This January I’ll be teaching a class titled “How to dominate the web with an effective asphalt website and web marketing program”. That title might sound a little over-the-top to some, but the truth is you CAN dominate your competitors on the web and in the process double or triple the amount of leads you currently receive. In a relatively short period of time your company can become the “perceived” major player in your market whether you’re a startup or a large asphalt paving company whose been in the business for 30 years.
In fact, I’ve found that many of the larger companies in our industry feel just fine sticking with word-of-mouth referrals, not interested in the “new way of the web”, and not realizing how many leads they are giving up in a week, month and years time. This presents a profound opportunity for smaller companies to realize explosive growth IF they get out front in marketing their business on the web.
5 Actions Your Paving Company Can Take To Get More Leads
But let me back up for a minute. Before I give the 5 actions you can take this winter, I should say this. If you aren’t yet aware of the opportunity your company has to grow through the web lets get you up to speed.
First, over 90% of businesses (your prospects) searching for products and services go to the web to find a vendor. Most of the companies searching for the services you offer will make their decision of who to choose between just the top few companies listed on Google. If you haven’t reached out to your customers since you last provided a service for them, chances are they’ll be searching for someone new online too. More about that later.
Second, all highly regarded small business experts agree that the center of your marketing efforts must be online to successfully grow in today’s business environment. Marketing guru John Janstch of the best selling book Ducttape Marketing recently wrote:
“Your online presence is your key to success no matter what your business sells – no matter if all of your transactions are done face-to-face – no matter if you don’t yet see a way to get a return from your Facebook page – no matter if you’ve never bought an online ad…”
And third, pavement contractors like yourself are telling us about the great results they’re receiving by marketing their business on the web. Here’s what a recent contractor told me:
We usually do around 280-300 estimates each year through the office. Well this year I’m up to 437 [in November]… the SEO and great site are a huge part of that.”
The truth is, many web marketing contractors are doing so well, they won’t even talk to me about their success – for fear of their competitors finding out about their “best kept secret”. I don’t blame them.
Finally, ask yourself this question. What could 10 or more additional qualified leads a month do for your company? That is a very reasonable expectation for contractors who invest in an ongoing web marketing program. With that in mind let’s get started.
Go claim your Google Places (Local) listing (Bing and Yahoo too!). This has become hugely important for businesses. That’s because when someone searches for “Paving Company (City Name)” Google puts its Places listings at the top of the search results. It’s important that you are there. For the sake of time in this article go to Google and search “How to claim my Google Places listing”. There are a ton of free resources out there to help you with that.
Once you have your listing, be sure to fill it out as completely as possible including uploading photos. Fill out everything! It is also very important that you use the exact address on your listing as you have on your website (must have a physical address). After you have completed your profile send your best clients to your Places listing to write a great review for you. Finally, update your listing regularly and keep the reviews coming. The more you update your listing (once a month is plenty) the higher it will place you in their listings. Yes, Google ranks those Places listings, so working on this can help you climb to the top. Again there are a ton of resources on the web for how to optimize your Places listings. Just do a search. Places can be a major source of leads for your business, so don’t delay.
Sign up for Local Directories. There are a ton of local search directories like Merchant Circle, YP.com, Angies List, Yelp, Citysearch and many, many more. Getting listed in these directories and optimizing them in the same way you do your Places account is important for two reasons. The first reason is that they can be another great source of traffic and leads for your paving company. The second reason is because each one of these directories will provide a place for you to link back to your website. These types of links give your asphalt website more credibility in the eyes of Google and will help you rank higher in the organic rankings.
You might be thinking there is no way you’ll have the time to keep up with all these listings. This is probably true, and a great reason to sign up at Localeze.com. Localeze is a one-stop resource to get listed in over 150 local directories. You fill out one profile and it updates in all 150 directories. Once you sign up, upgrade to a Premium account for around $300 a year to enhance your listings. This will help you show up higher in the individual directories. Do it. It is well worth the investment and remember to update and add to your profile at localeze once a month or so.
Add unique relevant content to your website. OK, this is a tough one. The truth is many of you should take a sledgehammer to your website and beat them into smitherines. I’ve seen hundreds of paving contractor websites around the country and most of them are horrible, although it’s getting better. A website is a direct reflection of your business and we all have to ask ourselves if our website accurately represents who we are and what our customers can expect when they hire us. Would you hire your company after visiting your website, or move on? It’s a very important question.
But back to content. Even if you don’t have the best website, it is super important that you have plenty of UNIQUE (not taken from someone elses website) and relevant content on your site. The information you provide on your site is how Google knows what services you offer. Therefore it’s absolutely necessary that you have at least 2 to 3 paragraphs of text on each of the services you offer and a single page for each service — not all services grouped on a page. Don’t have any “under construction” pages or any pages with just a couple sentences. This is bad for rankings.
We could talk a lot about your website and how to improve it, but that would go beyond the scope of this article and into the area of search engine optimization – which is or course critical if you really want to dominate in your market. I can help you more in this area. Needless-to-say, it’s best to hire a professional web designer and SEO to at least get your site in order and get your program started. It’s not something you want to try to tackle unless you are a real Do-It-Yourself type.
Read more about the most important features your pavement contractor website should have.
For now, just adding lots of good information for your visitors will be a great resource for them and earn you a ton of credibility. It will also be a good foundation for your future search engine optimization efforts.
Email your customers and prospects. Sometimes we forget that the best prospects we have are our existing customers. It’s important to keep in front of them on a regular basis and email is a great way to do it. There are some great email marketing applications that let you set up automated emails throughout the year and easily create email newsletters and alerts. This is a great tool to further educate your customers about pavement maintenance as well as share your accomplishments and company news. The real point, of course, is to keep the relationship alive so that when it’s time for them to search the web for pavement services, they don’t. They call you instead.
Even if you don’t want to spend the 20 or so bucks a month to have an email marketing system, you can still do this manually through your company email as long as you’re not trying to email too many at once. You’ll also need to schedule your emails manually and keep track using a spreadsheet. In my opinion, this will become very burdensome. I wouldn’t go this route unless you absolutely have to. There are plenty of great systems packed with features for a low monthly fee. I’m happy to make recommendations.
Drive traffic using your offline marketing collateral. This winter you’ll probably be gearing up for next season. When doing this, make sure you place your website address on everything. This is true not only for your business cards, brochures and postcards. You should also have your web address on your trucks, equipment, yard signs, safety tape and anything else you can think of. That doesn’t mean you should take off your phone number. There’s nothing better than someone calling you directly. However, we have to keep in mind that the way people purchase services has changed dramatically. People want to sell themselves first. Once they’ve been sold by your website, and are convinced that you are credible based on the information and professional image you project, then they will call you.
This of course comes back to the question of whether or not your website is worth sending people to. Getting them there is only part of the equation. If they get there and leave immediately it doesn’t do a lot of good.
If you do these 5 things you’ll be taking the first steps of many more to come on your way to dominating your competitors on the web. If you don’t have a paving website you’re proud of, you need to make that a priority if you want to be a serious player in your market. In fact, make that step 1 and then do the rest later. Your website must be your central marketing hub. If it’s done right it can give even the smallest asphalt company a professionalism and credibility that will outdo much larger, experienced companies.
Walkie Talkie helps pavement contractors get more leads by helping them implement an ongoing, effective web marketing program. They believe in today’s world the company website should be the central marketing hub for any business. Contact Walkie Talkie Marketing by filling out the contact form or call (833) 848-8200.