As a small business, you want to make the most of every dollar that you spend on marketing.
I get that.
I’ve run a small business in the home services industry for over five years now, and learning how to effectively spend our marketing dollars has been one of the biggest reasons why we’ve been able to grow so much over this time.
However, it wasn’t always easy.
I made my share of mistakes along the way, and not every marketing campaign that I’ve ever run has been successful.
That’s what makes this article valuable.
I’ve learned the hard way so that I can help you out by talking about the things that have worked best for me over the years.
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Set Up Call Tracking on Everything
One of the most helpful techniques that I’ve learned is to track every single phone call that comes into your company. It tells you a lot about what’s working and what isn’t.
For me, I’ve found that CallRailworks for what I need.
With CallRail, you choose the plan that fits your budget. Depending on the plan that you select, you’ll get a certain amount of different phone numbers that you can use (10 different phone numbers, for example).
With those ten numbers, you can choose to place them wherever you want. You can have one phone number on a billboard, another number on your website, and any other placement that you want. All of these phone numbers will redirect to your actual phone number so that you can track the source of each call.
Here are some of my favorite places to use the numbers:
- Business Cards: I hand out business cards all the time. My partner hands out business cards all the time. Many of my employees have business cards to hand out. It’s good to know when we’re receiving phone calls from these cards.
- Vans: We have vans all over the place. Our employees are out driving every to different jobs every single day, so why not get some advertising out of that. I like to put a phone number on the vans to see how many people are calling us from those advertisements.
- Website: Our website is one of our most important forms of advertising. We have pictures of projects, content for our audience, descriptions of our services, and more. I throw up one of these phone numbers on the site to see how many people are converting from there.
- Online Ads: It’s really important to use different phone numbers for different ads (i.e. one phone number on Facebook, another on the Bing ad, and another on the Google ad). Having these different numbers tells you which ones are converting the most leads.
- Print Ads: The people who sell print ads will promise you all kinds of things to get you to sign up. They’ll tell you you’ll get 600 leads per month, for example. However, how do you know if people calling you are calling from those ads? Unless they tell you, you don’t know. If you have a tracking number on there, you can see what kind of return you’re getting on that ad placement.
- Contact Page: I like to have one number on the homepage of the website and another on the contact page. It’s important to see from where each person is calling on the website.
The point is, track every single form of advertising that you have with these different phone numbers.
Track Web Leads
If you have a website that breathes, you should be capturing leads by contact form on your website. I call these a web lead. They’re awesome because they allow you to easily qualify a customer, and make contact at your convenience.
Know how the prospect found your website and lead to the submission form is crucial for the next step.
Cut Inefficiencies and Optimize for Return
The beautiful thing about tracking every single phone call that you get is that you end up with a lot of useful data to play with. Knowing what to do with that data can help you cut out the inefficiencies in your campaign so that you can better optimize for higher returns. For example, let’s take a look at a couple of the scenarios from earlier in the article to see how you can better optimize your campaigns.
Many people don’t think about business cards in terms of advertising. While they hope to get a call from it, they aren’t really tracking it. However, if one person’s business card is bringing in a lot of leads, you can look at that card to see what might be working so well on it. You can then offer some sort of rewards programs to employees to get more leads from their business cards.
You can also try something similar on your vans. When you go to put a design on your van, maybe you hire a different artist for each separate van. People respond to different text and images in different ways, and you can find out which design is getting the most phone calls. It could even be a competition of sorts.
Finally, you can start to eliminate keywords that you feel are bringing in the lookie-loos. There are a lot of people out there who will give you a call and just shoot the shit for thirty or forty minutes. It’s a huge waste of time. Try to find the words on those ads that are bringing in the people that are wasting your time so that you can eliminate them from future ads.
Get Creative With Your Data
What’s helped me the most over the years is that I’ve learned how to get creative with the data from my campaigns. I’m always trying to think of new ways that I can use the data to drive my decisions.
If you’re having trouble getting started, you can always check out my article “How Small Businesses Can Use Big Data.”
Of course, I’m also always looking to discuss new ideas with any of you readers out there.
If you have any questions, or some news ideas on how to use data to influence lean marketing, feel free to drop me a line