iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘SEM’ Category

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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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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Are Automatic Location Extensions Hurting Your Paid Search Campaigns?

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Google is gearing up to automatically enable location extensions in Google Ads for all accounts. Starting at the end of October, owners of accounts will have to opt out if they don’t want this feature to start showing up in their existing pay per click advertising.

What is a location extension?  Why is Google automatically enabling them?

A location extension is a callout in a Google PPC ad that displays your company address and links directly to a map showing the location of a business.  

In Google’s own words…

Why are location extensions important for your business? Three quarters of people who search on their smartphone for something nearby visit a related business within a day. Using location extensions, consumers can find your business locations directly from your search ads and help you drive more store visits.

Why is iMarket Disabling Location Extensions for Our Clients?

After careful consideration, iMarket has decided to proactively disable this feature across all of our accounts.  While location extensions may help certain business types, we actually consider them harmful to contractors running paid search ads for multiple reasons:

  • If a user clicks on a the link in a location extension they are immediately taken to a Google map showing the location of your business.  This feature assumes that a customer will want to visit your business. While this might be a great idea for a business like a store or restaurant, for most contractors the exact location of your business is not relevant to a customer looking for your services.  In fact, you may not wish to discourage people from using your business based on location if they are within your dispatch area.
  • Since the link in the location extension is part of your ad, you’ll be charged if a user clicks on it. This will ultimately hurt your overall pay per click performance – it deducts from your budgeted ad funds on low quality clicks.  To be successful with paid search, it’s really better to chase demand from people who have a strong interest in evaluating your company.

In our experience, we’ve rarely seen contractors convert customers using a location extension so we’ve decided to disable them. Please contact your online marketing coordinator for additional questions or further clarification.

iMarket Solutions provides digital marketing solutions for home services contractors, including Website Design and Development, SEO, SEM, Social Media, Reputation Management, Email Marketing and Live Chat services. Contact us today!

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Local Services Ads by Google – Have You Signed Up?

Friday, November 17th, 2017

It’s no secret that “change” is the only thing that ever stays the same when it goes to Google’s search results, and for home service contractors, the rate of that change has accelerated in 2017. We’re not just talking about the usual organic ranking algorithm updates, changes to the map pack, and general layout changes – we’re talking about a brand new advertising platform with prominent ad positions at the top of search results.

Local Services ads by Google

Have you seen anything like this at the top of search results recently? If not, you likely will soon, as Google announced just last month that these ads are coming to 30 major metro areas in the United States by the end of 2017 – up from a total of just 17 previously, many of which were just added in recent months.

Google Advertising for Local Home Service Businesses

If you’re a home service contractor, you’re probably (and should be) wondering:

“What is it? Where is it? And how do I participate?”.

Let’s tackle these questions one at a time:

What is it?

This new advertising platform is known as Local Services by Google, and unlike traditional paid search advertising (i.e. Google AdWords), with Local Services ads you only pay per lead, rather than per click. Do we have your attention yet? That’s right, Google is now allowing plumbers, HVAC technicians and electricians in a growing number of cities to advertise their businesses above all other search results. For maximum visibility and lead generation, all home service contractors should be be taking advantage of this product and incorporating it into a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. You still need SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing and all of the rest, but make no mistake – this is the next big thing, and those that ignore it do so at their own peril.

Where is it?

Google actually began testing Local Service ads in 2015, known then as Google Home Services, in a few select cities in California and with a limited number of industries. While testing over the last 2 years, participation in the program was limited to those who Google had contacted directly, but over the last several months Google began to open the program up to those who wanted to opt-in and in a growing number of cities. The current list of cities where Local Services ads are available is as follows:

Arizona: Phoenix

California: Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose

Florida: Miami

Georgia: Atlanta

Illinois: Chicago

Massachusetts: Boston

Michigan: Detroit

New York: New York

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

Texas: Dallas

Washington: Seattle

Washington, D.C.

And Google as adding more cities all of the time, including at least 13 more by the end of the year, as was mentioned above.

How do I participate?

Great question! If iMarket Solutions is already your partner in lead generation, reach out to your Marketing Coordinator today to get started. But even if you don’t currently manage your digital marketing, we’d love for you to call us using the phone number above or online today! If Local Services by Google is in your city, we’ll take the hassle out of the sign up process and get you all set up and trained on how to take advantage of this new, must-have advertising product from Google.

iMarket Solutions provides digital marketing services for home improvement contractors, including website design and development, SEO, SEM, Social Media, Reputation Management, Email Marketing and Live Chat services.

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