Are you tired of lead brokers selling you crappy roofing leads?
This is one of the biggest challenges that roofers face. I’ve surveyed over 100 roofing business owners and found that generating a consistent flow of high-quality roofing leads is one of the biggest challenges.
Finding someone that can sell you roofing leads is not a challenge. However, finding people that you can trust is.
The best solution is to trust yourself and your knowledge.
All these strategies that I am laying out have been proven to work. Some channels are superior to others but this doesn’t mean that you won’t see results with each channel.
First, let’s define what a lead is.
“A sales lead is a prospective consumer of a product or service, created when an individual or business shows interest and provides contact information. Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings and other marketing efforts.”
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to maximize the number of online and offline channels. Word of mouth and referrals are still by far the best way to get customers. However, if you only rely on referrals it can be tough to scale your business quickly.
There are channels available that can crush word of mouth leads in terms of quantity. However, nothing will ever beat referrals in terms of quality.
This is why you want a healthy mix of quality and quantity to drive new business and make sales.
If your business is not growing it’s dying. It’s as simple as that.
Now, let’s look at 23 ways to generate roofing leads. We’ll start with the offline strategies first.
Referrals AKA “Word of mouth”
Nothing is ever going to beat referrals in terms of the quality of the leads. Referrals pay the most, stay with you the longest, and are the easiest to convert.
The problem with referrals is that a lot of roofers use it as a crutch for new business opportunities.
In fact, I’d estimate that 80% of service based business rely on referrals as the only way to grow a business.
Another challenge is creating a system that consistently generates new referrals. But, before you can get referrals you must provide a service that is worthy of being referred to.
Here are 5 strategies you can use to generate more referrals.
- Create a referral program with complimentary providers: You should create a network of complementary providers that sell to the same audience as you. You can incentivize these businesses by providing a referral fee for each new customer they bring to your business.
- Ask your current customers: This is common sense but a lot of business owners neglect to ask their customers for referrals. You should create a system in which all of your employees systematically ask for referrals after a job is done.
- Add a link to a form on your website for referral submissions.
- Give referrals: The best way to get something is to give something first.
- Offer a referral commission: Offer a referral commission to anyone that refers a customer to you.
Canvassing/Door Knocking is probably the most common outbound lead generation strategy. It’s an effective strategy that requires discipline and focus.
There still nothing that beats a face to face meeting. The most common strategy is to canvass an entire area after a storm. You know the people that were hit qualify for an insurance settlement.
However, with canvassing there is a stigma attached to many people. Many people won’t do business with a person that knocks on their property. This stigma will only increase as people continue to turn to the internet for buying and research decisions.
Here are a few strategies you can use that can help your employees become more effective door knockers:
- Be prepared for anything
- Set clear objectives: Appointment, contact information, or sale
- Have a proven script ready
- Follow Up
Despite the naysayers, direct mail is as strong as ever. People are much more likely to open a direct mail piece than 20 years ago when junk mail was an all time high.
There are actually some advantages from direct mail to email that you should consider:
- 80-90 percent of direct mail gets opened, only 20-30 percent of email gets opened on a good day.
- The response rate to direct mail pieces is 3.7 percent, as opposed to 2 percent mobile, 1 percent email, 1 percent social media, and 0.2 percent internet display.
- 70 percent of consumers preferred traditional mail for receiving unsolicited offers from companies
- U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold; a 1,300 percent return
There are fundamentals that you should follow when creating a direct mail campaign. The effectiveness of your campaign will come down to three things with the first being the most important: list, offer, and copy.
The quality of your list will make or break a campaign. If you are targeting commercial property owners, you should first create a commercial property database that can serve as your marketing foundation.
Once you have a database you can send them a direct mail piece. When you send the direct mail piece you’ll know that it is being sent to the right person.
Now, let’s talk about your offer.
There are a few things you can do with your offer. Your offer can be to fix any leak they have. Ask them if they have any leaks that no one has been able to fix and offer to fix it for free.
You can do this because you know this will lead to more opportunities down the road.
You can also create a direct mail campaign and offer a free dinner event. You can invite them to a “commercial property symposium”
Cold calling is a popular strategy among commercial roofers. Cold calling has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades.
According to Chet Holmes, it takes twice as much effort today to make an appointment with someone as it did 10 years ago.
The effectiveness of this strategy will depend on how well you target. This is why it’s crucial before attempting this strategy to create a commercial property database.
This database will allow you to solicit the decision makers of all the commercial properties in your area. Here are the steps I would take in a cold calling campaign:
- Call the people in your database and ask if they would like to receive a package. The package would be a booklet about something they would find valuable. It can be commercial property related.
- Send the package to the people that said yes
- Follow-up with every person that received a package and set appointments. The appointments can be related to something educational
- Make an offer- It can be something to fix their worst leak for free. This can be used for future business
There are thousands of professionals in your city that can potentially refer you business. You can set up meetings with fellow tradesman and set up strategic partnerships.
There are several contractor alliance groups that you might consider joining too.
You can monetize these relationships to drive more opportunities to your business.
In his book Never Eat Alone, Keith Fazzari talks about the three most important aspects of networking:
- Relationships aren’t like cake, they’re like muscles.
- You must build your network long before you need it.
- How you spend time with people is much more important than how much time you spend with them.
In the construction industry, it can be tough to network as people are naturally skeptical. I had a tough time networking when I started my business because I had the wrong mindset.
It’s about being a friend first and seeing how you can help the other person and not expecting anything in return. Here are some great ways that you can network in your city:
Is the world’s largest professional networking group. You should consider joining a group in your city. BNI is made exclusively for professionals that are looking to refer, you customers. BNI works on an exclusive basis, which means that there can only be on roofer per group.
Networking with BlueBook
Bluebook has a traveling networking event specially made for people in the construction industry.
Each event is a single day and allows the opportunity for people to meet the key decision makers in your space.
You can meet:
- Facility Managers
- Property Managers
- Commercial building owners
It’s a free event so the only thing that it will cost you is your time. You should definitely check it out especially if there is an event in your city.
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, B2B marketers used 39.2 percent of their budget on exhibitions in 2011.
It can be tough to stand out in a trade show, especially when some of your competitors have bigger booths and a bigger presence.
But despite this, there are severals things you can do to stand out at a trade show and get more qualified leads.
- Give something unusual away- Instead of giving away the same corporate crap of pens, notebooks, and coffee mugs, why not give something away that is unusual? It can be socks, headphones, or even Rubik’s cubes.
- Host a party- if you host a party and make it a “VIP” experience you’ll stand out from everyone.
- Follow-Up- Of all the hundreds of companies that I’ve met at trade shows only less than 5% actually have an email follow-up system. Most sales are made in the follow-up. It’s your job to follow-up with all your leads in a systematic way.
Telemarketing is one of the most popular ways to generate leads in the roofing industry. Most telemarketing companies in this space will sell you a lead package of leads. The more leads you buy the lower the cost per lead.
The success or failure of these types of campaigns seems to depend on the quality of the company. I’ve heard mixed results from telemarketing.
You can host local seminars that are education based. You can create a campaign in which you identify your top commercial prospects in your city and invite them to a free seminar.
You can also host seminars for your local networking groups.
You can join your local chamber of commerce and offer them to host seminars for their group. Most of the members you’ll meet in a Local Chamber of Commerce are local business owners and professionals. This is a great way to generate roofing leads because it will position you as an expert and authority in what you are selling.
Host A Free Dinner
Similar to the local seminar strategy, in this case, you would be hosting a free dinner. You can identify your top commercial prospects and invite them to a free dinner. You can call it a “Commercial Property Symposium”
Pay Per Click AKA Search Engine Marketing
One of the most powerful ways to generate roofing leads is through pay-per-click on AdWords. You can almost see instant results with an AdWords campaign.
The best thing about AdWords is that most of the leads you will get are going to be inbound phone calls.
According to Forbes, inbound phone leads have a 1000% of converting vs. any other type of lead.
PPC works great for both commercial roofing leads and residential roofing leads. However, it AdWords is not the ideal strategy for all roofing businesses.
Is AdWords a for my Roofing Business?
There are several questions you need to ask yourself before starting any campaign:
- If you want only commercial roofing leads then you need to make sure that the market you cover has a high population of at least 1 million or more.
- A company that does both commercial and residential has an advantage vs. one that only does one. This is because the way people search when looking for roofing services.
- Do you have the infrastructure in place to handle inbound phone calls? The main reason why these types of campaigns fail is because of a slow lead response time. If you can’t answer the phone then these leads will be much more difficult to qualify.
I wrote an article on generating roofing leads from AdWords that you should read.
Is an incredibly powerful long-term marketing strategy that has gotten a bad reputation in the roofing industry. This comes from the expectations of the client and the skills of the SEO people.
In reality, getting good results from SEO in the roofing space is not that difficult. It just takes time and patience. There are lots of documented success stories with SEO in the roofing space.
According to MOZ, the two most important factors in getting organic rankings are link signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) 29% and on-page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) 24%
When it comes to SEO there are two main things you have to look at. First, is on-page SEO and the second is off-page SEO.
On Page SEO is making sure you have the correct NAP (name, address, phone number) on your website. It’s also about having the right title tags, meta tags, and keywords on each part of your website.
Off page SEO– links to your site are the most important part in getting rankings. If you create a campaign that focused on these two important strategies you’ll get results.
Creating content that is educational can be an awesome way to build authority in the eyes of your prospects. It also doesn’t mean only content that is the written word. It can be videos, images, and listings.
If you are creating a blog post you can just easily create a video with the same content.
In fact, it’s often easier to rank for a video than an article.
If you are a residential roofing contractor and you are not using Facebook Advertising you might be missing a huge opportunity. Facebook has some distinct advantages versus other channels.
Facebook allows you to target your ideal customer based on location, demographics, and interest.
Value First With Facebook
With Facebook, you have to approach with a value-first mindset.
Facebook is a social gathering where friends hang out and chat.
If people don’t know your business then it’s like being at a party and a stranger comes up to you and tries to sell you life insurance.
If you are at a party you are most likely there to hang out with your friends and NOT buy life insurance.
How would you feel if someone did that?
It’s the same thing with Facebook.
The best way strategy on Facebook is to create a piece of content that your target audience will find valuable and then offer it as bait to get a person’s contact information.
From there, you can create a sales funnel that drives new leads to a call.
Interactive Hail Maps
A unique way to drive more leads from Facebook is to use a software like Interactive Hail Maps to target specific neighborhoods that have been hit by hail. This is an easy way to target the lowest hanging fruit.
You can create a simple video ad saying that your neighborhood has been recently hit by a storm and you might be eligible for a free roof.
Email marketing is still one of the effective ways to drive new roofing leads to your business. You can create email campaigns only for your database or create a cold-email business to business email campaigns.
Here are some stats that show you the power of email marketing:
- Email makes money. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.
- According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention.
- Email marketing has much higher conversion rates than social media
For a residential campaign, I would send weekly or bi-weekly newsletters that are educational. This will keep your business on top-of-mind.
For a commercial email marketing campaign, I would first a create commercial property database. Then I would create a systematic way to reach out to those prospects using email.
There are two main things that can make or break your email campaign.
Email deliverability and email list. You have to make sure that your emails are getting delivered and that your list is accurate.
Your emails will not be relevant if you are not sending emails to the right person.
Fix A Leak
The best way to create a relationship with these building owners is to offer to fix a leak they have that no other roof has been able to fix for free. Most of these commercial building owners have pre-existing relationships with other roofers. This is why you have to give value by demonstrating your competence.
This offer can lead to more opportunities.
Linkedin is one of the best ways to generate B2B leads. It has over 467 million members and the demographics is made of professionals that are high-earners.
With Linkedin, you have the entire global professional network to view. You can identify your core prospects, positioning yourself as an authority and, reach out to your targets in a systematic way.
The key thing with Linkedin is that once you connect with someone you have access to their contacts and also have their personal contact information.
Home Advisor has a bad reputation among the contractors that I have spoken to. They offer a $300 setup fee and a 12-month commitment. On a monthly basis, you can pay for however many leads you want.
I think it was about $80-$100/lead on a pay per lead basis.
The big drawback to this strategy is that these leads are not exclusive. They sell these leads to your competitors.
This puts in a perilous position in which you are not in control of your message and image. When a homeowner asks for bids from different contractors it’s usually a waste of time in trying to convert those leads.
You’re better off making your business the hub for roofing lead generation.
Angie’s List was recently bought by Home Advisor. It will be interesting to see how things check out. Before they were HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List was a way to generate roofing leads.
They have a new LeadFeed program for their business users.
The way it works is the following:
How does LeadFeed work?
Leads in your category are emailed to your business. Typically, only three businesses can purchase each lead, on a first come first serve basis. If a lead is not purchased, it will expire after 24 hours. Once purchased, you will receive the customer’s contact information. Likewise, the customer will receive your business information.
Where do these leads come from?
Angie’s List has more than 100 million unique visitors to our website each year. These customers are now able to submit leads, increasing your exposure to potential customers.
What information about the lead will I see prior to purchase?
You will have access to information about the description of work, the customer’s zip code and the desired timeframe to have work completed. Based on this information, you will be able to better gauge if you would like to purchase the lead and unlock the customer’s contact information.
I don’t have any experience with Angie’s List but I have heard mixed results from contractors.
Is an online marketplace in which consumers can hire based on their needs and desires. Thumbtack has over 10 million users and 250,000 active professionals.
The way Thumbtack works are that you set up a professional profile and pay for the leads that you only respond to.
For instance, you set up a profile and you’ll get a few leads per week and you only pay for the leads that you respond to.
I don’t have any experience with Thumbtack but the contractors that I have spoken to have gotten okay results. Most of the jobs are small.
If you are creative enough you can create a viral marketing campaign that produces great results. One company, Digital Roofing, created a viral marketing campaign and promoted it using Facebook Ads.
Check out the ad below which was shot on an iPhone:
I spoke to Zach Blickenshop and the result of this ad got them over 100 roofing jobs in about 100 days.
This ad went viral and was a smashing success.
There are lot ways to generate roofing leads. Some are superior to others. For a short term fix, a lead package can work well.
For roofers that are looking for a long term solution and that want to dominate their market then I would highly recommend a healthy mix of online and offline marketing strategies.
This is the best way to maximize the success of your roofing business.