iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Lead Generation’

Lead Generation vs. Branding in Email Marketing

Friday, March 4th, 2016

The ultimate goal for sending an email is to make a return on your investment so it’s only natural that the average email marketer would prefer sending a lead generation email over an email meant for branding purposes. With that said, it’s still crucial that we maintain a balance between the two if we want to achieve long-term success with email marketing. Below, we’ll be discussing the differences between branding and lead generation emails, highlighting the reasons to send emails for branding purposes, and finally what the expectations should be for the two.

Difference Between Lead Generation and Email Branding

The main difference between lead generation emails and branding emails is in terms of ROI. Lead generation emails often have a discount in them to persuade people into scheduling service. This often creates “bargain hunters” in your list, people who only schedule service if there is a discount involved. One of the issues with these type of clients is they are likely to use a competitor’s service if the incentive large enough.

On the other hand, branding emails often provide added value in the form of information. Customers who regularly open and read your branding emails slowly overtime become your true fans. These are customers who are looking for something beyond just a good deal and if you can earn their trust, you will see their repeat business for many years.

The 411 on Branding Emails

The problem with the branding email is that it often doesn’t give you an immediate ROI. It’s no wonder that most would want to send more lead generation emails than branding emails. But what would happen if you only sent lead generation emails? Those users who were actually hoping to receive tips, information and the latest news would most probably unsubscribe from your list. This creates an imbalance in your list between your “bargain hunters” and the true fans of your brand. By giving your customers valuable information that they can relate to, you create a positive memory for the customer making them more likely to remember you when a service need arises.

Customer_Satisfaction__iStock_000026525708_XXXLarge

Setting the Expectations for Success

Ultimately whether you’re sending a lead generation email or a branding email, knowing what to expect from each will greatly help whether you view it as a success or not. Lead generation emails are a great way to get consistent leads. However, sending too many during a short period of time will not only burn out your list but it will also lower the amount of leads you get on average per email campaign. Branding emails on the other hand will not always generate leads. The key to branding emails is knowing who to send it to that will appreciate that information. Creating a segment for “active users” and only sending the branding emails to users who consistently open and read your emails will give you a higher probability of getting the valuable information to only the people who want to get it.

There is the right message for every customer on your list so there is no universal email that will spark everyone customer’s interest. At the end of the day, your marketing plan should include both branding as well as lead generation emails. Send me an email at Hamlet@imarketsolutions.com with what segments you’re using and what emails you’re sending to that segment. I’ll give you my honest feedback along with some tips on how to create a more strategic email campaign.

Continue Reading

3 Ways Being Different Can Help You Earn Leads

Monday, December 7th, 2015

It is the end of the year. Companies are spending a lot of time evaluating their employees, processes, budgets, failures and successes. One common thought shared among them all during this time is, “How can we do it better next year?” It is a question with an infinite amount of answers, but for contractors in the HVAC, plumbing and electrical industries, the answer always involves lead generation.

One of the ways we help our clients’ improve their online visibility and earn leads is by answering yet another question: “How are they different from their competition?” In this post, I am going to discuss how thinking outside of the box, and focusing on what makes you, your employees and your company unique, can benefit your small business.

Stand out to earn more leads

 

How Are You Different from Your Competition?

The internet is a crowded place. In any given city, there could be hundreds of contractors competing for service leads. As an internet marketing company that specializes in search engine optimization for contractors, we know all too well the challenges involved in helping our clients capture a part of that market share. In order to get your piece of the pie, you have to be clever. Below are some of the things that make our clients unique, and how we make that information work in their favor.

Are You or Any of Your Employees Veterans?

Many of our clients have veterans working for them, or are veterans themselves. Three of the ways you can make this work in your favor:

  1. Post job ads at veteran employment websites, such as Explorethetrades.org. Not only is this a good way to support those who have given so much to protect our country, but it’s also a great way to get backlinks to your website (backlinks are one of the best ways to improve your websites visibility in Google.com).
  2. Many people love to support the troops, and one of the ways they choose to do this is by supporting veteran owned businesses. Submit your site to places like Veteranownedbusiness.com, to improve your chances of earning these leads. At the very least, you will reap the benefits from the backlinks you will acquire.
  3. Offering military discounts is yet another way to incentivize people to want to do business with your company, and yet again, is another source of quality referral traffic and leads. Just by creating a page on your website that references you offer active duty military or veteran discount, you open up the possibility of someone typing in a related query in Google and finding your company. You could also submit yourself to sites like Vetfriends.com.

Do You Offer Green Products or Services?

Being green is not a standard shared by many contractors. But with so much discussion revolving around climate change, consumers are awakening and starting to make smarter decisions regarding their energy and water usage. Capitalize on this surge by making sure your company stands out as a green advocate. Make sure your website states it, and make sure you are listed on websites that advocate green contractors (GreenHomeGuide.com is one such company). (P.S. If your company does not offer any green products or green service, you are missing out on potential revenue.)

Climate change statistics from NASA

Climate change statistics from http://climate.nasa.gov

Are You A Specialty Contractor?

Unique problems require unique problem solvers. If your circuit breaker turns off and you cannot get it to turn back on, you call an electrician. But if you are disabled and need your property to be retrofitted with a ramp or chairlift, then you will need to get in touch with a contractor that is prepared to address your specific needs. HomeBlue and HomeAdvisor are two contractor directories that do their best to help disabled people find the contractors that can best assist them – make sure you are listed on sites like these!

Keep in mind that this advice extends to any products or services that you provide. If you offer solar services, you would want to be listed at places like the SEIA directory or the Find Solar directory. A great way to find where you would want to be listed is to put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes – simply type a combination of the “service you offer + contractor directory” into Google.com, and you will likely find quite a few sites you can list your website on (i.e. solar contractor directory, bathroom remodeling contractor directory & refrigeration contractor directory).

[clear-line]

Stop Wasting Time and Start Making Money

They may not be the end all solution, but hopefully the above tips will help guide you in making your small business even better next year. And if you are a contractor that is interested in expanding your inbound leads from online marketing endeavors, we would love to work with you. Our creativity and years of experience in building websites for contractors could make us a valuable asset in your arsenal.

Give us a call at (800) 727-3920 to learn more about how we can help you earn more leads.

Continue Reading

The How’s and Why’s of Performing Industry Specific Keyword Research to Maximize Organic Search Leads

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Practically all of us in the Internet marketing industry have heard the phrase, “content is king”, but just because you have written relevant content for your website does not make it worthy of the 1st position in Google search results (a.k.a. the throne). Sure, your website’s content may rank decently for some keywords and phrases. But without performing industry-specific keyword research, your website’s traffic (and the flow of online organic search leads) will suffer in the long run. And with so many factors contributing to a website’s rank at the top of search engines in today’s competitive world, one must capitalize on every possible strategy to gain the competitive advantage. Again, none of this can be achieved without performing thorough and industry-specific keyword research.

We at iMarket Solutions regularly create and manage relevant content on behalf of our clients. But we understand that some of our clients want to proactively perform keyword research to identify any low-hanging fruit for their online marketing campaigns. To help guide them down the right path, I have put together this blog post that will briefly detail why you should perform keyword research specific to your industry, and how you can go about doing so.

Perform Keyword Research Like You Dress for Work: Appropriately

Would you consider flying to Alaska in October without a jacket? The most likely answer: no. The same concept can be applied to online marketing. What may be appropriate for one region or industry may not necessarily apply to all. One must also take into account seasonal changes. For example, “air conditioning” focused keywords are not as popular in Seattle, WA as “heating” related keywords, especially in the winter months. This is why you need to put in the time and effort to ensure you are targeting as many of the most relevant, likely, and widely searched combinations of keyword phrases used to find businesses of your nature.

This is how you maximize your intake of organic search engine leads.

THIS is how you perform keyword research!

THIS is how you perform keyword research!

Fortunately, your hard work will not go unnoticed, as this keyword research will pave the foundation for the focus of your content creation – both on the main pages of your website and on your blog (if you have one). For the sake of this blog post though, I will focus primarily on how to perform keyword research to rank better in Google search results.

What Are the Best Ways to Perform Keyword Research?

You can utilize many different techniques to help ascertain the best possible keywords to use for your Internet marketing campaign, but I’ll share with you some of the techniques we use here at iMarket Solutions.

  1. One of the best ways for you to perform keyword research is to watch the top-ranking websites in your industry. After all, they are there for a reason. Chances are your competition has put in the time and effort to determine the most viable keywords to pursue. If you notice any particular competitive websites ranking for numerous keywords you would also like to target, then we suggest you reverse engineer them using a tool like SEM Rush or SpyFu. At no cost to you (besides the time spent researching) you can get a better understanding of which keywords your competitors are ranking for, and an estimate of how much search volume they are receiving as a result of their efforts.
  2.  

  3. If you have not already done so, set up Google Webmaster Tools. Once you have gathered enough data (we recommend waiting at least one month before viewing the report), you can go to the Search Queries report within the Search Traffic tab and view a list of keywords which your website is ranking for. To better determine the keywords that will drive the most traffic to your site, we recommend you take your filtering a step further by sorting impressions from greatest to least – I refer to this as the “keyword opportunities” report. Search for keywords with large amounts of impressions that are not on the first page, or even better are not in the top 3 positions. At this point, these keywords stand a much better chance at getting to the first page than others, and we have found they can end up being some of the more widely searched keywords in your targeted service area.
  4.  

    Perform keyword research using the Google Webmaster Tools search queries report

    Perform keyword research using the Google Webmaster Tools search queries report


     

  5. Even though this SEO tool is being phased out, the Google Adwords Keyword Tool has always been a favorite among SEO consultants and agencies alike. And as it has still not been pulled offline by Google, I figured it was still worthy of at least a farewell posting. The Google Adwords Keyword tool has long been the go to keyword research tool, as it provides data directly “from the horse’s mouth.” Once you have completed your competitive keyword research, you would want to take your list of keywords and input them into “Word or phrase” box. For a more targeted search, you can specify the website you are performing keyword research for, and even choose a relevant category. Additional search filtering options include match types (which allows you to receive search data for broad, exact, and phrase match type keywords), select the location and language of interest, view desktop or mobile search data separately, and even view search volume on either a global or local level.Once the Google Adwords Keyword Tool is phased out, it will be replaced with the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This modified version of the tool has a much more user-friendly user interface. The most useful of the new features is not only having the ability to combine multiple keyword lists together, but also being able to view and select cities from an interactive map online, making it that much easier to ascertain search volume for targeted keywords in very specific cities or regions.

Help us, help you with your online marketing strategy – call iMarket Solutions today!

Now that you are armed with some basic strategies and tools that can help you further expand your company’s reach on your target demographic, get out there and start researching new potential keywords to use for your site. Once you have a thorough list of keywords to consider, the next thing you need to do is create some awesome content to publish to your website. Not sure where to start? Then learn how to write your own website content first. If you at any time find yourself overwhelmed by any part of the process, or feel more comfortable passing off your duties to a professional online marketing company that specializes in helping HVAC, electrical and plumbing contractors, then consider calling iMarket Solutions.

Internet marketing for electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractors is what we do.

Our SEO experts will build and market a website that can dominate the plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and electrical SERPs in your region – and all with a goal CPL (cost per lead) that will make your competitors weep. Contact us today for pricing.

Continue Reading

How your Offline Interactions & Expertise Impact your SEO

Friday, June 8th, 2012

As you receive calls to your business throughout the day, are you keeping track of what kinds of questions come up? Are you having your support staff and technicians report back to you on what your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, or other customers seem to ask about or care about the most?

It may seem simple: if they need an air conditioning unit, being cool in the summer is important to them. But what questions did they ask? What confused them the most about the whole process of installation or repair?

Being aware of this information can help you market your services more effectively online. Once you have this information, you should pass it along to your representative at iMarket Solutions so we can incorporate this into your online marketing plan!

We recently heard from a plumbing client who saw an increase in calls regarding sewer flies. Our customer contacted us with a request to add a blog post about this subject, and to include some additional optimization for that term on their website. This is already improving the results our client has seen in leads contacting them for service!

What else can you do to improve your SEO?

While we are always on top of your SEO strategy at iMarket Solutions, you can always benefit your business by providing us with details which are specific to your location or expertise.

For example, you may have a page for well pumps and another for main water line repair. Which cities are mentioned on each page? Well pumps are more common in rural areas, so we don’t want to optimize those pages for your metro area cities. Is the information provided on your service-specific pages appropriate for the type of service being covered in the content?

We suggest reviewing some of your more specific service pages and advising your iMarket Solutions representative how we can better target each service for the most appropriate locations.

Local search is a major part of your online success! While we are SEO experts in the HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, and other home improvement industries, we always benefit from the detailed information you can provide about your business to make your site more unique and more effective!

Not an iMarket Solutions client? You are missing out on dominating your market – contact us today for a free consultation about your online marketing needs. We do the hard work so you don’t have to!

Continue Reading

iMarket Live Chat

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

You know that many people use search engines to find local businesses, which is why having a website for your company is so important. But what is the best way to utilize your site to turn searchers into customers? iMarket has a great solution for you: Live Chat. This service allows website owners to receive and respond to instant messages through their website to answer questions and receive service requests (check out the icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen!).

As soon as a visitor reaches your site, the Live Chat icon will appear. If a potential customer initiates a chat, an iMarket agent who has the details of you company will gather information from the customer (such as name, phone number, etc.) and send you an email about the lead. We can also connect the homeowner to someone at your business right from the Live Chat window.

Live Chat can increase the results from your online advertising an average of 35 percent, making your website an even larger part of your lead generation. The simple, easy interface allows customers who prefer not to talk over the phone to contact your business immediately.  Since the Live Chat is available 24/7, not just during business hours, your website will always be able to reach potential customers.  This could be the crucial difference that makes a person choose your company over one of your competitors.

The best part of Live Chat? You only pay for the leads you receive. Check out our Live Chat page for more information!

Continue Reading

Google Instant Preview: Our Initial Assessment

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Google Instant Preview, which offers an instant snapshot of a website right from the search results page, is designed to help searchers make rapid assessments about the quality and relevancy of a website. It’s a new technology and the data is still coming in, but after reviewing the research, we have come to the following initial conclusions:

  1. There’s no guarantee that Google Instant Preview be widely adopted by searchers. Many searchers are not even aware that Instant Preview exists, and it seems to be confusing even to those who do know about it. And, preview features do not have a history of success in the search world. Ask.com had a similar preview feature back in 2004 that is no longer available today, and Microsoft’s Bing has offered a text preview feature since its inception. Bing and Ask.com have a combined market share of less than 15%. Clearly, previews have not so far been of much interest to searchers.
  2. If Instant Preview does take off as a technology, it may lead to an increased focus on organic search results. Instant Preview is available only for organic search listings, and Google has stated publicly that it has no plans to offer it for paid listings. If searchers do begin to use previews as part of their search process, they will likely focus on the organic results for which previews are available. To compound this effect, previews visually obscure the paid search ads, making it less likely that a searcher will see them. This, plus Google Instant’s tendency to push more search results below the fold, makes it extremely important for your business to have a dominant position in the organic search listings.
  3. Instant Preview may increase the quality of leads that come to your website, both through natural search results and paid listings. With Instant Preview, searchers can evaluate websites without even clicking (previews appear when users simply move their mouse over the magnifying glass icon). Preview users will probably “shop around” on the search engine results page, starting with the organic results, but then moving to the paid results if they don’t find what they’re looking for. This means that the searchers that do come to your website via previews are likely to be highly-qualified leads who have already selected you over your competition. Pay-per-click advertisers benefit too, because they will probably get fewer erroneous or frivolous clicks.
  4. Instant Preview may (somewhat) counteract Google Instant’s tendency to focus users’ attention on the top two or three results, because people will be able to preview all top ten search results quite easily. However, we think that scrolling is always a barrier and that top placement remains extremely important.
  5. Instant Preview may alter your website metrics. If your website is designed so that people can get the most important information about your company directly from the preview image, fewer visitors may click through to your website. Google doesn’t count an Instant Preview viewing as a click on your page, so your web analytics program may show a reduction in visitor numbers, even as the number of leads you get from your website stays the same or even increases.
  6. Top placement in the search results is important, but it isn’t enough anymore. Users will be able to quickly evaluate your #1-ranked website – and if it isn’t up to standard at the very first glance, they will go elsewhere.
  7. Good website design is more important than ever. You only have a brief moment to impress Preview users with the quality and relevance of your website. Also, you now need to make sure that users can get the most important information about your company directly from the preview.

Next week: How to design your site to work well in Google Instant Preview.

Continue Reading

iMarket Experts Teach Intensive Web Design and Online Marketing Seminars at the 2010 Meeting of Quality Service Contractors (QSC)

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

iMarket was the lead presenter at the CONNECT 2010 meeting of QSC (Quality Service Contractors) in Las Vegas on October 27-30.

A self-supporting business unit of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association, QSC offers high-level training programs by expert consultants to help its members run their businesses more profitably and provide a superior level of service to their customers.

The meeting was attended by 87 plumbing companies from all over the US.

iMarket’s seminars for QSC members covered all the “Power Tools for Internet Marketing”, including:

  • Website design and programming
  • Online lead generation
  • Website and online advertising metrics
  • Search engine optimization
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Social media and content strategy

The goal of the seminar series was to enable contractors to understand how to create an effective online marketing strategy for their business, and hire the right people to develop and implement it.

The seminars were very well attended by CONNECT 2010 attendees. We received a lot of positive feedback, including this comment sent to iMarket President Nadia Romeo:

“Nadia, I wanted to let you know that you and your company did an outstanding job on the website presentation last week in Vegas.  I picked up several pieces of great information that will help separate my company website from many others in the industry.  The internet is constantly changing and very difficult to keep up with.  You guys are on top of your game. I felt the knowledge behind iMarket Solutions was amazing! Thanks, Rob Basnett, Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC”.

iMarket offered the following seminars over the course of the weekend:

  • Building a Web Site – Web Design and Programming Do’s and Don’ts. Business owners inevitably have many questions when they launch a website. This seminar answered many of them, including: What are the best practices for building a website? What tools do I need to have an effective web presence? How do I tell the good web designers from the bad?
  • Branding & Lead Generation – Integration of the Internet into Lead Generation and Tracking Using Google Analytics. In this seminar iMarket experts explained how best to track customer acquisition channels and the costs associated with those channels. We also showed how to evaluate “return on investment” to determine which channels are the most profitable. In particular, we explored the valuable online metrics offered by Google Analytics.
  • Search Engine Optimization – The Basics and Pay-Per-Click Marketing and Google Analytics. In order for a website to be an effective marketing tool, it has to “speak” to the search engines—the online tools that help customers find your company. This seminar showed how to make sure that Google and the other search engines see and understand the value of your website so that your website gets strong placement in online search results. We also explained how to use online paid advertising to supplement free search engine results.
  • Social Media and Content Strategy. This session explored social media and content strategies that service companies can put into practice easily without expert help, plus some advanced strategies that are worth hiring outside experts to implement.

Click on the links above to view each presentation, or go to the full list of iMarket presentations.

Contact us if you’re interested in having iMarket present similar seminars in your area!

Continue Reading