Internet Marketing for Roofers

Google Page One Marketing & Social Media Marketing For Roofers

You Better Get on Board, Because Your Competitor Just Did
An article written by Stephan Boehringer at www.TOLSMultimedia.com

Perhaps you are a veteran in your field, or perhaps you just got your ticket a few years ago.  It really doesn’t matter!  On the internet, everyone is created equal….love it or hate it.  When I speak to my roofer friends, I constantly have to re-explain what “Internet Marketing” can truly do, and what “Social Media” really is. For the last ten years however, I have devoted my life to building great websites and I love it.  I have many friends in the roofing industry and have built countless websites for all sorts of roofing verticals, and it never fails…the internet continues to be an enigma for most of you.  I was recently asked by my good friend Lisa Pate, President of the FRSA, to give a presentation at an FRSA Convention.  Most questions involved internet marketing, and it prompted me to write the following article.
Before I begin however, do yourself a favor and commit to reading the full article. I’m about to let you know how your business can win at the internet game.

Do any of these problems sound familiar?
•    You have no idea how to measure your website’s effectiveness and you are no where to be found on Google.
•    You are spending money on internet marketing and your website every month.  You believe its running at max capacity, but you only see your sales rep at renewal time (I love that one).
•    You have heard that social media (Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin or Twitter) is the next great thing, but you have no idea how to leverage it.
•    You just want to run your business and not deal with internet issues.
To those of you who don’t want to deal with it, I say fine.  I respect that, but do yourself a favor and find someone whose expertise will drive your ROI (return on investment).  In the last decade your marketing should have fundamentally changed.  If it didn’t, you are a dinosaur facing rapid extinction and you better do something fast.  The “newbie” down the street is forging full force ahead.  Internet marketing is a vital step for any firm that is looking to advance in this day and age. The internet is here to stay and it’s growing FAST.  How fast?  Consider the following:
•    The term “florida roofing” gets searched on Google over 40,500 times per month
•    94% of web searchers never click beyond the first search page.
•    Surveys show that first page placement gives businesses high credibility value
•    96% of Generation Y is on a Social Media Network such as Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter
•    If Facebook were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world
•    It took TV 13 Years to reach 50 Million users, it took Facebook less than 9 months to reach 100 million users
•    The fastest growing segment on Facebook is users age 55+
•    You Tube is the second largest search engine in the world
•    78% of users trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisements
•    Pay per Click Advertising increases in effectiveness by 56% when coupled with a solid Search Engine Optimization campaign
(source: socialnomics)

Let’s Get To Working On Your Site:

Search Engine Optimization:
This is the area on Google where you can show up without having to pay each time someone clicks on your site.  How do you show up in that area?  Simple: write the content of your website according to what your potential customers are searching for.  How do you figure that out?  Go here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Enter a keyword term you think someone enters to find you.  Google will then spit out the search volume for that term and similar ones.  If you can’t think of any good keywords to start with, I’ll let you in on another little secret.  Go to a website called www.keywordspy.com.  Enter in the domain name of your biggest competitor that shows up on the first page of google and voila, the keywordspy system spits out a list of keywords people are punching in to find them.  Now rework the visible content of your website to reflect the search habits of your clients and the initial work on your website is done.

Links: Next, write an article (1-2 pages) about your industry on a monthly basis.  This will build link backs to your site and is the single most important search component for Google.  If you don’t want to write about your industry, write about yourself. Write anything that makes you look like an absolute expert in your field.  It shouldn’t be too hard.  You are then going to take this article and submit it to several article submission sites on the internet.  I like EZineArticles.com , GoArticles.com, ArticleDashboard.com, ArticlesBase &  iSnare.com .  When you submit the articles, make sure to link them back to the blog on your website.  What blog you ask?…Read on!
Now you are going to have your “web guy” setup a blog on your website and commit to writing one blog entry per week.  We are not talking much here…5-10 sentences.  What are you going to write about?  You are going to write about the article you submitted to the sites above and you are going to link it to that article.
While we’re on the topic of your “web guy”, make sure to let him know you also want your website “verified by google.” Through the Google webmaster tools, have a regular sitemap and a xml sitemap, have it submitted to dmoz.org and have it submitted to directory.google.com to name a few.

Google Local:
If you haven’t done so, have someone in your firm go to the Google Local Business Center at Google.com/lbc and register your business there as well.  Google local is a whole different animal in itself. I’ll devote a separate article to that in the future, but for now get registered.

Videos: Did you know Videos are now being indexed in regular Google searches?  Did you know that videos index faster on Google because there are less video pages than text pages to compete with? Consider using a virtual spokesperson or a video on the website explaining your services.  Make sure your videos include a call to action such as “call us now”.  Websites with videos convert over 40% better because people are visual and would rather watch you than read text.  Make your videos instructional.  Give the viewer something they can truly sink their teeth into.  Forget the commercial approach.  Be a solid resource and provide good information.  Don’t just put the videos on your site.  Put them on other video distribution sites such as You Tube and Viddler.  Remember the bullets from earlier?  Let’s repeat them again:
•    You Tube is the second largest search engine in the world
•    78% of users trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisements
Think about that second bullet and then think about how easy it is to have a customer give you a 30 second video testimonial.  Just do it!

Social Media Marketing: Ahhh yes, the Unicorn of the internet! Think about Social Media marketing for your business for a moment.  Not only are you marketing to your immediate customers, but you are reaching out to their friends and family, and then their friends and family, and then their friends and family, and so on and so on. I’m not a big fan of MLMs, but they exist because they work.  Social Media functions like a legit MLM.  Social media marketing simply put, is exponential exposure for you.
The problem you potentially run into with social media marketing is two-fold.  You may not understand social media marketing, and if you do, you don’t have the time to manage it all. You are running a firm and it is obviously imperative for you to keep up with your case load. Internet marketing and social media marketing is at the bottom of your “To Do” list.  Nonetheless, you need to get on the ball.  The longer you wait, the harder and more costly it will be to reach the top.  
Although social media may seem easy, and it may seem silly to pay someone to help you with it, there is a certain rhythm to it that is important to follow. Most social media marketing campaigns fail because of a lack of proper execution.  Campaigns try to speak to everyone, versus selecting specific channels. People think any web guy can do it versus finding an expert.  Content is often irrelevant and even worse, structured like an ad.  Those are all social media marketing killers and if you make any of those mistakes, you are toast.
You want to make sure that you are being seen but not obnoxiously so. You want to make sure that what you are posting, tweeting, or blogging about is interesting and attention catching. Work on building your downline by asking individuals to join your network and providing very valuable information. Here are the initial networks you need to join:
Twitter:
Set up a Twitter account and send out a 140 character tweet about industry news twice a week.
Facebook:
Create a Facebook page and add a Business Fan Page.  Set a goal to add 20 fans per month.
Linkedin:
Setup a free Linkedin Account and work on setting up 5 connections per month.
These are very reasonable goals helping you to expand your business network.  For a list of additional networks to join, give us a call.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / Pay per Click / Sponsored Search:
Whatever you want to call it, this is what put Google on the map.  In short, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website.  It essentially functions like an auction house for keywords.  You bid against your competitors for certain keywords.  Many roofers have tried this and some are successful.  However, let me clue you in on a little secret about SEM.  It’s a double-edged sword and it’s not as easy as some of these sales reps make it sound.  If you are thinking of joining one of those search engine marketing companies that tell you they will drive a ton of traffic, I simply suggest you do a Google search for their name and see what people are saying.  
Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not against SEM, I’m actually for it as long as it is used properly.  I’m just against the companies that bill you out tons of money and provide average results.  I am planning on writing an entirely separate article about SEM in the future because it is such an extensive maze of pitfalls that I’d be adding pages upon pages to this already lengthy article.

In Closing:
The internet is a wonderful tool that has brought us all closer together.  It has also leveled the playing field.  In few other industries has that become more apparent than in the roofing sector.  You newbies are facing your challenges.  You are embracing the internet and are not shying away from using it to your fullest marketing potential, but I would like to caution you.  I don’t want to temper your enthusiasm, but remember that peer recommendations will dramatically affect your web performance and nothing is worse than a few bad online reviews tainting your professional image.  To my dear friends who have been in the industry for a while, you have experience and knowledge on your side, but some of you may lack the understanding of what the internet can truly bring to your firm.  As such I encourage you to move forward with cautious optimism and select a person in your business to head up your internet development.  When the dust settles, I believe most roofers strive to do right by their clients.  The internet is the evaluation tool that provides potential clients with a frame of reference for the quality of services you provide.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.TOLSMULTIMEDIA.COM/ARTICLES OR SIMPLY CALL US AT 407-252-4790 or 407-489-5777

The Following Resources Were Used To Put This Article Together:
www.socialnomics.net
www.mashable.com

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