4 Impactful Internet Marketing Techniques Every Business Must Implement After COVID-19 Shutdown

updated July 20, 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have found themselves uncertain about the right internet marketing methods to reach potential customers effectively. In many cases, budgets and profitability have been hard-hit by the effects of the coronavirus on consumers and workers alike.

As the CEO of Coastline Marketing Group, I have extensive experience in helping companies jump-start their internet marketing campaigns. Over the past eight years, I have seen significant success with just four basic strategies. Each of these internet marketing methods is designed to work with all the others. This can create the most positive environment for attracting new customers and growing your business into the future.

The 4 Proven Internet Marketing Methods to Promote Success

These four internet marketing principles will provide your company with added visibility and improved profitability in the competitive marketplace:

  • Have a Lightning Fast Website - Optimizing your website for mobile devices and for speed
  • Focus on LOCAL Search Engine Optimization - Investing in local and geo-targeted SEO
  • Run Facebook Ads - Engaging with potential customers through Facebook ads
  • Run Google Pay Per Click Ads - Boosting your visibility with Google Ads

These strategies can help you build your internet marketing campaign from the ground up after the COVID-19 shutdown. Here are some of the most important advantages of these internet marketing methods for your business.

How a Mobile Friendly and Fast Website Will Increase Conversions

Optimizing your website for speed and mobile devices will reduce abandonment by your potential customers. Upgrading your web hosting solution, checking your website's performance and eliminating outdated content can reduce loading times. This can increase conversions and sales for your website.

improve website speed improve seo

In practical terms, you can speed up loading times in a few ways:

  • Investing in quality web hosting
  • Testing how mobile-friendly your website is at Google
  • Checking the loading speed of your website at Pingdom
  • Deleting outdated content and streamlining your website
  • Creating separate pages for each type of service you offer
  • Installing Google Analytics to track your website traffic

Coastline Marketing Group can provide you with real help in implementing these changes. By optimizing your website to promote the fastest load times, you can boost sales and conversions. This can result in greater profitability and increased stability for your business. It can also allow you to use your website as a 24-7 salesperson for your products and services.

How Local SEO Will Help You Outrank Your Competition

SEO Internet marketing methods focus on making your website visible to search engines. Geo-targeted SEO strategies are a solid step toward focusing your internet marketing on the areas you serve. Google My Business, Google Reviews, and Google Maps are some of the most practical tools for your local SEO promotions.

local seo for business

click to view full infographic

Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is used to boost your website's rank on search engines like Google. One of the most useful strategies we use at Coastline Marketing Group is local SEO. This requires a few simple steps to achieve the most practical results for your business:

  • Claiming your Google My Business account will provide access to a free business profile that links with Google Maps and Google Search. This profile should contain your company name, address and phone number as this information appears on your website. Add photos, service hours, and area and category keywords to promote greater reach.
  • Optimizing your website with the appropriate geographical keywords will also boost your local visibility.
  • Make regular posts on Google My Business.
  • Respond to reviews posted on Google to create lasting relationships with local customers.
  • Embed your location on Google Maps to let your customers know where you are.

Shifting your advertising to focus your efforts locally can increase your visibility at a fraction of the cost of global advertising. This can help you make the most of your available budget in this period of rebuilding.

How Facebook Advertising Can Build Your Brand

Social media advertising, especially on Facebook, reaches your customers where they congregate. Facebook advertising offers an easy-to-use way to touch base with former and current customers. It can also build your brand for increased reach and visibility throughout your service area.

facebook advertising for small business

click to view full infographic

Social media advertising generally and Facebook advertising in particular can help you reach your target audience. Some of the factors that make Facebook a great platform for your internet marketing include the following:

  • Statista reports that Facebook had over 2.6 billion active users in the first quarter of 2020. This represents a healthy chunk of just about every demographic.
  • The advertising platform for Facebook is both robust and structured. This makes it easy to target the users most likely to purchase your products or services.
  • Facebook is one of the best ways to reconnect with former customers and to build your visibility among potential clients.

Incorporating Facebook advertising as part of your overall content marketing framework can boost your brand locally and with former customers. For the cost of a cup of coffee each day, you can reach hundreds of potential customers on Facebook. We can provide you with the guidance to make the most effective use of this social media platform.

How Google Ads Can Grow Your Business

Google Ads can be a valuable part of your internet marketing strategy. These paid advertisements complement your Facebook marketing to build your brand. Tracking sources of your site visits and creating landing pages for specific products will help you spend your budget wisely.

google ads for beginners

click to view full infographic

SEO is an important part of your internet marketing campaign. It represents only part of the picture, however. Even if you have achieved front-page ranking on Google Search, Google Ads can produce a significant return on your investment.

Google Ads work together with Facebook advertising to build brand awareness for your company. These two venues complement each other to produce the widest reach at the lowest cost for your business.

We use some proven internet marketing methods to promote the businesses of our clients:

  • Creating landing pages for specific services and sending people to those landing pages rather than to your website
  • Tracking the ways in which your customers find you through services like CallRail
  • Investing in Google Responsive ads that adjust size and configuration for the available space
  • Budgeting at least $500 each month for Google Ads and adjusting the amount depending on your results

Putting It All Together

Implementing all four of these internet marketing methods at the same time will help your business to succeed even in difficult times. These strategies can give you the edge over your competitors, who are unlikely to take this targeted and comprehensive approach to their internet marketing efforts. I have seen outstanding results for the businesses we serve at Coastline Marketing Group with these four strategies alone.

If you need some added help or guidance in creating your own internet marketing strategy, please feel free to touch base with me online or by calling 831-789-9320. Coastline Marketing Group is a growth-minded agency with the experience, expertise, and proven know-how you need to succeed even in these trying times.

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for your small business, 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

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web

creative infographics by x-cart, socialmbuzz


marketing business after covid 19

5 Steps To Bring Customers Back Quickly After The COVID-19 Shutdown

marketing business after covid 19

Five [Digital Marketing] Steps to Bring Customers Back Quickly After the COVID-19 Shutdown

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full force, it is not too early to plan your marketing strategy for the period after the coronavirus threat has passed.

I know that many of you are dealing with issues related to this situation and have not thought about what your Day One marketing strategy will look like after the pandemic is over.

Planning for your future advertising and marketing activities is likely the most practical step you can take right now to ensure the success of your business.

Besides taking necessary precautions to protect your staff and customers from the coronavirus I touched on in a previous article (click here to read), here are five steps for implementing the most cost-effective online marketing strategies now and after COVID-19.

What You Should Have in Place on Day 1


1. Begin With Google Ads

google adsWithin the first month or two, I recommend starting with Google Ads to target your most likely customers. These advertising methods are scalable to allow you to start slow and to build on your early successes with increased spending later on.

This will be the foundation of your online marketing as you gear up for increased sales and improved market conditions across the economy.

Google Ads are targeted to reach customers in the frame of mind to buy your products by providing them with information that relates to their online search, which makes this advertising method a practical and cost-effective way to reach out to potential customers on a relatively limited budget.

This strategy is ideal for the first month or so after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

2. Targeted Facebook Ads

Advertising on Facebook will also attract some much-needed visibility and exposure for your company.

I recommend focusing on the advertising end of Facebook and not just posting to your Business Page.

Business pages do not get much love from the public, so making sure that end users see your content through Facebook Ads is the best way to drum up interest in your company and to promote your business effectively.

NOTE: The boost function in Facebook is used to promote a specific post on your business page. However, I don’t find that this is useful for most companies. Rather than opting for this method, it is usually better and more cost-effective to use the Facebook Ads Manager to promote your company and its products and services.

This will also save you time and effort when managing your online marketing campaigns.

Facebook ads allow you to target Instagram users as well. I’d recommend firing up Facebook ads NOW to begin building your audience. Maybe start with running ads showing your planned “OPEN DATE”.

3. Send An Email (or several)

Reaching your current customers to let them know you are available is just as critical as attracting new ones. If you have had email campaigns in the past, now is the perfect time to put that list to use in contacting your customers to keep them posted about your plans to reopen for business.

Once the crisis is over, you can use that same email list to inform your current customers that you are back and better than ever.

Planning for this process can begin right now and can help you to weather the current storm more effectively.

mailchimp free email

If you’re new to email marketing, start with a free platform such as MailChimp. It’s easy to use and you won’t be charged until you hit a specific number of emails, right now that number is 1,000.

4. Update Your Website

Once you are back to work and ready to serve your customers again, your website should reflect your status clearly.

Landing pages, headers, pop-up notifications and banners are some of the most practical and positive ways to inform your customers about your company’s availability when they visit your website.

I recommend using at least one and probably more than one of these methods to make sure that your current customer base knows that you are back to work after the end of the coronavirus outbreak.

You can prepare for this event by getting your banners, headers and pop-ups ready in advance, which will give you a good head start in implementing these changes when you are ready to go.

5. Update All Online Directories

online directories logosDirectories like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and Bing are sources of information for your current clients and your potential customers during the pandemic.

Updating your business information to reflect your current hours, whether your business is temporarily closed and your grand reopening date will help you to stay relevant for customers who may be looking for the most up-to-date information about your company and its products and services.

By making sure that your company’s profiles are accurate on Google, Facebook, Bing, Yelp and other online marketing directories, you can keep your customers in the loop throughout shelter-in-place orders and the return to business operations afterward.

Planning for Your Return

While implementing some of these strategies may have to wait until the coronavirus pandemic has run its course, it is not too early to begin working on your marketing campaigns and getting things ready for your return.

In my opinion, beginning with a relatively small financial investment is the most prudent course of action for most businesses.

You can increase spending as your operations and profits get back to normal. This gradual approach will allow you to make the most practical choices for your company and your financial stability.

The Progressive Roll-Out Strategy

At Coastline Marketing Group, we are always thinking about new ways to serve our clients more effectively. As the CEO of this innovative online marketing firm, I am consistently working on developing back-to-business digital marketing strategies as a response to the coronavirus situation.

These strategies will focus on low-cost advertising and marketing, affordable web design, and progressive roll-out options for businesses starting with a discounted marketing budget.

It is never too early to think about the future of your business. If you are interested in planning your back-to-business marketing strategy, visit us online or give us a call today at 831-789-9320 to talk to a professional today. At Coastline Marketing Group, we are here to serve you.

Phil Fisk

Phil Fisk is the CEO of Coastline Marketing Group, Inc. and has been in the digital marketing industry since 2002. Phil has helped hundreds of local, small businesses boost their increase, improve their online presence, and grow their business.


corona virus and your business

Save Your Business by Shifting Your Advertising: 10 Industry Examples

save your business download button

The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every aspect of modern life. Finding ways to reach your target audience with your advertising is more critical than ever in this emergency situation. At Coastline Marketing Group, we are committed to helping your business survive and thrive even in difficult times. Here are some of the most effective strategies for navigating the pandemic and ensuring that your business stays viable now and in the future.

Know Your Audience

One of the most critical elements in marketing your products is the ability to assess your potential customers and their needs. This is even more critical during the current pandemic. Making changes to your normal marketing methods to account for the evolving needs of your customers is essential to your success now and when the current emergency is over.

Building Your Customer Base

Understanding your customers is the foundation on which you can build all your communications, advertising campaigns, and marketing efforts. Some of the most important questions to ask to include the following:

  • What audience are you trying to reach?
  • What are their needs and wants under normal circumstances?
  • Why would they need your product or service?
  • What needs are being met by your products?

By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers in this way, you can often gain insight into the things they are seeking that your products or services can provide. This is equally true for business-to-business enterprises as for those that sell directly to consumers in the public marketplace.

Adapting to Current Conditions

For many people, the priorities and needs that were important two months ago have shifted significantly. With most travel and public gatherings curtailed or eliminated, some of the most important selling points for your business may have changed. Understanding the new normal will help you to appeal to the pain points that your audience may have now.

  • Many of your potential customers may be concerned about the safety of products, especially those delivered directly to their homes or businesses. Providing assurances for your customers that their products are handled safely in the COVID-19 crisis is a good way to manage their concerns and to increase sales.
  • Pointing out your company's online ordering and delivery options is especially critical during this time period when few people are willing to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going out to shop.
  • Money is a major concern for many families and businesses during the pandemic. Finding ways to reduce the cost of your products or to make them more affordable can help your company to retain your current customers and to attract new ones.
  • Education and training can be extremely useful for individuals and families who are working and studying from home and for those laid off during this emergency. If you have something to teach, now may be the time to let people know.
  • Many people may be exploring do-it-yourself projects to make the most of their unplanned time off. Packaging some products to provide an all-in-one solution for typical projects will help you to reach customers in their current situations.
  • For business-to-business companies, providing services to your clients to diversify their activities may be a winning strategy for maintaining and increasing sales.
    Finding ways to entertain or distract your customers from the current situation is another strategy with strong upside potential.

These strategies only work if you let your customers know about them. Shifting your overall advertising strategy to one more appropriate to the current situation will help you to reach your customers more effectively. Some of the most important messages to communicate during this time include letting customers know you are still open, that you deliver and that you are sticking to best practices for cleaning and sanitizing your premises and your products. These can give your customers an added sense of security during this emergency situation.

Adjusting Your Marketing for the New Normal: 10 Industry Examples

We have put together an infographic to explain how to tweak advertising and marketing for 10 specific industries and business models during the coronavirus pandemic. Follow this link to download the infographic and learn more about how to adjust your marketing plan for businesses that include real estate, fitness, food service, auto repair, and more.

Download Infographic JPEG | Download Infographic PDF

Shifting Gears for Success

Just as Tesla made the turn from manufacturing vehicles to manufacturing ventilators, your company may need to change its entire business model to survive the current emergency. This will require taking a hard look at your current business activities and thinking about how they can be adapted to meet the needs of your customers. Other companies have been successful in shifting gears in the following ways:

  • Distilleries have shifted from producing alcohol to creating hand sanitizer.
  • Dine-in restaurants have begun offering curbside service and home delivery.
  • Online retailers are prioritizing the delivery of orders for basic needs over other orders.
  • Bookstores are focusing on e-books and home delivery of their products.
  • Companies in a wide range of industries are making it easier to order online and to pick up orders while maintaining social distancing.
  • Tailoring enterprises are turning their talents to making masks for healthcare professionals and for the general public.
  • Many companies have moved from office activities to work-from-home arrangements to protect the health and safety of their employees.
  • Some grocery stores have limited the number of customers who can shop at a single time. Special hours reserved for senior citizens and other at-risk individuals have also been instituted in some areas.

Finding ways that your company can still serve your customers in a safe and secure manner will provide valuable continuity for your business during these trying times. This may involve thinking outside the box and creating new ways to provide the right services and products for your loyal customers.

Focusing on Free

Even if you cannot immediately think of ways that your business plan can be adjusted to provide services needed during the pandemic, you may be able to promote your company effectively by offering some of your most practical products for free or at a significantly reduced cost. This is also a great time to expand the content available on your website with blogs, how-to articles and other information your customers can use. By viewing this downtime as an opportunity, you can potentially build your customer base for the future. A relatively small investment now could pay off in increased loyalty and improved profitability when the crisis is over.

Letting Your Customers Know About New Offers

When your new products and services are ready, it is time to let your customers know that you are here and ready to serve their needs. A few simple strategies will make it much easier for your target audience to learn more about what you have to offer now and after the current coronavirus pandemic is over.

Step # 1: Create a Landing Page

Building a landing page that is specifically designed to highlight your new approach will allow you to funnel customers directly to your offers. Your landing page should include a way for visitors to sign up for emails and to opt-in for other contact methods while providing an overview of your new services and products.

example landing page

Step #2: Make a Connection With Your Target Audience

You can connect with potential customers in a variety of ways. Some of the fastest methods include the following:

Solution A: Social media posts are ideal for companies that have already built a loyal following on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. If you are just beginning to build an audience on these social media sites, however, you are likely to get lost in the shuffle as many other companies and organizations begin social media outreach campaign.

Solution B: Paid advertising on Google Ads and other online sites is a proven method for building a wider audience and making your company part of the conversation among your potential customers. Investing a relatively small amount of money in advertising your company and its products and services could potentially pay off in much higher visibility among your target audience. You can see below some major brands are already adjusting their advertising to meet their customers demand.

discount deliver food service

It is never too late to start the process of building relationships with your current and prospective customers. Advertising is still a key element in maintaining success in the current retail environment. Working with a company that takes a targeted approach to navigating the coronavirus emergency is the best and most practical way to manage all aspects of your marketing plan now and throughout the life of your company.

Conclusion

The right strategies for shifting your business plan and marketing your products and services can allow your business to survive and even thrive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. At Coastline Marketing Group, we have a deep commitment to helping our clients in the most practical and positive ways possible. We are adjusting our own processes in response to the pandemic and are ready to help you make the necessary adjustments to your marketing processes during this difficult time. Visit us online or give us a call today at 831-789-9320 to request a quote or to talk to one of our marketing professionals. We are here to serve you throughout the duration of the current crisis and well into the future.

 

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

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web


digital marketing contractors monterey salinas

Marketing Your Home Services Business During & After the COVID-19 Crisis

By March 22, 2020, more than 101 million Americans were placed under a stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus. On March 23, there were more than 35,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Unfortunately, leading scientists and medical professionals believe that the number of cases is much more than this estimate because of a lack of testing.

While the world seems chaotic, people will still need to get home services during and after this crisis. Septic tanks need to be pumped, and pipes become clogged. Whether you are an electrician or a roofer, your services will still be needed. By carefully planning out your marketing strategy today, your business will come out of this crisis stronger than ever. The COVID-19 crisis will end at some point, and smart businesses will be ready to take advantage of the world's new situation.

Consider the New Reality

Even if a vaccine magically appears tomorrow, this crisis has already changed how people live their lives. Now, people possess a heightened awareness of how interconnected humans are. They are more likely to notice someone cough or sneeze nearby. Standing too close to someone and shaking hands are more likely to make someone feel uneasy.

For contractors, this means that the way you do business has to change slightly. People want to know that they are protected, so you need to take precautions when you enter a client's home. More importantly, you have to communicate these precautions to your customers.

Promote Your Efforts

When you do something that adds product value for your consumers, you generally have to tell the consumer about what you are doing. If you do not tell them, it is like the benefit does not exist. You will personally get to enjoy playing your part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, but you will not get to enjoy the business advantages of doing this if your customers are unaware of your efforts.

You can start by using the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for your staff members. If your staff members are not already doing things like washing their hands and staying home when they are sick, it is time for them to start. By communicating the steps you are taking with your team, you can reassure your clients that you are protecting them. Plus, these precautions will help you protect your staff members as well.

Now Is The Time to Start Generating Awareness

Advertising your products and services right now can be challenging. You definitely do not want to seem like you are trying to profit from a crisis. Instead, your goal right now should be to raise awareness and stay relevant. This is especially true for companies in states with stay-at-home orders because you might not be able to actually go to a client's property right now.

Many people are stuck at home right now because of stay-at-home orders and self-quarantine requirements. Because of this, many of your clients are spending more time on Facebook and social media than ever before. If you want your marketing message to really resonate, this is a great time to communicate with your clients.

Limit Your Advertising

While I do not recommend advertising your services if there is a shelter-in-place order in effect, you can still post photos of your completed projects. You can use your social media account to show off projects in progress and do-it-yourself videos. Right now, your main goal is not to market your products. You want to stay relevant and make sure your brand remains a focal point for your audience.

Most likely, your audience is bored and running out of things to do at home. By daydreaming about updates to their garden or a new renovation project, they have a chance to escape reality for a little while. Once the crisis is over, they will tackle the renovation and repair projects they have spent so much time daydreaming about. If you plant the idea's seed now, your business will be able to harvest the fruits of your labors later on.

Preparing for the Future

If we can flatten the curve and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, things will start to return to normal. At this point, you will need to begin actively advertising and promoting your business again. By raising awareness and staying relevant during the crisis, you will make your future advertisements more effective.

While each business is different, you will probably want to consider using Google Ads after the crisis has passed. During the crisis, you can use Facebook ads and social media posts to raise awareness. By using Google Ads after the crisis ends, you can convert your Facebook audience.

Home repairs and maintenance work are necessities for American households, so there will be pent-up demand to meet after the crisis is over. If you can position your company well today, you can reap the benefits of your work tomorrow.

 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing ideas for home improvement companies and 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

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web


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

2018_CoastalMarketingGroup_Phil_0868-web


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


lead magnet for landscapers

Lead Magnet Ideas for Landscapers

What is a Lead Magnet?

Do you remember when you signed up to download that one free report in exchange for your email address that one time a year ago and you're still receiving emails from that company you downloaded that report from?

Yep, that report was a "lead magnet". You likely see these companies continuously sending you emails trying to get you to come back to sign up for a service, right? While you might consider this annoying at times, especially if their emails have nothing to do with what you downloaded in the first place, the art of staying in touch with email can play a tremendous role in growing your business.

Now before you think this type of marketing is not for you, let me explain how simple it is and just how it can help you grow your landscaping business.

Lead Magnets Done Right

The problem with a majority of these companies that put me on their mailing list is, they send me information that just isn't relevant to me and doesn't provide me any real value. In other words, it's basically spam.

But lead magnets done right, combined with a proper email campaign, could turn your prospects into raving fans of your business.

In the digital world, it's widely known that the company who provides an abundance of valuable information to their audience is the company that will win the contracts, every time.

How To Use Lead Magnets to Grow Your Landscaping Business

As I just mentioned, the company that provides an abundance of free information to their audience is the company that will win the contracts. Many business owners feel that the services they provide are proprietary secrets that they don't want their competition to know about. Or, as in the landscaping industry, we don't want to show our audience how to do it themselves because this means they won't hire us to do the job.

Let's be clear about one thing - There are at least 1,000 videos on the internet for every single question someone might have about landscaping. By providing how-to information, rather in video or a lead magnet format, you are proving yourself or your business as the local expert.

Sure, many homeowners will try to do it on their own, but many might give up halfway through the project and reach out to the company that was willing to provide them the free how-to guide in the first place.

My Own Little Secret

Here's the secret to providing free information - give them just a little too much information.

Here's my little secret, I've been a digital marketer since 2007. In that time I have written over 1,000 articles and done numerous local workshops and a few webinars. The content that I put out has two objectives, to drive awareness for my business and to provide just enough information to my audience so that they're slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do (when it comes to marketing their business), that they just throw their hands up and say, "can I just hire you?".

Yep, that's the idea behind creating lead magnets - Drive awareness, prove your value, make it look simple and eventually they may just end up calling you to complete or fix the job. Now, you have a client for life.

Lead Magnet Ideas for Landscapers

As you determine which lead magnet to create for your business, think about some of the questions you hear the most from your clients. Or, what do you always see clients trying to do that they eventually give up on and call you? These could be great topics for your "how-to" lead magnet.

Here are a few titles we've either used for our own clients in the past or that we've seen used effectively by other landscaping businesses;

  1. Informational - 5 Questions To Ask A Landscaper Before Hiring Them
  2. Informational - Why You Should Consider a Drought Tolerant Landscape for Your Home
  3. Informational - What to Consider When Landscaping Your Home Within (city name) City Limits
  4. Informational - The 5 Biggest Mistakes in Landscape Design
  5. Informational - The 3 Requirements to Qualify for a Landscape Rebate Program
  6. How To - How to add $50,000 to the Value of Your Home with Landscaping
  7. How To - How to Choose the Right Material For Your New Home Deck
  8. How To - How to Select Concrete Pavers for Your Driveway
  9. Special Offer - Coupon - Save 50% on Your First Months Lawn Care Maintenance, Sign Up To Download
  10. Special Offer - Coupon - Free Yard Clean Up with 6 Month Agreement, Sign Up To Download

Be Creative with Your Lead Magnet

These are just a few ideas. You likely know what it is your audience struggles with the most. Don't just write about something because you're the expert at it, write it to truly benefit your audience. When you provide real value for your audience, you will likely have a fan for life.

So, You Have Their Email Address, Now What?

Once someone has downloaded your lead magnet, they are now considered to be at the top of your sales funnel. It's not often that someone downloads a lead magnet then calls you a few days later to hire you for a project. It's not impossible, but it's very rare.

Your job now is to help guide them down your sales funnel. Try to get them to take another step towards doing business with you. Don't ask for a sale right away, see if they will engage with you some other way.

So how do you do this?

This is NOT the right way - Sit down once a week and write a personal email to every single person that downloaded your lead magnet and ask them to take advantage of your newest special offer.

Don't worry, this is not how I suggest handling your new leads.

This IS the right way - If your lead generating campaign is successful, and you have several people downloading your lead magnet, I strongly suggest implementing a marketing automation campaign. Marketing automation will send emails to your new leads at intervals you specify, often called a drip campaign. You can set your marketing automation campaign to send out 2 emails or 20 emails over a period of time.

As I mentioned before, you want to make sure that your emails are providing true value. Don't just continuously send your prospects emails to get them to sign up for a service. Instead, send them tips and ideas for improving their own landscape. Or maybe allow them to download another lead magnet directly from the email.

Most of all, provide valuable information to your prospects. When they see what you are willing to provide for free, they will be excited to see what you provide when you're their own landscaper.

 

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

 


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How Facebook Advertising Can Generate More Leads Than You Ever Thought Possible!

Why on earth should you focus all of your marketing dollars on Facebook Advertising? Well, you want to generate more leads than ever, and this is really what you need in order to accomplish your goals for a better bottom line and sustainable growth well into the future. You’ve just had a direct response experience when you chose to download this report. So that means that direct response advertising works – and now I’m going to show you more.

Branding vs Direct Response Advertising

Branding is one of the hardest things to do and that’s because of the money it takes to do it properly. You have to be where your people are – and you have to give your brand the exposure it needs for your ENTIRE audience to see it over and over again. You don’t think Kleenex got to be a household name because they spent $100 in one geographic region one time, do you? Of course not. Large brands spend millions of dollars to get their brand in front of you.

You don’t have millions of dollars. If you do, then you really don’t need to be reading this. Since you don’t have that kind of marketing budget, you need to focus on direct response advertising instead. Your brand will grow organically as a result of getting your brand in front of the right people and getting them to take action.

Here’s the really great part about direct response advertising:

  • It’s affordable
  • It’s highly targeted
  • It’s 100% measurable

Let’s talk about that last point for a moment. It’s 100% measurable. That’s a really big deal because you can learn about your ROI. You can use coupons and other incentives to learn how many people are converting, too. This means that you can see how much your investment is paying off. You can’t say the same thing about branding. 

If you’re spending a lot of money on branding, you don’t know what is and isn’t working. That’s because you’re using things like billboards and radio ads to promote your brand. How do you know how many people drove by your billboard or visited your website because of hearing your website mentioned on the radio? You don’t. It’s impossible to know how well it really did, which means you could have dropped thousands of dollars for nothing. 

Making the Most of Your Marketing Budget

In order to make the most of your marketing budget, you have to go with direct response advertising. Facebook Ads is a great way to reach a large number of people. You set the budget and therefore it will reach as many people as possible with the money you have available.

You also get to determine your audience you play to. Have different audiences? Great, you can have a different ad copy and set a different audience for each ad that you run.

The “direct” in direct response advertising is what you need to focus on. You want to advertise DIRECTLY to your target audience in order to get an immediate response (which is your call-to-action – click here, buy this, download this).

Who is your audience? Well, that depends. Once you figure it out, Facebook allows you to home in on it with the audience selection tools to include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Regional area
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Life Events

This is a powerful tool. You can’t market directly with billboards or radio. While you can choose where you put the billboard or what radio station you choose, you don’t get to truly focus in on the audience with laser accuracy.

But Why Facebook?

Facebook is by far the largest social media platform. There are certainly others that are popular, but they don’t have the same draw as Facebook. Plus, Facebook makes it SO easy to really home in on your target audience. This makes it easier for your message to be seen by the right people.

When you show someone an ad that really connects with them, they comment, like, and share. Sharing is exactly what you need because it stretches your marketing even further.

By now, you have probably heard about the unicorn Frappuccino that Starbucks launched. It was available for a limited time. People took pictures of it, created hashtags about it, and it went viral. Here’s the crazy thing about this: Starbucks didn’t do anything. They let their product stand for itself. They earned over $1 million in extra revenue in a single day because everyone wanted a unicorn Frappuccino. Because it was cute (even though filled with tons of sugar), people talked about it.

This is what you want to accomplish with your Facebook ads. You get the concept (or product or service) in front of the right people. Then they do a lot of your marketing for you.

When you give up all of your other marketing (such as radio, SEO, and more), you also have more money to play with. This means that you can use the money to give something to those who take advantage of the offer. It’s a better use of your money because it results in guaranteed conversions. Maybe it’s a really amazing coupon or a free product when they purchase a certain amount from you. Whatever it is, it’s the carrot that you dangle in order for them to convert and buy from you.

Client or customer engagement is critical and that’s what will help you with your word of mouth, SEO, and more. Get your audience hooked and let them do a lot of the marketing for you.

If you need help in getting started with Facebook Advertising, call us direct at 831-789-9320.

BONUS ARTICLE

6 Successful Facebook Advertising Hacks

Facebook is a great tool when you’re a small business. However, posting on your business page is not always enough. You might not be getting the reach you really need, which is why Facebook Ads is an important component to explore.

Various hacks have been used at Coastline Marketing Group and we have found them successful with some of our own clients.

Regardless of whether you’re paying to reach 1,000 people or 10,000 people, there are some ad tips you need to incorporate so you get people clicking the ads and taking action on the link that they arrive at.

Ad Hack #1: Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona allows you to create your ideal customer. The reality is that you might have several personas based upon the product or service you have to offer.

With each potential customer, think about their age, their gender, what they do for a living, and the kind of problem they have that would be solved with what you have to offer. Have fun with this and maybe even create a graphic to go along with your customer. It’s something that will assist you in future marketing campaigns as well.

When you have a buyer persona in hand, it will make it easier to design a Facebook Ad. This includes being able to identify the best target audience. You will be asked to enter keywords and locations to home in on who your target really is. As you enter more information, Facebook knows more about who they need to show the ad to – and this ensures you’re not wasting your money.

The more you know about your buyers, the easier it will be to get a ROI from your ads.

Ad Hack #2: Speak To Their Emotional Side

You have a limited number of words to use when creating a Facebook Ad. You have a headline and a description – and neither of them give you a lot to work with. Additionally, you are limited by the amount of text you can include within your graphics.

That being said, you have to speak to the audience’s emotional side within your post. Through your image (or video) and your words, you have to make a connection. People shop with their emotions, whether they realize it or not. It’s more important to focus on the benefits of a product or service as opposed to the features. This means that you have to figure out why a certain feature is so beneficial – and focus on that.

There are options available when you want to include several benefits and therefore play on a few different emotions. When you create the Facebook Ad, create a carousel of images. This will allow you to have different “cards.” Each card features a different photo as well as a different headline and description. It gives you more to work with so you make the connection with your audience. You can also choose to have the most popular cards featured first, which means if it has already worked for others, it will show that one before going to the other cards.

There are two different types of buyers: emotional and rational. Within your description, focus on a little bit of both. List a benefit to be emotional, followed by a great feature. Use emotional, powerful words that people will identify with, such as “money saver,” “time saver,” “free time,” and so on.

Ad Hack #3: Use Call-To-Action

There’s a call-to-action built into Facebook Ads. This is an optional pulldown so the button says “Learn More,” “Book Now,” “Shop Now,” and the list goes on and on. This is absolutely a feature to use because people will get an idea as to what they will be prompted to do upon clicking on the link you have connected with the ad.

However, when it comes to creating a call-to-action, you don’t want to depend solely on the button itself. You need to use your words to convey a strong CTA so you grab people’s attention and pull them over to your link. 

A call-to-action probably isn’t going to increase the click-through rate. It will reduce friction once a user lands on your landing page. They will know what to do, so they will get right to performing the desired action. 

The CTA can be anything from “click for your free trial” to “download this amazing offer.” Get creative with the CTA and make sure you deliver once people get to the landing page. If your Facebook Ad promises a coupon and there’s no coupon on your landing page, you won’t get the conversions and you could end up with a lot of negative comments on the ad itself. 

Ad Hack #4: Limit Stock Photography

A lot of websites offer stock photography. Some might be free while others are going to charge you for use of the images. The problem with stock photography is that it’s impersonal. Don’t underestimate your audience – they will be able to tell stock photography from internal photographs. Plus, if they just saw another ad that uses the same stock image, people will keep scrolling right past your ad.

Forget about professional photos. Instead, use the photos that you capture of your employees working, your products, and real customers enjoying your real services. It will be more emotional and more REAL, which is the whole idea.

Remember, you’re not just limited to photography on Facebook Ads, either. You can choose to use a video. This could be something you record from your smartphone. It could be a time lapse of something being built, a video of your assembly line, a head decorator frosting a cupcake, or something else that is personalized to your business.

It’s also a good idea to use photography that’s geo-targeted. For example, if you’re targeting NYC for one ad and Chicago for another, you need to use different images. This could include the use of the city name in the ad in order to get someone’s attention.

The more you get target specific in your ads, the more your photos (or videos) should reflect it. This could be as simple as going into Photoshop to add a few words across the photo. Get creative and see how it can pay off with a higher click-through rate.

If you’re really stuck on the photo to use, consider how much people like to see faces. A study from Caltech in 2005 shows that there are specific brain cells that only fire when a face is seen. The faces don’t have to be human, either. Look at all the cartoon mascots on cereals and even for a bag of Cheetos. We see the face, we identify with it, and it’s humanized. Next thing we know, we’re hooked on that product. That’s what you want when you share photos inside of a Facebook Ad.

Ad Hack #5: Use Attractive Landing Pages

Within your Facebook Ad, you determine the link where people land. This means you have the opportunity to create custom landing pages within your website for people to arrive at when they click from the ad. When they get there, you want it to be attractive and feature rich.

What are people going to see when they get to your page? Will they see a lot of clear information about your product or service? Will they see the same kind of design as what was in your ad? You need to focus on branding so people don’t question whether they landed on the correct website.

The reality is that getting people to click on the link from Facebook is only half the battle. Once they have clicked on that call-to-action button, you have less than 10 seconds to convince them to stay on your site and read more about what you have to offer.

Your landing page has to be interesting and deliver the same message. If you promised a free download, then people need to see where that is. If you promised a discount, be sure the discount code or link is easily identifiable.

Some things to consider include:

  • Bold graphics
  • Minimal images
  • White space within blocks of text
  • A clear offer
  • An enticing call-to-action

Your landing page should take at least as long as it takes for you to create your Facebook page. Before you go live with either one, be sure that they are branded in a similar way. They have to appeal to the buyer persona you are targeting, which means the images and the way in which you pitch have to be considered.

Ad Hack #6: Use Promos and Giveaways

Promos and giveaways are a great thing to use on your Facebook Ad because people love being able to get something for free, or at least for a discount. Approximately 34 percent of users have identified that they will “like” a Facebook page in order to get a discount or be eligible for a promotion.

This means it’s in your best interest to provide a contest or conduct a promotion on Facebook. 

A sweepstakes contest, for example, lets people know what you’re giving away. The landing page shows off what you’re giving away and you have them do a few steps to win, such as liking the Facebook page and signing up with their email address. You might even ask them to share the contest with their friends, giving you even more exposure. The added benefit is that you have now collected their email address to target them through a newsletter at a later point in time.

Refer Your Friend giveaways are also great tools because it helps you to gather more likes to your Facebook page. When people get their friends to enter, they earn more entries into the contest. With the trust factor involved, a promo has the chance to go viral.

Other types of contests include essays, vote for a specific item/design, or a photo contest. It gives you future marketing fodder for down the road, and ensures people engage with your brand.

There’s also the Facebook coupon, which is something you can add to your Facebook page and have a landing page to match. The Facebook like button will coincide with getting the coupon. Ask people to enter their email address and next thing you know, they have their coupon and you have a new subscriber to your newsletter.

The tools are out there for you to run sweepstakes and contests, so get creative and make sure that it ties back to your brand. With the right graphics and a prize worth winning, people will give you the likes and shares needed to give your brand considerably more exposure than what it’s getting now.

Final Thoughts

Facebook Ads are simple to create. Plus, the social media platform walks you through all of the different steps. It’s all well and great to launch just any ad. However, if you want a good return on your investment, you want a high click-through rate as well as a high conversion rate once people get onto your landing page.

Branding matters and this has to be taken into consideration with all that you do. A buyer persona will allow you to learn more about your target demographic. From there, you can choose the right images, the right wording, as well as the best overall promotion. What goes in the Facebook ad should also match what goes on the landing page as this is what will make it easier to convert someone into a customer.

You don’t have to spend a lot on Facebook advertising. You simply have to be smart about your approach and what you want people to do. It might be in your best interest to create a campaign where you ask people to refer a friend in order to win something. Once you have more likes on your page and traffic to your website, you then run another Facebook Ad and target the same people. This time around, you drive them to a product or service on a landing page and with exposing them to the brand in two different ways, you have developed a higher level of trust.

With these advertising hacks, you might be surprised by how much easier it is to improve ROI and overall conversion rates each time you run an ad.

If you need help in getting started with Facebook Advertising, call us direct at 831-789-9320.