3 Phases of Finding the Ideal Digital Marketing Provider

Albiware founder and CEO Alex Duta recommends 3 key steps to consider when hiring a digital marketing provider.

Digital marketing is one of the best resources for restoration contractors. If you know how to handle your online marketing correctly, you’ll be able to find it’s a powerful tool for finding leads. You can choose from several marketing providers; however, a problem I ran into early on was that many providers who serve the restoration industry don’t know how to speak the language of restorers. It can feel incredibly frustrating when they use their jargon metrics; it makes it easy to get lost in translation. These frustrations led to feeling like your marketing provider doesn’t understand the outcomes you’re looking for.

I have been through this experience myself when I helped run a restoration company. It took us about two years to finally master our digital marketing. The road wasn’t easy; it took us hiring and firing 20 different marketing providers to realize what we were doing was wrong. We realized we were the problem because we held these marketing providers accountable for the wrong things.

When looking for a digital marketing provider, consider these three key steps so you can avoid making the same mistakes I made.

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Phase 1: Discovery

This is the first phase of starting with a new digital marketing provider. During this phase, your role is to answer two main questions: painful to keep growing due to chaos.

Ask These Important Questions:

  • How much does a qualified lead cost?
  • What should my budget be?

After you’ve researched and thoroughly vetted your options, you can choose the best digital provider for your company. One thing your selected digital provider should be open to is going through this discovery process with you.

Typically, they start by setting up a campaign that you can track. They might use jargon like impressions, cost per click, etc.” These things don’t matter to you as a restorer. The one thing that does matter is tracking “qualified leads.” So what is a qualified lead? It’s someone in your area who needs your service and is willing to have you come to them and give them an estimate. In any discussion you have with a marketing provider, make it a point that qualified leads are your top priority.

The second thing you need to think about is the money. That’s right; you should come in with an idea of what your budget should be. It takes time, though; you won’t see results overnight. It’s important to allow 90–120 days for the PPC provider(Paid-per-click agency) to ramp up your marketing efforts. A PPC Provider typically runs your Google, Bing, and Yahoo ads to get you leads.

I recommend allocating $5 – $10K budget in larger markets for the total duration. Your company should concentrate the marketing efforts on one service offering within a small territory. The data collected will give you enough information to hypothesize about qualified lead cost and budget.

The process takes between 90 to 120 days to produce any result. So during this “discovery” period, you’ll find out if your PPC provider can answer those questions.

In order to successfully track these things, your PPC provider needs to use a tool where all customer contact attempts with your company are recorded and attributed to their efforts. Call tracking numbers are the most common form of this. This way, you have proof that their paid marketing efforts produced leads.

It’s important to allow 90–120 days for the PPC provider to ramp up your marketing efforts. I would allocate a $5 – $10K budget in larger markets for the full duration. Ideally, the marketing efforts should concentrate on one service within a smaller territory. As a result, you will have enough data to make a generalized hypothesis about the cost and budget of qualified leads.

Give the digital marketing provider feedback on the leads they are delivering. If your first leads aren’t ideal, don’t get discouraged.

In this case, it’s best to consider it a $15K – $30K bet. In the worst-case scenario (it’s very slim), you lose all of it. You’re very likely to gain leads that will pay off the investment. In the best-case scenario, you’re positive and generate enough leads at a high cost.

Phase 2: Scalability

Assuming the above results are favorable, we will test the scalability of the cost per lead during this phase. In other words, does our cost per lead remain constant as we increase our budget? So hypothetically speaking, let’s say you’ve put in a 7k budget and determined it costs $500 a lead. The next step would be to double the budget amount to 14k and see what happens. We allow another 90 – 120 days to test the consistency in results.

At that point, three things can happen the cost per lead number can go up, stay the same, or completely plummet. If you notice the number doubles or triples, it’s a sign that you should stick with your ideal budget. Ideally, it would be best to go up another $50 to $100. The most important thing to track is the number of qualified leads coming into your business. It’s one of the only things your PPC provider can control.

My first mistake was tracking the wrong information, such as ROI and how much money PPC providers bring through the door. The reality is these are all things your PPC providers can’t control. So make sure that you hold your provider accountable for qualified leads. Once you’ve determined a number for your qualified leads, you can move on to the next phase.

Phase 3: Acceleration

Now that we trust our paid media provider and have accurate data to base our marketing costs on, we can apply a simple formula to determine our advertising budget.


# of leads needed = (online marketing sales goal/average job size/ closing rate)

To determine a budget, multiply the # of leads needed by the cost per lead above.

Examples using the formula:

You want to add $1MM in water damage work from online marketing and your average deal size is $5K

200 projects (# Of Leads needed) = (online marketing sales goal(1MM)/average job size(5,000)

If you have a closing rate of 50%

400 projects (# Of Leads needed) = (online marketing sales goal(1MM)/average job size(5,000)/closing rate(.50)

If your average cost per lead $500

500 # Of Leads needed = (online marketing sales goal/average job size/closing rate) 1MM/5,000=200 projects

Now that seems steep with a 20% marketing cost and may not be doable. We may need to work on our closing rate and lower the lead cost prior to accelerating.

Examples using the formula If we bump our closing rate to 65% and lower our lead cost to $400:

307 leads x $400 = $123,000 which is 12.3% of the $1MM goal

As you can see, minor tweaks on both our end and our PPC provider’s end can drastically affect the viability of paid marketing efforts. This three-phase process is vital when starting a relationship with a digital marketing provider. Once you get these steps down, you can use PPC as a predictable source of revenue for your company. The more you understand these dynamics, the more successful you will be at growing and scaling your restoration business.

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