Tired of dealing with internet marketers like me and want DIY your own contractor leads generation machine? In this article and subsequent series, I’m going to teach you exactly how I’ve built hundreds, if not thousands, of ass kicking lead generation funnels so that you can too and never have to rely on someone like me again.
When building your own contractor leads generation machine, it’s generally viewed that Google Adwords Pay-Per-Click(PPC) advertising model converts better than any other search networks such as Bing or Yahoo.
I’ve ran over 200 ad networks in my career and have used every single type of traffic sources and ad types and can tell you now that Bing should be included, though it’ll be at a much lower rate than AdWords. I’d say that Bing Ads will have a budget 1/4th to 1/5th of what you’re spending on AdWords. So if you’re spending $100/days on Adwords, you’ll allocate $20-25/day for Bing paid ads.
Best damn part about running Bing is that we will only do so after dialing in our Adwords campaigns, and then simply import it to Bing and 5 minutes later, with no work or knowledge on how to use Bing required! Just make sure you dial your Adwords in first (keyword groupings, winning ad copy, and damn sure better have negative keywords in otherwise that’s how people get taken to the cleaners with no results).
So what about the social channels, because using just Google Adwords and Bing does not translate it into being the only option you should only use when developing your own contractor leads generation sales funnel.
Three reasons why Google Adwords shouldn’t be the sole focus in our contractor leads generation campaigns are:
- Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) are typically more costly than other inbound marketing methods, especially compared to SEO.
- You’re missing out on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn which provides a different method of targeting fresh contractor leads sources for your sales pipeline.
- Google Adwords PPC advertising isn’t the easiest to scale as other contractor leads marketing campaigns, which leads you to hitting the point of diminishing returns rather quickly during the scaling process because only around 3-4% of a users search results in an Adwords paid click, rest going to the top 3 organic results, as well as local 3 pack.
So as you can see with paid Google ads it does not generate a whole lot of contractor leads as compared to other methods such as SEO for contractors, given there’s generally 5-to-10 profitable contractor niche-specific keywords that actually convert contractor leads to a sale.
The trick here is to refocus your attention from the bottom of the sales funnel back to the top of funnel, where we first discover who our ideal prospects are in the awareness stage.
Additionally, contractor leads at the awareness stage are going to cost a lot less and is another reason why your top of the funnel focus with generating leads is almost always more profitable than the bottom.
Or, think of it like this, garbage in equals garbage out.
If you’ve tried building your own lead generator before, I’m wiling to bet this is where you failed.
Scaling at the Bottom of the Funnel isn’t Long Term Viable
Adwords works well because it has user intent and it’s quick to produce leads, compared to SEO that easily takes 2-3 months before you see anything. What do I mean when I say AdWords has user intent is that people actively search for a specific need, click on the search engine results page (SERPs) that returns a the best answer to their search query, and finally they’ll possibly opt-in or buy a product of service.
When generating contractor leads, what matters most is the last touch point simply because it’s an easy way to track the lead generation campaigns return on investment (ROI).
Just like any self-fulfilling prophecy, the more attention placed on it, the more it just works! It’s a miracle! Which more than likely translates into a budget increase in generating contractor leads, because it simply works as planned.
But, as you’ve guessed correctly, there’s always a downside with such simplicity. The major issue here is in the longterm Scalability of this strategy.
Lead Generation Scalability
Scaling your contractor business is the critical issue especially when you are paying $30-to-$80+ per click on Google Adwords. Conversions might appear to be good, but there’s always a point of diminishing return that every Adwords campaign faces. In a lot of cases there’s simply not enough availability of buyers in your local area which will allow your business to grow beyond six figure revenues. In other cases, there’s not a large enough margin to be able to take those funds and repurpose (reinvest) in other areas of your business. Other times you could be up against the big boys that’ll just outspend you and force you out.
Trust me I’ve seen and done it all, so maybe I’ll write an article on how you can use some of my tactics to crowd out your competition and dominate the internet, even if they’re bigger and have more money than you.
Generating Bottom-of-the-funnel leads for contractors using Adwords works well because you can put down a few hundred dollars and see a couple come in not long afterward (given your Adwords account is setup and dialed in. If it’s a new account or one you’ve paused, it’ll take 30 days or so before Google lets you bid on the money keywords. Welcome to the sandbox).
It’s that important for every single dollar you put in you’re going to get two back. Have you ever heard what Vegas was built on? Haha, right, don’t we all wish, and as you guessed it, here’s where more problems enter the picture.
High priced cost-per-click (CPC) search keyword terms will easily inflate your Cost Per Leads (CPL). A high CPC alone will exponentially increase your monthly leads generation advertising budget. It’s not uncommon to see a $20,000/monthly Google Adwords budgets in super competitive leads generation niches and that’s just at the low end of the ad budget range, not the high end!
The average person, startup, or small business simply doesn’t have this type of ad budget to even begin playing in these spaces.
That said, your business must have a cost effective leads generation strategy in place in order to turn those precious leads into paying customers, and profits for your company. Therefore, you will need to cast the net wide enough to convert the small percentage points and even then just hope and pray for profitability, one day..
As you guessed, there’s yet another additional pitfall in this lead generation strategy.
According to a Salesforce B2B leads generation benchmark report, it takes around 80 days for a lead to mature into an opportunity which only then leads to a potential sale. You will need to be able to survive 80 incredibly long, hard days to transition a person from a cold contractor lead to an opportunity, and around 20 additional days in order to close it.
Throw in other factors like your payment terms which can easily be on net 15 or net 30, and you’re now having to wait around 4 months to generate revenue from this activity. And for those of us that have been in this line of work for any period of time knows that not all clients are going to pay you on time, or even ever.
Can your contracting business survive 4-5 months without any new revenue from this activity?
You are now looking at not being able to recoup a single dollar from that $10k/month Google ad budget for the next 4-5 months, and that’s if you’re lucky to even get it back at all!
Here’s the reality, you need four to five times the original starting budget for generating contractor leads than you think you do in order to simply sustain your business. It’s like working capital in finance. You need enough to keep the lights open until the cash eventually trickles back into your bottom line. As you can see, generating your own contractor leads is not an overnight cure to your cash flow woes.. Jim Beam, however, is.
Now that I’ve hurt your sensibilities are you ready for the good news? All hope isn’t lost in obtaining your dream. Not yet, at least until your ex wife’s lawyer comes for it.
Till then, there’s a remedy to a slow payoff, budget-hungry contractor leads generation sales funnel. This powerful remedy is affectionately called Brand Awareness.
I know, you’re thinking that Brand Awareness campaigns are reserved for Fortune 500 companies that have invested in it for years. One of the reasons most digital marketers might disagree with this strategy is because it’s not easy to quantify by just reading the conversion data.
Reduce upfront costs by using Brand Awareness as a Lead Generation Strategy
Brand awareness is typically the goal of any contractor leads campaign while engaged at the top-of-the-funnel in the awareness stage.
You want to start positioning your brand favorably within the minds and hearts of local consumers. Brand awareness as a contractor leads generation strategy is often overlooked which leads to the Great Brand vs. Performance Marketing debate amongst industry experts.
On one side of the coin, ‘branding’ is like an industry buzzword that’s basically lost all meaning. And on the side, it’s only viewed as being necessary for large name brand Fortune 500’s with the budget to execute. It’s considered a luxury rather than a necessity to growth and survival.
To make it worse, it’s just about impossible to directly correlate brand building campaigns to sales. Therefore, branding campaigns easily gets overlooked by a majority of digital marketers that are data driven focused.
However, when done correctly, establishing brand awareness is an investment in your future sales. Brand awareness campaigns are still divided by a typical contractor leads sales funnel:
- Traffic & Audience Reach = TOFU
- Leads Generation = MOFU
- Sales Conversions = BOFU
A study conducted by Nielsen on under what drives sales found that 60% of consumers purchase products and services from recognizable brands. Familiar faces are two-thirds more likely to get a purchase decision from an end user over a non-name brand company. But, as you might have guessed, that’s not all there is to it.
Studies from Search Engine Land found that around 70% of customers actively search for a brand name retailer when choosing which search result to click on. When you’re searching for “inbound marketing”, did you click on HubSpot or some random noname.io site? Exactly!
We’ve been well conditioned by Corporate America.
Even if noname.io were ranked in first place on SERPs, you’d probably still click HubSpot at #3.
This is easy to associate Brand awareness with equaling trust. Brand recognition is powerful in the way it drives sales psychologically.
And once you build brand recognition within your local market, you end up being able to drive traffic without having to take the normal top funnel stage method, which mean you don’t have to pay to drive traffic anymore.
You don’t have to pay to generate contractor leads and lead magnets and all that fluffy stuff that burns money with almost seemingly little upfront results, kinda like your sugarbaby does.
When you’ve reached this point you just have to focus on closing the deals as they come along. This allows you to reduce your operating costs dramatically.
Now it’s time for some good news:
Building brand awareness contractor leads campaigns can be cheap if you take the right approach, aka my approach.
Now, I know what the data says here and I’m going to roll with teaching you Facebook ads, but in my opinion, YouTube Ads deserves mention for building brand awareness campaigns due to the CPV (cost per view) being ridiculously low with the audience reach being comparable to Facebook. The other argument why YouTube deserves to be acknowledged is that on Facebook people are basically wasting time doing things like snooping on other people and clowning around with no direction or purpose. In other words, Facebook users have little to no expressed commerical intent value, whereas on YouTube they are actively searching for answers to their problems, which means that they have expressed commercial intent.
Food for thought.
So let’s roll with learning Facebook ads. Except they “just don’t work,” right?
Maybe, maybe not.
And honestly, on Facebook, it comes down to your advertising approach.
Lots of finesse.
According to Moz, Facebook Ads have the cheapest CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) of any online advertising platform, ever.
But try comparing that cost to channels like the newspaper, magazine, and radio CPMs then:
Using this method, you’re only spending around $1 per day on Facebook advertisements. That translates into being able to reach and additional 4,000 new souls each day with Facebook ads using brand awareness campaign settings for $1! As a contractor leads generation tactic, it doesn’t get more cost-effective than this.
Given 4,000 targeted views per day, that gives us 120,000 brand impressions each and every month for around $30/month.That’s 120,000 new eyeballs seeing your brand than you had last month. For our contractor lead generation efforts, it’s about the most cost effective brand exposure you’re ever going to get.
Here’s how you will generate contractor leads with cheap branding on Facebook in order to keep your top of the funnel profitable and generating new qualified and exclusive leads each and every month!
Develop a Top of the Funnel Campaign with Facebook Ads
Self-sustaining lead gen campaigns run continuously and without any additional effort. It’s a continuos looping cycle that keeps performing no matter what.
It can be completed in three steps which you can easily complete right now with me.
- Develop a new, small/medium-sized target audience based on your ideal user (lawyers, doctors, etc).
- Develop a remarketing audience focused on your engaged users.
- Develop a new lookalike audience with these contractor leads.
This lead generation strategy will only cost you a few bucks per day while at the same time create a self-maintaing campaign in perpetual motion.
You just recycle each time the loop completes in order to replenish your target audience. Doing it this way, you will be generating thousands of new visits and impressions to build brand awareness each and every single month from now on.
This is easy to see that new brand awareness equals more recognition & trust which equals more sales, finally ending in less money coming out of your pocket.
Side note: if you want more in depth training of Facebook Ads you can check out my YouTube Channel where I’ve loaded 14 hours of content showing you every angle you could possibly want to take.
To set this up, open up the Facebook Business Manager and navigate to the audiences section:
At this point, simply select the create option and new saved audience as seen below (note that I’m building my audience to target for my SEO services so just swap out seo with your business model):
Your new saved audience can be a great initial starting point for you to generate a large enough target audience list for our brand awareness campaign.
Start this process by entering some basic demographic data that you associate with your target audience or ideal customers. Here I would suggest your local neighborhoods you service, an age range of 35-55, and for now target both genders:
Next, you need to narrow this list down some because you shouldn’t, nor can you target 134,312,399 people with brand awareness ads. Bluntly stated, there’s just not many folks who give a damn about your business, plus you couldn’t service them so please dial this part in.
Let’s start this by adding a couple interests that’s related to your company. Since I’m building out a campaign for myself while writing this post, I’ll use my audience as an example for SEO services. We would type this in the search box and then add it as an interest to target (now, for you it could be homeowner, parent, etc. I’m not going to give you specifics here so you can’t blame me for results I have no control managing, so this part is on you):
If your brands services are B2B, as in you service commercial accounts, you would narrow your target list down further:
Finally, put the finishing touches on your audience list off with a few exclusions so that you don’t end up targeting non-buyers who might not engage well to your brand (the tire kicking type that just waste your money with no intention to make a purchasing decision. Please do not use my example below as yours as it’s not applicable in all situations):
Next, save the list by naming your audience something relative to this activity so that you can more easily recognize it later. Now, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager where you’re going to create a new campaign based on the brand awareness objective we just created:
Scroll down to where you see the audience section and you will then select your saved audience that was just created:
Next, define your brand awareness ad budget to $1/day (you can always set it to a bigger budget if you have it and certainly do if you’re in a big market):
Now we have to build the ad creative. When building creatives for our brand awareness advertisements, we aren’t focusing on converting someone into sales. Try and gun for that like an impatient little child and you’re gonna get your ass handed to you.
That’s not the point here, yet. Offers like that just won’t resonate particularly well with any target audience whom never heard of your brand.
At this stage we have to provide value which is associated with your brand without asking for any favors. Always give first before asking to receive.
Hard sales tactics and approach just doesn’t work anymore.
An example of generating contractor leads with this strategy would be taking your best blog post interest piece and using it as your ad creative.
Make sure it has some helpful and actionable information that say a homeowner can take to save some money and solve a common problem at home. That would build a lot of credibility.
Now, you are finished with the first step of this process.
Next up for constructing an effective contracor leads generation machine is building our sales funnel by setting up a remarketing audience from the website visits stemming from your brand awareness blog post campaign.
Before you do all this, you absolutely must setup your Facebook Pixel. You can do this by navigating in your Facebook Business Manager to the Events Manager section and select the option with “Pixels”.
Now click on this to create the Facebook Pixel and make it easily recognizable with the name of your website:
To install the Pixel code, copy it and now go to your website to add it to the header file:
Once installed and verified on your site, head over to the audience section and develop another new custom audience based on website traffic:
Don’t just select “People who visited specific web pages” as your main criteria, then add your web post to drive traffic for your contractor leads brand awareness ads:
Getting more granular, we can perry down the traffic by defining the frequency to 2 or more visits:
Tracking? Good, now hit save, and you have generated your second audience!
With your second audience, we can bring back our website visitors and narrow our list down even more to our brand-aware website visitors.
Last and most importantly, you should take your newly created custom audience and flip it into a lookalike audience.
That will signal to Facebook to wrangle up more users for you to target who have similar interests and tendencies as your best performers in these campaigns.
This is where the power of Facebook plays a roll in leads generation: Lookalike Audience Targeting
Now, make your way to the audiences section and develop another new lookalike audience. Select the 2nd remarketing audience you previously saved as the “Source:”
Next up, choose the 1% audience size to keep it narrowly targeted and costs down. Later on, you should test the 1% audience against 3%, 5%, 8% in order to find where you get the most value for your money.
Now save this, and you have created your first self-sustaining top-of-the-funnel contractor leads generation campaign in order to generate lots of brand awareness for your business.
Conclusion: Brand Awareness Campaigns Can Lead to Successful Contractor Leads for your Business
Though Google Adwords is still a solid advertising channel that you should use to generate contractor leads funnels, however, you should never dump all your eggs in 1 basket.
Instead of following the same cookie cutter typical contractor leads systems and guru’s mold, step out of your comfort zone and change it up. Like my former boss used to say: “get creative!”
Invest your time and resources in different, off-the-wall contractor leads generation techniques that’s going to make all of your future sales a lot easier and less expensive by qualifying contractor leads upfront at a less of a cost.
You must invest in branding activities, one’s that you have no way of tracking today, in pursuit of an easier tomorrow. This is super difficult for most people and where I see clients stray from the path all the time. Everyone wants the quick and easy buck. Resist that urge!
Brand awareness has the power to drive quicker sales, at a reduced upfront cost, at scale. And when you do this correctly, it can even be a cheaper investment that will pay off dividends for many, many years to come.