If there is one universal truth in the business world, it is that the needs of consumers always dictate how and when you offer your services. If people suddenly start wanting roofs made from candy, you’ll have to adapt to that demand. Fortunately, that still hasn’t happened, but something else has.
Consumers have turned to the Internet to find recommendations and services.
If you want to remain competitive and get as many roofing leads as possible, you will have to adapt, too.
Today’s digital-first consumers rely on Google and other search engines to find local businesses and learn what types of roofing services they need. They don’t turn to the Yellow Pages for that anymore.
So, ask yourself – is your business website positioned to grab the attention of your leads? Is it even discoverable on Google in the first place?
If you answered no, we can guarantee you that you’re losing sales and leads to your competitors as we speak.
The trick to capturing free roofing leads for your business is to advertise your company where consumers spend their time – offline and online.
Understanding the Modern Consumer’s Journey
The so-called digital-first consumers we mentioned above describe the present-day buyer. These are people who go online when they want to find, book, buy, or learn something. They don’t ask their neighbor or check the newspaper. They go to a digital platform first. Ergo, the name.
The immediacy of the Internet has changed how people book services. They expect an immediate response to appointment requests, a positive customer experience, and an altogether top-notch service. They know they have options so they can jump from one provider to the next at the touch of a button.
In a nutshell, you have to be prepared for a non-linear lead generation and conversion process.
Understanding Inbound and Outbound Methods
In deciding how to generate roofing leads for your business, you need to ask yourself these three questions:
- Are you showing up where your potential clients are most likely to look for your service?
- Do you clearly communicate why your company is a better choice for your customers than your competitors?
- Do you know those reasons in the first place?
You’d be surprised how many business owners haven’t determined their own unique value proposition (UVP). That includes the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors and brings value to your customer that other companies don’t provide.
We have already covered the topic of inbound marketing in another article, so feel free to read it for further clarification. The short version is that inbound refers to digital methods for marketing your business, while outbound refers to the more traditional methods that include face-to-face interactions, printed media, word-of-mouth, and more.
While many digital marketing agencies, us included, will tell you it’s becoming extremely important to put most of your efforts and resources into inbound marketing, we would also advise you not to underestimate the power of outbound methods. Especially in small communities where reputation is crucial both off- and online.
Finding the right balance between inbound and outbound methods can help you maximize all channels and see which approach works best for generating roofing leads for your business. While you can delegate your inbound marketing to an external agency, the majority of your outbound efforts should come from you and your team.
So, let’s look at how to get roofing leads both through outbound and inbound methods!
Effective Outbound Methods to Generate Roofing Leads
According to a study by HubSpot, almost 20% of businesses say that outbound methods provide the highest quality leads for their business. The percentage may not be high, but that’s all the more reason for you to tap into the opportunity, especially since many outbound tactics are low- or no cost at all.
The most common and still widely effective outbound methods that help roofing contractors get more leads are:
- Outdoor advertising
- Word-of-mouth referrals
- Cold calling and other forms of personal selling
- Print advertising and direct response
- Maintain your current partnerships
- Treat your suppliers and vendors like your partners
- Get involved in community events
If you are already using those with little to no success, it doesn’t mean they aren’t working. It probably means you need to rethink how you’re approaching them and what you can do to improve. Don’t worry, as we’ll help you!
#1 Outdoor Advertising
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on huge billboards at every corner so you can keep your company name in front of potential customers. It’s enough to invest in simple graphics to brand your service vehicle, so everyone can see your company details as you’re driving through town going from one job to another.
The same holds true for yard signs that are professional-looking, clean, and well-maintained. It’s important to keep all your company details and colors consistent across every form of advertising you’re using, online or offline, indoor or outdoor. It helps to make people remember your brand and think of you first when they need your roofing service.
Of course, if you have the resources to invest in billboard advertising, you’re more than welcome to do it. If you do, keep the message simple with consistent text size and fonts. Any artwork you include should be clutter-free to make your message stand out.
#2 Word-of-Mouth Referrals
91% of customers say they’d give referrals, yet only 11% of sales people ask for them. (Source: sales legend Dale Carnegie)
For the longest time, word-of-mouth has been the most used and efficient form of advertising. The equivalent to that in the online world is social proof in the form of reviews, client testimonials, and referrals from other websites or users. In the traditional, outbound sense, word-of-mouth means that your satisfied customers are recommending your service to their social circle with great confidence in your work.
The most important thing when it comes to referrals is to ask for them. Yes, it all starts with a simple ask. Train your employees to ask customers for referrals after completing a service or doing a post-project follow up. You can add a sentence to your invoices along the lines of “If you loved our service, we’d really appreciate it if you send us a referral from your network.” You can also send a handwritten thank-you note for their business and use the occasion to ask for referrals as well.
Doing so is not as petty or desperate as some business owners may think. It’s a proactive approach that can do wonders if you give it a try. It’s also a smart way to get free roofing leads.
#3 Cold Calling and Other Forms of Personal Selling
With the rise of the digital age, we have gradually become worse at communicating face-to-face. So, when you as a business do it well, you will instantly stand out to current and prospective clients.
One of the most old-school approaches in personal selling is going door to door and promoting your business. However, homeowners likely won’t appreciate the intrusion, especially in times of social distancing. Instead, you can try door-to-door sales only in case there is visible roof damage to the person’s home. That way, your pitch might actually be appreciated by the homeowner.
Another great option is to leave a dangler with your business details on the doors of homes in an area you’ve recently started working or have just completed a roofing job. That way, if someone contacts you, it’s easy to show physical proof of your work in the neighborhood.
In addition to these methods, you can also dip your toes in cold calling. However, there are mixed views on whether that can work to generate leads or not. If you do decide to give it a try, it’s important to:
- Have a list of specifically targeted people. Aim for leads with a similar customer profile, so you can easily customize your pitch to them.
- Explain what’s in it for the client. In the end, that’s all they care for, especially when it’s you who’s contacting them and not the other way around.
- Know what your goals are with the call. Is it to make a sale, to get their contact details, to send a followup email? Understand your goals before you pick up the phone. It will save you many headaches down the road.
#4 Print Advertising and Direct Response
Famous ad executive Albert Lasker once explained advertising to President Kennedy as “salesmanship in print.”
The world of advertising was a lot different before the emergence of digital media. Before radio, television, and social media came into being, direct mail was the most results-oriented, measurable type of advertising.
Advertisers would send physical letters to people who fit the demographics of their ideal customers and include a specific call to action. Recipients had to phone a number, clip out a coupon, fill in a form, or return a postage-paid business response card to benefit from a limited-time offer or some other discount offered in the letter.
Direct mail is now more commonly referred to as direct response, so it includes other channels other than traditional mail. With more and more businesses relying on digital mails to get leads, a personal letter in the physical mailbox of a homeowner can really stand out from the crowd, especially if you’re based in a relatively small town. A simple postcard with your roofing company’s name and contact details can grab the attention of people in your area and highlight their interest in your service. You’ll never know unless you try it.
All other printed materials you use to advertise your business should also have a clear call to action. This is important so you can direct people to a particular action, and it’s easier for you to measure the results of each campaign.
#5 Maintain Your Current Partnerships
Many local businesses often have official or non-official partnerships with other businesses or organizations in the area. If you have such, now is the time to strengthen them. Send them an unexpected handwritten note to thank them for being a good partner to you all this time. You can ask them for referrals in it too. The personal touch in these is always what makes you stand out as a company, so don’t skip that part.
#6 Treat Your Suppliers and Vendors Like Your Partners
The principle of reciprocity can make or break a business. If you approach others with the goal of taking first and maybe giving later, you won’t be in business for long. This applies to customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, affiliates, virtually every participant in your business cycle. However, if you start by giving, things change drastically. If you show your suppliers and vendors how you can help them (and actually do it), they will try and find a way to help you in return.
Now, how exactly you can help them is something you should decide. It can be adding them to your website, giving them a shout out on social media, becoming their local ‘face,’ being creative. Or, just ask how you could help, as that’s often all it takes to show you mean well and to cooperate.
#7 Get Involved in Community Events
Staying active in the community as a business is a crucial part of building local authority and credibility with people. From volunteering at a local shelter to sponsoring local sports and music events, there are many ways you can include your company in your community. If you don’t want to give money away, you can always ‘donate’ some of your time and energy. People will appreciate it just as much (if not more).
We have already covered the topic of various community outreach ideas small businesses can try, so hop over and see how you can do it yourself!
Must-Use Inbound Methods to Get Roofing Leads
According to HubSpot, as of 2017, more than 76% of businesses use inbound marketing to advertise their services. If you aren’t currently using such tactics, this means that three of your competitors probably are.
Although there are many ways to do inbound marketing in the present day and age, you have to pick your battles, so to speak. Spreading yourself too thin when you don’t have the budget to hire a marketing team or an Internet advertising agency can result in doing nothing in the end.
That’s why, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to start with the three basic inbound tactics for roofing contractors:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
#1 Search Engine Optimization and Website
The process of making your website appear high up in search results is called Search Engine Optimization. For location-based businesses, getting in the top three results for Google searches related to your roofing services is crucial for generating the leads you need.
Everyone turns to Google for answers and recommendations these days. You have to be part of the results Google shows to users if you want to be relevant and in business.
If your website is done correctly, it can become a lead generation powerhouse. The trick is to use that online real estate to showcase how you help customers instead of making it all about you. Look at your website from your client’s perspective. What do you think they want to see when they land on your homepage? What kind of questions will they have and what type of answers will they need? Make your content about that.
Keep a clear call to action, as it can direct users to take concrete steps, be it to give you a call, subscribe to your newsletter, fill out the contact form, etc..
It’s important to understand that blogging doesn’t necessarily lead to direct leads. It’s more of a reputation builder that can gradually generate roofing leads and referrals if you are persistent.
The benefits of keeping an active blog page on your website are many. On one side, they are a way to establish yourself as a credible source of useful information. You can cover all sorts of topics that homeowners would want to know about roofs. From material choice and benefits to tips on maintenance and inspection, you can write about all of it.
Another major benefit of blogging is that it can significantly boost your SEO. Once you have an SEO strategy in place with the main keywords you want to focus your content on, blogs can help build on your efforts and keep your top placements in search results.
#3 Social Media
Now that you have a website and are working on optimizing your website so it appears high up in search results through quality content and educational blogs, it’s time to promote yourself.
Choosing the right social media channels for your small business can be a daunting task but not an impossible one. Don’t spread yourself too thin and pick no more than 3 channels that you know are places where your current and prospective customers are active.
Being active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms is a great way to directly communicate and meet prospects. It helps to humanize your company, and it provides social proof, which all users typically need before choosing a contractor.
In a digital era, when customers feel more comfortable to message a company, instead of calling it, being on socials is a way to encourage prospects to contact you in the way that suits them most.
It’s your job to make it as easy as possible for clients and prospects to reach you. If they have to actively look for your social media profiles and contact details, it’s likely they’ll just give up and go with another company instead. Be sure to add links to all your socials from your website, include them in your printed advertising, and your digital ones, too.
Additional Inbound Tactics for Getting More Remodeling Leads Online
Inbound marketing tactics generate three times more leads-per-dollar spent than traditional methods. (Source: Weidert)
Aside from the main three we described above, there are a couple more useful tactics you can use to build on your inbound efforts using channels and tools you already have.
#5 Email Marketing
Many marketers argue that this is the simple most efficient inbound approach to generating roofing leads and leads in general. Some say that for every $1 you spend, you get $45 in return. So, think about whether that is something you are willing to dedicate time and other resources too. There are also paid services that take care of that aspect of marketing your roofing business so you can focus on your clients. However, if you will be investing in digital marketing services, it’s best to look for package deals that include more than one service.
For more pointers on writing awesome emails that convert, read here.
#6 Add a referral form to your website
Aside from your typical contact form, which you probably already have on your website, add a form where people can leave referrals. If your website is getting enough traffic, this is a smart way to capture more engagement.
It’s also how you can cater to a wider group of people who may not be as forward in face-to-face interaction, but would still be willing to send a referral your way through your website.
#7 Email a referral voucher to your email list
Assuming you already have one, sending out an email with a referral voucher to your current or past clients (don’t email it to prospects and fresh leads) is a good way to:
- Remind them of your roofing company
- Show them you appreciate their recommendation and referral
- Engage with people you’ve already worked for and who might need your service in the future
#8 Dip Your Toes in Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Now, this isn’t a cheap investment, and it’s best to have someone on your team who understands how paid ads work, specifically Google AdWords. It can be a great booster for location-based businesses like your roofing company, but only if it’s done by someone who knows how to set up and run paid ad campaigns.
#9 Add Videos to Your Content
No, you don’t have to create professional videos for each social media post and blog you put out (although, if you can, that would be awesome). But, people are visual creatures, which means your prospects are visual creatures.
Try to record a short video next time you’re working on a roof or completing a job and show your prospects how great it is for them to hire you and what results they can expect. You can also experiment with features like Instagram Stories and Facebook live to further grab the attention of your audience.
Have you considered posting a video on YouTube? You can show people how to clean their roof, how to do certain repairs, and carry out other important basics in your profession. People will surely appreciate your input. They can choose to share your content with others and help build your reputation in front of a wider audience.
#10 Join Online Business Directories
Last but not least, when it comes to creating a credible online presence, you shouldn’t skip the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages. Create profiles of your company and list it in online business directories locals are using.
It’s absolutely mandatory to have a Google My Business profile, so if you haven’t created one, do it asap. Other popular and efficient choices are Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Local, Super Pages, and Bing Places.
#11 Encourage customers to leave you online reviews
People nowadays rely on online reviews before choosing a business. In fact, according to research by BIA/Kelsey, 97% of people read reviews for local businesses before interacting with them.
So, much like with referrals, be generous in your efforts to ask people to leave you an online review after you have completed a project for them. You can use emails, your website, social media, and other digital means to ask them. You can also do it face-to-face upon leaving the job site and/or after the final walkthrough.
The Bottom Line
Basically, there are two types of approaches to getting roofing leads: Outbound and Inbound. Outbound refers to the traditional ways of doing marketing outside of the digital space. Inbound marketing is all about using the Internet to advertise your business and engage with potential clients.
Examples of outbound include:
- Outdoor advertising
- Word-of-mouth referrals
- Cold calling & personal selling
- Print advertising & direct response
- Fostering partnerships
- Fostering relationships with suppliers & vendors
- Participating in community events
Examples of inbound include:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Referral forms on your website
- Emailing a referral voucher to your email list
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Adding videos to your content
- Joining online business directories
- Encouraging customers to leave you online reviews
Are you still wondering how to get roofing leads for your business after reading our guide? Of course, there is always more you can do and try, but we have focused on the basics plus some additional approaches that have proven efficient for many of our clients at 411 Locals.
As you can see, some of these tactics will get you free remodeling leads, while others require you to invest in time and people or services, but they still help you scale the process since you won’t be paying for each lead individually.
Sit down with your team and discuss the benefits of each. See who can help with what and make a plan of action. It’s important to keep track of which tactic helps you get leads or convert sales, and which aren’t as efficient. Don’t expect immediate results for each! Things like SEO and email marketing take time. Yet, they are the two most efficient inbound tactics that will get you the majority of your leads.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or are interested in partnering with a digital marketing agency to help boost your business. We’re here for you.
Stay tuned for our next topic and updates on this guide!