Merchant: Muth Roofing
Market: Columbus, Ohio
Platforms: Surefire Social, Facebook, Angie’s List
Outcome: Internet leads increased from 8% to 19%
Bottom Line: Merchants are more likely to see an increase in call volume from Internet leads when they take a diversified approach to online marketing.
When consumers in Columbus, Ohio, need recommendations on local service professionals, they’ve been trained to turn to Angie’s List. The reviews firm was founded in Columbus, and more than 40,000 locals have signed up for the service since its debut in 1996.
Despite the popularity of Angie’s List in his local area, Muth Roofing owner Chad Muth wasn’t convinced he should be relying solely on the reviews platform as a way to advertise and promote his roofing business. “At one point in time, Angie’s List was driving our business. Almost 40% of our call volume was coming from Angie’s List, which is great, but it’s also kind of scary because it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket,” said Muth.
A diversified strategy
Muth ultimately decided to hedge his bets and diversify his online marketing strategy. “I call it layering. It’s how we’ve approached [marketing] the last couple years,” said Muth. “Historically Angie’s List has been who we depended on for a lot of our leads. What we wanted to do was look at other ways we could generate leads, so we could strengthen other areas.”
In October 2011, Muth partnered with Surefire Social. The company guided Muth through the process of launching a new website with a strong call-to-action, and took over SEO and content marketing for his local roofing business. “Obviously online has become huge for us,” said Muth. “We’re doing a lot of things on our website to try and generate popularity and relevancy inside our market, so that we can drive up to the top. On top of that, we do a lot of interaction on social media.”
Rather than relying on any one, single marketing tool, Muth has divided up his platforms and uses specific avenues to target certain consumer markets. “Facebook is kind of our fun area. That’s where you can come and you can play, and you can get to know our personalities, our employees, who we are, and what we do,” said Muth. “The website is where you would go to get educated on products, colors, different styles, warranties, and a little bit more about who we are in a more serious manner. Surefire is the engine that actually sends it out there so people can find it.”
Driven by numbers
Muth’s layered approach to marketing seems to be working. In 2012, 23.6% of his call volume came from Angie’s List, and he’s been able to close 30% of those leads. Meanwhile, 8.58% of Muth Roofing’s call volume comes from Yellow Pages, and he’s able to close 22% of those leads. Roughly 33% of calls come in from what Muth calls his four “lead sources” — professional referrals, personal referrals, customer referrals, and previous customers — and Muth is able to close almost 50% of those leads. Prior to launching with Surefire Social, Much says 8% of his leads were coming from the Internet. Today that figure is closer to 19%. “We’ve jumped over 11% in call volume in the one year period of time with Surefire, so that’s huge,” said Muth.
Muth tracks his referral sources the old fashioned way — by personally asking every caller how they found out about his business. “Every single, solitary customer who calls in, we just ask ‘How did you hear of us?’” Although Muth utilizes phone tracking to tell how many customers are calling from his website, he’s found that the results can get skewed when he relies too heavily on technology. “With a tracking number, what we found is we might get 130 phone calls … but several of those phone calls are multiple calls, because once somebody gets your phone number, they generally use that same phone number over and over again.”
The layered approach to local marketing that Muth has deployed takes time and dedication. Muth says he sits down with a representative from Surefire Social once a week to talk about his marketing efforts and come up with new ideas for customer acquisition. But for someone who’s willing to put in the time to research new platforms and post regular updates on social media pages and blogs, the payoff can be great.
Realistic expectations have also played a key role in Muth’s vision of success. The team at Surefire Social has made it clear to Muth that Facebook ‘likes’ don’t always convert to customers at a one-to-one ratio, and he understands that he’s using the platform primarily as a way to build name recognition within his local community.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.