You’re a contractor business owner and you certainly know your business better than we do.
However, one big mistake that we’ve seen hundreds of companies make is getting into the habit of paying for every lead.
While it may seem tempting, it’s simply not very sustainable long term. We’ll be sharing the cons of paying for leads, and of course what to do instead.
Don't Get into the Cycle
Paying for leads when just starting out may be totally justified, due to the fact that “one man shows” typically show great margins and help put food on the table.
The problem however comes when you attempt to scale. Let me explain. A hungry entrepreneur answers phones themselves, hustles after hours, and provides the best service possible. While the goal is to have every employee do the same, it’s rare to hit a home run right away.
Last year we ran a campaign for a client that increased leads by 134% with an average cost-per-lead of $21.
Typically someone who answers phones in an office will be less enthusiastic about it than the owner, lose some leads, and technicians will be thinking about when they get to go home from work. The problem with buying leads is that you not only have to factor in the loss of efficiency with scaling, but the loss of profit margin as well. Paying $50 for a solid lead can make a one-person-business money from the get-go, but paying for marketing, website hosting, employee salaries, phone systems, rent, etc can eat into profits big time. Not to mention, many paid lead services will sell the same lead over and over again.
If you have to buy leads for a while, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many businesses could not otherwise get off the ground without them. However, we will offer a few alternatives to paying for leads. Your goal should be to pay for a system to generate leads on its own.
Nearly zero percent of business owners disagree with the idea of having a website. But so few actually harness the power of a website designed to generate leads! There are a lot of ways to build a website but most are designed poorly. A well designed contractor website can be set up to generate sales leads on its own.
If you were able to do this, you could say goodbye to the days of paying for overpriced leads that typically go with the lowest bid. Incorporating strong call to actions (CTAs) on your website along with online chat can generate a lot of leads for your business.
While it may sound like nerd-talk or a buzzword, the fact is, there are contractor companies out there making millions from online marketing. Will you embrace it or put it off even longer? The whole idea with online marketing is to create a system that can sell people, so that you don’t have to (and you can stop buying leads).
If search engines drive the majority of traffic to your site, you probably have the lowest customer acquisition cost in your market. Instead of hustling into the “race to the bottom” with buying leads, you’re creating them in a predictable way. The key is to use a reputable company that has shown consistently great results in the past.
Contractor companies operate in a specific geographic area, so optimizing your website’s local SEO specifically for the cities and suburbs that you service is imperative. Google has hundreds of factors that are used to decide where to rank a site, but the foundation of its algorithm is based on keywords and semantic understanding.
If your site doesn't even mention a city name, Google probably assumes it's not important to your business. If you mention it in blog posts, get recognized locally on other sites, and have those keywords on your site, Google will quickly understand where you’re at and that you’re in a specific location, and therefore show your site to people who live there. Your Google Business / Google Maps listing should also reflect your service area accurately. It gives you the option to add up to 20 locations where you service; you should use them! Fill out your local directory listings completely, use up the space and character limits provided, and be sure to mention local and service keywords as much as you can without making it look unnatural. Check out our article on how to fill out your Google My Business profile.
You might think that running ads to your site is basically the same as paying for leads. However, it’s not the same thing for one important reason. With paying for leads, your lead cost is the highest that the lead company can possibly charge.
When running digital ads, a good company should constantly be tweaking campaigns and your lead cost should continue to get lower and lower, based on becoming more and more efficient and honing in on your exact target audience. Find someone you trust to run ads, and over the long haul, you’ll pay pennies on the dollar compared to a straight pay-per-lead arrangement. Last year we ran a campaign for a client that increased leads by 134% with an average cost-per-lead of $21.
The right partner will be able to run Google paid search ads to drive down your overall cost per lead (CPL) which means you can say good-bye to high priced leads. In fact, according to Marketing Tech news, roughly 60% of consumers can’t tell the difference between “natural” listings and paid ads. If you’re not leveraging the power of a strong Google paid search campaign, your website is missing out on leads.
You might be tempted to pay for leads for a time, and honestly it’s fine and justified if you feel you need to rely on them on a temporary basis to get started. Paying for leads creates dependency, attracts lower paying customers, and is typically the more expensive route to go. You should, however, create a marketing foundation that doesn't rely on paying for leads over the years. When you do this right, your leads will cost a fraction of what you pay for lead services.
If you're looking to grow your contractor business, take the first step today, and learn how we can help with our all-in-one contractor marketing platform.