion that you can continue to drive recurring revenue from. Lead generation is a critical step in the marketing process, but more important, it’s fundamental to business growth.

Chapter 2: Terms You Should Know

Digital marketing has a lot of moving parts, and an equal amount of marketing terms that are also constantly changing. When it comes to this jargon, the most important thing you can do before you get started on your lead generation efforts is to define what lead generation means to you and what your company needs are based on your current level of marketing maturity.

But for starters, here are some basic definitions of lead generation terms we will cover in the guide.

What is a Lead?

A Lead is a contact or organization that shows interest in the product or service that your business is trying to sell. This interest is typically shown by providing their contact information.

What is a Qualified Lead?

A Lead is a contact or organization that shows interest in the product or A Lead that meets all of your company’s qualifications and criteria necessary to be considered a new potential customer. For example, your criteria could be that the contact is in a specific service area, needs a service you offer and has a certain budget.

What is a Lead Generation Strategy?

A Lead is a contact or organization that shows interest in the product or A Lead that meets all of your If lead generation is the process of converting strangers into leads, then a lead generation strategy refers to the approach you use to support and optimize this process. Essentially, it’s a plan of action to attract, capture and nurture leads to a sales pipeline.

What is a Lead Generation Campaign?

The process of capturing and simulating interest in a service or product for the purpose of developing leads. This includes a strategy using a particular marketing source, landing page and an offer to create inbound leads.

What is a Conversion?

The process of capturing and simulating interest in a service or product A conversion is any action that results in getting a potential customer a step closer to buying your product or services. For home service businesses, this is typically a phone call or form submission on your website.

What is Lead Management?

Lead management involves both tracking and managing leads from the time a contact is created from your campaigns to the time they turn into a customer. This also involves your Sales team to ensure every opportunity is worked and every qualified lead is managed.

What is a Call To Action?

A call to action (CTA) is a link, button, image, or phone number that encourages a website visitor to click and visit a landing page in order to fill out a form or call a phone number. Some examples of CTAs are “Subscribe Now” or “Call Us Today.”

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a website page focused on a specific marketing offer or service with the purpose of capturing visitor information in exchange for the valuable offer or service. For home services, you will usually find dedicated landing pages for services offered, service areas, and seasonal or specialty offers.

What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with your prospects (or leads) with the goal of earning their business when they’re ready. Lead nurturing is important to inbound marketing because it’s your opportunity to provide value to your leads and customers and help them grow with your business.

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is the technique of assigning leads a score based on a point system with the purpose of prioritizing the leads for your Sales team that are most likely to turn into a customer.

What is a Marketing Channel?

A marketing channel describes a marketing technique, network or platform in order to reach a specific target audience. At a very high level, your primary channels are divided into Paid and Unpaid.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is defined as the process of using software to automate marketing campaigns and activities throughout the entire buyer’s journey once a lead is generated.

Contractor Lead Generation Terms - Related Content

Chapter 3: Your Role In Lead Generation Success

Before you even start to think about spending money on lead generation campaigns, there are some critical elements that your business needs to have in place in order to make the most of the opportunities that you are generating.

Because lead generation programs and campaigns are designed to generate new leads and opportunities, it’s important to be aware of your role in turning those opportunities into customers. You are ready to start generating leads if you can check off the majority of these items.

Why Are These Things Important?

For starters, generating a lead is only half the battle. You must have the ability and resources to effectively action and manage the leads from your campaigns. In our recent home service call study report, we learned that home service business owners only answer the phone 65% of the time, leaving the other 35% just wasted. Your lead generation efforts are only as good as your ability to turn a call into a customer. 

Secondly, not all leads are created equal. If you treat them as such, you’ll find yourself wasting a lot of time on leads that don’t matter or wasting marketing spend on leads that you can’t service. You must be able to understand what the “value” of a quality lead is for your business in order to understand your marketing ROI and ultimately make smarter decisions based on that value. 

The best way to understand this value is by making sure you know your numbers, and building the reporting and tracking capabilities for the core lead generation KPIs discussed in Chapter 4.

Lead Generation Success Tips - Related Content

Chapter 4: Understand the Key Metrics That Determine Success

When it comes to your lead generation and marketing efforts, there are a million data points that you can track and ultimately set your goals around. However, it’s easy to get side tracked with vanity metrics that don’t really impact the bottom line. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and over report on data that isn’t really helpful in making strategic decisions. So, first start with understanding these benchmark KPIs that are absolutely critical in understanding marketing performance and its impact on your revenue. 

Once you’ve tracked these key metrics on a monthly basis over a period of time, then you can expand your reports to include additional data points based on the questions you have from your core KPIs.There will always be more questions you want to ask, and more data you need to collect to answer them, but starting narrow with just a handful of metrics that really matter to your bottom line is the best way to actually move the needle.

At the end of the day, your performance metrics are only as good as trustworthiness of your data, so starting narrow with clean and accurate data will help you keep your resources and budget on the right track.

Lead Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and are captured as Leads. A Conversion is usually a phone call, form submission, or chat engagement whereby the customer has shown interest in learning more about your services and has provided their contact details.

Lead Response Rate is the percentage of Leads that your Sales team has a meaningful conversation within a certain time period. To get this rate, you divide the number of sales engagements by the number of Leads generated. This metric will tell you the percentage of Leads that are getting ‘worked’ and how many (if any) are falling through the cracks.

Booked Appointment Rate is the total number of unique appointments your team has scheduled from the total number of leads generated. Regardless of what type of service you provide, ultimately you want your lead generation tactics to help get you in front of a potential customer and win their trust and their business. So, one metric you should be focused on is the percentage likelihood that a lead becomes an appointment.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is exactly what it sounds like. It tells you the average cost to acquire a customer by calculating the revenue generated relative to the marketing dollars spent to generate them. When it comes to analyzing your marketing efforts, you have to have a starting point.

The simplest starting point is identifying how much it costs you to acquire a customer. Knowing this KPI gives your home improvement company a solid apples to apples comparison to judge all of your marketing efforts. 

It’s important to understand that this formula doesn’t fully capture your true cost to acquire a new customer, as there are other costs that ultimately factor into that number such as the cost of the tooling/software needed to manage marketing efforts, the employees responsible for sales and marketing, etc. 

But for the purposes of comparing marketing campaigns relative to revenue performance, this metric will help you spot winners and losers quickly and easily. It’s also a good metric to set your marketing goals around, and tracking this will well provide a baseline metric that allows you to optimize your marketing campaigns around driving that number lower.

Average Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), in short, is the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend with your contractor business during their lifetime on your products or services. Now, there are a million different ways that you could potentially decide to evaluate this metric, but in its simplest state, you will be able to have an average dollar amount per customer that you can forecast around.

And then later, as your business starts to mature, you’ll be able to develop a more accurate CLV model that can take into consideration other factors like location, seasonality and the estimated amount of time they are likely to remain an active customer. 

So, how do you go about improving this KPI? Well, once you’ve done the hard work of generating a lead that turns into a customer, the next goal is to increase the value of that customer to your business. There are two basic ways to do this for home service businesses:

  • increase your average ticket price and 
  • Increase the number of times that customer comes back to pay you for your service.
Marketing Return on Investment Formula

Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric that is widely used to measure the probability of gaining a return from an investment. So, when it comes to tracking this for marketing purposes, the “investment” you are evaluating is the initial cost of implementing any marketing campaigns plus the recurring amount you spent on those campaigns and the “return” is the revenue that was generated from those efforts.

It seems like such a simple calculation. How much did you spend on a certain marketing campaign and how much revenue did that marketing spend generate (less the initial investment)? Well, you’d be surprised at how many businesses aren’t really tracking this number accurately because they aren’t able to identify the revenue generated from specific marketing efforts within a given time period. So, this is a very basic and simple way to start off your lead generation campaigns on the right foot. 

Marketing KPIs to Track - Related Content

Chapter 5: Lead Generation Campaign Roadmap

So at this point, we have a unified understanding of what lead generation means for the home service industry, the importance of how your systems are set up to effectively turn your leads into customers, the important KPIs you need to be able to track to evaluate performance.

Home Contracting Company Lead Generation Roadmap

So, next is taking a look at the lead generation process from soup to nuts and developing a roadmap for success. This roadmap clearly plots the critical milestones in the journey of a lead generation campaign that could become bottlenecks if not addressed. And, most importantly, this roadmap should help clarify your plan for bridging the gap between your marketing and sales teams, and ensuring that the leads that you are working hard to generate are handed off to a salesperson that will continue to work the lead. 

At the highest level, your roadmap should include these components:

  • Set a specific clear goal to evaluate performance against.
  • Build your landing page and decide on the main “offer” for your campaign that will be most relevant for your audience.
  • Decide on the call-to-action for your campaign in which you invite/tell your audience to take action to receive your offer. 
  • Create a response process that outlines how you intend to respond to leads (both form leads and phone leads). 
  • Consistently manage your lead database in order to make sure you or your sales team is focused on the right opportunities.

Chapter 6: Make Your Website A Conversion Machine

The impact that online advertising has on consumers is no surprise seeing as people spend an average amount of almost 7 hours a day online across all devices.

Back in the day, your website, especially in the home services space, acted more like a business card. It was a good way to point people to content where you control the message and can build trust and credibility. While all of that still is true, today your website is also the best and fastest way to engage and connect with new potential customers. 

The average conversion rate for a contractor website is around 10% to 15%, which means that only 15% of the visitors that come to your website provide their contact information. As you increase your website traffic, improving your current conversion rate by just 1 or 2 percent could be a game changer in terms of driving more value from your efforts.

High Converting Contractor Website Checklist

With the following tips in mind, your website will not only be seen, but will be transformed into a total conversion machine. Also, ensure that your user experience is consistent across all devices, and that your website page-load speed is fast. The impact of your page-load speed can be significant on your ability to generate revenue. A recent study cited that conversion rates can increase by up to 74% when load time is reduced from 8 seconds to 2 seconds. 

Here are some more stats to chew on:

  • 58% of all mobile customers expect sites to render as quickly as their home computers.
  • 64% of all smartphone users anticipate pages to load in under 4 seconds.
  • 74% of people will leave a mobile website which requires over 5 seconds to load.
  • 61% of consumers will abandon a mobile site if they don’t find what they’re looking for right away.

Use this checklist and these handy tools from Google to audit your website’s page load speed and mobile-friendliness rating.

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Chapter 7: Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Think about the last time you searched for a local business on Google. Chances are, alongside the list of search results you also were shown a map with businesses of that type near you. Getting your home contracting company listed in maps is a great way to reach new customers based purely on location. Google will show searchers the closest businesses to their location, which can be a huge selling point.

There’s even more to map marketing than just appearing when someone searches nearby. Getting your business listed on Google Maps also allows customers to see your company’s rating, read testimonials, and access your primary website or phone number directly from the map listing. Ease of use is crucial when attracting customers and having your business clearly and correctly displayed on Google Maps means it’s that much easier for customers to find you!

Google My Business Checklist For Home Contractors

Chapter 8: Lead Generation: Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)

Navigating pay-per-click lead generation can be treacherous and daunting for even seasoned home service professionals. Without the proper tools and techniques, PPC can be expensive without seeing any return on investment, which is frustrating to say the least.

But, if you take the time to set yourself up for success, it can be a great way to get high-quality leads fast even in highly competitive local service markets. These tips, tools, and techniques will help you put the right foot forward with PPC search ads and will help you to continue in the right direction—toward success!

The Anatomy of a PPC Search Ad for Contractors

Step 1: Keyword Research

So you’ve decided to dive into PPC advertising for your home improvement business. But where to start? First you’ll want to do some keyword research to gain an understanding of what types of searches your potential customers are using to find the services your company offers in your area. You can use these keywords in your ads to connect directly with the right audience at the right time. 

  • Use tools built directly into Google Ads to get everything from volume estimates and search terms associated with core concepts to words that you’ll want to block as keyword negatives. Keyword Planner is a tool within Google Ads that will help you stay on trend and make sure that every penny of your PPC budget is put to good use.
  • Research other platforms and tools that can help supplement what you’re already doing in Google Ads. Platforms like Moz and Keywords Everywhere are easy to understand tools that will help you boost your PPC search ads and easily connect with new customers.
  • Supplement all of your PPC research by staying up to date on industry terms and searches with tools like Google Trends. A quick search for the topic “home service” yields helpful information such as related topics like “average cost” and related queries like “best home improvement service” that you can take into account when creating PPC search ads for your contracting company. You can even compare search terms to see which ones perform better in order to gauge what verbage you should be using.

Step 2: Campaign Setup and Structure

As a general rule, try not to overdo it with keywords in each ad group; we recommend trying to keep the keyword count to 4 or fewer. Focus on using a few strong keywords that are well supported by ad copy that could theoretically be triggered by any keyword.

  • Be pragmatic about where your money goes. In our experience, it is better to spend more money on specific, high-value keywords that could bring the type of potential customers you really want to your company. More often than not, this will lead to more effective spending than on broad keywords that could bring lower-quality traffic to your web site.
  • Use multiple ads per ad group to see what resonates with your desired audience. In other words, creating multiple ads for the same keywords will help you determine what format or value propositions are most successful with drawing in high-quality leads to your home service company. Trying different wording such as using cost figures versus not showing a price will help improve your ad copy over time.
PPC Search Ad Copy for Home Improvement Businesses

Step 3: Write Click-Worthy Ad Copy

Now that you’ve done the keyword research and have looked into how exactly you want to set up your PPC search ads, it’s time to work on writing the ad copy. Some companies may think that this is the hardest part, but if you keep a few key tips in mind, you’ll be able to have fun with this step while producing effective PPC search ads.

  • Use call to action verbs to encourage your audience to convert. CTAs can be anything from “call now” and “contact us for services” to “click here to learn more” and are great ways to make sure potential customers know exactly what it is they need to do to access your services. It may seem small, but you never know when that extra little push might be the difference between a customer scrolling past your ad and clicking through to your home contracting business.
  • Make sure your headlines are clear and concise; don’t keep your readers guessing. When you take care to write great headlines you are ensuring that your potential customers know exactly what it is you’re advertising. Plus, there’s still plenty of room to be creative! Consider using questions like “Are Your Drains Clogged?” or focus on your top offerings like “24 Hour Plumbing Emergency Services” to write effective, unique headlines.
  • Improve visibility and credibility with ad extensions. Callout extensions can help you feature value propositions such as 24/7 services and free estimates, adding value to your company. Sitelink extensions will link a potential customer to a specific page on your website, which allows you to show them exactly what they’re looking for by linking someone looking for home services to your residential services page, for example. You can even add call extensions so that a potential customer can click your phone number and call you directly from the ad! These are just a few examples of how ad extensions can boost your ad copy and bring in new customer leads.

Step 4: Send Potential Customers to a Relevant and Optimized Landing Page

This is the final and potentially most important step of generating leads with PPC search ads. If you invest significant time, energy, and money into creating high-quality ads but potential customers find your website hard to navigate and/or the content doesn’t speak to their exact needs, you are unlikely to see the success you desire. Making sure that your contractor website is professional, relevant and designed to convert will ensure success with PPC search advertising.

  • If you offer a variety of services, have a page devoted to each of those services where you go into detail about that specific service, your process, your credentials, your warranties for that work, etc. Show photos of that type of work and feature customer reviews that delve into their experience with those services. Why? Because if someone needs, for example, drain cleaning service, they are more likely to call you if they arrive at a page that speaks all about their specific need, not a bunch of other content that isn’t relevant to them.
  • Prominently display your phone number and other contact information. Similar to creating clear headlines, you don’t want potential customers to have to work to get your services. Whether they are in an emergency situation and need help ASAP or are casually looking for drain clearing services, customers aren’t going to spend very much time searching for your contact information. To set yourself up for success, prominently display your phone number at the top of every page in an easy to see color.
  • Use forms to generate leads from customers that don’t want to pick up the phone. You might not be a huge fan of selling your services over the phone, and guess what? Your customers might not love picking up the phone to call either. Form leads are an alternative that allows customers to fill in their contact information and detailing their service need so that you can get back to them (quickly). Adding forms to your website will attract customers who don’t like to call, and you can still have a phone number available for those who would prefer talking live to a person about their needs.
  • Make sure the journey from PPC search ad to website is smooth and consistent. To do this, you’ll want to make sure your site loads quickly—40% of users tend to leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load—and that potential customers are directed to a site page with applicable information to their needs. Additionally, you’ll need to optimize your website for mobile.

Additional Resources

Using PPC Search Ads for Home Service Leads - Related Content
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Chapter 9: Lead Generation: Search Engine Optimization

The Challenge with SEO

The most difficult part of search engine optimization is keeping up with it long enough to see results. Researching and implementing SEO basics is key, but unfortunately, even the most successful SEO strategies don’t show results overnight. Even if you are doing everything right, it can take weeks or even months to see significant changes in your business once you implement those strategies, so patience is a must-have if you want to see success with your SEO journey.

SEO Ranking Factors for Home Improvement Companies

Choose The Right Keywords

SEO is built on keywords, and picking the right keywords is like picking the right stocks. It’s a double-edged sword, though—pick the wrong keywords, and your SEO strategy will collapse like an unsupported roof.

Also, like stocks, the bigger, better, lead-enhancing keywords tend to have more competition and a higher cost, so you need to pick your keywords and phrases carefully.

You should pick your keywords based on:

Your Target Audience

This comes from experience. What does your target audience search for? How do they speak?

The Keywords’ Volume

You can use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner and the free tool Keywords Everywhere to find out a keyword’s monthly search volume.

The Keywords’ Implied Search Intent

“Remodeling company reviews” implies much more commercial intent than “kitchen design trends.” For the highest impact, choose commercially-inclined keywords that indicate the consumer is ready to start a conversation.

The Keywords’ Competition

The more people that choose to optimize for a keyword the harder it is to rank for it. That’s why you’re going to have a LOT more trouble ranking for “remodeler” than “bathroom remodeler near 20886”. Google Keyword Planner will be your best bet. Most tools that find how much competition you have are paid tools, but we use Moz and SEMRush (to name a few) the most often.

Audit and Optimize Your Site’s Metadata

In order to rank better on search engine results pages (SERPs) you’ll want to audit and optimize your website’s metadata. To easily understand what metadata is and why it’s important for SEO, think of it as using your site to speak directly to search engines in their own language. Metadata uses elements like title tags, schema markups, image tags, and meta descriptions to tell Google what content is on your site and how it is displayed. Including your priority service area and target keywords in metadata will optimize your website for SEO, increasing your company’s credibility in the eyes of Google and making it more visible to potential customers.

Add Schema Markup Language

There are two ways to enhance the way your company appears in the search results. By investigating and implementing HTML markup tactics and rich results, you can ensure your company stands out among competitors from step one. 

HTML markup is the use of key HTML tags to tell search engines like Google how to display your content in the search results. By designating which content appears as a title, for example, these tags aid in telling search engines what exactly your content is about and who it should be directed to. Taking the time to research and use the correct HTML tags is a surefire way to set your company apart from your competitors.

Add NAP Information In Footer

It’s important to display your name, address, and phone number (NAP) in an easy to find location on your website. This not only ensures that potential customers know how to get in touch with you; it also tells search engines where you are located, allowing them to show your company on SERPs for local searches. 

You’ll want to follow a few guidelines when adding NAP information to your company’s website. Make sure the information is clearly displayed on all pages of your website so that no matter how a potential customer finds you, they know how to contact you. You’ll also want to ensure your address matches the one on your Google My Business profile. The two most important factors with NAP info and SEO are consistency and visibility. Keep those in mind and you’re sure to see success.

Create Service-Specific Landing Pages

Multiple landing pages are a great way to help your company rank for a variety of specific keywords. For example, if you are a plumber and perform sewer services as well as dishwasher repairs, you might benefit from having two landing pages—one where you focus on sewer content and keywords and another that talks specifically about dishwashers and other appliance repairs. Creating multiple, high-quality landing pages for your various services will boost your SEO visibility.

Publish SEO-Friendly Blog Content

You need a blog. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t need to add a new entry every day, but you do need one. Not only does having a blog increase your chances of ranking on search engines by an estimated 434%, but it also builds trust in your remodeling company. Modern homeowners like to do their own research, which is why it’s so important to have digestible content that answers questions someone might have.

Bottom line—the better content you have, the higher you’ll rank, and the more leads you’ll get. Here’s why: 82% of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content, and 70% of customers feel closer to a company after reading or watching their content.Google rewards great content in the search engines, but you can’t just throw up a 500-word blog full of word vomit. The best blogs (the ones that rank number one):

  • Are (typically) more than 2,000 words
  • Completely cover the topic
  • Have great images that illustrate the concept
  • Have videos accompanying the text
  • Are digestible (meaning any average Susan can read and understand it)
  • Are optimized for search engines

Build Backlinks To Your Site With Authentic Citations

Backlinks (links back to your website) are viewed as votes of confidence in your content and have a huge weight in the search engine algorithm. The more links you have back to a web page, the more authoritative Google assumes it is, and the higher you’ll rank in search engines. Building backlinks is not a passive remodeling SEO strategy—you need to stay on top of it, keep building more, and monitor the links you do have.

Some ways to generate quality authentic backlinks:

  • Use HARO as a resource for journalists on a tight deadline
  • Reach out to local news stations and offer your expertise
  • Write guest articles on authoritative websites
  • Reach out to local bloggers and influencers to collaborate
  • Promote your content on social media
  • Create educational infographics and videos and amplify them by submitting them to publications and creating social ads
  • Claim listing in local and industry directories

Chapter 10: Lead Generation: Facebook Marketing

What is a Facebook Ad?

Before we get into it, let’s define a Facebook ad. According to Facebook, “Facebook ads are paid messages from businesses that are written in their voice and help reach the people who matter most to them. Advertisers create campaigns that have specific goals, which we call advertising objectives and they create ads within those campaigns to help them reach those objectives.”

Facebook Ad Objectives for Contractors

Facebook Ad Objectives

When setting up your campaign, you’ll find three different categories of objectives for Facebook ads. Each category has a number of specific objectives to choose from depending on your business goals.

  • Awareness: This category includes objectives like “brand awareness,” and is designed to make your business more visible to your audience. This form of advertising is centered around informing your audience about your product and showcasing what’s unique about your business.
  • Consideration: This category has options that encourage potential clients to take the next step and learn more about your business. If your goal is to increase website traffic, then Consideration would be a great category to browse.
  • Conversion: Conversion is the most popular objective for Facebook ads since its purpose is to increase sales, sign ups, or any other action that generates leads. There are many options to choose from within this category that align with your goals like Messages or Video Views, which are highly effective in connecting with your audience.
Facebook Ad Formats for Contractors

Facebook Ad Formats

The most important thing to consider when choosing your format is if it can effectively display and support your objective. For example, if you run a home service business and want to promote multiple newly added services, a carousel ad might be the most effective as it showcases up to 10 different images of your choosing, each with a link that potential customers can click on to learn more.

  • Videos: The most popular format for a Facebook ad is a landscape video, making up 52% of videos on Facebook. Videos are highly impactful with their ability to display important information quickly to an audience.
  • Images: It’s best to use images in PNG or JPEG format as those are higher quality. Be sure to take colors and text size into consideration when choosing your images.
  • Carousels: As stated above, carousel ads can show multiple different images and are best when promoting multiple different products that you want your audience to be aware of.
Facebook Ad Audiences for Contractors

Facebook Audience Targeting

  • Target your current and past customers. By targeting your current and past customers, you’re ensuring your content stays relevant to the specific needs of that audience based on detailed analysis and data. You can track data and target specific audiences by using the Facebook Audience Management tool. description of what we mean and how they can do it.
  • Target similar people as your current customers with lookalikes. By targeting a Lookalike Audience, you’ll be able to reach new people who will likely be interested in your business because the lists are created based on the data of your best customers. You can create a Lookalike Audience through Facebook’s Audiences page, it typically takes 6 to 24 hours to be fully created.
  • Target specific service areas and include them in your creative. By targeting your audience based on location, you’re increasing the relevance of your ad and the potential to convert, especially for home service businesses that involve contractors visiting clients’ homes. It makes sense to target people close to your city, which you can do through Facebook’s Ads Manager.
  • Retarget your website visitors and blog post readers with a special offer. Retargeting allows businesses to reach out to audiences who are familiar with them and have already visited their Facebook page, website, etc. It’s an excellent tool as you can automatically personalize your ads based on the information you’ve learned from them like a product of yours they viewed but didn’t end up buying. You can create a retargeting campaign through Facebook’s ad creation tool.

Facebook Do’s and Don’ts

Facebook Do’s

  • Do create your ad in multiple formats to maximize reach and show off your personality.
  • Do ad block lists. This will ensure the safety of your brand by stopping your ads from appearing in places you don’t trust.
  • Do add options for primary text and headlines. It’s important to be in control of how your ad text and headlines will display and flow with the rest of your ad in order to be more effective.
  • Do try A/B testing of your ad types.
  • Do retarget people that engaged with your ad but didn’t turn into a lead.
  • Do build out segmented campaigns based on ad engagement.

Facebook Don’ts

  • Don’t use automatic default settings for placement. Always choose placement manually to get the most out of your advertising efforts and ensure you’re targeting the right audience.
  • Don’t neglect ad comments. Being responsive to public comments is a great way to engage with your audience, answer questions, and showcase your commitment to customer service.
  • Don’t forget to proofread. All it takes is one typo to erase the legitimacy of your company to any potential customer. Mistakes happen, but ensuring the final result of your ads are free of typos will show clients you’re willing to take the time to communicate effectively the benefits your company has to offer.
  • Don’t have your ads use more than 20% of text in your creative.
Generating Better Home Improvement Leads Through Facebook - Related Content

Chapter 11: Lead Generation: Email Marketing

When it comes to online marketing for home services, construction, and contractors, there’s no easy button or magic wand to wave. But if there were, it’d look a lot like an email opt-in form.

I know what you’re thinking: “Email? Really? Isn’t email dead?”  Not even close. As reported by OptinMonster:

  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can earn as much as $44. (That is not a typo.)
  • 90% of Americans use email — and open it up to 20 times a day.
  • Email has a significantly higher engagement rate than social media: 23ish% to 0.6ish%, respectively.

Surely, an online marketing strategy with that much oomph is complicated, expensive, and time-consuming, right? Wrong. Email marketing is simple and affordable, and by leveraging automation tools, you’ll actually be getting leads in your sleep. Follow these simple steps to get started with email marketing for your construction or home services business.

The Importance of Email Marketing for Contractors

As a construction company owner, you probably have a long list of vendors and subcontractors that you need to communicate with often. You likely also have lists of past, prospective, and current clients. If only there was a way to contact each of these groups with an adequate and personalized message…This is exactly where email marketing can become your greatest ally. Having an up-to-date email list you communicate with regularly can help you stay at the top of everyone’s mind when they need construction services.

Whatever the reason is behind your company’s need to communicate, email marketing is a powerful way to do the following:

  • Maintain connections with vendors and subcontractors
  • Increase brand awareness in the communities you serve
  • Reach customers in real-time with project updates
  • Generate leads for future projects
  • Drive new client relationships
  • Measure the results of your marketing efforts
  • Stay ahead of your competition

Best Practices

Email has been around for decades and still manages to be the preferred route of communication for all kinds of businesses. Why? Because it’s quick, to the point, and there’s no room for distractions of photos, videos, or over the top sales pitches. Plus, people tend to check their email every day, in fact, 90% of emails get delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. Email marketing continues to be a reliable and trackable form of reaching out to clients and seeing how to improve and get better conversion rates.

Email Marketing For Contractors Cheatsheet

First, Clean Your Email List

Your email strategy is only as good as the data and accuracy of your email list. It’s important to have control over where your emails are going, the level of engagement they’re receiving, and to successfully track the data in order to improve your email marketing. Know what emails are getting clicks and which ones aren’t and figure out why! You might figure out that the emails were being sent to old email addresses because they weren’t updated yet, or that there was a typo making the email invalid. The more you know about what’s working and what’s not working, the more you’ll be able to tailor your emails to your customers’ needs and grow your business. Here’s our top tips for keeping a clean email list:

Keep your list clean as a whistle

  • Perform regular data checks to remove errors such as typos
  • Ensure your list has up-to-date, accurate email addresses
  • Run your list through an email validation tool
  • Remove inactive subscribers
  • Remove duplicates
  • Remove hard bounced email addresses

Email Subject Line Best Practices

Since people receive about 121 business emails daily on average, it’s even more crucial to ensure your subject line is compelling enough to click on. Subject lines play a huge part in whether or not an email is actually viewed, and with such high competition, it’s not something you want to overlook. Be sure to keep these tips in mind for your next marketing email:

  • Personalize your subject lines. This could be as simple as including your recipient’s name or location. On average, personalized subject lines lead to a 22.2% higher open rate than generic subject lines.
  • Use 1 emoji in your subject line. This may seem silly, but emojis offer emotive story-telling in a way words cannot in a brief subject line. Plus, 56% of brands using emojis in their subject lines experienced higher open-rates.
  • Offer value in 7 words or less. Let your clients know you’re looking to benefit their life and are offering them an opportunity, like saving them money for example. Just be brief about it as it results in higher click-through rates.  
  • Use tools to get your subject line graded. After you’ve put all the work into crafting a spectacular subject line, put it to the test with a subject line grader and see where you’ve landed. Don’t settle on anything less than an A!

Email Content Best Practices

It’s hard enough ensuring your email is seen or clicked on, does it even matter what the content of the email is? As I’m sure you guessed, the answer is yes. We’ve all gotten to the point in our email marketing journey where we’re questioning what does and doesn’t matter, which inevitably spirals into existential theories on life and let’s be honest, that’s a bit too dark for all of us. But as data has consistently proven, creating compelling, relevant, and informative content is essential if you want to see success with your email campaigns. So let’s cover the basics of email content done right:

  • Use a single call to action. Your CTA lets them know what you want them to do, whether it’s visiting your page, giving you a call, or filling out a form. Crowding your content with too many CTAs can be confusing and take away from the main goal, which is why just one CTA is recommended. In fact, emails with a single CTA experienced a 371% higher click-through rate than those with multiple CTAs.
  • Personalize your emails. Just like your subject lines, it’s important to keep that consistency of personalization in the content of your email and avoid being generic. The more you know about your audience, the more trustworthy you’ll seem as far as being able to provide solutions to their needs.
  • Make emails short and easy to read. With the average person’s attention span dropping from 12 seconds to now 8 seconds in the span of 15 years, getting your point across quickly is imperative. Layering your content with headings, subheadings, and bullet-points makes it easier for your audience to skim and find what you want them to do quickly. 
  • Don’t forget to add links in your emails. Having links in your emails is a great way to drive traffic to your website, engage with your audience, and measure which links were more successful than others. Be careful not to have too many links as your message could get lost, but definitely have at least one.

Email Settings Best Practices

Emails with the best content and subject lines are nothing without proper email settings. Simple steps like ensuring compatibility with mobile devices and segmenting your emails have a huge impact on how many leads you generate. Luckily, there are many tools to help make optimizing your email settings simple like HubSpot or Drip. Make sure you check these off your list when you’re setting up your emails:

  • Segment your emails to ensure they are as relevant as possible to your specific audience. Separating them based on your audience’s location, interests, or purchase history is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your email marketing efforts and appealing to your target audience.
  • Send emails at the right time. Figuring out what time people check their email is important because sending your email at that time will simply give it a better chance of being seen.
  • Optimize emails for mobile phones. With 55% of emails being opened on mobile devices, ensuring your emails are up to current standards is imperative if you want to see effective results. 
  • Automate your emails based on behavior. Email automation is an extremely effective tool that enables you to send the right information to the right person at the right time based on learned information you have from your clients. 

Top Campaigns

When it comes to email marketing, creating attention-grabbing email campaigns is one of the most effective ways to generate leads. After you’ve built out a strong, segmented email list, it’s time to come up with effective email campaigns that will drive more traffic to your site and ultimately grow your business. Check out our top five email campaign topics for generating new customers:

  • Customer Referral Campaigns. Having customer referral campaigns is a must as it’s been shown to reel in an average of 20,000 new email addresses per month. It’s simply a win-win situation for everyone. Your current customer receives a reward, the friends they refer receive great deals, and you receive new customers! Plus, referred customers result in a 25% higher profit margin than customers received elsewhere.
  • Seasonality Campaigns / Offers. Seasonal offers are a great way to build relationships with your clients and increase revenue. In fact, people who make purchases through email offers are likely to spend 138 times more than people who don’t receive email offers. 
  • Customer Remarketing. When you have clients that haven’t engaged in a while, customer remarketing is an effective strategy to remind them about your products and not get lost in the abundance of other brand emails. That little reminder may be just what they need to recall how great your services were and come back for more!
  • Lead Nurturing. Without personalized emails, lead nurturing is impossible. But don’t just stop at names and locations. You can trigger an email when they’ve visited your site or shown certain levels of engagement to keep your business on their mind!
  • Newsletter Campaign. Sending a newsletter email every week is a great way to keep your clients updated on useful information about your business or content you feel could benefit them like your company blog for example. Published newsletters certainly increase engagement and have been shown to earn an open rate of 22%.

Chapter 12: Lead Generation: Choosing A Lead Generation Service

Questions To Ask When Evaluating A Lead Generation Service

The most important part of choosing a lead generation company is making sure that you ask the right questions in order to choose the service that is right for you and your business. When evaluating a lead generation service, keep these following questions in mind.

What To Ask Contractor Lead Generation Services

Understand Lead Quality & Support – Questions to Consider:

  • Do I have to sign a contract?
  • Will you charge a termination fee?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Am I able to temporarily stop generating leads without canceling?
  • Do you charge more if I am unable to commit to long-term service?
  • What should I expect to pay for the highest level of success?
  • How often will I be billed?
  • What kind of support is available?

Understand the Pricing & Billing Structure – Questions to Consider:

  • Do I have to sign a contract?
  • Will you charge a termination fee?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Am I able to temporarily stop generating leads without canceling?
  • Do you charge more if I am unable to commit to long-term service?
  • What should I expect to pay for the highest level of success?
  • How often will I be billed?

Understand Your Obligation & Ability to Cancel – Questions to Consider:

  • Do I have to sign a contract?
  • Will you charge a termination fee?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Am I able to temporarily stop generating leads without canceling?
  • Do you charge more if I am unable to commit to long-term service?

Understand Tracking & Reporting Capabilities

As with every industry, all lead generation companies are not made equal. Asking questions relating to cost, contract, and leads will help you begin to see those differences and determine what company might be a good fit for your auto services business. In that same vein, not all lead generation companies use the same tools or have similar levels of ingenuity when it comes to lead generation technology. Because of this, it’s important to ask informed questions about tools and integration when evaluating different lead generation companies, not only because you want to work with a company that offers you the best user experience but also because it may help you determine how much a company is invested in you, the customer. In other words, when a company takes the time to develop new tools and offer technology that boosts your experience, it’s usually a sign that they are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality lead generation experience.

Chapter 13: Lead Nurturing With Marketing Automation

Now that you have all of these leads coming into your pipeline, that means you are going to get a ton of new customers and make all this money, right? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes that contractors make is spending a lot of money to generate leads without really considering how to nurture them into a customer. Without this piece, you are just wasting money on good opportunities.

The most important part of choosing a lead generation company is making sure that you ask the right questions in order to choose the service that is right for you and your business. When evaluating a lead generation service, keep these following questions in mind.

According to a study by Marketing Sherpa, 73% of leads are not ready to buy when they first give you their contact details. And according to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.

This is where the power of Lead Nurturing through Marketing Automation comes into play. 

What is Lead Nurturing?

At its most basic level, lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with your prospects with the goal of earning their business when they’re ready. This can be done through lead scoring, lead management, and email marketing automations.

What is Marketing Automation?

In its simplest form, Marketing Automation is the use of software to automate and simplify marketing tasks and activities. It enables companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

Marketing automation enables your lead nurturing strategy and unlocks actual ROI for your marketing activities by making sure your team actions each and every lead generated, automates the lead management process allowing your team to focus on the most revenue-driving activities, and tracks data to help you make smarter marketing decisions.

Lead Management Workflows

When you put so much work into generating leads, it’s really important to have a lead management process in place to handle those incoming leads. In addition, a lead management process helps to ensure that your sales teams are only talking to the most qualified leads and filters out less sales ready leads and so that you can put them into your lead nurturing program.

The most important automation workflows you should consider implementing are:

  • Lead Qualification Workflow: This is the very basic criteria that determines if a Lead generated by marketing is qualified to send to sales.
  • Lead Assignment Workflow: Once you’ve enabled your Lead Qualification, you can then automate how and who the Lead is assigned to. This can be extremely helpful if you have a large sales team where you need to rotate lead assignments, or if you have sales people that cover specific geographies or industries.
  • Lead Scoring Workflow: Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking sales leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. This is typically done by assigning values, often in the form of numerical “points,” to each lead you generate for the business. The higher the score, the most your sales team should prioritize working that lead.
  • Lead Nurturing Workflow(s): These are workflows built around nurturing your prospect through consistent and relevant communication (usually email marketing) in order to encourage them to engage with sales when they are ready to buy.

Email Marketing Automation

Setting up automated email sequences can save you and your team a ton of time. Here are some common campaign strategies:

  • Lead Qualification Workflow: This is the very basic criteria that determines if a Lead generated by marketing is qualified to send to sales.New Lead / Prospect Workflow: An automated email drip sequence educating each prospect on what is most important when determining how to best solve their current problem can be highly effective. Of course, a smart play would be to highlight how your specific services provide a solution.By simply creating a seven (or more) day automated email sequence with a strong call to action, you are creating a sales system that will deliver every time a potential customer follows your desired action (opts-in for your free giveaway, schedules an online appointment, requests a quote on a project, etc.).
  • Lead Re-Engagement Workflow: Create a re-engagement workflow that triggers when a specified amount of time has passed since their last activity (e.g., website visit, email open or click, or form submission). Whatever the criteria, set up an email workflow to trigger when enough time has passed in the hopes of reigniting the fire. So what do you send them? Try company updates, special offers, a survey, a cool new piece of content that’s performed well. Whatever approach you take, make sure it’s personalized.
  • Closed-Lost Reason Workflow: When sales sets an opportunity to “lost” in your CRM, don’t just let the contact(s) sit around and clog up your database. Set up a nurture program that will send them right back into the sales cycle (when they’re ready). Ensure the nurture programs are directly related to the closed-lost reason If the opportunity was lost due to budget restrictions, set up a nurture program that offers a deal or a discount. If the opportunity was lost to a competitor, send them the material they need to better educate themselves on your product (and try to keep contract timelines in mind).

Conclusion

We know that marketing is a tough job—after all, we’re marketers ourselves. We also know that there’s no perfect, one size-fits-all approach to lead generation—just use the channels and tactics that help you reach and engage your target audience. Keep their challenges, goals, and concerns top of mind; deliver information and content that solves their pain points; nurture those relationships and engage them over time—you’ll soon be filling your funnel with high-quality leads.

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