I had the opportunity to site down and talk shop with Marvin Joles, host of “Blacktop Banter”. Marvin is also owner of Wis-Coat, an asphalt maintenance company servicing western Wisconsin and has 20+ years experience in the industry.
If you are a just starting out or a smaller company looking to grow this is a must watch episode. We take a deep dive into how you can establish your company and how to build a solid foundation for growth.
Everybody welcome back. This is Blacktop Banter again, I’m Marvin, your host as always, this is episode 52. So we’re rolling in here. I’m going to try to get a few of these done before we get the World of Asphalt and things, that way I can release them while we’re out there. And we’re going to try to keep them going through the summer. I have a huge list. I figure at least I can do is do a couple of months and keep some content coming out because all I ever hear is where’s the podcast, we’re out working, we want to listen to it and we don’t have any new ones. So we’re going to try to.
I am really excited about the next one today actually. This guy has taken care of the Blacktop Banter website for a while. And when we did Dubuque I asked him to do that one as well for Dubuque Asphalt Maintenance. So, yeah and we won the best of web award for our website and our presence before I met this guy. And even since then, I have now switched the Wis-Coat website to him, for him to take care of our SEO. And I say website but there’s so much more that goes into it. So with no further ado, I’m going to introduce Jason Scherer at 28 Circles. Jason, you want to introduce yourself too.
Hey, Marvin, appreciate it. Yeah, my name’s Jason Scherer, I’m the owner of 28 Circles. We’re a very small boutique marketing company that works exclusively with asphalt and seal coating contractors. A hundred percent of our business is just guys that are putting down asphalt or seal coating.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s where we met in that circle, obviously I’m out there are ways. And if you’re a web guy, which you are, you probably found me pretty quickly and I was like, “Okay, let’s see what we can do with this guy and get some word out there.” And I know we’ve sponsored the podcast in the past and things like that. But now with us getting so involved and me being able to pick your brain now for the last year, I wanted everyone else to get some of that information to because I thought I was doing good to be honest with you. And I think I probably was doing good but I want to do great. That’s the goal is you want to do great.
And I realized that this is not my niche. Dude, I can talk until my mouth falls off here and carry a conversation on greatly and I can put sealer down okay. But I know nothing behind the curtain of SEO or of web marketing, everything. I know, social media marketing and I can create the content that you tell me to create Jason but it’s with what you do to it. So with that being said, you don’t only take care of mine. Like you said, you take care of some other sites and some other companies and they’ve had great results, correct?
Yeah, yeah. You do social media really well. I actually, some of the things that you do, I emulate in my own company to try and grow my business as well, too. So, I appreciate what you do there but yeah, we have about 10 clients that we work with primarily SEO and then Google Ads campaigns. And then we’ll also help a little bit on the social media side, that’s not our forte, at least not at this point, it’s something that we’d like to grow into but yeah, I’m excited because I’m helping these companies grow business and they’re getting measurable results, which is the important thing. And they’re mom and pop companies. I’m a mom and pop company and I’m helping them, if you will build their legacy and I’m hoping that they can either sell their company when they’re ready to retire or hand it down. And that’s what I’m hoping to do with my company too, is I have two young boys and I’d like to grow it to something that when they get old enough that and I’m ready to retire, they can take it over.
Yeah. Yeah. So and I think that’s, that’s another way that you connect with us as contractors too, once we realize the size and what you guys are trying to create, what you’re doing as well. And the brand that you’re trying to bring, especially to our industry where there are companies that we see, especially at the expo and things that are just like, they look massive. And they do so much stuff. And if there’s a huge list of everything they do and it’s like, “Okay but I don’t know what half that crap is. Okay and do I really need all that? Do I need this huge expense? Or can we pinpoint a few things, a short list of things we could get really good at and that generate what we need to do/” I know you briefly touched on social media.
It’s tricky. Social media is tricky because you have to have the passion and the idea and the brand that you want to… The culture that your company is when you make that social media to make it different and make it genuine. It’s really hard to do. People have asked me a lot, “Can you do our social media?” “No, I can’t do your social media, you have to do that.” They can do stuff with it it, like Jason can do stuff with mine, right?
But you have to create that genuinely. But beyond that, it takes two. I think it takes two because I don’t know what to do with it. The way that you guys use it. And that’s tactical. Mine’s just, dude I make a lot of content. You take it and you induce tactical stuff with it.
Yeah. And that’s the thing is, I agree with you that social media is that one to one conversation almost and having the personal touch on it is great. I mean, we can do postings on your behalf and things like that, which is good during the season. So it makes your site look, makes sure your profiles look like they’re active but it’s not going to put that personal touch that you have and it’s not going to to totally connect with your users.
And then the other thing is the content that you create, just don’t use it in one spot. I mean, you spent so much time putting it the videos or, or putting it in their post. Don’t just throw it up on Instagram and leave it there for to collect cobwebs. I mean, you do a good job. I mean, we’ve got you on YouTube and your web and Blacktop Banter and you do a great job of taking that content and moving around. There’s other things that we can do with it as well too. But it takes more time to create the content than it does to actually distribute it and get eyes on it.
Right. Right. And-
So use it.
Yeah. yeah. That’s the thing is use it. That we just got back from National Pavement expo and the show director Morgan was like, “Well, how’d it go?’ I’m like, “Dude, I have content for months.” Months and months of content over two days of a show and people don’t quite understand how I do that. Well, I search every nook and cranny, especially for the podcast. There’s conversations, there’s interesting stuff about equipment. It’s a lot of stuff that everybody overlooks and that happens with Wis-Coat too. We gave descriptive videos of why this is happening and how we cure it and how you do over time. And that’s what creates the interest in people for us anyways. One thing I wanted to ask you is how you got into this. How did you go down this way? Because I mean, I’m missing hair, like this wasn’t around when we were in school coming up through it. So how did you get into this field and start a career in it?
Yeah. It’s so I’ll try and condense the 20 plus year story into 30 seconds. I went to school for graphic arts management, which is the printing industry and got out of school. And I was in the printing world for 12 or 13 years. And the tail end of my career, I was selling printing. So basically business cards, brochures, all that basic door hangers, anything that you’d use to promote your company. And the last couple years, my sales has started declining and I couldn’t figure at why and I started talking to old clients and they actually started using a lot of the online printing companies. And that just opened Pandora’s box, if you will. And so I spent probably the last two years while I was selling printing, researching SEO and Paper Click and at the time social media wasn’t a thing, Facebook didn’t exist. It was Myspace. So-
So no one would really grasp how to monetize it yet or it hadn’t really taken for tuition but I remember seeing banner ads when we were doing AOL and all that stuff. And I can remember that. I don’t really even look at those anymore. I know they’re still there but most of the time, it’s the ads that play in between videos now that people are selling more than likely.
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll swing back to that in a second. Those are actually great. But so eventually I ended up going out on my own. I was doing affiliate marketing. So basically creating websites and selling stuff on Amazon and just through other retailers, which works well but my wife was like, “You need to make more money and get a real job.”
I was like, yeah trust me, she’s not the only one to say that. [crosstalk 00:09:32]
Yeah. So I actually went and I worked at an agency that specialized working with attorneys. And I was there for five years, worked my way out to lead SEO. And did SEO and then also the operations side of things and ranking an attorney’s website is really difficult just for the simple fact that a car accident case can be worth two, three million dollars. So ultra competitive. So I got thrown into the fire as far as from an SEO standpoint is concerned. And then about two years ago, I just, I liked the company I worked for but hit a ceiling and I wanted to go out and create something my own. And so I started doing research on what I wanted to do in college. I laid driveway sealer back in Missouri, I was the bucket guy.
This was 20 plus years ago. I didn’t have a sprayer. So I filled up the five gallon buckets of cold tar and brought them over to the lead. And I learned about cold tar and how it burns really fast. I was wondering, I was like, “Why do those guys wear long sleeve shirts?” Now I know. That’s why I know. So anyways, I just looked at different niches. I didn’t want to go into white collar because I just, it’s not me. I’m from Missouri. I’m kind of, I want to say I’m a redneck. I’m not, but I want to be.
Fair enough. Fair enough.
And so I want to grow a mullet but my wife keeps saying no.
Do it, just do it, hide it, hide it, that’s what you do.
Hide it, hide it. So I start 28 Circles and I picked asphalt and seal coating contractors and we’ve been really just slowly growing, taking on clients here and there. You and I have talked about it, we’re rolling out a new service that’s more geared toward the guys that are just getting starting out. So I’m super excited about that and I’m sure we can talk about that in a few minutes but that’s my, how I got to doing internet marketing for asphalt and seal coating contractors.
Yeah. It’s crazy, it always is, I guess from point A to point B and it never, it really surprised me first when I would have guests on and there would always be a connection that somehow they were connected to the asphalt industry and we had Koa who’s the slap fight world champion. He was on here. And he does line striping. And we did not even know that until we started talking, going to lead up to the podcast and then I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the story that you were telling me about… I remember you saying that you did it in high school or whatever. And I’m like, “Oh yeah, mainly everybody does or college or whatever.” But yeah the cold tower experience, that’s the first for me to hear from you. But yeah, it’s rough, it definitely is to have that background and then be able to understand your clients now, I would think it probably is a unique thing.
Yeah. Yeah, there’s a lot of and this is not a knock on anybody, there’s a lot of companies that will do their… They’re what we call generalists. And they’ll work with a plumber, they’ll work with an electrician, lawn care. And so they and they’ll only, they’ll either do it in their market or maybe their state. And I chose the other way to go and be able to focus specifically on a niche. And it helps me because I get to have conversations with you and other people. And I get to really learn about the business side of things and understand the challenges that you have and the challenges that you have are similar to the challenges that my other clients have.
Whether it’s just recruiting for employment, things along those lines. It’s just so, it’s great because I can take that information and be like, ‘Oh, Hey this client had this… He has this similar problem and this is what he did to solve it or this is what we did.” Depending on what the situation is. So and honestly, I just love talking to you guys, just the soul of earth man. It’s no holds bars, no filter. And that’s me and that’s why I love working with you guys.
We don’t got time to have a filter. We’ve got six months to get done what we need to get done here. So we’re wide open. We cut straight to the point and like, ‘Hey, let’s do this.” One thing that I do want to comment on is the fact that you and I communicate very well back and forth. It’s not in depth and it doesn’t take up a lot of time but there’s some things where you’ve messaged me and I’d be like, “Ah, it’s not worded like that. I don’t like how that’s worded.” And then you’d be like, “Oh yeah, yeah, I get that. Yeah. I understand that.” So it’s not a cookie cutter thing the service that you’re doing, I notice some of these larger ones, there’s a set in stone, this is how we’re going to do, just give it to us.
And they run through it. With us, you you’ve been like, “Well, how do you guys like this worded? What do you think?” You run it by me instead of just doing it and throwing it out there. I get it that there are some contractors that just want to pay somebody to do it and be left alone and whatever they do is fine. They figure they’re covered. But I like to be in depth. My brand is important to me and you’ve done a great job of communicating that back and forth. One thing I’ve noticed some of the larger companies that do what you do and then have a list of 25 other things that they do that I’m never, ever going to need ever, probably, they charge a high premium and who they’re looking for are large, large, large contractors it seems like that wants to pay a large amount and just be done with it and not have to worry about it and do whatever.
You and I have talked many times how the mountain or I always call the mountain but some people call it the ladder or the step or whatever, to go from the, you with a tank in the back of your truck, to a guy that’s on his boat down in the keys and has his general manager calling him and telling him what’s going on, is a steep one. So and it seems like they’re trying to cater to those guys versus down here. We need this, I know we do. So what do contractors need? Let’s say we’re talking about guys like us, so they’ve started out, they might have a truck, one helper and they’re trying to generate more business, have a web presence obviously and seem legitimate, that they have their legitimate company. What do they need? What do contractors need?
And a little biased but I think the truth of the matter is, the first thing you, well, you really need a strong website because regardless of how someone finds you, whether it’s through social media or Google or paid ads or TikTok for that matter, which by the way, I love your TikTok. But I think because of what happens if you think about the buyer’s journey, they see you on social media or they search. They’re eventually going to end up at your website because they want to know, especially if you’re… They want to know who they’re buying from, they want to have that trust factor. A lot of us figured about the buyer’s journey. And especially when you’re working with residential customers who may have just moved in the house and they never had their driveway seal coated or they never had a driveway installed, they’re going to, as you know, they’re going to take a little more handholding and having a strong website is where I would say is a great starting point.
And then from there start your brand. And the other thing too, that I would say is, maximize the number of leads that you get in. Don’t just send out an estimate and hope and pray, make sure you’ve follow up with them. And the other thing is, is reach out to them on somewhat of a regular basis, whether it’s once a year or once a quarter or once a month, you do the postcard, which I think is great but just to keep your brand in front of those people and to maximize the lifetime value of that customer because either you’re going to need your driveway or parking lot seal coated every two or three years. And if you’re laying asphalt and you do seal coating, well there you go, you can increase the lifetime value of it by selling them every three years to have their parking lot or driveway seal coated.
Yeah. Yeah. We got a video coming out from Steve Brainy. Who’s thankfully started contributing and gave me permission to take his stuff and use it as contributor to Blacktop Banter. And it’s about that same thing, how to explain every three years, this is why you do it. This is why you need to do it. So that’s great content. The one thing I wanted you to touch on asking what do people need and you were like, “Well you need to stay in touch. You need to do this. You need to do that.” You know me, now you and I are friends. You know my life, I go a hundred miles an hour every day. This is all I do. I wake up, put my shoes on, say goodbye to Kelly and the kids and then I’m here.
And it’s either Blacktop Banter, Wis-Coat or Dubuque Asphalt Maintenance until now this time of year, till eight o’clock at night, then I go home and we do it all over again. Thankfully there have been a few things that have been easing that hundred mile an hour I’m about to, I’m proud be at 80. I’ll probably still get a ticket, but I’m about to 80 miles an hour now. And one of those things have been what you provide for us. The other thing has been, our new office assistant has taken some pressure off, [Wis Cheeks 00:19:22] who’s back in the shop right now. He’s taking a lot more of that operations role, seeing how his feet get wet and that’s easing things up on me. So I want to explain how you have eased that up on me because like you said, you want to stay in contact with them. You want to do this, you need to do that. You need to do that, dude I can’t do all that stuff but your service offers a way to do all that.
Yeah. And this is, we start talking about this and I think it was October of last year and I spent pretty much most of the winter putting this together. And it’s basically, it’s a done for you marketing service and what we’re doing right now, our official rollout, we’re doing a semi automated follow up sequence so that basically you send out an estimate, you give us the information and we’re going to follow up with that prospect five times. And for four to six times is what we’re going to follow up with them, depending on your messaging and your brand and also what services you’re offering. But it’s another way that we offload that, you don’t have to, if you’re not a dedicated salesperson, you don’t have to sit there on the phone and call these people and be like, “Hey just follow up. See if you have any questions.”
We’re doing that for you. And it’s super easy. And the other thing is it’s affordable, it’s not a huge component of your marketing as far as spend is concerned. And as this rolls out and we grow, we’re going to eventually, I would say probably middle of this, you year, we’ll probably start doing a newsletter, a monthly newsletter that we can send out on your behalf, still working out some of the details on that. But just one of those things where you set it and forget it, and we take it from there and you hand us the ball and we run with it. And so we’re going to help you be able to close more sales initially. And then also we’re going to help keep your brand top of mind as far as, hey, Wis-Coat, I get their newsletter, I read it or even if they don’t read it, they just see it in their inbox. That’s enough to remember that. And yeah, that’s enough to-
One of those touches that you’re talking about.
Yeah. It’s one of those touches and it’s one of those things that’s great for referrals. I mean, oh, I need my driveway’s seal coat. Oh, Wis-Coat. They, they did a great job for me two years ago. Or because if you’re not doing those touches, they’re like, ah I had it done a couple years ago but I can’t remember who-
I don’t remember who that was.
I can’t remember who that was. Marvin or something, I don’t know. That component. And then we just launched it with you but we’re also doing the, we’re calling them reactivation campaigns. And basically every two to three years, you really want to reach out to your past clients and be like, “Hey you know what? X number of years has passed and recommendation is to have your seal coated two, three years or whatever it is in your area.”
I see some guys who say four years and just to go out and do a multi-touch with them, give us a list. We take it from there. We send out some messaging and try and get those convert. So it’s really trying to make, the SEO helps bring in leads but we’re trying to really help you maximize the lifetime value of your leads, of your customers and help them, whether it’s their referral service or their someone that you can count on for two or three years.
Yeah. And I think that, that’s where, when we first started talking about this, I admitted that I dropped the ball on that. We get a fair amount of estimates. So as soon as I estimate an area, I’m onto the next calls that came in. I’m not even thinking about if they call me and we get them on a schedule, great. If they didn’t, I don’t even think about it, I was just like, “Well, forget it.” But I knew because I have a friend of the podcast, when the podcast came in Holegate up in Alaska, we had a conversation about how he called back every single client that had wanted an estimate or wanted something. And there was an 80% return. Wow. that he closed them.
And all I could think, well, mine zero because I never called them back or whatever or anything. And what I figured is with your, the basic package that 28 Circles offers, if you get one of them back more than likely it’s going to cover that cost for the month. So if we can do six of them and it’s going to co cover our for six months. And maybe if it’s a big one, it’s that one that’s going to cover our six months or our year of our service that we’re getting.
Yeah. I think it’s, we have a price at a no-brainer level. I think one, you close one you’re definitely covered for a month and hopefully you’re pricing yourself well, so that it should cover you for a couple months. And the other thing I’d say too is I know a lot of guys, I talk to, they love the commercial because it’s good money. Well, maybe not good money but it’s a lot of money and it’s easier work. And we’re helping you follow up on that patch job, that it’s something that it’s a filler work. It’s going to rain that afternoon. You can’t put sealer down so we’re going go and patch this hole or whatever it is. So it helps you even with [crosstalk 00:25:20] and also like the filler work.
Yeah. I think it it helps on the commercial jobs too because we have clients that mainly just, they’ll call me, they’ll be explaining like, just come look at it and tell me what it needs. And then we’ll break it down and do whatever. If you’re on their mind, maybe they see it and they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to call them real quick and tell them to get over here and take a look before we go into winter, not just after winter or whatever.” You know what I mean? So I like that idea as well for commercial work. The other thing I wanted to touch on that you provide or did, at least with me, is our Google My Business. You were like, give me that, give me the…
Give me what I need for that. And yeah, I’m not BSing once you’d had that. And you had the reins of Dubuque. Our website was up last year but I didn’t really give you full reign on it. And I was like, “Oh, I’m going to create some content and do whatever.” And we worked a little down there. This year, since I’ve given it to you in the winter, we have more bids then we did jobs last year, then we did doing it down there. So once I started to see that was happening, I was like, “Well, I want to do it with Wis-Coat too.” And we were just talking before this, we’ve rolled out our campaign and there’s already messages coming in and emails and everything else as well. So not BSing totally it is working.
And that price point, I think, is perfect for our listeners. And it might be perfect for a bigger company too, to where just take a look and see, I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m telling you, if you do one small driveway and you charge your minimum, it’s going to cover what the cost is for a month. And there’s not very many things within your business. That’s covered for a month off of the one gig. Maybe your phone bill, maybe this, maybe that but that’s not really generating you more business, like your server is Jason.
A couple things, some of it’s entertaining that talking to a lot of guys and they’ll go spend a hundred grand on a used paver and they won’t spend a penny on marketing and it’s like, “Okay. I get it. You’re company’s 40 years old and you have a book of business and that’s fine.” And the thing I’ll say is, for the small guys, you have that, like you said, you have the hill and we’re going to get you up the hill to we have our done for you marketing campaigns. And then further past that we have custom tailored campaigns that are definitely more for the company that has a sales team or is not the owner operator kind of thing. And our goal is to help you grow to that point. I mean and that’s, we want to get you there.
Yeah. And we can cross that bridge when we get there.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
And that’s the thing I’ve noticed on your site, we have the different tiers. Once you’re done with that first one, obviously if you plateau or you realize, Hey, we need more work, then it’s time to jump up to the next one. If you’re like, man, we’re covered, we need more work or maybe you don’t, maybe your goal isn’t to become… My goal Wis-Coat is not to become a massive giant company like some of my friends have, I’m super proud of them. And they’re proud of what they’ve done. For us that’s not my main goal with Wis-Coat. So maybe I get to the middle tier, “I’m like, perfect, dude, this is created the life that I want.” And we’re good. And everybody here is good but if not, you know how to kick it in gear to send them up even higher on that.
They want to take that more work on. So that’s the unique thing as well, that I don’t know that everybody that once again, presents at the expos or that I get flyers for, that they do that. It’s mainly this, Hey, they is it and we’re going to throw it out there.
Yeah. And it’s not and I know some of those companies and I don’t know them personally but they’re good companies but they’re more interested in the and I don’t want to speak for them but I’m just making some guess, that they’re more interested in that seven and a half million to $10 million company that has five crews and that’s more of their sweet spot. And hey, that’s fine. I mean, if you’re there are good for you, if you’re not let’s come back to reality and let’s work together on building you to that point, if that’s your end game.
Yeah. well, what I like to compare it to and this is what I feel when you and I have conversation or do whatever, is those are other companies, if you’re going to get a coffee and you go through McDonald’s and they’re like, well, you have four options. Here you go or what it feels like is our local coffee shop here in Richland Center where I go in and there’s a list. And there’s like, “Hey what do you like? Okay, what, what do you like? How does it feel? Do you like a, like this?” “Sure add the cream, add this, let’s do nonfat.” I don’t do that but in general hold the sugar, which I also don’t hold the sugar. So it’s catered to how you want it, that boutique that mom and pop thing that you’re talking about, that’s the feel is that we’re diagnosing exactly how we like it and what we need as well. Obviously we need coffee but we want to make sure that it fits perfectly for where we are and it’s not a $12 coffee.
It’s a $5 coffee because we’re blue collar. So one thing that I want touch on before I forget is where people can find you and get an idea for it. They can always message me and ask me about my experience with 28 Circles, be fully honest with on how it’s going so far. And I’ll be honest in two years of how it’s going so far or whatever, where can people find out and find what you do?
So probably the best one is 28circles.net, you can also use 28circles.com, they both go to the same place. And for the done free marketing component of it, just go to the, it’s called the Asphalt App, initial branding on that, so we’ll see how it goes. But that’s where you can get an overview of what we’ve talked about today. And then Facebook, Facebook@28circlesLLC, I believe, those are probably the two best places where I’m most active, I’m on LinkedIn but I don’t do a lot with it. And I actually probably should start doing more with it, honestly.
Well, we can talk about that. We can talk about that some other time. So you and I can talk about that. But yeah, so I’m going to post those links below too in the description. So we’ll at least get them to the website and then we can go from there and people can call and contact you if they want to about all this. So as we’re winding down and we’re talking about all that stuff, what is one thing that contractors, if they’re saying, “Yes, I want to get to where I can hire Jason to do this.” You obviously need something to work with from the beginning, besides your business name, what can contractors do to start gearing up to towards that, if they’re going to have a service like yours?
Yeah. I would say, regardless if you work with me or another company, the best thing you can do is work on your brand. And when I say that, that’s your biggest thing that you can have. And so go out and this is something that you can do, it would probably take you a day, maybe a little bit longer but go out and get your Google My Business profile, actually it’s changed to Google Business profile, I don’t remember. They changed the name, they do it every two years but get my Google My Business profile, own that. Get your Facebook brand, get your Instagram brand, get your LinkedIn, get all your social media properties, go buy your domain name and then buy the .com, the .net, at least those two minimum. I have 28 Circles dot, I think I have eight different versions of it. But make sure you try to own both your.com and .net and you basically start your brand. I mean, that’s huge. And the other one just real quick is start getting reviews. Reviews are huge, whether you like or not get them, just get them.
Just have some, when they get to you at least have some.
Yeah. Have some and just start calling your clients and-
Asking them. Yeah.
Yeah. Before I did like printed in, we use Joyce now, before I did that, I literally wrote it by hand on the bottom of the handwritten estimates, leave us a review on Google. And maybe I think I got maybe four or five off of that in the first year, whatever.
I’d say if you’re getting a 5% response in requests you’re doing good. We can sometimes get you 10 to 15%, but yeah. Reviews are, they’re huge. So those build your brand, work on reviews. That’s where I’d start. And it doesn’t cost you any money, just cost you time.
Cool. Well, before we close out, I brought these back. So these are podcasts that I started doing them near the end of season two. We’re in season three of Blacktop Banter, which there’s no rhyme or reason on what day we start with the season and when it ends or does whatever, maybe we’ll keep the podcast going and forever beyond season three but we’ll see what happens. But I was really enjoying these and I just found them, since we moved. And Jason, you are the Guinea pig.
Oh boy, I’m a little nervous on this one.
I’m going to draw one and we’ll see how it goes. All right. Take the one off the top. Okay. If you’re reincarnated as a famous landmark, which one would it be?
That’s on the spot, that’s why I love them. Because I-
That’s a tough one, man. My gut, I’m just going to go with the Statue of Liberty. And I think that’s the pinnacle of the United States to me of it. It’s just like, that’s just-
The opportunity that to me, I think that’s just, it’s probably one of the most notable icons in the world and it represents opportunity. And I think we whether you’re doing marketing or you’re playing [inaudible 00:36:17] , we have a great, great opportunity to build something for ourselves and our communities and our families. And so I feel very blessed to have that opportunity.
Yeah, me too. I think about that a lot as I get older and I didn’t early on. The more world experience I get, I feel the same way, that we’re, even though there’s bad stuff going on or stuff happens, we’re where at odds in this country. We still have the greatest opportunity of anybody I believe in the world to create and create your business in freedom. Cool. I like it, man. All right. That’s it. So if you have questions, you can ask me about my experience with 28 Circles or just go to Jason’s website and get in touch with him. We’re going to have a link I believe, right Jason, that all use. So I’ll put that in the video descriptions everywhere I post it and just click that link and that’ll take you to what we’ve been talking about today and you can look through it and go from there and then contact Jason if you need to. Correct?
Cool. All right. Thank you very much, sir. I hope it’s all well in there, we are melting snow in Wisconsin. You still have snow there in Colorado.
Yeah, we had about four inches two nights ago and it’s melting off. So my Denver guys, he’s itching to go.
Cool, yeah I bet. I bet I got Zach Maleski friend of the podcast, they’re out there in Denver as well. And I know that everybody’s chomping at the bit for the season to get ready to go.
All right, well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it, Marvin.
No worries. Greatly appreciate it. And for myself and for Jason at 28 Circles, we want you to seal it, pave it, stripe it and kill it. Peace.
When growing our businesses, we often think of ways to generate more leads and getting more customers.
What we often forget is maximizing our customers’ lifetime value to our business.
Just think about it.
We’ve spent money on marketing to land one customer, and now we are looking to spend more money to get more customers.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, what if you can increase the profit you’d get from a customer you already have?
That’s what can happen if you aim to increase your customers’ lifetime value.
And here are just several ways you can do that:
Improve Your On-Boarding Process
They say first impressions last. And that’s especially true when doing business. If a lead clicks your ad, fills up your form, and calls your number, you should strive to make their onboarding process seamless.
Instead of asking for their information and letting them know you’ll call them back, ask them for a specific time and date when one of your team can visit their property for the initial inspection.
Giving them a timeframe as to when you would be able to visit lets them know that an appointment has been set. This is a lot better than giving them the usual “We’ll get back to you soon” which can lead to the customer looking for another company who can serve them now.
This alone can improve your closing rate, and make sure your advertising budget is not put to waste.
Provide Extraordinary Customer Service
Humans are emotional beings. They act on emotions and justify it through logic.
By providing extraordinary customer service that lets your customers feel valued and prioritized, they’ll remember you and prefer doing business with you over your competitors, even when others have a better offer.
There are thousands of ways you can provide excellent customer service from the moment they call your office to the time you finish your project – and this is something you should master as a business owner.
But the bottom line is, make your customers satisfied, and feel good about working with you and your team.
Create an Enticing Referral Program
Asking for referrals is an easy and less expensive way of gaining new customers.
By asking one satisfied customer to refer a new lead to you, you’re essentially increasing the lifetime value of your already satisfied customer, by bringing you new business.
But how can you create an enticing and effective referral program?
With the usual referral programs, contractors pay their existing customers if they can refer them to a new lead and if they are able to close it.
This, however, may not be enticing because it doesn’t provide an immediate reward, the reward depends on your ability to close and not theirs, and for commission-based referral fees, the amount is uncertain.
What you can do instead is to offer a small and fixed referral fee upfront if they can give you a name you can reach out to, regardless if you close the deal or not. This eliminates all the previous objections and rewards them for giving you more prospects.
And when you call those people, you can let them know that you’ve been referred by their friend/neighbor/relative and you’ve helped them with their asphalt needs. This is an instant way to gain credibility and trust.
Have a Yard Sign
I know this sounds silly, but having a yard sign visible within your customers’ property, while you’re working on their project, can entice more customers to learn more about what you’re doing, and get the same service done.
If you want to maximize this scenario, reach out to nearby properties and let them know you’ll be working on their neighbor’s property and they might expect some noise. Be courteous and ask them to call you personally if they experience any problems with your ongoing project like getting debris on their property. And of course, while you’re at it, subtly ask them if they might need the same help and offer a free inspection or estimate.
This strategy works because you can come across as courteous and concerned about the community, instead of a sales-y door-to-door salesman.
If you get one more lead simply by letting your customer’s neighbor know about it, your customer’s lifetime value has increased.
Be Easy To Work With
This tip is intentionally vague. Simply because there are different ways to become easy to work with.
For example, you can offer flexible scheduling for asphalt projects in commercial areas to avoid interrupting daily operations. Or you can be available on different channels for easier contact. Or maybe you can work fast, without too much noise and mess, and with minimal supervision. The point is to make the whole operation from start to finish effortlessly for the customer, and of course, satisfy the customer’s needs.
By being easy to work with, you won’t be giving your customers a reason to pick anybody else next time they need your service, and more reason to refer you to their friends and family.
Lastly, Reward Repeat Customers
By following all the tips I’ve mentioned earlier, your customers’ lifetime value can dramatically increase and can result in getting repeat clients.
But what do you do when you once you get repeat clients?
Reward them by offering exclusive discounted rates or other offers/tokens to show appreciation for their loyalty to your business. This will not only make your customers feel appreciated and valued enough to work with you again for future projects, but it can also lead to them referring you to other people who can turn into new customers.
And this is what it’s all about. Having satisfied clients who wouldn’t work with anyone else but you, and letting other people know about it.
By increasing and maximizing your customers’ lifetime value, you can get more customers and grow your asphalt paving company at fraction of the amount you spend earning new customers through your marketing efforts.
But would you still want to learn how to get new clients and make your marketing efforts worth it?
Get in touch today and see how we can give your asphalt company a boost through online marketing!
Do you want to win more projects, increase your sales and keep your equipment and employees busy? Sure you do.
Did you know it takes on average 8 touches before someone will buy from you? Each touch point should help the prospect develop trust and confidence in your company. Creating 8 memorable touch points is a lot easier then you think and if you implement half of the list below you will be doing better then 80% of paving companies in your market.
Before we get into the details, you need to be measuring your “bid to project award ratio.” Since residential and commercial buying cycle are so different it’s a good idea to break these out into separate ratios. Ideally, you want to look at these once a month to keep a pulse on the trend,
Knowing what your average close rate will help you refine your process and become more efficient. Additionally, if you start closing more jobs, you can slowly increase your price while staying still competitive in the market.
Systemize Your Process
Implementing a process on how you send bids and follow up with bids will help with measuring your ratio. Having a documented standard operating procedure (SOP) will help you or your sales person follow this process on every estimate. Also, this SOP will help streamline the onboarding of new sales team members.
Sending Estimates and the Follow up
Following up after your email estimate will help win more projects. The key is to create a semi-automated follow-up system. I love using email sequences to help with the follow-up. I use Sendiable its great for low volume email funnels and it costs $29 a month.
Sendiable and similar services offer a few advantages over sending emails manually. First, after you setup the sequence its very fast to send out buds and follow up emails are sent automatically. Second, you can track open rates to see if people are opening your emails. Also, if you are putting links in your email, you can see who is clicking on your links. Finally, the reporting helps test and refine your email copy and sequence.
What an Email Sequence Looks Like
Creating an email sequence is straight forward and the goal is to keep in front of the customer, add value and build trust. Typical email sequences are 3-5 emails, you will want to test this and see which converts the best.
In the first email you want to include the estimate, a personalized message and link to a specific page on your website. Typically, you will want to send them to a page that has glowing customer testimonials, but you can also send them to a portfolio page, a copy current insurance policy. The website visit is really important, and I’ll get to this in a minute.
I call this the follow up email, because you are following up to make sure they received your email and to see if they have any questions. Again include a link to a specific page on your site make sure it’s to a different page than your first email.
The 3rd email you can ask about scheduling requirements and/or include links to any asset you haven’t used. Additionally, if your state requires you to be licensed you can include a link to state’s website which shows that you are in good standing.
The reference email is a little touchy. You don’t want a bunch of people calling your references and exhausting your good relationship. A simple email can help you get a sense on how serious someone is considering your company. Send them an email, asking if they would like a list of reference. IMPORTANT: Do NOT send them the list in this email. Only send them a list if they respond asking for the list. Those that request the list indicate they are seriously considering your company for the project. While those that don’t respond, are less interested in your paving services.
When someone visits your site, they’ll start seeing ads for your company on other sites while reading articles, listening to music, watching YouTube Videos or using Facebook. The important thing is the person must have visited your website for retargeting to work, thus why its super critical to include links in your emails.
Retargeting helps you stay in front of your prospective customer and builds brand recognition. It’s a good way to show case your past work as well as provide visibility of past customer reviews. Retargeting is very inexpensive. Typically, one paving project can pay for entire year of retargeting.
Offer a Warranty
Warranties provide customers good faith and build trust. Warranties minimize some of the risk a customer has when choosing your company for their parking lot and driveway. Create a warranty which is realistic, but has some value. You most likely will need to consult with an attorney to meet state guidelines. Once you have your warranty setup, make sure to include it with all of your estimate and on your website.
Follow Up Phone Calls
I always encourage you to follow up with a phone call on projects you didn’t win. This is good market research and will help you refine your estimating and follow up process.
The key is to find out why you didn’t win the job. The typical answer you will receive is “your price was too high”. Don’t be afraid to ask what price they paid, 80% of the time they will tell you.
If the price is substantial different, then you know the bids are not “apples to apples.” You might have recommended a full tear out and replacement because excessive alligator cracks, whereas the winning bid is just doing a 1” overlay.
If the pricing is line, but a few dollars less, you can use this data to adjust your estimates as needed. In these cases, it always good to ask if there was anything you could have done different to win the project. This will help you learn and refine your follow up process.
You will never win every estimate you send out, but having a follow up process in place will greatly help increase your bid to estimate ratio. If you need any help implementing or want free advice please to call or email and we can setup a time to chat.
Pavement Layers, Pavement Soft and most other asphalt/seal coating estimating software let you create a PDF estimate which you can use for your email sequence.
It’s no surprise.
With more than 560 million users, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media platforms for your marketing efforts.
However, your LinkedIn success relies not on peddling your service, but on “Social Selling.”
Social selling is building relationships online by answering questions and promoting engaging content to position yourself as an industry expert.
The more value you provide through posts or answers, the more you’ll establish yourself as an authority, which will lead to bigger rewards down the road.
Today, I’ll discuss the key aspects to work on to succeed with your LinkedIn marketing efforts and give you links to the best resources online to learn more about each section. Let’s get started.
Set Up Your Company’s Page
A well-written business page will help tell your company’s story. This might be the first interaction a person has with your company, so put your best foot forward to create a great first impression. Here are six items to help you stand out from your competitors:
1. Add a Professional-Looking Profile Image and Banner
2. Write a compelling “About US”
This is the hardest thing to do but focus on the person who is reading this section. This is a great blog post to help get you started.
3. Fill out all the fields you can.
4. Create a showcase page
Showcase pages are great for highlighting your past projects. You can create up to 10 free showcases pages, so create a page for every market segment you cover. If you do any specialty paving such as sports courts or running tracks, create a page for those, too. Check out this Guide on how to create Showcase Page
5. Collect and give endorsements.
Think of endorsements as mini-reviews; they help build credibility for your company. Ask other paving contractors you have a friendly relationship to endorse your company. Your vendors are a great source to give and get endorsements. Also, your current employees are an excellent resource for endorsements. Finally, past customers are the best endorsements you can get. Here’s a Guide on Endorsements
6. Post, Post, and Post some more.
Simple post in your showcase pages will help increase your visibility and keep you front and center of people who follow your showcases. The easiest thing to post is images, and a short write up about a project that you recently completed.
Setup Your Profile
Since you will be reaching out to property managers with your personal profile, make sure your profile is fully updated. You wouldn’t invite prospects to visit your physical office if it was a mess, so make sure you don’t invite them to visit your profile page without first cleaning things up. This guide from Smarp is a good starting point on setting up your personal profile.
LinkedIn groups are an essential tool for driving leads. They are full of likeminded buyers congregating in the same spot.
By joining these groups and establishing your presence and adding value, over time, you can position yourself as an expert in asphalt and parking lot management. Here are a few pointers when joining LinkedIn Groups:
1. Join the right group
LinkedIn Groups vary in quality. Search for property management groups, commercial real estate groups and HOA groups. You can also search for state and city-specific groups. Groups with a higher number of members are usually better, but this is not always the case.
2. Don’t Start Selling
People join these groups to network and find answers to problems they are having. No one wants to be sold to inside these groups. Besides, if it’s your first post, it’s a good way to get yourself removed from the group.
3. Add value where you can.
When someone asks a question about parking lot maintenance, paving, etc., jump in and try and be helpful. While the person asking the question might not be a good fit, someone else reading your response could be your next big client.
4. Be sociable, but keep it professional
It’s a social media network, after all, but you want to maintain a level of professionalism. Keep your messages positive, never talk bad about others, and take the high road if someone is trolling you.
4. Share Content
Share content which is relevant to the group. You can share someone else’s content, better yet share your content if it’s relevant to them. We’ll discuss more about creating content later.
Connect With Your Ideal Customer
Once you have your business and personal profile polished, its time to start connecting with potential buyers.
First, you need to have a clear grasp of who your target market is. Think of titles of people you have worked with in the past such as “property manager”, “director of facilities operations”, “director of maintenance” and use these for your advanced search.
Also, create a list of all the property management companies, HOA Management Companies, and commercial real estate agencies and use those for searches, too.
Don’t have a list yet? Contact me and I’ll build you one free of charge.
Tip: When you are viewing someone’s profile look at their “Interests” where there is a list of groups they belong to, which might be good for you, too.
Sending an InMail
When sending a connection request, you always want to send a custom message. People can spot spam from a mile away while a tailored message makes people feel special, giving you a better chance of having your request accepted.
Look for something you have in common, why you want to connect with them and what the benefit is for them. “The benefit” is you have some great articles which might help them with XYZ.
Just keep it short and to the point.
Once a person accepts your request, send a simple thank you note, but don’t make them regret it by trying to sell to them right away. Take your time delivering value through your content and they’ll come running to you when the need arises.
Tip: When trying to connect with people, make sure you do it from the person’s full profile page so you can create a custom message. If you try to connect from any other page, this option won’t be available to you.
Publishing content on Linked can help establish your expertise, but picking the right topic is key.
You’ll want to write content that is relevant to property managers but is about paving. For example, “Is Road Salt Shortening The Life of Your Parking Lot?” or “Does Selling My Parking Lot Extend Its Life?” or “5 Steps to Determining If Your Parking Lot is ADA Compliant.”
I would recommend publishing at least one post per month. If you’re not a writer, you can hire a writer on Upwork for $75-$100 per article.
Lastly, provide a clear Call to Action to finish off every content you publish. Offer a free phone consultation or Skype call to answer any questions or even ask them to leave a comment. This keeps them from being left hanging after a good read.
Regardless of how value-packed your content is, if no one reads it, everything will be put to waste.
GetResponse has a great guide on how to promote content on LinkedIn, you can read it here.
LinkedIn is a great way to expand your network, build your authority, and pick up new clients.
Like any marketing channel, it takes time before you can see significant results. But with consistent efforts in providing value and expanding your reach, LinkedIn can give you a continuous flow of clients over time.
A strong business reputation is essential in today’s marketplace. You have worked hard to deliver a quality product and its what sets your paving company from your competitors. Why does it even matter what people on the internet has to say about your business? You might be thinking, “This has no impact on your bottom line. Right?”
– No. Dangerously wrong.
Regardless of how great you think your company is, people turn to online reviews before hiring paving contractors. 86% of consumers read online reviews for local business. [Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey] A positive reputation helps customers trust company, increases visibility in Google and most importantly converts searchers into leads.
When was the last time you Googled your company’s name? I can assure you homeowners, HOAs, and property managers are. When making a significant investment, consumers will do their due diligence on your company before they write a check. Below are Google results for two paving companies. The one on the left is most likely having a hard time converting estimates into live jobs. The paving contractor on the right must be booked out for the entire season. Which one of these companies would you choose?
The names have been blurred out to protect each company.
Would you like to charge 15% more on your next bid? 68% of people are willing to pay more for the same service if they are sure they will have a pleasant experience with your company. [Source: Podium]
As the number of people writing reviews increases, consumers’ confidence in these reviews is increasing. 90% of people claimed positive reviews had influenced their buying decisions, and 86% said negative online reviews stopped them from hiring a company. [Source: Dimensional Research]
Building A Strong Online Reputation
While it might seem like a daunting task to start getting reviews, it’s not. You need a simple follow up program. Once the project is complete, follow up with the customer to make sure they are happy. If there are issues, have them addressed right away. Broken sprinkler head, fix it. If there is tack on the apron send someone over to clean it off. Regardless if they leave you a review, you want a happy customers, because reviews are great and so are referrals.
If the customer is happy with the job, ask them if they would leave a review. On average 2/3 of the people you ask will leave you a review [Source: BrightLocal]. Make it super easy and email them a link to the website you would like them to leave a review on.
Having a solid online reputation will help your company’s website visibility in Google search results, allow you to increase your price while still win more jobs and increase the value of your company.
If you need any help building your online reputation, feel free to call or email.
Let’s face it.
The asphalt paving industry is far from being an ‘exciting business’ for most people.
It can be boring, bland, and even complicated.
However, these are the same exact reasons why you shouldn’t shy away from using social media to promote your asphalt paving business.
When done right, not only can you let the world know how fun and meaningful your industry is, you can also make a name for yourself as a trusted asphalt paving company in your community and win more projects.
But how exactly can you effectively use social media to boost your brand? Let’s take a look at some of the tips you can use right away!
Devise a Plan
In order to succeed with social media marketing, you need to have a realistic and actionable plan to help you take deliberate steps instead of running around aimlessly. Here are a few things you can consider:
Pick an objective
What gets measured gets managed. That said, you must know exactly what you want to achieve through your efforts. Are you planning to gain more followers? Get more website visitors? Convert more leads? Pick a specific objective you want to accomplish and set a deadline to keep you on track.
Choose a channel
Not all social media platforms can work for you. For some, Facebook seems like an obvious choice, but for others, Instagram gets them closer to reaching their goals. If you’re not sure what would work, just pick one, test it, and move on to the next one if it doesn’t work. If you have the time, energy, and manpower, you can even try multiple platforms at the same time.
Choose a Posting Schedule
The time you publish your social media posts can affect its results. You may want to post in the morning when people still have the energy to read and see your post, or you may want to post it late in the afternoon when people are in a more relaxed state.
Curate High-Value Content
As mentioned earlier, the asphalt paving industry can be boring for most people. But by publishing engaging and valuable posts, you can pique their interest.
To quickly gain and keep their attention, you’d want to use photos and videos to your advantage. Try uploading interesting photos about your work or materials, uploading videos about how you mix or apply asphalt or seal coating, or even an infographic about different types of asphalt and their benefits. You can even do Facebook Live and show your team working on a project in real-time!
Whatever you choose to post, make sure it provides value in one way or another whether it’s entertainment, information, or even an enticing offer.
Monitor Your Competitors
Monitoring your competitors’ social media accounts can give you more insights as to what strategy is actually working or not. Check out the topics they are discussing, the types of photos and videos they are publishing, or even the channels they are using. The information you can gather can help you curate more relevant content that people are responding well to, or even execute the same strategies better.
Show Your Human Side
With social media, we can stop looking like a “faceless industrial company” and show our humanity. And this is how we can develop a stronger connection with our audiences, even when you’re primarily dealing with business owners or city governments. After all, the decision-makers are human, too.
You can do this by showing your staff having fun in the field or in the office, maybe explain some of your challenges, or tell the world a little bit more about you and your team. This gives your audience a sneak peek at what goes behind the scenes, and see what your company is really all about.
Repurpose Old Content
It’s only a matter of time before you run out of content ideas. But you don’t necessarily have to post something new and original. In fact, you can use some of your older posts for your new content.
Update some of your most useful content and publish it again. You can also create explainer videos using your previous infographic, or take before and after photos of projects you’ve previously shown. If you received questions from your previous content, create a new one answering them. Are they interested in the differences between types of asphalt? Want to learn more about seal coating? Or maybe they’d love to learn about repairing cracks and potholes in their driveway or parking lot.
By revisiting your old content, you can get new ideas for new ones that your audience will enjoy.
Tell Them What To Do Next
Regardless of how valuable, engaging, and compelling your content is, you will have a hard time making audiences do what you want them to do if you don’t ask.
Whether you’d want them to follow your page, like your post, leave a comment, share it with their friends, or visit your website, it’s important to ask them clearly what you want them to do.
Because admit it or not, people like to be lead by the hand, and having a clear call to action can help you achieve just that.
Use Hashtags or Mentions To Attract Attention
If you’re just starting out, only a few people would see what you have to say. Even if more people are interested in your brand, they haven’t seen your page just yet and don’t even know it exists.
To get around this, use hashtags (#) relevant to your industry and your post or mention (@) people or pages that have something to do with asphalt paving, construction, or whatnot.
For example, use hashtags like #asphalt or #asphaltpaving, and mention people and pages like asphalt product brands, city government officials, or even associations related to asphalt paving.
Of course, you can also use hashtags and mention people relevant to your community to reach people who are not currently looking at asphalt-relevant hashtags or brands and associations.
This gets you seen by people who don’t follow you yet but are following the tags you’ve used or the people you’ve mentioned.
Focus on Engagement
Last but not the least, is to use social media for what it is essentially, a platform for social interaction.
Focus on meaningful engagements and build a real connection with your audience. Use it as a way for your audience to get in touch with you and learn more about what you stand for.
And once you build a loyal following who supports and admires your brand, getting and closing leads will be a natural result.
Remember, you’re not just a ‘faceless industrial company’, you’re a part of the community you’re looking to serve. So act like one.
If you need help with using social media marketing as a way to grow your asphalt paving company, it pays to have someone who knows the in and out of the process and is familiar with advanced strategies to actually make it work.
Get in touch with me today and get started with your social media marketing campaign!
Gone are the days of using telephone directories for advertisement.
Marketing has become a lot more complicated than paying someone to include your company name on a yellow page and waiting for your phone to ring.
Now, everything is digital.
You can create your own website which can include all the information about your company that you wish to let people see, or even create a social media account to engage with your audience.
However, once you get the basics covered, you’d want to explore a marketing tool that you can use to promote your services to people who are actively searching for your service and something that can help you get results fast:
Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) is a paid online advertising tool that allows your business to be at the top of the search results when they search for your targeted keywords.
This type of advertising tool is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising because, with this method, you’ll only be charged every time a person clicks on your ad. Facebook Ads and Bing Ads are other examples of PPC but for this article, we’ll focus mainly on Google Ads.
Why You Should Start Using Google Ads
There are several benefits and advantages to using Google Ads to market your business online. But just to give you an idea, here are a few key factors that make them a great marketing tool:
It’s Fast – Compared to SEO which can take your website to the first page of the search results, Google Ads can take you to the first page at the click of a button.
It’s Highly Targeted – Google has access to tremendous amounts of user data. Not just their demographics or income levels, Google can now even identify where each person is in the buyer’s journey. And you can use this data to your advantage!
Meet People Who Are Looking For You – Depending on the keywords you use, you’ll be able to target people who are already actively looking for businesses like yours, instead of seeing a banner ad while they go about their day.
How Does It Work?
Google Ads work like an auction. You bid for a specific keyword or phrase so when people use these terms in their search query, your business will appear at the top.
However, there are also a lot of factors that can affect your results aside from the amount you’re willing to pay for every click.
Since Google makes revenue every time a user clicks an ad, it aims to show only the most relevant ad to the user.
That said, Google uses what they call “Quality Score” to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your highest bid, determine your ad rank against other bidders.
Quality control can be affected by multiple factors including:
- Your ad click-through rate
- Your keywords’ relevance
- Your ad copy’s relevance
- Your landing page’s relevance
- Historical performance
- And more.
How To Run A Successful Google Ads PPC Campaign
1. Know Your Budget
This is the first thing you’ll have to decide before starting your PPC Campaign. Of course, if you’re just starting out, you can have a small budget. But if you wish to scale, you’ll have to be able to invest money to earn money.
Ideally, asphalt paving contractors should have at least $1,000 a month for their ad spend budget.
The higher your budget is, the higher you can bid for more highly-targeted keywords, and the more clicks you can pay for.
In the end, it’s all about the return on investment. Even if you only get a few clicks and one asphalt paving project out of the $1,000 you spend, if it gives you a $5,000 in profit, you’re in a very good spot.
Over time, you should have a better grasp of your sales number on Google Ads and have an idea about the ideal budget that can bring significant results. You should consider your closing percentage, your average cost per click, conversion to lead percentage, as well as the average profit per project.
2. Identify Your Keywords
The success of your campaign heavily relies on choosing the right keywords. That said, it’s also one of the most technical aspects that can take a lot of practice to master.
To know which keywords to bid for, you’ll have to conduct extensive keyword research. There are a few tools you can use to accomplish this such as:
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
Once you’ve found several keywords you’d want to bid for, it’s important to group them accordingly with similar keywords.
Now that you have a few keywords you can choose from, you can group similar phrases together, and that will serve as your Ad Groups.
For example, you can have an ad group that consists of general asphalt paving terms like “asphalt company”, “asphalt contractors” or “asphalt pavers”.
Next, you can have an ad group that consists of general asphalt paving terms plus a geo-modifier, like “asphalt company Minneapolis” or “asphalt contractors “Chicago”.
You can also create ad groups based on the service that you are planning to offer like “asphalt paving”, “asphalt sealcoating”, or “Asphalt patching”.
There are several ways you can approach this, and mix and matching can help you identify a great fit based on your current goals.
Types of Keywords
In Google Ads, there are four main types of keywords you can use in your ad groups.
This is the bare minimum keyword you can use, like “asphalt paving company”. However, this type of keyword can be costly and highly ineffective. You’ll be better off using the three other options.
Broad Match Modifier – +Asphalt+Contractors+Minnesota
For broad match modifier ads, your ad will show up for any search queries that include all the keywords with a plus sign on it. They can contain a synonym or close variants of your keywords and can be in any order.
Phrase Match – “Asphalt Contractors Minnesota”
For phrase match, the ad will show up in any queries that contain the keywords in order but can include any other words before or after the term.
Exact Match – [Asphalt Contractors Minnesota]
For an exact match type of ad, the query must be exactly the same as the keyword or extremely similar variations, before your ad can be shown.
To cover all of your bases, you must use different types of search phrases in each ad group. For example, for one search phrase in an ad group, you can have:
“Asphalt Companies Minnesota”
[Asphalt Companies Minnesota]
“Asphalt Contractors Minnesota”
[Asphalt Contractors Minnesota]
While you should exert effort identifying your main keywords, you should also conduct research and identify keywords you don’t want your ads showing for.
This ensures that your ads will not be shown (and will not be clicked and charged to you) when people use certain keywords in their search.
For example, as an asphalt paving company, you wouldn’t want your ads to be shown for these irrelevant terms:
- Asphalt Supplier, Supplies, Reseller
- Jobs, Careers, Employment
- Craigslist, Home Depot
When people use these terms in addition to your keywords, it means they are not looking to avail of your service, and you wouldn’t want them clicking on your ad designed to target new customers.
Another term you can add as a negative keyword is your competitor’s business name. You wouldn’t want to show your ad to someone who already knows who to work with, and just looking for their contact information or website.
BUT, some more experienced marketers actively try to bid for their competitors’ names as their keywords, in the hopes of stealing their leads. This is an aggressive approach but you might want to leave this to the pros for now.
3. Set a Campaign
Now that you’ve identified your keywords and your budget, it’s time to set up your Google Ads Campaign. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take, and some general tips on how to do so:
Campaign Goal: Google Ads will ask for your campaign goal. Select “Leads” as the goal.
Campaign Type: Google will then ask for the campaign type. There are several types to choose from, but for this purpose and if you’re just starting out, select “Search”. This will allow you to show ads on Google’s main search results.
Title Your Campaign: You can decide whatever you want to call your campaign, but we suggest name it according to what your campaign is about. For example, if it’s all about asphalt paving for residential customers, name it “Asphalt Residential”.
Networks: This is where you’ll decide where your ads will be shown. Select “Search Network” to ensure your ads will only be shown when people search for terms relevant to your keywords. At the same time, make sure “Display Network” and “Include Google Search Partners” are unchecked since they are not as effective and can simply eat up your budget.
Locations: For an asphalt contractor servicing a certain area, this will be very important. This is where you can put your service area, be it a radius from a city, certain cities, or zip codes, and more. If you wish to exclude certain cities, you can do it, too.
Also, keep in mind that Google automatically selects an option that says “Target people in, or who show interest in, your target locations”. For your type of business, this wouldn’t be ideal since your ad will be shown to people in other states who search for your keywords – and they are most likely not going to convert.
That said, you should uncheck it, and select “People in your targeted locations”.
Budget: Since we’ve already identified your monthly ad spend budget, just divide it into 30 days to know how much you’re willing to spend each day.
Bidding: For bidding, you can select “manual bidding” to have maximum control over the campaign or you can choose “maximize conversions or target ROA”. We suggest using manual bidding so you can make your own choices based on the presented information.
Setting Up Your Text Ad
Setting up your text ad can require creativity and analytical thinking at the same time. There are many strategies you can try to see what works for you, but in the end, it’s all about testing every combination and making small changes along the way. Let’s take a quick look at the basic anatomy of your text ad:
Headlines: Your ad headlines are what will capture your audience’s attention. By using terms relevant or similar to their search query (your keywords), you can get better results. But that might not always be the best option.
Your text ad consists of up to three headlines where you can enter up to 30 characters each. You can use the first headline to state your main keyword, and the second headline to include trust components, numbers, or a call to action to get more clicks.
The third headline is fairly new and is displayed very infrequently so you can skip this for now, or just use it to support your headline 2.
Display URL: Display URL shows your website address. This section is in green, and it tells users where exactly they will land once they click your ad. Ideally, you’d want to have a custom, clear URL which also uses some of your keywords.
Description: This is where you can highlight the details about your service. Ideally, you should include a relevant call to action like “Get a FREE estimate” or “Get an instant quote”.
Using Ad Extensions
Ad extensions can greatly improve the chances of your ad to boost your clickthrough rate and succeed. There are several extensions you can choose from:
Location Extensions: This is the most important extension you can use as an asphalt contractor servicing a certain area.
This extension allows you to hook up your Google My Business page to your ad accounts. Not only will you be able to display your location and contact information, but it will also be shown in the 3 Pack of organic maps and above the number 1 ranked maps business.
This will show you your review starts which can be a strong social proof to gain credibility and trust.
Call Extensions: Call extensions are the easiest and most effective way to add phone numbers into your ads. This gives your prospect a way to call you directly (when using a mobile device) by simply tapping the call button.
Callout Extensions: Callout extensions gives you another shot to emphasize on the benefits or advantages of working with your asphalt company. You can add callouts at an account, campaign, or ad group level. Use this to display relevant information that can compel readers to click like using social proof, benefit-driven statements, or even let people know about different types of service you offer such as seal coating, pothole repairs, residential or commercial.
Sitelink Extensions: Sitelinks extension gives you the chance to include links to different parts of your website so they can go directly to the page that is relevant to their needs. You can use this to include a link for each of your service type. Alternatively, you can use it to showcase other pages like your About Page, Testimonials, and more.
Tracking Your Conversions
Without tracking your conversion rates, you won’t know if your ad campaigns are working or not, and if there are any changes you need to make. By tracking your conversions, you can measure your campaign’s ROI and help you decide your next steps.
There are 3 types of conversion tracking you can set up:
Contact Form Submissions: Add a conversion code on the thank you page which will show up after they submit.
Calls from Landing Page: This is when people click on your ads and goes to your website, then calls the number on your landing page. You can use Google’s call tracking numbers to help you set this up.
Ad Extension Calls: This is when people directly tap the call button on your ad, instead of going to your website first.
Regardless of how good your ads are and how many clicks you get, if they don’t convert once they reach your landing page, then it’s all for nothing.
Make sure that when people click your ad, they will be taken to a page that shows relevant information and a clear call to action, without any other distractions.
You can try different ways to format your landing page, but here are a couple of things you should always have on your landing page:
A clear, concise, and compelling headline
Your main keywords (can be included in the headline)
A short contact form (make it as short as possible)
The areas you service
Trust symbols like certifications and awards.
You want your landing page to be as straightforward as possible, without causing any distractions (like buttons that lead to other pages). You’d want them to call or submit their contact information and not browse around your website.
Additionally, make your site mobile-friendly to make sure every visitor, regardless of device, can have a good look at your landing page.
Monitoring Your Ad Campaign
Congratulations! You’ve just completely set up your first Google Ad.
However, the real challenge is not yet over. You need to consistently monitor how your ads are performing and make changes along the way. You will certainly go through a trial and error phase until you get the higher conversion rates at the lowest cost possible.
But once you get it right, you can do it again and again for as long as it works, and you can even scale up by increasing your budget and reaching more users.
And from there, you can step back and see your business grow more than you could have accomplished using other traditional marketing tools.
Google Ads is definitely an effective tool to reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers. When done right, this can be your ticket to success. However, there’s a steep learning curve and you will have to endure the trial and error phase before you get the hang of it.
Alternatively, you can also get help from a PPC Professional who knows exactly what to do to minimize your ad spending while maximizing your conversions. This will not only save you from the headache of running your own ads, it can lead to better results, too!
Then, you can focus on what you do best – providing great asphalt paving services to your customers.
Get in touch today to get help with your first or next Google Ad Campaign!
Facebook ads can be intimidating.
However, in today’s marketing landscape, Facebook Ads can be the key to your asphalt paving company’s growth. With more and more people using social media platforms as a way to connect with businesses and scouting for products and services they’d like to avail, not using Facebook Ads as a marketing tool is like leaving money on the table.
Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Here are a few tips you can try to effectively use Facebook Ads to market your business.
Install Facebook Pixel on Your Website
Pixel is a code you can place in the backend of your website, which you can use to track your website visitors’ actions. With this, you can use retargeting ads for people who visit your site but didn’t avail of your service.
This can be quite technical, but if you want to get accurate insights about your visitors and turn them into paying customers, you’d want to get this done.
There are tons of tutorials on how to install it on your site, but talking with your website developer would be a good idea.
Choose Your Ad Type
There are three main types of Facebook Ads you can use: Awareness, Leads, and Retargeting Ads.
You can use awareness ads to boost familiarity with your target audience. This is usually done for audiences who haven’t heard of you and/or aren’t actively looking for asphalt paving services. The purpose of this is for you to be on top of their mind once the need arises.
Second, you have the lead ads. This is where you turn audiences into paying customers. With this ad, you can make a direct offer, lead them to your website, and get them to work with you. As asphalt contractors, your business cannot be conducted online, so opt for lead ads to schedule a meeting with your prospect so you can see how you can help with their asphalt paving needs.
Finally, you have the retargeting ads which is where your Facebook Pixel comes into play. If someone has interacted with your website in any way before, you can show them ads that are relevant to them based on the actions they took on your site. This is a great tool to nudge customers who are still in the “deciding” phase to finally get in touch with you.
All of these ads are important, but picking the right ad based on your current goal can be a key factor in your success.
Create a Compelling Ad
A well-written ad copy can convince them to read the rest of your ad, but to stop them from scrolling in the first place, you need something that grabs their attention. Only then can you convince them to take action.
Images can help you catch their attention, but nowadays, people skim over images and you’ll be lucky if they spend even one second looking at it.
Videos, on the other hand, can stop them in their tracks and keep them engaged for a longer amount of time. When done right, you’ll be able to get your message across before they’re done watching your video.
Have you seen videos of people mixing paint, or creating a table out of resin, and other ‘satisfying videos’? You can do that by filming your crew applying a new asphalt, or spreading out seal coating, filling cracks and potholes, or even applying asphalt markings. Whatever you do, you need to catch their attention quickly and maintain it for the whole duration of your video.
Target The Right Audience
If you want to get the most out of your advertising budget, you must only show your ads to the right people. Otherwise, you’ll be spending your ad budget on people who is not, and never will be, interested in your offer.
Thankfully, Facebook has a robust targeting feature that you can use to identify audiences at a granular level. Use this to target people who are in your local area, who owns a property, or even based on their income level. There are tons of other filters you can use to narrow down your specific audience.
Create an Eye-Catching Landing Page
Once they click your ads and visit your website, they’ve already shown interest in what you have to offer. Don’t make them regret their decision by taking them to an old, scammy-looking, and slow responding website.
If possible, create a custom landing page for people who click on your ads. That way, you can have a more relevant message and offer to the ad they just clicked. Remember, asphalt paving is an investment, and they want to make sure they’re dealing with trustworthy people. Make sure your landing page conveys that.
Using Facebook Ads to promote your asphalt paving company can be challenging, but can also be very rewarding.
If you want to get all the benefits of running Facebook Ads but don’t want to deal with the technical aspect of it and risking failure and wasting money, you’d need help from an expert.
I can help! Get in touch with me today and see how your asphalt paving company can win more projects and close more leads through Facebook Advertising!
While obviously, we are big fans of using internet marketing to help grow your paving business. There a lot of low-cost ways to market your company. Here are some tips we have picked up from other business owners.
1. Mark all your equipment
While this might seem like a no-brainer, we run across companies all the time who don’t have their brand identity on all of their equipment. Yes, your skid steers, rollers, trucks, trailers etc should have at minimum, your logo, phone number and website on it. Driving to and from job sites your equipment is a rolling billboard.
2. Nearest Neighbor
If you do a lot of residential work, this one is for you. When you complete a job, place a door hanger on the 5 houses to the right and left of the job you just completed. You just introduced your company to 10 different people and they can quickly see the quality work that your company does.
3. Stake your Claim
This is good for residential work and parking lots. If most of your jobs take a couple of days, then place a couple of yards signs around the project. Just be sure to remove them when the project is complete. If you have to rope off areas to let seal coat cure make sure to include a small sign with your company contact information and the date when people can drive/walk on your work.
4. Refer a Friend
As you know referrals are the best way to build a business. With referrals, most of the preselling has been done by your previous customer. They should be rewarded for their efforts and loyalty to your company. You can reward them with a $20 gift card to Starbucks or a local restaurant. Whatever you choose as the reward make sure you market the program. You can include a short blurb in your email/printed newsletter, your email signature on invoices or any other written or verbal correspondence with a client.
5. Sponsorship of local schools and PTA.
As a parent of 2 elementary age children, my wife and I try to support the small business who help support our kids’ school. Small donations of $100 or less can get you exposure on the school’s website and at any special events. Most of the time these donations are tax deductible too. The key is to sponsor schools in the neighborhoods you want to do work in.
“I tried AdWords and Bing Ads, but never got any results.”
“100% waste of money! It doesn’t work.”
I talk with a lot of asphalt contractors from around the country and the common theme is that paid internet traffic is a waste of money. I beg to differ. In 2017 Google’s ad revenue was a little over $95 BILLION.
A well-managed campaign can keep your equipment busy and invoices going out, but a poorly managed campaign can cost more than it brings in. It all comes down to how much you know about AdWords and how smartly you can manage your campaigns.
In this post, I’ll point out some of the common mistakes people make with Google AdWords.
1. Sending people to your home page
Unless you are trying to promote your brand, the last page you want to send someone to is your homepage. People’s attention spans are short, so you want to send them to the page with as few distractions as possible.
The goal is to give the visitor enough information about the service they are looking for and multiple “call’s to action”. A well-designed landing page can convert at rate of 20%-30%, whereas sending someone to your homepage will convert in the single digits. Also, a landing page will help increase your quality score, which will lower your click cost, over time.
2. Setting it and forgetting it.
Consider running ads as a constant game of optimization. When you first start running ads, plan on spending at least an hour a day optimizing your campaign. You will want to look for keywords, which are not converting and remove those. Also, you will want to adjust your bids to boost converting keywords. Spend time analyzing the different networks and devices, see which ones are converting better than others.
3. Not Bidding on your competitors’ brand.
If your competitors have a solid brand (example: All Paving ) there is a good chance people are searching Google for “All Paving”. You can bid on those searches and get some really cheap clicks.
4. Poor Tracking
Many owners I have talked to don’t have a lead tracking system in place and have no idea if their ad campaign is creating a positive ROI on ad spend. You don’t need a fancy CRM, a simple spreadsheet will work. Track every lead that comes in, until its converts to a customer or proves to be a dead end. Track the revenue of each customer and once a month compare your ad spend to your revenue.
5. Not having a large enough budget
I have heard from owners who spend $100-$200 a month and get upset that their phone doesn’t ring and swear off AdWords. Just like sales, AdWords is a numbers game. The more people who see your ad the more phone calls you will receive. To give you an idea if you are targeting both flat work and asphalt plan on spending around $2K-$4K a month in a larger metro.
6. Not having realistic expectations
Let’s be clear, a city or state doing a major road project is not searching Google for a paving contractor, they have their bid list which they will reach out to. The same applies to the big home developers.
The kind of calls you can expect is from homeowners, HOA, and property managers.
7. Not having a sales process
I spoke to an owner who claimed that ever call he got from the internet where “tire kickers”. After some digging, I came to find out all he did was email quotes with ZERO follow up.
The phone calls you receive from AdWords, or even SEO is going to be cold traffic. In most cases the caller has never heard of your company before. You or your salesperson needs to sell the customer on why your company is the best company for the job. Follow up, follow up, until you get the job or they tell you to stop bugging them.
Google’s AdWords console is daunting for a beginner user. With all the buttons, checkboxes and fields it seems like you’re trying to send someone to Mars. The truth of the matter is running paid ads is complicated and takes time to learn how to run a profitable campaign.