VLOG: Content To Closing

This is the case of how one of our customers went from a cold lead to a customer in less then 24 hours, through value adding content.

VLOG: What Can This Hardscape Contractor Do To Get More Business From Their Website.

They’ve done well with content marketing for a contractor, but there are few things they could improve on the site!  In this video I discuss someways the site can be improved, and some SEO fixes which will leverage their content marketing efforts!

 

Full Transcript:

 

Alright I want to take a few minutes to review your websites, based on what you asked. I think you got a really good website and a lot of momentum going with it.  Something that a lot of other contractors don’t add and we’ll like to add and I think it’s important that you cultivate that and build on it, you’ve got a lot of opportunity there that you probably didn’t realize.

 

So, you’ve had it for ten years now since 2013, it has really started growing, grown a lot, it’s got a lot of authority content which I see and has a result good and then people spend a lot of time reading the website.  They read it, and then you say you live far from your servicer which I got to say is a contract that is difficult.  I couldn’t imagine having any of my guys doing more than two hours from the office, but if it works for you and you need the money, power to you on that.  So, you have some local SEO and a good portion of garden sculpture, garden sculptures are cool by the way.  Optimizing for your local area, let me give you some tip on optimizing for your local area, but not a whole lot, there’s couple other things that I think you should kind a know about.

So, first thing with your website, I kind of clumped in with this tool called SEMrush, to see how much traffic you get which is what interesting to me, cause a lot of contracted website get nearly zero or just a few people.  You go into SEMrush you do this and it gives you an estimate, down here, are there any traffic, that’s the last two years but if you go back to all time, you could see you’re not getting nothing and somewhere around here it’s started taking off towards getting reasonable.  They are not exact numbers obviously, it just an estimate it’s a rather low estimate, based on what the assume formula does in experience and you probably getting five to ten times this amount of traffic.  And I went back to a website and I searched, I looked at the source end of it and I noticed you did not have any google analytics tracking code in here, which is kind of shocking, because nearly everyone uses google analytics if not google analytics tracker website and track the users, or readers or browsers whatever you want to call them, their traffic.  Any they might use that or other program, but you didn’t google analytics in here so, I don’t even know if you realize how traffic your website is getting.  The amount of traffic that SEMrush is show you here, you’re getting quite a bit, and it not accurate, it’s an estimate but like I said you’re probably getting five or ten times actual traffic of what this is.  So, I think that you’re really not getting the most from your website.  You should be able to get enough leads at least a dozen or more a week, say a dozen a week, my website was getting about this much traffic it was getting a dozen a day, at least a on slow days, so you should be able tons of leads, dozens of leads from this website.  And I don’t even know if you are, but it doesn’t seem like it, I could be wrong.  It doesn’t seem like you are, I’m sure you are getting a ton of work and a ton of business from it but not a ton like you could, but if you really had this website optimized and kicking.

 

So, when I logged on the first thing looked is, am I at your home page?  I don’t particularly understand that you are a service provider, you got a phone number here but then as I scrolling down, is this some guys blog, is this DIY wall, is this hobby wall?  I don’t really get the feeling that anything is really been sold, that I can contact you for some services.  I mean you got something up here, consultation services but you really need to encourage the people to contact you, and you got your phone number here, but I know for a fact that most people are not landing on the home page they are probably landing on one of your blog post.  Like this, probably landing on one of your blog post like that.  Now if someone lands on this blog post there is not phone number or anything that prompts them to contact you, so I really think you got to have a phone number and a get estimate button right up here at the top.  I’ll tell you, on my website which is gulfcoastaluminum.com, on my company website, over half of the traffic that converts to either calls one of these phone numbers and these phone numbers are being tracked or people can come to our online estimates page and get an estimate.  Over half of those people only view one page, and most of those are going to be calling.  So, over half of the people are calling just view one page on our website, so if there are just landing on one page of your website and they don’t see a phone number, how are they going to call you?  So, you got to get the phone number up here and definitely the online estimates button, number one and then the home page, shape it out so it looks like you’re a service business, cause here you still just kind a fall like a DIY blog and it’s very and it’s great to have the DIY blog, it awesome I do a lot of blogging on my own.  I think it’s one of the most cost effective for sure marketing method you can ever have.  But for your home page it shouldn’t look like such a blog it should be very clear that you are a service business and you want to sell something, whether you have a jacket to sell or you have something to sell.  I think when most people they don’t realize you offer a service and that kind a slowing down the amount of conversions your website is getting.

 

The other thing I really want to mention, since you were talking in this forum right here, you were talking about hiring a company or something and I kind a mention redoing the home page.  If you do that you want to make sure the url structure and the content remains the same.  Don’t hire a company that’s going to tell you I’ll build you a whole new website, no, it’s got to be done on the same framework   It’s going to be worded across website of course and you also have to leave these urls the same.  This url is still the same unless you do a proper redirect, the easiest method is using the same, same thing with the content and the pictures on the page.  And it is really time consuming for the web developers to do that and many of them can’t pull that off properly, direct.  I’ve done it myself for this website it’s gone through several other editions of websites or variations.  And leaving the content the same and the same url instructions and the same content on the page is rather difficult to do, so whoever you hire make sure they are cut out to do that.

 

The other thing, you were talking about getting more SEO and local optimization, what you need to make sure of number one you have phone numbers for all the area you are trying to target, I think that having an area code that matches the area would be reflective of the area you trying to target, up in the top here would be good, so try to mark a 999 area code, people will recognize that number and call you from that area.  But what you are doing with these blogs post is also really good, doing a Wayne, Pennsylvania, Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania and then doing these story blog post.  I mean you are really doing a great job with the content marketing and such, but I feel like there’s a lot that could be done on the website and hopefully this video will kind a help to do that.  Just want to google ‘Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania,’ soon pop up, the website does not quite number from the top, it’s in the twenty thousands, I got it set to a hundred it’s, I got it set to show a hundred results and here you are down here you should be a lot higher I would expect for Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania, why are you not?   Let me see if I can figure this out really quick while I am here running the video, I might pause it.  I just got a Mac recently, I don’t know how to use it, I’m trying to do source I don’t know why I can’t do it.  Let me look for title tag and see if you wind up, it’s in here.  For some reason google is not indexing this page as the page for Wayne Pennsylvania, whereas it’s indexing your category page.  I would, personally you have to check your canonical urls and such, make sure that all the urls are pointing back to this exact url.  I forgot how I got here, I came through and I clicked this and you can see up here it’s tagging you, this little symbol.  So now it essentially got two different urls so i think that the fact the it is having two different urls are confusing google.  I think if you cleaned up you urls structure to where you avoided things like this, I’m sure your other blog posts are doing it.  That you would probably rank a lot better, since that way all the entries are going to a particular url, a particular page.  And the other thing I would do too is may be go into some of your other ones and do like, some of your other blog post and just go in there and better link and say to add like “You may also be interested in hyperlink this project from Wayne in Pennsylvania.”   Cause you are on the right track with getting these blog post using the location based keywords. But quite frankly before I made this video I popped your url into some of my SEO tool and they indicated that you are a very strong page rank and very strong search matches.  I guess that’s a vague word for describing it, and by the traffic the customers shown to site that is true, but you should be ranking for relatively easy keywords like Hardscaping and Wayne in Pennsylvania, Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania, however I really think you’ve got some issue going on with the urls, you definitely have an issue, but I’d say it’s an important one.

 

So, I hope that helps if you have any questions, post it and I will try to help you as much as I can, try to tell you what I can.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VLOG: On Page SEO For My Local Service Business - coreyphilip.com

VLOG: On Page SEO For My Local Service Business.

I look into an SEO audit and actions for my company.  Transcript below!

Transcript:

Hey everyone I wanted to go ahead and share with you know some on-page SEO tricks. If you’re a small business owner it doesn’t matter which type of business owner from an ice cream shop you know to a book store, to a restaurant SEO is very valuable. I’ve built you know this company that you see on the screen largely on SEO and traffic from online and I kind of love SEO and love doing it and love seeing the results. This is my company website here and like I said it’s been something that’s done well with SEO, gotten a lot of SEO but over the last few months I’ve kind of been slacking on and that happens when you’re a busy business owner, that sounds kind of funny busy business owner but if you’ve ever been a busy business owner you know what I’m talking about. You get tunnel vision, you get stuck on your projects one thing leads to another several months go by and then it’s like shit this SEO thing or whatever you had to do just kind of went to the wayside and it’s kind of lacking. So that’s what’s happened to me on my SEO and I need to step it up.

 

We’ve been doing a lot of content and creating content. When see blog posts here on my screen but it just hasn’t taken off, hasn’t gotten the traction, hasn’t gotten the rankings that we’re looking for. So you know we have you know our main money keyword here which is screen enclosures it’s a rather big traffic keyword in my market but we’re way down on page three or something organically for it and that’s just disappointing, embarrassing I’m not sure. We’ve got an awesome website, we’ve got the best content out there by far for screen enclosures but for some reason we’re on page three it sucks but it’s no one else’s fault but my own. So right now I’m going to nip it in the bud and take a look at what we can do to make it better. Now I don’t focus too much on the off page SEO and link building yes I take links when we get the chance and all that but I really believe that just having a good content, high quality stuff and having the on page format done right is all you need. That’s all Google wants you know get the backlinks like I said when you get a chance, don’t spend a hundred hours you know focusing on backlinks you’re not going to get a hundred hour’s worth of value out of that backlink. So if you get a backlink opportunity you take it but don’t lose any sleep over it.

 

On-page SEO you can control, you’re responsible for it you can do it rather quick or have someone else do it rather quick without much oversight. So with that in mind you know I went ahead and kind of started looking up some plugins you know well not plugins I say plugins because that’s the URL of this website but some programs online to check SEO. Now these programs you know are there to find things and kind of check some points on there. And I went through a lot of programs before I found the two I’m about to show you and these ones just happen to provide the most valuable. And you already see some errors up here. So first one is there’s more than one h1 tag on this page. That’s kind of weird I didn’t think about that heading tags and here’s the page right there, it’s the URL and I’ll come back to this URL in a second but let’s go to it. It’s right here and if we view the page source, view page source 03:28 to control up. Look for the h1 tag now h1 is a heading and it should be used in an order or kind of format towards h1 and then underneath that you have your h2 is in your subtopics or h3’s but in the worst case scenario the website should not have more than one h1 tag. If we did h1 we see there is and it’s got post title, entry title, that’s the blog post title that’s using is h1, that’s fine I will do it again a see if the other h1 tag is and here we see it. Let’s discuss your project ok.

 

That probably shouldn’t be an h1 tag and we come back to our site, go down here and we see on the side this is what it is. It’s in the sidebar let’s discuss your project. Just a little call to action section on the sidebar. There’s no reason for this to be an h1 tag but whoever was doing the coding work on the website put it in there because it fit the formatting that it needed to be so it looks good but behind the scenes it’s not functioning well. I think this is a really big problem too because this is a useless irrelevant h1 tag. So number one we only need to have one h1 tag but number two our second h1 tag is useless and irrelevant and number three the side wall is duplicated across a few hundred pages of blog post content. So not adding any value to the user at all and this could be done using other HTML coding standards. So that needs to be fixed and we need to get these down to just one HTML tag per blog post.

 

Our next up was page title and this one was interesting. There’s more than one HTML title tag on this page ok, let’s check that out, we’ll do a search for the title code and here it is one title and then the other title. So now this title is coming from our SEO plug-in and that’s legit this one I don’t know where it’s coming from but it’s using the blog post title so there is something in the WordPress install is using the blog post title as a HTML meta title and that’s just not good practice. Google says we only need one title and not two and sometimes you know if you search this page you’ll notice that they do come up with two different titles so there’s really no method to the madness is which one is Google’s picking it’s probably confused and that just throws our ranking down the hill, down the drain. So these two things h1 tags and titles blatantly obvious stuff and stuff genuinely affects the user you know we have problem with it. I generally see that affecting our rankings in a negative way. Now there’s a few other things with this little plug-in report and that’s app.plug-in SEO .com you see my screen I’ll highlight it, leave it up there for a second there’s few other things that it points out. Now it also checks images. Images do have all tags and titles you can google that for more information I’m not going to go into it and while not all of the images on the page are optimized for it. The both of the images on the page should be optimized and have our keywords in there. The other thing is file names. Again not every file is going to need the keyword in it. It’s nice for some of them but not necessary for all. You just need to have it sprinkled in there. So you know I’ll go through my page and we’ll check it. You’ll see that most of the file names do have it in there.

 

So come back we’ll go to the actual live page and you know here’s one of the pages we’re trying to rank and you’ve seen the code for it but before we go into why we’re trying to rank this. Let’s look at another problem my website has and this is something that no auditing tool that I’ve seen to point out and tell you, you’re just kind of have to use your own intuition and that is the pages that you’ve been trying to rank. So this one right here is a service page geared for screen enclosures and pool cages. The terms are ambiguous they mean almost the same thing and this is just a page to promote the service that we do where we build these structures. Relatively straightforward but this has been the page that we’re trying to rank and we’re trying to rank this page for screen enclosures, pool cages and also another word pool enclosures which isn’t even mentioned on here and I think this whole thing kind of confuses Google because number one we’re stuffed to the max with keywords and they’re not all consistent. In other words I’m not always using the term screen enclosures I’m not always using the term pool cages and then the internal links and external links that we have coming to this page are coming from a bunch of different anchor text. We have pool cages you know being sent here and links with screen enclosures as the anchor text being sent here and I think that kind of confuses a lot of the Google crawlers. What page is this supposed to be anyway? So I think we’d be best served with one page for screen enclosures and then another page for pool cages.

 

The other thing is this page is kind of weak on written content. I mean it’s got a lot of content this is actually a video if we reload the page you’ll see it play. So there it is right there, video that plays looks nice, shows the actual structure. So the page is pretty engaging but when you get down here we just don’t have a lot of text. We don’t have a lot of words and you know Google really ranks the words and the content length pretty high, the longer is better it reads, the higher it goes, so I’ve seen pages with these you know kind of features as we have them on here. They just don’t seem to rank as well as something that’s long far in content and more novel style. So with that in mind in this video, it’s kind of stuck there, it’s  probably is too good the fact that the video player is showing other videos up here we might need to look into that, anyways I’m going to close this page and just remember the keywords screen enclosures because everything kind of comes back to that.

 

We’ve decided to take the blog posts and optimize them for keywords so we found this blog post is on roof designs for screen enclosures. And we basically rewrote it or didn’t rewrite it but we optimized it for the word screen enclosure. So we get screen enclosures in the title. Screen enclosure in the URL. We got some bolded text around the important points including the word screen enclosures. We’ve got the word screen enclosures in heading tag here and this will be the only heading one tag on the page or heading two tag because this is the heading one. So heading one, heading two and remember as we discussed earlier this thing is also heading one and this is going to get fixed and removed. This whole section will be removed but it just won’t be a heading one tag. So then we’ve also got these images here and you can see the alt text pop up right there screen enclosures with 10:59 roof going over it and this is going to pop up screen enclosure gable roof. So these images have been optimized, so the key images in the body have been optimized as 11:09 names but we’re not going to optimize these little images. So these are the things that the report was fitting out that say should be optimized but quite frankly unnecessary for sidebar content to be optimized and not only that when these sidebar images appear on multiple pages, you can optimize it for every page. So we’re just going to leave them default you know the images in the body and the content we’re going to optimize and they have been optimized. The other thing too is this page is much more long form and has a lot of text to it. A lot of context. You see right there we get a lot of words, there’s a lot to read and we can squeeze a lot onto this page. And if we ever want to add to it you know to increase the rankings we can do that as well. So the goal is now to get this page to rank for screen enclosures and we’re going to do that also by changing all of the internal links, every link for screen enclosures or not every link but most of the links on the page of your screen enclosures are going to get put in here.

 

Now we get our keyword in the title, we got an h1, we get the URL, we get some internal links this page should do pretty well and we’re going to go through and do the page like this or a blog post for every one of our keywords pool cages on some of the other ones re screening stuff like that, do a full long-form blog post and not even worry about SEO to the services page. The customers end up with these services page rather quickly you know one of the first things they do when they land on those pages and read it boom boom boom and they usually always either go to online estimates or services. So they’ll find the services page which looks nice and also our paid traffic gets sent to these services page. For SEO purposes we’re going to optimize the blog posts. Now you know it does take some time to see the results from you know the SEO it doesn’t happen overnight. That is one of the problems with it why nobody likes it. It doesn’t happen overnight but you know I’m very optimistic that these changes will work and we’ll see the results of it. Now my site currently gets a dozen or so on a slow day. I guess and then a few dozen on a busy day you know results so our SEO is already pretty good. We get a lot of traffic to the blog post but this is just to boost it up beef it up fix the problems, get it all taken care of. So I hope that gives you a better understanding of on-page SEO and how it works. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. Thank you

 

 

SEO Advice & Tips For A Local Garage Door Service Company coreyphilip.com

VLOG: SEO Advice & Tips For A Local Garage Door Service Company

 

Here I take a look (unsolicted) at the website of a garage door company.  Based on my experience experience creating successful content marketing and SEO campaigns for my patio construction company I discuss things they could do to to get more paying customers to their website!

Transcript:

Hey, everyone, my name’s Corey here and I wanted to take some time to kind of do something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but just never really got around to it and I was kind of given some S.EO advice, some website advice to people who are looking for it on contractorTalk.com. I caught this thread here, let Me minimize this, I caught this thread with someone here from Sun west garage doors looking for help on paper click or SEO, they say something that I see a lot of and that’s people who are looking for in an S.E.O or P.P.C company but they don’t really know how to judge them, they don’t know what separates a good company from a bad company and they generally don’t know what they’re doing with as S.E.O or P.P.C. So as S.E.O and P.P.C is great if you know what you’re doing with it and there’s a lot of companies out there that will take your money and not really deliver results or not really do anything of value. So fair concern something a lot of contractors struggle with and I see this person you know asking here and figured, what the hell I’ll take a look at their website and see what I could tell him about it and maybe point them in the right direction. I can’t point you in the right direction of an S.E.O. or paper click company but I can tell you what to look for and what works and I think I can help you get some better results out of it. So on that note, you are looking for paper click or S.E.O services or help, I’m going to stick more towards the S.E.O. Paper click is very good, you can get a lot of good results but as you said somewhere here in this post or your other one, It’s expensive in your niche. I think you were saying twenty five to thirty bucks a click. That’s rather pricey, it can work, you can get that cost down, you can get results on it but when you’re just starting out or you’re operating on a limited budget or you don’t really have the website expertise, it’s a challenge. You can waste a lot of money and go for broke on that stuff and get no results.

 

So the first thing you did here was pulled up your website by looking up the name and I see your logo and all that, so pretty sure that this is your website and this what you want to talk about. First thing is your Web site is pretty decent, you’re going to see me keep looking off to my left, I’ve got a monitor on my left where I kind of made some notes of what I was going to talk about here. So, your website it’s pretty decent it’s not a bad web site, it looks professional, and everyone knows what they’re looking at, what they’re expecting when they find this website. The first thing I would suggest is making your phone number a little bit larger up here is kind of small but make it larger so that they know you really want them to call you, your customers know that. The other thing I was suggesting here, would suggest is other than this make an appointment button here, maybe get an estimate, Make an appointment seems a little aggressive, if I want to make an appointment what am I  getting? Let’s see, I’m moving up here, yeah, make an appointment, I don’t really know what I’m getting are you going to come to my house and bill me? Am I going to have to pay a service call charge? I don’t really know, it’s not really too inviting, I just get the first name, last name, phone number and desired date and time. So I don’t know if I’m supposed to pay for this or if it’s an estimated or what’s going to happen. I did catch that you were looking more for emergency services, so I get where you’re trying to go with, “make an appointment”. That said I don’t think make an appointment is quite the best name for it. But again it’s not a killer deal breaker type of thing with the website, it’s just something that I would suggest changing. So let’s see how much traffic your website is getting here real quick and to do that I’m going to go to this U.R.L: semrush.com. The program I’m using to record this is actually covering my toolbar so I can’t really see what’s going on up top but I got to the right Thing and were going to put in your U.R.L, you’re, hold on, SunWestgarage.com and We’ll come back to that page that I had up in a minute. This is a pretty cool website that kind of shows you about how much traffic someone is getting, it’s not exact, actually far from exact, but it can show you the trend, if they’re getting traffic or not. So really not getting a ton of traffic, looks like you took a good crank at paper click at some point but otherwise, your traffic is pretty low. Next thing to do is check is, make sure you’re indexed in Google, to do that we’re going to site: SunWestGarage.com and Forty one results and that’s actually Bing, not Google. I’m using for this video, I’m using Microsoft’s browser, I usually use Chrome but because I had so much content open up on there I just figured it would just be better to do it on a different browser entirely. So here we are, forty five results, OK, so your website’s indexed; that’s really good. Let’s go back to your website here and see where to start.

The service areas: you’re probably trying to draw attention to local service areas for your keywords which I’m guessing are garage doors, garage door repair, and stuff like that. It’s going to be much easier to rank for a service area like, well, Anaheim Hills, Fountain Valley rather than just going for garage doors directly, Going for a service area is good, let’s click on these and see what you’re doing. Anaheim Hills, you got a page here, first thing is this page is very thin, you’ve got maybe two hundred, two hundred words here and if you’re in the market for a new garage door, You don’t want to do that.  Let’s go back to this one and see if it says the same thing, that page doesn’t exist. This page, OK, so it doesn’t have exactly the same text but nearly the same, very similar and again very thin, might not even be one hundred words so I would suggest beefing these pages up, so you have more words for each area on here. Know you’re doing it right by going to each location and saying “Fountain Valley, California garage door repair” if that’s what you’re targeting. You’re doing it right but this page needs to be beefed up and have a lot more content on it, we’ll come back to that in a second. Let’s see how you’re ranking for garage door repair Fountain Valley. Tick tock, ok, that is not an impressive position, one hundred fifteen, so no one is finding you if they’re typing in garage door fountain Valley and it’s probably going to the same across all your other service pages considering they’re very thin. So, I Got a bug crawling on me, what I would suggest doing is beefing up the content that’s on these pages, so rather than just having here a few hundred words or not even a few hundred, this is like one hundred words; you need to beef this page up and get it to at least five hundred words if not close to a thousand. Now, I know it’s kind of difficult to do with these location pages because there’s only so many ways you can fit your keyword and a city and state in there but what I suggest doing is going through and talking about some your projects, even if they’re not really in that area, just kind of forming the story around there, like here’s a garage door repair that we did for Jane: Jane called us one day at four thirty, she said this and this and this about a garage door, we determined it needed this type of repair, the next morning we send someone out, they went through these troubleshooting steps and then they fixed it and now Jane is happy. Maybe tell a story like that for each kind of key word that you’re targeting in this area or each service and beef this up to get a couple hundred words and When I say a couple hundred, I mean minimum five hundred closer to one thousand and once you do that you’ll see this page go up quite a bit.

 

Let’s check some of the more technical S.E.O stuff on this page, so I’m going right click and I’m in Microsoft browser, like I said I don’t know how to view the code on this, let me put this in the chrome real quick. OK, so we’re in Chrome and we let me just go back and show you how I did this. But if you’re on the page and you’re in Chrome, you go right click, View page source going to show you the source code that’s forming this web page up here, first thing I’m going to check for is title and I see it already but I’m going to do a control, F and type in title, let me adjust my screen upwards so you can see it. There we go, OK, I’m going to Look for the [Inaudible 10:20] code, title, So here’s the page title that Google gets to read, very important to have your keyword in there which it looks like you do; garage door repair and then also your area so that’s in the title. Let me see if that’s the same page title from the Web site garage door pair installation complete service, yeah OK, so this isn’t a unique title that you have, it’s just using the page title which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that in fact there’s a lot of Google literature out there from the Google God’s, in particularly this guy called Matt Cutts. He’s the search engine guy Google and he’s kind of their face for everything search engine, so he says it’s not bad to have your titles exactly the same, in fact, he says that your title should be or your title for  S.E.O. should be nearly the same as it is for the page, so this is fine. The next thing we want to look for is description and let’s see if you have it. I’m just going to do, alright, so it’s down here. So you’re using WordPress, I knew that just from the format of your website but you’re using the Yost as S.E.O. plugin, a very good plug in and here’s its code and this is for open graph, this is for like Facebook and social media and stuff but we don’t see one which is just the H.T.M.L. matter description, so you want to look into using Yost and use the matter description feature in there to give this page a unique matter description. Maybe two sentences, about one hundred sixty words telling Google what it’s about and this is going to be the same thing that’s going to actually show up in Google search. So in other words if we did, this, the thing that it actually shows in Google’s results is what the matter description is; It’s showing the title and the matter a description, if you don’t have a matter description set, Google will just pull from the content on your page, which is what it’s doing right now. So you want to look into using your Yost plugin and writing a unique matter description and in that matter description should be the keywords that you’re trying to target on the page and for these location pages: the city and state and the zip code.

 

So a matter description for this page might be “need emergency garage door repair”, a question mark, question mark, “we offer that service in fountain Valley California check us out and call us today to get a free estimate or get service done”. I guess that kind of a bad one but the key things are: two sentences or three sentences, about one hundred sixty words, plug in your keyword and your location area in it and it’s going to be what people see in Google. Google uses these pretty heavily for ranking so it’s very important. So we did title description, let’s check the heading tags, H1 now by default your WordPress site is using the page title for the first heading tag which is not a problem that’s fine. Let’s just go on though and go to the next one each to H2, so we had a bunch of them in here, let me see what we’ve got, OK. Now, these heading tags should be used to format content on the page and kind of arrange it in like hierarchical area, so if you’re writing a blog post just type it up here I’m going to pull another thing on to this page. So you’re heading tags should be something like, H1 page title which is going well, H2: a subtopic and then H3 a point and then you could have more than one H2 or H3, you should only have H1 per page so you’re fine on that, but then you’d want to do something like this and then you can repeat it Like that and it should try to outline the body of your content. Now let’s go back to what you have here, so we see H2 in the code, H2 and what it’s doing is, it’s saying services as your H2. Now let’s see if we can find another instance here and then it’s saying quick, quick links for H2 and then products for H2. So in other words, there are services, this is an H2 tag, no we don’t want to do that. So you have the word services on here quite a bit. Which one is it doing, it’s saying products, products and Facebook, Instagram, OK. See how you have services as one heading to two tags on here, Products in the footer has a heading to two tags, Facebook in the footer has a heading to two tags. This is very I don’t say bad but it’s not good, it’s poor for an S.E.O on page and this is something that’s kind of outside the scope of what you can handle just doing the content yourself in the back end of Word Press. This is probably going to require some changes by someone with some advanced WordPress experience but you’re heading tags should only be up here which I think it’s getting, this is where you’re heading one tag is for the title and then in the body of the content there’s no reason usually to be using a heading tag in the side bar or in the footer like what you have. Whereas you have a heading two the tag here, a heading two tag there, a heading to two there, a heading two tag there, it should only be in Body and the content that you’re using on the page, so you have these heading tags that are highly unnecessary and poor for an S.E.O.. Now the reason why this happens is because it’s just easier for the web designer whoever was building this page to stylize it and to get it to look like what it does and that size and that font but it can be redone using different age TML code that doesn’t have a heading and I suggest doing it. This was actually a problem on my own website and we just fixed it, we had multiple heading two tags in the sidebar, in the footer, just like you do and we fixed it and got some really good results out of it. So you want to like I said, format your content up here, format it, get it longer, type it up, get some good content in there and then use the heading two tags and heading three tags in the actual body of content. That’s going to get you a lot better and the big thing is getting several hundred words on this page. And then let’s see. Oh yeah, the matter description too, you can do that through the Yost plugin which you’re already using. Now there are some other things I wanted to point out to you and that was basically on your content. It looks like you’re on an active blog going on here and you’re going to see more tips, Boom, this is fine, Looks like you’re targeting garage door springs. These posts are pretty good, let’s click on one real quick and view the code on that, again your content here, well it’s not as short as what you had on your local pages, it’s still kind of short, so I’d beefed up to get five hundred words at least and you’re probably right around five hundred words here but you want to get as high as you can a thousand would be good.

 

Another thing too, is you want to post regularly on this stuff. Now it looks like your key word here is maybe garage door problems, you’re going to want to format this, whereas this is your H1 tag I can actually see if it’s using this or this is your H1 or two H1s it’s not advisable to have two H1 on a page and you might have that here.

Nope, you only have one H1 so that’s good. But then you’re going to want to format it up with H2, H3 in here and you want to have your keyword in the H2 and H3 tags. So, in this case, I would say maybe make this an H2 tag make this an H2 tag and do that. The other thing too on theses is to keep posting consistently. This is from twenty fifteen, I know it’s going to sound like a bear, it’s going to sound like a pain in the ass and it’s probably going to sound boring but you need to be posting regularly to get good as SEO results and I’m talking once a week and you need to consistently do that for a few months. So a lot of people just start doing this and they’ll do some work, post a few blog posts and then it fizzles out in three weeks, “Oh that didn’t work”, that’s what they say but no, they just weren’t more persistent enough at it. So like you got September eleventh, twenty-fifteen, what you had six posts they’re all in September eleventh twenty-fifteen, you got a drip these out, do you one a week and plan on doing it for at least six months to really start seeing results.

 

You also want to put them at a descriptions in like I mentioned on Yost earlier about on the what is the local pages, so just like what you do for the local pages, you want to do it for this and then also the link between the posts and here doing it, what is this link to? It’s linked to nothing, not good. Yes, so fix your links and make sure they all link to something [Inaudible 21:06] spring investment, so let’s see where this links go, nothing, dead that page and there’s no other link. So yes, so publish more on your blog, the more you get on those blogs, the more afforded Google will make it seems and get these as long as you can and link between them, so maybe if you’re saying “the lifespan of your garage door springs” maybe turn this into a whole post and do something about how long, what is the lifespan of garage door springs and then talk about each type of garage door spring and how long each type last and then plug in a link to it here, for more information on the lifespan of garage door springs I suggest reading this post here. So let them all link between each other and you’ll certainly start seeing results, be consistent.

Let’s just kind of go over everything I said. So again once more that’s, get your description on all the pages, the matter description and you can do that using Yost. You can make a unique matter description and title for each post using your Yost plugin. Fix the heading tags, you are going to need a web designer to fix this, you don’t need to have heading two tags all over the place so our services do not need to be heading two tags. Beef up the content length on all of your pages, particularly these service area pages and keep posting regularly on your blog and I think you’ll see a lot of results from that.

 

So that’s my thoughts, there is off site S.E.O, link building and all that and I will tell you I don’t do a lot of that. My company website is basically heavily relying on page S.E.O and content. In a niche such as garage doors or any construction services, it’s really hard to get links because to a lot of people they’re very boring and to the customers that you’re trying to get a lot of them you know just don’t want to share stuff about their garage door or the maintenance or something, it’s not really conducive to being sold, so it’s really hard to get a link. So you can spend a hundred hours creating awesome content and writing blog posts or you spend a hundred hours trying to get one link.  I think you’re going to get a lot more value out of creating on page stuff and doing stuff on Page and spending money on pages than you are trying to get links. So that’s my thoughts on it. Your bottom line question of hiring someone, I don’t really think that you need to. I guess it depends on how busy you are, if you’re really busy hire someone to create the content and do that and just keep publishing stuff and get your website up to snuff. If you are not that busy, if you have time then take the advice and the tips that I said to you here, tell you about and do it yourself but either way it should be done and if you just keep consistently doing the things I mentioned you and you will get results, you’ll get some very good results and get the site up to the first page for the words you’re trying to aim for. I Hope that helps you and let me know if you have any questions, I’m real busy but I’ll try to answer, I do lurk on contractor talk quite a bit. Thank you.

Facebook Marketing Even Practical For A Local Service Company

After These Struggles Is Facebook Marketing Even Practical For A Local Service Company?

I’ve been a fan of Facebook marketing for a long time, but had only dabbled in it until recently — as it was simply a low priority relative to other things I had going on in my company.   Recently I stopped dabbling and took a dive into it.  On top of the re-marketing campaigns I have been using with mild success for the last year, I built out conversion campaigns, and lead generation campaigns aimed at turning cold traffic (users who had never seeked out my services) into customers.  I’ve had to learn a lot and try a ton along the way.  The more I learn about it, the more exciting, interesting and appealing it becomes.  The platform lets a local service business like mine reach well targeted customers in a unique way and engaging ways for an extremely low cost.  It technically does the same for businesses of any type but I find that the type of business makes for some challenges.  Challenges that might leave other small business owners questioning whether it’s even worth it or, whether they are doing it right.  Here’s what I’ve struggled with

Over 85% Of Those Seeking Our Type of Services Are Not On Facebook.

Everyone who sells online marketing or has written a book on the subject is going to come out swinging with something to the effect of ‘YES they are, you just haven’t found them yet’.  Let me get to the hard numbers.  

We can all agree that organic Google and Adwords traffic is sending people looking for something about our services to my website.  My website gets around 20,000 unique visitors per month from these sources. According to the Facebook custom audience of ‘all of my website traffic’, only 2,900 people have been tagged by Facebook.  Facebook has identified less than 15% of my website traffic, that’s it!  Of those 2900, over 50% fall into the 65+ age bracket.  If we were running a website on electronic music, that was frequented by millennials, Facebook would likely identify nearly 100% of the traffic.  Starting off from the get go, with this small sample of a customer base leaves a very uninspiring feeling.

Its Hard To Identify Targeted Web Traffic For Re-marketing.  

My company website gets a toooon of traffic from all of the world, as I explain here.  However we just cover a small area in Southwest Florida.  On top of that, a lot of the content marketing traffic is just looking for ‘content’.  They’re looking for how to’s, and ideas — in other words, they can generate no profit.  In many cases they cost us money, as they make calls to our office seeking free advice (I explain more about this problem here).    In order to make the Re-marketing effective, we have to identify users that are actually looking to buy, AND our within our service area.  The best way I’ve found of identifying users looking to buy, is by identifying landing pages that typically lead to sales.  A page that is frequently served as a landing page for ‘my service companies’ would be used for re-marketing.  The second problem is location.  Facebook does allow you to identify users who live in a certain area, however SWFL is a common seasonal location.  Many of whom own houses here and might need our service call another part of the country home.  Using Facebook location targeting will get those that live here, but won’t get those that list a far off city as ‘home’ on their Facebook profile.

Tracking User Behavior & Sales Funnel Is Difficult

One of the big perks of Facebook ads is the ability to quickly and easily get content to prospects at different stages of the sales funnel.  For example for someone with no personal interaction might get just some informative content well written to encourage them to contact us.  Someone else who’s already gotten an estimate needs some content to push them to closure.  It sure sounds great, and isn’t too difficult to set up if you are strictly an ebiz.  It’s a different story though once you have a phone number.  Interactions via phone can’t be tracked by Facebook, so in order to get the people into the right audience on Facebook, we must send them a custom URL (and hope they click) to pages created solely for the purpose of tagging and identifying Facebook users.  This means a lot of time creating pages, and then on boarding staff to get those links sent.

You’re certainly going to want to know which ads and / or campaigns are performing well, and what’s not, so you can make continual improvements, and cut the junk.  The traffic sent to your needs to be tracked for this.  Unfortunately, Google analytics can’t report all the details without customizing the Facebook URLs.  It’s not terribly difficult but takes some time to get set up.

If you’re going for the goal of capturing cold traffic and turning them into leads, tracking their behavior is even more crucial.  When you’re already running multiple campaigns, with multiple audiences, it gets real difficult to tell who is who, and what is what.  For this I’ve found the best solution is to set up a copy of the website, on a sub domain, exclusively for the Facebook traffic.  With this however comes the extra hassle of maintaining 2 separate websites.

Is It All Or Nothing?

The steps I’ve taken to overcome the challenges and run prosperous Facebook Ads are not easy to pull off, and borderline impossible for someone without ‘web marketing’ experience.  I sometimes wonder, would Facebook marketing even be worth it for a small business?  Sure you could outsource it, but in my experience, I couldn’t trust the results.  Even as a the company owner, with high level of experience in development, and online marketing, I still make mistakes and find errors in my data as a result of my implementation.  Get one of those custom URLs wrong in the Facebook ads, and you’ve unknowingly got a mystery in your analytics.  Set up an audience wrong, and you’re whole campaign is useless.   When I have my developer do things, I find even more mistakes in the data from his implementations.  Paying per lead is one option I see.  

The other option, for re-marketing, is throwing one decent ‘dragnet’ campaign over everything.  Say to hell with target audiences and sales funnels, and just re-market to all your website traffic, that lives in your area regardless of where they came from or what they are after. Give them content that keeps your company front and center in their mind, and that presents you as a leader in your market.  This type of campaign could be set up relatively effortlessly and wouldn’t cost you a ton to run, and you would need to rely on intuition to determine how effective it is.  Sure it’s not going to win any marketing awards, and someone will tell you that you can do better, but in all reality it is the most practical option for small business owners.

Internet marketing adventure

Taking My Hands Off… Websites – It’s long Overdue.

My career as an entrepreneur was first started with an ecommerce business.  After I got my first website launched, I found out the hard way, the sales don’t “just happen”.  So then I turned to internet marketing, learning how to get traffic and turn them into customers.  When I started the construction / home service company a few years ago, I naturally set up an awesome website built on WordPress and fine-tuned the gears of our internet marketing plan.  Today, although no longer the single marketing source, the website gets hundreds of visitors per day, many of whom will go on to become customers.  Even as the company has gone from 2 man band, to something much much bigger, I still oversee website and all of its design / functionality required.    I believe strongly that the website needs:

  • Needs to be up 100% of the time.
  • To have flawless design.
  • To have flawless User Interface.
  • Updated regularly.

Pulling those all off, simultaneously, is a struggle.  A struggle that causes many headaches.  Websites, WordPress in particular, is vulnerable to hacking, malware, and auto-updates, all which can shut it down or create major errors.  If the website gets a virus in the middle of the day, which has happened more than once, I need to stop everything I’m doing and get it sorted out.  In other cases, developers working on the website can cause errors or just plain screw it up to the point of uselessness.  Once we even had the hosting account shut us down because we exceeded our sever capacity (there were more than just the one site on the server).  Although we were quick to sort it out on our end, it took the host a few days to reinstate our account, and as such I basically had to migrate servers on the fly.

Design and development work on the site.  That’s a headache.  Notice the use of the word “flawless” earlier in the article.  My design needs to be flawless.  If it has functions to the user, it needs to be flawless.  And you don’t get flawless without high coding standards.  Most developers can’t meet the standards I need, so I need to churn through many developers, just to get things right.  All this needs be off the live site, and out of view from my customers, so I must frequently migrate the site to a development server.  It’s a pain, probably the most remedial task I have right now is migrating my website for development.  However, there’s no one I trust with admin access to the live site.

It’s time for all that to come to an end.  I need to get back my hours so I can focus on growth, not making copies of a website and critiquing shitty development.  The website needs a manager, someone who can look after it as I do, and make decisions for it like I do.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.  My plan is to hire a Virtual Assistant with WordPress experience, and then slowly teach them my ways, and build them up to my standards.  In the end, they will be responsible for all the maintenance tasks of the site.  For larger scale development or design projects, they will responsible for delegating those to those tasks to other developers and supervising them.  I’m also going to work on finding excellent developers that can be relied on for services which you see in this post: The Great Freelance WordPress Developer Search. 

Lead Scoring with Corey Philip

Simple & Effective Lead Scoring With One Simple Question

Consistently creating new content to educate your customers, and establish yourself as a resource is something every small business owner should do.  It brings tons of targeted traffic to your site at a low cost, and differentiates you from your competitors.  Pair that with some simple optimization of your website to capture leads and you’ve got a recipe for lots of inbound inquiries.  Many of your inbound inquiries will be awesome and present a realistic opportunity to earn a customer, but as I’ve explained here, it also picks up a wide swath of inbound inquiries from people looking for ‘how to’ information, to people not inside of your service area.  Something about the content which many will pick up as a ‘willingness to give free advice’, paired with a well optimized website which makes contact seem easy, and friendly, picks up a ton of these inbound inquiries.

The organic google traffic growth to my site since it was launched.

These inquiries are not leads, and while occasionally difficult to deal with and certainly a frustration when you must respond to 20+ per day, they are fairly easy to filter out.  The inquiries you have left over after sending out emails, notifying people that their address 4 states away is out of your service area, or that an engineering consultation will cost is X, are your leads – inquiries who might pay for the value of your services.

Not All Leads Can Lead To Sale

Practically speaking, not all leads are created equal.  Some leads are seeking out as many companies as possible looking for the bottom line number from an unlicensed / uninsured operation, others are a referral from a past customer ready to go, some just want an idea for a property they *might* buy, and others have diligently scoured each page of your website.  As a small business owner with a well-established content marketing, and lead generating website, its not feasible to give each the same amount of attention.  According to Hubspot, 20-40% of sales efforts are wasted on pursuing bad leads that are unlikely to convert.  That’s where we get into lead scoring!

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to each lead based on their demographics, or engagement with your company.  From there sales people can focus their attention on the highest scoring leads.  There are many lead scoring formulas out there, which take into account all kinds of information on the customer, and their interactions with our website, content, emails, etc to generate the perfect score.  Setting this up would require a ton of research and getting systems to integrate flawlessly and then keeping them integrated, not a simple task by any means, unless you’ve got an CRM with this functionality built in such as Sales Force or Hubspot.

My Experience

With over 400 visitors a day finding my field service / trade contracting companies website content, we get no shortage of inbound inquiries to sort through and leads to score.  We need to quickly, and easily be able to identify who is the most likely to buy and get the most of our attention.  Our CRM doesn’t have any built in functionality for lead scoring, nor do I have the time to take on a switch from our current CRM or set up a complex lead scoring system.  Quite frankly, in my opinion all of the complex, formula based, lead scoring systems probably aren’t that much more effective (if at all), than a simpler solution.  I’m a fan of simple.

A Simple, One Question Solution

Have you read our reviews?

After brainstorming and reviewing on our current base of customers, there is one trend that seemed to stick out.  Most of our past customers, had spent time reading our website and all the content AND were familiar with our reputation for quality before they called us, namely because they had read our reviews.  The customers that took the time to research us out beforehand were much more likely to be comfortable with us, and make a decision based on who would be the best service provider, not who had the lowest bid.  Considering there are many people who spend time on our website for information, and don’t really consider the company behind it, we decided that simply asking the question “have you read our reviews?” would reveal the customers who have done their research on us, and are actively seeking a reputable company.  This simple question could not only be put on our website lead capture forms, but it is subtle enough that our phone associates could easily slip it into their phone conversation without sounding like an obvious sales qualification tactic.

The magic lead scoring question with hyperlink to our reviews.

tips for getting an awesome outsourced web developers

Tips For Uncovering Awesome Outsourced Web Developers

Finding a website ‘builder’ for a new site, from a clean slate, is a piece of cake.  It’s even easier if their has never been a live site up and you have no traffic sources or inbound links.  Getting work done on a live website is a whole different animal.  A mean, mean, animal.  If you’re going to have a website that breathes, you will sooner or later need to cross paths with this animal.  You’re breathing website will need updates, you’ll want things changed, you’ll need pages redesigned.  Getting this stuff done on a live website is no easy task.  I’ve outsourced well over 100 development project and I’m continuously frustrated with finding excellent developers.

In the process of having work done, you need to make sure of two things

  • That your website remains up and fully function during the process.
  • That the development work is ‘functions’ with the rest of the site and is up to par.

Keeping these two things in check is a headache in itself.  I find most developers just do a ‘quick & dirty’ implementation on the work, most likely because they lack the skills.  This leaves you with a site that has more problems than when you started.  It’s an extremely frustrating situation.

Here’s what I do:

  • Never let new developers work on a live site. If it is their first time working for you and you are not 100% comfortable in their abilities, set up a development copy of the website.  Let them do their work on the development site, and then copy the website from development to live site.  This will save you from the ultimate headache of having your website down when customers are trying to surf (your site).  Its happened to me, and I’ve lost countless dollars as a result.
  • Make A Specific List of Tasks and Standards for the project ad (on Freelancer, Upwork, Codeable, etc) Literally spell out every detail that needs to be done, line by line as if you are writing a checklist for an airplane operating manual. Then come up with standards regarding the quality of work.  The standards are crucial as many Freelancers will do a hack job in which their project is ‘completed’ but they create other problems on the site.

    My typical development standards for outsourced projects.

  • Make a Screen cast video. Task list and conditions can be rather difficult for anyone to fully understand and rarely clearly communicate the full scope of work.  Just try reading some job postings on Freelancer.com and you will see what I mean.   It is extremely helpful to make a screen cast video explaining, and talking through the entire project.  This makes it easier for Freelancers’ to understand your requirements, and help get more accurate bids.  I make the screen cast videos easily using a totally free program called Screen-Cast-O-Matic.

Tip: In the video tell the freelancers watching the video to let you know in their bid posting.  This helps filter through those just placing a random number in there.

  • Invite Excellent Freelancers To Your Project. The best freelancers, the ones you want, don’t go looking for projects.  In other words, the good freelancers are too busy to look at project listings.  You’ll need to find them.  com has a good filtering tool which allows you to filter through profiles and find the top rated people for each project.  Then contact them directly asking them to bid on your project.  Most of them will bid your project if asked, but otherwise would’ve never found it.  This gets you in touch with a top notch talent.
  • Go With Us OR European Developers. Yes many developers are from Asia, and I do run the risk of sounding prejudice, but my experience has been that US and European developers tend to take a more holistic approach to the project, pay more attention to detail, and test things before delivering.
  • Chat before hand. Before hiring anyone for any task, I always make sure to do a Skype video chat and usually screenshare.  This allows me to assess my Freelancers’ communication ability so I am sure I am not just getting someone typing in “I understand” and “no problem”.  This cuts down on a lot of miscommunication and poor hiring decisions.  Despite my regular chats though, many Freelancers’ still fail to Perform.
  • 1 Chance Only For Revisions/corrections. I’ve gone through multiple rounds of feedbackand revision for things that should be clearly obvious deficiencies for anyone capable.  Its frustrating and time wasting.  Now I only give one chance. Once you’ve got some work done, take the time to review it and give your freelancer one round of feedback.  If they can’t take care of it after 1 round of feedback, end the project, get back what money you can move on.
tips for getting an awesome outsourced web developers

Why Outsourcing Web Development Is Not As Easy As You think

I’m a firm believer that ever contractor, home improvement, or home service business, large or small needs to have a functioning website that ‘breathes’ for effective marketing.  It doesn’t need to be remarkably fancy, or award winning, just a website that looks modern & professional, is kept current and is updated regularly with new content.  It sounds easy, but in all actuality, it is harder than it sounds.  Getting the modern & professional website is the easy part.  Its not uncommon to find a contractor’s website that looks great down to the last pixel, but still has ‘Lorem Ipsum’ in the footer.  Keeping it up to date and adding content is the struggle.  Even as an experienced webmaster, who’s been very successful with content marketing, adding content is low on my priority list in between playing salesman, accountant, project manager, and wearing all of my other hats.  Even worse is dealing with the site design changes, such as making the contact form more user friendly, or installing an SSL encryption.  These things require coding, which I can do, but spending hours coding, or troubleshooting CSS is among the most ineffective uses of my time.   So I outsource it.

Outsourcing it however is a mess of its own.  It seems easy to hire a freelance web developer on a platform like Freelancer.com and say “here’s what I want done”, but 99 out 100 times, it flops.  Hard.  What you will get is half ass, sloppy work that solves the specific issue or technically implements the change, but then fucks up something else on the website leaving you with another problem.  It almost seems as if they don’t test their own work.  I’ve got extremely high standards and my contractor website gets 500+ visitors a day – it needs to be flawless.  I don’t have time for baloney.  As a business owner with customers visiting your website, you don’t either. Knowing this, you need to set up a development site to try the freelancer on – which takes time.  If you don’t know how to set up a development site, forget outsourcing.

Now you might think that I’m only hiring cheap freelancers and/or not paying them enough.  Fair thought.  I’ve had that thought too, and went for more expensive developers, but the results were no better.  It was a simple hit or miss on what I got.

With low cost freelancers, and likewise few reviews you run the clear chance they just lack the skills.  With higher cost freelancer, and like wise many reviews, it seems that they just don’t care.  Likely they’re so busy they’ve got a team banging out tasks without much care, or they’ve somehow ran across clients without top notch standards (admittedly I have high standards).

That said I have found a few diamonds in the rough.  Two freelancers I’ve found, can do anything I throw at them, with due care and careful testing.  One based in the US and one based in Pakistan.  Surprisingly, their hourly rate is about the same.   Being outstanding developers, who can deliver high quality work, means they generally have a full plate.  Their often workload is typically out several weeks, and they naturally have to delay response times to ‘small fixes’.  Like everyone else, I want instant gratification, and these website changes are intended to ultimately increase profitability, so I occasionally go on the hunt for other developers.  I usually strike out.

The time I spend searching for excellent developers is ridiculous.  I post a detailed job brief.  Make a project scope screencast video.  I interview them on skype.  Then set up a development site.  Then (here’s where it gets shitty) review their work.  I shouldn’t have to go beyond this point but sometimes there is a miscommunication, so I give a chance to fix.  After that, if it is not done to my standards, I cut my losses and move on.  I’m currently looking for a solution to this problem.  One option seems to be Codeable.  Codeable is a platform which prequalifies their candidates for development knowledge and skill.  The developers bid on the project, but rather than letting you select a bid, it averages their bids and you pay the same price no matter who you choose.  The Codeable prequalifying process claims to weed out 98% of applicants which is intended to insure high quality work.  The downside is their cartel like bidding process doesn’t inspire price competition so rates are likely to be high.  Of course, time is money and if it save me time and headache so I can focus doing things to make my field service company grow, it’s worth it.  I’m also looking at revamping my qualification process for freelancers, which I intend to write a post about at a later time.

unspoken-costly-problem-content-marketing-contractor

Many Calls, Few Customers: The Problem With Content Marketing For Contractors

Back when I started my contracting company in 2012, I made an active effort in content marketing.  I created valuable blog posts, videos, and information, and flooded the internet with it hoping people would find it, connect with my company and hire us.  It worked.  Our website currently gets around 400 visitors a day.  Content marketing is one of our primary marketing sources.  Some customers even tell us that our content was the differentiating factor between us and a lower bid.

Behind All This There Lies One Huge Problem With Content Marketing.

We are a local service business.  We provide services, for a fee, within a range close to our offices.  Our content is found by people all around the world.  They find our content, think we have nothing to do but help them, with free advice.  Others think we sell materials.  Other expect us to make an exception for them and travel several hours outside of our service area.  Here are some examples of the calls we get:

“When you have a 29 foot span, and a 9’ post that’s 3 inches thick, what is the minimum size the beam can be, in Okeechobee (a few hours away)?”

In this case, the caller is just looking for information.  They’ve seen all our content, and think we’re just here to help.  Calls like this we offer to “consult with our engineering for $250”.  We’re never had anyone take that offer.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love helping people, and I believe businesses should add value, but their needs to be mutual value.  Afterall, nobody expects to talk to a shrink for free.

“Id like to get a quote for  ____________.   I am in __________ (city several hours).”

This caller is several hours outside of our service area and they expect us to serve them.  For some odd reason, it never occurred them when they were dialing a non local number, and they looked at our service area map, that they were outside our area.  Even after politely letting them know they aren’t happy with our answer.

“I’d like to order a _________________ (random material)”

This caller wants to order materials from us.  For some reason they think we ship materials.  Realistically speaking, these customers are looking for some unique item, that they cannot find anywhere else and they are not willing to pay more than $5 for, so they are calling just hoping that maybe we’ll decide to get into the business of selling and shipping odd low quantity materials.

Now understandably, every business gets baloney, no value, calls like these, but the sheer number of inbound inquiries we get from content marketing is astoundingly high.  Over 25% of our inbounds fall into the ‘no value’ category.  Handling this level of inbound baloney inquiries, over 20 per day, mathematically equals the cost of at least 1 full time employee around 40k per year.   If you’re a small trade contractor, it would be tough to handle all these.

The people that make these inquiries aren’t pleasant either.  The type of person who is strictly looking for free advice, or cheap materials isn’t the friendliest.  They insist on speaking to manager when we tell them they are outside of our service area, or yell and demand that we just “answer their question”.  I’ve trained my staff on how to handle them as best as possible, but when it is ¼ of phone calls you receive, the consistent berating begins to demoralize the environment.

In an effort to curb these no value inquiries, we put the following notice on our content pages, however it made no difference (the hard numbers show a slight increase in no value inquiries).

On every article on our website letting people know what we do, and where we are located. It is seemingly ignored.

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, a content marketing guru, noticeably has the phone number very hidden on his company website.  Rather than have it highly visible in the header, or on the ‘contact us’ page, it is way down at the bottom, in the footer.  In my opinion, his objective is clear; don’t call — make a contact form inquiry.  Considering my business does a lot of service calls, where the first company they can find a phone number for gets the project, I don’t see this being a solution.

Besides the phone number, Mr. Sheridan has also made a radical change to his business model.  He took his company from pool builder, to pool manufacturer (and still builder).  This is allows hims to capitalize on all the traffic he gets from his content  (many many more times what my website gets).  For now though the best use of my time is focusing on our current business model — not eloping with an additional on.  It looks like I’ll just have to grin & bear it for a bit.