Written by Todd Bairstow on May 22nd, 2013
The Penguin is coming. No, not Burgess Meredith or Danny Devito…or even the venerable Ted Knight. No, Penguin 2.0 is coming—a major algorithm update from Google that will shake up the organic search engine rankings…yet again.
By way of background, Penguin 1.0 was a now infamous algorithm change that Google made last year. This change sank a number of major Web sites in the search engine rankings, many never to return. Google’s intent was to punish Web sites that relied on questionable linking techniques to gain their organic rank.
Written by Todd Bairstow on April 2nd, 2013
It’s not often that I see local online marketing written about in major media these days. It’s even rarer to see it covered from a “real world” perspective.
That’s why Payam Zamani’s recent article in Forbes, “Why Companies Like Groupon, Yelp And ReachLocal Aren’t Dominating The Local Space“ (March 14, 2013) hit close to home. Zamani is Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Reply.com Inc., a marketplace for local online advertisers.
I have written in the past about the relative effectiveness of some local online channels, and the futility of many others. Zamani’s takes the discussion a step further – proposing solutions to the very real marketing problems home improvement companies face online.
Written by Todd Bairstow on September 17th, 2012
I’m often asked, “What’s the least-expensive source of leads? Home shows? Canvassing? My own Web site?”
Believe it or not, one of your least-expensive sources of leads actually costs you next to nothing. Yes, nothing. It’s your database of all of the homeowners you’ve talked to, some of whom became your customers, and many of which did not.
Reaching out to them to sell them something—or something more—is a gigantic opportunity that many home improvement companies fail to leverage. And with e-mail marketing, it’s never been easy to stay in touch with these homeowners.
Written by Todd Bairstow on August 7th, 2012
ServiceMagic does a great job with search engine optimization on their own Web site, and at getting affiliates to send out emails on their behalf. I’ve covered these techniques in previous posts. However, there’s yet another technique ServiceMagic uses to generate leads they sell to you – third party Web sites.
Here’s how it works: ServiceMagic partners with owners of independent Web sites. These owners post banner ads, links and videos or and use dozens of other online tools on their Web sites to send visitors to their Web sites over to ServiceMagic. (I’m referencing ServiceMagic here, but Web site owners work with many other online lead generation companies as well, such as QuinStreet and QualitySmith.)
Written by Todd Bairstow on July 23rd, 2012
In my previous post, Where Do ServiceMagic’s Leads Come From? (Part 1), I considered how ServiceMagic uses search engine optimization to drive homeowners to their Web sites…and ultimately generate leads. Now I’d like to consider another channel ServiceMagic uses to produce sales leads: e-mail.
You can read more about using mass e-mail to generate home improvement leads in my previous post, Daddy, Where Does SPAM Come From?
Let’s dig into ServiceMagic’s e-mail program. On their Web site, you can find a simple Web form through which you opt in to receive e-mails from ServiceMagic. Said another way, completing this form gives ServiceMagic the legal right to send e-mail to you on a regular basis.
Written by Todd Bairstow on July 10th, 2012
Many clients ask me where ServiceMagic gets all of its leads from. It’s a great question. Because so many home improvement companies look to ServiceMagic, understanding how they generate their leads should be an obvious interest.
No surprise, ServiceMagic is less than candid on this subject. That’s because the discussion opens the Company to uncomfortable questions that they’d prefer not to answer.
Over the next couple of posts, I will dig into how ServiceMagic generates the leads they sell you…and the implications for you and your business.
Written by Todd Bairstow on May 9th, 2012
I recently returned from my annual trip to LeadsCon in Las Vegas. LeadsCon is the preeminent conference for companies generating online leads across a variety of industries.
While I focus this blog on topics of online marketing and lead generation for home improvement companies, I gleaned a number of points from LeadsCon that are relevant for you.
Compared to other industries, the extent of online lead generation in home improvement is way behind the pack. By contrast, the industries that have most embraced online lead generation are:
- Online education (e.g. Universities of Phoenix, Devry & Capella)
Written by Todd Bairstow on April 26th, 2012
Facebook is going public. That’s big news in the financial world. It seems everyone is talking about what will likely be the largest IPO in history. And more than a few are wishing they had some shares.
But what does Facebook mean for home improvement companies?
From my experience in lead generation – and the experience of many colleagues – advertising on Facebook is a losing proposition. One reason is because it’s now clear that Facebook is simply a poor lead generation platform.
Written by Todd Bairstow on February 2nd, 2012
Should you be doing more with mobile online marketing?
Well yes…and no. Fact is, most homeowners doing research online use a full-sized screen, i.e. they consider your offerings in front of their laptop or desktop computer. That means they’re not using a mobile device when checking you out.
But Todd, you say, everything I read tells me that mobile online marketing is growing, growing, growing! Indeed, that’s what the statistics tell us. From those statistics, I estimate that 10-11%% of all visitors arrive at home improvement Web sites via mobile devices.
Written by Todd Bairstow on January 20th, 2012
I am delighted to be back from my New Years writing recess. And as I do so, lo and behold, Google is trying to change the game. Sound familiar?
This time, Google is looking to alter its search ranking algorithm (again) with something called Plus 1.
What is Plus 1? Plus 1 is most similar to Facebook, through which you can signal your approval online of someone’s post. To do this, you use the “Like” button. You can “Like” a friend’s picture. “Like” a friend’s status. “Like” a link they posted. You get the idea.