I absolutely love the internet. It has leveled the playing field for new businesses. When I got into gutter cleaning I started getting phone calls the very next day and I continued to receive consistent new customers from that day forward. That is the power of the internet. I will be going over the many different ways to start getting leads online in this section.
There are existing websites that allow you to sign up and set your service area and the services you provide. Then they will begin to send you leads via email. Before I get into these services, I want to let you know that I personally have not used these services for gutter cleaning because I have always had better ways of generating leads online as I will describe later on. I still want to mention these because they have worked for many people I know and at the same time have not worked for others. It usually came down to the approach.
HomeAdvisor has been around for a while and covers not only gutter cleaning but many home improvement industries. The way it works is you sign up for an account, set your service area, set your service type, set when you want to and when you don’t want to receive leads and set your budgets. Then once someone is looking online for gutter cleaning services, they will land on the HomeAdvisor website, fill out a form, and if the filled out form matches what you are looking for, you will receive this potential customer’s information and HomeAdvisor will charge you a flat fee for sending you that lead. Here’s the catch. You aren’t the only person receiving this lead, but on average, at least 2 other companies that provide the same service in your service area will receive it too. The prices seem to change, so I’m not sure what the price per lead is at the moment, but it can range between $8-$30 per lead depending on the type of lead it is. For example, a repair and a cleaning would cost more than just a cleaning.
Because you are instantly competing with multiple companies, for HomeAdvisor to work for you, you must be quick to get in touch. Preferably the instant you receive the email or text on your phone from HomeAdvisor with the lead details. The rest of it comes down to the pitch, price and follow up process. You should do well with these if you follow this course.
If you feel like you got a lead that never had the intention of hiring a company for any reason, you can submit a dispute to HomeAdvisor and many times they will refund your credits that were spent on this lead.
Thumbtack is another lead generating website similar to HomeAdvisor. With HomeAdvisor, once a lead comes in that matches what you’re looking for, you instantly get it and get charged for it. With Thumbtack it works a little differently. First, you prepay for a certain amount of credits. Depending on the type of lead, the amount of credit it’s worth varies. When a potential customer searches on a search engine, they might find the Thumbtack page offering gutter cleaning services and will submit a form with their details and the type of service they are looking for. If this service falls under the category of what you offer and in your specified area, you will get a notification. At this point, you have not been charged anything, instead you receive a notification along with many other companies using Thumbtack in your area and service category with some limited details about the lead. At this point you can read over the details of the lead and decide if you want to submit a quote to this person. Only a certain amount of people can submit a quote to the person and Thumbtack will show you how many have already submitted a quote, if any. If the lead hires someone, the ability to submit a quote will be removed. Thumbtack gives you a little more control over your lead flow because you can choose who you want to submit a quote for and when you want to submit quotes. All quotes are submitted through Thumbtack and you can see when the lead views your quote. They also have an automated way to refund credits if the customer never responds to anyone and if the customer marks down that they hired someone outside of Thumbtack, or if they decided they don’t need the services at this moment in time. Sometimes you won’t get an automatic refund for a bad lead that you think you should. Sending them an email is usually enough to get the credit refund. They are good about that.
Succeeding with Thumbtack comes down to the value proposition and price. I find that people tend to be cheaper on services like this, so if you want to charge the price you want, you must describe the services you are offering in great details like we went over in the pitch section of this course. Also, when possible, always customize the quote towards their specific information. So for example, if they have a 2 story cape, you want to get descriptive and specific with the information they provided. For example, instead of saying “for your home, we would do ….”, you would say, “For a two story home that is a cape style like yours, to properly clean your gutters we will use a 28 FT ladder so we can guarantee to properly reach all of your gutters. We will clean out all of your gutters and take all the debris off-site..” and so on. Drop their specific details as much as you can into the quote description because this will make them feel like you are the best qualified person for their type of home.
You can’t send out 3 quotes on Thumbtack, get nothing, and assume it doesn’t work. If you want to try this service, make sure to get enough credits to bid on at least 10 jobs. Of those, you’ll probably get a few credit refunds and will be able to reuse the same credits for a couple more jobs. Once you deplete your credits and know that there are no more credit refunds coming, then do the math and see if it was worth it for you to decide if you want to continue or not.
Something else you really want to focus on before you ever start bidding on projects on Thumbtack is your profile. Do not start bidding on projects until you have fully filled out your profile. Add before and after photos, create a FAQ, get a bunch of outside reviews and ONLY then begin to bid. Your profile is half the battle, the rest is your actual quote structure and price.
It also helps if you have your own website and online presence, because that is another way to build trust as many people will choose to research you outside of thumbtack before making a decision. Let’s get into that next.
You need a website. Everything after this point is rooted from your own website. Not having a website in this business is like buying a billboard spot and not putting anything on it. Let’s look at a few reasons why a website is required:
- As you will learn below, all online marketing efforts start and stem from your own website. Without a website, you are very limited to what you can do online and online is the best way to get new consistent business today. People are going online to find companies that can fill their service needs.
- Your website is like a digital brochure. It’s there 24/7 selling for you. When someone looks you up, you want your website to represent your company and services, not anyone else. Control your brand image.
- When business hours end and you no longer want to take phone calls, your website allows people to submit their information to you at any time of day or night.
- People expect you to have a website these days. It builds credibility.
- Your competition has one.
Choosing A Name For Your Business and Website
At this point you probably have a good idea of what you want to name your gutter cleaning company. Before you ultimately decide, let me go over something with you that might influence what you decide on.
You can have a website, but if it doesn’t rank online in search engines for gutter cleaning, then it won’t make you as much money as it could. An example of a gutter cleaning search might be “gutter cleaning atlanta ga” or just “gutter cleaning”. Both of those searches will provide some similar results and some different results. Google knows that “gutter cleaning” is a local keyword that usually comes from someone looking for a local gutter cleaning company, so they will present local gutter cleaning websites. In this case “gutter cleaning” is a relevant keyword and so is “atlanta ga” or “atlanta georgia” or “atlanta”. Knowing this, if you include the keywords in the name of the business, it will help you rank better online. It’s tougher to rank on Google instantly in the organic results, but I have found that in the front page local map results, I always rank better and quicker when my company name matches the service and area I’m servicing. On Bing and Yahoo search engines, you will find yourself ranking in no time just by the name of the website. Their search algorithms aren’t as advanced as Google’s. Let’s look at an example.
If your company is serving the Atlanta GA area, then a good business name might be one of the following:
- Atlanta Gutters
- Atlanta Gutter Cleaning
- Gutters Atlanta
- Gutter Cleaning Atlanta
Then you can get a website domain name like the following:
I always like to find a name that has a domain name available for sale. But you don’t always have to, as long as it’s close. For example:
Keep in mind that one of these domains might not be available because a company with the same name exists. You don’t want to choose a company name that already exists in your area because this could create some issues for you. Let me give you two examples, one of an annoying situation and one with a positive outcome.
- I’m going to use San Diego, California as the example for this story just for example’s sake, as I don’t want to give up the actual name. I had a client that put up a website like SanDiegoCAGutterCleaning.com but for his specific city. In his city there existed another company called San Diego Gutter Cleaning LLC. When this company did a search one day, they found that my client’s website was ranking on top of the search engines for gutter cleaning with almost the exact name and this didn’t sit well with this company. They called my client and threatened to take legal action against him for using this company’s trademarked name. Fortunately for my client, the trademarked name included the business structure at the end “LLC” and not San Diego Gutter Cleaning. In fact, it’s tough to trademark something like that because it’s a search keyword. Also, my client’s company was called something else and just his domain was SanDiegoCAGutterCleaning.com. This company didn’t have much legal grounds, but my client hadn’t put much effort into this new site so he offered it to the competition for a large sum of money. They refused so he continued to use the site name without any issues.
- This next example will show you why the company in example #1 became upset about the similarity in the website names. I’ll use the same website example that doesn’t exist. One of my clients had the website GutterCleaningSanDiego.com and in the same area there was a company called San Diego Gutter Cleaning. After my client started to rank online in ads he started to get phone calls from people saying the following:
- My friend used your services and recommended you for gutter cleaning.
- You guys did my gutter cleaning last year and I’d like to schedule for this year too.
- You guys gave me a quote last week and I want to go through with it.
Here’s the thing. My client had never given those quotes, had never done gutter cleaning in that location before that month and had not done the cleaning for the mentioned friends. What was happening was people begin to go online and search for the company San Diego Gutter Cleaning and found my client’s website on top. He was gaining business from the success of another local company. That’s why the company from #1 was upset. He didn’t want people to confuse the two companies because it would create a potential loss for him. Even after my client stopped running ads, he still kept getting these calls once in awhile without any extra marketing work. Just because of his domain and company name, he was ranking on the front page of Yahoo and Bing for gutter cleaning in his area.
You might be wondering, what if my direct area has a small population and as a result, most of the business would be coming from surrounding areas? In this case it might make sense to choose the nearest larger city for your name.
If you have a specific name you would rather use like “Dave’s Gutter Cleaning” or “Pro Cleaning”, you can do that too. By following my online strategies below, you will see results just as great. The above method might just make ranking online easier or maybe quicker on some search engines and other online presence sites.
Once you have a name in mind, you need to purchase the domain name. There are a lot of extensions available like .com, .net, .org, .biz, .us, etc. There are literally hundreds of options, but I would highly recommend that you stick to .com as this is the most popular extension and most people automatically assume your site is .com if they are trying to remember it. Also, while most will say that having a different extension no longer affects search engine ranking, I find that .com’s do better on smaller search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
You can purchase a domain name for about $10 per year. I recommend that you use Namecheap. You can click here to go to Namecheap to purchase your domain.
Now that you have a domain name, we need to create a website to point it too.
Website vs. Landing Page
You will be dealing with websites and landing pages if you continue to use the online marketing strategies that I will outline below. While a landing page is still a type of website, there is a distinct difference between what online marketers call a website and a landing page.
A website has multiple pages that go over your whole company and what you do. Most websites don’t get into great details about any one thing, but are more of a general overview of your whole company and the services that you offer. This is where a landing page differs from a website. A landing page is a one page website that is hyper focused on one feature or service. The type of people that see this landing page are people that are specifically looking for that one feature or service you are offering. This dramatically increases the chances of the person getting in touch with your company because the whole page is focused on the one thing they are looking for. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you have a company that babysits dogs. Now, let’s say there’s a guy named Jack that has a Husky and he lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Jack is looking for a babysitter so he goes online and searches for “husky babysitter in atlanta ga”. Your business advertisement comes up for Jack and he clicks on it. The page that loads isn’t your businesses main website, but a landing page. While your main website talks about babysitting dogs in general, this one landing page has everything focused and customized to tailor towards what he is looking for. So what does this look like?
- Instead of talking about how your business babysits dogs, the main headline specifically says “We babysit Husky Dogs”
- He’s looking for a place in Atlanta GA, and while your business might not be located in Atlanta, the landing page could say “We babysit dogs from Atlanta GA and are only 15 minutes away from downtown Atlanta!”
- Now, instead of having generic testimonials on your website, you can have specific testimonials about husky owners that you baby sat dogs for.
- The pictures on your website could be of huskies.
- You can talk about how you provide the proper environment and food, etc. for huskies.
What do you think is going to do better? A general website about dog babysitting where it mentions huskies somewhere, or a full page about how you are the right person to babysit huskies, specifically? Obviously the landing page.
Also landing pages have no outside links or internal links because they have one purpose – for the visitor to take the specific target action behind this page. For your gutter cleaning business this will be for them to either submit their information on your web form to get a free quote, or to give you a call. Anything other than that will be a waste of a visit because it does not make you money.
Landing pages are also much quicker to make because it’s only one page and there is really only one major purpose and focus with the landing page.
Which one should I use?
I will be providing you with landing pages that you can instantly launch and quickly customize if you choose to use the same service that I do. So to start, it might make sense to just launch a quick landing page for the sake of getting started. Also, because your services are limited to just two major ones, gutter cleaning and repair, a landing page makes sense because it doesn’t have to focus on more than two services.
By launching quick, you can quickly move forward in the strategies I will be going over below like local map listings and online advertising.
I started off with just a landing page because I was doing primarily paid online advertising and that required a landing page platform that I could quickly duplicate and make small adjustments to get the most out of my online advertising budget as I will go into shortly.
Creating a website is also a great idea and a must for the long run for organic search engine ranking growth. I will soon describe the difference between paid search engine advertising and organic search engine ranking. For now just know this – with search engines like Google, content is king. While the content that you have on your website is not the only ranking factor, it is one of the biggest if not the biggest. That’s where the phrase “content is king” came from. If you have great original content on your website, when people arrive to your website they will be more likely to stay on it longer, they will be more likely to share it across the internet, they are more likely to come back, and they are more likely to find the answers they were looking for. This creates the right atmosphere for growing your website rankings. With a full website, there are more pages, and with more pages there is more content, and with good original content on these many pages you are more likely to start ranking higher.
I have a client that has a website that is nothing special and doesn’t look amazing, but because it has some decent original content, it began to rank in the top 10 results for many gutter cleaning related searches in his area.