Cost Comparison: Getting the most water damage leads for your money

For most disaster mitigation contractors, completing the job is easy. It’s often the marketing required to land the job in the first place that’s the hard part. Given the nature of disaster mitigation, reaching customers in an emergency should be your number one priority.

Marketing is critical to getting more water damage leads and growing your business, but many companies don’t perceive it is that important, know how to do it, or think it is too expensive. Even businesses that understand the importance of marketing don’t always know where to start.

With growing competition from internet giants Google and Amazon and changes with HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, marketing is more important than ever. While there are many different marketing options available, choosing the right one for your business isn’t always easy.

Three of the most common marketing options for disaster mitigation companies are:

  • In-House Marketing: You or another employee markets your business. You pay for your marketing expenses directly regardless of your results.
  • Marketing Agency: A company markets your business on your behalf. You pay them for their marketing expertise regardless of your results.
  • Lead Generation Company: A company markets the services your business offers. You only pay when you receive viable leads.

Picking the right strategy or combination of strategies is critical to your success. When evaluating your options, it’s important to find the right balance of cost, control, and knowledge to keep your business working and profitable.

In-House Marketing

Doing your own marketing offers the highest level of control over your campaigns. It also requires the most attention from you and your team to manage your campaigns. Marketing has a learning curve and is constantly evolving. Keeping up with the latest trends and technology can be time-consuming.

In-house marketing also allows you to evaluate and adjust your marketing strategy easily and efficiently. However, it’s important to be patient with your campaigns. One common mistake companies make is to change their strategy too quickly.

Remember to consider all of the costs associated with your marketing as well. Costs for printing and ads are easy to track, but you also need to calculate the time and salary of employees as well. If you or an employee is splitting time between marketing and jobs, remember to factor in that loss in revenue.

Hiring a marketing specialist means you have a dedicated person to create and manage your campaigns, but comes at a higher cost. The GlassDoor national average for a marketing specialist is $58,000 per year, plus benefits. A part-time or freelance marketing person may charge anywhere from $25 to $100 or more per hour.

Your industry experience and knowledge about your services can give you a competitive advantage in creating effective marketing campaigns. However, the lack of an outside perspective in the creative process can result in campaigns that don’t resonate with your audience.

Marketing Agency

The major appeal of hiring a marketing agency is that you have a team of specialists to take care of things for you. You are paying for their knowledge and skills. They work with you to develop campaigns, write copy, design the creative, and manage your ads in market.

Costs vary widely from agency to agency and from city to city and price isn’t necessarily a guarantee of skill or quality. While every agency wants to be successful for their clients, they are going to charge you regardless of your results.

Most agencies charge by the hour, with hourly rates starting as low as $50 and ranging upward into the hundreds. Some agencies may require a monthly retainer as well, with average rates between $1000 and $3000. Contracts are also common, making it difficult to leave quickly if you aren’t satisfied.

Additionally, the agency still charges you the costs for running the display ads, paid search, and social media campaigns as well. For example, an AdWords campaign may cost only $30 per call if you place the buy yourself, but an agency will charge you more, perhaps as much as $50 per call.

A common complaint about agencies is the lack of transparency when it comes to billable work. While you may receive an itemized invoice, vague figures like 6 hours for design, 3 hours for copywriting, and 1.5 hours for trafficking can be frustrating when you’re paying by the hour.

Additionally, agencies aren’t always familiar with the services you offer. Good agencies will do market research, but you may need to work closely with them at first in order to ensure their marketing is a good fit for your business. It will likely take time, and money, to develop an effective plan.

Lead Generation Company

Lead generation companies have the same expertise as an agency, but with a greater insight into disaster mitigation. They create, design, and manage campaigns that market your services to a targeted audience. Since their revenue is tied to your own, they have a vested interest in your success.

Keep in mind that these companies advertise the services you offer or market their own brands instead of your business. Given the nature of disaster mitigation, someone with a basement full of sewage is probably more concerned with how quickly you can show up. While not every lead will turn into a job, it’s likely that the caller needs your services.

Most lead generation companies charge per lead and rates usually vary by location and service. Most disaster mitigation leads range between $275 and $700. Look for a company that only charges for valid leads and has a clearly defined process for handling billing disputes.

Beware of lead generation companies that send leads to multiple water damage contractors at the same time. Only use a lead company that offers exclusive leads. Avoid companies that charge for wrong numbers, have setup or monthly service fees, or require a long-term contract.

Additionally, make sure the lead generation company is sending you live phone calls. In a water damage emergency, a customer wants to speak to someone who can resolve their problem immediately. Web-based contact forms can be cumbersome and typically result in the customer calling a competitor.

Cost Comparison

Cost plays a key role in deciding what marketing strategy to use for most water damage contractors. When comparing costs, remember to include all expenses including wages, advertising costs, retainer fees, and hourly rates.

Unfortunately, there are too many variables to calculate the cost in-house marketing cost of an employee splitting their time between marketing and disaster mitigation jobs. Therefore our estimate is based on a $58,000 per year salary for a marketing specialist and $30 per lead for advertising.

For our marketing agency estimate, we used $2000 per month retainer, ten billable hours per week at a rate of $100 per hour, and $50 per lead in advertising costs. For lead generation, we based our rates on an average of $425 per lead. (Find out how much you could make using our revenue calculator.)

In all three cases, we assumed an average of two leads per week. While your costs and results may vary, our figures are based on our industry research. Calculate your own cost per lead by dividing your total yearly marketing cost by the total number of leads.

As you decide the right marketing path for your water damage business, look for the right balance of knowledge, control, and cost to keep you working and profitable. For some businesses, a combination of paths may be the best option. Regardless of the marketing path you choose, remember to track your expenses and measure your results to ensure you are spending your marketing dollars efficiently.

Find Out How Much You Can Make

Use our revenue calculator to see how much you can make with our premium water damage leads.

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