Lead generation companies can help you find quality leads. Here's how to determine which companies to trust.
Lead generation is an essential part of growing any contracting business. After all, if you don't have prospects to sell to, you can't turn them into paying customers. But how can you tell which lead generation companies are worth investing time (and money) into?
Looking at online reviews is one way of differentiating between lead generation companies. Sometimes it's difficult to tell how accurate reviews are, especially if you're not familiar with the type of service the company offers yourself. Learning what to look for in online reviews can make your search for the best contractor lead generation company much simpler.
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What Does A Lead Generation Company Do?
Lead generation companies help contractors find clients. Unlike marketing companies that generate broad awareness of their clients and their branding, lead generation companies find people who are looking for a specific service, such as plumbing or joinery, and then put those clients in touch with a contractor that provides those specific services.
What Are The Hallmarks Of The Best Lead Generation Companies?
A good lead generation company saves contractors time and money by filtering out time-wasters and unqualified leads, such as people who aren't in the right geographic area or who are looking for a service the contractor doesn't provide. They bring in targeted, quality traffic that the contractor has a good chance of converting into customers.
When you're looking for a lead generation company, focus on finding one that:
- Works with contractors in a similar business to yours
- Has good reach in your local area
- Has a good reputation for generating results
What To Look For In Reviews Of Lead Generation Companies
Reading reviews can help you find the best sites for contractors to invest their time into. However, the feedback you see from other contractors can often be confusing and contradictory.
If one contractor swears by a service but another writes a scathing review and says it's a waste of time, who's right? Are the reviews even real? It can be difficult to tell at a glance. Good and bad reviews can all be left by people who have underlying motives that don't necessarily match yours.
Fake Reviews Vs Real Reviews
Fake reviews are a serious problem in all industries. Google, Trustpilot, and other third-party sites that accept reviews allow people to leave feedback on services without verifying whether those people were even customers.
Since it's free and simple to set up an account on those sites, there's no guarantee any individual reviewer is a real person leaving sincere feedback. The reviewer could be a bot leaving pre-programmed comments or someone who's been paid to write that review.
It's not uncommon for companies to hire people to give them positive feedback to make themselves look more reputable. It's also not uncommon for companies to pay for negative reviews of their rivals.
Fortunately, these fake reviews are easy to spot when you know what you're looking for, especially if the company has been around a long time.
Telltale signs of fake reviews include:
- A large number of reviews all left within a short space of time
- Lots of one-star or five-star reviews
- The reviewers have either reviewed only that company or have reviewed a lot of companies in a short space of time
- The accounts of the reviewers are all relatively new
- Many of the reviews comment on the same thing (positively or negatively)
- The reviews may even use exactly the same phrasing if they've been left by bots
Honest reviews from current or former customers will usually be nuanced. Some customers do leave a one-star review for bad service or a five-star review for a very good product, but they also often leave more balanced ratings for a service that "would be perfect if only this one flaw was fixed."
Some highly disgruntled customers may set up an account on a review platform with the intent of ranting about a bad product or service. However, as of 2019, 52% of the world's population has a Google Account, so you can reasonably expect most reviews to come from older accounts that have a long track record of leaving feedback on businesses.
Consider Feedback Critically
When you're reading reviews, consider the feedback critically. How qualified is the contractor to give that feedback?
- How long did the contractor use the service?
- Have they worked with other contractor lead companies?
- What sort of business does the contractor run and how similar is it to yours?
- Has the contractor had success with other forms of lead generation and marketing?
- How well-reviewed is the contractor themselves?
It can take time for a lead generation company to generate results, and a lot of contracting industries are seasonal. If a gardener used a lead generation company for one month in the depths of winter, then complained that they didn't get any contractors leads from them, that would be unreasonable considering demand for their services is naturally going to be low at that time of year.
The opinion of a business owner who's worked with several lead companies should hold more weight than the opinion of someone who has little experience in the industry. Someone who's worked with more than one company is more likely to have reasonable expectations and a good frame of reference for reviews.
If a contractor has worked with multiple companies, look at their reviews for the other companies. If a contractor rates all lead generation companies poorly, it's likely they either don't understand what those companies do or they have issues themselves that make it impossible for a lead generation company to serve them well.
Take a look at the Craftjack contractor reviews for the company. Do clients say the contractor is unprofessional, rude, or bad at their job? If so, a lead generation company can work tirelessly to forward inquiries their way, but few of them will turn into customers because the contractor is sabotaging themselves.
Finally, consider the industry those contractors are in. Some lead generation companies have a highly specific area of focus. They may be very good at bringing in leads for small jobs and ad-hoc services but not attract customers for much bigger projects. Alternatively, they might focus on high-value calls for double glazing and roofing but not be where people in your area would go to find a new window cleaner.
Understanding the type of client the service works with is an important part of the vetting process.
How Did The Company Respond To The Reviews?
Another thing to consider is how the company responded to the reviews, assuming the platform in question supports this kind of feedback.
Does the company have a habit of replying to reviews in a timely fashion? If they do reply, are they professional and sincere in their responses? If the company replies to negative feedback offering to fix the problem, has a customer ever come back and amended their feedback once the problem was fixed?
As you may have learned from your own work, you can't please every customer. Sometimes you'll make a mistake. Sometimes you'll do a stellar job and the customer will still complain.
If a company is in business for more than a few months, they'll most likely end up with some negative reviews. That doesn't automatically mean the company is bad at its job. What matters is that the majority of the reviews are positive and that when a customer leaves a negative review, the company conducts itself professionally.
How Many Reviews Does The Company Have?
Another thing to consider is how many reviews the company has and how long the company has been in business. Any company that promises marketing-related services, and lead generation falls under that banner, should have a reasonably good online presence.
Depending on the size of the geographic area the company serves, you might expect a few dozen reviews or several thousand. As a contractor, it's worth looking at both local and national services.
Bigger companies should have a steady flow of reviews coming in. A niche local website or service might have a much smaller review base, and it wouldn't be unusual for there to be a rush of reviews after the service went on its own marketing spree, then for any review-related activity to die down.
Look at the number of reviews and their spacing and consider whether you think that feedback is organic. If you think the reviews may have been paid for, consider that a red flag.
Consider Taking A Free Trial
Other people's reviews are useful, but the most valuable thing is your own experience. If the lead generation company offers a free trial, take advantage of it. Call their customer service hotline and ask them how they can help your business grow. Ask what plans they offer and what volume of leads they expect to be able to forward to your business.
If it sounds like they can help you, sign up for the trial, and consider giving an extra month or two after that to see what results they can get you. Keep track of those results yourself, and make your own informed decision about how useful lead generation is for your business.
Making The Best Choice
The anonymous nature of the internet means you can't blindly trust reviews. However, once you know what to look for in reviews and how to consider a large number of reviews collectively, you can use online reviews to make informed decisions.
Consider the points above and look at reviews critically when you're choosing a contractor lead company. With some critical thinking, you'll be better positioned to make good decisions in your marketing efforts.