“Our web site generated a ton of leads last month. Why has volume fallen off so suddenly?”
“We had loads of leads from our online campaigns during Q2 last year. We’re way off this year. What’s going on?”
I hear questions like this from the home improvement companies all the time. But online marketing is like all marketing – your results change – independently from your efforts, and because of factors largely outside of your control. Efforts that produced great results one year may struggle the next…and you can’t figure out why.
Please allow me to share some of what I’ve learned after 11 years of generating leads online for the home improvement companies.
Let’s say you hosted 2,500 visitors to your web site from Google organic searches in April, then the same number in May. You’ll get the same number of leads in both months, right?
The answer is: probably not. And it’s because your conversion rate of visits into leads changes from month to month.
Why is that? Here are the reasons most prevalent for home improvement web sites:
- The state of the economy
- Weather anomalies
Seasonality should be second nature for any home improvement veteran. Certain patterns have revealed themselves over time. In November, for instance, Thanksgiving can fall on the 22nd…or on the 28th. That’s a big difference. Homeowner visits tend to convert into leads at a lower rate the closer you get to Thanksgiving. If Turkey Day falls on the 22nd, the middle of November becomes a Low Conversion Period. But if it falls on the 28th, Thanksgiving has less of an effect on conversion rates during the first three weeks of the month.
This really happens – and materially impacts your web site lead generation performance YOY.
Let’s look at another example, this one involving weather anomalies. We work with companies offering ice prevention products in the Northeast. In 2015, homeowners in the Northeast endured record-breaking snow and massive issues with ice dams. As a result, we generated 300% more leads for our ice prevention clients than ever before.
Fast-forward to Winter 2016. While many of us in the Northeast were happy to not be buried under several feet of snow, the unexpectedly warmer weather created terrible conditions for companies selling products to prevent ice dams. While our product, creative and teaser were exactly the same as the year prior, search volume and conversion rates dropped like a stone from the previous year. No need = lower conversion.
Here’s an economy example. Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia are normally fertile markets for home improvement companies. However, when the government shut down on October 1, 2013, many homeowners in those areas didn’t get paid for two weeks – and localized economic uncertainty resulted.
This uncertainty rippled through the local remodeling industry, as these markets immediately became more conservative financially. Homeowners may still have been interested in remodeling their homes, but they were less inclined to act as a result of the uncertainty in their paychecks.
My most important takeaway is this: while online marketing is an important source of leads for home improvement companies, offline factors can greatly impact campaign performance. That is, the online channel doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Its success depends on many factors that are beyond your control.