A contractor coaching client's website was hi-jacked by a Lead Generation Service (LGS). He noticed that his website was producing less leads after deciding to purchase leads from the Lead Generation Service. He brought us in to look at his marketing program and we discovered his domain name was linked with the LGS. Adding to his dismay he learned from his long time customer that they were receiving calls from many local contractors they did not seek out. The unwanted contractors received the customer's information from a profile page set up with the LGS.
How does this happen?
First the contractor or remodeler is solicited and the Lead Generation Service convinces the contractor to purchase leads through the online service. The LGS offers to help the contractor gain more website exposure improving Search Engine rankings. Then the LGS offers to add a link to the contractors domain and build a profile page.
The LGS suggests that the contractor place a link button on their website that will be directed to the profile page on the LGS site.
They promise to help the you get more leads this way by leveraging the lead generation service connected to your domain name and location. The LGS optimizes the new domain to start ranking in the contractor's marketplace. Often times the new hybrid link will rank above your company domain when a consumer searches for remodeling services.
Since most people are impatient they select the highest ranking link that brings them directly to the LGS site page with your profile information.
So picture this: your long time customer who is now ready to do that kitchen, addition, bath, roof siding or window project goes online to find your phone number. They see a link with your construction business name near the top of the page. This link however has the Lead Generation Service name positioned before your company name. Your customer clicks the link and then is directed to a the LGS website and your profile page. Your profile page has your information on it so it must be ok. They fill out the request for an estimate form hoping to hear from you right away.
Here is where you get hi-jacked!
Then the Lead Generation Service sends you the lead (your customer) and you have to pay for it in order to see them. Then they send the name of your customer to 4 or 5 of your competitors. Your long time customer now has 4 or more options for pricing. Oh by the way if you do not buy the lead you lose and your competition wins!
How would you feel if this happened to you or is currently happening to you and you don't know it?
Before you hire a Lead Generation Service or Consumer Review site read the fine print.
Here is an excerpt from Home Advisors (formerly Service Magic) Terms and Conditions in 6.5 font size. Can you read it?
You acknowledge and agree that all of the content and information posted on the HomeAdvisor Website, including but not limited to Service Professional profiles, screening information, and Customer Ratings & Reviews for all HomeAdvisor Service Professional members (excluding any logos or trademarked materials, or other intellectual property of Service Professionals provided by Service Professionals), is the sole and exclusive property of HomeAdvisor. You acknowledge and agree that you have no right to reproduce, post, publish, display or otherwise use any Customer Ratings & Reviews (including those relating to you and your business), or any other content posted on the HomeAdvisor Website, other than content provided directly by you.
The sad part is creating a hybrid link with your company domain name is legal and you approve it when you buy the service/leads from the LGS. If you read the fine print buried in the Lead Generation Service's Terms and Conditions you will see that you give them permission to help you. The terms state that anything you upload to the site is their property and in some cases you cannot use it. The terms also state that they have the right to give this lead that contacted your profile page to other contractors. Here is where the permission based hi-jacking is really painful.
Here are a few examples of Lead Generation Service who charge for leads and Consumer Review Sites who charge big bucks for advertising on their sites.
Here is a list of companies who place their domain name in front of yours:
- Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic)
- Angies List
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tactics used by Lead Generation Services to get your customers and prospects into their database so they can charge YOU and 4 or 5 more contractors for YOUR lead.
- Home Advisor: www.homeadvisor.com/rated.ABCRemodelingCoInc.12345678
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/ABC-Remodeling-Co-Inc-Town
- Angies List: www.angieslist.com/company/list/state/us/town/company
- Thumbtack: www.thumbtack.com/state/town/company
In each of the examples above you can see that the Service Company precedes the contractor and also includes the town and state. This is done because consumers search for companies who do what they are looking for locally.
SEO Credit Goes To Service Company Not Your Website
When consumers click the Lead Generation Service links with your name on it all the SEO credit goes to their website and not yours. This how they often rank hire in searches in your home town.
If this has happened to you your customer leads may be going to your competition, your website is not getting SEO credit and your website may not be seen by your core local market because it is past page one.
Marketing Solutions: To avoid the pitfalls of having your domain name and website hi-jacked it may make sense to take control of your own marketing internally or considering outsourcing.
- Marketing strategy, plan and realistic budget.
- Choosing your target client, project type and geographic area.
- The right website developed by an inbound marketing specialist who knows SEO..and someone who will consistently generate relevant context related content t keep your site fresh.
- Social media
- Referral generation plan for your customer base and circle of influence
- Job site radius marketing
- Strategic alliances and more...
Another great resource to check out is National Speaker and Remodeling Magazine Author Shawn McCadden's marketing program page.
In our Continuing Education and Business Training we teach contractors how to avoid these pitfalls. Currently this subject is taught in Mass for Mass Construction Supervisors License Holders seeking CEU's. Workshops are also scheduled in partnership with Lumberyards and Material Suppliers to benefit their contractor client base.