Blog

Yelp Advertising Reviews

Yelp mapIf you have a business on Yelp, chances are you’ve been contacted by one of their salesmen. They probably told you all about how there are thousands of people in your local area who are looking for your product/service and that you could have a major advantage over your competitors. We decided to take it upon ourselves to see just how good Yelp advertising is by investing our own money into it and seeing what results we’d get.

Our Yelp Advertising Experience

The process started with a web design company called Nashville Web Design. The name of the company alone gets it to the top of the Yelp results. That means that despite advertising it should be getting clicks (and it does). On top of that we managed to get 3 Yelp reviews for the business which would also help with getting people to convert to calls and customers. With all that in mind, we expected to receive some good response after signing up for Yelp advertising.

The first charge we received for Yelp advertising was in March, and it was around $150. After a month we didn’t receive a single call. We were then charged another $325 in April, but once again there wasn’t a single call or inquiry for Yelp. We checked to make sure our online forms were working, and they were working just fine.

After spending about $475 in advertising with no results we decided to pull the plug on the whole thing because it really didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. Unfortunately we had to spend over an hour on the phone with Yelp to get their agreement to let us cancel. It’s not even that you’re not allowed to cancel, but rather that they’re account representatives work very hard to try to persuade you to not cancel.

The excuses that they made for not receiving any kind of benefit from advertising included “you’re leaving too early and you need to do it for at least three months to see any results” as well as “Well you are getting results because people are clicking your ads.” We had to let them know that from the standpoint of a business owner, paying money for advertising clicks doesn’t generate income. Phone calls and interviews with potential clients is what generates income, and Yelp advertising isn’t helping with that. We also let them know that nobody on the sales team ever said that it would take 3 months or more to see any kind of results. In fact, they made it sound like the phone would be ringing all day!

Needless to say, we’re leaving a poor Yelp advertising review. However it doesn’t even stop there. We got their agreement to let us cancel, but they require 30 days advance notice, so we had one more month of advertising ahead of us. We paid another $325, thus bringing our total to over $700. We also were going to be charged another $325 cancellation fee at the end of the month.

Well it’s the end of the month now (this is being written on May 31st). We were charged $325, just as we expected, however we received a call from Yelp stating that we would have two more charges… Wait… What??? That’s right, Yelp called to let us know that there were two more charges coming up that we had no idea about. The grand total spend for our Yelp advertising experience is over $1,000 and not a single call came from it, or even a form filled out on our website.

More Yelp Advertising Reviews

So obviously the above story could make anybody cranky. I mean, who wants to give a company $1,000 and get nothing in return? It was definitely a lesson learned. But what are other people saying about Yelp? We took a look at the Better Business Bureau to find out how past customers like Yelp and to find out more about their Yelp advertising reviews. Take a look at the image below.

BBB Yelp Advertising Reviews

You’ll notice in the above picture (which was taken from the Better Business Bureau) that 95% of people who used Yelp had a negative experience, and 95% of people who used Yelp would not recommend them. Those are pretty terrible statistics. Here are excerpts from some of of the negative Yelp advertising reviews we found:

Blackmail is blackmail, and we will not do any advertising or add any money to their parade. We see this as giving a reward to bad behavior. We will not play their game. Something should be done about them. Can anyone help us?

 

I will not let them profit any further from my business advertising as their business practice is very unethical. Please do not do business with yelp, if you have a better alternative. I’m sure other businesses have experienced a similar situation with yelp as they offer terrible customer service and their entire business operation is “automated”.

 

If we have to get our lawyer involved further, we will. People need to know what a scam this company is and we have no problem being the company that takes this public to help protect other small businesses from being ripped off.

But even after that, are you still not sure about whether or not to advertise with Yelp? Let’s take a look at a few more facts regarding advertising and marketing. We’ll take a moment to discuss the benefits of some forms of marketing that Yelp is lacking.

Google AdWords

  1. You can see exactly how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
  2. You can see how much people are paying per click and compete with them.
  3. You pick and choose what time of day you want your ads to show.
  4. You can pick and choose what phrases will trigger that ad to show.
  5. You can customize your landing page to look however you want it to look.

Yelp Advertising

  1. You cannot see how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
  2. You don’t know how much other people are paying for ads.
  3. You don’t get to choose when your ads show.
  4. You don’t get to choose what phrases will trigger your ads.
  5. You can customize your Yelp page, but only within the framework of Yelp.

Just as a note on point number 4, when we did our Yelp ad campaign our ads were showing up for search phrases that were unrelated to what we did. Can you imagine being a painting contractor and getting people calling you about fixing your roof?

So what about positive Yelp reviews? As you may have noticed in the image above, there are positive Yelp advertising reviews on the BBB. To be fair, we’ll show you those reviews as well, and here they are:

Positive Yelp Reviews

You’ll notice in the above review that it appears to have absolutely nothing to do with Yelp or Yelp advertising. In fact, it seems that the person who left the review must have been very confused at the time. In the bottom right corner of the review, you’ll also notice that 3 people didn’t find that review helpful.

Conclusion

It isn’t fair to say that nobody has ever had fortune with Yelp. In fact, we’re sure that there are people who are doing great with Yelp advertising. We took it upon ourselves to give our own review of Yelp’s advertising and this is what came up. We dealt with poor customer service, pushy salespeople and no return on investment. We also went out to an authoritative organization (the Better Business Bureau) to see what people are saying there, and it would seem that most people aren’t happy with their Yelp experience. In fact, we haven’t found a positive review yet!

If you’ve experience Yelp advertising, please let us know about it! We’re open to hearing about positive or negative feedback! If you’re looking for online marketing services, be sure and reach out to use and let us know about your project!

How to Get Quality Contractor Leads with Thumbtack

ThumbtackHave you ever tried to get leads through Thumbtack.com? If you’re a contractor, you know that you could literally spend hundreds of dollars before you get a good quality lead. Unfortunately once you get that lead the other contractor who bids extremely low ends up getting the job and you still wind up with nothing (or at least that’s what I hear from most of the contractors that I work with). It would seem as though it’s impossible to win with Thumbtack, however that’s not entirely true. There’s definitely a way to get quality contractor leads while using Thumbtack, and I’m about to tell you the story about how I found out, and exactly what you can do.

Thumbtack for Painting Leads

This project started when I reached out to a buddy of mine, Shawn Sivils of The Painting Company. Shawn has been a painter for over 30 years and has had experience buying leads from all different types of resources. He was painting when the Yellow Pages was the best way to get leads, and he’s still painting today.

I asked Shawn about his experience with Thumbtack, and he said he didn’t get anything out of it. This was odd to me because I knew that my buddy, Jesse in Atlanta (also a professional paint contractor) almost only got leads through Thumbtack. A part of me got the idea that maybe it was just the locations that they were servicing, but a part of me also thought that perhaps it was just the way they pitched themselves to their potential customers. So I decided I would take it upon myself to find out the best way to get quality leads through Thumbtack.

I’ve had some experience as a contractor before, and I also have experience as a painter (that’s one of the reasons why a large majority of the clients I serve are contractors). So I decided to create a painting company of my own that I would use to get work through Thumbtack. The company was called “Nashville Painters“. I chose this name because it’s very simple, it tells my potential customer that I’m local, and it also happens to be a phrase that’s searched in Google several times every month. That was the start of this project to show you how to get quality contractor leads on Thumbtack.

Step 1: Create a Profile

 

If you aren’t familiar with Thumbtack, it’s just like any other lead generation site where you’ll create a profile. It’s important that you fill out all the information on your Thumbtack profile! Here’s another few pointers that you need to keep in mind when writing your Thumbtack profile:

  • Put up pictures of yourself and the team.

In my profile I had a picture of myself and a couple buddies of mine. I also had a picture of myself and my wife, as well as a picture of me and my baby niece. The reason you want these pictures up is because your potential customer is going to want to know who they’ll have in their home. They’re much more likely to invite you into their home if you look like a family man, or maybe even just a friendly guy. They’re not very likely to invite you into their home if you look like you’re going to try to steal something from them, or even if they don’t know anything about what you look like.

You might be familiar with the phrase “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” Well unfortunately that doesn’t always work in the home improvement industry. That doesn’t mean that if you have tattoos and scars you’re not going to get hired, because your work will sometimes speak for itself and get you referrals. However, having a professional appearance on your Thumbtack page will go a long way. You’re definitely going to get more work than the guy who doesn’t have any pictures up.

  • Put up pictures of your work.

Unfortunately I didn’t ever save any pictures of the work that I’ve done in the past, so I ended up borrowing a few pictures of work that was comparable to my own. Whatever your trade may be, it’s always a decent idea to keep some pictures of the work you’ve done (especially before and after pictures). People respond well to seeing quality work.

My personal preference in the order of pictures is that your personal photos and team pictures come first, then your work. Most of your customers aren’t going to really know what they’re looking at when they see a painted wall or new roof unless there’s something unique to the picture that really makes it pop out. Landscapers can often post eye-catching photos because they deal a lot in creating beautiful scenery, but if you can’t say the same for your trade then I recommend you stick with team photos first.

  • Link to your website.

If you don’t have a website, let me know and I’ll fix you up (again, I work with a lot of contractors). However if you have a website it’s important that you link it up to your Thumbtack account. This is pretty easy and self explanatory. By doing this you allow your potential customer to find out more about you and your company (and bring them closer to becoming a lead).

  • Fill in the empty spaces.

There’s a lot that you can fill out. You should take the time and answer all the questions that you can. The more information you provide the better. The point is that you want to have a profile that really sticks out. There are a lot of people out there who lose on Thumbtack because they don’t say anything about who they are or what they do. They expect to pay a few bucks here and there and people are going to want to do work with them. Unfortunately that’s not the case. You’re competing with other companies for these leads, so that means your profile needs to stick out more than the other profiles.

By this time you’ve managed to establish yourself as a credible company through your photos, through your website and through the information about your company. You’ve made sure that your potential customer knows that you’re a safe person to invite into your home and that they can trust you. This is also a good time to mention that the $7 background check is worth it (so long as you don’t have some big criminal record).

  • Get as many reviews as possible!

Thumbtack is great because they let you get as many reviews as you like from former customers. In my situation I had to ask some close friends who could vouch for me as a person to write something nice about me in my Thumbtack reviews.

It’s important that you get as many reviews as possible. This could be a huge advantage in your efforts to close a lead. I took it upon myself to get some leads from other SEO companies on Thumbtack and found one company with over 100 reviews. I couldn’t say whether the reviews were real or not, but I put myself in my customer’s shoes and realized that nobody else really mattered. These guys had over 100 positive reviews! When I saw that it meant that these guys must have been good.

Your average competitor is probably going to have anywhere between 5 and 20 reviews. If you can get 100 people to write a positive review for you, that would make a huge difference in your Thumbtack campaign. If you can’t possibly get that many, just get as many as you can. Your reviews are worth a lot, but they aren’t everything.

Step 2: Selecting Contractor Leads

Thumbtack is a platform where your potential customer reaches out to you for a quote and you get to decide whether or not you want to give them that quote. A total of 5 companies will get the opportunity to submit a quote for the work, and unfortunately that means that often times the lowest bidder is going to get the job. However here’s what you do to ensure you’re not wasting all your money on Thumbtack:

When you get a notification that someone wants a quote, only bid on the guys who give you a time frame of when the work needs to be done. Very often you’ll get people who don’t have a specific time that they need the work done. These are usually people who are just shopping around at the idea of maybe someday doing some work. They aren’t always serious buyers. I can’t say that none of them are serious buyers, but you’ll find that you’re not going to get a lot of response from these guys. In fact, after you’ve sent them a quote you might find that it’s impossible to get a hold of them again. So be selective in who you choose to give a quote to.

The best leads are usually going to be where the person says that they need to work done before the end of the month, or within the week etc. It’s also a good sign if they have a profile picture and a phone number. If the lead has a profile picture it usually means that they’ve used Thumbtack. Some people won’t post a picture because they only just created a Thumbtack profile so that they could get a quick quote and be done with it. Again, that’s not always the case (because most of the leads that come to you won’t have a profile picture). It’s only mentioned here as a bonus.

Step 3: DON’T Send a Quote

That’s right, don’t you dare send a quote! You know just as well as any other contractor that the best way to give a quote is going to be in person where you can see exactly what needs to be done, and you can talk to the home owner face to face.

Thumbtack allows the potential customer to fill out the details of their home improvement project so that you can give them a quote. The potential customer will fill out the measurements of their room, the color of the paint etc. However if you give them a quote over Thumbtack then they really don’t need to talk to you anymore (unless you write a really compelling quote and they decide to hire you).

Instead of giving them a quote, write them a simple message stating that the only way you can give them an accurate quote is to see the work that needs to be done. Tell them you’d be happy to pop by for a quick estimate. In my case I said something along the lines of:

Hey ______ !

I would be happy to come by and give you a free quote as there’s no way for me to do this accurately without actually seeing the work that needs to be done.

I could pop by for a quick visit this week if you’re available. What do you say? :)

The above message got me in contact with about 50% of the leads that came through on the first try. The combination of choosing the right leads and sending the right message made a decent impact on my contact rate.

For those of the people who didn’t respond, I tried them again the next day. Altogether I contacted about 80% of the people who requested a quote. The next step was to get an estimate.

Out of about 20 leads I contacted around 16 people (by sending only 2 messages). Out of 16 people I gave 6 estimates. Since I’m not really a contractor and I have no experience in giving painting estimates I only closed 1 job.

Keep in mind here that once you buy these leads you can message them as many times as you like (and you should message them frequently). You have a right to hear back from these guys! Send them a message every day if you like. You paid money to get in touch with them, so you should know if they’re going to do the work or not. I stopped after two messages, but I could have persisted and probably scheduled more estimates.

I should also mention that I didn’t reach back out to the people who I gave estimates to. After I saw them I left the house and never contacted them again. They have my contact info if they want to get in touch with me, but again, I’m not really a contractor so I don’t need the work (if I get contacted by one of these guys I’ll refer it to one of my local painting buddies).

The End of the Story

In the end I wound up with a painting job that paid $500. I had Shawn help me figure out what kinds of supplies I needed to buy for the job and I had another painter friend help me get the job done. The home owner was very pleased with the work that I did and said that they would gladly hire me again.

Oddly enough the home owner also worked in SEO and happened to work for a company that some of my friends work at. It was just a very strange coincidence.

Altogether I ended up making back all my money and now I have a bunch of painting supplies too. If I ever wanted to start a painting company I suppose I could.

If you’re looking for leads and you’d like to try Thumbtack, I’d recommend giving this strategy a shot. Otherwise just call us here at Zing Marketing and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Niche Marketing for Domination

In the years that we’ve marketed plumbers, landscapers, roofers, contractors etc., there’s one very common mistake that we find in most of their marketing campaigns….

Everybody wants to be the number one “landscaper”, the number one “plumber”, the number one “roofer” and so on. The problem here is that when you have 100 contractors in a city who are all competing for the phrase “Nashville (insert trade)“, you wind up with 10 companies that make it and 90 that don’t (there’s only really 10 spots on the first page of Google). So how do you outshine the competition when they’ve got tens of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing? Check this out:

Niche Marketing

One of the easiest and most profitable ways to market is by taking on a niche (a corner of the market) and becoming the dominant player in that area. You could literally double your income by doing this. A great example is with Green Scene Outdoor Lighting. We’ve taken one service offered by a landscaper (outdoor lighting) and made them the dominant player in their area for that service. While other landscaper websites maintain a focus on all landscaping services, Green Scene took over the outdoor lighting market and became the biggest name in Outdoor lighting for their city (and even some of the surrounding cities). That doesn’t mean they don’t still do landscaping (they’re still doing plenty of landscaping work).

Now, let’s take a look at the reverse of this:

Roofers NashvilleTry doing a Google search for “Nashville roofing contractors” and you’ll see that almost everyone is competing for that phrase. Can you imagine trying to become a new roofer in any major city and try to compete for a search phrase like this? Everybody and their dog wants to be at the top of Google for these kinds of phrases.

The problem is that there’s so much opportunity being missed by being so broad and general.

Take a look in any city and you’ll see the same thing repeating over and over. Companies competing for “Chicago plumber” or “Dallas Pest Control” etc.

Now, don’t take my word for it. Do a Google search for your trade and your city. After you’ve done that, try searching for some small segment of what you do that still brings in profit to your company (if you’re a plumber, you might check out how many people are competing for toilet replacement work or drain cleaning).

Another great example of someone completely dominating with this is Matt in Hawaii. He’s completely dominating for low cost draining cleaning in Hawaii. Here’s his website if you want to check it out.

You might ask yourself “Well doesn’t that mean you’re completely missing out on all the money you could be making with the rest of your services?” The answer is no. Imagine for a moment that you’re completely dominating in your city for drain cleaning, or landscape lighting etc. You’ve now gained the business of the people in the area and they know and trust your company. If you’ve left a good impression with everyone you work with, they’ll call you for the next thing that they have come up.

With that being said, we strongly suggest that you take a look at some of the services you offer that are profitable, and see if your competitors are taking over the market for that service. If there isn’t much competition for it, then take some time to become the greatest in your area for that service.

As always, thanks for visiting Zing Marketing! If you’ve tried niche marketing, let us know about any success or failures that you’ve had. If you haven’t and you’re interested in trying it out, feel free to contact us for advice on how you can do this.

 

SEO That Works Review

SEO That Works Review 2As many of our readers and clients know, Zing Marketing has been using many of the tools laid out in Brian Dean’s SEO That Works course. We get contacted regularly with questions about the course, what’s in it, the results we’ve achieved,  and whether or not it’s worth investing into. So we decided to write an SEO That Works review!

Quick Background

Before we get into I should give you a little history. When I built Zing Marketing I was looking all over the internet for the best ways to do SEO. If you’ve ever tried this, you know that the internet is full of information on the subject. I kept running into out-dated information, some false information and information that really didn’t help. Of course every once in a while I would find something that worked (such as when I came across backlinko.com).

Backlinko was the first place I visited that gave workable answers to the question “How do you get backlinks?” It also gave some very helpful advice in several of the other areas of SEO that I was learning about.

So I subscribed the the mailing list, read every article that Brian Dean wrote, and I applied what I was learning. It made a lot more sense than anything else I could find on the internet.

When Brian started promoting his course “SEO That Works” I jumped at the opportunity. Everything he wrote at Backlinko made sense, so I figured his course would be the same. I was right. And here’s my SEO That works review:

Results from this Course

Viral Content TrafficSince taking this course I’ve published several articles that have been seen by tens of thousands of people. I’ve done this for my own company as well as for my clients.

In one particular instance we had a plumber who received over 1,500 visitors from his local market and said that his phone wouldn’t stop ringing for the following two months.

On another occasion we managed to get over 30,000 visitors to a website within a period of a month.

With another client (a dentist in Arizona) we managed to get them to the first page of Google within a few of months of launching their website. The market was extremely competitive, but we followed SEO That Works and managed to get results.

Features of the Course

SEO That Works ReviewOne of my favorite features of this course is the “F to S technique” (feedback to share technique). Brian teaches you how to gain the attention of major influencers across the web and get them to share the content you’ve created. This of course results in massive amounts of traffic and attention across the web.

Throughout the course Brian also teaches how to create content that stands out. We’ve worked with several companies who have created blogs that have gone nowhere. The information on how to create unique content that grabs attention is taught in this course.

The course is kept up to date, so you can go back to it any time and continue to learn what’s working in SEO.

What Could be Improved

The course in itself is perfect, and I wouldn’t change what’s taught in it. However if I could change anything, I’d like to receive information on any updates made to the course after having graduated. The strategies that are taught are extremely valuable to me and my company, so it’s important to us that we know when updates are made with new strategies or even altered strategies.

Who Should Do SEO That Works?

I can honestly say that anybody who wants SEO should do the course. Let me elaborate a little:

  • Marketing Companies

Zing Marketing has received a lot of attention from businesses of all sizes for our content marketing (which is really just strategies that we’ve learned from SEO That Works). We’ve received requests for backlinking strategies and content marketing strategies from international jewelers, contractors, doctors, architectural firms, e-commerce sites of all sizes and many more, just because we use the strategies taught in SEO That Works. Zing Marketing usually offers content marketing and large backlinking strategies as a part of our premier SEO packages.

  • Local “Mom and Pop” businesses

As mentioned earlier, we helped a plumbing company make a fortune with ONE article. The amount of time invested in the article was about a week, part-time.

In my personal experience with business owners, they just don’t have the time to put into their own SEO (which is why they hire my company). If you have the time, you should do it. If you have an office manager who is under-worked, get them to do the course in your place.

  • E-Commerce Sites

The strategies taught in SEO That Works is perfect for any online store. E-commerce websites need a lot of attention. You want your company and brand in front of as many people as possible. You need massive amounts of backlinks in order to compete. So this course is good for you too.

  • Affiliate Marketers

Whether you’re selling through Amazon, you’ve got a deal with a product manufacturer, or anything else that’s affiliate marketing, the concepts in the course are great for you too. Again, you’re going to need great content and backlinks to get anywhere.

Conclusion

In closing I’d like to mention that Zing Marketing is not an affiliate of SEO That Works or Backlinko. This is simply a review for SEO That Works and my own personal experience. It should answer most of the questions that I frequently get about the course, but if you have any other questions feel free to comment and we’ll get back to you :)

Top Online Services for Contractors

top online directories for contractorsAt Zing Marketing we often hear about different services that businesses are using to get clients. We hear about the best of them and the worst of them. We’ve had plumbers tell us about investing thousands of dollars that didn’t generate any income, and we’ve had contractors tell us the services that are generating leads at very little cost.

So we’ve decided to publish a post about some of the best services online that are available to contractors! Here are the services we hear about most often (in no particular order):

  • Google AdWords
  • HomeAdvisor
  • Thumbtack
  • Porch
  • Yelp
  • Yext

Let’s take a look at each of these in order from the highest reviewed service, to the lowest reviewed service:

Porch.com

Porch.com reviewPorch has received the best reviews of all of our clients. Roofers, plumbers, landscapers and others have all agreed that they get good quality leads through Porch.com for the price that they pay. We have not yet heard a negative review about Porch from the contractors that we work with. However, it should be noted that just as with any service that generates leads, not all leads convert to customers. The reports we receive from our clients say that they’re making a great profit off of Porch, and that they’re very happy with the service.

Google AdWords

AdWords ReviewNext up on the list is Google AdWords, and AdWords Express. The trouble with naming this service is that it’s only worked out for the guys who know how to use it. We have clients who avoid AdWords like the plague because they’ve spent thousands with no return. Those clients admit that they didn’t fully know how to use AdWords. Meanwhile we also have clients who use AdWords as their only way of marketing!

So in short, if you know how to use AdWords, or if you’re willing to pay a company to do it for you, this can be extremely profitable for you.

Thumbtack.com

thumbtack reviewThird on our list is Thumbtack. We’ve heard mixed reviews with these guys. For the most part our contractors are making money with Thumbtack, but 50% of them are complaining about having to charge low rates when using this service. If you’re a one-man show, Thumbtack can be a great service to use. For businesses that have a few staff, or even for larger companies, we wouldn’t recommend using this service.

Yelp ReviewYelp

So far we haven’t had any clients tell us that they’ve been making money with Yelp. For those of the businesses that we’ve worked with that have paid Yelp, they said they either broke even or lost a little, but that the experience wasn’t really bad. We just haven’t heard any raving reviews about using this service to build a business.

Yext

Yext reviewAlthough Yext pays SEO companies pretty well for promoting their service, we have not seen that Yext is getting contractors a return on their investment. Yext is a service that places your business on several online directories throughout the web, but it comes with a high price tag in comparison to other similar service.

Yext isn’t a bad service, it’s just not the best service that we’ve seen of its kind. Our clients haven’t been raving about it, but we also don’t hear many complaints. Your money is probably better spent elsewhere.

HomeAdvisor

HomeAdvisor ReviewThe last on our list is HomeAdvisor. Unfortunately we haven’t met a contractor that has had good things to say about this company. That isn’t to say they’re horrible and nobody should use them. We’re just saying that the reviews we’ve received have primarily been that contractors are spending thousands of dollars and getting calls from people who hang up right away, people who don’t really need work done, or just not getting calls at all.

Conclusion

So if you were to ask us what the best investment for a contractor would be, we’d probably first tell you to work with Zing Marketing. But if you aren’t quite ready for something like that, our survey shows that Porch and AdWords are a couple of the best places you could invest your money.

If you have any experience with these companies, leave us a comment and let us know! We’d love to hear how these companies worked out for you.

How I got 24K People to Visit My Site

Viral Content TrafficOver the years we’ve built a reputation for making content that goes viral (in particular, we write articles that attract a lot of attention). In the picture to the left you’ll see an article that we wrote in September that had over 24,000 visits in 12 days. Doing this took time, research and money, but it paid us back several times over.

Rather than going into a bunch of theory of why some content goes viral and other content doesn’t, we’re just going to get right into what we did to make this particular article go viral so that you can do the same for your business.

This is a very simple process that almost anybody can do.

Writing Your Article

First off, if you don’t feel confident in your writing, or you’re just not sure if your content is going to be interesting enough, try Zach the writer. He’s a professional writer who will research and create incredible content on your behalf for dirt cheap (you can also go with these guys if you don’t want to spend much more than $5).

With that being said, here’s a few ingredients that you should have in every article you write.

  • Catchy headlineThe Perfect Blog Post
  • Catchy opening
  • Catchy image
  • Article must be related to your company

The first three points are going to make or break your article. They’ll determine whether a person is going to read your article or not. Most people will judge your article by these first three things. It’s sort of like your “elevator pitch” to getting someone to read your writing. Now, if you don’t know that you can do this, there’s no shame in hiring a writer to do it on your behalf.

The last point mentioned there is that the article is related to your company. If you’re a plumber, don’t start writing about your favorite football team. We’re all interested in things outside of our profession, but you want to attract people to YOUR COMPANY, and not your favorite football team.

A few other important points to pay attention to are the length of your article (should be over 500 words) and the keywords in your article (which help with your SEO). A landscaper could write an article on how to winterize your sprinkler system (which is heavily searched for on Google). This may  or may not directly make the landscaper money, but it puts your brand in front of a lot of people who are likely to call you later on.

Sharing Content – Phase 1

Do you have a few friends on Facebook? Here’s how you go about getting your friends to share your newly created content:

  • Tell 10 or so people, “Hey ______, I just wrote an article for my company and I wanted to see if I could get your feedback. Would you be willing to check it out?” Mostly they’ll say yes. Some won’t respond, some might be too busy. Don’t be offended, just move on (it’s a numbers game).
  • Mostly people will tell you it’s great. Some might make a recommendation or two. Feel free to make any changes you see fit. The important thing is now you need to ask them to share it. Here’s a great way to get your friends to share: “I appreciate your feedback! Is there any way I could get you to share it on Facebook when I release it?” More often than not your friends will help you out after they’ve already committed some time to the article and they’ve given their feedback and opinions.

It’s that simple. Don’t try to con your friends or guilt them into sharing your content. Make them a part of the experience!

When you do this it will show up in your Facebook feed as multiple friends sharing the same article. This makes it look popular to all of your mutual friends and gets them into it too.

NOTE: Use hashtags in your social media posts. Hashtags help people find your content on social media.

Sharing Content – Phase 2

Twitter MarketingThe next part of what we do is we push the content out everywhere! Social media is key in getting your content out. If you’ve ever written an article on your website that didn’t get seen by anybody, you just didn’t promote it enough! We like to use several services to get our content out all over the web. First off, you can try these guys who will share your content 1,500 times on places like Twitter and Facebook.

Another great service that we often use is this one. It costs a little more than the first, but you get more value with it.

Remember to use hashtags in your posts!

Sharing Content – Phase 3

Facebook Marketing ServicesThe last thing that we like to do when sharing content is to advertise it a little. Now this isn’t necessarily going to be a “must do” for everyone. At Zing Marketing we spend thousands on social media and Pay Per Click ads. If you’re willing to spend some money to promote your content, we recommend using Facebook. You can do this through your Facebook business page (if you don’t have a Facebook business page, you need to have one).

You can also use Google AdWords and set up a campaign that targets a high search volume with low cost per click.

Facebook and Google Marketing are services in themselves that are often out-sourced to companies like Zing. If you don’t know how to market on Facebook and Google, we highly recommend you consult a pro (it could cost you a lot of money otherwise).

Marketing in general is a game of getting your brand in front of a lot of people. That’s the simplicity of it. When you write something of value for your potential customer and it doesn’t cost them anything, you’re making your brand well known and well thought of.

Feel free to email us any time and let us know if this article helped you out! You can also email us for free advice on how to write articles and make viral content!

Yelp mapIf you have a business on Yelp, chances are you’ve been contacted by one of their salesmen. They probably told you all about how there are thousands of people in your local area who are looking for your product/service and that you could have a major advantage over your competitors. We decided to take it upon ourselves to see just how good Yelp advertising is by investing our own money into it and seeing what results we’d get.

Our Yelp Advertising Experience

The process started with a web design company called Nashville Web Design. The name of the company alone gets it to the top of the Yelp results. That means that despite advertising it should be getting clicks (and it does). On top of that we managed to get 3 Yelp reviews for the business which would also help with getting people to convert to calls and customers. With all that in mind, we expected to receive some good response after signing up for Yelp advertising.

The first charge we received for Yelp advertising was in March, and it was around $150. After a month we didn’t receive a single call. We were then charged another $325 in April, but once again there wasn’t a single call or inquiry for Yelp. We checked to make sure our online forms were working, and they were working just fine.

After spending about $475 in advertising with no results we decided to pull the plug on the whole thing because it really didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. Unfortunately we had to spend over an hour on the phone with Yelp to get their agreement to let us cancel. It’s not even that you’re not allowed to cancel, but rather that they’re account representatives work very hard to try to persuade you to not cancel.

The excuses that they made for not receiving any kind of benefit from advertising included “you’re leaving too early and you need to do it for at least three months to see any results” as well as “Well you are getting results because people are clicking your ads.” We had to let them know that from the standpoint of a business owner, paying money for advertising clicks doesn’t generate income. Phone calls and interviews with potential clients is what generates income, and Yelp advertising isn’t helping with that. We also let them know that nobody on the sales team ever said that it would take 3 months or more to see any kind of results. In fact, they made it sound like the phone would be ringing all day!

Needless to say, we’re leaving a poor Yelp advertising review. However it doesn’t even stop there. We got their agreement to let us cancel, but they require 30 days advance notice, so we had one more month of advertising ahead of us. We paid another $325, thus bringing our total to over $700. We also were going to be charged another $325 cancellation fee at the end of the month.

Well it’s the end of the month now (this is being written on May 31st). We were charged $325, just as we expected, however we received a call from Yelp stating that we would have two more charges… Wait… What??? That’s right, Yelp called to let us know that there were two more charges coming up that we had no idea about. The grand total spend for our Yelp advertising experience is over $1,000 and not a single call came from it, or even a form filled out on our website.

More Yelp Advertising Reviews

So obviously the above story could make anybody cranky. I mean, who wants to give a company $1,000 and get nothing in return? It was definitely a lesson learned. But what are other people saying about Yelp? We took a look at the Better Business Bureau to find out how past customers like Yelp and to find out more about their Yelp advertising reviews. Take a look at the image below.

BBB Yelp Advertising Reviews

You’ll notice in the above picture (which was taken from the Better Business Bureau) that 95% of people who used Yelp had a negative experience, and 95% of people who used Yelp would not recommend them. Those are pretty terrible statistics. Here are excerpts from some of of the negative Yelp advertising reviews we found:

Blackmail is blackmail, and we will not do any advertising or add any money to their parade. We see this as giving a reward to bad behavior. We will not play their game. Something should be done about them. Can anyone help us?

 

I will not let them profit any further from my business advertising as their business practice is very unethical. Please do not do business with yelp, if you have a better alternative. I’m sure other businesses have experienced a similar situation with yelp as they offer terrible customer service and their entire business operation is “automated”.

 

If we have to get our lawyer involved further, we will. People need to know what a scam this company is and we have no problem being the company that takes this public to help protect other small businesses from being ripped off.

But even after that, are you still not sure about whether or not to advertise with Yelp? Let’s take a look at a few more facts regarding advertising and marketing. We’ll take a moment to discuss the benefits of some forms of marketing that Yelp is lacking.

Google AdWords

  1. You can see exactly how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
  2. You can see how much people are paying per click and compete with them.
  3. You pick and choose what time of day you want your ads to show.
  4. You can pick and choose what phrases will trigger that ad to show.
  5. You can customize your landing page to look however you want it to look.

Yelp Advertising

  1. You cannot see how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
  2. You don’t know how much other people are paying for ads.
  3. You don’t get to choose when your ads show.
  4. You don’t get to choose what phrases will trigger your ads.
  5. You can customize your Yelp page, but only within the framework of Yelp.

Just as a note on point number 4, when we did our Yelp ad campaign our ads were showing up for search phrases that were unrelated to what we did. Can you imagine being a painting contractor and getting people calling you about fixing your roof?

So what about positive Yelp reviews? As you may have noticed in the image above, there are positive Yelp advertising reviews on the BBB. To be fair, we’ll show you those reviews as well, and here they are:

Positive Yelp Reviews

You’ll notice in the above review that it appears to have absolutely nothing to do with Yelp or Yelp advertising. In fact, it seems that the person who left the review must have been very confused at the time. In the bottom right corner of the review, you’ll also notice that 3 people didn’t find that review helpful.

Conclusion

It isn’t fair to say that nobody has ever had fortune with Yelp. In fact, we’re sure that there are people who are doing great with Yelp advertising. We took it upon ourselves to give our own review of Yelp’s advertising and this is what came up. We dealt with poor customer service, pushy salespeople and no return on investment. We also went out to an authoritative organization (the Better Business Bureau) to see what people are saying there, and it would seem that most people aren’t happy with their Yelp experience. In fact, we haven’t found a positive review yet!

If you’ve experience Yelp advertising, please let us know about it! We’re open to hearing about positive or negative feedback! If you’re looking for online marketing services, be sure and reach out to use and let us know about your project!

ThumbtackHave you ever tried to get leads through Thumbtack.com? If you’re a contractor, you know that you could literally spend hundreds of dollars before you get a good quality lead. Unfortunately once you get that lead the other contractor who bids extremely low ends up getting the job and you still wind up with nothing (or at least that’s what I hear from most of the contractors that I work with). It would seem as though it’s impossible to win with Thumbtack, however that’s not entirely true. There’s definitely a way to get quality contractor leads while using Thumbtack, and I’m about to tell you the story about how I found out, and exactly what you can do.

Thumbtack for Painting Leads

This project started when I reached out to a buddy of mine, Shawn Sivils of The Painting Company. Shawn has been a painter for over 30 years and has had experience buying leads from all different types of resources. He was painting when the Yellow Pages was the best way to get leads, and he’s still painting today.

I asked Shawn about his experience with Thumbtack, and he said he didn’t get anything out of it. This was odd to me because I knew that my buddy, Jesse in Atlanta (also a professional paint contractor) almost only got leads through Thumbtack. A part of me got the idea that maybe it was just the locations that they were servicing, but a part of me also thought that perhaps it was just the way they pitched themselves to their potential customers. So I decided I would take it upon myself to find out the best way to get quality leads through Thumbtack.

I’ve had some experience as a contractor before, and I also have experience as a painter (that’s one of the reasons why a large majority of the clients I serve are contractors). So I decided to create a painting company of my own that I would use to get work through Thumbtack. The company was called “Nashville Painters“. I chose this name because it’s very simple, it tells my potential customer that I’m local, and it also happens to be a phrase that’s searched in Google several times every month. That was the start of this project to show you how to get quality contractor leads on Thumbtack.

Step 1: Create a Profile

 

If you aren’t familiar with Thumbtack, it’s just like any other lead generation site where you’ll create a profile. It’s important that you fill out all the information on your Thumbtack profile! Here’s another few pointers that you need to keep in mind when writing your Thumbtack profile:

In my profile I had a picture of myself and a couple buddies of mine. I also had a picture of myself and my wife, as well as a picture of me and my baby niece. The reason you want these pictures up is because your potential customer is going to want to know who they’ll have in their home. They’re much more likely to invite you into their home if you look like a family man, or maybe even just a friendly guy. They’re not very likely to invite you into their home if you look like you’re going to try to steal something from them, or even if they don’t know anything about what you look like.

You might be familiar with the phrase “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” Well unfortunately that doesn’t always work in the home improvement industry. That doesn’t mean that if you have tattoos and scars you’re not going to get hired, because your work will sometimes speak for itself and get you referrals. However, having a professional appearance on your Thumbtack page will go a long way. You’re definitely going to get more work than the guy who doesn’t have any pictures up.

Unfortunately I didn’t ever save any pictures of the work that I’ve done in the past, so I ended up borrowing a few pictures of work that was comparable to my own. Whatever your trade may be, it’s always a decent idea to keep some pictures of the work you’ve done (especially before and after pictures). People respond well to seeing quality work.

My personal preference in the order of pictures is that your personal photos and team pictures come first, then your work. Most of your customers aren’t going to really know what they’re looking at when they see a painted wall or new roof unless there’s something unique to the picture that really makes it pop out. Landscapers can often post eye-catching photos because they deal a lot in creating beautiful scenery, but if you can’t say the same for your trade then I recommend you stick with team photos first.

If you don’t have a website, let me know and I’ll fix you up (again, I work with a lot of contractors). However if you have a website it’s important that you link it up to your Thumbtack account. This is pretty easy and self explanatory. By doing this you allow your potential customer to find out more about you and your company (and bring them closer to becoming a lead).

There’s a lot that you can fill out. You should take the time and answer all the questions that you can. The more information you provide the better. The point is that you want to have a profile that really sticks out. There are a lot of people out there who lose on Thumbtack because they don’t say anything about who they are or what they do. They expect to pay a few bucks here and there and people are going to want to do work with them. Unfortunately that’s not the case. You’re competing with other companies for these leads, so that means your profile needs to stick out more than the other profiles.

By this time you’ve managed to establish yourself as a credible company through your photos, through your website and through the information about your company. You’ve made sure that your potential customer knows that you’re a safe person to invite into your home and that they can trust you. This is also a good time to mention that the $7 background check is worth it (so long as you don’t have some big criminal record).

Thumbtack is great because they let you get as many reviews as you like from former customers. In my situation I had to ask some close friends who could vouch for me as a person to write something nice about me in my Thumbtack reviews.

It’s important that you get as many reviews as possible. This could be a huge advantage in your efforts to close a lead. I took it upon myself to get some leads from other SEO companies on Thumbtack and found one company with over 100 reviews. I couldn’t say whether the reviews were real or not, but I put myself in my customer’s shoes and realized that nobody else really mattered. These guys had over 100 positive reviews! When I saw that it meant that these guys must have been good.

Your average competitor is probably going to have anywhere between 5 and 20 reviews. If you can get 100 people to write a positive review for you, that would make a huge difference in your Thumbtack campaign. If you can’t possibly get that many, just get as many as you can. Your reviews are worth a lot, but they aren’t everything.

Step 2: Selecting Contractor Leads

Thumbtack is a platform where your potential customer reaches out to you for a quote and you get to decide whether or not you want to give them that quote. A total of 5 companies will get the opportunity to submit a quote for the work, and unfortunately that means that often times the lowest bidder is going to get the job. However here’s what you do to ensure you’re not wasting all your money on Thumbtack:

When you get a notification that someone wants a quote, only bid on the guys who give you a time frame of when the work needs to be done. Very often you’ll get people who don’t have a specific time that they need the work done. These are usually people who are just shopping around at the idea of maybe someday doing some work. They aren’t always serious buyers. I can’t say that none of them are serious buyers, but you’ll find that you’re not going to get a lot of response from these guys. In fact, after you’ve sent them a quote you might find that it’s impossible to get a hold of them again. So be selective in who you choose to give a quote to.

The best leads are usually going to be where the person says that they need to work done before the end of the month, or within the week etc. It’s also a good sign if they have a profile picture and a phone number. If the lead has a profile picture it usually means that they’ve used Thumbtack. Some people won’t post a picture because they only just created a Thumbtack profile so that they could get a quick quote and be done with it. Again, that’s not always the case (because most of the leads that come to you won’t have a profile picture). It’s only mentioned here as a bonus.

Step 3: DON’T Send a Quote

That’s right, don’t you dare send a quote! You know just as well as any other contractor that the best way to give a quote is going to be in person where you can see exactly what needs to be done, and you can talk to the home owner face to face.

Thumbtack allows the potential customer to fill out the details of their home improvement project so that you can give them a quote. The potential customer will fill out the measurements of their room, the color of the paint etc. However if you give them a quote over Thumbtack then they really don’t need to talk to you anymore (unless you write a really compelling quote and they decide to hire you).

Instead of giving them a quote, write them a simple message stating that the only way you can give them an accurate quote is to see the work that needs to be done. Tell them you’d be happy to pop by for a quick estimate. In my case I said something along the lines of:

Hey ______ !

I would be happy to come by and give you a free quote as there’s no way for me to do this accurately without actually seeing the work that needs to be done.

I could pop by for a quick visit this week if you’re available. What do you say? :)

The above message got me in contact with about 50% of the leads that came through on the first try. The combination of choosing the right leads and sending the right message made a decent impact on my contact rate.

For those of the people who didn’t respond, I tried them again the next day. Altogether I contacted about 80% of the people who requested a quote. The next step was to get an estimate.

Out of about 20 leads I contacted around 16 people (by sending only 2 messages). Out of 16 people I gave 6 estimates. Since I’m not really a contractor and I have no experience in giving painting estimates I only closed 1 job.

Keep in mind here that once you buy these leads you can message them as many times as you like (and you should message them frequently). You have a right to hear back from these guys! Send them a message every day if you like. You paid money to get in touch with them, so you should know if they’re going to do the work or not. I stopped after two messages, but I could have persisted and probably scheduled more estimates.

I should also mention that I didn’t reach back out to the people who I gave estimates to. After I saw them I left the house and never contacted them again. They have my contact info if they want to get in touch with me, but again, I’m not really a contractor so I don’t need the work (if I get contacted by one of these guys I’ll refer it to one of my local painting buddies).

The End of the Story

In the end I wound up with a painting job that paid $500. I had Shawn help me figure out what kinds of supplies I needed to buy for the job and I had another painter friend help me get the job done. The home owner was very pleased with the work that I did and said that they would gladly hire me again.

Oddly enough the home owner also worked in SEO and happened to work for a company that some of my friends work at. It was just a very strange coincidence.

Altogether I ended up making back all my money and now I have a bunch of painting supplies too. If I ever wanted to start a painting company I suppose I could.

If you’re looking for leads and you’d like to try Thumbtack, I’d recommend giving this strategy a shot. Otherwise just call us here at Zing Marketing and we’ll be happy to help you out!

In the years that we’ve marketed plumbers, landscapers, roofers, contractors etc., there’s one very common mistake that we find in most of their marketing campaigns….

Everybody wants to be the number one “landscaper”, the number one “plumber”, the number one “roofer” and so on. The problem here is that when you have 100 contractors in a city who are all competing for the phrase “Nashville (insert trade)“, you wind up with 10 companies that make it and 90 that don’t (there’s only really 10 spots on the first page of Google). So how do you outshine the competition when they’ve got tens of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing? Check this out:

Niche Marketing

One of the easiest and most profitable ways to market is by taking on a niche (a corner of the market) and becoming the dominant player in that area. You could literally double your income by doing this. A great example is with Green Scene Outdoor Lighting. We’ve taken one service offered by a landscaper (outdoor lighting) and made them the dominant player in their area for that service. While other landscaper websites maintain a focus on all landscaping services, Green Scene took over the outdoor lighting market and became the biggest name in Outdoor lighting for their city (and even some of the surrounding cities). That doesn’t mean they don’t still do landscaping (they’re still doing plenty of landscaping work).

Now, let’s take a look at the reverse of this:

Roofers NashvilleTry doing a Google search for “Nashville roofing contractors” and you’ll see that almost everyone is competing for that phrase. Can you imagine trying to become a new roofer in any major city and try to compete for a search phrase like this? Everybody and their dog wants to be at the top of Google for these kinds of phrases.

The problem is that there’s so much opportunity being missed by being so broad and general.

Take a look in any city and you’ll see the same thing repeating over and over. Companies competing for “Chicago plumber” or “Dallas Pest Control” etc.

Now, don’t take my word for it. Do a Google search for your trade and your city. After you’ve done that, try searching for some small segment of what you do that still brings in profit to your company (if you’re a plumber, you might check out how many people are competing for toilet replacement work or drain cleaning).

Another great example of someone completely dominating with this is Matt in Hawaii. He’s completely dominating for low cost draining cleaning in Hawaii. Here’s his website if you want to check it out.

You might ask yourself “Well doesn’t that mean you’re completely missing out on all the money you could be making with the rest of your services?” The answer is no. Imagine for a moment that you’re completely dominating in your city for drain cleaning, or landscape lighting etc. You’ve now gained the business of the people in the area and they know and trust your company. If you’ve left a good impression with everyone you work with, they’ll call you for the next thing that they have come up.

With that being said, we strongly suggest that you take a look at some of the services you offer that are profitable, and see if your competitors are taking over the market for that service. If there isn’t much competition for it, then take some time to become the greatest in your area for that service.

As always, thanks for visiting Zing Marketing! If you’ve tried niche marketing, let us know about any success or failures that you’ve had. If you haven’t and you’re interested in trying it out, feel free to contact us for advice on how you can do this.

 

SEO That Works Review 2As many of our readers and clients know, Zing Marketing has been using many of the tools laid out in Brian Dean’s SEO That Works course. We get contacted regularly with questions about the course, what’s in it, the results we’ve achieved,  and whether or not it’s worth investing into. So we decided to write an SEO That Works review!

Quick Background

Before we get into I should give you a little history. When I built Zing Marketing I was looking all over the internet for the best ways to do SEO. If you’ve ever tried this, you know that the internet is full of information on the subject. I kept running into out-dated information, some false information and information that really didn’t help. Of course every once in a while I would find something that worked (such as when I came across backlinko.com).

Backlinko was the first place I visited that gave workable answers to the question “How do you get backlinks?” It also gave some very helpful advice in several of the other areas of SEO that I was learning about.

So I subscribed the the mailing list, read every article that Brian Dean wrote, and I applied what I was learning. It made a lot more sense than anything else I could find on the internet.

When Brian started promoting his course “SEO That Works” I jumped at the opportunity. Everything he wrote at Backlinko made sense, so I figured his course would be the same. I was right. And here’s my SEO That works review:

Results from this Course

Viral Content TrafficSince taking this course I’ve published several articles that have been seen by tens of thousands of people. I’ve done this for my own company as well as for my clients.

In one particular instance we had a plumber who received over 1,500 visitors from his local market and said that his phone wouldn’t stop ringing for the following two months.

On another occasion we managed to get over 30,000 visitors to a website within a period of a month.

With another client (a dentist in Arizona) we managed to get them to the first page of Google within a few of months of launching their website. The market was extremely competitive, but we followed SEO That Works and managed to get results.

Features of the Course

SEO That Works ReviewOne of my favorite features of this course is the “F to S technique” (feedback to share technique). Brian teaches you how to gain the attention of major influencers across the web and get them to share the content you’ve created. This of course results in massive amounts of traffic and attention across the web.

Throughout the course Brian also teaches how to create content that stands out. We’ve worked with several companies who have created blogs that have gone nowhere. The information on how to create unique content that grabs attention is taught in this course.

The course is kept up to date, so you can go back to it any time and continue to learn what’s working in SEO.

What Could be Improved

The course in itself is perfect, and I wouldn’t change what’s taught in it. However if I could change anything, I’d like to receive information on any updates made to the course after having graduated. The strategies that are taught are extremely valuable to me and my company, so it’s important to us that we know when updates are made with new strategies or even altered strategies.

Who Should Do SEO That Works?

I can honestly say that anybody who wants SEO should do the course. Let me elaborate a little:

Zing Marketing has received a lot of attention from businesses of all sizes for our content marketing (which is really just strategies that we’ve learned from SEO That Works). We’ve received requests for backlinking strategies and content marketing strategies from international jewelers, contractors, doctors, architectural firms, e-commerce sites of all sizes and many more, just because we use the strategies taught in SEO That Works. Zing Marketing usually offers content marketing and large backlinking strategies as a part of our premier SEO packages.

As mentioned earlier, we helped a plumbing company make a fortune with ONE article. The amount of time invested in the article was about a week, part-time.

In my personal experience with business owners, they just don’t have the time to put into their own SEO (which is why they hire my company). If you have the time, you should do it. If you have an office manager who is under-worked, get them to do the course in your place.

The strategies taught in SEO That Works is perfect for any online store. E-commerce websites need a lot of attention. You want your company and brand in front of as many people as possible. You need massive amounts of backlinks in order to compete. So this course is good for you too.

Whether you’re selling through Amazon, you’ve got a deal with a product manufacturer, or anything else that’s affiliate marketing, the concepts in the course are great for you too. Again, you’re going to need great content and backlinks to get anywhere.

Conclusion

In closing I’d like to mention that Zing Marketing is not an affiliate of SEO That Works or Backlinko. This is simply a review for SEO That Works and my own personal experience. It should answer most of the questions that I frequently get about the course, but if you have any other questions feel free to comment and we’ll get back to you :)

top online directories for contractorsAt Zing Marketing we often hear about different services that businesses are using to get clients. We hear about the best of them and the worst of them. We’ve had plumbers tell us about investing thousands of dollars that didn’t generate any income, and we’ve had contractors tell us the services that are generating leads at very little cost.

So we’ve decided to publish a post about some of the best services online that are available to contractors! Here are the services we hear about most often (in no particular order):

Let’s take a look at each of these in order from the highest reviewed service, to the lowest reviewed service:

Porch.com

Porch.com reviewPorch has received the best reviews of all of our clients. Roofers, plumbers, landscapers and others have all agreed that they get good quality leads through Porch.com for the price that they pay. We have not yet heard a negative review about Porch from the contractors that we work with. However, it should be noted that just as with any service that generates leads, not all leads convert to customers. The reports we receive from our clients say that they’re making a great profit off of Porch, and that they’re very happy with the service.

Google AdWords

AdWords ReviewNext up on the list is Google AdWords, and AdWords Express. The trouble with naming this service is that it’s only worked out for the guys who know how to use it. We have clients who avoid AdWords like the plague because they’ve spent thousands with no return. Those clients admit that they didn’t fully know how to use AdWords. Meanwhile we also have clients who use AdWords as their only way of marketing!

So in short, if you know how to use AdWords, or if you’re willing to pay a company to do it for you, this can be extremely profitable for you.

Thumbtack.com

thumbtack reviewThird on our list is Thumbtack. We’ve heard mixed reviews with these guys. For the most part our contractors are making money with Thumbtack, but 50% of them are complaining about having to charge low rates when using this service. If you’re a one-man show, Thumbtack can be a great service to use. For businesses that have a few staff, or even for larger companies, we wouldn’t recommend using this service.

Yelp ReviewYelp

So far we haven’t had any clients tell us that they’ve been making money with Yelp. For those of the businesses that we’ve worked with that have paid Yelp, they said they either broke even or lost a little, but that the experience wasn’t really bad. We just haven’t heard any raving reviews about using this service to build a business.

Yext

Yext reviewAlthough Yext pays SEO companies pretty well for promoting their service, we have not seen that Yext is getting contractors a return on their investment. Yext is a service that places your business on several online directories throughout the web, but it comes with a high price tag in comparison to other similar service.

Yext isn’t a bad service, it’s just not the best service that we’ve seen of its kind. Our clients haven’t been raving about it, but we also don’t hear many complaints. Your money is probably better spent elsewhere.

HomeAdvisor

HomeAdvisor ReviewThe last on our list is HomeAdvisor. Unfortunately we haven’t met a contractor that has had good things to say about this company. That isn’t to say they’re horrible and nobody should use them. We’re just saying that the reviews we’ve received have primarily been that contractors are spending thousands of dollars and getting calls from people who hang up right away, people who don’t really need work done, or just not getting calls at all.

Conclusion

So if you were to ask us what the best investment for a contractor would be, we’d probably first tell you to work with Zing Marketing. But if you aren’t quite ready for something like that, our survey shows that Porch and AdWords are a couple of the best places you could invest your money.

If you have any experience with these companies, leave us a comment and let us know! We’d love to hear how these companies worked out for you.

Viral Content TrafficOver the years we’ve built a reputation for making content that goes viral (in particular, we write articles that attract a lot of attention). In the picture to the left you’ll see an article that we wrote in September that had over 24,000 visits in 12 days. Doing this took time, research and money, but it paid us back several times over.

Rather than going into a bunch of theory of why some content goes viral and other content doesn’t, we’re just going to get right into what we did to make this particular article go viral so that you can do the same for your business.

This is a very simple process that almost anybody can do.

Writing Your Article

First off, if you don’t feel confident in your writing, or you’re just not sure if your content is going to be interesting enough, try Zach the writer. He’s a professional writer who will research and create incredible content on your behalf for dirt cheap (you can also go with these guys if you don’t want to spend much more than $5).

With that being said, here’s a few ingredients that you should have in every article you write.

The first three points are going to make or break your article. They’ll determine whether a person is going to read your article or not. Most people will judge your article by these first three things. It’s sort of like your “elevator pitch” to getting someone to read your writing. Now, if you don’t know that you can do this, there’s no shame in hiring a writer to do it on your behalf.

The last point mentioned there is that the article is related to your company. If you’re a plumber, don’t start writing about your favorite football team. We’re all interested in things outside of our profession, but you want to attract people to YOUR COMPANY, and not your favorite football team.

A few other important points to pay attention to are the length of your article (should be over 500 words) and the keywords in your article (which help with your SEO). A landscaper could write an article on how to winterize your sprinkler system (which is heavily searched for on Google). This may  or may not directly make the landscaper money, but it puts your brand in front of a lot of people who are likely to call you later on.

Sharing Content – Phase 1

Do you have a few friends on Facebook? Here’s how you go about getting your friends to share your newly created content:

It’s that simple. Don’t try to con your friends or guilt them into sharing your content. Make them a part of the experience!

When you do this it will show up in your Facebook feed as multiple friends sharing the same article. This makes it look popular to all of your mutual friends and gets them into it too.

NOTE: Use hashtags in your social media posts. Hashtags help people find your content on social media.

Sharing Content – Phase 2

Twitter MarketingThe next part of what we do is we push the content out everywhere! Social media is key in getting your content out. If you’ve ever written an article on your website that didn’t get seen by anybody, you just didn’t promote it enough! We like to use several services to get our content out all over the web. First off, you can try these guys who will share your content 1,500 times on places like Twitter and Facebook.

Another great service that we often use is this one. It costs a little more than the first, but you get more value with it.

Remember to use hashtags in your posts!

Sharing Content – Phase 3

Facebook Marketing ServicesThe last thing that we like to do when sharing content is to advertise it a little. Now this isn’t necessarily going to be a “must do” for everyone. At Zing Marketing we spend thousands on social media and Pay Per Click ads. If you’re willing to spend some money to promote your content, we recommend using Facebook. You can do this through your Facebook business page (if you don’t have a Facebook business page, you need to have one).

You can also use Google AdWords and set up a campaign that targets a high search volume with low cost per click.

Facebook and Google Marketing are services in themselves that are often out-sourced to companies like Zing. If you don’t know how to market on Facebook and Google, we highly recommend you consult a pro (it could cost you a lot of money otherwise).

Marketing in general is a game of getting your brand in front of a lot of people. That’s the simplicity of it. When you write something of value for your potential customer and it doesn’t cost them anything, you’re making your brand well known and well thought of.

Feel free to email us any time and let us know if this article helped you out! You can also email us for free advice on how to write articles and make viral content!