By Mauricio Cardenal

I've always had a deep desire to start my own business and make an impact. In college, I worked for a construction company and I saw how difficult it was to generate qualified leads for their business. They were completely dependent on outside forces like new construction projects and referrals.

When the economy tanked, this caused major headaches for the owner, and the company almost went under. I knew that there had to be a better way, and the Internet was the key. I struggled initially to get results for my clients. What I realized was that I was overcomplicating the process — focusing too much on tactics and not on strategies. After a few flops (and watching my bank account rapidly decrease), I remembered a simple marketing approach I had used years before in college for the construction company. It was counter-intuitive but effective.

I tried it with a roofing client and got amazing results. In 18 months, we've turned this strategy into a simple step-by-step guide for roofers who want more jobs quickly. I call it the Automatic Roofing Job Generator.

Using The Automatic Roofing Job Generator, our first client received seven qualified commercial roofing leads in their first week. From those seven, two of them became happy clients, and we’ve seen very similar numbers with every client since. I knew I was onto something, and so I created a webinar to share this new system with as many businesses as I could.

The Automatic Roofing Job Generator

While every business is slightly different, some things remain constant. In speaking to over 200 roofing businesses it became clear that there were seven key frustrations common to them all:

  • Ineffective online marketing. Many roofing businesses spend large amounts of money on ineffective online campaigns without seeing results. Lead generation, particularly online, is a huge challenge for many companies in this space.
  • Reliance on the weather. As a rule, most roofers rely on bad weather to generate demand for their services. However, if the weather is good, then they need other methods for generating business.
  • Lack of skilled labor. The single biggest challenge facing the roofing industry is finding skilled workers. The demographic skews older and the lack of young people interested in the trades affects every roofing contractor.
  • Difficulty with sales. In the past, canvassing and door knocking were the go-to methods for building business. While these methods still work, they're effectiveness is slipping.
  • Reliance on one or two big clients. Relying on one or two large corporate clients puts roofers in a perilous position. Their over-leveraged position can lead to real problems if the client relationship goes sour.
  • Cash flow problems. Slow pay is a part of the construction industry’s culture, and it’s not something that roofers have a great deal of control over. While they wait for payments to materialize, they have payrolls to meet and suppliers to pay, along with fixed overhead needed to keep the business running.
  • Reaching key decision makers. This is particularly true on the commercial side. Identifying and meeting key decision makers is tough when you are using telemarketing or canvassing methods.

Investment or Expenditure?

The reason we say that a business invests in marketing is that the business is expecting a benefit to come from the expenditure. They want to generate new roofing jobs from their marketing efforts. If that doesn’t happen, the business isn’t investing anymore, it's spending.

Marketing efforts tend to fail for two specific reasons: First, there’s no real strategy in place designed to bring clients in on a regular basis; and there’s lead-management system in place making it easy to contact and do business with clients.

Old Method vs. New Method

Traditionally, most roofing business have relied on old-school lead generation strategies like canvassing, door-door sales, direct mail, storm chasing, local television, trade shows, and HomeAdvisor.

While these strategies still work on some level, they really only reach people who might not be looking for your services currently. These interruption-based, outbound marketing strategies have become less effective at spreading the word as the "noise" level for consumers has increased.

Our world has changed dramatically: People no longer live, work, shop and buy as they did a decade or two ago. And yet, most businesses in this space still try to market like it’s the 1990s. The fact is, consumers no longer want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. They want to be helped.

Most people now primarily shop and gather information through Internet search engines such as Google. The average information seeker conducts dozens of searches per day and rather than listen to a sales rep, read a spam message, watch a TV ad or fly to a trade show. Most people find it easier to sit at their desks and find the information online.

The new method for lead generation is an actual system that takes your prospects on a journey, building a relationship from stranger to a paying (and happy) client.

It casts a wide net, educating your prospects and providing value first. It allows you to reach people who are actively looking for your services in your area.

This method is also less expensive and yields quicker results than most traditional forms of advertising, thereby making it more cost-effective. And most importantly, it provides value by answering a key question:“How can I help?”

There are four key strategies that make the Automatic Roofing Job Generator so effective. We'll cover them briefly here:

Strategy 1: Harness the power of Google AdWords

There are thousands of people looking for roof repair, reroof and roof replacement services in your city. AdWords allows you to instantly target interested buyers looking for your services.

Strategy 2: Use unique landing pages and targeted online ads

Creating targeted ads and specific landing pages for each keyword is a powerful way to create a cold prospecting lead generation machine.

Strategy 3: Use free inspections and free estimates

The key thing that makes or breaks a campaign is your offer. By offering free inspections and estimates, you're opening the door to new business.

Strategy 4: Learn to convert your leads into a cash generating machine

Efficiently responding to leads as they become available is key to making any lead generation strategy successful.

In today's market your prospects have virtually unlimited options, most of them only a click away. For that reason, competing on price alone is not enough to fuel growth.

In the end, the historically tried and true four P's of marketing — Product, Price, Place and Promotion — are all being challenged by a simple winning formula — add value first.