Have you ever chased someone or something with the hope of catching them? Chasing someone or something never works.
Have you noticed how the harder you pursue the more they run away be it horses, customers, or women am I right or am I right?
If you have ran a roofing company for any length of time, you surely must of have tried a heap of different methods to attract more leads for your business. You may have tried direct mail, cold calling, hired someone to put out door hangers, or canvassed neighborhoods.
What do all these things have in common? They work, well sort of kinda work, but are also incredibly time consuming, labor intensive and more often than not cost a good chunk of change.
In a hope to best use your time, you have resorted to buying leads from one of the myriad of different lead brokers that are chasing you down like a cheerleader without a date the night before the prom.
But here’s the challenge though is if they are shared leads you need to jump on them like a fat guy in a hot dog eating contest if you have any hope of getting in front of the consumer before the other five roofing companies get to them first.
If they are exclusive leads, they are incredibly expensive and frankly at the price some of these vendors charge a complete waste of your hard earned moolah. The quality is much better, but may not be the best investment.
What if there was a better way?
Well here is the dealio, there is a better way, but it requires that you turn your website into an online lead generating machine.
And there are three ways to crack this nut….
The first way of course is to do SEO on your website. SEO means search engine optimization. This is the intentional work that will influence or you could say manipulate Google into putting your website at the top of the search results.
When it works it is very cool.
But there is a major flaw with SEO and I will let you in on an inside truth. SEO is becoming such a bitch to do, and in all honesty there are no guarantees. When you hire a SEO contractor, you basically are putting your roofing company into a “Pay and Pray” position. No SEO can guarantee a top position in Google and even if they do there are no guarantees that anyone will call your business.
In the past several years, Google has released a boat load of Search Algorithm updates that for some reason commonly have animal names—Panda, Penguin, Pidgeon, Possum, Hummingbird, and Fred to name but a few.
I’ll spare you the over-geek sharing on what all these updates addressed, and summarize their results—they made it a total bitch to rank a website these day.
Now, not saying SEO can’t be done, but this is the long game my friends…not something that is going to immediately or with any certainty put cash into your bank account, and isn’t that whole point of marketing your business?
In a nut shell, content Marketing is SEO’s wingman. It’s not nearly as sexy, but like a good wingman is totally going to help you meet potential clients.
Content marketing entails the creation of a boat load and by that I mean a whole bunch of material that helps your potential customers get to know you better. Now that can take many different shapes, blog posts, Facebook Story updates, tweets, and YouTube videos to name a few.
high quality, original, engaging, entertaining, educational, and for it to work you have to do it consistently. Unlike SEO, if you pick the right topics, those hundreds of blog posts and videos you create as part of your content marketing plan will rank with the same probability that your Uncle Ned will go back for a third helping of Turkey next Thanksgiving.
But unlike Ned, who only has to unbutton the top button of his pants to meet his objective, you are going to have to either get super busy creating all that content or hiring someone to do it for you.
Now, you may be saying to yourself….DUDE who has time to do all that…I’ve got a roofing company to run. Content Marketing is fairly easy, but it is incredibly time consuming and if you hire someone to do it right, it can be expensive.
Content marketing is like SEO, just because you build it there are no guarantees that they will come….
Which leads us to the third way you can turn your Roofing Company into a Lead Generation….buy your way into the party.
Wait, wait, wait are you thinking, but I’ve tried Google AdWords in the past. It cost me an arm, a leg, my first born child, and didn’t really make me any money.
Yep, I hear you buddy, and based on the thousands of AdWords accounts we audit each year I feel you too. It is actually pretty common for me to see roofing company campaigns that are spending up to a grand to generate a new roof install lead on AdWords. Now they still may have a positive ROI, but that is well, to keep this post G-Rated a (BLEEPING) rip off.
Rule 1. The purpose of AdWords is to make money for Google. Now, that is not to say they don’t want you to be successful too. If you make some money then you will keep coming back to the trough for another drink.
AdWords gives you all the tools you need to totally crush it and make a lot of money. You just need to know the rules of the game, the settings to change, and the tweaks to make to a campaign so you can get the most bang for your buck.
First tip, and I am going to insist you raise your right hand and repeat after me. Ok ready?
I promise I will never use AdWords Express!
This incredibly simple tool, with it’s easy to use interface is totally set up so you will spend more than you need to. It’s totally easy, but you’ve been warned. Just know that when you use AdWords express you will get you know whated and they won’t even buy you dinner.
Now a tuned up and well-optimized AdWords campaign is a truly magical thing. Instead of paying $900 for a lead or oh heck even a $100 a lead you will pay much much less.
Since it is your AdWords campaign, the leads are exclusive to you and only you! You only spend what you want to spend, and can dial your marketing up and down depending on what is happening in your business.
The results are easy to track and measure. All in all, AdWords is pretty darn cool, but what if there was a way to make AdWords even better?
Remarketing on AdWords and Facebook is like combining chocolate and peanut butter in one big delicious lead generation treat.
Ok, before we get to your yummy candy, I need to be a bit of Debbie downer and share some cold hard reality.
In fact, research indicates that only 4% of consumers that search for a service and visit a website ever call the business. Yep, I warned you this one was going to be total suckville.
Now, professionally ran PPC campaigns can do much better on the Conversion Rate metric because they are using specifically designed and battle tested landing pages. Their numbers are better, in the 20-30% of website visitors turn into a lead.
I hope at this point you are saying to yourself, “Holy Moly that is a lot of lost opportunity!”
But here is the thing…when your website is a lead generating machine you have already considered this dark truth and unlike the other 97% of roofing companies in the United States you are not going to lose this opportunity.
That is because you my friend, are going to remarket to these people on Google and Facebook!
Since every website has this leakage in the number of visitors that don’t convert into a lead you have installed your Facebook Pixel and deployed the Google Tag Manager on your website.
Now you have the ability to maintain “Top of Mind Awareness” for everyone that has visited your website.
Remarketing is perhaps the most under-utilized and cost effective ways to turn your website into a lead generating machine!
Think about that potential customer that knows her roof is looking sad and that she going to need to replace it sometime soon. She casually did some research on local roofing companies, but she knows it is a big investment and she is not quite ready to pull the trigger and call someone for a quote.
The next time she goes on line and looks for her favorite recipe for Mongolian Chicken she sees your ad. It remind her about your business.
Next week, her kid has some weird looking skin rash on his forehead, and she does a Google search to see if it’s contagious, and she sees your ad.
A month from now she is on Facebook watching funny cat videos and she sees your ad.
Ok, I can go on like this for a while with a bunch of examples, but the bottom line is with remarketing you are maintaining contact with this lady and her sad worn out roof.
Since she has seen your ad everywhere who do you think she is going to call? (Ok if it wasn’t self-evident, point at your chest here). That’s right you are the guy she is going call!
Now this little bit makes me giggle a bit, she doesn’t even need to click on those remarketing ads for them to do their magic. She just needs to see them! They work like bill boards along the highway! And if she does click on one of the ads it is only going to cost you what a single piece of your granny’s hard candy—maybe five cents most likely less than that.
Ok my friends I am going to wrap this up at this point—hope you enjoyed this and look for more awesome content coming out very soon!
Google Ads can be the magic bullet that can instantly start making your phone ring off the hook with new roofing jobs. It can also be a gigantic money pit of wasted money and opportunities if you let it get away from you. Finally it can do just ok, turning in a modest profit, but never quite living up to the full potential it can have on your business.
Over the past few years I have conducted audits of hundreds of Google Ads accounts and it did not take long for me to notice a distinct pattern of lost opportunities.
For this example, you may want to compare Google Ads to a dating app. If both parties swipe right, then the App gives you the chance to see a brief bio and there is an opportunity to communicate with each other.
Google Ads is like that, in the ad copy is ever so brief, and so it needs to immediately get the consumer’s attention.
Most Google Ads advertisers just copy what everyone else is doing, and as I mentioned above, most advertisers are not very good.
To make your ad copy sizzle, you must immediately grab attention, ask a question that makes your audience stop in your tracks, have a strong call to action, and state why you are different.
If you can pull off this critical first step, you have more potential clients swiping right and heading to your website to learn more.
I am sure your website is lovely, but here’s the thing. If you just spent $50 for a roofing click do you want them to navigate away from your home page to say your Instagram feed, or to read about the company fun run last weekend on your blog?
No, you want to minimize those lost opportunities and give the visitor one and only one choice—call you and book and appointment.
The conversion statistics are staggering so please take note—on average the typical website will turn only 4% of visitors into a lead. We typically see 20-25% conversion rates when that traffic is sent to specifically create landing page with a strong call to action. Heck, I even have one campaign that converts at over 50%.
This leads us to the third mistake most roofing companies make with their Google Ads campaign. They set it up and never check on it. Every bleeping aspect of that campaign has to be watched like a two-year old at the playground. Keywords may work one month and stop converting the next. You should always split test ad copy and landing pages.
The higher the Click Thru Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate (CnvR) the more love Google is going to give your campaign. That love will result in you paying less for your clicks and you will then get even more bang for your buck.
Now to the measuring part and this is something more advertisers never ever look at. Google Ads allows you to set up and customize your reports so you can measure every aspect of your campaign. You can also set up conversions to measure and track ever click, call, and web form submit. Connect everything with your Google Analytics account to fully see how the campaign is running.
Use a call tracking number so you can easily listen to and monitor the calls that come in via your Google Ads campaigns.
Bottom line, know your numbers! Know the ROI of your marketing. What gets measured, gets better!
Google Ads gives you enormous control over your campaign, how it operates, who sees your ads and when.
Make sure you only run campaigns when someone is in the office to answer the phone. Sure you’ll miss a few clicks, but do you want to send a customer to voice mail at 3 AM on a Saturday night? Maybe they’ll leave a message, but why risk it!
Make sure you only deliver your ads to people that live in your target area. This is a big one and one lots of roofers mess up. I did a random test one Sunday afternoon to see how many roofing company ads showed up around the country. I looked in about 200 cities and while I live in North Carolina I saw ads in about every one of those cities.
Now I didn’t click on those ads, but by showing the ad to someone that was not likely to click hurts your CTR and does eventually cost you money by lowering your Quality and AdRank Scores.
Keyword match types, and just a big ole face palm on the number of keywords included in a campaign. Sure you may have a bunch of keywords in your campaign when it starts, but over time you need to kill off those loser keywords that are not converting.
Only include keywords that have high buyer intent, describe what you do, and who you are. Please for the love of all things good, don’t target your competitors. If someone clicks on your ad and wants to talk to your competitor most likely they already have a relationship with them. That click just cost you $40.
Perhaps the most important part of a successful campaign is your negative keyword list. Screen out all DYI, how to, education, videos, competitors, and anything else that is not a good lead. The Red Roof Inn should be in everyone’s negative keyword list.
There are four ways you can format your keywords in your campaign. Two are great, and one is sort of ok, and one should never ever be used and that is the one everyone uses.
Broad Match keywords are the just the phrase with no brackets or symbols. Using Broad Match keywords in your Google Ads campaign is like playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets. You may get lucky, but the dog-gone game is going to kill you.
This is can be a bit confusing but it works like this:
Broad Match = Roofing Contractor
Broad Match Modified = +Roofing +Contractor
Phrase Match = “Roofing Contractor”
Exact Match = [Roofing Contractor]
For Broad Match your ad will show up for people searching for a roofing contractor, but it will show up for sexy roofing contractor pictures or even similar phrases like roofing boots.
Broad Match Modified is a bit better, it tells Google to show the ad if BOTH words are anywhere in the search query. These include best boots for roofing contractors.
Phrase Match give one a lot more control. This lets Google know to only show your ad to people who used your exact keyword (or close variations of it) somewhere in their query. If your phrase match keyword is “roofing contractor” then your ad will show to people that search for a “roofing contractors in Boston”. You can potentially get some wild variations in here too, but an extensive negative list will keep some of the riff raff out of your campaign,
Exact match When you use an exact match keyword, your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword (or close variations of it) and nothing else. This match type will limit your impressions the most, so use it with caution. The impressions you do get, however, will be highly targeted, so they’ll be more valuable than the impressions you’d get from a broad match keyword.
When you starting a campaign and worried about your budget, use just phrase and exact match types.
Ok, I totally realize this last one seems counter-intuitive but hear me out. In roofing campaigns, and in any high dollar niche this is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes people make. Google Ads is a pay to play marketplace. It is an Auction so the more you bid you increase the opportunities of your ads to show.
Now certainly there are some quality issues that when patched up can help you decrease ad spend but the bottom line you can spend some cash.
To illustrate my point think of a high roller in Las Vegas and how they the casino treats them differently from the little old lady from Peoria playing nickel slots. The high roller gets a better room (often for free), drinks, meals, tickets to a show, and our friend from Peoria gets well—nothing (well I hope she’ll take home a few stories to tell her car pool friends).
Not spending enough is one of the most common mistakes I see in Roofing campaigns and that critical mistake is actually costing your more money.
When conducting an audit I will often hear, but dude I only can afford to spend $50 a day. Remember you are rewarded by how well your campaigns perform so if you exhaust your budget by 10:00 every day Google is going to treat you like the lady from Peoria because that $50 a day won’t even buy you a single conversion. If your account doesn’t produce results you going to pay even more for your clicks and driving your lead generation machine even deeper into the ditch.
Now think about this, remember I said most companies run their ads every day. $50 a day times 30 in a month is $1500 a month, which is actually more than enough money to get plenty of Google love.
Cut your ads back to M-F and just show the ads during business hours. This would give you an advertising schedule of 22 days a month. That gets your daily budget up to $68 a day. That’s enough to get a conversion every day. Google is going to START to show you some love.
Oh but wait, I have another juicy expert tip so hold the phone right there….
Remember I said you need to test the crap out of everything. Part of that testing may be to see which days or hold on which time blocks convert the best.
What if you tested the crap out of your schedule and found that you produced the most conversions on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning. Cut your ad schedule back to just the best converting days. So now you have ads running on basically 11 days a month and your budget is now $136 a day. Your account will not be limited by budget, because you set the schedule, you will get numerous conversions each day the ad runs, and well basically Google is going to love you!
While most companies struggle to make Google Ads work, but most roofing businesses can succeed by fixing a few common mistakes. Whether it’s setting up a great tracking program, eliminating useless keywords, creating a holistic landing page strategy or simply giving the account the attention it deserves, these problems can be overcome with a little extra effort.
If you want to learn more about how we can….. jump on my schedule and I will walk you through all the your campaign.
Hey, hey, hey welcome and today I want discuss Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential election, the border wall, and running a roofing company. Yep, no joke and I can guarantee you I am stone cold sober as I write this!
Now here is the thing, I am totally like Michael Jordan and while I do live in North Carolina I am not nearly as rich, good looking, and can only dunk on one of those little kid basketball hoop I never mix business and politics, so this article isn’t about that. I’m not here to talk about my political opinions or anything like that. I am all about business, and fully acknowledge I want to do business with everyone that would be a good fit be they conservative or liberal.
So while this article does discuss Donald Trump, the election, and immigration, it’s not a political article and I’m not discussing any of my political views. Instead, we’re talking about these things as they relate to marketing and sales.
And what is marketing and sales, if not persuasion? Marketing and sales are persuading other people to voluntarily give you their money in exchange for your product or service. And over the last year I’ve been reading a lot about persuasion.
I’ve been obsessed with persuasion since I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and recently I finished Win Bigly by Scott Adams. I strongly recommend both books to all fellow business owners. Adams has a great article on his blog where he uses the immigration and border wall issue to highlight President Trump’s persuasion skills. Adams explains several of the most common and effective persuasion tactics in the article. And it is a fascinating and concise read.
Persuasion in the Roofing Business
Several of the persuasion tactics that Trump uses are directly connected to success in the roofing industry. As Scott Adams says, Donald Trump is a Master Persuader, and if Donald Trump ran a roofing company, I believe he would use the following persuasion tactics. And if you want more sales, new installs, and revenue, you should too.
Visual persuasion is the most effective form of influence. Trump didn’t talk about statistics, border security, or a multifaceted policy approach, instead he talked about the wall.
Use descriptive, visual language in your website copy, ad copy, social media, during in-person estimates, and when you’re on the phone with potential roofing customers. The goal is to paint the picture of your professional, reliable roofing company in their heads. Talk about things that can be visualized. Instead of saying we are “professional” roofers (which isn’t visual and means nothing), talk about singles, your roofing warranty, your strong employees. ABC stands for Always Be Closing. ABV stands for Always Be Visual. Talk in a visual way with your potential customers.
Simplicity is a key persuasion tactic. Simple beats complex every time. Thing about how Trump talks and communicates with voters. He doesn’t breakdown complex, comprehensive immigration tactics that will make up overall border security, instead, he says build the wall. When it comes to terrorism, he doesn’t talk about troop levels, timelines, or use terms like counter insurgency, instead he says bomb the shit out of ISIS. When it comes to trade strategy, he doesn’t usually talk about exact tariff percentages and domestic joint venture requirements, instead he says we’re being ripped off. People can argue the merits of his policy positions all day long, but the fact is that the way he communicates to his voters is simple, highly memorable, and persuasive.
You should be simple in your marketing. Instead of talking about how complex the logistics of the roofing business are, and how your company uses satellite technology to accurately estimate jobs, and that your crew cleans up after every job, you should just discuss quality workmanship done right the first time. Instead of giving detailed breakdowns of all the different types of roofing materials you install and what kind of work goes into the roofs, you should just say no roof is too big or too small. Instead of talking about your customer service standards and solid reputation, just say over 200 5-star reviews (assuming you have them). Simple is memorable, and memorable is persuasive. Be simple with your advertising and messaging.
Think Past the Sale
Trump got everyone thinking past the sale on the border issue. Instead of both sides debating if we even needed more border security in the first place, we all jumped straight into debating the merits of the wall, whether it should be called a wall or fencing, and how much budget to allocate to a border structure. Trump talked past the sale of more border security, and everyone on both sides went right along with him.
To translate this to the roofing business, get the customer talking and thinking as if they’ve already hired you. Instead of saying would you like to hire us or what do you think, say what day would you like to schedule your new roof installation for or what time should our roofers show up. The sale is getting the customer to hire you, so assume the sale, and get the customer to think past the sale. We’re no longer considering whether or not the customer should hire you, we’ve all moved on to what time your roofers should show up, or how many singles you’ll provide, or what day to schedule the install. Think past the sale, and your prospective customers will too.
Trading Imaginary Assets for Real Ones
In the DACA for the wall grand deal that Trump wants to make with Democrats, Trump is trading protecting Dreamers in exchange for the wall. Protecting dreamers is an imaginary asset. As Adams points out, there’s no political will for Dreamers to be rounded up and sent back to countries they last saw as little children. Democrats and most Republicans don’t want that to happen, so it’s not going to happen. So Trump “giving that up” is him giving up an imaginary asset in exchange for a real one… getting the wall.
This is classic roofing company sales 101 stuff. Give up something that doesn’t matter to you, in exchange for winning the customer’s business. If you go ahead and schedule today we’ll knock off 15% from your new roof (that we’re already quoting 15% higher than we expect to get most times). Or we’ll throw in free dumpster rental when you hire us to re-roof your house for you (we couldn’t care less about the cost of dumpster rental, we want the real win of you hiring us for a massive, high-revenue roofing job). Or we provide all of our customers with a “12 month roof inspection and gutter cleaning service (this is nothing to us, we want the $3,000 average profit we make on every job, so we want the overall new install job and would be happy to pay the extra labor costs of sending someone out to clean their gutters a couple of times in the next year).
Pacing and Leading
Trump paced and led his base. He understood their frustration about illegal immigration and let them know he “got them” by talking about large amounts of deportations and other hardline but probably not feasible positions on immigration. This told his base that he felt their pain, and he earned their trust. Then, when it’s time to make deals and let Dreamers stay in exchange for the wall, his base trusted him and was open to a deal since their guy was the one making the deal.
As Adams writes, pacing refers to matching someone physically, verbally, or in terms of philosophy, and I would also include emotionally. And when people are paced and think you are just like them, they are more malleable and open to being persuaded. When they’re paced, they melt like butter on toast.
In the roofing business, pace how your customers think and talk about the process of roofing and dealing with roofing companies. In your advertising, website copy, and conversations with customers, say things like we know how stressful re-roofing can be, this is one of the biggest events in your life, most roofing companies are unreliable and unprofessional, it’s hard to find a good roofer, and roofing prices can be expensive.
Pace with your roofing customers and show them you understand them, show them you understand how stressful and difficult roofing can be, and how hard it is to find a good roofing company. And then once you pace with them, lead them. We take the stress out of roofing day, no re-roofing installation is easy but we make it as smooth as possible, honest up-front pricing, we’re always on time, all of our roofers are certified and a team captain with at least 5 years of roofing experience is on every job, etc. Match their stresses and frustrations about roofing and working with roofing companies, and then lead them and persuade them that you’ll take that stress away and you’re the most reliable, trustworthy, and skilled roofing company that they’ll ever find.
High Ground Maneuver
The high ground maneuver is taking arguing parties out of the details and out of the weeds and getting them to agree to your high-level principle. Trump does this with diplomacy all the time. Whenever he wants to go negotiate and talk with a dictator his opponeants will lose their minds. The media, Democrats, and some Republicans will start talking about how evil those dictators are, they’ll discuss in detail the bad things those dictators have done, and they’ll be upset that Trump is talking to them. But then Trump will come back with messaging like talking to everyone is a good thing, diplomacy is a good thing, and it’s better to talk with these countries than to be at war with them. Trump takes the argument to the high ground that everyone agrees on… diplomacy is a good thing, and yes, talking with people is always better than being at war. And once we’re at the high ground, it’s hard to go back down and argue about the details of what each dictator has done and how we shouldn’t be talking to them.
Use the high ground maneuver with your customers when it comes to pricing. Pricing is a big challenge for licensed roofing companies because of the lack of barriers to entry to get into the business. All anyone needs to start a “roofing business” is a few guys, some tools, as ladder, and a truck, so new companies are entering the market all the time. They come into the market, charge a low, non-sustainable rate to attract new business, and it depresses prices for real, solid actual roofing companies that deserve to charge premium prices. One way to deal with customers’ objections to your prices that are probably higher than they’re being quoted by those small, basically not-real companies, is to use the high ground maneuver.
Talk about all the things that go into a job, tear-offs, materials, safety, disposal of old materials, costs, labor, insurance, etc. and get them to agree that a professionally installed roof is a really important Get them to agree to the high level concept that roofing is a big deal, you get what you pay for, and securing a roofing installation with a reputable, high-performing roofing company is worth the cost, given how important a new roof to their family and property and all of the things that can go wrong if they hire the fly-by-night company. Once they meet you at the high ground, your prices will seem not only more reasonable, but also assuring, comforting, and required.
The Roofing Business Is the Persuasion Business
You’re competing with a lot of roofing companies in your city. From the flies on the wall, to the biggest franchises in town, there’s competition everywhere you look. You can compete on price, you can compete on service, you can compete on brand, and those strategies will always work for some pf the time, but everyone else competes on those factors as well, and eventually they will catch up. The smarter way to do it, is to become a Master Persuader, rise above your competition, and play the game on an entirely different level.