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Introduction

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If you’re reading this, then I’m going to assume you have at least a passing interest in learning more about how online marketing can help you grow your building, remodeling or home improvement business. Perhaps you own your own company, or maybe you’re the person responsible for making marketing decisions for your company? Either way, this website—this guide, this blueprint—is for you.

This website is really for any business owner. The world of marketing is changing—and the rate of change is increasing. It’s time for you to embrace the change, to learn about how the digital landscape is changing, and to start charting your strategy to play ball in this new world.

The Remodeler's Web Marketing Blueprint provides a rationale for adopting a new approach to online marketing.

Even if you choose to do nothing, at least you’ll better understand what is happening around you in the world of marketing—particularly Internet marketing. If you do nothing else, spend one hour reading this. Digest it. Think about it. Think about what this could mean for your business.

While I think you'd be doing yourself a favor by reading this entire site and becoming more knowledgeable about the subject, let's be honest—it’s very detail oriented. If you want the Cliff Notes version, drop me a line or better yet, submit your website for a free analysis and let me show you what you're missing!

WHY LISTEN TO ME?

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My name is Ben Landers, and I’m the president and CEO of Blue Corona, a four-time Inc. 5000 digital marketing company that helps small businesses build a BIG presence online to generate more leads, sales, and raving fans. A lot of our clients are in the home service industry—architects, builders, remodelers, etc. If you’re reading this, you’re probably an architect, builder, or remodeler interested in learning how to get more leads and sales from the web.

Why listen to me?

Because I can help you grow your business.

Over the past five years, I’ve helped more than 100 home service “Over the past five years, I've helped more then 100 home service companies radically change...” companies (from roofers to remodelers and architects to design/build firms) radically change the way they approach advertising and marketing. You know that saying, “I know half my advertising is going to waste—the trouble is I don’t know which half!” That is exactly how virtually all of my clients felt and none of them had a coherent digital marketing strategy.

My clients are business owners—probably just like you. They are expert builders, experienced general contractors, and highly-successful remodelers. But they are all business owners. Today, not only do they have a proven online marketing strategy in place, but they also know exactly which advertising strategies are working and which should be eliminated. Were once they were blind, now they can see!

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I’m sure that you have tried and maybe even continue to spend your precious marketing dollars on many “traditional” advertising strategies. How is that working for you? If you said, “Hmmmm, not exactly sure how well that’s working”, then you’re just like most business owners out there.

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If you take only one thing away from this site, make it this—the single biggest marketing mistake business owners make is failing to accurately measure, track, and analyze their marketing results.

You've got to make this your advertising and marketing mantra: TRACK > TEST > TWEAK > REPEAT. While almost all of my clients already had at least a basic website before they met me—some even had social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter—not a single one of them had the two most important things that almost every business needs: 1) a coherent online marketing strategy and 2) baseline data for the five key metrics required to maximize their website’s performance as a lead/sale generator.

Most of my clients are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. A great many of them initially thought that their website—for the most part—was an online brochure for their business. That’s a common sentiment. The reality is far different. The reality is that your website—first and foremost—is a virtual sales rep that never sleeps! Think about having someone working for your business at all hours—day or night. That’s what your website should be.

Let me paint you a picture and tell me if you can see yourself in that picture. I go online to look for your business by typing in some general phrases about what you do. And I find that you have a listing here or there on Google for only a couple of the commonly used keywords related to your business. Hmmm—not exactly optimal.

Or worse, maybe I can’t find you anywhere on Google unless I search for your company by name. Do that search for yourself and what do you find? If you can’t find your website on the first page of Google (hopefully more than once) for the hundreds or thousands of The future of marketing is data-driven, and more and more, it’s online. keyword phrases used by your prospects, you’re losing business to your competition—absolutely guaranteed.

What I do is help my clients create and execute online marketing strategies that, in some cases, have quadrupled website traffic, leads, and sales.

I’ve shown them how to transform their brochure-type websites into virtual sales reps and how to maximize their online real estate. Now ask yourself one question—do you really have the time (I’m going to say right now that you don’t) and expertise (my guess is that you’re an expert in your industry, but not in the online marketing industry) to really focus on what it’s going to take to get your business growing from an effective online marketing strategy? I am going to assume that the answers to the above questions were both “no”.

Almost every business owner I talk to echoes the same thought—business changed in 2008. The financial crisis, borrowing money, uncertainty—business just fundamentally changed. Real growth has been harder to come by than in the good old days. Marketing is different. People are different. The world of the internet has continued to mushroom, but our online marketing strategy is seemingly stuck in first gear.

If you feel that way, it’s time to change things up. It’s time to make the business decision to get in the game. It won’t be easy, and it won’t come cheap. If it did, then each and every one of your competitors would be looking like a genius. I seriously doubt that you think that. You probably think one or two competitors seemingly have it together and therefore have a big jump on the rest of you with respect to online marketing. You probably have that exactly right.

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My company—Blue Corona—specializes in online marketing. We help our clients translate their business objectives into intelligent online performance goals; transform their websites from brochure into virtual sales rep; maximize their online real estate; optimize every part of their sales funnel, and build genuine authority and thought leadership. But really what we are is a company that serves YOU—the business owner. Not everyone can afford to hire a company like Blue Corona, and we’re definitely not the right fit for everyone, but I urge you to take the time to read through this guide; to learn more about what I have done and continue to do for companies just like yours—the implications to your business could be profound.

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One last thing. There are seemingly hundreds of people and/or companies touting their ability to help you market and grow your business online. But who among them is actually qualified to do so? At Blue Corona, we practice exactly what we preach—we use the exact same analytical approach in marketing our business online as we recommend to our clients. Over the past seven years, we’ve grown our business exponentially—and, as a result, we were named the 174th fastest growing private company in America. We are proud members of the Inc. 500, and we've been featured on the Inc. 5000 list four times in a row.

One of the primary differences between Blue Corona and the many other internet marketing firms clamoring for your business is that we look at your business as if we own it. As I have learned over the years, being a successful business owner is not a given. It involves looking at things from a different perspective—a perspective that you simply can’t read about and learn—it takes experience in the trenches. You have to live it to understand that. If you own your business, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I look at every client’s business as if I OWN it. Believe me, it makes a huge difference.

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HERE’S THE SITUATION…

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Fueled by the growth of the Internet and the popularity of new technologies like tablets and smartphones, the number of eyeballs viewing traditional media channels—billboards, direct mail, print ads, TV, etc.—is obviously on the decline, and the effectiveness of those so called traditional advertising and marketing strategies is clearly going downhill as well.

While small architects, builders, and remodelers might be able to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing to basically pay the bills, larger companies trying to take things to the next level need to find new ways to profitably generate leads and sales. Many of the old-school marketing strategies no longer produce an acceptable return. The goal of this website is to give you a broad understanding of how the marketing landscape has changed and to provide you with actionable strategies and tactics you can use to improve your company’s online visibility to generate more leads and sales from the Web.

Why Traditional Advertising Is Dying

1. The media landscape has been fractured into thousands of tiny pieces.

You have a fracturing of the media landscape. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were three TV channels. Today, most homes have more than 1,000—and this doesn’t include TV alternatives such as YouTube, Hulu, etc. Admit it—you probably have at least 300 channels at home that you’ve never spent one minute watching. I couldn’t find stats on the number of radio stations in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but there couldn’t have been more than a handful—whereas in 1985, there were more than 10,000. Today, with satellite radio and online music alternatives such as Pandora and Spotify, there must be the equivalent of more than 100,000 radio stations! At the same time, the cost of advertising, for the most part, has only increased.
Take a look at Figure 1 and Figure 2 below

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In Figure 1, you have advertising costs per minute for TV graphed over time. Above, in Figure 2, you have the average minutes households spend watching TV graphed over time. S ee the problem? The media landscape has fractured into millions of tiny niches. Instead of having millions of eyeballs in a handful of places, today, you httave a handful of eyeballs viewing content distributed by millions of different channels. As a result, it’s virtually impossible to cost-effectively put your message (your ad) in front of the same number of people you could in the past.

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2. New technologies are killing the returns derived from traditional advertising and marketing strategies.

Entire businesses have been built to shield consumers from advertising. On TV, you have DVRs and companies like TiVo and Netflix that allow viewers to skip over ads or eliminate them altogether. Caller ID protects you from unwanted calls from people or companies you don’t know (and don’t want to know!). Spam filters prevent you from receiving unwanted emails (although no spam filter seems to prevent overseas SEO people from flooding your inbox with promises of top rankings on Google!). Most people are sick of being interrupted by advertising and marketing, and today, technology exists that allows them to avoid much of it.

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3. And finally, the Web. The Web has been the giant killer of traditional advertising and marketing.
Before the Internet, if you had to replace your roof and wanted to educate yourself about your options, you had to ask a neighbor, look in the yellow pages, visit the library to find a book, or talk to a local roofing company. Today, you can whip out your phone or fire up your iPad or laptop and ask Google! You search, “what is the most durable type of roofing material,” and you get a plethora of options to choose from.

Before the Web, if you were in a business with any level of technical complexity, you could be pretty certain that, at some point, consumers would call or visit you to get an education before making a buying decision. With the internet, you’re no longer a required part of the education process. Every consumer today has a world of information instantly available at their fingertips, and they’re not afraid to use it! This is why it’s more important than ever to create Web-based content to educate your consumers, so that they find you when they search and NOT your competitors!

The Shift From Outbound to Inbound Marketing

Traditional advertising—things like direct mail, magazine ads, radio, and TV—are best described as outbound marketing or interruption marketing strategies. The Super Bowl aside, when is the last time you actually looked forward to a show being interrupted by an advertisement. How about NEVER! Consumers are sick and tired of being interrupted by ads—especially when most of the ads are completely irrelevant to the individual (e.g. Summer’s Eve commercials being seen by a 50-year-old single guy!).

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Well, whether you like it or not, outbound marketing is despised, and it is quickly being replaced by inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is an umbrella term used to refer to advertising strategies such as pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). Contractors and remodelers that track their advertising are getting leads from inbound marketing at less than 40 percent of the cost per lead from traditional or outbound marketing strategies. That is not a typo so read that again. An inbound lead, on average, costs only 40 percent of what an outbound lead will cost you! The reason inbound marketing is so much more effective is because it places your business in front of consumers at the exact moment of interest (and sometimes buying intent). It also puts the consumer in the driver’s seat—giving them complete purchasing control—and it’s easy and intuitive to boot.

In short, if you haven’t already, you and your company need to get on the inbound marketing freight train—NOW!

The Rise of Content Marketing

The most popular forms of inbound marketing rely heavily on what is known as content marketing. According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing refers to creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. In a nutshell, content marketing is a way to communicate with and educate your prospective customers without reverting into a sales pitch. Today’s consumers want to buy, NOT be sold to. By creating relevant, educational content designed to help your prospects make better decisions, you will naturally find your website rising to the top of Google for various keyword searches related to your business.

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Here’s a simple example.

Have you ever wondered whether yellow page print advertising is worth it? Of course you have! Well, so have a lot of other remodeling companies. If you go to Google and do a search for a keyword phrase like, “is yellow page advertising still effective”, look what comes up—a case study (content) created by me and Blue Corona.

You see, we track advertising for about a hundred different companies—this includes a fair number of print yellow page ads. Seeing that we track advertising, people started to call us to bend our ear on whether they should renew their print yellow page ads or discontinue in favor of testing something new. I figured (correctly) that the people calling us represented a small fraction of those actually asking the question, so I created a case study detailing the print yellow page advertising results from one of our clients (with the client’s permission, of course).

Here’s another example.

Marcus Sheridan is one of the owners of River Pools and Spas. One of the most common questions he got daily was, “what does a fiberglass pool cost?” He thought about creating a blog post about the topic, but worried he might be undercut by his competitors. Against conventional wisdom, he went ahead and wrote the post anyway.

Today, that post ranks number one on Google for the dozens of related search queries including “how much does a fiberglass pool cost?” Marcus attributes over a million dollars in business to inquiries he received as a result of this post. How much time do you think he spends these days worried about his competition? Not much. Content marketing is at the very core of your online marketing strategy. You need it to rank well on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to establish your company as a reputable authority in your industry and to convert visitors into leads and leads into sales. In the new marketing landscape, content really is king.

Marketing—Measure it. Improve it.

If you take only one thing away from this book, it should be the fact that you can dramatically improve the performance and efficiency of all your marketing efforts by having a system like Blue Corona’s to accurately measure and track every single marketing strategy you employ (this includes your websites). I often hear remodelers and contractors of all sizes tell me that they already track everything by asking their prospective clients the infamous “How did you hear about us?” question. Hmmm. The responses to that question are laughably inaccurate, and often times, downright misleading. You should believe it—because we’ve actually tracked it and found that as many as 50 percent of the responses to that question are simply not true or accurate.

Every form of advertising can—and should—be content-realy-is-kingtracked and analyzed. Tracking is far more difficult to do with traditional advertising strategies than it is for Web marketing strategies, so as you read this book and consider shifting your advertising dollars to the Web, don’t forget to allocate a fraction of your budget to track and analyze your results. A small investment in analytics and measurement can have a profound impact on your return on investment.

But it's not just about having the right analytical and tracking tools. You've got to have a strategy and the discipline to follow it.

Most of the calls I receive each week are from business asking questions like, "how can I get more visibility for my Houzz page? or "why is this competitor always outranking me on Google?" These are all valid, but ultimately tactical questions. My response is always the same, "what's your online marketing strategy are where are you in terms of execution?" The answer is always the same... crickets.

The most successful companies take a strategic, rather than a tactical, approach—to everything. If you want to win on the web, you need to adopt a proven strategy—a framework—and you've got to have the discipline to stick with it. Let me walk you through a five phase strategy that has worked for Blue Corona and more than 100 other companies.

This is our proven process; our five phase plan to measurably improve your online marketing performance:

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1. TRACK everything and make data-driven decisions.
As mentioned earlier, every marketing strategy can—and should—be tracked. There’s no such thing as a marketing silver bullet, except this process—TRACK, TEST, TWEAK, REPEAT. And no place is this truer than on the Web where everything is (relatively) easy to track and quantify. Before you make a marketing decision, make sure you have baseline data and accurate tracking in place. Then implement a test. Every decision you make with respect to your website and/or online marketing strategy should be evaluated against two metrics: clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate (more on these in a bit).

2. TRANSFORM your website from a brochure into a virtual sales rep.
Too many contractors and remodelers continue to treat their website(s) as if they were a digital brochure. Your website is NOT a brochure—it’s a virtual sales rep with a built-in sales funnel. Your goal should be to cost-effectively drive more qualified visitors to your website (which is comparable to filling your sales funnel with prospects) and use special analytics tools to monitor and improve your website’s visit-to-lead conversion rates. Every website or piece of digital real estate you create must be thought of—and treated—like a sales funnel.

3. MAXIMIZE your online real estate—start with search.
At some level, the web is a real estate game. If time and money were no object, you'd put your business on every website your target prospects visit. Because time and money are scarce—no matter what size your business—you should start maximizing your real estate on search engines like Google. You should start with search because that is where people have interest and intent to buy what your selling. Only after you've got a strong PPC and SEO program, should you work on creating a robust presence on sites like Facebook, Houzz, YouTube, etc.

4. OPTIMIZE every conversion point in your sales funnel.
The typical web visit-to-lead conversion rate for an architect, builder, or remodeler can be as high as 8%. Most of my clients didn't even know their conversion rate when we first met. With the right analytical tools in place, you should always be optimizing until your conversion rates to meet or exceed the industry benchmarks.

5. BUILD authority—establish your company as THE authority for what you do, in the markets you do it.
To succeed online, you must be relevant to your target audience. Your goal is to be perceived as an authority—correct that—as THE authority. Relevance and authority are required to rank well organically on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and they are also prerequisites to a website that converts a high percentage of visitors into leads. Relevance is somewhat straightforward and easy to accomplish—create content that is related to the services you provide. Create content that provides answers to your prospect’s questions. Authority is a bit more ambiguous, and we’ll talk about this more when we get to the topic of search engine optimization (SEO).

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WE START RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW–EXECUTING THE PLAN!

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So, THAT is your building plan. Five phases. You should write these steps down. Whenever you’re talking to your web people or possible web vendors or other business owners, you should have these five steps on your mind. Ask your fellow business owners what their online marketing strategy is and about the tools they use to track their web marketing. If they stumble, they don't have a plan. Ask them about how they try to get more traffic to their website. If you really want to blow someone out of the water, ask them what their web visit to lead ratio is—and then follow-up by asking what their lead to sale conversion ratio is.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Read through the five phases again and again. Recently, I did an analysis of more than 500 of the top remodeling company websites. If you want to learn A LOT more about web marketing tools, strategies and implementation, I would strongly encourage you to contact me directly. The insights from this industry website analysis (the largest of its kind) would blow you away. Alternatively, I’d be happy to review your website personally and tell you what you need to do to get more leads and sales from your site. Just drop me a line.

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BLUE CORONA Corporate Office:
7595-G Rickenbacker Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20879


Phone: 888.211.3179