Category Archives for "Lead Gen"

how to get construction leads
Oct 26

Turn Leads Into Sales With Modern Email Marketing

Lead Gen

Though email marketing has taken a backseat to more “modern” forms of digital promotion, it’s still an effective marketing tool. Despite the age of this technology, businesses still use email to connect with audiences, turn leads into sales and engage followers with promotions, news and other relevant information.

The value that email marketing has above all else, however, is that it gives you an opportunity to connect with potential buyers who visited your site and left. You can target qualified leads with email marketing and get another opportunity to earn their business.

Nurturing leads with email marketing isn’t easy, though. It requires a targeted campaign with personalized communication, appropriate timing and strategic promotions that won’t overwhelm your new leads.

Why Email Marketing?

No matter what you’ve heard, email marketing is quite effective in a modern digital marketing strategy.

According to Campaign Monitor, here’s what email marketing looks like by the numbers:

  • More than 80 percent of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
  • Email opens on mobile devices is around 55 percent.
  • Marketers have experienced revenue increases of 760 percent from email marketing campaigns.
  • Email content is six times more likely to get a click than social media content.
  • Facebook and Twitter are falling behind email for gaining new customers.
  • Email ROI is 30 percent, compared to direct mail at 7 percent.
  • 6 out of 10 employees recognize the importance of email in their work.

Email for Effective Communication

Email may not be the newest thing, but it’s still relevant in our everyday lives. Unlike social media, which isn’t actually used by everyone and allows messages to get lost in the shuffle, email is almost guaranteed to reach its recipient.

Better yet, email has an incredible reach and costs nearly nothing to send, unlike paid advertising or other forms of digital marketing.

Email to Reconnect with Leads

contractor leads

Emails allow you to connect with your leads in a way that nothing else can. If a visitor comes to your site and doesn’t buy a product, but subscribes to your newsletter, you have a pre-qualified lead. You know this person is interested in what you have to offer, so half of the marketing legwork is done for you, and you’re more likely to put your energy into a lead that will convert.

Now, instead of losing the lead entirely, you can use email to redirect your marketing and nurture the lead into a paying customer.

Email to Personalize a Message

Aside from email’s ability to reach the intended audience, it also allows you to personalize your message and increase the chance of engagement. Personalized emails are more likely to be opened and have higher click-through rates as well, so you have a better chance of getting something for your efforts.

Personalizing an email isn’t difficult, but it’s an area in which many contractors fail. Something as simple as using the person’s name and your own name, instead of your business name, can elevate your email above the rest.

Email to Segment Leads for Better Relevance

Email marketing is more effective when the leads are divided into segments based on different personas. Once you have information about your buyer’s demographics, shopping behavior, employment, location, buyer journey stage and problems, you can separate them into segments and tailor your content to their needs.

Here are some ways to customize your emails with segmentation:

  • Change the language for demographics.
  • Use customized offers for different buying habits.
  • Tailor content and topics for different demographics, problems and stages in the buying journey.
  • Release sales in specific locations.
  • Offer products or services based on past purchases.

Email for Variety

Email marketing includes many different types of emails that serve different purposes. The emails you send to a longtime customer are going to be different than those you send to a new lead, and rightfully so. Having a blanket email ruins any attempt at personalization and has the potential to scare off a new lead.

In the early stages of the business relationship, you want to send emails that focus on information about your industry, business, products or services or expertise. Subsequent emails can work on the problem the lead may have, or one that’s common for your existing customers, and how you can help.

These early emails are an important part of building the relationship and shouldn’t be skipped or rushed. After you’ve nurtured the relationship, you can carefully suggest the solution your business offers, but it should still be focused more on education and information than overt sales tactics.

bathroom remodeling leads

Finally, you’re in a position to send offers or reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers to promote yourself. This may seem like a long process, but by taking the time to nurture the relationship before jumping into sales emails will more likely convert your lead.

Email for Promotional Content

After building loyalty and trust with your lead, you can start promoting your products or services in a non-threatening way. This can be with a featured product, exclusive offer or promotion that’s relevant to the lead. If you’re not forceful about it, your lead will be tempted to act.

That said, promotional emails still need a few things to be successful. An obvious and compelling call-to-action is necessary for a conversion, and you want a landing page that’s related to the content in the email. Otherwise, you may not get your lead to act.

It’s also worth noting that the landing page, though not part of your email campaign itself, is a vital aspect of email marketing. No matter how well you develop your emails, it’s all lost if your prospect hits a landing page that isn’t optimized for conversions. Ideally, your landing page needs a clear call-to-action, intriguing headlines, attention-grabbing graphics and other proven methods for conversion.

Together, email and your landing page should streamline the process and guide your lead right through the sales funnel.

Ready to Get Started?

home improvement lead generation

Email has been around for many decades, and though it fell out of favor briefly during the rise of other digital marketing options, it’s poised for a comeback. Now, contractors are beginning to see how email can redirect website visitors and get them to convert, how it builds relationships and how it helps you build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Part of what makes nurturing leads with email marketing so effective is the ability to personalize the content and message according to detailed personas, but it’s important to use it correctly. A general email campaign won’t do anything for your business, so be sure to put the time and effort into your campaign to maximize your chances for conversion.

Email marketing is rising faster than ever and providing opportunities that contractors have never had before, so what are you waiting for?

how to get leads in construction
Oct 19

Increase Email Open Rate With 9 Key Factors

Lead Gen

The common goal of all marketers is to gain email addresses from web visitors. Unlike social media or search engines, which have a company standing between you and your visitor, email is a direct connection to the customer. Because of this, crafting emails that drive traffic to your site is high on the list of priorities.

Of course, driving traffic from email depends on open rates. Find out how to increase your email open rate with these nine key factors.

1. Keep Subscribers Engaged

contractor leads free

It’s important to send your subscribers regular emails to be sure that your list stays fresh, but you can still lose some of your email list over time. People may change emails or lose interest in your brand overall, so it’s smart to remove inactive subscribers regularly.

You can still give them one last chance to re-engage, however. This can be accomplished a number of ways, but it’s just an email asking your subscriber to engage with you before purging them from your list. Anyone who responds stays, but everyone else gets purged.

You can also check in with your subscriber list periodically to see if they want to update their information. This reminds them that they’re still in control of how they interact, which builds a more personal connection and encourages them to engage.

Finally, you can try to re-engage your list by conducting a survey to rate their satisfaction and gain some insight. Offering an incentive, such as a free gift, encourages their engagement and gives you valuable information to keep them satisfied.

2. Segment Your List

contractor leads

One of the most important factors in whether someone opens an email is deciding if it’s relevant to their needs. Segmentation is an easy way to accomplish this and be sure you’re not flooding your subscribers’ inboxes with emails that don’t apply to them.

Segmentation can be done a number of ways, but the best place to start is by tagging your subscribers’ behavior. For example, you want to send different types of emails to your repeat customers, first-time customers and future customers you’re nurturing.

You may also want to create segments based on the types of products purchased, demographics, locations and other information, so you can tailor your emails to your customers’ needs and entice them to open.

3. Avoid Spam

contractor internet leads

Spam filters are becoming more and more refined, but it’s still possible to end up with your emails in the spam folder. If this happens, you can count on your email never being opened.

So, if you want to maximize the reach and engagement of your email list, you need to do all you can to avoid ending up in the spam folder. Here are some tips:

  • Be sure everyone on your list opted-in.
  • Send emails from an IP address that hasn’t been used for spam in the past.
  • Send using a verified domain.
  • Make sure your code is clean.
  • Personalize the “to” field of your email.
  • Take the time to show subscribers how to add your business to their address book to be sure they always get your emails.
  • Avoid sales language that’s likely to trigger spam filters.
  • Avoid deceptive subject lines.
  • Include a location.
  • Make sure it’s easy for your subscribers to unsubscribe as they wish.

4. Get the Timing Right

Timing has a big impact on whether your subscribers open your emails, so it’s worth the time and effort to test different timeframes and see what performs.

You can also take advantage of others’ research, such as MailChimp. Though the research is general, it can give you a great starting point for when your emails will have the most impact.

Overall, they found that no particular day is better than another, but during the week is better than the weekend. Morning is also better than afternoon, evening or late night, but that’s also dependent on the location, occupation and age of the subscriber, as well as the type of content being sent.

That’s where you come in. Think a little about your subscribers and what their normal routine might be, what type of content you’re sending and when you would be most likely to want to read your email.

5. Improve Your Subject Line

Subject lines are a significant factor in your email open rate, so they have to grab attention. Some contractors get lazy with their email marketing and copy the same subject line formula over and over, leading to bored subscribers and unopened emails.

If you want to separate yourself from the pack, you need to get creative. Keep your subject lines intriguing but not overly clever or confusing, use a joke or question and speak in a language that aligns with your brand and your customers.

You can also check out this post from Neil Patel about writing great subject lines that get opened, which gives you some in-depth advice.

6. Write to One Person Only

When you write an email that’s meant to go out to thousands of subscribers, that can easily reflect in your tone. This makes sense, but it’s much less effective than writing as though you’re speaking to only one of your subscribers.

You want to keep your emails personal to connect with your audience, which can’t be done if you’re writing to the masses. This requires insight into your customer, however, and the ability to identify their problems, interests and values.

If you don’t have that type of insight on your customers yet, now is a great time to start. A simple email that includes a survey or a conversation allows you to ask the questions you need to better understand your customers’ problems.

7. Write Personally

As we mentioned, keeping it personal is much more effective that writing emails with mass appeal. Disconnected, sterile messages will never be opened on a consistent basis, regardless of how well you craft the rest of the email.

This is often challenging for people, but the key is to write to your subscribers as though you’re friends. They’re flooded with emails all day every day, so if you can reach them on a personal level and convince them that what you sent is worth reading, your emails will be opened.

8. Create Excellent Content

Content is read after an email is opened, so you may wonder why that’s included on this list. Even if your goal is to increase the open rate, you still want your emails opened consistently in the future, and that has everything to do with what’s inside.

Think about it this way. If your subscribers take a shot on you and start opening your emails, only to find content that’s subpar or shallow, they have no incentive to open your emails again.

Keep it valuable and relevant to your audience every time, and you may find yourself with a long list of loyal subscribers who look forward to getting your emails.

9. Make it Mobile Friendly

Mobile is increasingly more popular, so it makes sense that a lot of your audience uses their smartphone to open an email. Even if your product and target audience fall outside of the demographic most likely to use mobile for email, you still can’t afford to neglect the needs of your mobile users.

Mobile-friendly formatting is the first step in this process, but there are some other things to consider about emails specifically. Smaller screens make it more difficult to see graphics and shorten subject lines, so that’s something you need to think about as you write your email.

You also want smaller images that load faster, and make sure your email looks good without them. Some systems turn images off immediately, so you may spend that time on an email that doesn’t display images anyway.

Finally, pay attention to your buttons and links. Your mobile subscribers are using a touchscreen, so small call-to-action buttons and links that are too close together will have them accidentally clicking the wrong thing or unable to click altogether.

Keep at It

If you’re looking for better open rates, improving in these key factors will certainly help, but it may take some time to see what works and what doesn’t. Regardless of your insights, email marketing is a little bit of an experiment, so give yourself a chance to find out what works for your brand and your audience to enjoy sustainable results.

contractor internet marketing
Sep 03

Back to Basics: 5 Internet Marketing Essentials Your Contractor Business Needs

Lead Gen

Internet marketing strategies can get complex fast, so it helps to take a few steps back to ensure all of the most vital components are in order.

Otherwise, you might get too focused on the details to see that your online marketing funnel as a whole is broken. Or, you might miss out on a key digital marketing practice that would be essential for earning you new leads and converting those leads to customers.

Of course, every business is different and has different needs. Some businesses may be in an industry where finding new leads through social media is nearly impossible, for instance.

Regardless of business variables like these, there are five internet marketing essentials all businesses should account for as part of their overall strategy. Even if you confidently decide that you don’t need one of them, you should at least consider the benefits it brings other businesses that you might be giving up.

A Mobile Friendly Business Website Optimized for Conversions and Easy Information

local seo for contractors

Your business website is the absolute foundation of your internet marketing strategy. You may think that your contractor business model can do without a website because of all the services offered by platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

The fact of the matter is that your website backs all of these other elements up. Your website is also one of the only internet marketing environments where you have complete control. Google or Facebook could decide to delete your business profile tomorrow with nary a warning, and you’d have to fight with them to find out why they did it and how to get it back.

Your business website also acts as a cornerstone that reinforces all of your marketing channels. If you want someone to discover your local contractor business through a voice search, for instance, having detailed information about your hours, services, and products increases the chances that the searcher’s voice assistant pulls up accurate information.

Most businesses also think of their website as the final point of conversion. You can create landing pages that people arrive at from your email marketing or social media campaigns. Since these pages are nearly 100% customizable, you get to control the impressions of your business the visitor gets and influence their desire to convert.

Tips for an Effective Website:

  • Think carefully about how to make navigation intuitive. Google mentions site layout and your navigation hierarchy above keyword use in their own SEO guide.
  • Express your brand but don’t make your website noisy or cluttered. Usability requires a layout that’s easy to interpret visually and that doesn’t cause eye strain or mental fatigue.
  • Treat your home page like a landing page. Think about the absolute most important information a customer would want to know first then fill in details and support your claims efficiently with a few pieces of social proof as evidence.

A Strategy for Ranking Your Website on Search Engines (SEO)

internet marketing and seo for contractors

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of engineering your website content to increase your website’s chances of appearing near the top of search results.

According to a recent study, the number one search ranking position earns around twice as many clicks as the number two. Once you reach position six, you start receiving clicks from less than 3% of the people who see your search result listing.

Put even more bluntly: People will have a really hard time finding your business if you aren’t ranked near the top of search results.

To rank more highly, you need a large volume of content and a well-made site. You can see if your current website has any red flags by using the Fetch as Google tool and then by using Google’s mobile friendly and page load speed tool.

Over half (63%) of your website visitors are likely to be mobile device users, so a good mobile experience for users is important to Google and therefore important for your ranking.

Once you have your overall site in order, download Google search console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. These platforms will help you analyze your site and track metrics for stats like website visitors, how long they spend on certain pages, and other valuable decision-making data.

Only after these technical details have been dealt with should you start to worry about content and keywords. Your goal for using keywords is to signal to search engines and to audiences that your content is relevant to what they’re looking for. So if you’re a hardware store in Sacramento, your website should say phrases like “hardware store in Sacramento” or “Sacramento hardware store,” and related phrases, at least a few times on each major page.

Don’t overdo it! Spamming keywords is more likely to lead to a search penalty, pushing you further down the ranks. Write naturally and try to help guide people rather than trick search engines.

A Social Media Presence

People spend a lot of their online time within social media apps. Businesses able to cultivate a community on these apps – or at the very least have a searchable presence – stand a better chance of being discovered by potential customers.

Just as important, many people may look on social media platforms to research your contractor business. They may want to read reviews, look at other people’s comments, or see something like your hours without having to leave their favorite social spaces.

Social media can also strengthen the backbone of your content marketing campaigns. Every article you write can be shared on social media, and you could also use social platforms to broadcast promotions, contests, or announcements.

When using social media as a marketing tool, we strongly suggest that you lead people who click on your links to a specialized landing page. This strategy ensures they won’t get lost or forget where they were navigating after the click.

More Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Post on a regular schedule a few times a month so that people will come to depend on your content.
  • Sign up for messenger alerts since a third of people now say they prefer to contact businesses through social media rather than a phone call.
  • Interact with your followers and engage them when possible. For instance, you can ask a related question when posting new blog content to encourage responses.
  • Set goals for social media marketing beyond likes and follows. For instance, track how many people click on your links to promotions or content.

An Active Blog

Business blogs are a vital component of your SEO strategy. Search engines like to index fresh content, so if you’re home page was last updated in 2010, they may rank your site lower than a more recent one.

On the other hand, if you have an active blog that publishes weekly, you can send recurring signals to search engines that your content is current and relevant.

Avoid thinking about your blog as another advertising channel. Instead, it should be a helpful resource for visitors. Blog about topics that introduce them to important industry concepts. Or, give them a convenient list of tips. Always offer value, but follow your blog posts up with a strong call to action.

Email Marketing

Email marketing offers your business a reliable channel to stay in touch with customers and leads.

For instance, if you offer a really helpful and informative e-book, the typical person might download it and never think about your brand again. But if you ask them for their email to send it to them directly, you can also have the chance to follow up with a drip campaign that nurtures their interest in becoming a paying customer.

Using email campaigns can encourage a past customer to make repeat purchases. By sending them exclusive offers tailored to their interests and their purchase history, you can develop a relationship and inspire loyalty.

Email Marketing Tips:

  • Receiving too many promotions and messages is the #1 reason people unsubscribe. Try to limit your campaign emails to one to two times a month, not counting contacts like order confirmations.
  • Think carefully about your subject lines. A good subject line can dramatically raise your open rate, while a bad one could get you flagged quickly as spam.
  • Make your emails brief and to the point. If you have something more in-depth to say, direct them to a landing page.
  • Try to make emails feel personal, as if they’re sent from a specific business employee, not a faceless company brand.

Nice to Have: Video Marketing

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Video marketing requires a larger budget than most small contractor businesses care to muster, but the results truly do speak for themselves. 81% of people say that they were convinced to purchase something after watching a brand’s video. Also, 95% of people say they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a business, product, or service.

Your video marketing strategy can start small with live Q&A sessions, short recaps of your most popular blog posts, or a quick explainer video of your most important products/services. You don’t need a million dollar budget to make an impact! You just need to focus on meeting your audience’s needs in a format that few people can resist.

Combine All of These Internet Marketing Essentials Into a Complete Package

Focus on strengthening each of the above components individually and then strategize for ways to tie them all together into one strong, effective package.

These days, people flock between more media channels than ever. By having a strong website, an engaging social media presence, an SEO ranking strategy, and a method for communicating effectively through email, you can catch people on any and all of the channels they inhabit.

 

contractor job leads
Jul 27

Retargeting: What It Is, And Why Every Business Should Use It

Lead Gen

Modern digital ads can have a huge relevancy problem, and using a retargeting strategy is one of the best ways to solve it.

With retargeting, you only show ads to people who have indicated interest in your service or website before. Usually, the interest-signaling behavior is a visit to a particular page on your website.

While the abilities of retargeting sound creepy—and they definitely can be eerie when the practice is done incorrectly—most retargeted ad campaigns are actually doing consumers a favor. Instead of showing them irrelevant ads for things they may never buy, such as an expensive luxury car, you’re showing them ads for things they’ve directly looked at before.

At its core, retargeting strategies are all about that relevancy. The idea is that someone has already entered into your sales funnel or taken the first steps of the customer journey. Retargeted ads should ideally be a nudge a little further along that path.

When done right, it works! One company reportedly achieved an average ROI for their retargeting campaigns of 488 percent to as much as 2054 percent. That’s hundreds to thousands of dollars in revenue for every dollar they spend!

If you’re ready to try a retargeting strategy for your digital ad campaigns, dig into the information below for a deeper analysis of what makes retargeting effective, along with six tips to help your campaigns find success.

What, Exactly, Is Retargeting, and How Does It Work?

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The easiest way to think of retargeting is that it rewrites how traditional ad targeting according to demographics works. Under normal ad targeting, demographics like location, age, gender, household income and even parental status could be considered. A car dealer could target everyone within an hour’s drive of their dealership lot, for instance. Or, the dealership could choose an age range and income bracket that closely matches the most common traits of their best customers.

Retargeting takes the same approach, but instead of looking at static demographics for its targeting list, it looks at browsing behaviors. Specifically, what pages of your site users stopped on the longest or the last page they viewed before they left.

Retargeting campaigns build these lists by applying what’s known as a “tracking pixel” to their page. A list gets built from everyone who viewed the page based on their browser’s cached data.

For example, if someone searches for desk lamps in their area, finds the local office supply store you own, clicks on the service page, and then later closes the tab to do something else, a “tracking pixel” can register the person’s initial visit. Then, they get added to your list of everyone else who visited that page, and they get served an ad for the exact same lamp they were just looking at.

In theory, the ad serves as a reminder for someone who may be willing to buy eventually but just hasn’t committed yet. Say, for instance, that they were browsing through your office products as a way to kill time during their lunch break and weren’t really intending to buy anything just yet. But if they have a chance to think about it again in a few days, they may decide to finally commit to a purchase.

Pixel Tracking by Page Allows Your Campaigns to Be Perfectly Segmented According to the Visitor’s Behaviors

fast contractor leads

Serving ads according to who ends up on your pixel tracking list allows for a number of different strategies.

You could potentially place a pixel on every page within your site; many companies actually do. This approach allows you to serve personal-feeling ads tailored to the exact pages someone browsed.

Someone who looks at several different versions of the same product, maybe even adding one to their cart, could see an ad for the exact same item. Or, someone who browses many products in a single category but never bothers to add any to their cart could see ads for general items in that category.

Finally, people who visit non-product pages on your website, such as the home page or your blog, could receive more general ads that give examples of your most popular products.

You could even just serve them ads that say general positive things about your brand. Customer testimonials work really well for this type of trust- or awareness-building campaign.

In this way, you have content aimed at different people in the buying funnel that can be optimized towards getting to the next step.

An excellent example of this practice in action would be a retargeting campaign aimed at previous buyers. Someone who checked out of your ecommerce website for an expensive purchase, like a smartphone, isn’t likely going to purchase the exact same device again. If you put a pixel on the “Thank You for Your Purchase” or “Order Confirmed” page, then you can filter these individuals out and avoid showing them ads for a product they already bought.

Better yet, your ad can attempt to cross-sell them a related product, increasing their customer lifetime value. After all, it’s often easier to get someone to make a repeat purchase than to convert a brand-new customer lead to a sale.

6 Tips for More Effective Ad Retargeting Campaigns

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Ad retargeting campaigns have a track record of extremely reliable conversions. The average retargeting ad is 76 percent more likely to earn a click compared to a non-retargeted ad. Thirty percent of consumers also have either positive or very positive sentiments towards retargeted ads.

On the other hand, 11 percent of people had negative reactions to ads that appear to “follow them around” while they browse the internet. The majority of people — 59 percent — felt “neutral.” You absolutely don’t want your retargeted ads to trigger a negative reaction. You also want to avoid having a neutral impact.

To improve the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns, put some or all of the following strategies into action:

  1. Start Small and Branch Out—Retargeting may sound sophisticated, but platforms like Facebook and Google’s AdWords make it easy. Start off your campaigns on these networks, and then move on to more complex platforms, such as the Google Display Network (GDN).
  2. Use Frequency Capping—Frequency capping limits the number of exposures people have to a single ad or a retargeting campaign in general. Since you don’t want to annoy people, consider putting some sort of upper boundary on all of your campaigns.
  3. Limit Your Retargeting Window According to Average Buy Cycles—Most retargeting platforms limit your campaigns to 180 days (about 6 months) after their last tracking pixel was registered. But if you have a product category with a shorter buying cycle, such as retail goods under $50, then you may want to end your retargeting campaigns after just a few days. For more expensive products with a longer buying cycle, such as cars, showing people similar ads for months makes more sense.
  4. Use Limited Offers and Urgency to Clinch Bottom-of-the-Funnel Leads—If someone appears close to making a purchase, sometimes a personalized offer is all the nudge they need to commit. Use retargeting pixels to serve special offers to people who browsed for certain products or product categories. Or, use these lists to serve up ads any time your business is doing a big sale.
  5. Be Diligent About Brand Safety—Retargeting campaigns can often find people on thousands of different sites. However, you may not want your brand associated with certain content. Someone snapping a screenshot of an ad for your family-friendly brand on an adult website is a recipe for an instant PR crisis. Review the policies of your ad partner, and use tools like Google Safe Browsing to avoid this scenario.
  6. Study Your Performance Data, Test, Experiment and Optimize—Like so much of digital marketing, your work is far from over when a retargeting campaign launches. Use the data the campaign generates to tell which practices work and which don’t. Experiment and A/B test to find even more effective conversion techniques. Gradually, you should become better and better at making effective campaigns based on past discoveries, successes and failures.

Ad Retargeting Is Easy to Get Started But Difficult to Master

The above tips are just the warm-up for even more in-depth and sophisticated ad retargeting practices, which are great for your lead gen strategy. If you can keep the consumer’s experience in mind and establish best practices based on your data, the sky is the limit for how complex and effective your retargeting campaigns can be.

contractor leads advertising
Jun 29

Why Your Online Marketing Budget May Soon Go Up

Lead Gen

Recent surveys show that the majority of businesses plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 months. These increases mean stiffer competition and growing rates to achieve the desired level of impressions and performance.

Today’s internet marketing practices have matured dramatically since the days of dial up. Channels like social media have likewise matured, changing the landscape from a “Wild West” feeling to a more familiar competitive market. As businesses spend more on aspects of marketing like paid ad inventory, prices go up. There is, after all, a finite number of eyeballs browsing the internet at any given time.

Businesses also find themselves competing more earnestly for organic traffic and impressions. While it used to be easy to rank high on search engines if you were the only contractor on the block doing SEO, now achieving results pits you against countless others.

With all this going on, contractors should expect to dig deeper into their pockets in the near future in order to achieve their goals for awareness, revenues, growth, and more. To help encourage you to keep pace, here are some observations we’ve made that reveal the current state of online marketing and indicate where it could be going soon.

Survey Says: Online Marketing Spending Growth Outpaces Traditional Ads

contractor digital marketing
In a recent survey of CMOs, the respondents indicated that they intend to increase their digital marketing spending by 15.1% on average. By comparison, the average respondent said they plan to shrink their traditional advertising spending by 1.7%.

The decrease follows a distinct trend of budgets shrinking for traditional media, which includes ads on TV, radio, print, billboards, and other non-digital channels. The last time budgets increased by more than 1% was in 2011. Since that point, budgets were cut by an average of 1.6% every six months. That’s a total drop of 22% in traditional ad spending from 2011 to the present.

In the meantime, digital marketing budgets have increased by double digits every six months with only one exception. The changes equal a 167.5% increase, for an average of 12% every six months.

Spending on digital and traditional marketing techniques is diverging, and the effects are more noticeable in certain industries. Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies in particular say that they will have the biggest jumps. Product-focused B2C companies intend to increase digital marketing budgets by 17.9%, and service-based B2C companies say they will increase their budgets by 18.2%.

All of these data points indicate a steady stream of dollars flowing into digital channels. Companies in all sectors are investing more in online marketing campaigns, including content creation, strategy, management, promotion, and actions like performance measurement.

Budgets Stay Largely Flat as a Portion of Marketing Spending and Revenues

While budgets are increasing across the board for most companies, the ratio of that budget to other key metrics has remained stable for the most part.

The current industry average for marketing budgets as a portion of overall spending sits at 11.1%. This ratio is mostly unchanged since 2011. Similarly, marketing spending as a portion of company revenues is an average of 7.9% this year. That number has increased and decreased by small increments since 2012, barring a slight jump and then regression in Fall 2012.

So what does this mean in terms of trends? Well, if spending is increasing but budgets as a ratio are staying flat, that indicates that companies tie their spending growth to sales growth and budget growth. You could chalk these strong correlations to inflation or a general growth trend in both revenues and spending. You could also observe that, across all industries, spending strategies remain fairly conservative.

But a few key distinctions are to be made if you take the time to break down spending further. For instance, the ratio of money spent on content marketing compared to a business’s entire budget can dictate their ability to accomplish their content marketing goals.

In a survey of B2C companies using content marketing, the average respondent said they spent 22% of their marketing budget on content. The companies that rated themselves as “least successful” at accomplishing their goals spent an average of 18%, while the companies that said they were the “most successful” spent 26%.

These differences were even more pronounced among business-to-business (B2B) companies. The average B2B content marketing spend was 26% of their overall marketing budget. Yet, the least successful companies spent just 14%, while the most successful ones spent a whopping 40% on average.

So, while the aggregated data may hint that online marketing spending strategies are conservative, companies that lean into their digital marketing campaigns with a larger budget percentage tend to see better performance.

Costs of Online Advertising on the Rise

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One of the biggest factors encouraging companies to increase their budgets is that costs have risen. According to a study by Adobe, the costs of digital advertising are rising five times faster than the current rate of inflation in the U.S.

Looking at data from 2014 to 2016, mobile display ad prices increased 12%, video ads increased 13%, and mobile paid search ads went up 11%.

Overall, companies spent 42% more on search advertising. At the same time, search engine traffic increased by just 11%. These two observations together mean that competition is getting more fierce for smaller slices of traffic.

Similar trends can be seen with social media advertising. Companies engaging in social media marketing are having a harder time earning impressions organically. To compensate, they are increasing their volume of paid social campaigns as well as their budgets. Bid prices for limited ad inventory go up.

In total, experts predict that ad prices for Facebook could rise anywhere between 25% and 79% in the coming year.

Few Companies Measuring Performance, Impact and ROI

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As the costs of marketing rise, it’s more important than ever to measure impact and performance. Without this data, businesses could spend on campaigns and activities that don’t bring them measurable value.

Also, they lack the data to optimize their campaigns over time. Without knowing, for instance, that one social media campaign type brought better performance than another, the business will have fewer decision-making tools in hand to strategize for future campaigns.

Despite the risks described above, 58% percent of companies don’t use marketing analytics to measure performance and help them make decisions. For social media marketing, 34% of companies don’t measure the impact of their campaigns at all. 42% claim they have a good “qualitative sense” of how their campaigns are performing but don’t have the numbers to back up these observations.

The situation is even more dire with content marketing. 5% of companies don’t have any content marketing target metrics to speak of. 41% don’t measure content marketing ROI, and 21% say they are “unsure” as to whether they are accurately measuring ROI.

Every penny you spend on digital marketing counts, especially as costs rise. Make sure you have a strategy in place to maximize your returns, as well as tools you can use to measure those returns quantifiably.

If you need help getting to this point, we’re here for you. Contact us today for assistance with planning, executing, measuring, and optimizing your digital marketing strategies.

Get prepared for the future with the expertise you need to compete and stay ahead as the digital marketing realm becomes more expensive.