The Right Way to Get More Leads for Contractors Chris Lonergan November 4, 2019 Share: One of the most common questions we get when we start conversations with contractors about new marketing and advertising is "What is the best way to get more leads?" or "What is the right way to get more leads?" Just like most things – there is no silver bullet or right fix for every single situation. The answer isn't so simple – because there are so many paths to get to the same end. These solutions aren't one-size-fits-all. Let's go over why there isn't a right answer in general, but how we can get the right answer for you and your business today. What You Can Invest in Your Business At different points in your business life, you have different resources to spend. Early on, most contractors tend to only have the extra bits of time and effort they can put into their business. As your business gains some steam, you can then add more advertising dollars into your marketing mix. Realistically speaking, you can only spend on your business what you are willing and able to invest. That changes as your business changes over time. The Many Paths We Take to Find More Customers Flashing back 25 years ago, advertising was as simple as having a Yellow Pages ad was sufficient for getting new customers. Having good enough customer service and quality to get some good word-of-mouth referrals was the icing on the cake. Now, there are more possible routes that customers utilize to find clients: Via Search Engines Traditional organic "10 blue links" The "Three Pack" or the Map listing section Google Text Ads Google Remarketing Ads Google Display Network and Video Ads Google Featured Listing Ads Local Service Ads by Google Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels Via Social Media Organic content posting Tagged referrals Paid advertising Remarketing All on a variety of channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp, Houzz, and whatever is next Via Traditional Media Radio Ads Newspaper Ads Television Ads Billboard Ads Via Direct Mail & Print Media Traditional Mailing Lists Every Door Direct Mailers Doorhangers Via Paid Lead Services Google Local Service Ads Angie's List HomeAdvisor Thumbtack Via Referral Programs One time incentive-based referral programs "Points" style, cumulative or level-building award programs Via Top-Of-Mind Awareness Campaigns Email Marketing Organic Social Media Overall Branding Efforts Which One is the Right Way? The "right way" is less about one or two things that will drive all of your leads now and forever. It is about finding a recipe for what works for you, your business, your industry, your geographic area, and your budget. Overall – You need to develop your long-term and short-term lead generation plans. Lead Generation Plans in the Long Term The leads you obtain as a result of strong organic placement should ultimately cost less per click than traditional paid advertising and paid lead services. That means you need to work on: Your Website and Organic search engine optimization Your Google Listing and Local search engine optimization Your online review count and quality These are on the "long term" generation plans because these tactics take due diligence and effort over time to really work. There are most definitely other "long term" lead plans, but those tend to be a little more indirect and not tied directly to an increase in sales. Posting on social media and recurring email marketing can be very valuable for brand building and top-of-mind awareness – but they are generally not your biggest lead generators. Branding initiatives like billboards and media buys can also work well, but it is again more about your overall placement and less about getting more leads in a controlled manner. Lead Generation Plans for the Short Term The fastest way to get more leads is to drive traffic to your website or your phone number with paid advertising. Google Pay Per Click ads and Local Service Ads provide you with more immediate exposure, but it is at a higher dollar cost. The perk with this type of paid advertising is that when a customer submits their lead info via a form on your website or taps to call your phone number as tracked through the ad – you get that data. Based on that data, you can continually review and grow your online paid ad strategy. When you do find a strong Google Ads recipe, you can also usually scale those efforts up or down based on your needs at that time – which allows you a pretty good grasp on controlling your lead flow. The Elephant in the Room – Pay Per Lead and Online Review Sites When we talk to contractors about Angie's List, HomeAdvisor, and Yelp – we usually get extreme reactions. People either absolutely HATE or absolutely LOVE the platforms. I've talked to contractors who perform phenomenally well on Yelp – who pay for ads on the system and get a very positive return on investment. I've also talked to contractors who begin to spit at the mention of Yelp. The same story goes with paid contractor lead services – Some contractors can do well on the platforms, others complain about the quality of the lead product they receive. This is definitely your mileage may vary territory, but you shouldn't immediately exclude these as possible options depending on where you are at in your company lifespan. Where Should I Start? We know that we aren't talking about monopoly money here – and that it takes a real investment of time and money, which is a risk for businesses. The starter recipe for nearly any contractor should include long-term and short-term tactics. Contractors and home service providers should continually be working on 1) their website 2) their local optimization and 3) their online review count as a core way to get more. This is the one crucial component of the recipe that is the same for nearly everyone. Generally speaking, we recommend paid ads to all service contractors as a no-brainer. We also recommend it as a consideration for many other contractor verticals as well, depending on your budget and your service area. From there, it takes time and experimentation to find what recipes and paths work best to connect your local customers to you. About Chris Lonergan Chris Lonergan is the President of Footbridge Media. With a background in web design, print design, and online marketing, Chris is focused on providing quality marketing and business solutions in the construction and service industries - helping small business owners to more efficiently manage their company and grow their operations. Recent Articles The Importance of Reputation Management for Contractor Businesses What Makes Your Business Unique - Discovering & Defining Your USP 7 Proven & Effective Ways to Improve Online Presence for Your Contractor Business 5 Tips for Positive Brand Building for Contractors Successful Ways to Earn Repeat and Referral Business Is Your Contractor Marketing Plan Up-to-Date?