The Streetwise Guide to Google Analytics for Specialist Contractors – Part 1

Google Analytics is something everyone when asked will say they have installed on the website, but the vast majority will admit to not actually knowing how to use, and some will even say they never look at! Which category do you fall under? Whether you are someone who never uses it because they don’t understand it or can’t be bothered, or even if you are a frequent user, the Streetwise Guide to Google Analytics is a two part guide, aimed at helping all users get the maximum benefit out of their website’s Google Analytics. It’s all in the customisation and knowing what you want to get out of it.

Measuring Traffic: Don’t Count Yourself!

Measuring traffic is one of the most common uses of Google Analytics and is probably the one feature that everyone can hold their hand up as a user of at some point. But understanding how to look at the initial data Google Analytics provides in regards to traffic. You will see a pie chart with percentages indicating the amount of ‘Search Traffic’, ‘Direct Traffic’, and ‘Referral Traffic’.

specialist contractors guide to google analytics

The company website in the image above only has a small amount of direct traffic, but I have known it in other cases to be in the range of 80% and above because all of the company’s computers, laptops, etc. had the browser homepage set to the company website, meaning anytime an employee logged on they visited the site directly.
So, when considering traffic information, disregard the direct traffic figure as it is most often inaccurate, and focus on the search and referral figures only.

When looking at your own website figures, you need to take into account your own visits. Does your company have your website set as your browser homepage? Even if this isn’t the case, there is still anyone working on your website, like web developers, agencies, any other employees who might need to visit your website to work, to take into account. This will all show in the direct traffic percentage making it largely inaccurate. Therefore focusing on the other figures will give you a much more realistic view of genuine traffic.

Measuring Marketing Efforts: Set ‘Goals’

Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your marketing efforts, especially digital. Landing pages have always been a great way of measuring marketing generated traffic, and still are, but there are also many other ways to measure your marketing. Setting ‘goals’ on Google analytics is the best way to measure the performance for all manner of objectives in one place. For example, if one of your goals was to get people to sign up to your mailing list, you could add this as a goal, and Google Analytics would then show you the amount of people who signed up, and where each of those people came from. So 10% of sign ups may have come from a Facebook ad, 50% may have come from a call to action on your homepage, etc. This information can be correlated by Google Analytics for all your company’s marketing objectives, allowing you to see which strategies have performed better than others.

Measuring Metrics: Don’t Class Traffic as a Metric for Success

It is easy to rest on your laurels if your website is gaining hundreds or thousands of visitors per month. But the real metrics for success lie in how many of those visitors actually engage. A website with 50,000 visitors a month could be getting just 10 enquiries out of them, in comparison to a website with just 500 visitors per month that is getting 300 enquiries. Just goes to show that sheer volume of traffic doesn’t mean your website is successful. So to measure the true success of your website, you need to focus on the right metrics, and the right metrics are those that tie in with your goals.

Measuring Keywords: Look Past the Top 10

When it comes to measuring the top keywords and search terms that are bringing up your website and are driving search traffic to your website, the top 10 are not what you need to be focusing on. The top 10 are likely to be just variations and misspellings of your company name, where as looking further, say in the top 50, 100 or even further than that, is where the real search term treasure lies.

Look for keywords and phrases that could be easily incorporated into the content of your website, paying particular attention to the longer terms. This will not only give you an idea of what your audience is searching to get to your website, but the specific topics they find of interest, which can influence your website and blog content as well as social media marketing strategies.

Part two will be up on the blog and in your email inbox (for subscribers) same time next week, and will look further at features such as custom dashboards, site search tracking, data ranges and reports.

 

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Barry makes headlines after he took the fight against late payment to Parliament!

As you may or may not have already heard, on Tuesday 23rd April our founder Barry Ashmore was invited to speak in a late payment evidence session in Parliament. During the session, which was never exclusively stated as being strictly construction themed, had a distinct construction flavour due to the presence of Dortech’s Steve Sutherland (our Gold Buddy who made national headlines after saying NO to Balfour Beatty) and Balfour Beatty’s chief exec Andrew McNaughton.

So as you can imagine talk soon turned to the construction industry’s own late payment plight, and Barry fought the corner proudly, offering the MPs a quickly and cost effectively introducible solution he hope they can’t refuse, in the form of our Fair Treatment Charter. We are still waiting for the MPs to release their thoughts on entire cross industry late payment matter, however you can download a PDF of our proposed construction industry Fair Treatment Charter by clicking here. Barry and Steve Sutherland will also be speaking in full about their Parliament experience at our exclusive conference on 7th June, which you can find full details of by clicking here.

Click here to read the full article on Barry’s trip to Parliament as published by the Heating and Ventilating Review on their website.

To keep up to date with all the #buildfair4all campaign news, follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn!

Why You As A Specialist Contractor Should Be Blogging

Social media and blogging may seem like the last thing you consider to be of interest to your audience, and most specialist contractors when asked if they blog will typically reply ‘No’ and when asked why the most common response is ‘Because my customers don’t read blogs’. This is a fair assumption to make based on the stereotypical view of construction clientele, but in reality unless you ask them or offer them the chance to read your blog you can’t be sure if they would or not.

And blogs aren’t necessarily just for reading. Getting your name out there with creatively crafted useful information is one of the best ways to be picked up by a search engine, especially seen as Google has changed the way it searches (check out the Streetwise Blog for our article on Google’s new search and how to make it work for you).

So without further ado, here are the main reasons why your company could benefit from having it’s own blog:

It demonstrates your technical knowledge

In the construction industry, showing your worth in terms of skills and expertise is a priority, and I bet most of your advertising and marketing campaigns describe you as ‘experts in your field’ or something similar that tells your target market that you are perfect for the job. But before that prospective customer hires you, how do they know you have the technical knowledge or skills for the job? Anyone can SAY they know it all, but the proof is in the pudding.

So use your blog to show off your knowledge and skills by writing technical content to support your claims. Post a series of blog posts on why you should design or install in a certain way and back this up with specific drawings and datasheets. Gain feedback from designers and engineers on innovative new ways of designing for construction and post about it on your blog. The possibilities are endless!

Prove You Are Market Leaders

The majority of companies claim to be market leaders in their industry, and there becomes a point where just saying it loses all meaning and emphasis. So make your company stand out as a true market leader by proving WHY you have earned the title. Post blog posts about people you have helped and how, use in-depth case studies about how you solved specific issues for customers, ask clients for testimonials or reviews of your products and services which can be posted on the blog to show why they chose you over others in the industry and provide specific information to back up their claims of your products being the best on the market. Don’t be afraid to interact with your audience and engage them through collaboration. Ask for their feedback on new services and products, as them to share their thoughts and ideas for new ones. This all helps show why your company stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Provide information and answers

There are people who take a keen interest and actively seek out all information on upcoming regulations and legislations that will have an impact on their industry, but there are also those who need to be informed. You can please both of these types of people by writing an informative piece discussing the key points of a upcoming change and throwing in your company’s opinion on the change and how it will affect the industry. Encourage people to comment and share their thoughts and opinions on the matter. This will help to engage the audience and hopefully get a conversation or debate going regarding this.

You can also encourage people to come to you with their questions, not only on changes within the industry but with their own construction based issues. You could run a regular Q+A piece where people can send you their issues and you can provide an answer to them, posting the most common/popular ones in a blog post for all to see and gain their own answers from.

Which business goals does Blogging contribute towards?

Blogging is one of the most valuable online marketing mediums to adopt as it contributes to all the main business goals while cutting down on costs such as PR expenditure. The main areas blogging will benefit your company most is:

  • Search engine rankings: The more content you put out there, the greater the likelihood of you appearing in search engine results, and higher up in those results.
  • Increased website traffic: Using blogs to link back to your website increases the traffic, and if you can turn those visitors into leads you increase your lead generation.
  • Increased sales: Increased lead generation means more opportunities to increase sales and revenue.

If you have any more questions about blogging or anything else related to the marketing of your specialist contracting company, please feel free to contact me via email, natalie@streetwisesubbie.com and I would be happy to help!

We are holding a one-off conference/rally to fix Specialist Contracting in Britain! Don’t Miss Out!


“Specialist Contracting Is Broken – What Can We Do To Fix It?”

An Exclusive Half-Day Conference and a MUST for all Specialist Contractors

The harsh reality is that for many Specialist Contractors the good times are over!

I am seeing far too many Specialist Contractors being crushed in this economy because they don’t have the help, support or resources they need to strive in one of the hardest times we have seen in a long time. They are trying to go it alone, and don’t have access to the proven strategies for commercial and contractual security and new business generation.

And most Specialist Contractors I speak to will admit that something radical needs to happen to turn the industry back around. They’re sick of being beaten up by the Main Contractors they work for and ending up paying themselves for the lack of profit in the industry.

So come along and give us just half a day.

We will show you how to protect your business and improve your marketing, solve your problems and make sure that you are at the leading edge of the most recent thinking that affects all Specialist Contractors.

The Conference

What is it? A half day conference where you get everything you need to maximize your profits – and protect your business in 2013.

When is it? The Conference takes places in the Novotel M1 J25 Nottingham on 7th June 2013.

Who is it for? YOU! This is a must attend conference for you if you own or run a Specialist Contracting business and want to survive this recession!

It’s for small and large businesses and it doesn’t matter what type of installation you specialise in.

What’s In Store?

You are set for a transformational day, because you’re about to discover the step by step blueprint to grow and protect your business and cut through the confusion to give you a clear and profitable strategy. You are also able to book now for your FREE 15 minute consultation with one of our experts! Reserve your place now by emailing us, info@streetwisesubbie.com For a detailed and evolving agenda of the day, please visit our website.

How to Book Your Place

Places are Strictly Limited – So Please Don’t Miss Out! Reserve Your Place Now by email to info@streetwisesubbie.com

You and your colleagues can all book your places on this exclusive event for just £25 plus VAT. The advice and support your will receive on the day is worth hundreds of pounds, so don’t miss out, grab a bargain and secure the success of your Specialist Contracting business in 2013 and beyond!

Come and have a great day out and meet some wonderful people at the same time!

The Conference isn’t all gloom and doom and we will ensure there is a fast pace to the day – if you want a boring lecture then our Conference / Rally isn’t the place to come!

For enquiries and bookings, please email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call us on 01773 712116 now.

Common Marketing Issues Specialist Contractors Face… And How To Overcome Them!

I have given ample advice to specialist contractors on what they should be doing regarding digital marketing efforts, but I have never addressed the common issues that occur when all that information isn’t understood or used properly. That’s why I am today looking at the main recurring issues specialist contractors face when it comes to marketing themselves, and how these issues can be overcome with a little help and clarity.

Marketing Issue: Clear about the ‘what’ but not the ‘who’

It is easy to see what other people are doing or are telling you is the hot marketing technique right now and want to jump on that band wagon yourself. But when it comes to marketing it isn’t always a case of what worked for someone else will work for you. It all comes down to WHO you want to attract with your marketing efforts. You need to know who your potential new clients are, and who you want them to be, before you can know what the best strategies for you are.

Marketing Issue: An Inconsistent Effort From The Top

Whether you are an SME owner or have a larger company to run, you will have a million other things on your mind and worrying about marketing efforts won’t be one of them. Even if you employ a team of trusted marketing specialists or an outside agency to help out with your marketing efforts, the CEO still needs to have some input. Marketing strategies need constant review in the fast paced digital age, and as the owner you need to have an active involvement in the direction your business takes.

Marketing Issue: Tight Budget

We all know that late and non payments in the construction industry are a common and damaging issue, and despite our constant efforts to fight against it, it continues to happen, causing holes in specialist contractors’ cashflow. The common reaction to this issue is to cut all marketing budget and efforts to save money, however this is like signing your own company’s death warrant. No marketing efforts meanings no potential new customers, and no new sales. The best course of action to take is to re-evaluate your marketing efforts. Take a look at the following suggestions for saving money without cutting your company’s air supply when on a tight budget:

Join networking groups: Our LinkedIn group, The Nationwide Alliance of Specialist Contractors in Construction and Engineering, is free to join and has over 1,1000 members who share news, advice and support each other through the active group. There are also many members who continue to build great working relationships with each other as they find they can help each other out!

Take free advice: Our blog and website are both hives of information on how to market your specialist contracting business, and we also send out weekly information emails to those registered with us, and it’s all free! We are handing it to you on a plate, take it and use it!

Write content for your blog/website:  You know plenty about the industry you work in from the basics right down to the technical stuff, so share that knowledge. Use your blog and your website to post informative and advisory content that your potential customers will find useful and want to pass on. This content can include text, images and throw in some video to keep it interesting, as people feel more engaged when there’s a video to watch.

Email or call your past clients: Keep in touch with the people that have previously hired you, and the likelihood is if they need work doing again you are the first place they will turn. You can also ask them for testimonials and referrals for the previous jobs you worked on for them, which you can post on your website to show potential new customers what others have thought about you in the past.

Build relationships with the right influencers: Influencers are the other businesses that your customers might also have an interest in. E.g. if you are a painter/decorator, your potential customers might also be looking for a flooring contractor, a plumber, etc. If you have a good relationship going with local influencers you can then refer them out to your customers and they will be more than happy to return the favour.

There are a million more ways to get creative in marketing with no budget, so don’t let having a lack of cashflow be the excuse for cutting your marketing. Get creative!

How to make a claim for a late or non payment of £10,000 or less

Please note: If you have a claim worth over £10,000, please contact us on 01773 712116 or visit our website, www.streetwisesubbie.com, for individual advice and support for your claim.

But what if you are owed less than £10,000?

We know that being owed £10,000 or less is still out of order and still constitutes a big claim to you, but due to the amount being lower than other claims it is classified as a ‘small claim’, meaning there is a different way in which it is dealt with by law. The following information details the process of making a small claims case from start to finish:

Before You Go To Court

There are certain time limits that apply to cases, such as if the late payment is in breach of contract which in the majority of cases it would be, you must make the claim within six years of the date of breach. However, I can’t see many people hanging around that long for their money and I don’t blame them!

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) do stipulate that you must try to settle the claim before taking it to the County Court Money Claims Centre (where all ‘small’ money claims are dealt with), so it is ideal to keep a record of all contact you have had with the contractor in question to show the extent of negotiation before moving on to court action. If you have been in contact via email keep a printed record of all correspondence, transcribe or make notes on any phone exchanges, and keep a record of minutes from every face to face meeting with any representative of the contractor’s company.

Sometimes if the court feels it would be beneficial, they will refer your case to a mediator, a professional impartial third party who is trained to encourage a mutually-agreed solution between you and the contractor outside of the claims court. If you have already paid your court application fee the mediation services will be provided free.

Starting Your Claim

If and when you decide to take the matter to the claims court, you will be asked to file a claim form (N1) detailing all the details of the claim. The more detail you can provide, the better, as it will help the court get a better understanding of the situation and help it to be dealt with quicker. If the details are complicated, you are advised to consult the CAB where experienced advisers can help you get the right details down in the clearest manner possible.

When claiming, you may be entitled to claim not only the amount owed but also interest on this amount for the time it has been owed. There are guidance notes on how exactly to word this on your claim form, and you can also ask advice from a CAB advisor.

If the none payment is in breach of a written agreement such as a contract or payment term agreement, then you should attach to your claim form all related documentation of this agreement and correspondence relating to the agreement.

Where To Start Your Claim

You can find your local county court where you will first start your case application here: www.hmcourt-service.gov.uk.

You can also start your claim online at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk if the amount you are owed is set, and the claim will typically be issued, printed and sent to the defending party (the contractor in debt to you) on the day of online submission.

Receiving Notification of Alloction

If the defending party agrees not to defend the claim and arranges for payment to be made immediately you will not have to go to the courts, however this is very rare. If the defending party do decide to allow it to be taken to court, the court will then send a notice of allocation, letting you know your case has been allocated to the money claims court and let you know what exactly you need to do to prepare for the final hearing. This typically involves sending the court copies of any documentation you intent to use as part of the case, and the defendant will be asked to do the same.

The Hearing Date

If the court sees fit, it may propose that based on the papers a decision will be reached by the court, meaning there is no need for a hearing. Both parties must agree to this for it to ahead.

If the court decides a hearing is needed, then they will send a time, date and location, typically with the notice of allocation or after if you or the defending party have decided not to settle without a hearing.

If you can’t attend the hearing date, you can apply to have it rescheduled but there is a fee for this, or you can put it in writing that you would be happy for the hearing to go ahead in your absence.

Preparing Your Case

You must present the case well and confidently if it is to win in the claims court, therefore if you personally are not confident in presenting it then it is wise to ask someone else to represent your company’s party in the court.

When it comes to any documentation used in the case, make sure it is in date order and clearly establishes the point you want to make by using it. Making a list of all the evidence you plan to use if useful to make sure nothing is forgotten and it is all presented in order. This should include all documents relevant to the case, from invoices and agreement terms, contracts and receipts (if part payments have been made) right through to any evidence of correspondence between you and the contractor.

The Final Hearing

The final hearing in the money claims court is typically quite informal and the judge will usually deal with it relatively quickly if enough information and evidence is provided beforehand. They will then at the end of the hearing make a judgement and give reasons for this, typically vocally with both parties present, but if you or the contractor’s party couldn’t attend the hearing it will be given in writing.

If you win, the court will refund the court fees and you will receive the final agreed amount from the defending party, and you have the right to claim expenses on top of this for travel, etc. If you lose you will not get the court fees back or have the right top expenses and won’t receive the amount claimed for.

The 10 Most Effective Low-Cost & No-Cost Marketing Strategies

Marketing your business doesn’t have to be costly! Whether you are just starting up or looking for some fresh ideas, these 10 strategies fit easily into any budget:

Strategy #1: The Power of the Press Release

The only cost of media coverage is time. Build relationships with contacts from trade, regional and national media will take time, but it doesn’t cost a thing when it comes to getting something publicised.

Strategy #2: Referrals

Referrals are the best way of expressing to both potential and return customers why your company is best. In order to generate referrals, offer people an incentive in return.

Strategy #3: Digital Marketing

The world has officially gone digital, so its time you did too. Check out our blog and our website for useful advice on marketing online.

Strategy #4: PPC and Google AdWords

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a budget friendly way to advertise online as you set the budget. Google Adwords is the most popular way to use PPC as it enables your company to appear at the top of the most popular search engine in the world, Google. Others offering PPC include Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing.

Strategy #5: Get Sociable on Social Media

Social media has become the number one place for both free and paid advertising, PR and marketing over the last decade. With millions of people logging in every day, and budget friendly PPC advertising options, free company pages and more, it is worth investing some time in this marketing gold mine.

Strategy #6: Newsletters – You’re Always The Cover Story

Newsletters both online and offline are a great way to keep in touch with your customers and an effective way to promote additional products and services. Your customers will appreciate the information and your efforts to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Newsletters have a number of other benefits as well. And if you go the e-newsletter route, the chief benefit is: virtually no mailing costs.

Strategy #7: Email Marketing

The only cost you will incur is a subscription to an email marketing service, but the benefits far outweigh this cost. You can send personalised emails with updates, incentives and offers to databases of hundreds or thousands of customers.

Strategy # 8: Telemarketing

Never under estimate the power of one-to-one contact. Although often maligned and frequently misunderstood, telemarketing is one of the fastest growing forms of direct marketing today. With the digital age taking the personal aspect out of sales on many levels now, a traditional method such as telemarketing provides an opportunity to make one-to-one contact with the prospective buyer at a very low cost. It can be used to follow up on enquiries, resolve customer issues in a more personal manner, and contact potential leads directly.

Strategy # 9: Marketing with Flyers

Flyers can be an effective way to spread the word about your business. Generally they are single sheets printed front and back, and used to announce a sale or other limited-time event. Mail it, hand it out, hang it up, and leave it wherever prospects congregate – a flyer is among the least expensive, easiest to produce, and hardest working marketing tools.

Strategy # 10: Magazine Ads

This is direct response advertising at its best. A magazine ad is designed to create responses and generate customers. Every ad should always remind the reader of your unique selling point, even though you are featuring a particular product or promotion.