What is Inbound Lead Generation?
Inbound lead generation is a strategy that results in prospects coming to you instead of you going after them. If you have the right inbound system in place, you can earn residual leads. The benefit is having a lead generation strategy that takes care of itself. If your leads are creating themselves, you can more efficiently manage your time and resources.
Why Do Contractors Need Inbound Leads?
Contractors need inbound leads for the same reason any business does, more sales and higher profit margins. Contractors invest $1000’s of dollars in businesses like HomeAdvisor, Craft Jack, and Porch every day to help generate leads. These leads can cost up to $30 each and the contractor still must make the sale.
If a contractor is only able to close 10%-20% of the leads coming in from HomeAdvisor, the customer acquisition cost could be upwards of $300. Aa contractor with an average sale price of $1,500 and a profit margin of 20% still has to pays their employees and buys the material for the job. After paying for the lead, the profit may only be $100-$200. If a contractor were not relying on leads from other sources, they could double their profit margin.
How Do You Generate Inbound Leads?
Some of the most popular strategies for generating inbound leads include the following
- Social Media Campaigns
- Publishing Books
- Producing Video Content
- Search Engine Optimization
SEO Internet Marketing Tools for Inbound Leads
What these strategies have in common is they involve creating valuable content that builds trust with the prospect. People do not like to feel like they are being sold. With the amount of information on the internet, people are increasingly making buying decisions based on their own research. The internet has made it very easy for people to shop for the best products and services.
The fact that Google Ads appear at the top of the page but get less clicks than local or organic listings is significant. It shows how much trust is an important factor in sales. The consumer wants to know they are buying from someone who understands their problems.
The first step of generating inbound leads is all about producing content that positions you as the solution to the consumer’s problem. If the customer truly comes first, demonstrating that you can be the solution is paramount. Therefore blogging, social media, and video content are extremely critical. Google, Facebook, and YouTube profit from the number of users on their platforms. Because of this, a merit-based system of relevance has been established. All three platforms are trusted by consumers to quickly provide them with the most highly relevant information.
With inbound marketing, you, your product and your service must be put on display. Your blog needs to go into detail and provide a lot of value to the reader. Your social media posts need to identify problems and explain how to fix them in a concise manner. As an expert in your industry, you need to be writing books and e-books to build authority. Show the consumer how to solve their problem step-by-step in video and podcast format. 16 million Americans identified themselves as “podcast fans” as of April of 2020. These are just a few examples of where you should be creating content.
Website Design for Inbound Leads
The second step is designing your website as a lead generation machine that guides visitors toward the business objective. It does not matter how compelling your content is if it does not result in any action on the part of the visitor. Too many businesses do a good job of attracting visitors to their website with nothing to show for it. If you ask them, they cannot put a finger on whether their website has helped generate any revenue.
Step 1 and step 2 must work hand in hand in order to generate any inbound leads. Contractors need to be leveraging both strategies if they hope to grow their business.
Here are the three processes required to start generating inbound leads
Having your entire business available to your customers on a functional and user-friendly website is a requirement. Your website is the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy. A lot of contactors know this, so they build a website listing their services and contact information. Unfortunately, this is a waste of time if the website is not generating any leads. It does not matter how many website visitors you have if they are leaving without taking an action that increases the profitability of your business.
Here are a few lead generation tips for contractors to consider when building a website
When designing a service page, include every detail surrounding the service. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to the content on the page. Do not just list the type of service you provide and put up a photo gallery of before and after work. The limited information is not maximizing the value provided to the consumer and search engine bots prefer text over images. You do not want your visitor to have unanswered questions that result in you not getting the lead.
The following information should be included in the service page
- Service provided
- Step-by-step process of how the project is completed
- What the process looks like once the customer makes an enquiry.
- When the customer can expect to hear from you.
- How long it takes to complete a project
- Any other information related to the project that you would share in person
Your website needs to include your physical address and service area. Do not make the mistake of assuming the visitor knows this information. Even if the search engine title displays your location, the visitor could still be confused. Having a separate page describing your service and providing location specific content works wonders for local SEO. This is not a common practice and should be taken advantage of by contactors looking for an edge. There are towns all over the United States with the same name. Location is one of many ranking factors for search engines. Since contactors are limited to providing their service within a certain area, the location needs to be crystal clear.
Including reviews from satisfied customers provides a lot of value for visitors. Building trust into the buyer’s decision-making process is key. There are multiple platforms where people can leave reviews including HomeAdvisor, Better Business Bureau, and Angie’s List. You can also find them on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. Pick out some of your best reviews and put them on your website. Including the name and photo of the person who left the review adds credibility. You can also add the location where the project was completed as part of your local SEO strategy.
The contact form is one of the best marketing tools on your website. The form gives the customer a channel through which they can ask a question and get more information. More importantly, it helps you build a list of subscribers for your email campaigns. The average return on investment for email marketing is 42$ for every 1$ spent. The contact form is something you want to include in your marketing strategy.
Every website has a purpose. If your purpose is to generate inbound leads, you need to give your visitors directions. Website visitors can not be left to wander through your website aimlessly. They clicked on your website because there was some level of interest in your service. Strategically placed calls-to-action need to be placed on your website as a road map to the destination. Whether that is a phone call, setting up an appointment, or subscribing to an email list, the road needs to lead to one of these objectives. Tell your visitors what to do or they will not do anything.
Search Engine Optimization
It does not matter if you have all the necessary content on your website if no one can find it. There are 2 billion websites on the internet. 91% of internet users will not scroll past the first page of Google. If you do not have a strategy for increasing your search relevance, there is no point in even having a website. Without visitors, your content provides no value and serves no purpose.
Here are a few tips for contractors regarding on-site search engine optimization
Search Engine Title
The first part of your title should read “#1 (insert service name) in (location). The second part of your title should be your business name
- Example – #1 Landscaping Company in Charlotte, NC
Search Engine Title
If you do not manually enter a meta description for your pages, they will be automatically generated. You want to make sure your meta description includes your main keywords while having compelling information about your business. There is a character limit so be concise.
- Example – Best Landscaping company in Charlotte, NC. We are fully licensed and insured and offer services 365 days a year for both residential and commercial properties.
These keywords include your name in the search phrase. Use these types of keywords if you want people to improve your visibility to people who are specifically searching for you. This is a good idea because you don’t want another business to rank higher than you for a search that was meant for your business.
Each one of your pages should have enough content to build trust with visitors and search engines. The average word count for a web page is around 200. It is recommended that pages have at least 750-1000 words of relevant content. Coming up with 1,000 words of content for a service that you have been providing for years should not be that hard. Do not try to supply the least amount of information possible to be understood. Explain every minute detail associated with the topic at hand.
52% of all worldwide internet traffic comes from a mobile device. Your website needs to be fully functional across all devices included smartphones and tablets. This is for the sake of the consumer and search engine rankings. “where to buy” and “near me” search queries have increased by over 200% in the last two years. The purpose of your website is to generate leads and increase your profitability. Therefore, your website needs to be responsive to multiple devices.
When search engine bots analyze your web pages, they start at the top and work their way down. They start with the information that is tagged as the most important and end with the least important. The tags are based on headings that are marked by the person who created the content. If you are a landscape company, something associated with landscaping needs to be one of your highest-level headings. It is also important to make sure you do not skip a heading level. When a search engine bot finishes level 2 and jumps straight to level 4, it gets confused. The bots need to understand your content in order to rank you properly.
Alternate Text for Images
It is commonplace for images to be included on web pages along with text and video content. Each photo has a title and a tag attached to it that is crawled by search engine bots. When you download a stock photo or upload one from another device, it could have an irrelevant name. The name and alternate text need to be relevant to main topic of the page. This is just one more piece of the puzzle surrounding your relevance on a search engine.
Content Marketing for Inbound Leads
Once the main pieces of content on your website are published and optimized, you will need to start creating content relevant to your business. When users enter search queries into a search engine, highly specific and highly relevant information is going to appear. The main pages on your website are going to be more generalized because they describe your entire service from a broad perspective.
A landscaping business may have a page specifically for lawncare under a service tab. The lawncare page may include information about mowing, maintenance, and hedge trimming. If an internet user enters “yard aeration” into a search engine, you want to be able to compete for that user. Even if you do not provide that service, they may also be in the market for something else related to lawncare. For that reason, you need to create highly specific content about every topic that is even narrowly related to your industry.
Inbound leads require a lot of work to generate. Putting a system in place that earns residual leads is a long-term investment. If your goal is to grow and expand your business, inbound lead generation is a requirement. Chances are, you are going to have to hire someone to create and manage this type of system. A lot of businesses do not do it because they see hiring another person as an expense that will not be recovered. Being able to double your profit margin by generating your own leads instead of relying on another company to sell them to you is a great asset. A business could in fact, afford to hire someone to manage this type of project with ease with the right system in place.