iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘Lead Generation’ Category

How to Get Great SEO Results for Your Contracting Website

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

We wish we could tell you there was a super quick and easy method for this. If we were to describe in one phrase what it takes to get your contracting website on page 1 of Google, we would say “time and patience.” Well, that and an experienced marketing team who knows what it takes to properly optimize your site.

Getting your website to rank on a search engine page means understanding how it indexes, analyzes, and then ranks a website. Search engines, including Google, have a large index of all the pages of all the websites they know, and your contracting website can only show up on search engine results pages (SERPs) if it’s in that database. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in!

What Is SEO?

If you’ve ever done any marketing online, you’ve probably heard the acronym “SEO”. But if someone asked you to explain it, could you? 

The concept of search engine optimization is actually fairly simple. It’s the process of getting traffic from organic search results on search engines. By organic, we mean free—you’re not getting ranked due to paid advertising. Paid search marketing and PPC (pay-per-click) are important parts of a contractors’ digital marketing toolbox, but not what we’re discussing today.

Generally speaking, the fundamental steps to SEO success are:

  • Figuring out what homeowners and business owners are searching for as it relates to your business.
  • Optimizing each page of your website for target keywords and keyword phrases.
  • Increasing the “crawlability” and “indexability” of your website.
  • Creating share-worthy, compelling content that earns links, citations, and amplification.
  • Producing a great user experience, including fast page load times.
  • Ensuring your website is accessible to both search engines and humans.

One very important factor to remember about SEO is that it’s just as much about people as it is search engines themselves. You have to know your audience! Know the words they’re using, what sort of content they wish to consume, even the different verbiage they may use based on their locality.

Why Is SEO So Important?

There are a number of digital marketing tools that help make contractors successful. Paid advertising, social media marketing, reputation management, and even live chat are all things that can help you acquire leads and convert them into customers.

But the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. Organic search engine results cover more digital real estate than any other form of online marketing, they appear more credible to the educated consumer, and they receive far more clicks than paid advertisements. In fact, according to Moz.com, SEO has ~20X more traffic opportunity than PPC on both mobile and desktop.

How Does Google, and Other Search Engines, Work?

Search engines have three main functions – to crawl, index, and rank.

Crawling means scouring the internet for content and looking over the code and content for each URL they find. They’ll look at things like the URL for the page, the meta-data, the content of the page (text, images, videos, etc) and how each page is being linked to. This will help search engines understand what keywords and phrases the page is most relevant for.

Indexing means storing and organizing the content that’s found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed as a result to relevant searches.

Ranking is the part you’re likely most familiar with—it’s providing the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered by the most relevant to the least relevant.

Not All Search Engines Are Created Equal

Have you ever noticed that when talking about SEO, “Google” almost seems synonymous to “search engine”? Google does have the largest market share, and it’s the one that the SEO community pays attention to most—because this is where the greater majority of people search the web!

In fact, over 90% of web searches occur on Google. This is not to say other search engines aren’t important, but rather to stress the need to use Google’s quality guidelines when developing your SEO strategy.

Should You Hire a Marketing Professional to Help with Your SEO Efforts?

When you work with a marketing team to develop a strong strategy for your contracting business, you’ll want to work with one who knows the ins and outs of Google, SEO, and most importantly, your business!

We’ve only just brushed the surface here on what it takes to make sure consumers find your website. Working with our team means you’ll stay up to date on all the SEO tools necessary to build a beautiful and functional website, and have access to whatever digital marketing needs you may have.

iMarket Solutions is the expert in digital marketing and SEO for contractors. To learn more about how our SEO services can help you grow your business, contact us today.  Dedicated to Contractor Success!

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Why Should Contractors Utilize Digital Marketing?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

When it comes to getting your name out there and converting local homeowners into loyal customers, there are many marketing methods that can help you along. Creating the right overall marketing strategy is an essential part in helping your contracting business grow. These days, this means creating a solid digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is, in the simplest terms, the marketing of your products and services using digital technologies, both on the internet and other forms of digital media. In the last few decades, digital marketing has drastically changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology in their marketing efforts.

At iMarket Solutions, we are dedicated to contractor success. This means we believe in helping contractors form a reputable digital footprint in today’s online and mobile environment. This isn’t optional anymore—it’s what your contracting business needs to separate itself from your competitors. What exactly does this look like?

The Benefits of Digital Marketing for Contractors

Today’s consumers are increasingly becoming more mobile and web-based than ever before. Sure, marketing efforts such as advertising products and services through direct mail, or from a booth at a home or trade show is still valuable. But, to truly reach homeowners and even business owners where they’re at, you need to be visible online. There are a number of benefits to this, including:

Brand Development: A beautifully designed website, reputable social media presence, and solid online reviews are just a few of the ways you can garner attention for your contracting business. Building a brand from the ground up, or even entering a new vertical, can be overwhelming. But with the right support, you can quickly gain leads and conversions.

Lead Generation: If you want to enable your business to create enormous traffic and subsequent sales and conversion, the best way to do so is with digital marketing. Digital agencies can bring in leads through content marketing, email and social media marketing, optimized web forms, A/B testing, and more.

Low Cost, High ROI: Marketing and advertising your brand is one of the biggest financial burdens you’ll never need to take on. But marketing through digital platforms provides you with an affordable alternative to traditional marketing such as cold calling or advertising in magazines and direct mail. The best part is, digital marketing offers a substantial return on investment.

Reputation: The idea behind a careful digital marketing strategy is to gain the attention of potential customers and current customers long enough to build a credible reputation that keeps them coming back. Online reviews, social media presence, and how your company communicates using these digital mediums can help build and maintain a great company reputation in the communities you serve.

Our Comprehensive Products

Not all digital marketing products are right for each and every contractor. It’s important that you work with a qualified team with a specialty in marketing for contractors to determine the best strategy for your specific needs as a contracting business. Contact a member of our team today to learn more about any of the following services we provide!

  • Website Design
  • Digital Brand Management with SEO
  • Review Generation & Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Local Services by Google Support
  • Remarketing
  • Live Chat

“How Can I Get Started?”

Digital marketing can seem overwhelming to a contractor who’s never had a solid online presence. Fortunately, that’s what iMarket Solutions is here for. Getting started with digital marketing means first creating a well-designed website with great, unique content and a strong town-by-town strategy for your service areas—and ensuring that the whole site provides a positive user experience.

Or rather, it means contacting a digital agency with the purpose of delivering HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contracting businesses with the best solutions for their digital marketing strategy to design that website. And your company’s website is just the beginning!

iMarket Co-Owner and Co-Founder Gary Elekes has found that the contractors with the most successful digital strategies have followed this model for getting started in digital marketing:

  • Have your provider publish blog posts at least 1-2 times each month.
  • Encourage and drive customer reviews as much as you can to all review engines—not just Google.
  • Get busy with collecting emails, and launch a solid email campaign strategy that targets existing customers.
  • Tie in your social media accounts with a strategy for community and cause marketing, using Facebook ads, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and Retargeting.
  • Check to see if Local Services by Google is available in your area, and if it is, don’t wait! Sign up, get vetted, and tie in your ads to your customer reviews.
  • Invest in a paid search model through Google paid ads.

Gary Elekes Co–Founded iMarket Solutions in 2010 with Andrew Allen. Gary is also the Founder and CEO of EPC Equity, a private equity group established to acquire, operate, and grow businesses in the home services trade. Additionally, Gary serves as President of EPC, Inc., EPC Training, Inc., two companies he has sold to EGIA and operates them for EGIA.  He still maintains and operates EPC Consulting independently, and has also been an active contractor since 2002, currently owning and operating HVAC and Plumbing companies in Arizona.

To learn more about how to get started, simply reach out to our team. We’ve been working with contractors for years, and we understand the unique needs you face when getting your name out and attracting leads.

iMarket Solutions is your resource for leading digital solutions. Please allow us to assess your current digital strategy and see where your lead opportunities are. Contact us today!

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HVAC Website Creation: What Makes Good Web Design?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

When you work in the contracting space, lead conversion can truly be a challenge. Part of the key to success is getting your word out to your service areas to attract leads in the first place. 

How do you do this? With a great website and supporting digital marketing campaigns. 

So, what makes a great website?

The Basics of Website Design

What makes a great website? First, it has to be user-friendly and it has to load fast. If a visitor has to wait more than a couple seconds for the page to load, they’re probably going elsewhere.

Next, it has to look great and function perfectly on any type of device–desktop computer, smartphone, tablet or laptop. In the web design industry, this is called having a “responsive” web site.

Then there are the colors you choose, the fonts you use, the photos you select, and how well it aligns with the business’ brand. If you’ve invested in a high-end truck wrap, your website should match that look so visitors can make an immediate connection with the trucks they’ve seen around town.

The Importance of Visual Appeal

The written content on the page may tell users what a company is about, but if that content isn’t supported by attention-grabbing visuals, you could lose out on potential leads and conversions. A website should emphasize the work an HVAC contractor provides, whether it’s in pictures, excellent logo placement, or easy-to-read fonts—known as typography.

Visuals should convey a feeling of what a company is about. Is your reputation fun and spirited? Then bright colors, a playful logo, and unique typography can help portray this. Perhaps you have a unique service your competitors don’t offer. Then the hero image—that is, the large banner image on your site’s homepage—could be something related to that service.

How Your Website Helps Convert

When a web user becomes a lead for your business, that’s called conversion. Optimization means making this conversion as effective as possible. This is done by making your website user-friendly, through:

  • Easy-to-Understand Design Patterns: When you see a red octagon, you likely know it means “stop.” When you see an isosceles triangle pointing to your right on a video, you know it means “play.” These are examples of easy-to-understand design patterns, known as design conventions.
  • Clear Visuals: This includes apparent buttons on your call-to-action, so your users know where to go to contact you or get more information, as well as clear visual hierarchies—that is, a clear relationship between the importance and appearance of the content on each webpage.
  • Trustworthiness: A successful contracting company knows what their prospects and customers are looking for when hiring a technician. That is, they know their audience. Does your audience want to see the sort of licensing you have? Perhaps certifications you’ve earned? These are types of things that can and should be strategically placed on important pages throughout your website, in order to establish trust as a brand.
  • Interaction Without Too Much Distraction: Your CTA(s) (Call-to-Action) should always stand out. You want web users to know how to reach you, quickly. Oftentimes when a user visits your site, they’re not just idly browsing—they’re looking for specific services and the right contractor to hire for those services. Your CTA form should allow them to quickly interact with you by filling out a short contact form. This CTA should also not be surrounded by a lot of text, too many images, or distracting slideshows.
  • Clean Formatting: When a user visits a website, they are often looking for one specific bit of information—therefore they will often scan rather than read the entire page. So the formatting of the text should be designed in such a way that supports this, with adequate text-to-background contrast, easy-to-read text, and short paragraphs.

You don’t want your website to overload its visitors with too many choices—this leads to something you may have heard referred to before as option paralysis—that is, overthinking that can lead to not making a decision at all. You want your web visitors to decide to reach out to you for their HVAC needs—not leave your site altogether out of frustration.

This is a brief overview of what makes for good web design. For a truly comprehensive web design strategy that serves your specific business needs, you’ll want to work with an experienced and industry-focused digital agency that offers full-service digital solutions. 

Our vision here at iMarket Solutions is to provide our contracting clients with cutting-edge web development and digital marketing solutions at an affordable price, that ensures a high return on investment.

To learn more about our Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC marketing solutions, contact iMarket Solutions today! Dedicated to Contractor Success

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Customer Conversion: The Journey from Homeowner to Customer

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Your goal as an HVAC contractor is to turn homeowners in your service area into your customers. If you’ve ever tried to take your marketing into your own hands, you know that this goal is often a lot easier said than done. The first step to improving your customer interactions is mastering touchpoints. 

You can eat, sleep, and breathe integrity all while offering impeccable HVAC services for competitive prices and your conversions will still suffer if your touchpoints are underwhelming. 

Unwieldy websites and unprofessional social media channels serve as a turn off for potential clients.

Luckily, most touchpoints are within your control and our team here at iMarket Solutions specializes in Lead Generation for Contractors. Choose our dedicated experts when you want marketing services bound to take your business to the next level. 

What’s a Touchpoint? 

First things first, let’s define a “touchpoint.” At its simplest, a touchpoint is any interaction that a consumer has with a business. Touchpoints exchange information, address concerns or questions, and handle transactions. Touchpoints can happen through different channels, online, and in person. Our goal at iMarket Solutions is to make your touchpoints impactful, personal, and effective. 

We like to apply theory to relevant situations to convey our points. A few common types of touchpoints you’re sure to encounter in the HVAC industry include:

  • Website: The contact forms on your website exist for a reason. This is one of the best ways to generate a lead. You want a website form that’s intuitive for the customer and helpful to you. Live chat and blogs are two other great ways to convert your leads. Live chat engages with your customer in a quick and precise manner, and blogs inform your potential customers and prompt them to convert.  
  • Email: We’re a big proponent of email marketing. Staying top of your customers’ minds is a great way to generate leads. Catching the interests of your potential customer with a relevant email can make a big difference in your sales. You can build brand awareness and generate leads through this medium.
  • Phone Calls: The tried-and-true touchpoint. Phone calls are still a great way to get the ball rolling with a potential customer. 
  • Social Media: Social media is on the tip of everyone’s tongue—it’s an invaluable tool. Engaging with prospective buyers through mediums like Facebook or Twitter establishes a great relationship with your audience. It’s an easy way to build credibility and start the conversion process. 
  • In Person: Connecting with a customer face-to-face is vital. This is where your storefront, community involvement, and on-site service jobs come in. Real-world interactions are the best way to make an impression and authentically connect with your potential customers. 

Your touchpoints are essential. There is no better way to nurture a conversion. Ensure you’re making the most of them with the helpful expertise of our team members. 

How Many Touchpoints Before a Customer Converts?

Every industry and buyer are different, but the average number of touchpoints you need before you close a sale is around 5-7. The thing to know about conversion is that your response rates rise with each outreach attempt. There is a sweet spot to this though. The response rate to outreach ratio isn’t absolute—you don’t want to badger your potential customers. The art of touchpoints is delicate. If you surpass a certain number of touchpoints (usually 8) your output (open rates, response rates, and conversions) will decrease. 

We don’t want to hand you this information, pat you on the back, and then send you out into the ruthless world of touchpoints and conversions to fend for yourself. There are so many tools at your fingertips to contact your customers and it can be confusing. We understand and that’s why we’re here. You can greatly increase your leads with the help of our experts. 

Why You Need to Know This 

As a contractor, you need to understand what a touchpoint is and how many it takes to convert. Developing an understanding of touchpoints helps you create better customer experiences. We mentioned this above, but we’re going to state it again—there’s an art to this. Not all touchpoints are equal.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that each touchpoint communication is always professional and clear. You don’t want to leave open opportunities for a homeowner to stray away from your business. Certain factors that affect your touchpoints include: 

  • Relevance: You don’t want to market your air conditioning or ductwork services to a renter or someone outside of your service area—it’s a waste of your time and theirs! We can help you ensure that your touchpoints interact with the right consumers.
  • Credibility: Curating a personal brand is one of the best ways to convey credibility to your consumers. A credible business is a lucrative business. Contact our professionals to perfect your branding.
  • Competition: As a contractor, you know that the HVAC industry is saturated with businesses just like yours trying to achieve similar goals. The right marketing plan can highlight your work and help your product rise above the rest. 

We can guide you through the world of touchpoints with ease. Contact our professionals at iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.

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The Top Myths about Paid Search (SEM): Part 2

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

In our previous blog post, we outlined some of the biggest myths out there regarding paid search, also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). We want to continue that discussion here. Even though those myths are the biggest, they’re not the only misplaced beliefs out there. Keep reading for a few more arguments we’ve heard against paid search and see how marketing experts debunk them.

Myth #1: Paid Search Doesn’t Work

Paid search works, if you’ve structured your account the right way. Advertisers only get charged by Google if someone clicks on their ads, so if the ads don’t get clicked on, Google Ads wouldn’t be a viable revenue stream for Google, and they would not offer it as a product. Research has revealed that Google actually makes over $1 million revenue in a day from Google Ads alone!

Myth #2: Nobody Clicks on Paid Search Ads

Let’s put it this way—if you’re meeting what the searcher needs, they are going to click on your ad! Small business owners are often worried that customers don’t trust paid ads. But the truth is, customers click on whatever looks like it’s going to get them what they need.

Additionally, Google has changed their paid ads to look more and more organic, so even if that is a factor, customers might not even see a noticeable difference. But as it stands, according to research from Moz, people are clicking on paid search ads vs. organic search results more. In fact, sponsored search results account for 64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches.

Myth #3: You Don’t “Need” Paid Search—You Rank for Organic

That’s great that you rank for organic! There are a number of benefits to SEO. SEO is, in a sense, the long-term “big brother” to PPC and SEM. You should be using both! PPC gets you traffic immediately, but SEO is building in the background and growing your exposure and ownership in the organic world at the same time.

SEO offers a great long-term ROI, fantastic exposure, branding, and awareness, and it is cost effective. PPC gives you the ability to only pay for results, target a highly specific segment, and provide time sensitive offers that are not always possible with SEO.

Myth #4: Paid Search Isn’t Worth It for Small Businesses

The question isn’t whether paid search is right for small businesses in general—the question is if paid search makes sense for your HVAC, plumbing, or electrical company.

In order to determine whether paid search advertising (or any other marketing strategy) is worth it, you have to know your numbers. First and foremost, you should know how much you’re willing to pay for each lead you receive.

Google Ads enables clients to set a daily ad spend and a maximum bid value meaning all businesses will only spend what they can afford.

Myth #5: You Can’t or Shouldn’t Use Google Local Services, SEO, PPC and Reputation Management Together

We covered this in our previous blog post—this couldn’t be further from the truth. Any marketing methods you choose for your contracting business is going to depend on the specific needs of your business. Your needs may change over time, and you can adjust which products you invest in accordingly. But the ultimate goal is to use the right marketing products together in order to build authority and trust in your brand.

If you want to run a successful PPC campaign, you want the right people on your team, who know how to run your PPC account and integrate it with your other marketing products. That’s what you get with our team!

When you’re ready to discuss how PPC advertising for contractors can impact your brand, contact iMarket Solutions. Speak to a representative today about our full suite of contractor marketing services.

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The Top Myths about Paid Search (SEM): Part 1

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Running a contracting business without an online presence isn’t an option anymore. But what type of online marketing is right for your business? One method of marketing that’s gained popularity, but also skepticism, over the years is paid search. Also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), paid search is all about building strong accounts and analyzing the data to see how you can best optimize the data you find.

2018 Search Statistics

According to SE Leads, 43% of internet searches performed today use a local keyword and 86% of those searches convert to a phone call or visit to the physical location of the business. 61% of searchers consider local results to be more relevant than standard, organic search results, according to Resource.com.

Without knowing these statistics, however, or understanding why they are important, it’s easy to fall for one or more of the following misconceptions:

Myth #1: Paid Search Is Expensive

The thing many small business owners miss about paid search is that you pay for the clicks that your ad actually gets. So, if your ad campaigns are set up correctly, each click is going to ideally be from someone who is interested in your services.

Each of these clicks’ costs will vary depending on your keywords, keyword match type that you are bidding on, competitors bidding on that keyword, and the quality of your account. So, sure, you can spend a lot of money. But you don’t have to. You’ll want to work with a PPC expert to see how you can maximize the spend for the best ROI.

Myth #2: Clicks Don’t Convert

Have you set up tracking to actually learn whether or not your ads are converting? The fact of the matter is, about 97% of consumers go online to find local services. They’re looking for you, but it’s up to you to take steps to give them the information they need to make a decision.

With paid ad tracking, you have the ability to eliminate wasted spend on irrelevant keywords, provide a true cost-per-lead, retarget previously missed leads and sales, and improve your cost-per-click and ROI on your paid campaigns.

Myth #3: You Can’t Track the ROI of Paid Search

Yes, you can! Refer back to Myth #2, and know that with the right conversion tracking tools and KPI’s (key performance indicators) you can create highly effective strategies that convert into leads. Google Ads and paid search are not “set it and forget it” strategies, which we’ll get to in myth #4.

Myth #4: You Can “Set It & Forget It”

Paid search is effective, and it’s an excellent online marketing tool to utilize. But we never said it’s easy to implement! If you set up a Google Ads campaign without knowing how to find the right keywords, target audience, how to write good ad copy, or set up proper tracking, then it likely won’t work the way you want it to.

Beyond knowing how to run a successful paid search campaign, you also need to learn how to maintain the success of a campaign once it’s live. Once you have this down, paid search/PPC advertising can provide you with the same flexibility and opportunity for success on day 100 as it can on day 1, as long as you are consistently doing keyword research and updating your information as you track your business and conversions.

One of the perks of using this Google product is that Google tells you what people searched for that triggered your ads, and you can look at that report to make sure that those are the types of keywords you are bidding on. If your ads are showing up and you’re getting impressions (views) but not clicks, then your ads may be coming up for the right keywords but you may have to adjust the ad copy, as something is preventing viewers from going further. Then when they do click, you want to look at whether they’re converting once they get to the relevant landing page.

Myth #5: Position 1, Page 1, Is All That Matters

Page 1 is important, yes. But position is not as important. Allow us to elaborate—you want your ad copy to work on making people choose you over the other people in the 4 ad spots on the page.

If you get a top spot in the search result, it doesn’t guarantee that your ad will be clicked. It has as much chance of being clicked as the other 3 showing on the top of the page. There’s also a probability that you’ll have to pay too much for the clicks in position 1. In short, you don’t want to bid to position, you want to bid to profitability.

Myth #6: You Must Own Single Word Keywords

The majority of searches now are long tail keywords with at least 4 words and full questions. This is becoming even more common with voice search from things like Alexa and Google Home. For instance, a consumer may say, “Hey Google, find me an air conditioner repair in Dallas” which would stick you in their results if you used that long tail keyword.

The types of keywords you choose depend on what works best for your advertising campaign and budget. That’s why you have to look at what you have available for budget to spend and bid on the keywords that are going to bring in the most leads with the budget you have. Shorter keywords can be good for mining for how people are searching. But if you want to bring in leads, you typically want to have long tail keywords.

Bonus Myths!

There are two more myths we want to talk about. The first one is that many business owners believe that competitors can click on ads and drive up costs. They can. But, Google has an extremely sophisticated click fraud program in place that detects and filters out invalid clicks in real time so that businesses only pay for authentic traffic.

The second myth is that you shouldn’t use Google Local Services, SEO, PPC, and Reputation Management together, which is far from the truth! While it will depend on the specific needs of your business, using these together will help you build trust as an authority.

“What If I’ve Tried PPC Advertising and It Didn’t Work for Me?”

To put it simply, and to reiterate the points made above, the key to successful PPC advertising is proper account setup and ongoing management of your PPC advertising. It must be updated on an ongoing basis, and you need to have the right people who know how to run your PPC account.

Looking for some expert help with your PPC for contractors? Look no further than iMarket Solutions. Contact us today and learn about our full suite of contractor marketing services.

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What Contractors Need to Know about Email Marketing

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Email marketing is an extremely effective customer conversion method for contractors to have in their marketing toolbox, but what makes a good email marketing campaign?

It is about so much more than simply blasting your customers and potential leads with the same, templated email. Your email marketing messages should provide value, through personalization. Of course, your technicians visit many different customers on any given day and you have hundreds of contacts to follow up with, so how do you personalize messages on a larger scale to achieve the results you want?

Send the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time

What type of people should you be targeting with your email marketing campaign? When should you contact them? What data should you be collecting? Knowing the answers to these questions speaks volumes to the type of customer service and value you provide as a contractor.

Creating a customer persona is one way to know who you are speaking to. For instance, the average HVAC customer is looking for one of 3 things when they contact an HVAC contractor:

  1. HVAC system repairs
  2. HVAC system installation
  3. Professional HVAC maintenance

The general customer is looking for exceptional customer service, convenience, and solid, trustworthy communication from the technicians in their home. But these are just the basics–your email marketing messages should go beyond this to truly meet the unique needs of your individual customers.

Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

The goal of this kind of personalized marketing is to truly engage customers by communicating with each as an individual. This starts with the data that you are collecting. Your service technicians do this already right from the start at the customer’s front door, but it doesn’t end there.

For instance, if your technicians notice that a customer is a dog owner, they may recommend an indoor air quality system for that customer, such as an air scrubber, and your email would benefit from being sent right before allergy season.

Knowing how long your customers have been with you is a vital tool for email marketing as well. In fact, it can be 6-7 times harder to obtain new customers than to retain the ones you have, through email marketing–and increasing your customer retention rate by as little as 5% could boost your profits by 25%.

So if you knew you had a customer whose HVAC system was installed over 12 years ago, the right message would be that systems over this age will see a dramatic drop in efficiency, and the right time to send that message may be every 2 months before conversion.

Utilizing Email Marketing for Annual Maintenance Agreements

How can you use this method of sending “the right message to the right people at the right time” in renewing annual maintenance agreements (AMA’s)? By focusing on retention and thanking the customer for their loyalty. When you look at your customers, the “right people” are those who are currently subscribed to your AMA program. The “right time” will typically be 30-60 days before their renewal date. The “right message” is particularly important here.

Sure, you could send a standard, “it’s time to renew your AMA agreement!” to these customers, but this is not utilizing the personalization techniques we’ve outlined above. A more appropriate message will vary by contractor, but an example of how to make this message stick out to the reader is by truly honing in on the personalization aspect:

“Dear [*first name*],

Thank you for your continued loyalty. We’ve noticed you’ve been a customer with us for 10 years, and we’d love to have you for another one. We noticed your maintenance program renewal date is coming up. Please contact us to renew!

What If Your Customer Isn’t Already an AMA Member?

Whether you are contacting a long-time customer or emailing someone who has never enrolled in your AMA program before, remember that in all your messaging, you’re looking for a unique solution to meet their needs and budget. When contacting a customer not already enrolled in your AMA program, you’ll want a long term email marketing strategy. Let’s look at a common example for a new customer who is not a current AMA Member.

Introduction Email > Explanation of AMA Benefits > “Still Not Convinced?” > “You’re Due for a Tune-Up!” > AMA Promotion > 2nd “Still Not Convinced?” Email with Explanation of Benefits > AMA Promotion #2 > Ideally, a Conversion of Customer Investing in AMA or Scheduling a Tune-Up

Essentially, the goal of email marketing for contractors is to develop an omnichannel customer experience driven by hyper-personalization big data, through marketing automation. This is marketing speak for: You want to create a one-on-one experience!

74% of online consumers get frustrated when targeted online content has nothing to do with their interests. 78% of online consumers are more likely to be a repeat customer if a brand provides targeted, personalized, offers.

By anticipating your customer’s needs and giving them the experience they want, you maintain credibility and relevance, thereby increasing customer retention and improving your sales.

For email marketing solutions and to learn more about our full suite of contractor marketing products, contact iMarket Solutions.

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Upgrade Your Marketing: Digital Marketing Tips for Contractors

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

You have many options when it comes to developing a marketing plan for your contracting business. Creating the right strategy is a vital part to helping your business thrive. This includes traditional marketing methods as well as newer, digital marketing strategies.

We mentioned this briefly in our last blog post about selling in the shoulder season, though it applies year round—forming a reputable digital footprint in today’s online and mobile environment is not optional. It’s key to helping you build your brand, attract leads, and build customer relationships.

If It’s Not Digital, Is It Even Marketing?

There is of course still value in traditional marketing practices, such as sending direct mail pieces that advertise your products and services, promoting your business and services from a booth at a home show, or even setting up charity events in your local area. But there is no denying that today’s consumers are increasingly mobile and web-based. Therefore, it’s essential to have a solid digital marketing plan in place.

What does this look like? Here are just a few digital marketing tips for you to keep in mind:

  1. Create a Well-Designed Website: It’s not enough to simply have a website up—it must be well designed. This means creating a site that is visually appealing, allows site visitors and customers to figure out what you’re about right away, is user-friendly (customers can find what they’re looking for instantly), and properly optimized. Don’t forget that it has to be fast and responsive—this means it works on any online and mobile device.  
  2. Optimize Your Web Pages and Blog: Weak keywords are the worst enemy to a well-designed website and blog. Choosing the right keywords to attract your target demographic requires a long-term strategy that includes understanding your competition and knowing exactly what web visitors are searching for. Trusting an experienced marketing company to create your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy will ensure that this is done correctly and that you avoid what’s known as “black hat” SEO practices—tactics that can get your website flagged by Google and other major search engines.
  3. Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: Also called “paid advertising,” PPC ads are an essential component of any effective digital marketing plan, especially in highly-competitive markets. A PPC ad is what you see on the top and right sides of search engine results pages. They’re named as such because advertisers pay each time a web visitor conducting a search clicks on one of those ads.
  4. Have a Social Media and Email Marketing Plan in Place: There’s a lot still to be said for “word-of-mouth” advertising. Social media has taken this form of marketing and amplified it. Businesses can now easily reach customers where they’re at, not necessarily to make a sale, but to engage directly with potential consumers in order to build a relationship. Email marketing is another way to effectively get the word out about your business to leads and members of your community. From eNewsletters to promotional announcements, email allows you to get your business top of mind when the recipient needs a home services contractor down the road.

Not all products are right for each and every contractor. You’ll want to work closely with a qualified professional who specializes in marketing for contractors to help determine the right mix of products for your particular contracting business. When you work with our team, you don’t have to worry about your knowledge of the digital marketing space—that’s what we are here for!

iMarket Solutions is your resource for the leading digital solutions, and other great marketing tips. We would love the opportunity to assess your current digital campaign and see where your lead opportunities are. Contact us today!

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Preparing for the Spring Shoulder Selling Season

Monday, January 28th, 2019

One of the most common challenges contractors face as spring approaches is pushing sales in the shoulder season. For some, the challenge is even greater since the slow selling season happens twice a year—depending on where you are geographically. It’s something that you need a solid plan to overcome, as this potential loss of revenue can impact even the most successful contracting business.

Overcoming Negative Cash Flow

For many, if not most, contractors the shoulder season means there is not enough consumption to overcome the overhead costs of business—there just isn’t enough gross profit during this time. This puts contractors in a tight spot, often with negative cash flow as they struggle to pay the bills and keep quality talent on staff without losing them to other trades.

This leads us to the question we often get, “How can I be successful in the shoulder season?”

One of the first things you’ll need to do as a contractor is recognize when your shoulder season is. At iMarket Solutions, our customers have access to a budget planning tool to help identify their shoulder season as well as how many jobs a contractor would need to overcome this—answering the question, “How many units do I need to sell and how many services do I need to provide in order to break even?”

Service calls aren’t enough—contractors need a mix of business and products sold during this period to be successful. And in order to make these sales, some specific steps need to happen. This starts with conducting a situational analysis of your current marketing plan in order to analyze the problem you’re facing. From there, you’ll need to determine:

  • Your revenue by department (as part of your budget)
  • Your growth by segment, both percentage and dollar amount
  • The mix of business and products you’ll need to sell in order to achieve desired revenue
  • A media plan that delivers the leads you require on a weekly and/or monthly basis
  • How to fix the seasonality problem
  • A promotional and pricing strategy to increase revenue

This last point is often one that contractors resist, but it’s an important one. We encourage you to run promotions during this slow-selling period! In fact, we want you to create a promotional plan so strong that a customer who doesn’t even need what you’re selling feels compelled to react on an emotional level.

Yes, this costs time and money in an already strained period of the year. But, it’s important to think of your business as not only a contracting company, but a retailer. And retailers do what it takes to fill capacity in order to bring sales up and break even sooner. Often, this means offering incentives in order to produce even minimal revenue, with the goal to create lead opportunities and future transactions.

Selling Service Agreements

One of the biggest keys to revenue growth for contractors is service agreements. We encourage you to get your service agreements to 1,500 per million for your residential business unit. Of course, this requires a lot of selling, and many contractors are concerned about this as most technicians are not trained to sell but rather to provide service.

It’s up to you to create a daily training plan in order to arm your technicians with the resources needed to provide accessory sales and service agreements.

“But, what if my technicians just aren’t motivated to sell?”

This is a valid concern. People are fueled by intrinsic motivation, and your technicians may have the limiting belief of, “I’m not a salesperson.” This is exactly why training is so important! In addition to regular training, being upfront and honest with your technicians can do a lot to encourage them. Just like any other business, employees are always looking for answers to “what’s in it for me?”

We encourage starting the conversation by sharing your company’s vision, value, and purpose. Explain in principle to your technicians what is in it for them, and why they should care. Many contractors shy away from sharing financials because they think their technicians aren’t interested. However, being upfront gives them a reason to care and empowers them to understand how they contribute to the company’s overall success.

“What Else Can I Do to Help My Business?”

The methods you implement to sell your products and services during the shoulder season will depend on a number of factors, but here are a few more steps we encourage you to take:

  • Implementing a new sales process
  • Starting a tuck-in strategy in order to add customers to your existing database
  • Implementing an annual reference guide for seasonal discounts and promotions
  • Creating a brand promise that is unique to your market
  • Considering a new vertical to add on to your products and services
  • Tracking all your lead sources and defining your cost per lead

Last, but not least, we encourage you to build your digital branding and online presence. This includes an updated website, a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) search strategy, and social media marketing. It’s important to remember that we are in a period of time when mobile search rules all other forms of internet search, so using these methods along with building organic links with a strong content strategy are essential to forming a reputable digital footprint.

Contact iMarket Solutions today to learn more about our digital solutions and how we can help you overcome the slow selling season.

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Enhance Your Facebook Business Page

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Facebook has over 250 million users, 52 percent of which use it daily. And it is no longer just for the youth audience, the 35 and older demographic now represents more than 30 percent of users. That means using Facebook to promote your business is becoming a more and more effective way to reach potential customers. To help you build a stronger presence on Facebook, iMarket is offering an enhanced Facebook business profile.

With this new service, we will design a full banner and a landing page (like the one here) which entices people to “like” your business page. This is a great place to offer incentives, such as a special discount for Facebook fans, which will convince people to want to connect with you on Facebook. After the person has “liked” your business, a special Welcome page will display for them.  From the landing page, your welcome page, and a contact tab under your banner, your visitors will be able to access an integrated contact form so they can email you right from Facebook! All of these features will be designed to match your website and increase brand awareness of your business.

Why get this service? The new landing page is much more effective at converting visitors into “likers.” And the more people that “like” your page, the more people your posts will reach.  Social media is an excellent form of word-of-mouth marketing, which allows new customers to hear about you through their friends. There is the added benefit of allowing these potential customers to get to know your company through your posts and be able to contact you instantly.

Social media marketing can be very powerful, but you need to utilize it effectively.  Since most companies today are embracing social media, an enhanced Facebook presence will put your business ahead of the crowd. Combined with our content management package, in which blogs posts are sent out to your Facebook page three times a week, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource for your customers. For more information, contact us today!

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