This morning, I’m reflecting on the fact that 12 years ago today I incorporated Five Talents Ventures into a new business. Around that time we started to help other firms to get customers, which evolved into a focus on getting roof leads.
So this morning I want to share my reflections on Internet marketing after 11 years of working up to my neck in the industry. I opened the business on 8/08/08 and am aware that most people don’t make it this far.
In helping small business owners to acquire customers from the Internet, thousands have come and gone. Names that were bigger; firms that were larger than mine with more staff are not here anymore.
Roof Leads – How Do You Define “Results”?
I’d like to think it’s because of our results. Very few have produced the results that we have.
So one key to being in business for 12 years is to learn some things along the way. So here are five things that I can say I’ve learned that I think are worth sharing.
- People do business with people. Not machines, computer, etc. The relationships that you build in a business manner. Think about it; only on very rare occasions where we’ll do business with someone that we truly do not like. So that’s a factor. If you are not liked or respected by the people you’re trying to do business with, your results are suffering.
- If your business is new or unknown, I’m probably going to choose to exclude you from my search almost immediately. There are a half a dozen telltale signs that you are either brand new or have limited experience. You lack irrefutable proof that you are truly qualified to take the job that I’m offering, complete it correctly and give me a wonderful experience. So I’m probably going to exclude you.
- 80% of all purchases today involve online research. People are picking up their phone, they’re picking up their tablet; they’re sitting at their computer. And they are checking you out before calling, writing or listening to your pitch. Don’t think you’re going to escape it. Most people are going to look and if they don’t like what they see, you lose, which leads me to the fourth thing I’ve learned…
- Your first impression matters. You have about five seconds before they decide whether or not to continue reading about you. Okay? And if you’re excluded, it’s game over. You can’t get them back. Subliminally they’ll remember your name and they won’t come back.
- This is maybe the most important thing that I’ve learned. Regardless of what we’ve been told over these years, regardless of what we want to be true, customer acquisition isn’t free.
Sadly, Contractors Who Chase Free Roof Leads Are Failing
See, I remember thinking that the Internet was going to open up this playing field in which I didn’t have to compete against the guy whose business is 50 times my size on television. I could go to the Internet and I can win the same prospect and I didn’t have to spend any money to do that.
Well, there are only a handful of companies that control your access to the Internet and none of those places are free or operate as non-profits. So to believe today that you can acquire customers in any sort of systemized fashion without paying for advertising online or offline is an enormous head fake. You’re wasting your time, you’re wasting your efforts and, and regardless of what you’re being told, it’s never going to work.
The Internet Was Completely Rebuilt Last Year – Did You Change Your Efforts?
I should also mention we also have a totally different Internet than the one that we had 12 years ago. This one is almost 100% mobile friendly and it runs on deep science and artificial intelligence. Google is very much in tune with the world that we live in, and it’s possible that you’re not able to keep up. This means that your skill and marketing in getting contractor leads needs to evolve.
What I mean by that is you can skip most SEO anymore. Pay attention to how your pages are optimized. But don’t spend a lot of time listening to, reading about or being focused on search engine optimization. Google’s artificial intelligence is presenting the results to people who search that Google has decided are the best. It’s doubtful you can “beat Google” at the game.
Next, don’t waste time building backlinks anymore. Site Authority is a factor. I will not be quoted as saying that site authority doesn’t matter. It does. When all things are equal, if you have more authority, meaning you have more great backlinks, then your site will outrank mine.
But there are about 200 factors that Google is looking at and your backlinks used to be as much as 75% of that formula. Now it’s down to around 25% of the formula. It’s a tiny fraction of what it used to be.
Don’t Place Your Hopes In Social Media Marketing
Going further, social media marketing, especially on Facebook, we’ll never deliver quality leads at a decent (ROI) return on your investment. There are a number of reasons for that. For one, Facebook’s very expensive on getting eyeballs to look at your offer. I don’t blame them either because you’re trying to sell something in a place where people are hanging out, relaxing, so they’re going to charge you premium dollars for that.
But the bottom line is that social media, especially Facebook is not going to win a lot of business.
You Can Safely Skip The “Lead Gen” Guys and Gals
Here’s another… shared lead sources are a waste of time and money. You see when somebody fills in the form that at Porch or Houzz or Home Advisor, they’re not really looking for a roofer. They’re certainly not looking for the best roofer. They’re looking for a low price on the roof work that they know they need.
If you want to live in a world of people who have no loyalty and are simply on the search for low price, then do shared leads.
Otherwise, you’ll never make it work long term.
As Google’s artificial intelligence continues to run the search giant there’s another factor I think you should ignore at your peril. AI will clearly show us all what they meant when they said that there are too many roofers to choose from. We might find that it’s true.
You see, they (Google) know about all the headlines. Google sees reports of roofers stealing from prospective customers. They know about the poor quality work that gets reported. They see the one-star reviews and they do not like it. Bottom Line? Google is not at all concerned about your roofing business.
Google’s Concern? Their Search Customers
And if a search customer finds your business — buys from you and has a terrible experience, they might take that out on Google by going somewhere else to search next time.
Since Google wants its search customers coming back and they’re not gonna let you and your work results get in the way of that. This means it’s in their interest to promote honest companies and bury the bad ones.
So don’t be surprised if when this whole thing unfolds if there are maybe five or 10 roofers that exist in a market that you could actually find. All the rest of them may still have websites, but you won’t find them. There’ll be buried deep in the search results because Google doesn’t want you clicking on them. Google doesn’t want you buying from those people. And when they come out against you, boy you’re in trouble.
What Today’s Roofer Should Do Instead
So the only play today for a serious contractor is to commit to doing nothing but Five Star Work and to commit to a process that gets your happy customers to tell others. This by itself can generate lots of roof leads for you.
Our process, we call it Top Performer Positioning, has led roofers to level up. I’ve got one client who was doing $2.5 million and he jumped to $8.6 million in about nine months. That’s life-changing stuff.
Another, (until he retired in 2018) had 30 plus keywords in the Houston market that he was ranked #1 for. He also had about 20 more keywords that he was listed first in the Google map. Total domination of the Houston market.
A third just told me a few weeks ago that: “You’ve catapulted my business two years ahead of my competitors in only one month”. Have you ever said that to any of the SEOs that you’ve worked with?
Another is currently doing so well they’re positioned in the southeast New Jersey and Philadelphia market and they get a shot at almost every commercial roofing job that gets bid in the area.
So here’s my summary on all this.
The Internet’s changed and you might not have changed enough to keep up. Customer acquisition, aka getting roof leads, has changed and if you don’t change, you won’t keep up.
You are probably losing more sales today than you know. And neither of us can do anything about it until we know if that is true for you or not. I created a system that I consider to be a “Lost Sales Analysis” tool and during my market test of it, I’m offering you access to this for free.
It’s not a standardized report, instead, it’s a scientific way of looking at your business and looking at your website. This is not a site audit. More accurate would be to say that this is a deep dive into your “first impressions”.
Having a third person look at your website with fresh eyes can make a huge difference. Since this involves a lot of my time to create these and to send them to you, I could easily state the value of this is $1000. But if you were to visit my page today, click on the link in this column and request a copy while I have the market test running your cost will be nothing. We’ll do it for you for free.