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  • What's Your Internet Marketing Guru's Definition Of A Conversion?

    Posted by larrybloodworth on November 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Dear Group,

    If I hear one more SEO/SEM guru talk about “traffic” ,”clicks”, “visits”, or “being at the top of the organic listing” I’m going to puke. It’s total unadulterated meaningless hogwash to me.

    Here’s the deal: All I need to know about internet marketing is how is it going to make the phone ring, and once I find out, I’m going do a whole lot more of it. Right?

    That’s all we have to sell online is a free phone call. A phone call IS the definition of a conversion in our business. Yet most of these alleged internet gurus we pay, not only aren’t aware of that, they have no way of tracking it. We certainly can’t fix, diagnose, repair and collect online. If someone does, please let me know.

    In its simplest terms, internet marketing is telephone lead generation. A rookie marketer would know not to put a business’ regular phone number on their website, otherwise, how would they be able to tell that’s where the phone call came from? Duh…

    When we should be counting phone calls from our website, they remind us how wonderful they are every month by how many clicks and visits we’re getting. Sorry, this isn’t Amazon or Ebay; wrong metric. A phone call is a conversion, not a visit.

    I’ve discovered that if we’re at the very top of the search page results, our phone rings the most. It’s true. More importantly, I’ve found a way to tell when the phone rings, what keyword triggered the call.

    Over time, I found some keywords generated a lot of clicks, but no calls. Other keywords didn’t generate very many clicks but almost all of them resulted in calls. I never met an internet marketer that could tell me that.

    We average about 300 phone calls a month off our website. Some months are as high as 500. We know they come from our website because all the numbers are unlisted and are dedicated to only our website.

    We have dynamic phone numbers that get assigned to keywords we bid on in Google AdWords. When somebody searches for something we do, our ad shows. If they don’t click on our ad, it costs us nothing.

    If they click on our ad, we pay for the click whether they call us or not. 56% of them call us. Bottom line is it ends up costing us about $10 bucks a phone call whether we set an appointment or not. We set 75% of them.

    Is it worth it? We think so. All I can say is you better have somebody that is dang good on the phone or you’ll be flushing money down the drain. Don’t even begin to think about it if you don’t have somebody that hasn’t gone through some sort of professional phone training and knows how to set appointments.

    When they call, we know a lot more that just simple CallerID stuff. We know what pages they visited, what page they were on when they called, if they were on a desktop or a mobile device, and on and on. More information than we’ll ever need to know thanks to the JavaScript UTM string that’s attached to the URL of the dynamic phone number they dialed. –AND- the URL just so happens to be a hidden conversion page for Google Analytics so it’s automatically tracked in GA. Kiss the pad and pen by the phone goodbye.

    Since we started with Google AdWords and dynamic phone number tracking to see what’s making the phone ring, our gross revenue has tripled in less than 3 years with a 13% bottom line… after our $100K salaries. Impressed? Shocked the heck out me and the wife. And no, we’re not on some south sea island working 3 months a year. We still work full time 5 days a week at our business.

    I have nothing to sell; I’m just a shop owner like you. Perhaps with a bit more time. My wife does the website and I do the search engine thing. And no, we don’t know anybody that does this. Normal husband/wife dynamic duo and we don’t do this for hire. Everything you need to know can be found either on the Google Business Channel or Google Analytics Channel on YouTube or in the AdWords help section of AdWords. That’s how we learned. It’s not hard, it just takes time.

    You can Google “call tracking” or “dynamic phone numbers” or” keyword tracking” to get the name of a company that can get you tracking phone numbers. Before somebody asks… We spend less than $4K/mo. for everything. Google PPC, call tracking, etc.

    My wife and I both feel if we were to quit investing the money in our online marketing efforts, our business would immediately drop 50% because people could not find us.

    After reading Gary in Florida’s hard luck story about not even being able to get so much as a HOME PAGE in 10 months, I had to vent. I’m off to my next thread…

    camarillo2 replied 9 years, 8 months ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
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  • dougfentiman

    Member
    June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Some very good points about paid ads Larry. The disturbing part is that no one has payed any attention to your post in over six months…

    Larry Bloodworth wrote:

    > If I hear one more SEO/SEM guru talk about “traffic” ,”clicks”, “visits”, or “being at the top of the organic listing” I’m going to puke. It’s total unadulterated meaningless hogwash to me.

    Bang on! And it should be hogwash to everyone. Sadly SEO has been overrun with scam artists and has got a very bad name. As you said traffic without conversion is worthless. I recently saw a comment in one of the SEO “specialists” forums from an unscrupulous SEO provider who was bragging about charging some naive soul $1000/month for SEO and all he was doing was posting a couple of bogus ads on some Groupon knockoff deal-of-the-day website. The ads almost instantly increased website hits 100 fold and the website owner was thrilled. Probably cost him at least a few grand before he figured out the hits were worthless.

    The other one that drives me nuts is their “top position” guarantees. When they phone me, yes they even phone me, I usually have some fun and ask them for what keywords their guarantee applies to. Most say your business name. It is a sad website indeed that won’t rank for top spot on the businesses name. Even worse some of them don’t even understand my question…

    Larry Bloodworth wrote:

    “A phone call IS the definition of a conversion in our business.”

    I can’t agree with you more. But don’t discount inquiries from your website contact form or estimate form as a conversion. Sure email adds another step or two to the contact process, but if you handle them correctly email leads will result in a connection through the phone.

    One caution about using tracking phone numbers on your website. Since search engines are now placing great emphasis on your business “citation” (your business name, address, and phone number) for website ranking, using more than one phone number consistently throughout your website (or anywhere on the web) will seriously harm your website search ranking. Tracking numbers should NOT be used on any website that is aimed at organic search. Tracking phone numbers should ONLY be used on ad landing pages which are blocked from indexing by search engines.

    If I am not mistaken you are using separate landing pages for your Google ads on which each have a different phone tracking number. This is the best way to do it. And to prevent harming your SEO these pages should all use a noindex directive for search engines (both on the page and in a robots.txt file) so search engines will ignore the association between your business name and the different tracking numbers. The other method to hide tracking numbers from search engines is to place them in a graphic image (picture) which is displayed on the page. People don’t know the difference and search engines can’t “read” the number on the image (yet…)

    So What Is A Website Good For?

    I too have been questioning the value of websites for pure search marketing. I forecast that very soon websites will play a very different role in small service business marketing (auto repair included). I feel auto repair search marketing will have three essential parts: 1) a company website to communicate who you are and the “benefits” you offer (not just a list of services…); 2) public reviews (e.g. Google Reviews) to create the trust people need (want) to see before doing business with you; 3) and paid ads from Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter to attract your new customers.

    Like a three leg chair, if any one “leg” is weak, the chair will not “perform” as it could. So to answer my question of what a website is good for, your website should provide the background and details about you that people want to know. Your website is your brand evangelist and the only content and SEO needed is to support your business name (brand). Once your website is setup correctly you won’t need to spend on expensive organic search SEO. All your website needs to rank for is your business name.

    Search engines, especially Google, are rapidly and radically changing how they rank and position websites (yes the spammers and con artists are spoiling the web. Oh, and don’t forget the greed of search engines ;-). With search engine’s growing emphasis on keyword focused website content and off website SEO for search ranking the average small business will find it increasingly difficult to afford the expense of getting AND maintaining the top search positions required to attract new customers with organic search. In comparison paid ads will be the only way to get the results you need. And if you like conspiracy theories maybe that is Google’s plan… since they do make the bulk of their profits from their paid ad networks…

    At first glance Google AdWords looks expensive. But if you nail down the lifetime value of a new customer, and what it costs to attract each customer, it makes spending on these ads so much easier. There are a number of shops here on the forum that are experiencing great success all thanks to paid ads. Its sad that more people aren’t investigating their use.

  • SpencersAuto

    Member
    June 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Doug Fentiman wrote:

    > Some very good points about paid ads Larry. The disturbing part is that no one has payed any attention to your post in over six months…

    >

    There were(and still are) some good points but I mainly wanted to comment on the over six months. That is sad and it would be nice if things were more active here.

    I’ll comment on some of your other comments soon.

    Enjoy

  • larrybloodworth

    Member
    June 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I know what you mean. I just came back from a marketing symposium in Monterey, CA. and I was surprised only about 50 people were there.

    Of course a marketing guru was there and discredited what I had to say. He came right out and said there’s no way to know what keyword triggers a phone call. More hogwash.

    Everytime our phone rings from somebody clicking on our PPC ad on Bing, Yahoo, or Google, I know not only the keyword, but also the search term, and all the other data contained in the ?UTM JavaScript tag that’s on the tail end of the URL. Additionally, the CallerID data as well as the phone call itself is recorded and logged.

    This guy charges $5K for a website and $300/mo. web hosting makes it sound like he’s good. It’s sad to see stuff like that. The SEO/SEM field didn’t exist in the 90’s and now it’s a multi-billion dollar business.

    As a business owner, it’s my job to make the phone ring and people comee in the door. That includes SEO/SEM. As an update to what I posted 6 months ago, we now spend $5K/mo. on our online efforts.

    We’re on track to do $1.5M in sales this year out of our 4-bay shop. A large part of that is due to our online marketing activities.

  • SpencersAuto

    Member
    June 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Doug Fentiman wrote:

    > So What Is A Website Good For?

    >

    > I too have been questioning the value of websites for pure search marketing. I forecast that very soon websites will play a very different role in small service business marketing (auto repair included). I feel auto repair search marketing will have three essential parts: 1) a company website to communicate who you are and the “benefits” you offer (not just a list of services…); 2) public reviews (e.g. Google Reviews) to create the trust people need (want) to see before doing business with you; 3) and paid ads from Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter to attract your new customers.

    >

    I wanted to bring to attention your #2 “public reviews”. I am starting to see an issue with this. You mention below spammers and what I am seeing is on two sides of this. It may once exposed make this worthless to the educated consumer.

    > Like a three leg chair, if any one “leg” is weak, the chair will not “perform” as it could. So to answer my question of what a website is good for, your website should provide the background and details about you that people want to know. Your website is your brand evangelist and the only content and SEO needed is to support your business name (brand). Once your website is setup correctly you won’t need to spend on expensive organic search SEO. All your website needs to rank for is your business name.

    >

    > Search engines, especially Google, are rapidly and radically changing how they rank and position websites (yes the spammers and con artists are spoiling the web. Oh, and don’t forget the greed of search engines . With search engine’s growing emphasis on keyword focused website content and off website SEO for search ranking the average small business will find it increasingly difficult to afford the expense of getting AND maintaining the top search positions required to attract new customers with organic search. In comparison paid ads will be the only way to get the results you need. And if you like conspiracy theories maybe that is Google’s plan… since they do make the bulk of their profits from their paid ad networks…

    >

    Above you mention spammers. I have witnessed three businesses attacked by bad reviews by people that have not used the services of the place they are reviewing.

    Next in one week I am received two calls from two different services that monitor a company’s reviews and pumps them up (for a fee) with good reviews when a poor review is posted and/or it’s been a certian length of time since your last review.

    My wife and I have started to put a lot less weight on reviews in light of what I just mention. How sad…

    > At first glance Google AdWords looks expensive. But if you nail down the lifetime value of a new customer, and what it costs to attract each customer, it makes spending on these ads so much easier. There are a number of shops here on the forum that are experiencing great success all thanks to paid ads. Its sad that more people aren’t investigating their use.

    It came to mind when I read your post and felt the need to share my thoughts.

    Spence

  • dougfentiman

    Member
    October 4, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Spencer deCordre wrote:

    > Above you mention spammers. I have witnessed three businesses attacked by bad reviews by people that have not used the services of the place they are reviewing.

    >

    > Next in one week I am received two calls from two different services that monitor a company’s reviews and pumps them up (for a fee) with good reviews when a poor review is posted and/or it’s been a certian length of time since your last review.

    >

    > My wife and I have started to put a lot less weight on reviews in light of what I just mention. How sad…

    >

    Google and other review websites are getting better at weeding out the bogus reviews so don’t get discouraged. The worst thing you can do is ignore your online reputation! You can’t control what people say about you but you CAN control how YOU respond.

    Any business will have the odd service failure and if you get nailed with a poor review you can turn it into a positive by showing that you are human and how you back up your work. A business with nothing but 5 star ratings looks suspicious… No one expects you to be perfect. What they want to know is HOW you will act IF something goes wrong! That is called trust building.

  • dougfentiman

    Member
    October 4, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Larry Bloodworth wrote:

    > I know what you mean. I just came back from a marketing symposium in Monterey, CA. and I was surprised only about 50 people were there.

    From my experience marketing is “the” weakest point in most small businesses. Especially in the service industries. They seem to view marketing as an “expense” rather than a profit center…

    > This guy charges $5K for a website and $300/mo. web hosting makes it sound like he’s good. It’s sad to see stuff like that. The SEO/SEM field didn’t exist in the 90’s and now it’s a multi-billion dollar business.

    Depends on what you get for that amount. $5K is not a lot in many non-auto repair website development projects I have worked on. $300 is high for “hosting”, but if it includes web hosting, email server hosting, CMS maintenance and security updates, plus ongoing SEO and website optimization it could be viewed as a good deal. Website ‘packages’ are apples and oranges and really need close, fair comparison.

    > As a business owner, it’s my job to make the phone ring and people comee in the door.

    I wish more shop owners had this attitude. Most are too busy “in the shop” rather than running the ‘business’. No wonder most struggle to show a profit… If they were “businessmen” they would be in their office with the door closed figuring out how to get more customers in the door. That is their true responsibility.

    > That includes SEO/SEM. As an update to what I posted 6 months ago, we now spend $5K/mo. on our online efforts.

    > We’re on track to do $1.5M in sales this year out of our 4-bay shop. A large part of that is due to our online marketing activities.

    Impressive results! SEO/SEM is do-able on your own but does take time to learn. Shop owners are notorious for having a DIY mentality and I wonder if they would be better off hiring out their marketing and focusing on shop management, customer relations, and driving their referral business. Keeping your customers is much cheaper than finding new ones… (Although shops with high customer turnovers, like transmission shops, rely on a steady stream of new customers.)

  • camarillo2

    Member
    October 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Mr. Bloodworth…. you da man.

  • camarillo2

    Member
    October 23, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Hi Doug, Do you work with clients toward the goal of improved page rankings, or do do you instead guide them with Google Ads, and other subscription approaches to drawing in business using the internet?