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Managing online lead generation

By Todd Bairstow

When it comes to a company’s website, high-quality and productive leads that turn into profitable, first-rate customers are all that really matter.

Pool and spa/hot tub businesses need leads—lots of them. It is no secret leads are the source of new customers. And with the explosion of the Internet over the past decade, online sources have become a primary starting point for finding new leads. However, it is not easy. In fact, figuring out online lead generation can be confusing, time consuming, and expensive.

To make matters worse, as the Internet matured so did a system full of media sales hucksters, advertising agency pretenders, and virtual carnival barkers—all of whom are happy to promise all the quality leads a pool and spa/hot tub company needs. They will spend a company’s money to generate ‘impressions,’ ‘events,’ ‘conversions,’ and all sorts of other activity, but what really matters are high-quality and productive leads that turn into profitable, first-rate customers.

Exploring the following six myths will help pool and spa/hot tub business owners better understand how online lead generation works (and how it does not).

Myth one: Paid search is easy to do

Paid search (also known as pay-per-click) is a straightforward process. Provided a company bids high enough, their ad will appear on the page of a given pool or spa/hot tub search query nearly every time.

Optimizing for mobile is worth doing, but it’s currently not a “make or break” for pool and spa companies.

This is the good news. The bad news is, this method can be expensive and is easy to do poorly and ineffectively. A business (or hired marketing agency) can waste thousands of dollars generating impressions—even clicks—all without getting quality leads.

A large agency, for example, may say they will spend $5000 of the company’s money on paid search advertising in Vancouver during the month of March. And they will find a way to do this whether or not there is really $5000 worth of effective search terms they can bid on.

It is all done by software, without human intervention. Their technology spends the allotted money to fit the company’s budget, not necessarily to drive cost-effective, high-quality sales leads from homeowners looking to install a pool or spa/hot tub.

To do this properly, many factors must be understood, such as which search terms to buy and which to avoid, the value of phone calls, the right level of qualification, and the dangers of over-incentivizing.

Buying the term ‘pool,’ for example, may seem like good use of a pool and spa/hot tub company’s paid search budget, unless, of course, the ad shows up on a search for ‘pool toys’ or ‘D-I-Y swimming pool,’ in which case the company’s money has been wasted.

Well executed campaigns can be complicated; therefore, hiring a company or an individual who has expertise in paid search campaigns—and the pool and spa/hot tub market—is particularly important.

It is possible for a business owner to take it upon themselves to perform paid search campaigns; however, they get more complex and competitive every day. Despite having the businesses’ best interests in mind, the complexities and constant change involved with online advertising may leave one spinning their wheels and wasting their money.

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