Professional Website Design

Is Your Website Out of Date? 18 Benefits of Upgrading to a Professional Website Design

Is your business website going the distance for your home improvement contracting company? If you rely on do-it-yourself site design like many small business owners, chances are that it isn’t even coming close. Through my many years in the digital marketing sphere, I’ve seen it again and again: Despite having an active site, general contractors fail to see results – and it’s usually because the site hasn’t been professionally designed. Don’t just take my word for it, though; read on to learn 18 benefits of professional website design for contractors.

The Statistics Don’t Lie – A Website's Design is Crucial for Marketing a Business Effectively

When it comes to effective Monterey Bay contractor marketing, having a professionally designed website is absolutely vital. Here are some statistics that I dug up to show you why:

  • 94 percent of consumers cite poor design as the top reason for not trusting certain websites
  • People form an opinion about a website in 10 seconds or less
  • Two out of three people prefer to read content that is beautifully designed
  • Consumers take an average of just 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a website – and the company behind it
  • 38 percent of consumers say they will leave a website if its design isn’t attractive

18 Top Benefits of Investing in Website Design for Contractors

The above stats just scratch the surface of how important a professionally designed site is for any business – including contractors like plumbers, electricians, landscapers, renovators, builders and roofers. Without further ado, here are my top 18 reasons for investing in professional site design and website management:

1. First Impressions Matter

When someone needs contracting services these days, Google is sure to be their first stop. Even if your site appears in the SERPs, however, it won’t do you much good if it doesn’t make a great first impression immediately. Given that 48 percent of consumers cite site design as a top credibility factor, this isn’t just about dazzling people with a stylish site – it’s also about demonstrating your company’s legitimacy, credibility and authority. Remember: Merely getting someone to land on your site isn’t enough; you also need to present them with a website that makes them willing to stick around for a while.

2. A Unique, Quality Design is Crucial

If you rely on generic templates and do-it-yourself web design solutions, your contracting website is certain to look the same as countless others. It will also come across as amateurish. In today’s competitive business climate, no business can afford to skimp when it comes to the design of its website. Having a unique, high-quality website is a must.

3. Reliability Means Fewer Headaches

When a website isn’t professionally designed, it is apt to experience technical issues on a regular basis. Since your site acts as your virtual representative, it needs to be functioning and available when people find it. With a professionally designed business site, you’re far less likely to deal with website downtime and other issues that can alienate prospective customers.

4. Providing a Great User Experience is a Must

Today’s internet users are savvier than ever – and they don’t like to be kept hanging by slowly loading websites. The user experience that your website provides plays a critical role in any prospect’s journey toward becoming a paying customer. According to HubSpot, 47 percent of users expect a website to load within just two seconds. On top of that, reducing site loading times from eight seconds to two seconds improves conversion rates by a whopping 74 percent. With professional design services, your site will load faster, be easier to navigate and will help push people along the sales journey instead of scaring them away.

5. Clean Code Means Better Results

When you put together a website yourself with templates, plugins and third-party tools, the resulting code is guaranteed to be messy. Amateurly designed business sites tend to have code that is positively choked with CSS, JavaScript, HTML frames, Flash and other elements that reduce load times and cause other issues. Worse still, Google has stated that code quality is an important ranking factor. When you hire someone to handle digital marketing for home improvement contractors for your business, you can rest assured that the code that they produce will be clean, effective and SEO friendly.

6. You Need a Professional Design to Compete Effectively

Regardless of the type of contracting or home improvement company that you operate, it’s sure to face fierce competition. Surer still, your chief competitors have already likely invested in professional design services for their websites. Indeed, 73 percent of companies have invested in design just to differentiate their brand. If you don’t bother to do so yourself, you’re basically handing business over to your competitors.

7. A Professional Site is a Scalable Site

Even if you manage to cobble together a basic website for your home improvement firm, the work doesn’t end there. Web design technologies and trends constantly evolve, so website updates are a fact of life. Updating one that is barely functioning in the first place is difficult at best – or you might just fail to keep up with those updates, causing technical issues that push people away. With professional site design for contractors, your site will have a strong foundation that allows it to be updated and expanded as needed with minimal effort. With website management, which is usually included, you won’t have to worry about it at all.

8. Mobile Friendliness is Imperative

More people access the internet through mobile devices now than ever. Without the right technical know-how, your odds of designing a site that works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop are woefully slim. Professional website designers use responsive web design that allows sites to load correctly regardless of how they are being accessed, allowing you to seamlessly reach prospects whether they are on a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. In fact, 68 percent of businesses that adopt responsive website designs see increases in sales.

9. Brand Identity and Consistency Starts with a Quality Design

Your contracting business’s website should be the hub of your digital marketing efforts. When done correctly, quality design can help you to enhance brand identity and to create consistency across all platforms. With a professional design, everything from your site’s graphic design elements to its content will be geared toward telling people about your company and brand. This not only appeals to human users, but it helps to demonstrate to search engines like Google what your contracting business is all about – and that helps with ranking in the SERPs big-time.

10. Seamlessly Designed Sites Convert More Leads

In years past, a website that was little more than an online brochure would often suffice. Today, a company’s website plays a key role in the buying journey – so it’s wise to hire professionals to design it. As mentioned earlier, doing so boosts the user experience, which is a key determining factor in pushing visitors toward conversion. Furthermore, a modern, professionally designed business site addresses visitors’ pain points and guides them effectively toward reaching out to your company for help – and that can have a very positive effect on revenue.

11. Good Design Keeps People Coming Back

When seeking home improvement services, people don’t always make their decisions right away. Many times, a prospect will refer to the same site multiple times to inform their decision – but they’re not likely to do that if the site in question doesn’t inspire trust. Quality design plays a key role in keeping people coming back to your business website, and it can also even inspire them to leave positive reviews for your company. Those reviews serve as effective word-of-mouth marketing and are akin to a gift that keeps on giving.

12. Effectively Designed Websites Have Lower Bounce Rates

Many years ago, companies based the effectiveness of their websites on how many “hits” they received. Since then, of course, we have learned that attracting a prospect to your site is just the first step. You need to keep them there long enough for them to head toward conversion, and that can’t happen without professional design services. The rate at which people visit then immediately leave a site – the bounce rate – is a key performance indicator, and it pays to keep it as low as possible for effective digital marketing for home improvement contractors.

13. Excellent Site Design Saves Business Owners Time

If you handle Monterey Bay contractor marketing yourself, you also assume the responsibility of keeping it up and running. This can be a job in and of itself – especially for amateurs who don’t understand the intricacies of modern site design. When you hire a company to design your contracting business website for you, it’s tested thoroughly before going live. If glitches do arise, the digital marketing agency addresses them. In many cases, effective site design can even save you from fielding as many phone calls and the like, saving you even more time.

14. Professional Design Services for Websites Saves You Money

Imagine how much money your business would lose if people found locked doors or inept employees when visiting in person. Well, the same phenomenon occurs when they encounter a poorly designed website. Every prospect that is lost through bad web design is a missed opportunity and can cost you dearly. On top of that, since website management is rolled in with design services most of the time, ongoing maintenance is handled for you. Therefore, paying someone to do it for you reduces overhead.

15. Effective SEO Hinges on Professional Design

You probably already understand the importance of SEO for home improvement contractors. Did you realize, however, that quality site design plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of your SEO efforts? As noted previously, Google has gone on the record to say that code quality is a ranking factor. On-page elements like header tags and anchor text all play a big role and are directly impacted by how a website is designed. Furthermore, the right digital marketing agency can create an SEO strategy that is bolstered by the design of your site and vise-versa, creating a cycle of continual improvement.

16. Local SEO Works Better with Professionally Designed Sites

As the owner of a Monterey Bay contracting business, you need local prospects to find you. Local SEO is an excellent way to make this happen, but it works better when a site is professionally designed. That’s because professional web designers know how to incorporate important local SEO indicators into the design of a site, increasing Google’s ability to identify its service area and improving its ranking in the local SERPs.

17. It’s a Worthwhile Investment

It’s natural to balk at the initial investment that goes into professional, high-quality site design services. However, you need to consider the big picture. Most significantly, paying for professional design services now can help to boost revenue for years to come. It can give you a crucial edge over your competitors, helping you to convert more prospects into customers and broadening your customer base. It also results in fewer technical issues, letting you focus on running and growing your business.

18. Professional Site Design is a Complete Digital Marketing Solution

When you hire a firm to design your website, you aren’t just getting an attractive and appealing site; you’re also getting a complete digital marketing solution. Everything from graphic design to SEO to content and social media marketing is usually included, so you can truly put your website to work for you instead of the other way around.

How Does Your Website Stack Up?

Now that you’ve learned the 18 benefits of professional site design, are you still happy with your current website? Whether it’s one that you designed yourself or one that was professionally designed years ago, your Monterey Bay home improvement business is certain to benefit in countless ways from a professionally updated and designed website. Which aspects of quality site design do you think will help your contracting business the most? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement contractors, we can help! Coastline Marketing Group can answer your questions about Google Ads, Website Design, Paid Advertising, Social Advertising and more. Please contact us today to learn more about how to grow your contracting business online.

 

Article by Phil Fisk

CEO, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.

831-789-9320

 

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web


Social Media Marketing for General Contractors - Where to Begin

Social media can intimidate many small business owners - especially home improvement contractors. It can seem daunting when searching for where to begin marketing on social platforms. Congratulations on taking the first step - research. All social media marketing strategies should be planned and intentional.  

If your business is not currently utilizing social media - it should be. In fact, social media should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Taking advantage of social media will establish brand awareness for your company, allow you to connect with customers, and increase sales. 

Local businesses such as roofers, painters, plumbers, and other types of home improvement contractors have an advantage on social media compared to larger corporations for several reasons, including the ability to connect intimately with your local community. With the right strategy in place, you could be dominating your competition on social media.

→ DIGITAL MARKETING FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES & CONTRACTORS

WHY IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IMPORTANT?

BRAND AWARENESS

Brand awareness is the most common reason companies join the social media world. Social media boosts your company’s visibility and provides a wide reach of potential customers. It can bring customers to your storefront and inform customers of the services you offer. Users can share your profile, photos, and even webpage to their social network. If you have compelling content, your content has the potential to be shared to thousands of internet users. This is how some people “go viral” online.

If any of your competitors have a business profile on social media but you don’t, they are already reaching customers that you are not. Platforms such as Facebook allow the user to search for local businesses and reviews similar to a Google search. If you do not have a Facebook business profile set up, no one will be able to find your company using this feature.

With a business profile, you are able to control the image you set for your company. You get to determine how customers view your brand. Are you a quirky company, quick to engage with customers, or is your company more intentional and collected online? The choice is yours, but make sure to keep your company’s voice consistent. 

→ DIGITAL MARKETING FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES & CONTRACTORS

CREATE TARGET AUDIENCE

Building your company’s target audience is a critical step to a lucrative sales funnel. Social media is key in creating a target audience. You are able to select and capture the attention of local leads who are interested in services you offer. Just by choosing which social media platforms to market, you are narrowing your target audience. You are also more likely to only have interested leads visit your social page which is helpful in establishing warm, quality leads. Once you 

 

YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE ONLINE

Nearly 72% of Americans used social media in 2019, and if you believe that it is mainly the younger generations online, you are mistaken! Over 39% of people aged 65 and older are using a social media platform, 69% of people 50 to 64 years old, and 82% of people 30 to 49 years old. This means that your potential customers - of all ages - are using one or more social media platforms. Do these statistics surprise you?

Additionally, 90 percent of companies that actively utilize social media to connect to customers claim that these efforts helped increase online exposure to their business. Social media is also used as a leading traffic source to bring customers directly to your website. You can post your latest blog, recent customer installations, and new services directly to your customers. 

→ DIGITAL MARKETING FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES & CONTRACTORS

ADVANTAGES OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

AFFORDABLE

Did you know that claiming a business profile on most social media platforms is free? No matter what your budget is, there is room for social media in your business’s marketing plan. Engaging with your customers is inexpensive and a great way to connect and build relationships. If time is on your side, consistently posting organic content and blogs from your website is ideal. 

Even advertising on social media can be affordable. Most sites do not require any set up fees to advertise, but instead operate on a pay-per-click plan. This means that you only pay for results from your advertising campaigns. You can even set a spending budget and not pay a dime over what you plan.

 

INSTANTANEOUS

Social media provides the opportunity to connect with your audience instantaneously. If you have a new service or sale you want to inform your customers of, it takes only a moment to create a post. It is much simpler than shooting a commercial or designing a billboard, both of which are both costly and complicated compared to social media. You can instantly respond to messages sent via Facebook messenger, tweet responses as your company, and comment on LinkedIn posts.

 

WHERE TO BEGIN

CHOOSE A PLATFORM

You may be asking, with so many platforms to choose from, how can you be sure to pick the right one? The list starts with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but it doesn’t end there. All social sites have a unique set of features that could potentially benefit your business. However, that does not mean that each social platform would be a perfect fit for reaching your target customers. Conduct thorough research on each social media site to identify which platform will be worth your business’s time and money. 

 

PAID ADS OR ORGANIC?

Small businesses ask themselves this question all the time. My response is, take advantage of both! Engaging online demonstrates to your customers that you are involved and interested in them. It is a wonderful way to build relationships within your community. You can share photos of successful customer projects - think before and after photos. Businesses can highlight achievements and awards, showcase positive reviews, and even host a Q&A session. The possibilities are endless, get creative!

Paid advertising should not be overlooked; in fact, it is arguably more important than organic posts. Social media advertising can target your ideal customers and drive traffic directly to your website or even storefront. By targeting demographics, you are hand-selecting the type of customers you are wanting to reach and thus removing and not paying for unqualified leads. 

In addition to reaching the ideal customer, you are also able to take advantage of retargeting leads. For example, the Facebook pixel communicates with your website to track leads who visit your website from Facebook ads. Then, you can create campaigns that retarget the same leads and increase the number of times your ad is seen by an individual. This is valuable because the more your ad is seen, the more likely a lead is to think about your brand and choose your services the next time he needs them.

 

CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR

Once you have chosen your platforms and decided your social media marketing strategy, you will want to create a content calendar. Staying organized and consistent with social media marketing is key. Carefully calculate a mix of promotional, educational, and engaging content to attract and maintain a large, invested audience. You should also plan to post at the most popular times.

 

In Summary

If social media marketing still seems intimidating, you aren’t alone. The social sites are constantly changing and it can be a challenge to stay on top of current trends. Without experience, you are likely wasting precious time with your efforts. Fortunately, I have over 15 years of experience working with social media advertising. Throughout the years, I have helped hundreds of Monterey Bay area businesses like yours succeed their digital marketing goals. Give me a call today to learn more about social media marketing for your business.

 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement contractors, we can help! Coastline Marketing Group can answer your questions about Google Ads, Website Design, Paid Advertising, Social Advertising and more. Please contact us today to learn more about how to grow your contracting business online.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-789-9320
Book A Consultation

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Take Advantage of Google Maps and Attract More Customers in the Monterey Bay Area

If there’s one thing to know about digital marketing for general contractors in the Monterey Bay area, it’s the importance of effective Google Maps marketing. Put simply, this refers to using the functionality of Google Maps to make your local business easier to find.

Of the many strategies that I’ve seen come and go through my experience of more than 15 years in digital marketing, I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to rank well on Google Maps. Some top advantages of achieving a high ranking on the popular format include:

  • Increase the trustworthiness of your business
  • Attract local searchers -- online searches are their go-to resource
  • Enhance overall local SEO efforts, including through links back to your site
  • Stake a claim to your business so your competitors can’t
  • Receive more online reviews of your business – a crucial ranking factor
  • Improve the visibility of your brand through visual Maps aspects like logos and photos
  • Prove to locals that your business exists – it essentially won’t unless you claim it on Google Maps
  • Ensure that accurate information about your business is displayed online
  • Take advantage of a cost-effective and very powerful digital marketing tool

The Local 3-Pack and Its Effects on Ranking on Google Maps

Before delving into strategies for improving your company’s visibility on Google Maps, it’s important to know about the shift that Google made a few years ago from its so-called Local 7-Pack to its current model – the Local 3-Pack. This is particularly relevant when it comes to digital marketing for contractor businesses in the Monterey Bay area, so pay attention.

Previously, Google used the Local 7-Pack, which grouped the seven top results for local searches into a distinct panel at the top of the SERPs. A few years ago, however, the search engine giant cut down that number to just three, creating the Local 3-Pack. 

Google primarily made the change to reflect the importance of mobile search; displaying seven results on a smartphone screen just doesn’t work. Anyway, Google has also stated that the last four results didn’t tend to garner much traffic.

As you will see, this change had far-reaching implications for ranking well in local maps results. In particular, it had a devastating effect on ranking well across multiple cities, neighborhoods and other areas.

 

Why a Well-Optimized Google My Business Listing Plays a Crucial Role in Effective Digital Marketing for General Contractors in Monterey Bay

When someone searches for, say, general contracting services while physically located in Monterey Bay, the location-based functionality of Google Maps – the most common way in which local results are ranked – kicks in. Therefore, Monterey Bay contractor marketing can rely quite heavily on the mere location of users to generate strong, 3-Pack rankings in organic search results.

However, if someone doesn’t have location services enabled -- or is searching for services in one place while physically located in another -- ranked Google Maps results come into play. Although customer ratings play a strong role in such rankings, another factor is even more important: The quality and optimization of a company’s Google My Business listing.

 

10 Ways to Optimize Your Company’s Google My Business Listing for Optimal Performance in the Local 3-Pack Results

Okay, now I am ready to provide concrete tips for dramatically boosting your contracting company’s visibility in Google Maps for businesses:

1. Claim and Verify Your Google My Business Listing

The first step to getting on the fast track of effective SEO for home improvement contractors via Google Maps is by simply claiming and verifying your listing on Google My Business. Using a Google account that is specific to your business, locate your company on Google My Business and claim its listing. You must then verify it by agreeing to have a postcard mailed to your company’s physical address; note that P.O. box addresses are not permitted. The postcard will have a PIN that you will then enter on Google My Business to complete the verification process.

2. Specify the Areas That Your Contracting Business Services

The switch to the Local 3-Pack drastically changed the way in which companies that service multiple areas rank across them. Where your Salinas roofing company may have once ranked well across outlying areas like Hollister and Monterey, for example, it may have only retained its ranking for Salinas, becoming nearly invisible in the SERPs for other locations.

Luckily, there are ways around this issue. First, you can specify areas that your company services by either dictating a mile-radius service area on Google My Business or by listing zip codes that your company most frequently services. The option that’s right for you will depend on how and where your business operates.

Another way to effectively rank in the Local 3-Pack for multiple areas is by using geotargeted keywords across your website and in places like image file names; location markers; service pages; and title tags. This means using phrases like “roofing company in Salinas,” “electrician in Monterey” and “general contractor in Hollister” throughout your website. However, make sure not to overdo it – and keep the content natural and easy to read to avoid being penalized by Google.

3. Use Your Complete, USPS-Approved Business Address

Visit the USPS website to confirm the precise address that the agency uses for delivering mail to your business. It will include a room or suite number, if applicable, as well as the full nine-digit zip code. Make sure that your address is displayed without formatting errors – extra spaces are a common example – and make sure that you have checked the box to actually display your business address on Google My Business.

4. Check All Applicable Categories

Another way to optimize your Google My Business listing is by moving beyond just clicking a single service category, which is required. Indeed, you can and should elaborate upon that as much as you can by selecting additional categories and subcategories that pertain to your business. For example, you might select “general contracting” as your primary category and select things like “roofing contractor,” “builder” and “masonry contractor” as additional ones.

5. Optimize Your Business Introduction

Google My Business allows you to create a unique introduction to your business that is used to provide clarity about your company and its products and services in Google Maps results and elsewhere. In addition to explaining things like what your contracting business does and where it operates, you should outline what sets it apart from the competition. Include links and keywords, but don’t overdo it. The introduction should be easy to read and helpful above anything else. If you provide a wide array of services, use a bulleted list for the sake of clarity.

6. Include -- and Optimize -- Photos

Beyond the maps themselves, Google Maps is a highly visual platform. When it comes to effective digital marketing for home improvement contractors, then, it pays to add and optimize photos to your Google My Business listing. In addition to a primary photo that appears prominently at the top of your Google Maps listing, you can include additional ones that appear when people scroll further down it. Use a third-party app to add metadata to your photos; examples of such metadata include:

  • city, geographic location and country tags
  • physical address and longitude and latitude
  • relevant keywords, including geotargeted keywords
  • additional category information
  • comments about related services that are offered by your business

7. Solicit Online Reviews of Your Business

Although it is not clear precisely how customer reviews impact a company’s ability to break into the Local 3-Pack, there’s no question that they play a crucial part in Google’s algorithms. Note first that reviews won’t appear on your Google Maps listing until you have accrued at least five of them – another reason to encourage people to post them.

Here are some ways help your business make the most of online customer reviews for more effective Monterey Bay contractor marketing on Google Maps:

  1. Use a third-party tool like Mention to continually scour the internet for mentions – or, more officially, “citations” – of your competitors -- Find out how many citations your top-ranked competitor on Google Maps has to get a feel for the standard and volume of customer reviews that you should be aiming for.
  2. Be responsive to customer reviews – even negative ones -- In fact, you should be especially diligent about responding in a transparent and non-defensive way to such reviews. It appears that businesses that are consistent about responding to online customer reviews tend to show up in the Local 3-Pack more often than those that don’t, so this is a good way to further enhance your general contracting business’s visibility there.
  3. Encourage customers to leave online reviews -- Make a point of kindly asking customers to leave online reviews of your business. You might consider using a third-party tool to make it easier for them to do so; for example, there is software that can automatically send a follow-up email with links directly to your Google My Business listing, making the process as effortless for people as possible. If customers visit your company’s physical location, consider using the Google My Business Marketing Kit to generate marketing materials, including posters and brochures, that encourage visitors to leave reviews of your company on Google.

8. Take Advantage of the Latest Google Ad Features

Google advertising for home improvement contractors is another great way to bolster your company’s ranking in the Local 3-Pack. However, many companies fail to capitalize on the latest Google Ad features, which causes them to miss out on prime advertising opportunities. Google Ads are pertinent to Google My Business because they appear across Google Maps results within the Google Maps app; on desktop and mobile versions of the Google Maps site; and on Expanded Maps results on Google.com.

The latest features that I strongly recommend employing for your Monterey Bay general contracting business are:

  • Promoted Pins – These can and should include branding and logos to help your ad to stand out even more in Google Maps results.
  • In-Store Promotions – Update your ads regularly with the latest promotions that you are offering for the roofing, landscaping or other contracting services that you provide to encourage clicks.
  • Customizable Business Pages – Customize your business listing as it appears in Google Ads to make it reflect your branding more clearly.
  • Local Inventory Search Functionality – Although not usually applicable to contracting businesses, companies that sell actual products should consider allowing people to search their inventory directly via their Google Ads.

9. Be Patient and Persistent with All of These Techniques

From personal experience, I know how eager you probably are to implement these techniques as quickly as possible. That’s well and good, but it’s important to remember that no single item on this list – nor even all of these techniques used in combination – represents a magic bullet that will catapult your company to the Local 3-Packs that you are targeting. As with things like website design for home improvement contractors and SEO for home improvement contractors, there is no “finish line” for effectively optimizing a Google My Business listing and ranking well in Google Maps results. Rather, remember to bide your time – and to continue employing and refining these and other techniques on an ongoing basis.

10. Take Good Care of Your Customers

All of the Google Maps ranking strategies in the world won’t matter a bit if you’re not doing right by your customers. Therefore, before anything else, focus on providing a stellar customer experience each and every time. Acknowledge that mistakes can and will happen, and be willing to be transparent in handling them and in making things right whenever you can. When combined with the above tips, you’ll have a recipe for true, ongoing success on Google Maps.

 

What Will Your First Step Be?

Knowing what you do now, where are you most likely to start in your journey to improve your Monterey Bay contracting business’s visibility on Google Maps? If you’ve already claimed and verified your Google My Business listing, you have plenty of other avenues yet to explore. Let me know your thoughts about how you are most likely to proceed as well as which strategies are most likely to help your company. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement contractors, we can help! Coastline Marketing Group can answer your questions about Google Ads, Website Design, Paid Advertising, Social Advertising and more. Please contact us today to learn more about how to grow your contracting business online.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-789-9320

 

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web


Online rating

How Online Reviews Affect Your Home Improvement Contractor Business

Online rating

If you manage a home improvement contractor business, one of the most successful approaches to attract new customers is managing your business’s online reviews. That’s right - you can actually take control of how customer reviews affect your home improvement business’s online reputation. In fact, you could be seriously hurting your business by ignoring online reviews.  

When conducting research for services online, 95 percent of users read online business reviews. The right digital marketing strategy can help you to cultivate more consistent and effective reviews that drive business your way. With over 12 years of providing digital marketing expertise to Monterey Bay Area businesses, I affirm that taking a proactive stance to managing your customer’s reviews online can have a positive impact on increasing sales. 

 

How Online Reviews Affect Your Home Improvement Contractor Business

1. Social Proof

Social proof is the driving factor behind potential customers choosing your business based on online reviews. An online review is similar to word-of-mouth marketing. People trust that these reviews are unbiased and truthful, as well as written by real people. 

Google and Yelp are examples of a user-friendly platforms that focus on the customer’s experience, making it easier for people to leave and read reviews. Both companies require user names and basic information before allowing users to provide feedback. These online reviews are also highly accessible to internet users - a potential customer does not even have to click a link when using Google to see reviews for general contractors in the Monterey Bay Area! 

It can be tough seeing negative reviews, and a business owner cannot alter or remove these reviews in anyway. This provides more validity in online feedback for home improvement businesses and creates a trusting environment for your customers. Customers are not only interested in positive reviews, they also want to know about customer experiences that were not up to par.

 

2. Wisdom of the Crowd 

The more online reviews, the better! Large corporations have been using this marketing strategy for years. With help, local contractor businesses can achieve this as well. The more reviews your company has online, the greater perceived legitimacy. For example, people are more likely to believe 2,000 Facebook reviews than the 3 reviews that could have been left by family members of a company owner. The belief is that 2,000 people can’t be wrong about a business. 

People are even more likely to base decisions off reviews and wisdom of the crowd when they are spending more money. For example, if a customer has a major pipe issue with their home, online reviews will be a greater factor when choosing a Monterey Bay Area plumber when compared to minor plumbing issues, such as a clogged toilet. 

 

3. Impact on Sales

Research has proven that higher online ratings have led to an increase in revenue. For example, a study conducted at Harvard Business School concluded that a one-star increase in Yelp rating led to a dramatic 5-9 percent increase in revenue for restaurant business. 

Displaying reviews on your website can increase conversion rates by 270%. If you choose to not display your customers’ feedback on your website you could be losing business to other home contractors who openly post their reviews online. Showing transparency builds trust with a potential buyer before they have even picked up the phone to ask about your home improvement services!

 

4. Boost Your SEO

If a customer is searching for a service online, having more positive ratings can boost your SEO ratings. SEO algorithms are configured to determine which websites deserve top-of-the page search results and positive sentiment is highly rewarded. The SEO algorithm establishes positive sentiment by looking into online reviews provided by customers. The more reviews and the higher the ranking, the better. 

 

5. Relationship Building with Customers

Online reviews provide a means to communicate with your past and future customers. If a customer writes a review describing the pleasant experience hiring your company to remodel their home, you have the chance to reply and thank them and invite them to use your services again. It’s an additional point of contact that is easy to take advantage of and can provide a high reward. When you reply to these reviews, you are also communicating that you care about what your customers think about your business. This message can highly impact a decision to choose your company over another.

The same applies to when you display reviews on your website. I have helped many local businesses publish client testimonials and reviews to their websites. This digital marketing strategy establishes trust and validity with potential clients requiring your home improvement service.

 

6. Your Customers are on the Internet

Consider this: three out of four people who search for a product or service online end up physically visiting a business within one day, and 28% of those online searches result in a sale. Buyers looking to spend money for more expensive goods and services spend an even greater time reading online reviews and conducting research before making a purchase. 

People are relying on web-based research more and more each year to make decisions on which businesses are trustworthy. This highlights the need for your online feedback to be actively managed and prominently displayed on your website in order for potential customers to understand why they should choose your business.

 

How to Manage Online Reviews

1. Respond to Negative Reviews

Unfortunately, not every online review is going to be five stars. Your company will occasionally receive a low rating from an unhappy customer. The good news is that a negative review can provide an opportunity for you to change that customer’s mind! 

Consider this: a customer is not happy with a recent roofing project and left a poor rating on your company’s Google profile. Once this happens, you should reply to the review online and try to clear the air, and you can even call the customer to rectify the situation. The negative review provided an opportunity to let your customer service skills shine and win back a customer as well as prove to potential customers that you are actively involved in taking care of a negative experience.

 

2. Stay Active

As I previously mentioned, staying active in managing your online reviews is key. By responding to both positive and negative reviews you are demonstrating that you care about your customers. In turn, this builds trust and fosters a positive relationship with your clients. Customers may not trust reviews or testimonials on your website that are more than three months old. Search engines are also looking for the most up-to-date reviews. It is important to consistently manage your online reputation or all the work you put in could be considered outdated. Ask customers to leave a review online at the completion of a service.

 

3. Hire a Professional

If you are like most general contractors, you probably have enough on your plate and adding digital marketing to your workload sounds overwhelming. It’s easier to reach your digital marketing goals with a successful marketing agency to guide you. I have over 12 years of  experience managing online reputation and improving search engine optimization for home improvement contractors and other Monterey Bay Area businesses. My agency, Coastline Marketing Group, quickly grew to be the dominant highest-rated digital marketing agency in the region, which it still maintains to this day.

Improve your online reputation and build towards higher SEO rankings today by starting a conversation with us. You can set an appointment for a consultation so that we can get to know your business a bit better. From there, you can be on your way to building trust with potential customers, driving more sales, and ranking higher online.

 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement contractors, we can help! Coastline Marketing Group can answer your questions about Google Ads, Website Design, Paid Advertising, Social Advertising and more. Please contact us today to learn more about how to grow your contracting business online.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-789-9320


contractor working and planning marketing

Contractors: Your Customers are Online – And You Should Be Too

contractor working and planning marketing

 

If you own a contracting company but haven’t prioritized establishing an online presence and digital marketing strategy, you’re selling yourself way short. Having been in the digital marketing industry for more than 12 years, I can assure you that all businesses need a solid online presence – yes, even general contractors, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, builders, renovators and roofers. In this climate, the only way to reach the next level with your contracting business is through digital marketing. This has been the case for several years now, but many contractors continue to eschew online marketing – and many don’t even have a solid online presence.

 

Why Digital Marketing is Crucial for Contractors

Consider this: As of 2019, only 45 percent of the estimated 830,000 construction companies that exist in the U.S. are growing. Sure, some may be happy to rest on their laurels, relying on traditional marketing methods like word of mouth and mailers. Those that wish to rise to the next level, however, need to understand that their competitors are increasingly investing more time, money and effort into digital marketing. From establishing a professional, up-to-date website with informative and useful content to relying on SEO to obtain top Google rankings, construction companies and other contractors that put real effort into digital marketing overwhelmingly outshine their competition and soar to new heights of success.

 

Digital Marketing for Contractors Matters – Yes, Even for B2B Firms

In my experience, contractors that provide services directly to consumers are far more likely to grasp the importance of digital marketing than those that offer B2B services. All too often, I hear owners of B2B firms say things like, “Phil, online marketing doesn’t matter if you’re selling services to other businesses.” Perhaps that was the case a few years ago, but times have changed. Consider this: 71 percent of commercial buyers start their research by searching Google for what they’re after. Among B2B contractors that have turned to digital marketing, 57 percent say that SEO generates more leads for them than any other type of marketing effort. If you’re not already prioritizing digital marketing, then, how can you hope to truly compete?

 

How Can Digital Marketing Help Your Contracting Business? Let Me Count the Ways

At this point, you may be a bit on the fence about the benefits of digital marketing for contractors. After all, as the owner and CEO of Coastline Marketing Group, I have a vested interest in convincing you to give me your business – especially if you are located in a California Central Coast community like Monterey Bay, Hollister, Santa Cruz, Morgan Gill or Gilroy. That’s not what this blog is about, though. I am here to show you that in today’s competitive world, the only way to get ahead as an electrician, plumber or other type of contractor is by putting real effort into online marketing.

 

Here are seven great reasons to invest time and effort into digital marketing for your contracting business:

  1. Improve Customer Service – Most contractors are SMBs, so they struggle to juggle customer service while providing the services that actually pay the bills. By establishing, maintaining and frequently updating a website and social media pages, a general contractor can provide information to prospective and existing customers without having to pick up the phone. Through FAQs, videos, webinars and other online content, you can provide information to people who would otherwise have to call you for it and save yourself a lot of time and effort in terms of customer care.
  2. Cultivate an Authoritative and Professional Image – Given that 97 percent of consumers go online to find and research products and services, failing to have a professional and engaging online presence is a major misstep for contractors. If someone needs plumbing services in Monterey Bay, for example, and your company doesn’t appear in local Google searches, people not only won’t become aware of its existence – they will seriously question just how competent and professional your firm is.
  3. Be Available on a 24/7/365 Basis – As any SMB contractor knows, a key aspect of generating new leads and keeping existing customers happy is being available to them. If you are only available during regular business hours, you’re certain to miss out on lots of potential business. With an effective online presence and digital marketing for contractors, you can be available to prospects and existing customers 24 hours per day, seven days per week and 365 days per year. In essence, your company will be “open” three to four times longer than it otherwise would be – and you can imagine how significant that can be for your bottom line.
  4. The Internet Was Made for Business – Although some may argue that the internet is primarily there to entertain us, myself and many other digital marketing experts posit that it was really created for business. From the start, companies flocked online to extend their reach and increase their fortunes. In 2018, nine out of 10 American adults used the internet. A whopping 90 percent of people go online to research their home building and renovation needs – and 53 percent of them begin with online searches on major search engines like Google. Through SEO and other digital marketing practices, you can help your company rise to the top of local search results – and then you will see precisely why the internet is designed for business.
  5. Increase Responsiveness – At the risk of sounding redundant, I want to reemphasize the fact that having a solid online presence, including social media pages and an information-packed website, can dramatically increase your responsiveness to customers. Whether they are prospective customers or existing ones, providing avenues through which they can learn more about your company and get the answers that they need goes a long way toward improving your bottom line. Compared with hiring a slew of customer service reps, digital marketing is extremely reliable, affordable and effective.
  6. Cut Costs – Through a well-designed website for your contracting business, you can even cut costs in many ways, making digital marketing more affordable and effective still. By simply providing sales videos, for example, you can avoid having to hire sales reps or having to go out and pound the pavement yourself, so to speak. Many contractors, including landscapers, builders and roofers, even provide online billing services. Their customers can create online accounts through their websites and then view and pay invoices and even request quotes. The manpower that would be needed to provide those services at a higher volume would be considerable, but your website could handle much of it for you for a far lower price.
  7. Getting Started is More Affordable Than You Think – As an SMB owner, you are acutely aware of every penny that you spend to market your business. Not surprisingly, many contractors are reluctant to get started with digital marketing because they assume that the initial costs will be far too great for them to manage. In reality, though, digital marketing can be tailored to suit any business and any budget. You can get a new website off the ground for far cheaper than you probably think, and outsourcing things like SEO, social media marketing and the like is far more affordable than many traditional forms of marketing.

 

Statistics Show the Importance of Digital Marketing for Contractors

In the sections below, I highlight key statistics regarding various aspects of why digital marketing is so crucial for contractors – whether they are B2Cs or B2Bs:

 

Why Having a Quality Online Presence is Crucial

If you think that having a quality website and online presence only really matters to companies that sell goods online, I’ve compiled some eye-opening statistics that suggest otherwise. Indeed, things like SEO for home improvement contractors can make a significant difference for everyone from electricians to roofers. According to Google Ads there are:

  • more than 1.7 million searches per month for contractors;
  • more than 4.2 million searches per month for home builders and design-build companies;
  • more than 2.8 million searches per month for plumbers;
  • and more than 1.2 million searches per month for roofing services.

Additionally, 80 percent of internet users own smartphones, so having a mobile-friendly online presence is equally important – especially considering that 82 percent of smartphone users use search engines to find local businesses.

 

Why Having a High Ranking on Google Matters

The stats also show that when it comes to drawing in relevant traffic, achieving a high ranking for crucial keywords on Google is a must. More than 5.5 billion searches are performed on Google every day. Having a number-one position on the Google search engine results pages, or SERPs, for your desired keywords can increase desktop click-through rates by about 34 percent and mobile click-through rates by about 31 percent. On top of that, 86 percent of users look up the locations of local businesses on Google Maps, so Google advertising for home improvement contractors is a sure-fire way to attract more business.

 

How Website Design for Home Improvement Companies Can Help

Think of your business website as a type of sales rep that is out there 24/7 promoting your company. Now imagine hiring a human sales rep who looks disheveled and is unable to speak articulately. That’s what you have if your business site isn’t up to par in terms of functionality and user experience. Considering that 92 percent of people look at websites when researching local businesses, yours needs to be as professional and user friendly as possible – and these additional statistics back that up:

  • 63 percent of users mostly rely on a contractor’s website to find and engage with them
  • 30 percent of users won’t even consider a business without a website
  • When a page loads, users form an opinion about the business within 0.05 seconds
  • 75 percent of users judge the authority and credentials of a business based on the design of its website

 

Content is Still King – Even for Contractors

For a long time now, quality content has been one of top characteristics that Google “looks at” when calculating rankings. Therefore, content marketing for home improvement companies is essential. Did you know, for example, that adding a blog to your site can increase its odds of ranking by 43 percent? Surveys have also shown that 70 percent of users feel closer to a company after viewing or reading its custom content, and 82 percent have a positive impression of a business after reading unique, engaging and informative content on its website.

 

Online Reviews: A Crucial Component to Any Effective Digital Marketing Strategy for Contractors

When it comes to online reviews, slapping a few customer testimonials onto a website won’t cut it anymore. After all, 85 percent of users don’t trust online reviews that are more than three months old, and 40 percent only look at ones that were posted within the last few weeks. When doing research for goods and services online, a whopping 95 percent of users read online business reviews. The right digital marketing strategy can help you to cultivate more consistent and effective reviews that drive business your way.

 

Don’t Forget Social Media

Finally, statistics demonstrate the importance of social media marketing for home improvement contractors. Through social media, roofers, builders and other contractors can engage in real, human interaction with prospective and existing customers, which helps to build trust and to increase the odds of generating effective leads. Incredibly, only 1 percent of contractors report using social media on a regular basis, so there’s fertile ground for companies that put some effort into doing so. Also, 90 percent of companies that engage in social media marketing state that those efforts have increased online exposure for their business, and 75 percent say those efforts have helped to increase traffic to their sites.

Have I convinced you yet? If so, how do you envision your digital marketing strategy taking shape? If not, why? I’d love to start a conversation with you regarding digital marketing for contractors and why it’s so crucial!

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement contractors, we can help! Coastline Marketing Group can answer your questions about Google Ads, Website Design, Paid Advertising, Social Advertising, and more. Learn more about our digital marketing for contractors here


Communicate with Your Customers

How To Properly Communicate With Your Customers

Knowing how to communicate with customers properly is important to the success of any business. Customers are the lifeblood of any business enterprise. Communicating with them the right way can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your conversations. About 70% of top business executives list effective communication as one of the top three keys to business success. Being clear, polite and diplomatic when speaking with customers increases the chances they will be satisfied with your interaction.

Marketing Your Company Or Brand

Building a better mousetrap is not enough to guarantee success. You must be able to let consumers know your product exists, what it does, how it can help them and how they can get it. Properly communicating this to consumers requires choosing the right words. Images should clearly describe your product and your message placed within the right media to reach your target market. This is a very important step in establishing proper communication with your customers. You have to use easy to understand terms. They should appeal to your target audience and put your message on media where they are most likely to see it.

Direct Personalized Communication

Communicating directly with your customers using personalized messages is among the most effective ways to engage them and get their business. Research shows 90% of customers want and expect businesses to respond to their questions and address their concerns personally and in a timely manner. Companies that do so using social media and other forms of direct communications improve their chances of keeping those customers and attracting new ones. Failure to directly communicate with consumers on their favorite medium can cause up to 80% of businesses to fail.

Personalizing Mass Communications

Providing personalized service takes time. Providing personalized service to and communicating with a customer base that's large enough to make your business profitable can be challenging. But it's possible.  Give each customer a personalized experience while increasing your customer base and your profitability through the effective use of social media as well as mobile communication. Even small and medium-sized businesses can do this and remain well within their marketing budgets.

Using mobile communication devices and social media gives your company the opportunity to connect with and engage your customers any time of the day or night. The key is to personalize the communications so they won't be quickly dismissed as spam. You must identify the social media platform your customers frequent and use photos, special offers or any other format you know will attract their attention. This will enable you to be more effective. By opening and maintaining the lines of communications with them, you'll begin to gain their trust and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

Get Third-Party Help

Connecting with customers through mobile devices and the wide variety of social media platforms available can be a complex process. It often requires people with a specific set of skills. While some companies may have one or two people on staff with the necessary skills to run a social media campaign, it often means taking them away from their primary jobs. Instead, it's usually faster and more cost-effective to hire a third-party agency that specializes in and has experience with communicating with targeted customers. They can usually be much more successful in opening lines of communications with customers.

Communicating With Customers Effectively

Once you have opened the lines of communication between your business and your customers, it's important to know how to communicate with them effectively. It will make your relationship with them stronger and increase your sales. You may communicate with your customers via telephone, email, social media, text, instant messaging or any other platform. It's essential to make sure your message is properly crafted and has the right vocabulary, tenor, tone and flow to make your communications most impactful.

There are a number of elements for effective communication that can help to maximize the results you get.

Active Listening

Being a good listener is vital for effective communication in person and in writing. For that reason, be sure to focus on what your customer has to say before formulating your response. Using certain active listening phrases, eye contact and the proper body language lets your customer know you are paying attention. When they have made their statement, briefly repeat it in your own words to let them know you understood their point before you respond. This lets them know their message was important to you.  It gives them the opportunity to clarify any part of their message they feel you misunderstood and improves communication.

Don't Interrupt The Customer

When a customer takes the time to communicate with you in person or online, give them the opportunity to finish their statements before you respond. Interrupting customers often upsets them and makes them feel rushed and disrespected. As a result, this limits effective communication. Allowing the customer to complete the point they're trying to make demonstrates respect and lets the customer know you value their input and point of view. This helps develop trust and understanding.  It can help strengthen your relationship with the customer and make them more open to further communication.

Use Easy-To-Understand Words

When communicating with clients, it's essential to use terms you know they can easily understand. Using complex terms and industry jargon can confuse some customers.  It may make them less likely to purchase your products or services. That's why the information in ads designed to reach a mass market is usually written at an 8th-grade level. This ensures as many people as possible will understand the message and understand what the business, brand, product or service has to offer. As a result, more people will be willing to spend their money on it.

Use Clear, Complete Wording

The proliferation of texting and social media has lead to the creation of many popular new terms and acronyms like BTW, TTYL and OMG. These are language shortcuts. Never use them when communicating with your customers electronically or otherwise. While they may be acceptable among friends, they can cause communication confusion and make your company look unprofessional. Therefore, always communicate in clear, complete words and phrases. While those language shortcuts may seem cool and hip among friends, they can alienate many customers and make your company lose money.

Be Courteous

Many consumers are sensitive and easily offended. Making sure you are courteous when communicating with them can help to make them feel respected. Taking the time to be polite and professional with every customer will help to improve the image people have of your company. Many customers bemoan the fact that people no longer say 'please' and 'thanks'. Therefore, you should make a point to do this in all your company's written and verbal communications. This is one element of the high-quality customer service people want. Being polite and courteous in your communications won't cost you anything, but it can help to generate some additional income.

Use Positive Statements

Positive statements resonate with customers and have a direct impact on their impression of a company. Because consumers want to know how a business, brand, product or service can help them. Simply using positive phrasing in your written or spoken statements can make a customer want to do business with you. Negative statements can make customers defensive and resistant. This creates roadblocks to sales. Your goal must be to use words that create a positive mindset and keep the communication flowing smoothly.

Find Out The Customers Preferred Communication Method

Asking the customer which method of communication they prefer you use to reach them, can improve two-way communication significantly. It helps you understand the most effective way to send them offers and other important information. It also increases the likelihood they will respond to your messages. Asking a customer their preferred communication method shows your desire to please them.  Hence, it can pay great dividends in your business dealings with them.

A Variety Of Strategies

There are a large number of strategies businesses can use to communicate with and engage customers. An agency that specializes in the marketing business, brands, products, and services to targeted consumers can help you determine which marketing strategy is most advantageous for your company. They can create social media and direct email marketing campaigns. These can work together or separately to improve your communications with the customers in your target market. Plus, they can show you how to automate the process without turning your business into a faceless, nameless entity. These third-party companies can also help you optimize your branding and marketing efforts.

Learning to communicate with your customers effectively has a direct impact on your bottom line. Therefore, if your communications are warm, welcoming, easy to understand and polite, you improve the odds customers will respond positively to it and do business with you. Hiring an experienced marketing company to help you better connect to and communicate with your target market can also make a big difference. The ultimate goal is to use proper communication methods to build a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.


5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Financial Advisors

Five Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Financial Advisors

When it comes to selling financial services, your contact database is your most powerful tool. Clients sometimes walk into your office ready to invest, but your leads are usually not ready to buy your services when you first contact them. You need to nurture your leads, establish yourself as an expert, and keep them on the line until they are ready to choose you as their financial advisor.

But how do you get leads into your database in the first place? Use a simple and effective strategy: Offer lead magnets that entice clients into giving out their contact information.

Don't know what a lead magnet is? You see them all the time. They are regularly posted to social media sites with snazzy taglines like "Download Our Free Report." Creating lead magnets is both easy and effective.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet consists of a free piece of content that entices members of a target audience into giving out their contact information to see it. Typically, when offering a lead magnet, a marketer will ask for an email address and use it to cultivate clients with an email campaign, such as a newsletter. If the content looks juicy enough, lead magnets can be offered for more detailed information like names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Of course, a financial advisor will approach lead generation a bit differently than most marketers. Yet the key elements of successful lead magnets remain the same no matter what product you're selling. So what are the key elements of a successful lead magnet?

Elements of a Successful Lead Magnet

Some lead magnets work better than others. While many lead magnets meet with raging success, others flop. The most successful lead magnets take advantage of the following seven elements:

Targeting

A lead magnet should target a specific group of people. It should offer a specific solution for a specific problem. For example, a list of the top ten most popular investments isn't going to cut it. It's too vague. Instead, you want titles like:

  • "Keeping Your 401K Tax Free When You Change Jobs"
  • "Tax Breaks for New Homeowners"
  • "Getting the Maximum Social Security Benefit"
  • "Smart Investments for New Investors"
  • "How to Retire in Ten Years"

You should choose a lead magnet that attracts the clients you want by offering them results that they seek. The more focused, the better. More focused lead magnets = more leads.

A Silver Bullet

Everyone seeks the magic key that will give them a big boost in life. Understand what your target audience's needs and figure out that one thing they are looking for that will make a big impact. Popular silver bullets include methods for avoiding taxes, ways of getting more money in retirement, or how to score savings on big-ticket items like a home. State the one big solution in your lead magnet's title. A strong, clear focus will be more effective than a swiss army knife approach.

Future Projection

Figure out what your target market really wants. Articles and surveys can help, but conducting some in-person interviews remains one of the best ways to really get in touch with your client demographic. Look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of their positions. In your lead magnet, help your audience understand the link between what they want and what you're offering.

An Immediate Reward

Signing up for your lead magnet should be completely painless. The signup should require as little time and mental energy as possible. The lead magnet should promise something that your target market wants, actually delivering it, immediately. The lead shouldn't have to spend much time to view the content. Long videos, books, and extensive reports do not make good lead magnets. Strive to deliver instant gratification. Leave your leads wanting more.

Authority

Your lead magnet should illustrate you as an expert in your field. It should position you as an authority. Focus on your client, but do mention your talents and accomplishments. Talk yourself up using simple, plain language. Mention specifically how you can help with problems that your new lead likely faces. Use a little subtlety but be overt about your expertise. For example, if you're using a short course as a lead magnet, mention that you are the instructor of the course and give your credentials.

Value

If your lead magnet looks great on the surface but the content fails to stack up to the lead's expectations, it won't be effective. While it may create many leads, a worthless lead magnet will not create many conversions. Your lead magnet should produce actual benefits for your client. This will be a great chance to make a good first impression, and the best way to do that is to follow through by delivering something truly useful to your new lead.

Attractiveness

No matter how ground-shaking your report is, if it doesn't look valuable, it's not going to convince many people to give you their contact information. The lead magnet's presentation should be honed by a professional. You'll give the content away for free, but it should look like something that people would want to pay for.

Lead Magnet Ideas

So what types of lead magnets actually work? Here are five types of lead magnets that can be especially valuable for financial advisors:

Financial Calculators

Help your customers calculate savings, return on investment, payment streams, or other benefits that you can provide. What better way is there to capture targeted leads than to present prospects with a financial calculator designed to help them calculate the benefits of your services?

Reports

As a financial advisor, you can easily come up with a diverse array of reports. You might try something like "Maximizing Retirement Benefits for Union Electricians" or "Small Business Owners: Analysts Like These Four REITs." You could even offer a report on the value of your services. Remember to keep the report short; while an ebook download might entice some prospects, you don't want to overwhelm leads with too much information. Leave them wanting more.

Handouts

Handouts are a different breed of lead magnet than reports. A handout can take many forms such as cheatsheet, an infographic, or a diagram. Handouts should be short, typically a single page. Checklists make great handouts. Resource lists are also good. You could even put together a detailed infographic on historical risk in different asset classes or a chart showing why investors shouldn't try to pick stocks.

Quizzes

Quizzes are very popular and can even go viral on social media. A quiz should be lighthearted and fun but should also tell people something that they want to know. For example, you could put together a short assessment on risk management aptitude, classifying people from butterfly to daredevil. Quizzes can also help you gain valuable insight into your clients' needs, both as groups and as individuals.

Videos

Videos have a key advantage over many other types of lead magnets: they don't take much mental energy to consume. Creating quality video content is a lot of work, but it should be easy enough for you to create a short video course. While you can offer long classes packed full of useful information, longer courses are better saved for the lead nurturing phase. A simple two-part course can draw in a lot of leads.

Conclusion

There is far more to be said about lead magnets. The very best lead magnets will not only bring in the leads targeted by your marketing campaign; excellent lead magnets will convince new prospects to show your lead magnet to other people.

Your client database is your most valuable tool for reaching potential clients. Along with a strong promotional campaign and effective lead nurturing, lead magnets are powerful devices for growing your database and expanding your business as a financial advisor.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-789-9320


5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas For Attorneys

5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Attorneys

In today’s digital marketing age, one of the best ways to acquire and communicate with clients is through online digital marketing outlets. More specifically, with email.  As an attorney, we can accomplish a lot through the use of email. Building an email list is a critical component for reaching a targeted audience and engaging with them on a long-term basis. Not only can you easily capture their attention through multiple online platforms, but you can also significantly expand your reach as well.

However, before you can participate in a marketing strategy that involves emails, you first must capture and build an email list. This often takes place over time and with strategic and careful thought based on your industry. How do we go about accomplishing this? Attorneys, or their marketing experts, must find a way to get them to share their email address with you. The most popular strategy: sharing something of value with the user that requires the input of their email address and other contact information.

Once you have captured their email address, it's a lot easier to stay connected with them.

By offering a lead magnet that subscribers find of value, attorneys can provide their target audience with valuable information that can point them in the right direction as it relates to a wide array of legal areas.

This approach opens up the door to a series of opportunities whereby you can now communicate with these potential clients at will. This is because your targeted audience not only sees you as the expert, but they also see your company as a law firm they can trust.

What Is A Lead Magnet

If you are not 100% certain as to what a lead magnet is, you may have seen them in the past without realizing it. It is basically a free offer that prompts members from a targeted audience to opt in to a particular site by way of an offer. It is usually presented in big bold headlines such as:

“Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter”

“Download our new how to guide”

“Learn about the six steps to protecting your assets”

A lead magnet is something of value that is offered for free and related to your area of expertise.

Normally, it would have a cost value associated with it if it was available for sale. It is also a way for you to display your expertise while building credibility.  Sending valuable, free information via email, is a great way to build and sustain relationships with your target audience.

Lead magnets are part of an overall marketing campaign developed specifically to generate leads.  They result in a higher conversion rate than you would have received without one. The more leads you generate, the more potential conversions you will have. Most campaigns are also designed to better engage your customers with your law firm. This further stimulates your conversion rate.

As it relates to generating leads for attorneys, most people are in a dire state. They are in need of legal counseling, guidance and direction, or some other form of expert legal services. Any information provided in this area can be great resource. It can provide your targeted audience assistance with their proposed legal issues. It’s a great way to offer some assistance and or a solution to their legal issues while nurturing the relationship.

Below are five of the most effective lead generation ideas that work well across multiple disciplines.

What Makes a Great Lead Magnet

You may be wondering what type of lead you should consider using to reach out to your targeted audience. Especially since not all lead magnets perform in the same manner. In fact, some of them yield very poor results. This is why it is important to have marketing specialists assist you with your efforts. It also helps you avoid making poor marketing launches.

The most successful lead magnets consists of the following areas:

I. A great offer that your audience considers valuable.

II. A clear message that's easy to understand almost instantly

III. Well developed content that delivers on its promise without fail

With that being said, the following are the five top lead magnet ideas.

1. Webinars

Webinars are a great way to allow your potential customers to spend some time with you before engaging with you for legal services. Based on your area of specialty, webinars are a great way to hone in on some of the pain points that your target audience may be experiencing.

For example, if your law practice offers estate planning services, you can offer the following:

  • A webinar about the advantages and disadvantages of estate planning and show your audience why estate planning is necessary.
  • Show them the consequences of what would happen without having an estate plan in place.

This sets the stage for your potential customers to either attempt to perform the service themselves, or request services from a qualified Legal Professional. Since most people would rather not prepare a will themselves, this is where your legal services would come in. You can then offer them an additional slate of the other legal services associated with estate planning.

2. Check Lists

A checklist is a great way to provide potential customers with bite-sized bits of information in a very organized and succinct manner. It's a quick and easy way to read through a series of activities that need to take place in a certain order. A sample could include how to best prepare to meet with an attorney about estate planning, or how to best protect your assets.

Whatever your area of speciality, you can create a checklist that that can streamline the legal process in a way that makes it easier for your client to prepare to meet with you and complete the steps involved with their legal situation.

3. Templates

Because the internet makes so many forms and templates available online, this will be a great opportunity for you to do the same. This is accomplished by creating a template that your specific target audience will likely use. A template of a contract is a good option. It would make a great, and easy to follow, fill in the blanks form. As an attorney, you can also create templates of types of documents as well.

4. Your Legal How to Guide

One of the advantages of putting together a legal how to guide is that it has your personal and professional experience, along with your knowledge base included in the guide. It's a great way for individuals to learn more about a specific area that has legal implications.

Because the guide will be written by a qualified attorney, it will carry a lot of weight and build trust and credibility.

5. Industry Reports

Creating industry reports are great for the user to become more knowledgeable about a particular issue or the industry as a whole.

For example, if you are representing clients who've suffered a job related illness, they would want to be updated regarding any changes. More specifically, if the victim has suffered an illness due to corporate negligence, an industry report would be of value to this targeted audience.

To conclude, it's important to develop digital marketing strategies to attract your targeted audience.  It's of equal importance to remain relevant in today’s competitive marketplace. Although the five lead magnet ideas have been proven in the past, these and others can be helpful to implement into their lead generation strategies. Performing the proper research for more lead magnet ideas that directly impact your specific niche will prove to drum up more ongoing leads as you continue to implement and maintain lead generation systems.

Additionally, a lead generation system combined with promotional efforts, a system to offer nurturing content, and a follow up system will also prove to continue to build your customer base for many years to come.


creating-a-content-marketing-framework

How To Create A Content Marketing Framework

Whether you create a PPC ad on a social media platform or you're creating a Facebook post or even a lengthier blog post, it's important to create a content marketing framework that works well for your business.

Creating content for your business should be a lot like telling a story. There are various ways to tell a story. However, any great story always has three elements:

  • The Villain (the element causing your customer's pain)
  • The Victim (your customer)
  • The Hero (your product or service)

Before reading on, identify these three elements in your organization. Here's an example of the three elements in Coastline Marketing Group's story:

  • The Villian (Time, our clients don't have the time to learn and understand how to build a website, or do their own digital marketing)
  • The Victim (Business Owners)
  • The Hero (We help our clients save time by marketing their business so they can enjoy running their business)

Consider what makes a great story. Everyone connects with the victim. The villain wreaks havoc on the victim's life and then the hero swoops in to save the person.

A villain doesn't necessarily need to be a masked man, either. There are all sorts of villains. Your customers deal with villains on a regular basis. You should focus on one villain and how they create chaos. Consider internal and external "villains."

Ways the Villain Can Create Chaos

How is the villain going to create chaos in your client's world? First, you have to establish who the villain is. This can be an internal or external force, based on the products and services that you offer. If you're a tax preparer, then maybe your villain is the IRS. If you're a cleaning company, the villain could be time or dirt. If you're a restaurant, your villain could be a bad cook or even the competition. Your villain could be the competition, especially if you feel that you have a unique product that is completely different than what the competitors in your marketplace offer.

Consider all of the ways that a villain could create chaos. These will be used in the storylines that you create for purposes of content marketing.

Problems the Victim Suffers

How is your victim (your client) suffering? Are they dealing with the constant demands of the villain? Are they unable to get other work done because of the villain? You need to dig deep and find out some of the symptoms or consequences being suffered by the victim as a result of the villain.

These problems will be a main part of the "plot" within your content marketing. It is what will help customers/clients to identify with the messages and understand that they have a villain in their lives and that they, too, are a victim. It will prepare them for how you will swoop in and be the hero for them.

How the Hero Can Help

Everyone is in need of some rescuing from time to time. Be sure you identify the product or service that you offer as the hero as opposed to your company name. Be specific so that consumers know exactly how you're able to help them.

The hero should be able to help in all sorts of different ways. Maybe it's because of the features or benefits your product offers. Maybe it's because of how time-saving your service is. Whatever it might be, use these ways as part of the stories you create for content and ad campaigns.

3 Steps To Create Your Framework

Your framework is going to be different than that of your competitors based on who you name as the villain as well as how the hero is going to help the victim.

You need to establish a few lists that will help you create every piece of content that you create in the future:

  1.  List 5 or more ways the villain creates chaos
  2.  List 5 or more ways the victim suffers as a result of the villain
  3.  List 5 or more ways the hero can help the victim

You've just created the framework for your content marketing strategy. You don't ever want to deviate from the content that is in the lists, either. Your characters should remain the same at all times. Make sure that your content marketing team has a copy of this list. Instruct them to draw all inspiration directly from this list. In doing so, you will never deviate from your company's story.

When you have a consistent content marketing framework in place, you will find it's easier to create content. Further, you can be sure to harness your brand more effectively because of having lists that stay the same. When your story says the same, your brand does too.

Need help creating a story for your brand? Shoot us a quick email here and tell us a little about your business.

 


5 Website Design Trends for 2018

If you look at websites from the early 2000’s or even the early 2010’s, you will notice significant differences. As the way we consume content changes, we see new trends and design features rise to prominence online.

Websites that were once filled with flash animations, gifs, thick borders, and more are now streamlined to look more professional and polished. With that said, here are five of the biggest website design trends for 2018:

1. Making the Most of Negative Space

Minimalism is in this year, and it shows on our web pages. Using negative, or white space on your website is a great way to keep things looking crisp, clean, and professional. Sparse-looking websites also have a technical advantage since they are often faster loading. This makes a significant difference when content is viewed on a mobile platform.

2. Everyone is Getting Into Typography

Have you ever looked at a website outfitted with Comic Sans font or, even worse, Papyrus? These fonts look cheesy and outdated and will immediately ruin your credibility with a potential client. Unique, colorful, expressive typography is a must for any modern website.

In addition to looking flashy and professional, expressive typography is also a great way to optimize your website for speed since it doesn’t impact the website performance the way an image would, for example.

3. Animations & Cinemagraphs are the New Gifs

You knew Gifs were getting out of hand when iPhone started offering Gif reactions with iMessage. Today, one of the better routes to take is with a simple animation or cinemagraph on your website. These images are a mix between a video and still image, and they create a magical result.

However, web developers should beware and only use cinemagraphs when it makes sense. Don’t simply use them for the sake of it or your website might end up looking like some of the awful examples from the early years of the Internet.

4. Making Facebook the Place to Be

Many experts say your business Facebook page should be like a destination. It should be a place where you share interesting articles, pertinent to your business as well as giving customers up-to-the-minute updates about products and services.

In 2018, new customers will come to Facebook as a way to discover your business. Consumers will also look to Facebook for things like reviews, live-chats, question and answer videos, shareable content, and more.

5. Security, Security, Security

In 2017, hacking was a major news story for much of the year. Going into 2018, we still have it in the back of our minds. Secure websites are going to be necessary for everyone in the future because consumers are becoming wary of using sites that do not have security features.

With the rapid expansion of malware and ransomware, customers will not only expect a secure site, but your site’s security may also be a deciding factor in whether or not they support your business.

Is your website ready for what the future holds? Make sure you are up-to-par with the top website design trends in 2018. Book your free website audit with our experienced local experts.