A poorly executed campaign can stunt the potential growth of a pool and spa business, even if only a few simple steps are missed. At the same time, a properly executed campaign can be the catalyst that business needs to stick around for generations.
An example of the dramatic effect of a well-coordinated campaign is provided by the following case study: In 30 day’s time, a Florida pool builder (one of our clients) grew its website from 5-10 visitors per day to a constant 200-300 with a commensurate increase in qualified leads.
The problem that was holding them back? They mainly focused on SEO and Facebook posts, relying entirely on organic efforts rather than paid ads.
Emojis and likes on your Facebook posts are great, but generating customers requires a bit more effort now — especially when Facebook and Google algorithms keep changing in a way that increasingly encourages paid ad campaigns.
This is not to say SEO and organic social media marketing is bad. On the contrary, both are an essential part of any business marketing plan. But I encourage you to think of social media posts and SEO as part of “playing the long game.”
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Organic SEO is great for helping your company rise to the top of search results, and Facebook posts are a great way to reinforce your brand persona, but in terms of generating leads, it’ll take months. The goal is to generate leads — and quality leads at that — in a much quicker timeframe. If you do anything less, you’re just leaving money on the table.
Back to the case study. In creating a comprehensive marketing campaign, the goal was to remove as much risk as possible while still aiming for a large audience. To accomplish that, several websites/sources were used to boost traffic. The sources themselves are fairly straightforward; it all comes down to how they’re used. The campaign had two prongs: Facebook/Google and third-party local websites. Step-by-step, here’s how these sources were employed:
CAST A WIDE NET, BUT GET LOCAL, TOO
With any marketing campaign, the first step is to cast a wide net using Google remarketing and Facebook Pixel. Both of those work the same way: Google and Facebook generate a few lines of code that you embed into your website. Then, anyone who visits your site and leaves will see ads for your company show up on other sites. (Surely you’ve noticed that when you visit a specifi c store online, you see ads for that company on other websites you visit or on Facebook. That’s Google remarketing and Facebook Pixel at work.)
In addition to Google and Facebook, local third-party sites were used to drive traffi c to the builder’s website. That included things like targeted press releases to local news publications (which you can do for things like company anniversaries, a new grand opening, a charity drive, etc.), entries in local business directories and two paid placements in local blogs as sponsors.
Some of you might wonder: Why use local sites in addition to Facebook/Google rather than putting all resources into the latter? In a word: value. It stretches your ad budget as much as possible. The thing is, advertising on Facebook and Google can be cheap, but only if you’re reaching a relevant audience.
I’m going to pick on Facebook a little here. Finding homeowners who are the perfect candidates for a pool on Facebook is doable, but the system is not perfect. So instead of testing and building a source audience with Facebook, it can be cheaper to build them using third party websites and then retarget them on Facebook.
Essentially, Facebook is expensive but yields a higher ROI while third-party sites are typically low-cost, so the mixture works well.
After the initial campaign with a press release syndicated to 400+ local and national news publications, sponsored ads on local blogs and ads in local business directories, the builder wound up driving a consistent stream of traffi c for 14 days prior to starting the retargeting campaign.
SENDING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE? THINK AGAIN....
The initial ads lead to two separate landing pages. The first targeted potential customers with a simple brochure on financing. The second landing page was a bit more specific, containing a financing calculator and some additional city-specific verbiage.
The actual ad creative contained the city name and disqualified leads not in the ideal demographic. This helped keep costs low and the quality of leads high.
The test campaign drew 2,229 visitors the first day, 3,492 the second and wound up averaging right around 1,000 per day after that — offering a small yet hyper-targeted audience of potential customers.
The beauty here is with Facebook you can now use those visitors for more than just following them around with ads shown directly to them. Facebook allows advertisers to create lookalike audiences based off of visitors to your website. Basically, in our case study, Facebook was able to model a set of traits, behaviors and demographics and match the people who visited the landing pages with other Facebook users in the target area.
With that accomplished, the retargeting ads were set to run. These ads carried a much more specific message, which spoke directly to their behavior as opposed to a general “Build Your Dream Pool” call-to-action.
Here’s an example: One variation of the ad copy specifically targeted users who opted into the landing page specifically mentioning their city and the financing calculator they came across.
In addition to using Facebook, the campaign also ran low-budget Google display ads. This was a mixture of ads targeting users with images that would show up on any website they visited after checking out the landing page (as long as the website supported Google Ads, which most do). From a top-level perspective, doing this increases the percentage of value you get from each and every visitor.
In that campaign we were still able to speak directly to their behavior but in a slightly different way. “Wait! We noticed you stopped by but didn’t grab X...” was the overall gist of that creative. This may seem straightforward, but trust me when I say it is effective.
Because of this campaign, the builder was able to increase the number of contact form fills of homeowners looking for more information on custom pool pricing. The overall result was hundreds of phone inquiries, as well as a direct increase in traffic to their actual store (where they sold chemicals, parts, etc.).
To summarize, this was the general campaign in a nutshell:
• Set up Facebook Pixel and Google remarketing
• Create landing pages based off previously successful sales funnels used for the pool and spa industry
• Run medium-budget ad campaign to local sources to build source audience for retargeting
• Build Facebook lookalike audience specifically based off traffic to the landing pages
• Run retargeting campaign
• Continue collecting leads with mixture of Google, Bing and Facebook traffic
Chet Thornberry of SmartSeed Tech helps business owners in the pool and spa industry generate more leads with results focused marketing campaigns.To learn more, visit smartseedtech.com