Marketing

5 Actionable Local SEO Tips for Contractors

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I was recently asked by Melody Infinger of A David Creation to provide a few of the local SEO tips contractors should follow to increase their online visibility and leads.  Here are the top five areas that every contractor that serves a specific service area should keep in mind.

Local Service Area Pages

For painters and contractors that serve more than one city or town, in order to be visible for geo-targeted queries you may need to create service area specific pages. For example, if you are located in Glendale CA, but want to be visible in Beverly Hills CA, you’re going to need to create a specific service area page that’s optimized for this area.

A common pitfall I see many contractors make when implementing this strategy is to duplicate their content across these pages. Best practices calls for making these pages as unique and as specific to the area as possible. This can include:

  • Project photos from the city or town
  • Localized content
  • Reviews from customers living the city or town

Start with some localized keyword research to see what services you provide are being searched for in the cities and towns in your service area.  In addition to creating service area specific pages, it’s always a good idea to publish detailed project recaps that are optimized for the area the project was completed in.

See below example of a contractor who continuously updates pages specific to a service and service area with new project photos and descriptions:

Image Credit: New Life Bath & Kitchen

 

Google My Business

For many geo targeted queries or searches with local intent, Google users will see a special 3 pack of local businesses that appears below the 4 paid ads on top and above the traditional organic listings below  This set of results can and will drive new websites visits and calls from potential customers.

Ranking factors for this set of search results are a little different than traditional organic results and include distance, prominence and relevance, with distance typically being weighted the most heavily.

A few things you can be doing to ensure your profile ranks highly include:

  • Verify and optimize your GMB page
  • Add plenty of project and team photos
  • Ask satisfied clients for reviews
  • Share updates on your profile
  • Define your services area

The Importance of Inbound Links

While there are over 200 ranking signals that Google incorporates into its ranking algorithm, I like to categorize them into two main categories which are content and links.

Google uses the inbound links from other websites to help it assess the authority and relevance of your website’s pages. Pages with more authority will oftentimes have an easier time ranking highly for the search terms they are optimized for.

Here a few tips on ways you can earn inbound links:

  • Do something newsworthy like a community event and then getting the word out to local media outlets, your chamber of commerce, and other websites that publish community news
  • Creating link worthy content – high-quality content that’s optimized may earn inbound links from others
  • Utilizing partners, affiliates and other businesses you have an existing relationships with
  • Thought leadership – connect with and get published on industry related blogs. You are the expert. It’s likely you’ve learned something through experience that others in your industry could benefit from

Looking for more ideas? Check out this post on the Moz blog.

Barnacle SEO

This term simply refers to latching on to or establishing a presence on 3rd party websites or platforms that are ranking for the keywords you are targeting.  So the thought process is that you can increase your company’s visibility by creating and building out a profile on these networks. Barnacle SEO is a key element to a successful local SEO campaign.

For contractors, Yelp, Houzz, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Porch, and Homeadvisor are all online communities that surface frequently.  My advice is to try searching for a few keywords that are relevant to your service and see what platforms are consistently ranking highly, then start there.

The below image show a search result for the query ‘Huntington Beach Contractor.” You can see that the majority of top positions are held by review sites, online directories, and other platforms:

Review Strategy

 

Earning reviews from satisfied clients is important for a couple reasons. One, they provide social proof that can influence a potential customer’s decision to contact you. In fact, one survey found that 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews and that 85% of customers reported reading online reviews.

Two, reviews are a major visibility factor on platforms like Yelp, Houzz and Porch to name a few.  Meaning, contractors with more reviews will typically receive more organic visibility.

Make sure you have a review strategy in place to ensure you’re earning online reviews from your satisfied clients.

Wrapping It Up

By following and implementing these five tips, you can increase your business’s online visibility, traffic, and qualified leads.  Email Melody Infinger with questions or to request a free consultation.

Is This True: Having a CRM is Essential for a Small Business?

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I recently heard a marketing consultant, during one of his lectures, tell his audience that it was not essential to have a CRM for one’s painting (insert your industry) business. This statement was made because someone in the audience asked him what CRM he recommended. The marketer did not recommend a CRM and just said, “I do not care what you use for a CRM…Excel would work fine or even a pencil and a pad.” Read More

Video Blog by Jalapeno Paint Werx from Naperville IL

Posted by | Guest Post, Marketing | 4 Comments

I asked my good friend, Tom Reber, if he’d be willing to share a bit about his business brand, Jalapeno Paint Werx. He and his business partner, Bruce Watson, have done an incredible job marketing the little green pepper guy all over the town of Naperville.

I appreciate Tom being willing to share some of his ideas and secrets and not being concerned about his competition. He has nothing to hide! Tom and Bruce are honest businessmen who run a successful and quality painting business. If you or someone you know lives around the Chicagoland area, you’ve got to give Jalapeno Paint Werx a call. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed with the customer service and the paint job. Now without further adieu, here is Tom Reber.

9 Steps to Putting Yourself Out There! by Steve Burnett

Posted by | Marketing, Marketing Advice, Small Business Solutions | 4 Comments

Zig Ziglar said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” 

I truly believe this and that is exactly what I am doing while putting myself out there and promoting others in my communities. I am offering a community service to my friends in local communities by giving them a 5 minute video interview, promoting them on “Community Spotlight” to my entire Social Media network.

I go one step further and have the videos transcribed and then post them as a blog post for them as well.

After interviewing the local Venice Florida business or professional, I then include them in the Community Spotlight e-mail that I send out that includes the latest Community Spotlight encouraging them to support their fellow spotlighters (creating community)  by promoting the video to their social media channels!

What I do:

1. First, these are all good friends of mine. I am a heavy net-worker! I attend 4 to 8 networking events a week. So this helps to create community within “our” chambers. I offer the interview opportunity and set up a time to meet them at their place of business.

2. I use a Flip Video on a tripod. Flip is great for fast editing and uploading.

3. I then edit the beginning and the ending.

4. Upload it to YouTube

5. From YouTube it drops into my website under the Community Spotlight tab.

6. Have the video transcribed.

7. Take the transcription and screen shots from the video and then set it up as a blog post.

8. Take that link and e-mail all of the Spotlighters to promote to their networks.

9. Post the video to all 7 of my Social Media channels.

And that is it!

How is it working for us? Well, year to date, we are up 97% with a record 73% close ratio without 1 print ad.

In closing, also consider what Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

~Steve Burnett

 

Coaching vs Consulting and Do I Need it?

Posted by | Marketing, Small Biz Talk | 10 Comments

Coaching

What would happen if Tiger Woods fired his coach and determined to golf solo? Would he still remain the best in the world? Maybe for a short time. A coach is hired to offer personal training, encouragement, ideas and to be supportive of an individual. In short, a coach keeps his client goal focused. What is the goal for Tiger Woods? To win! What is the goal of a contractor? To run a profitable and well run business, right? A coach is typically hired on a long term basis, not short term. A coach also doesn’t work just with the owner. He or she might be hired to coach an estimator: i.e. a Sales Coach. Maybe you’ve hired a new production manager from within the company and the new manager needs help setting specific goals, a coach would sometimes be hired to keep him accountable and on target. If a business owner wants more specific help on running his business, such as how to build to sell, how to hire employees, a business plan, having good business systems, he would typically hire a consultant, not a coach. Unless of course he wants someone long term to keep him accountable.

Consulting

A consultant is typically hired for short term reasons, to help with a specific need or problem. Consultants will typically ask why something is happening and then help his client think through ways to overcome his problems to reach his business goals. Consultants can be hired for all aspects of business: marketing, business planning, taxes, financial, production and more. In some cases, having both a consultant and a coach can be an excellent move for most small and large businesses. Did you know that even McDonalds, the Marriott, and Verizon all hire outside consultants?

Example from my Dad

Most contractors and small businesses I talk to about coaching or consulting services respond the same way, “I don’t think I can afford a consultant.” To answer this statement, let me share with you a personal story: I grew up watching my dad work 12 hours a day running (not building) his small painting business in San Diego during the 80s and early 90s. His customers loved him, and he was blessed with lots of referrals and repeat business. He had one problem. He wasn’t really making any money. Of course there was the typical job that was profitable but most jobs were just paying the bills and keeping the doors open. Borrowing the term from The E-Myth book, he was working in his business, not on it. We had little complaints during those earlier years. We lived conservatively and with little or no debt, but my dad’s business wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t thriving. Then one day my dad hired his first consulting firm. The first guys charged a lot of money and did nothing. Ok, so that was another mistake. He didn’t give up hope. He wanted to run a successful business and have something to sell or give to his kids someday. So he hired another short-term consulting firm. This one was a lot better. Then in the mid 1990s, he finally landed a good consulting relationship with a local firm and got his business working for him. He raised his prices (after discovering he was not charging enough). Sales go down? Just the opposite! He created an employee handbook, business systems, a hiring process, painting systems, a marketing plan and much more. What was the result? A well run business that has become one of the most profitable and steady painting companies in San Diego. In short, he has created a great place to work. He also kept his business consultant and recently added a financial consultant to his team. My dad told me he did not start making money and running a business he was proud of until he hired a good consultant. His current consultant acts more like a coach now, as the problems are dwindling but he still needs accountability.

Your Experience with a Coach or Consultant

What has been your experience working with a coach or consultant? Have you found it to be helpful? Why or Why Not? Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you have never hired a consultant, will you consider doing so in the near future?

 

Invest in Video Productions for Your Website

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Before people purchase a product or hire a service company, they typically will do at least two things: 1) View a companies’ testimonials and 2) View their work or images of products. How do people view your current website? Do you have good testimonials and a quality portfolio? What about effective and short video clips?

Videos are growing in popularity do to companies like YouTube and Vimeo.  A YouTube video, for example, actually can help drive traffic to your website. In any case, videos are an effective marketing source. If done correctly, you will see sales increase. If the video content or filming is poor, you will see your “bounce rate” go up (people will leave your site). Video advertising should be look upon as a piece of the marketing pie: websites, proximity mailers, newsletters, customer marketing, video, events, etc. A quality video is worth the investment.

If you commit to doing a video on your website as a service company, I’d suggest filming simple clips of your office staff, your shop, your crew, customer testimonials or even your sales process.

Visit the links below to see how some larger companies use video testimonials to sell their product/service. The clips are short and simple, yet effective. You’ll see two types: testimonials and how to videos.

  1. 37Signals: “What Customers Have to Say” Section
  2. Highrise CRM Tour: Short How To Videos
  3. Apple’s iPad Video: (was on home page) After watching the video ask yourself, “Do I want one?”
  4. Kindle on Amazon.com
  5. Plumbing Company in Boston (good videos: though I would have let people know how long the clips were before clicking on them and slowed it down a tad)

Building Quality Landing Pages

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Driving people to your website is a good. However, driving them to the right page is really the key. The page a visitor enters is called the “landing page.” A number of years ago, it was a common practice to send potential customers to your home page so they could be “wowed” by how cool your home paged looked. People thought that was enough to get a good conversion (a person who calls for an estimate or buys a product). It is true that it worked, but that was yesterday. Today, the competition is stronger and the web visitors are more picky and computer savvy.

I’ve created a brief video that gives an example of a couple good landing pages, and I hope this video alone will shed some light on how you can create the right landing page for your company. To sum up what a good landing page is: It’s a page that fulfills what a visitor is looking for. The better the landing page, the better conversions you will receive.

View my video on YouTube.

Why Should You Hire a Marketing Manager or Coach

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Why should you consider outsourcing your marketing department to a guy like me? Why pay a few hundred a month when you could be spending that hard earned cash on advertising to get the phone to ring? Why do I do what I do?

Before I answer that question, let me  share with you a scenario of the typical small business owner and see if it sounds familiar. The owner of a small roofing business wants to grow to a half million dollar company in 1 year. He is currently doing $300,000 and decides to “do” some marketing. He reads a couple of articles, maybe a book or two and asks a few other small business owners what they spend on marketing. He ends up with the magical percentage of 7%! If he spends 7%, he is bound for success! He says to himself, “I’ll budget $35,000, create a nice ad for the phonebook, build a killer website, dust off my old business cards, print a few door hangers and I’ll be on my way towards the big $500,000 mark in no time!”

After a a month or two, he realizes he still has no website, his full page ad in the phonebook is not getting him the leads the salesman promised him and he has not had the time to put a single door hanger on someone’s lucky door knob. Why did this happen? He finally comes to the conclusion that he 1) Does not have the time to advertise. 2) He really is not sure how to advertise to get the right results. 3) There is no silver bullet. The roofing owner then decides that his first plan did not work well enough and what he needs is to try other marketing ideas: Google Adwords, Facebook, and a mailing campaign!

Sound familar? Most small business owners don’t have the time to plan and carry out an effective marketing plan. They also need help deciding on what types of marketing they should be doing for their business. A marketing manager can ask the crucial questions before deciding on a particular direction. For example, a marketing manager can interview the phonebook company and report back to the owner (you) with his or her thoughts on whether advertising in the book is a good idea. A marketing manager can organize your marketing department so that it is efficient, effective and consistent. You will avoid wasteful spending by having a professional managing your marketing. Finally, a marketing manager keeps you focused and on target. You will have more time to invest on other areas of your business and know that marketing is on the right track.

Hiring a marketing manager is an investment. However, a good manager and coach will make sure you have a good ROI. He will make sure you spend your marketing dollars wisely instead of spending here and there and hope for good results. So, if you find yourself second guessing your marketing decisions or frankly don’t have the time to work on a consistent and focused plan, you really will enjoy working with a marketing manager!

The Final Touches to MB Jessee’s Painting website

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Screen shot 2009-11-06 at 6.58.31 AM

We just finished the website of MB Jessee Painting and are very pleased with the results. It was a privilege working for the owner, Matthew Jessee. He was so easy to deal with all the way through! It says a lot on the way he runs his own business by the way he treated me and my web designer, David Guy. Matt was so professional, yet reasonable. He wanted a new and updated website that would reflect the type of quality he did for his clients. I also was able to read a number of detailed client reports provided to me by Matt and his staff while we were in the design stage of his website. On every page of the report, I read almost the same thing: clients hired MB Jessee because they had excellent customer service and did incredible work. In our redesign of his site, you will see just how good his photo gallery looks and the colors of the site we selected that represent elegance. Also, his testimonials on the site are real and awesome.

Matt Jessee was kind enough to write a testimonial about the work I was able to do for him, and all I can say is, “I am grateful, Matt. Thank you for the very kind words!”

Working with David during the complete reconstruction of my company website has been the best experience I have ever had with anyone in the world of marketing and design.

David and his team asked the right questions, took control, and efficiently put together a site that has exceeded my best expectations. From concept, content and design they took charge and implemented my ideas and desires. Busy running my own business, I asked David to make my initial ideas come to reality with little legwork on my end.

The level of communication as the project progressed could not have been better. David’s use of latest technology kept me completely up to date at all times.

The design, overall feel, and content of the site is awesome. I will continue to work with David on a variety of projects as my company grows.

Check out our new site for yourself, and let me know what you think: mbjessee.com

Please contact me if you have any feedback, or would like additional information.

Matt Jessee

President

MB Jessee Inc

matt@mbjessee.com

Marketing for Painting Contractors update

Posted by | Marketing | 3 Comments

I am excited to be in the process of managing and creating 4 new painting websites for professional painting contractors. So far, all but one have decent websites but are in need of quite a few changes. After much discuss, they all decided it was time to start from the beginning. I will be showing the new websites when they are finished. The current companies I will be working for are: MB Jessee Painting out of San Franscisco (Bay Area), Imhoff Painting near St. Paul, Pete the Painter in Chicago and a completely new website for Masterworks Painting near Boston. Each website will be very unique are designed with their ideal clients in mind.

My job is to help facilitate the entire process: Beginning Concepts, Design Assistance, Project Management and then adding my final Creative Touch. The creative touch at the end is my favorite. Once the site is completely done, I like going through it myself and make sure it looks incredible. All of the paint contractors who have contacted me to help them on their marketing and websites really want a high quality look that fits with the type of painting they do! I’m sure their customers will be impressed with the changes they are making in the weeks to come.

Schedule your free 30 minute marketing call. Contact David Today!