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The Magic Bullet for Phone Calls?

Does it exist? The Magic Bullet to get more phone calls?

 

Every year, new water damage companies and young new water damage company owners emerge and try to discover that magic bullet to get more phone calls. The “one” thing they could do to get the leg-up on the competition. I see them asking this question weekly in the Water Damage online forums and when you talk to them at the trade shows.

 

The issue is: There is no magic bullet. There never was and there never will be. Not in this business or any other for that matter.

 

New water damage company owners will soon learn what the older, more experienced owners know: You have to build a business the old-fashioned way. You have to develop relationships, find and stabilize various different types of marketing lines and advertising lines, change with the times and  technology to not get pigeon-holed into old unworkable advertising sources (phone books, etc.) and of course, do good by your customers. I always tell the newer busines owners to get that get-rich-quick garbage out of their heads as fast as possible as it is clouding what they really need to do.

 

Young guys, ask the older guys out there, what do you do that really gets you the new business? First, if they tell you (why would they train their future competition?), you’ll find out that they do many different sources of generating new business. They do SEO, Pay-Per-Click, some still do phone books, networking and building relationships with insurance companies and Insurance adjusters, networking with plumbing houses, paying lead generation companies and other business development activities. Some even buy into Franchises just to get that business that comes from being part of a big Franchise group.

 

So mentally, get set up for the long-hauls, the relationship build, the one by one customer building that needs to inevitably happen. Don’t shortcut it. We’re one of the oldest water damage marketing companies out here, believe me, we’ve seen what happens to the guys that shortcut this process. They don’t last long.

Sincerely,

 

Dan York

www.water-damage-marketing.com

 

How Do I Get More Google Reviews For My Water Damage Business?

Anyone who has been in business for a long time knows this fact: Your satisfied clients rarely (without prompting) write positive reviews about your business.   But then there’s that one nasty client who you probably shouldn’t have sold in the first place, who will slam you all over every review site he can, starting with leaving a good ole’ Google Review, which is one of the most viewed on the internet for local businesses.

We’re not really talking about the subject of Marketing when we talk about Google Reviews, we’re talking more about the subject of Public Relations – How people perceive your company,  your public image.

Let’s also confront the fact that we all use these reviews personally, even though we all sort of know that out of all of the reviewers, that one scathing review was probably one of those guys who is never happy with anything. We all view them and “average out” the number of stars or reviews on Google, Yelp, Merchant Circle, etc. So this is a subject that needs to be understood and controlled by us. If you leave this one to chance, you’ll look bad.

I  was working with a Cosmetics Dentist once, a good one at that, who never spent any time on his internet marketing or presence at all. He had 1 positive Google review and then one psychotic client of his just lambasted him on Google Reviews. So he looked 50/50, one good, one bad. Now, in that there is only 2 reviews, this will give people pause when future potential clients are checking him out (97% of all people will check out the reputation of a service they are going to use online PRIOR to even calling or using them).  This would not have occurred if he had 38 4-5 star reviews and one 1 star review.

So, we have to put this under our control. Luckily this is simple.

There are several ways we can do this:

First, let’s email them. If you’re not collecting your clients email addresses, you should be, so this assumes that you are.

1. Go onto your company’s Google Map listing/Google Plus page.

2. Go to the About Tab, you’ll see your reviews to the right.

3.  Copy the full Address in the address bar of your browser into an email.

4. Send this link, with very, very short and clear directions on selecting “write a review”, asking them politely to do so.

So easy. Do not make it complicated, it must be able to be done by your clients in 5 minutes or less, otherwise they will not do it, and not because they do not like you, but because they are busy people. Do not underestimate the shortness of people’s attention span these days. Always politely appeal to their satisfaction with your company in asking them to take 5 minutes to write a positive review.

 

Now, if you have an office, such  as a Dentist or Chiropractor you would:

1. At reception, set up a computer.

2. When a client is finished with their service, after they have paid and set their next appt. with reception, reception will ask them, at this computer, to please log into their Google account and leave a positive review.

3. Once again, it has to be fast or else it will not get done. So, make sure there is a browser already open, a fast one like Chrome. Then make sure that Google is open so they can quickly log into their account.

 

You can come up with many ideas on how to get this done, it is not complicated, it is more that people just don’t do it. You could also do this for Yelp, Merchant Circle or any other major Reviews Site.

 

It may seem like a simple, maybe unnecessary thing to do for your “PR”, but ask your clients how often they read these reviews on Amazon before buying, ask your husband or wife how often they read these kinds of reviews before going to a restaurant.  The answers to those questions should re-adjust your view on the importance of spending some time getting some good reviews.

 

Sincerely,

Dan York

 

 

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How Long Does it Take for SEO to Work?

How Long Does it Take for SEO to Work?

Look, this is a tricky question and anyone in this business will tell you that. But, here is the short and quick answer: 3-6 months…ish.

 

Answering that question is like answering this question from a homeowner, “How much will this water damage restoration job cost?” It’s hard to answer that until you assess all of the damage. There a lot of variables there to look at, walls to open up, etc. What we do is similar. Most of our clients have used 4-5 SEO companies prior to us, some of which have done some very damaging things to their website and online reputation that need to be repaired. This of course adds time to what you’ll need to get your SEO program working.

 

Again, there are many variables to understand why the estimates for time it takes for SEO to work are so varied, but here a few things we look at when assessing the time it takes to get something done right:

  • Damage done to your website
  • Damage done to your online reputation
  • Bad SEO techniques that needs to be corrected on and off of your website
  • Regional differences such as weather conditions. Etc.
  • Local populations
  • Local Competition
  • Is your website new? Old?

That’s just a handlful. But even answering just those can get us some sort of reasonable estimate of time to get an SEO program working.

 

We had a client once that took us 9 months to even get him up and making money. That’s a pretty long leap of faith for a new client with no previous relationship to trust in.  He’d had a lot of bad SEO in his history. But, once we got it all corrected for the long haul, we nailed it. We are now one of his top sources of income for the last 6 years.

 

And as some friendly advice, don’t do shortcuts. If you do, you’ll make less money at some point, I promise.

 

Remember this, it’s important:  SEO marketing programs are yours, you own them. It is a long term marketing strategy for you. This is where people who aren’t calling their insurance companies are going to find you, so it is 100% worth your time and investment. This adds value to your company whereas other short-term marketing programs do not.  SEO is a vital part of your marketing strategy today, do not underestimate it or under-invest in it.

 

You’ve all been in the homeowner’s house where the last restoration guy did a terrible job that you now have to fix. Our business is similar. We see those “half-assed” jobs all the time. We’ve fixed hundreds of them.

 

So in closing, you can see why there are so many variables as to how long it takes to get an SEO program working, every case is and should be viewed and assessed individually, not lumped into every other project someone has priced out.

 

But again, you can expect reasonable results anywhere from 3-6 months if done well and no serious damage control is needed.

 

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.water-damage-marketing.com

 

How to Lead your area in Water Damage Restoration, not be a competitor

Tired of competing? Want to dominate? Then listen up.

I get calls every week from guys that all they talk about is their competitors and what they are doing. The funny thing is that they are usually paying attention to some mid-level company and competing with them. They’re not even someone really worth paying attention to.

As I’ve said before, I’ve talked with hundreds of companies in this industry from across the US and Canada and Europe. I know who the market dominators are (my clients!).

Here’s some tips on how to dominate your market:

 

  • Stop comparing your self to mediocre companies. Change your mindset and raise your goals and look at the biggest companies in your area – the ones who are really winning and making money. The ones you see everywhere.
  • Quit getting all worked up looking at “that other guy’s website.” Who cares, unless of course he is the market leader, then you can look away!
  • Stop doing things “your friend” says work in another state or country. In this business, you have to market this differently in every region of the country, especially on the internet.
  • Go logically where the demographics are for the business: The elderly, put a nice ad in the phonebook (they’re cheap now!), 20’s through the 60 year olds – Google/the internet – use us, referrals – network the insurance companies, plumbers and property mgmt groups, etc.
  • If you’re not a big franchise, don’t try to be. Carve out your niche of  “the local  company”, people still love that and some market leaders do better than the franchises doing just that.  Stick a nice big picture of your wife and kids on your website while you’re at it.
  • Above all, don’t be a burn and churn operation. Too many people, especially the newcomers, are too short sighted in this business. Do a great job, treat your customers with respect, help them do the insurance filing, etc. That’s the real stuff that will grow you stably. Plus those are the people who write a testimonial for you on your website or Google Maps and remember that 97% of internet users will check you out online prior to ever calling you. If you have 0 history of testimonials or ratings online, or worse, bad reviews, that will kill your call volume.

One other point to remember to dominate a market. We frequently see people doing things recommended by what we call “A Maven”. A Maven is a so-called “expert.” He’s the guy who gives his “expert” advice to you about what you should do. I learned this word in the car business growing up.  He is the guy who goes along with his girlfriend’s friend to go car shopping and is the “expert” and “helps” her get a good deal on the car (or blows the deal altogether). Forget these Mavens or “experts”. Stop listening and only look, talk is cheap. Getting advice on what “works”? Does it? I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen the Maven give their “expert” advice only to make their “friend” less money as a result. Work with real professionals, ones that do  it for a living. The ones that are big and winning. Get advice from mediocrity, get mediocrity. Get advice from a small-timer, become small time. You won’t see me doing my own taxes, I hire great accountants for that. I don’t get Maven advice on my taxes.

Here’s to your success and market domination!

Sincerely,

Dan York

CEO and Founder

www.water-damage-marketing.com

Water Damage Lead Generation vs Us, what’s the difference?

So, we all know that you get emails and phone calls from us and other water damage marketing companies that sell leads. I know this can be confusing, so let‘s clear it all up so it isn’t confusing.

What is the difference between us and a lead generating company? Quite a few.

Are you all the same? Not at all.

Are there different benefits to using us vs. a Lead Generator? Absolutely.

I’ll make this fast and simple to understand:

Lead Gen Companies: Use a Pay-Per-Click (Google Ads in other words) lead generation system to get the phone calls they sell to you.

Us: We use Google’s natural search results & map rankings – the modern day phone book.

Lead Gen Companies: Is a short-term-goal marketing method to get phone calls now.  It has no long term effects, once you turn it off it is off. It does not build long-term value for your business, it gets you the quick buck.

Us: We create long-term marketing programs which result in increased calls to your business as well as an increased overall value to your company as well as branding your name in your customer’s mind. This is very important if you ever want to sell your business to investors or anyone else. They’ll want to know what kind of REAL established marketing channels you’ve got. Lead Generation that can be turned off at any time, doesn’t achieve this. Investors won’t be impressed.

Lead Gen Companies: Charge you from $175-400 per call or even 10-30% of the gross of the job. Sometime they charge setup costs.

Us: We charge a monthly fee for our service, no per-call charges at all, whether good or bad calls and no set-up fees.

Lead Gen Companies: If you get a bad lead/phone call, you have to contact the company to request to not pay for that bad lead.

Us: If you get a bad phone call with our service, just hang up. It doesn’t matter. You’re not paying per call. Move on with your life.

There are other differences, but these are the primary ones for you to understand. Now, I am often asked which should I do? Or what other types of marketing should I do?

My answer is always the same:

“If it grows your business and builds value for your business, you should do it all. There is no one-trick-pony in the business world.”

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.water-damage-marketing.com

Stressed out in your company? Want to know why?

The Water Damage business has all of the usual stresses as any business would -the seasonal ups and downs, competition,  dealing with insurance companies and plumbers, etc.

However, when we examine the real sources of stress, we find that stress comes from places, not just “anywhere” or “nowhere” as in saying, “It’s just been a stressful week.”

Stress comes from specific things. Here’s the top 3 sources of stress you’ll run into that limits your ability to succeed:

 

“I’m in it to win it”/“I’m all in.” These are my favorite phrases about being an entrepreneur. It tells you the difference between a successful guy and an unsuccessful guy. If you’re not committed to what you’re doing, mentally and time-wise, things will always be unstable for you and “stressful”. Imagine how unstable your marriage would be if you told your wife “I’m in, unless you…” or “I’m just testing the waters on this marriage.” That will never work and certainly won’t make a successful marriage. In your vows you say, “til’ death do us part and in sickness and health”. In your business it is no different. If you’re not committed to what you’re doing, slow season or not, you will make less money and have stress – you won’t expand. Think about it, do you have any back-off on committing to your business? Do you second guess your commitment to its success? If you do, you will always have problems. Commit. Be “in it to win it” and go “all in.” 

 

 

The wrong people.  The wrong people in your company cause stress. Who do you spend most of your time dealing with in your office? Who’s the one that makes you tired? I’ll bet it is one person. Look for the chronic gossiper, the passive-aggressive person, or the one that gives you the most problems to solve (instead of them solving them). An employee should take duties off of your plate and save you time, not add time and duties to your job. If they are doing that what are you paying them for? Those types of people make things harder for everyone, not just you. Try to hire very positive people and surround yourself with them and your life will be much less stressful. Don’t be fooled by “actors” though,  if something seems off with them, it is. Some people appear positive and they are not when the honeymoon is over. Trust your instinct here.

 

 

3. Lack of prediction and marketing. Too little too late is the phrase you need to remember here. You have slow seasons. That’s a fact you have to deal with. You have new competition every year. Fact. You have to be on the ball, think about when the slow seasons are coming, what you have to do to get above the competition. Want to know the wrong thing to do when slow season rolls around? Cut your marketing budget because it slow. That will collapse your company eventually, I see it every year. What you should be doing is forecasting the next three months, get your marketing going early so that when the slow season rolls around, you’ll be getting the smaller amounts of calls that are available in that season. Then when the heavy season come around, you’re at the top and really winning big.

 

Stress and worry are useless in winning. Use these points above and eradicate your sources of stress.

 

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.water-damage-marketing.com

How to win it like the big guys…

You know, I really don’t even have to tell you what the “big guys” do, because you already know it. You see it all the time. I’ll explain later in the article.

You have to understand this first: This is a very unsuccessful train of thought for a business owner, “Where do I save money, where do I save the pennies, where do I skim some $?”

Ok, ok…I know we all learn to be frugal and everyone, everywhere, says this is a smart thing for us all to do right? WRONG. That is small-time thinking. No big, successful company owners do that. Now, I’m not saying be stupid with your money and of course there are circumstances that warrant penny pinching.  But, if a big company owner is thinking this, he’s already in trouble – if you’re thinking this, you’re probably in trouble.  The truth is that no matter the reason, lack of foresight and action in some capacity can lead you to that train of thought. 

So, how to win like the big guys?

 

Get into stuff and BE EVERYWHERE. They are.

They are busy as hell getting themselves into stuff – Getting in front of everybody they can, every way they can. They are always looking for the new way, and the old way, too, if it works. And luckily, they are not all expensive either. My company gets calls from people simply because their competitor in the neighborhood literally showed up everywhere, and somehow they find out it’s us.

 

Here’s why this really works:

When you’re busy “getting into stuff”, you notice that you are reaching out for new people.  OUT.

When you’re penny pinching and saving, you’re moving into your company, not out into the environment where more money is.  IN.

Your time is better spent reaching OUT, not IN. Let the Treasury manager handle the saving of the money.

Big company owners are reaching OUT into the environment all the time. And they make the money.

The small guys are IN the company, saving money, but not making it.

 

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.water-damage-marketing.com

Are you right for our company? Are we right for you?

How do you know if we are right for your company? We claim to be one of the first, most experienced and effective online water damage marketing companies in the world right? Does that mean we are right for you? Maybe not. Sometimes we straight-up turn down clients to work with us, so let’s see if we’re a match or not:

Our sole focus is how to increase your revenues. That’s it. But anyone who is anyone in business knows that there are no guarantees in marketing and it takes the client, together with us, to make a successful team to make a high-revenue generating program.

Does everyone generate revenue with us? Nope. On average our clients can make a 5-10x average ROI, some stars way, way higher. A lot of our clients would never consider leaving us.

So, who are the guys that are a perfect match to work with us? What do they have in common? Here is what we’ve found:

  1. Persistence. The most successful guys know nothing comes easy, they are persistent and don’t give up along the way when the going gets tough. They don’t “company bounce” from service to service. They’re in it to win it.
  2. They buy value, not low prices. You won’t hear them say things like, “this other guy’s prices are cheaper” or “you’re too expensive.” They ask questions like, “why are your prices more expensive?” or “Can you guys actually help me grow my marketing results?” They understand that you get what you pay for.
  3. They want a valued partner. They aren’t looking for “just anyone” to work with, which could be anyone from India or any other country that does internet marketing, they want someone who actually knows what they are doing and they don’t waste time. Cheap and exported wastes time, time is money, they know that. 
  4. They want to stay on the cutting edge of marketing. Anyone who is stuck in the phone book days and just is in it to “try it to see if it works” generally gives up too soon to reap the benefits of it working. But take the 30 year old who grew up in the internet generation and knows that’s how everyone is looking these days? He kills it, great ROI. Simple viewpoint differences.
  5. They know there is no 1-trick-pony in marketing. The best guys use us to accentuate the other 4-5 great marketing campaigns they have going, they don’t ONLY depend on that. No experienced business owner depends on 1 marketing program and expects to really make a big business.

That’s the bottom line to know if we’re a good fit for each other. Some guys, well, it is feast or famine.  When asked what their plans are for the slow season: they don’t have one.  Their true plan is to just stress out until busy season comes around, maybe blame other people or things for their company’s slowness.  This is a losing attitude, no marketing company can help that company.  No one ever wins a race by dragging their feet, and let’s face it, when it comes to water damage it is a race to be the one called first.

Dan York

Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

How to Hire the Right Marketing Person to Expand Your Water Damage Company

 

Would you spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising and then hire a rude receptionist who treats those customers who respond like crap?

Of course you wouldn’t. It’s a waste of money. 

So, why would you hire the wrong type of marketing person?  

9 out of 10 times a person comes to me asking about why their business is failing, I track it back to a lack of marketing or a marking person who isn’t doing the job. 

Remember this: A good marketing person expands your company. If your company is not expanding, they are not doing their job. 

So, how do you hire the right person for the marketing job, on the 1st try?

Here’s some tips on how: 

 

1. “Experience” & Degrees. This is over-valued these days.  Don’t think that because someone has 15 years of experience and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing that they will do a good job. Only increased business tells the tell. Ask them, “How have you increased the size of the companies that you’ve worked for?” in many different ways. The good ones will know that or measure that…” Talk is cheap, SHOW ME.

 

2. Can-do personalities. Good marketing people always find a way. They don’t need much help or intervention. They “Can-Do.” Then there is the “Can’t-do” personalities, the “it can’t be done” person. They are easy to spot. They are usually pretty serious people and can be cynical and probably complain a lot. They are not successful in marketing. Ask them about their last job. If they go straight for negativity, and trash their last employer, move along. Blame is a sure-fire giveaway of a can’t do personality. 

 

3. Positive attitude. Marketing takes a lot of creativity and persistence, only positive people succeed at it. But how can you tell a REAL positive person from the FAKE one who is putting on a show in the job interview? First, don’t hire after one interview, hire after three interviews and do interviews with multiple people. Multiple interviews breaks down that “fake” 1st job interview attitude and you can see who they really are. 

 

Next, I go with my gut. Do they make me feel better? Do they instill confidence in what they say? If I second guess everything they say or they just seem fake, or “there is just something about them I can’t put my finger on…” trust your instinct, if you don’t, it will end up in wasted time and money. Positive people really, genuinely brighten up the room as they walk in, make everyone feel better, usually take the high road in a conversation, that’s is your marketing person right there. 

 

4. Jack-of-all-trades. Forget this. You’ll never find a jack of all trades marketing person who does branding, postcards, design, websites, Social Media, PPC, SEO, etc. It doesn’t exist. But that is not their job anyways. Their job is to successfully manage ALL of your marketing campaigns. They are there to get a return on your investment of your marketing dollars by successfully coordinating and managing all of your services and vendors that you use.

Remember- if you are not expanding, or are just scooting along at the same size, 9 out of 10 times, it is the lack of a good marketing person on board doing the job. There is no mystery there. Ask your biggest competitors, they know. Bad economy? More marketing. Slow Season? More marketing, Low Income this month? More Marketing. That is how a good marketing person thinks.

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

866-863-8452

www.water-damage-marketing.com

What do the Big Water Damage Companies do that the little ones don’t?

I’m in the fortunate position where I’ve personally worked with literally hundreds of Water Damage companies, small and large. I’m also always getting calls for advice as to what to do to increase the size of my client’s companies.

Out of all of the possible answers to this,  I’ve narrowed it down to some of the top characteristics I’ve seen from the most successful companies I’ve worked with as compared to the most unsuccessful:

 

They are hustlers. Sales and marketing make up a large percentage of their thoughts and conversations. They know to expand a business you have to sell and market like crazy. They come to work thinking about how to sell more. They know there is no such thing as luck in business.  They create their own luck.

 

They are survivors. They persist through anything. There is no such thing as a “bad economy” or a “slow season” to them, they see that as a market opportunity to get more business while everyone else is complaining about it and dying out. When things get slow, they kick up their advertising and their networking to compensate for it, not complain. They do something about it.  Then when the season picks up, they own even more of the market share.

 

They are everywhere. Billboards, painted vans, internet marketing, lead generation, Mr. Coupon, Valupack, networking plumbers, property mangers and insurance companies. They don’t think with just getting that one call (small think), they think with a whole community, they want everyone to know who they are (big think).  They think way beyond getting “one call”.

 

They are not stupid with their ad budgets. I know a guy who spent $10k on a postcard campaign that got him one phone call – no jobs. He went bankrupt 2 months later. I know another guy who spends $300k+ per year for radio, he is one of the most well-known in his city. I have clients that make over 50% of their gross income from our service. They spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing, but it’s not stupid.  It all gets them an ROI. They know how much a marketing campaign is making them.  They don’t spend money on things that don’t get a return.  They spend lots of money on many different marketing campaigns…that make them money and drive phone calls.

 

They are great business men. It’s pretty simple actually: They’re organized, they track profits and losses, track calls and where they come from, they watch for high profit jobs & high phone call volume areas, then market more to those areas, they invest in the future of their company, they hire good/pleasant employees that work hard and don’t turn-off their customers and vendors with bad attitudes.  They are not fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types.

 

They are positive people. They think things will work 1st, then they get it to work. They don’t think that things won’t work first and then try it (just to prove they right that it didn’t work). I can tell right away one of these types when they call my company. They start off saying something like, “I saw your ad, I know it doesn’t work, but I wanted to hear what you have to say anyway.” They’ve already decided it won’t work, so of course it won’t.  You don’t meet big business owners with mindsets like that.  My most successful clients say things like, “I’m a believer, but it’s so hard to find a good company to work with”  or  “It’s not working yet, but we’ll figure it out eventually.” See, very different mindset. These guys have already decided that it will work…and then do the work to make it happen.  They decide and persist.

 

Think like a big company, become one of them. Think small, stay small.

 

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.water-damage-marketing.com

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