Five tools for building high-quality online leads

Most contractors’ top interest is getting more leads from their marketing dollars to grow their business. Five essential tools and techniques favored by Three Deep Marketing in St. Paul, Minn., can help increase online leads while maintaining or improving lead quality. Three-Deep is a 45-person agency focused on helping remodelers.

1. Consistency with name, address and phone number can greatly improve local search results. Numerous studies show that 20 percent of all local searches return incorrect information. This inaccuracy means too many online searchers and homeowners are not finding your business. Search engines place importance on the consistency of your name, address and phone number that is listed with online directories such as Google+, Yelp or City Pages. Whether or not your business name changed, you have moved to a new location, or use a variety of trackable phone numbers, it’s likely you have only around 30 percent accuracy on NAP consistency. Go to to learn how to fix this to improve your search results and start getting more high-quality leads.

2. Proactively ask customers for online reviews to attract like-minded buyers. Most contractors forget to ask for reviews, online ratings and testimonials, which can significantly boost your business presence. Almost 90 percent of consumers say reviews influenced their purchasing decision. Positive reviews attract and convert your target audience, which can result in an average 18 percent uplift in sales. Because online review sites such as Google+ Local, Yelp and Houzz get much more traffic than a contractor’s website, strive for as many reviews and links to your online profile sites as possible to increase online traffic and conversion rates.

3. Paid search can increase your online inquiries. Let’s face it, most contractors don’t show up on the first page of search engine results. For the average contractor with 11 to 25 employees, the median number of monthly website visitors is approximately 700. Considering the average website conversion rate is 3 percent, that’s only 21 completed Web forms per month. If you want more leads and faster growth, it would be extremely advantageous to use paid search marketing. A well-designed and managed online paid search campaign using thousands of keywords can help your business show up on the first page of search engine results. Using an experienced agency can double or triple the number of inquiries received each month, depending on your advertising budget.

4.Tools to measure online traffic can identify which visitors are converting. Homeowners engage with website content differently than with traditional media. Google Analytics is a free reporting tool that provides a powerful view of your website activity and helps paint a picture of your audience and its behavior. GA can show you traffic and conversion results across paid ads, direct traffic, social tools and interactive content such as videos and audio. It can also track where traffic is coming from and what kind of technology (desktop vs. mobile) is being used to access your website’s content. Custom-designed reports and metrics around your business objectives make it easier to determine which changes or updates would help you win more qualified inquiries, and what parts of your marketing budgets are actually leading to more customers.

5. Buying competitive leads may seem cheap, until you measure conversion rates. Many contractors often resort to buying leads from third-party sources. The problem is that these leads are sold to several contractors at once, creating a race to reach the homeowner first to set an in-home appointment. Three Deep compared 5,500 competitive third-party leads against exclusive leads, which come from the contractor’s website, paid advertising or other marketing methods throughout an 18-month period, and found that exclusive leads were 375 percent more likely to turn into an appointment than third-party leads. The bottom line is that you are always better off generating your own leads, but doing it effectively may require the help of online experts.

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Dan Derosier is vice president/co-founder of Three Deep Marketing in St. Paul, Minn., a 45-person digital agency that focuses on the home improvement sector by helping product manufacturers/brands implement ROI-driven marketing programs to improve online lead generation for their contractor networks.