Corey Philip writes homeprosuccess.com, a powerful blog for contractors that primarily serve homeowners. His focus on the retail/consumer market is undeniably valuable because his words (and podcasts/videos) will resonate with anyone who needs to deal with the practical challenges of working with individual consumers, instead of procurement committees and corporate facilities or construction managers.
Yet his insights have value to almost anyone in the AEC community. There’s a golden collection of tips, insights, and experience/research based insights in his posts.
(Philip, also is one of only a few readers here who has mastered the art of guest posts/blogging. I generally decline invitations for guest posts because they are usually rather painful “games” to attract SEO links with self-serving content. Philip simply sends me what he believes to be worthy ideas/content pieces with a personalized cover note, and usually I agree they worth publishing here.)
One of his most well-read posts in recent months relates to his challenges with low-quality leads from content marketing.
Now understandably, every business gets baloney, no value, calls like these, but the sheer number of inbound inquiries we get from content marketing is astoundingly high. Over 25% of our inbounds fall into the ‘no value’ category. Handling this level of inbound baloney inquiries, over 20 per day, mathematically equals the cost of at least 1 full-time employee around 40k per year. If you’re a small trade contractor, it would be tough to handle all these.
It seems that many internet inquiries business receives are hardly worth the time to respond — they are way outside his service area, are from consumers seeking free advice, or for him to ship small quantities of product at utterly uneconomical prices. And these “consumers” are often nasty and discourteous.
The type of person who is strictly looking for free advice, or cheap materials isn’t the friendliest. They insist on speaking to manager when we tell them they are outside of our service area, or yell and demand that we just “answer their question”. I’ve trained my staff on how to handle them as best as possible, but when it is ¼ of phone calls you receive, the consistent berating begins to demoralize the environment.
He has tried to put a disclaimer message on his site telling people to not bother calling or inquiring if they are outside of his service area/market. That didn’t work — the nuisance calls and inquiries increased.
Other content marketers changed their business to take advantage of the formerly unwelcome leads. He described how Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, lowered the prominence of his phone number (to reduce the number of painful calls, encouraging users to complete a contact form instead.)
Besides the phone number, Mr. Sheridan has also made a radical change to his business model. He took his company from pool builder, to pool manufacturer (and still builder). This is allows hims to capitalize on all the traffic he gets from his content (many many more times what my website gets).
However, in his original post, Philip said he cannot avoid publishing the phone number — it is how the real customers actually prefer to communicate initially — and he wasn’t quite ready to change his business model.
Philip indicates in an update note to his original 2017 post that the problems he has experienced with poor quality responses to content marketing inquiries may be something of a first-world problem.
Let me clarify; while this post does have a frustrating tone, content marketing is still EXTREMELY valuable, and a vital part of my marketing efforts. All of my marketing efforts, from Facebook, to PPC revolve around the content, as does the sales process. The effects, and baloney that I describe here come after years of concerted efforts in content marketing. Many might not get to that point. As I have reached that point, I’ve reacted and made changes to control the inquiries and handle them better. If I had a do over I wouldn’t do anything different, however I am not at a point where I need to get creative and tap into the opportunity that the audience from content marketing brings me!
In other words, sure, there are plenty of junk calls, but there also is lots of great business to be had with solid content marketing — and you surely should make it part of your overall systems and processes.
Philip’s post about the pitfalls of content marketing, frankly, belies the value of his content. You’ll find much to read, view and hear in his pages, which certainly makes for a worthy entry in the 2019 Best Construction Blog competition.
You can vote here until March 31.