Professional Painting Contractors Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What marketing efforts are bringing you the most business? Is it your website? (PPC? Or SEO?) Direct mail? Yellow Pages directories (online? book?), print advertising, or what?

I'm guessing/betting/gambling on putting more $$ and effort into SEO in 2011 to put our website in front of more potential customers than ever before. But I haven't outsourced my SEO before and it's rather expensive. I've been doing all of our SEO myself and have just enough knowledge about it to know that I need to hire professionals for this unless I want to make it my full time job instead of running my business.

I'm also doing PPC myself through Google AdWords which generates lots of traffic but not nearly as many calls or emails as I would like for the money.

I gave up on flyer distributions a few years ago as well as print advertising in local magazines and newpapers. The ROI just wasn't there. We still have an ad in the old Yellow Pages but this has only been renewed because it gives us another place on their website to be found. No one calls us from the YP book but we do get some calls from the YP site profile that came with the package. And now, YP wants us to pay them another $480/month to put our profile at the top of their directory. (That's one ad on one directory!) The claim is that unlike Google or any other major search engine I'm advertising on, Yellow Pages searches are done by people who are ready to BUY and are just looking for who to buy FROM. Searches on the major search engines on the other hand are mostly just "tire kickers" and so the majority of traffic to our website is wasted on people who are just beginning to find out if it's even feasible for them to hire professionals.

So I have to ask all you dedicated contractors out there who have good people they want to keep working like I do: where are you getting your biggest bang for the marketing dollar?

Your insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,051 Posts
I had an ad run in a local (12,000home owners received) magazine. IT cost me ~$400 and I have had 10 calls in 2 weeks. So far, booked 2 jobs, and the other 8 estimates are outstanding for me to follow up on. I realize a lot of you guys get 50 leads a week. My company is just 1 year old. So I am happy!

So far that has been my biggest lead generator yet, with referrals being the 2nd biggest.

Truck logos/signs have helped. Regular fliers have not. Website has helped a bit, but only a few people have contacted me because of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had an ad run in a local (12,000home owners received) magazine. IT cost me ~$400 and I have had 10 calls in 2 weeks. So far, booked 2 jobs, and the other 8 estimates are outstanding for me to follow up on. I realize a lot of you guys get 50 leads a week. My company is just 1 year old. So I am happy!

So far that has been my biggest lead generator yet, with referrals being the 2nd biggest.

Truck logos/signs have helped. Regular fliers have not. Website has helped a bit, but only a few people have contacted me because of it.
Are you putting anything into marketing your website to generate traffic, though?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,051 Posts
Are you putting anything into marketing your website to generate traffic, though?

Not yet. If I look up Westside Vancouver painter my site is on the first page, however to get first page for just Vancouver painter is nearly impossible.

I had talked to an SEO agency and their price was something like $4000. That including redoing my webpage. IT was/is a bit steep for my current advertising budget.

My current webpage budget is nothing, as I do it myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not yet. If I look up Westside Vancouver painter my site is on the first page, however to get first page for just Vancouver painter is nearly impossible.

I had talked to an SEO agency and their price was something like $4000. That including redoing my webpage. IT was/is a bit steep for my current advertising budget.

My current webpage budget is nothing, as I do it myself.
I hear you. I've been doing my own websites and SEO for the last 8 years with modest success in Toronto (the most competitive painting market in Canada). The trick is to find all the great long-tail key phrases. Don't even bother optimizing for the general keywords. Go for the low-hanging fruit you find with Google's Keyword Tool. Then you can easily put yourself on page 1 of Google for more specific phrases like "interior house painting Vancouver" or others like that. I've gotten us to page one for probably a dozen key phrases in Toronto. But I have to now differ to the pros to multiply that by 10 cause I just don't have the time to do it on that scale unless i was doing it all day every day. But while you're starting out the way you are, you'll do well to put in the time to optimize your site for local business listings. And don't forget to fully use your business profile on Google Places. Those listings are FREE GOLD!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,188 Posts
Not yet. If I look up Westside Vancouver painter my site is on the first page, however to get first page for just Vancouver painter is nearly impossible.

I had talked to an SEO agency and their price was something like $4000. That including redoing my webpage. IT was/is a bit steep for my current advertising budget.

My current webpage budget is nothing, as I do it myself.
I am a bit of a caveman when it comes to the internet I admit. I am realizing that in markets of high concentration of population and therefore painting contractors, it is becoming somewhat of a bidding war to end up on or near the top of the first page. If you google my specific town I will be on the first page near the top, but broaden the area to say a 15 mile radius and there are many hundreds of contractors fighting for top billing. Last I looked into it the adwords average to be in the top few spots on the first page in my market was around $10/click. I think it works better and is more effective(and less expensive) in smaller markets with a little less competition? For those more knowledgeable than I(which is all of you)-Do you believe that the internet has become what the yellow pages was to service businesses 15-20 years ago or is it something more/less/different?
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
2,565 Posts
Dee, we are one of the few in Toronto that are on first page,
for the popular terms as well. In a way you are right. With all the fast changing Google algorithms,
it is not easy to stay there.
Websites like yours and many others want these spots.
Of course I don't want to give up this valuable Google Real Estate.
If I had to do it all myself (as I used to do most of the work)
it would not work. So we are paying to have some of the work done.
Low hanging fruit is good (for us too) but you need lots of it
and lots of writing.
Pay Per Click is an equalizer, but monitor it so you don't waste a lot of money.
Google places is tough in Toronto as well. You need to have so many great citations among other things. Certainly not free to do well in a competitive market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dee, we are one of the few in Toronto that are on first page,
for the popular terms as well. In a way you are right. With all the fast changing Google algorithms,
it is not easy to stay there.
Websites like yours and many others want these spots.
Of course I don't want to give up this valuable Google Real Estate.
If I had to do it all myself (as I used to do most of the work)
it would not work. So we are paying to have some of the work done.
Low hanging fruit is good (for us too) but you need lots of it
and lots of writing.
Pay Per Click is an equalizer, but monitor it so you don't waste a lot of money.
Google places is tough in Toronto as well. You need to have so many great citations among other things. Certainly not free to do well in a competitive market.
Sage advice, George. I really appreciate your candid feedback. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
440 Posts
...The trick is to find all the great long-tail key phrases. Don't even bother optimizing for the general keywords. Go for the low-hanging fruit you find with Google's Keyword Tool. Then you can easily put yourself on page 1 of Google for more specific phrases like "interior house painting Vancouver" or others like that....
I have to disagree about your long tail keywords strategy for our type of businesses. I'm sure whatever you have done so far has helped you even for your more general terms, But I would say to focus your energy on the general keywords such as " house painters in Toronto "

I think the long tail is what you should go after you have already ranked for the more general terms.

Reason being the " local " long tail keyword is going to get very little traffic. The long tail strategy ( IMO ) is best suited for someone looking to rank nationally or globally where the long tail traffic is high enough to go after.

( I'm assuming by general, you still meant using your local city, not just the keyword by itself )

Whatever time, effort and/or money your investing should be to rank for the keywords with the most traffic.

The high ranking position for our local keywords are attainable. Yes, depending on competition, it may take some time, but you will get there.

Just my opinion, good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,188 Posts
Dee, we are one of the few in Toronto that are on first page,
for the popular terms as well. In a way you are right. With all the fast changing Google algorithms,
it is not easy to stay there.
Websites like yours and many others want these spots.
Of course I don't want to give up this valuable Google Real Estate.
If I had to do it all myself (as I used to do most of the work)
it would not work. So we are paying to have some of the work done.
Low hanging fruit is good (for us too) but you need lots of it
and lots of writing.
Pay Per Click is an equalizer, but monitor it so you don't waste a lot of money.
Google places is tough in Toronto as well. You need to have so many great citations among other things. Certainly not free to do well in a competitive market.
I am assuming that this seo that everyone seems to be involved in is something that is an ongoing process, not something that you do yourself and/or pay for an your're done? Has it been determined that paying a professional to work on the seo is a better/less value than the pay per click method? Again, we have operated forever being 98% referral based so this is all very new & interesting to me. In my 35 years we have never run a print add in the Yellow Pages or local publications. I do notice the past few years has not been as crazy busy as we are used to-in some ways a blessing, but I am wondering if it is just the economy or are trends changing as well? Is it a taboo question to ask what kind of $ we are talking about annually that is needed to pay a professional seo service for consistent 1st page Google results in a congested market? I remember hearing many years ago that some of the larger commercial painting contractors were paying big bucks for a large annual add in our county's Yellow Pages. Is this something that is practical for a shop that specializes in residential work? Also, do you find many of the leads are "shoppers"? At this point in my life the last thing I need to do with my time is run all over town looking at work and competing with guys who are using sub crews with illegals only to get 10% of the work. The last thing I would want to do is throw many thousands of dollars at something like this and create a monster. If these are questions that are more appropriately asked in a PM-or not all all, I apologize. I am not interested in anyones secret coveted fishing hole, just considering if this is something I will need to consider going forward. I don't think anything will ever replace the referral, but I will acknowledge these are changing and in many cases uncertain times. Thanks for indulging my long winded ignorant questions.
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
2,565 Posts
I am assuming that this seo that everyone seems to be involved in is something that is an ongoing process, not something that you do yourself and/or pay for an your're done? Has it been determined that paying a professional to work on the seo is a better/less value than the pay per click method? Again, we have operated forever being 98% referral based so this is all very new & interesting to me. In my 35 years we have never run a print add in the Yellow Pages or local publications. I do notice the past few years has not been as crazy busy as we are used to-in some ways a blessing, but I am wondering if it is just the economy or are trends changing as well? Is it a taboo question to ask what kind of $ we are talking about annually that is needed to pay a professional seo service for consistent 1st page Google results in a congested market? I remember hearing many years ago that some of the larger commercial painting contractors were paying big bucks for a large annual add in our county's Yellow Pages. Is this something that is practical for a shop that specializes in residential work? Also, do you find many of the leads are "shoppers"? At this point in my life the last thing I need to do with my time is run all over town looking at work and competing with guys who are using sub crews with illegals only to get 10% of the work. The last thing I would want to do is throw many thousands of dollars at something like this and create a monster. If these are questions that are more appropriately asked in a PM-or not all all, I apologize. I am not interested in anyones secret coveted fishing hole, just considering if this is something I will need to consider going forward. I don't think anything will ever replace the referral, but I will acknowledge these are changing and in many cases uncertain times. Thanks for indulging my long winded ignorant questions.
The referral versus any advertising question I will not get into.
Yellow Pages vs Internet, it's been discussed once or twice.
As far as the leads being quality, there are all kinds, tire kickers as well. Also why would someone expect a high quality lead from a low Quality site?
It is all about marketing. The basic rules have not changed.
It is not whether you want to do it, it is whether you can.
There is only so much Google Real Estate to have and others figured out how to have it already.
Knocking them off is difficult.
Money alone will not do well. There are more than 10 good SEO companies in the world but only 10 positions. But you need to spend it in a competitive market.
If you don't, you stop being a contractor and turn into an SEO yoursel(time)
To make it even more difficult, I think we are entering the "you can't see the forest from the trees" period. by the time we figure out all this, "all this" may just be less important. Social media is here. And hiring for that is not going to do it. You need personal, or your staff's involvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have to disagree about your long tail keywords strategy for our type of businesses. I'm sure whatever you have done so far has helped you even for your more general terms, But I would say to focus your energy on the general keywords such as " house painters in Toronto "

I think the long tail is what you should go after you have already ranked for the more general terms.

Reason being the " local " long tail keyword is going to get very little traffic. The long tail strategy ( IMO ) is best suited for someone looking to rank nationally or globally where the long tail traffic is high enough to go after.

( I'm assuming by general, you still meant using your local city, not just the keyword by itself )

Whatever time, effort and/or money your investing should be to rank for the keywords with the most traffic.

The high ranking position for our local keywords are attainable. Yes, depending on competition, it may take some time, but you will get there.

Just my opinion, good luck.
When I'm referring to "general" keywords, I'm of course thinking of broad terms like "painters" and "painting". By long tail, I'm thinking of terms like your example, "house painters in Toronto".

Thanks for helping me to clarify this, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,188 Posts
The referral versus any advertising question I will not get into.
Yellow Pages vs Internet, it's been discussed once or twice.
As far as the leads being quality, there are all kinds, tire kickers as well. Also why would someone expect a high quality lead from a low Quality site?
It is all about marketing. The basic rules have not changed.
It is not whether you want to do it, it is whether you can.
There is only so much Google Real Estate to have and others figured out how to have it already.
Knocking them off is difficult.
Money alone will not do well. There are more than 10 good SEO companies in the world but only 10 positions. But you need to spend it in a competitive market.
If you don't, you stop being a contractor and turn into an SEO yoursel(time)
To make it even more difficult, I think we are entering the "you can't see the forest from the trees" period. by the time we figure out all this, "all this" may just be less important. Social media is here. And hiring for that is not going to do it. You need personal, or your staff's involvement.
Thanks for the insight George. Much appreciated. It all makes sense. I wasn't questioning the referral vs. advertising. I know from a lifetime of experience and success how I feel about that. The social media trend is interesting. In the end, I think that really boils down to just people communicating with each. Now it's global instead of so localized. Thanks again George.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top