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Feed the Funnel: 6 ways to improve lead quality for higher ROI, messaging & positioning

August 25th, 2023
9 Min Read

As the popular saying goes, “You are what you eat,” meaning what you feed yourself affects your overall health and well-being. Similarly, what you feed your sales funnel can affect the overall health of your business.  

Are you generating enough leads? Are customers responding to your ads? Are the calls and form conversions submitted through your website converting into sales and actually driving revenue?

To feed your funnel with the right signals— more leads that convert to sales—you need a tool that helps you better target audiences, tailors your message to the right audience at the right time, and optimizes the whole process to boost revenue. 

In a recent webinar, ServiceTitan Principal Product Manager Dylan Kessler dives into how your marketing team can control lead quality by improving what goes into your funnel. He also explains how Marketing Pro’s newest feature, Ads Optimizer, works and how to use it to get higher-quality leads from your ad spend.

Kessler offers 6 tips to improve lead quality:

  1. Eliminate wasted spend and reinvest

  2. Train Google on your revenue data

  3. Train Google on your customer data

  4. Monitor capacity to avoid waste

  5. Refine email targeting

  6. Leverage direct mail prospecting audiences

But, first, let’s talk about ads.

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Why focus on ads? 

After talking to hundreds of contractors over the past couple of years, Kessler says problems related to lead generation within the ad space boil down to three main issues that ServiceTitan wants to help resolve:

  • Disjointed Customer Journey

    • The home-services customer journey happens both online and offline, so contractors use multiple tools to create and capture demand (leads).

“You also have folks responding to direct marketing ads or calling in directly. It’s just hard to track all of that,” Kessler says. “We want to sync that all together.”

  • High spend, low efficiency (particularly in Google Ads)

    • Large-scale budgets are being spent on programmatic ad platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook, and Bing.

  • Difficult to navigate

    • Digital advertising is a complex world. The vast majority of folks who advertise find experts to help them navigate the digital space.

“Contractors are focused on their business as it is. Marketers are catching up to just how that all works, and then also trying to get into the world of digital advertising, which can be relatively like a minefield,” Kessler says.

Tip #1: Eliminate wasted spend and reinvest in winning campaigns

If your service business plans to advertise digitally, you must first solve for that disjointed customer journey, then sync it all together.

This is basically what your customer’s journey looks like:

“Customers have lots of sentiments along the way. Moods go up and down. This is very important to pay attention to and have an understanding of so you know how to treat these individual touchpoints,” Kessler explains.

Along the journey, companies use different platforms to capture that customer sentiment.

The tools you use to track the customer’s journey and their sentiments along the way might include Google Ads, Google Analytics of your website, and even ServiceTitan.

While these tools are effective, they can also be fragmented. This creates problems, such as:

  1. Awareness, consideration, intent, and purchase are measured in different systems

  2. Trouble understanding the impact they have on each other 

  3. Keeping up with opportunities and issues in real time

For instance, Kessler says Google Ads (a significant contractor source for new leads) makes it very difficult to measure success. The Google dashboard shows clicks, conversion volume, and cost, but nothing showing your return on investment (ROI).

Here’s an example of what the lead-gen marketing funnel looks like:

”The homeowner will go from searching an ad [on Google], finding that ad, clicking on it, going to a website, then calling, and ending up in the CRM in ServiceTitan,” Kessler explains.

Ads help customers find your business online, then direct them to your website or to call directly from the ad. Your website allows customers to interact with your brand and take action (phone number to call; Contact Us button; Book Online button, etc.). Conversion forms can also be useful to capture certain customers.

“It’s really important to look at the ways different types of homeowners like to convert while they interact with your marketing across that customer journey,” Kessler says

Then, look at your captured ServiceTitan data for sales, dispatching, and invoicing.

“ServiceTitan helps your team quickly take care of the customer. We have everything from call booking into dispatch, then invoicing, and collecting at the end after fulfillment has happened,” Kessler says.

Ads Measurement tool

To help make sense of it all, ServiceTitan now offers Ads Measurement, which helps to connect the dots by:

  1. Automating job and revenue attribution of Google Ads 

  2. Identifying wasted spend more easily

  3. Moving budgets into what’s working and cutting what isn’t 

“Once you understand what ads are doing well for you and which ones are not, you can move budgets into what’s working and cut what isn’t,” Kessler says.

Here’s what that looks like:

You start with these high-level aggregate metrics for Marketing Revenue, Marketing Cost, and Expense to Income Ratio:

Then, you can review your performance table, where you can really pinpoint the campaigns with the lowest costs and highest revenue, or ROI-positive campaigns or ROI-negative campaigns.

“When you reapply money into working campaigns that are lead-quality high, then you’re training Google now to optimize toward these better working campaigns, gain a better picture of your customer and who buys from you, and in the long run it’s going to pay dividends,” Kessler says. “Doing this as a first step is paramount in your digital ads budget management, and you will see results. I promise you.”

Marketing Pro’s Ads Optimizer improves lead quality through automation and insight 

ServiceTitan developed Ads Optimizer, a precursor to Ads Measurement, a year ago to address the second and third problem with lead generation: 

  • High spend, low efficiency

  • Difficult to navigate Google Ads spend

“We’ve been in beta with about 15 customers for the last year, and we’re over the moon with what we’ve accomplished,” Kessler says of the Ads Optimizer feature in Marketing Pro.

He says the results speak for themselves:

  • 2.9 x Google Ads ROI increase

  • 40 x ROI on cost of Optimizer

  • 38% cost-per-lead decrease

  • 65% increase in average order value

“Now, we’re in open beta, and we’re offering Ads Optimizer for free until Aug. 14,” he adds. “We really believe in the value of this product.”

Ads Optimizer fits neatly into your workflow. 

“Once you've adopted Ads Measurement, you've already done all the hard work to create this clear, easy feedback loop that happens,” Kessler says. “Your ads data is now flowing into ServiceTitan and pairing with it, giving you that good insight to then go after that first tip to eliminate wasted spend.”

“After that, Optimizer is now reacting to all this conversion data that's flowing in. We process and then we upload customer, revenue, and job data into Google to then create this budget efficiency to help Google target better,” he adds.

Tip #2: Train Google on jobs and revenue

Let’s say you have four customers looking for air conditioning services on Google, and your cost per lead is $150 per person.

“All Google can see—without having these success signals of revenue and customer data flowing back into it—is that these people called you. There is no visibility into the remaining customer journey, which is what Optimizer can really provide,” Kessler says. 

Those four customers above probably took a different journey. For instance:

  • The first customer asked about the cost for a new AC. This results in a booked job, but the customer only pays the $100 travel fee and leaves a one-star review complaining about your price.

  • The second customer asks whether you service homes located 100 miles from your shop. You don’t; no job, no revenue.

  • The third customer tells you his HVAC unit is 30 years old, and he needs someone to inspect it. This results in a booked job, followed by the installation of a $12,000 replacement system.

  • The fourth customer asks whether you sell portable ACs. You don’t; no job, no revenue.

In this scenario, Ads Optimizer focuses on the third customer with all of this good service data flowing into the system about the customer, the job, and the job value.

“By feeding revenue and audience data back into Google, the Google Ads system can learn how to target $12,000 customers and not waste money on others,” Kessler says. “It’s really important to train Google Ads.”

Tip #3: Train Google on your customers

Once you start focusing on lead quality, and training Google on lead quality through customer, revenue, and job data, you can scale your operation. And you no longer need to worry about  the garbage-in, garbage-out scenario that occurs when focusing on customers in the middle of their buying journey.

“Clicks and leads are an OK place to start, that’s what got you where you are today. But it’s important to focus on revenue and customers, then when you scale your operation, you get more good-quality leads,” Kessler says.

Tip #4: Monitor capacity to avoid paying for leads you can’t use

Ads Optimizer also helps you monitor your capacity, which is essentially a measure of what services you can supply at any given time.

Capacity overload problems occur when you have:

  • Too many leads or more leads than you can service 

Your ad spend happens on a constant basis, but saving wasted spend can help. “Just one week of actually being able to throttle down your ad spend is critical to being able to sometimes save $5,000 to $50,000,” Kessler says.

  • Wrong type of leads (some teams are booked, while others get underutilized)

“Maybe you’re getting too many calls for service, and not enough replacements,” Kessler suggests. “In both of these scenarios, you really want to get in and fine tune.” 

  • Ad spend wasted on either all campaigns or specific campaigns

Low capacity problems occur when you have:

  • Not enough leads: trucks and technicians on the clock without work

  • Ads opportunity wasted, because it’s one of the best levers to create demand and fill that job board.

“If you can ratchet up spend and catch this ahead of time, you can avoid having trucks sitting around not being utilized,” Kessler says.

To capitalize on your leads, multiple teams need to react to the data that’s being captured. 

Your shop manages the day-to-day operations; including dispatch and marketing oversight.

Your marketing agency manages day-to-day marketing, including ad spend (e.g., Pay-Per-Click). But neither may be looking at the other’s data, which can result in both teams hitting a marketing brick wall.

Ads Optimizer comes with a “capacity awareness” feature, which drives awareness the second a low-capacity or high-capacity scenario happens, so it can get eyes on the problem and get something done. “We fire off notifications in real time,” Kessler says.

Tip #5: Automate your open-estimate reminders

If you haven’t utilized the email portion of Marketing Pro, you absolutely should.

“Email is one of the best tools to protect the bottom of your funnel,” Kessler advises.

“This is about protecting the bottom of your funnel, protecting those quality leads you're driving at the top of the funnel with Optimizer, and then maintaining that quality to have this automated touchpoint at the bottom of the funnel, which is your open-estimate reminder,” he explains. 

With Marketing Pro Email, you can automatically remind customers in pivotal situations, such as:

  • Homeowners who are thinking about the price can be enticed with financing options

  • When homeowners are considering multiple brands, show consistency and reliability before the sale

Marketing Pro makes it easy to rehash open estimates with quick-start templates that can be used on their own or customized to fit your company.

“I can now do something to entice the customer to maybe take action on that open estimate while they're in this pivotal state of thinking about it,” he says. “It sends them in a timely manner. It actually shows the customer you’re a reliable organization.”

Tip #6: Direct Mail Prospecting Audiences

With Marketing Pro’s Direct Mail, you can use customer data to build targeted audiences, send automated or one-time campaigns, see campaign performance tied to revenue, and only pay one flat fee for what you send.

Direct Mail now offers a new feature, Acquisition Audiences, which allows you to filter data by specific property features, such as:

  • Total Assessed Value

  • Property Use

  • Age of Structure

  • HVAC Cooling System

  • HVAC Heating System

  • Total Interior Area

  • Water Source

  • Property Last Sold

Why use the Acquisition Audiences feature?

  • Generate more leads and find new customers

  • Less hassle. No mailing lists to buy, no printers to deal with

  • No more hours spent exporting/importing spreadsheets

  • Access to acquisition templates

  • Build your own audiences and send targeted messaging that’s relevant to them

  • Everything is in one tool

  • Convenient, easy way to quickly spin up an entire acquisition campaign

“We take care of everything for you,” Kessler says. “This is a very, very good tool to use for going after lead quality by homing in on these audience segments.”

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