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Restoration companies that had their best year versus those that had their worst during Covid

I’ll give you a quick tip-off, it wasn’t some secret way of dealing with TPA’s or insurance companies.

I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of restoration companies across most English-speaking countries.  As I always say, this gives me wonderful opportunities to see what you may not.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, Jonathan Grubb from United Restorers, before the AIR conference in Boulder last week. We’d brought up the fact that there were companies who had their best year ever during the pandemic, and companies who had their worst year ever, some who didn’t even make it. That got me looking at the primary difference at why this was.

There is a huge fundamental difference that I see between restorers who had their best year ever versus those who had the worst year. No, it wasn’t some inside trick to get new technicians or handle the TPAs or to not get bullied by insurance companies. 

It’s what they focus on, where they spend their time and attention.  And there’s really two major areas, the PAST and the FUTURE.

Companies that had their best year ever were mostly focused on the FUTURE, regardless of the Pandemic. They were busy finding every opportunity during the crisis.

Those who had their worst year spent most of the time dealing with the PAST, such as arguing with insurance companies and TPAs, trying to collect what was owed instead of getting more marketshare.

Now, I know there’s hiring difficulties this year, but even that played into it. While some were busy trying to save a dollar an hour on payroll, the successful companies were increasing pay to hang onto their most valuable technicians so that they could get the work that the other guys couldn’t afford to in that they did not have the workforce.

So you see what I mean about focus. Past and future. 

I’d say that 75% of the focus and attention of the most successful companies from last year was on the future while smaller, less successful companies spent 75% or more focusing on the past.

I had a conversation with a restoration company owner last week who is doing  over 70% margins while his techs are making more money than they’ve ever made, and they had their best year ever.  And they had all the same problems with TPA’s and insurance companies that you may have. 

Sincerely,

Dan York

Founder, Stellar-eMarketing

Where’s your Mold Remediation company losing the largest amount of revenue?

Where’s your company losing the largest amount of revenue? 

Where?  Usually from revenues not realized – the money you’re not making.  

Why is this missed by so many? Well, it’s not there to be seen in the first place. It takes a fairly experienced executive to not be so activity-reactive to what slaps them in the face every week.  Only those experienced enough can see the missed opportunities that are costing their company the most revenue.

A major flaw of many entrepreneurs and executives is to focus on certain areas they know or can confront, while leaving other areas completely neglected.  They don’t confront areas that are in trouble or areas that maybe they simply don’t like.  We’ve all seen someone who does this.  We’ve probably done this ourselves.  This is how you develop blind-spots.  This is your “missed opportunity.”  This explains why you go into an area that one of your executives is running and you see income opportunities left and right while they are running around on the same hamster wheel.  They aren’t ignorant necessarily, just “in the weeds” as they say. 

It’s understandable that things not there to be seen don’t get seen.  But our jobs as executives is to discover those areas of unattained revenues.

We deal with companies on a weekly basis that are addicted to buying leads like business crackheads. They’ll spend exorbitant amounts of income on buying leads, which is fine for a short term fix. It’s easy to do, they don’t have to be strategic or confront PR or Marketing or Branding or conversions or anything else, they just pay for their HIT.  And they stop there, they may even get “too busy” for more business.  So they leave opportunities on the table.

Six months goes by, a year, a lot happens in six months to a year.  Then that short-sighted, in-the-weeds approach catches up to you. Your unrealized revenue gets even MORE hidden from view now because sales are down, leads are slowing, and your attention gets completely focused on what you “used to have” like a mouse focuses on a snake. Now your unseen opportunities, your unrealized revenues, are invisible. 

Every year this happens is another year that you’ve left untold amounts of revenue on the table for someone else to take.  And yes, someone else did take it. I once had a client make over a million in revenue from our SEO program in the exact same time period another prospect was busy thinking about whether it was a good decision or not. That’s an expensive thought process. 

So what are you waiting for?  Stop thinking about things and wasting time.

The greatest amount of money that you’re losing is the amount that you’re not making. 

Sincerely, 

Dan York

Should You Use a “One-Stop-Shop” Company for Your Marketing?

Note: This may be lengthy, but if you don’t read it and heed my word, it could cost you millions in lost revenues.

Getting business used to be as simple as – get yourself in the phonebook, maybe pay extra for some ad space, network with some plumbers, and in came the calls.

Today, you have to do SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Facebook, lead generation, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google Maps, etc., etc….It’s overwhelming and confusing.  As a result, some companies have  become “One-Stop-Shops,” in other words “Jacks-of-all-Trades.” In theory, it’s really convenient: You only have one bill, one contact person, one company who does it all! It’s all out of your hair, right? Well, no.

I use specialists for most everything. Last time I had an eye injury, I went to an eye doctor. My attorney specializes in corporate and tax law. I go to a barber, not a salon. My website guy only does websites.

Why do I do this? They maximize my time and money in ways generalists can’t.

Specialists do the same thing every day, every week, for years, they’ve seen it all, they know how to do it right, right away. Jacks-of-All-Trades are, well, you know…

In using a generalist One-Stop-Shop, you’re not MAXIMIZING your marketing budget and ROI that you SHOULD be getting.

Now, does it require that you have to deal with 2 sales people, 2 customer service people, and receive separate reports? YES. But who cares? Your gross revenues and ROI will be much, much higher. I’d take that over convenience any day.

Listen, each of these online marketing techniques has become such a speciality, that you not only need a specialist, you may need a TEAM of specialists.  Small One-Stop-Shops don’t have big teams. One guy or several guys are doing it all, including many hours on the phone with many customers, not doing any work.

Let me outline the potential pitfalls of working with a One-Stop-Shop:

1. They may have small staffs with one person doing several technologies. This is a problem, why? We’ve covered this.  SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing are all SO specialized now that a generalist just can’t keep up anymore.  For example, SEO changes faster than ever, and as a result, some  companies use techniques that are years’ old.  I see it all the time. If it is a Big-One-Stop-shop, you may luck out and have an entire team of specialists, which is what you want.

2. They outsource their work to India, the Philippines, etc., or other foreign $1-5 per hour contractors to work on your project.  This is the go-to for most One-Stop-Shops, they just don’t have the manpower. Maybe you say, “Who cares?” Maybe you’re right, but aside from the obvious the security risks of having foreign strangers sharing your passwords and web data,  mistakes are aplenty and communication barriers are massive, Quality Control and a lack of ROI is what suffers.

3. They cover up their ineffective SEO results with their successful PPC results. This is the old Bait-and-Switch. They’ll tell you, “We got you 10 calls this month!” but what they won’t say is that those calls mainly came PPC, not SEO.

They can give reports showing results that were driven by PPC and cover up the fact that they got bad or no SEO results. This can avoided if they use call tracking sometimes. Each form of marketing generates it’s own ROI, they’re NOT all mixed together, so neither should your reports be, or your results.

There is also a term called a “blackbox “, which is means “a packaging up of all the separate marketing services into one service (websites, SEO, pay-per-click, social media). for one black-box price. The problem here is you never really know how effective each individual aspect of your marketing budget is. What’s making what? 

By the way, if you ever have a company telling you they’re “Google Certified” for SEO, Google does not have a certification for SEO, only PPC, AKA Adwords.

So let’s wrap it up: 

1. You need a specialist for your SEO, PPC and Social Media, each should be dealt with and managed, separately, in your budgets, reports, on your P&L and in your mind. Anywhere you mix em’ up, you’ll have unrealized revenues.

2. Vet your company. Ask them the tough questions – How are my reports separated? Who’s working on my SEO/PPC? Is it the same person? How long have they been doing it? Are they the only person doing it? Are they W2’d employees? What’s their specialty? Is the work outsourced to a guy in another country? Does he have my user names and passwords?  What calls and revenues are coming from which? On and on…

3. Don’t get lazy or overwhelmed by all this. Convenience is not your friend.  Thinking things like,  “this guy will do it all for me” and “I don’t have time to deal with all of this” are mantra’s of small companies who more than likely will not be getting ahead of the game, but struggling to keep up. No huge, successful company thinks like that. They use specialists who can realize a profit on their marketing budget spend.

As usual, it all comes down to ROI. Each services above can generate significant amounts of revenues. And each deserves it’s own amount of your attention and scrutiny.

Dan York

CEO and Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Top Way Internet Customers find you when they have Mold Damage?

It is totally different driving calls into your biz today than it was in 1995, or even 2008. We know that no one uses the phone book any longer. Not when we have mini-computers at our fingertips.

Two of the biggest types of internet marketing nowadays use either advertisements or the organic listings in Google. You see them constantly – the 4 advertisements at first glance on the screen at the top, Google Maps, and then natural listings underneath that. Also, obviously Google is the only winner in that money-making game.

So which one turns out better for getting business? Ads or Natural Results?

For quite a long time, Google has announced that the advertisements beat out organic results. In any case, in our biz, we never discovered that to be the case. We’d see a great deal of traffic into a client’s site, yet not the calls. And then, we’d ask the public and possibly 1 out of 10 individuals would reveal to us that they use the ads. The vast majority didn’t give them a second look. So the information that Google claims that ads are the cat’s meow, definitely didn’t add up to what we found, because we now know they hide that information from everybody.

Some time back, Groupon – the monster online coupon supplier – did a test for everyone. They shut down their site from Google, in a real sense turned it off, to test the amount of their web traffic came from Natural outcomes in Google. What they discovered was alarming. They found that 60% of all traffic that Google would report as “direct” is really natural pursuit. For the full article, click here.

So what does this mean for all of us? It means that if you aren’t marketing the natural results, you’re losing out on the majority of business available for the internet. 

All things considered, where do you think the leads that the lead gen folks are selling you come from? The organic results and PPC.

Good luck out there!

Sincerely,

Dan York, Founder and CEO, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Too Busy to Market Your Company?

There’s a lot of our clients currently who are in a fantastic position even given the COVID-19 situation, in that they are having hard time keeping up with all of the calls they’re getting. That’s awesome, right? Well some of them get stressed out and they tend to, unfortunately, do the wrong thing because of it.

Their wrong answer goes something like this: “I can finally take my attention off of marketing” or “Let’s slow some things down” or even worse, “Let’s turn off our lead gen.”

So then, some of our clients request to turn off their Pay-Per-Click programs, SEO programs or their Lead Generation programs and sometimes unbelievably, their referral programs, when they get busier than usual. They feel like they can’t keep up. This can prove to be a fatal move for any business, as it lacks that necessary future foresight. What you should be doing is what we should all intuitively know, is to grow your business and hire new people to handle that growth. The correct answer is never to “turn off the growth”.

A business owner must have foresight and try to predict and prepare for the future. The mold remediation business has its ups and its downs.  If you’re only thinking about what’s going on today, and you don’t have the potential downs on your mind at all times, that unexpected loss you’re going to experience is going to hurt. When things are going well, you need to do more of what’s making it go well, while looking 3 to 6 months into the future to make sure your company and family is taken care of. Your sales and marketing should never stop.

To handle being too busy, you’ll have to work the overtime, look into hiring some contractors or other companies to help you run your calls. One thing you don’t do, is start digging your own grave, by turning off your marketing campaigns and putting off until tomorrow what you should be doing today. And always be adding new sales and marketing programs and procedures for your future year.

This business is unpredictable. There’s all sorts of reasons that I’m sure you’ve experienced that you will have slows. It’s inevitable. Always add to, never take away. Always think of expansion and organizing for that expansion, never pull back.

To your success,

Dan York Founder & CEO Stellar-eMarketing, Inc. www.moldremovalmarketing.com

What to do about your dropped Google rankings?

In this industry if your Google rankings drop below the top 3 in Google Maps or in Google organic, the phone calls just plain stop coming in.

Recently, there’s been a lot of changes going on in Google and we’ve had a flurry of clients coming to us that have been hammered from those changes. Their site’s rankings went from top 3 phone call positions to non-phone call positions, sometimes within a week or two.

This is a problem that we have successfully repaired for well over a decade. The sources of damage causing these rapid drops in Google to eliminate your site from the higher rankings, can range from anything from destructive software, spammy SEO techniques, duplicating content, bad back linking, old SEO techniques, etc.

I’ve said this for years: anyone can get some Google rankings up with some minor techniques, but what really separates the men from the boys in this industry, is if you can get them up and keep them up. Or better yet, get them back after they’ve dropped. And our track record in this industry in doing so is unmatched. I won’t tell you how many people have come to us to try to white label our service as theirs, but it’s a lot and it’s the Who’s Who in the business.

One of our favorite customers is the customer who leaves us to go somewhere else thinking that the grass is greener and then comes back. We’re not offended, we’re happy that they want to try something else and not only did they see what else is out there, but I saw that the damage was done to their program from trying sub par programs.

When you use us for your SEO, realize that you’re getting one of the most experienced, technically advanced SEO teams creating the most  long-term and stable programs out there.

Here’s an example of results for one of our current clients after a Google change recovery:

clientrecovery

clientrecovery2

If this sounds like a plug for what we do, it is.

Come find out why we have clients that have been with us for over a decade. We can handle you no matter what size you are, from a one location private company to hundreds of locations.

If you’re looking for a trusted partner who cares about your program and its results, and will stick it out with you through thick and thin, you’ve found us. It’s a tough business, and you need a tough company like us that has persisted successfully through every single Google change when others have folded up and disappeared.

 

Dan York, Founder and CEO
Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Look at this huge Google drop from using Gimmicky SEO Software

I’ve written many articles in the past warning about the dangerous use of what I call “SEO get-rich-quick-schemes” – basically tricks or short-term gimmicks that will supposedly get somebody up in Google’s rankings. The person thinks they’ve outsmarted Google’s engineers (the smartest search engineers in the world) with these tactics.

The confusing thing for you is that some of these tricks do tend to work on a short-term basis.

So when they do work for those that have used them, they get excited as they’ve “outsmarted” Google, then they intend to spread it to all of their friends, or worse, sell it to them.

As I’ve repeatedly said though, the result of these tricks and gimmicks is quite damaging to your SEO results over the long-term.

Look, I’m the first person that wants things to work quickly and efficiently, however when we’re hired by our clientele to get an ROI on their SEO, it’s long-term, not just short-term. If we take the quick and easy route to the short-term, chances are we get fired and risk all of the future long-term ROI. And that’s where the real money is made.

We’ve been tracking rankings for a client that had left our program to use a Gimmicky SEO software program. In the beginning it actually worked too. They created hundreds to well over a thousand landing pages as well as other tricks. Their rankings climbed and they seemed to have “figured it out”. I knew that it was just a matter of time though.

Since it was based on an SEO gimmick and no actual SEO technology, I knew it would be short-lived. So in the end of December, there was a big Google change that happened on the third week and several other changes that happened in early Jan of 2020.  This guys “magical” rankings dropped out completely, so badly in fact that he has almost nothing in the top 3 of Google anymore, which are the phone call spots.  Now he has nothing really even on page 1, and I guarantee you, no one is calling him now.

You can look at the images below and see the stats:

gimmicky4

Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is. or at least it will be eventually. And your long term ROI is much more lucrative than the short term easy gain.

Sincerely,

Dan York

Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.moldremovalmarketing.com

Are “one-stop-shop” companies covering up your lack of SEO calls with AdWords/PPC calls?

Business owners have a difficult job these days. Getting business used to be as simple as just getting yourself in the phonebook, maybe pay a little extra for some ad space and you got the calls.  Then you networked with the insurance companies, plumbers, etc.

Today, on top of all of the old school stuff that you have going, you have to have SEO, pay-per-click, social media marketing, and many other different forms of lead generation, etc.  It can be overwhelming and confusing.

As a result, some companies have tried to become “one stop shop” companies. In theory, this is a great idea. In practice however, it is difficult.  Each of these marketing formats has become such a speciality, that not only do you need to have one specialist on it to handle many clients, you need to have a team of guys.

Which brings me to the first issue that I have seen with these one-stop-shops is that they don’t have the manpower to deliver what they are selling. And one of the solutions they have is to outsource some of their labor to India or perhaps the Philippines. I’ve always been against this and always will be against it for various reasons that I won’t put in this article, but the biggest reason of course is Quality Control.

Another issue that I’ve seen, which I hope is not an epidemic thing, is the fact that some of these companies will cover up the lack of progress of their SEO program with great progress from a pay-per-click program.  For example they may be able to tell you, “Yeah I got you 10 calls this month” but what they will not necessarily say, is that most of those calls came from their pay-per-click program, which was working well, therefore covering up the lack of results from an SEO program, which was not working well.

There is a selling term called a “blackbox “, which is simply packaging up all of the separate marketing services into one service- i.e. -websites, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, etc. In theory, this is a great thing. It’s easy, you call one company and they handle everything. In practice however, it does not work as great as it sounds. You are not dealing with a level of specialty that will get you the amount of ROI that you should be getting from each individual program. I still am going to go see an eye doctor for an eye problem, not a general practitioner. Get the idea?

Now, understanding all that I’ve said above, the real issue here comes down to simple return on investment for you. Each of those services listed above can generate significant amount of income for you. And each one deserves it’s own amount of scrutiny. Make sure that you really put the attention on each service that it deserves, also make sure if you are using one of these one stop shops, that they are not covering up bad results on one service by delivering good results on another service.

Good luck out there!

Dan York

CEO and Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

When it’s time to sell your business, what really builds value into your company, marketing-wise?

It’s an entrepreneurial dream to start a company, build it and then eventually sell it for a life-changing amount. So what exactly on the front-end of a business builds real, observable value into your business when you’re ready to sell it?

 

I’ve been fortunate to be privy to many business transactions and from a lot of different circumstances. Outside of the realm of profit and loss statements and balance sheets, you hear many common things when it comes to questioning the marketing and business development sections of the company under consideration.

 

When most buyers are looking at a company they want to acquire, they obviously don’t just care about the “numbers”, they want to see the management setup, production capabilities, growth (or lack of) and to the point of this article, what you’re doing advertising/marketing/business development-wise in order to achieve this growth.

 

So, out of those various marketing and business development forms you’re using,  which ones will actually add value, or at least perceived value, to a potential buyer?

The short answer? Anything that’s considered you “own”. 

What do we mean by “own”? We mean things that we will not lose control of by turning it on or off, or switching service companies.

With that as our premise, you could instantly filter out various marketing and business development things, right away.

That’s not to say that you don’t want to do anything you don’t own, you do.

 

I’d personally do every form of marketing that I could afford to get an ROI. Lead-generation is a great example. It’s valuable. I know a lot of people who don’t like it, for some it’s a necessary evil. You pay somebody $200-$300 for a lead and you get the job. It’s great. However, how do you think the conversation is going to go with the potential buyer of your business when you tell him that the front-end of your company relies on “buying leads” from an outside company? Probably not incredibly. See? You see the difference here? It’s simply the perception of what is owned or not.

 

That’s how I’d build the perceived (and real) value. As I said above, I’d do anything that gets me a job and I’d  keep adding to it and adding to it until I have a multi-million dollar affair.  But, when I’d want to build the value of my business, I’d be telling them the various programs that I own and don’t lose control of no matter who I used as an employee or vendor to manage it, such as:

– My website

– Company Branding

– Store locations (street traffic, visibility?)

– PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns

– SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

– Social Media Marketing Campaigns

– etc.

 

There’s new trends out there where you “rent websites”, for this premise of this article is a terrible idea, no matter how cheap it is. If someone is managing your Social Media or SEO, make sure that you own it and you don’t lose it if they sever your service contract.

You can play with the concept for here, and you’d be smart to do so. It’s sort of like the phrase from the gold-investing world. They say, “ If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it.”

You could say a similar thing with your marketing/business development, “If you don’t own it, it’s not valuable to your company’s price.”

Remember this concept well otherwise your company could be a scary proposition for your buyer.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dan York

Founder,CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

www.moldremovalmarketing.com

www.stellar-emarketing.com

Can you trick Google into giving you higher rankings with content spinning software?

The short answer is, yes…for a while.

That is, until they catch you doing it and penalize your site.

So what is content spinning and what is content spinning software?

Content is simply the words, pictures and information on your webpages. It’s no more complicated than that.

Spinning is a term used to describe changing around, or updating, the words on your webpage while saying basically the same thing. For example, I could say, “How did you enjoy your vacation?” If I were to “spin” that “content”, I would spin it to, “Was the holiday you took enjoyable?”

About every two years I see a new company out there offering “new & magical” SEO results with software that automatically changes your content, or “spins “it. The funny thing is that every one of these companies that develops software like this thinks they’re first to think of it and do it. Well, they’re not.

Anyways, as I stated at the beginning of the article – it will work…for a while. And how it works in that “while” is that Google will see that you’re “updating” your website frequently.

But…when they catch you using a software program that is automatically spinning content on your website, that violates their terms of service (click here to read it) and not only will they penalize you for doing it they will flag the software and anybody else using it will all get hit at once.

Don’t believe me? I’ve seen it. And we’ve had to try to fix it, which is very, very difficult and sometimes so expensive that you’re better off just buying a new domain name and starting from scratch which is a ridiculous waste of your marketing budget and time.

Now, the SEO business has some real geniuses in it, I know some of the best in the world personally and am lucky to work with some of the best. If things like content software were actual viable long-term solutions, believe me, we’d all use them and would’ve invented them long ago, ourselves. But we have to fix the damage done by them, which is why all of the best, most reputable, and largest SEO companies out there, do not use or create software like this for long term use.

It’s really one simple question: If it works so well long-term for clients, why isn’t everyone in the SEO space using them? It’s not because they are slow, or dumb or antique or whatever.

Anyone that thinks they’re going to outsmart Google’s engineers are fooling themselves. Google may not be perfect or totally ethical, but I’ll tell you one thing they’re not, is dumb. And if anybody thinks for one minute if they are going to fool Google’s team of literal genius engineers with little software programs like this, well, needs to do some introspection. Let’s just leave that there.

Good luck out there.

Sincerely,

Dan York
Founder,
www.water-damage-marketing.com
www.stellar-emarketing.com
www.moldremovalmarketing.com
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