When it comes to generating leads for your snow and ice management business, it’s important to pay attention to the metrics. But it’s even more important to pay attention to the right metrics.
Here are five pairs of common online metrics and explanation regarding why one matters and why the other is likely to be misleading to you.
1. Visitors vs. Visitors From Within Your Marketing Territory
You don’t just need visitors to your website. Anyone can get visitors to their site. But getting visitors to your site from inside your marketing territory is the key to success.
If you operate in a territory 25 miles around Minneapolis, why would visitors from Seattle matter to you? They shouldn’t. But it’s the easiest thing in the world to look at your website analytics and say, “Traffic’s up! That must be good.”
Don’t be fooled; focus on the number of visitors who matter. You can track the location of visitors to your site through a free Google Analytics account. I highly recommend it.
2. Leads vs. Issued Leads
What’s “a lead” anyway?
The truth is, it could be almost any name, address or phone number. But that’s not what you need – particularly when it comes to online lead sellers.
Instead, you want to measure “issued leads,” defined as leads given to a salesperson to follow up on after your team has spoken to an interested homeowner. Those are the leads that result in sales.
As an example, a lead from a homeowner who needs some shingles repaired after a snow storm is completely different than a homeowner looking for new gutters and an ice prevention system. One is a lead for a hundred-dollar job. The other is an issued lead for a several thousand-dollar job.
This seems obvious, but it’s not to many contractors who focus on “number of leads” and “lead cost”, instead of the more important number, issued leads.
3. Clicks vs. Conversions
Clicks have been around as an online metric since the dawn of the Web. But clicks for their own sake don’t matter.
Clicks from India, for example, are not only not in your marketing territory, they probably aren’t even real people (e.g. “click-bots”). Traffic that stays on your website for a second (literally) and also isn’t coming from a real person, let alone a snow or ice management prospect, doesn’t provide any value to you.
Yet, these register as clicks.
You want flesh-and-blood homeowners visiting your site. So you need to move from “clicks in general” to “clicks that matter.”
Which clicks matter? Those that lead to a web form submission or a phone call.
Google Analytics can help you see where the clicks come from, who spends time on your website, and whether they’re interested in your snow and ice solutions.
4. Phone Calls vs. Qualified Phone Calls
Pay-Per-Call services are growing in popularity. They generate leads online in the form of phone calls to you. You pay based on the number of calls you get.
But when you sign up with a service to generate phone calls, it’s in their best interest to generate as many calls as possible. Shady tactics include putting your name and number out to cold call lists and auto-dialers, as well as having technology to call you at night, after business hours.
The solution is to monitor telephone traffic by checking for length of call, listening to sample recordings, and understanding billable vs. non-billable calls.
5. Social Followers vs. Reviews
“Followers,” “Likes,” and “Fans” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and elsewhere are all the rage now. Not only are these social metrics hip, they’re easy to measure. The problem is that few have found a significant correlation between this type of activity and issued leads.
Social reviews by customers, on the other hand, are extremely valuable.
Why? Because reviews are a new type of “online currency.” The more you have, the more likely Google, Yahoo and others will rank your website near the top of your local search listings.
Ask customers to go onto Yelp, Google and Angie’s List and review your company. It will take homeowners five minutes, but it can pay big dividends for you in the search engine rankings.
Todd Bairstow, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a well-known entrepreneur and online marketing expert with 18 years of experience in the still rapidly-growing field. This concentration led him to found Keyword Connects in 2005, where he developed a business plan to generate leads for his clients on a 100% performance basis. His “Pay Per Lead” business model and performance-based business philosophy have turned Keyword Connects into a leading provider of the highest quality home improvement leads to dealers and franchisees across the country.