Archives June 2015

Countertops Search Volume according to Google

We are constantly monitoring the trends in the countertop market and in this case Countertops Search Volume.

This report is very interesting in that it shows us the most search materials for countertop in the US for the past 10 years.
 

Here you will see that countertops is leading .. this number is inclusive of all the other countertop searches as this report is based on key words used in search requests.
Clearly granite countertops are the most often searched for material in the US and has been for the past 10 years. Quartz is on an interesting track that we should all take notice but it still is only 1/3 of the searches for granite countertops. In this report we also illustrate marble and concrete searches as well. Clearly focus on granite is important but we should now take notice of quartz as the up an coming alternative material.
Unless the price of quartz comes down granite will remain the leading material and in my opinion does not have the qualities to knock natural granite from its 10 year rein as the champ when it comes to countertops.

Combat the Summer Slow Down

For the countertop sales businesses the transition into summer can be a tough spot. If your not booked out 2 + weeks you can find your self looking for something to do.
The best thing to do is plan for these times of the year. Have a promotion that can give you the competitive edge leading up to the beginning of summer..
 

as you mouse over from month to month you will see a consistency in when the most searches for granite counter tops happen and when they don't. See how low decembers numbers are every year. The main reason for this is that expendable income priorities change. Less people in market looking for the product and service. The Expendable income changes to other items and kitchen renovations are less of a priority in these times.
With a little planning you can head of these slower times with changes in the perceived value. Adding a free sink or providing a special on certain materials.

Countertop SEO vs SEM Revealed!

What are we fighting for?

I want to provide you the truth when it comes to marketing your countertop business on the internet. When you start to market your business you become a target. People see that you are investing in marketing your business and want to tell you that you are doing it wrong and they can do it better. Whether you are doing it yourself or you have hired someone to help market your business, don't fall for many of the misconceptions that will be used to have you doubt your efforts.
I have learned this first hand. Many of my clients are approached daily with convincing arguments that what we are doing is wrong and what they do is right. They make claims that what they will do will have greater results for less money. They point to the intelligent targeting we are doing and try to sway the thinking of my partners.
The constant battle is less about SEO vs SEM and its more about tactics used to steal customers from other marketing professionals.

Here are a couple examples:

"Mis-direction #1: 80% of searched go to organic results"

Someone that tells you this has never done any research or actually ever run a campaign for a partner. This stat may be true for ALL search engine queries but is not true for local product and service based results, and that's a fact. When I target "granite countertops {with local city} I see 20% click through rate and I am 1 of 13 paid ads and local places results are shown before you see the organic. Let's break this down:
Top 3 Paid Results:
20% CTR position #1 = (my client)
10% position# 2
5% position #3
Now to the local Results:
3-8 Local Companies with reviews and other relevance content
This represents at least 25%
Now organic results:
I would equate organic for local search to represent only 35% of available clicks in this case
Finally Side Ads:
Right Side ads = 5%
We have to give all those ads some traffic because they would not advertise if they never saw any traffic.
 

Mis-direction #2: "focus on un-targeted low volume keywords"

Mislead #2: A large newspaper company providing local marketing packages to supplement its dying business approaches my client and states that he does not rank for "granite in {CityName}" and that they can do a better job targeting such terms.
"Granite" what? Granite Tiles, granite, steps, granite posts, granite suppliers? No we provide "Granite Countertops in {CityName}" and happen to rank #2. I explained this to the owner of the business and to the sales person for the newspaper. We focus on driving customers that are looking for the products and services that we offer and your pitch for my customers attention is ill informed.

Mis-Direction #3: "Wasting your money on PPC"

One of my partners was approached with "You are wasting your money on PPC, You should focus your money on organically ranking for Granite Countertops Chicago". They were offering to do this for 1/2 of the marketing budget he was spending with me. sound pretty convincing right. Save 1/2 and give you this "Great placement"
I went to my local market stats on his campaign and gave him a reality check. I responded with real numbers.

what the Local organic SEO company is not going to tell you is this:
“Granite countertops Chicago” represents 284 searches in the last 30 days – let’s say that you actually ranked for this.. this is what they are selling you. That would mean that 284 impression – I am going to use stats for #1 position just to be far. That’s 35%(I don't know if i believe it) click through rate… that’s 75 clicks. The website tracks a 10% conversion rate to lead = 7.5 leads and lets put you at a 15% lead to close rate that’s 1 job per month – What do they want to charge you for #1 position – not page #1 -  #1 position for “granite countertops Chicago”? But still my point is that’s only 1 sale potential.
In that same 30 days I provided 27,272 Impressions on these actual search terms: midwest stone granite plainfield il ,buy granite countertop remnants near 60084,granite top elmwood park il,bathroom countertops,most popular countertops,discount st cecillia white granite 60586,gmd granite schiller park,honed granite countertops price,delicatus white granite carol stream,countertops dealers mount prospect,counter tops huntley il,granite countertops in niles,granite remnants,thevtilevshop granitr,granite stores naperville il,blue sapphire granite near 60062,1.5 granite strips,granite countertops free estimate on come to house,budget countertops,white granite countertops,granite chicagoland,chris mcmasters countertops,kashmir white granite cost,payless granite,granite countertops elgin il,granit countertpo in 60634,countertop,granite countertops near brookfield 53045,granite slabs near me,granite countertops and kitchen cabinets burr ridge illinois,how much is granite per sq ft,formica stone countertop chicago,granite showrooms,granite and marble depot mokena,granite countertops glendale heights il,granites counter tops,cheap granite in park ridge il,kitchen counter tops menards,granite countertops sevierville tn,granite countertops montgomery il,engineered stone countertops

So the organic strategy costs $750 and generates 1 sale
Organic Search Cost Per Sale = $750

the PPC strategy including organic search terms costs $1500 and generates 10 sales
PPC Cost per sale = $150

What make more sense to you?

We provide a full service approach focusing on PPC to get things started and then back fill highest potential keywords to drive the traffic from the right organic search terms.

So why is PPC so powerful for Local Search Terms?

Perceived value - search engines do everything they can to prevent perceived value from creeping into the organic results. They will change the text of your titles and descriptions to not present the price points or words like free.. "Basically all the stuff they want in your PPC ads" Why is this? That's where they make money on the PPC ads. You have control over the message in your PPC ads. You can target specific values from your customers and drive them to specific landing pages.

When its all said and done between organic vs paid we simply provide both but our focus is on tracking sales to a target cost per sale - - that's how you grow your business online.

Countertop Company SEO - Directories

We have one of the most comprehensive directories of countertop fabricators in the United States. When you become a member of our directory your are linked to from a number of high profile website. We also provide our directory partners with additional services such as access to local sales leads, review management system, and Listings our granite fabricator network websites.

Here is a sample of our directory websites:

http://Countertops.biz
http://www.granitemakeover.com
http://www.granitecountertopstone.com
http://www.stonefabdirectory.com
http://www.fireups.com
http://www.granite-countertops.us

...And Many More.

So why are directories so important?

Directories provide relevant information about local businesses. They are usually grouped together more than one company that provides a specific product or service and this content in itself creates relevance. By adding your business to our directory you will instantly be connected with 1000's of other like business and receive a relevant like back to your website across our network.

Why do you provide this for free?

Its against googles policies to pay for links. We provide this as a free service to provide quality relevant and accurate content for our website visitors. In exchange from you we would like you to review our other products and services as well as review relevant local projects and purchase products and services that are right for you.

Join The Directory

Spark Lead Management CRM and Workflow Management

Spark helps you dial in your countertop business. Track your countertop advertising and move money to where its most effective. Track staff and workflow to increase your conversion. Smart.

I provide a tracking application with our advertising program that enables me to track a customers ROI in real-time. We start with online typically because that is the most effective form of advertising for the customer that is looking to compete in todays market. We implement call tracking as well as track every contact method and provide a CRM where the user is able to track closing ratio for the channel as a whole as well as by individual sales rep.
The next phase is to implement tracking phone number and tracking URLS in traditional advertising to monitor true ROI from traditional media.
We have coined the term Cost Per Install as the true measure of success for the fabricator as we use this to track performance.
CPI = is what it costs in advertising dollars to generate a sale. Once we have 1-2 months of data and this number the fabricator can typically increase or decrease the ad budget to reach the desired sales goal.
My best clients are between $100 and $150 Cost per install. This is a reflection of the competitive nature of the promotion and our ability to capture that customers contact information with our website tools. We emphasis to our customers that the internet customer is different than the traditional sale. What I like to do is to put my customer hat on. What is in the mind of the internet shopper for stone? Typically I have a quote from the box store in my hand or from the recommended stone shop from Jimmy down the street. Can I get more for the same? or Can I get the same for Less? They are also trying to make some design decisions around color and over all design.
This is where I help the fabricator to attack. Once they understand this as well as how to create greater perceived value they will see a rise in opportunities in conjunction with our marketing program. Since we track everything we can tell in just hour the effectiveness of a promotion and tweak it until we are right in the sweet spot. The sweet spot being that the clients phone is ringing, appointments are bing set and deals are closing at the target cost per installed countertop.
We have really dialed this in with our customers to date and typically can direct them to a good base of business for B2C.
I was at a BNI meeting the other day and the guy 2 seats down stands up and tells a story about how he sells tires as a package price rather than price per tire. His long time customer comes into the store and states “I just got tires for $104 a piece and your $125, I got a great deal” he proceeded to ask about mount balance fees, stems, etc .. and the guys said yeah that was extra. The long time customer did not look at the bottom line price they simply looked at the tire price and remembered that. In that customers mind they got a great deal and did not remember the bottom line price .. just the price per tire. I looked at this guy and just wanted to show him the way but it was not the time.
Some people shop on bottom line but most everyone markets itemized pricing to increase the perception of less cost for the same service. When you ask them later about price they will typically state the per square foot price rather then what they wrote the check for.
We call this application Spark. This application is a lead management tool/ CRM/ Workflow management that can work for virtually any industry that has sales people.

FireUps® is the granite and natural stone installers source for instant exposure to local and national markets with strategically Targeted Online Marketing Campaigns and proven Web exposure. FireUps provides local online marketing services for the small to medium sized granite surface installers with a focus on the proven results that will increase your bottom line. Our teams expertise in direct to consumer marketing is second to none, and we want to share how we can help ensure your business is found by the pro-active customer who is searching for counter tops made from granite, stone, marble or other stone surfaces. Just the niche product or services you provide!FireUps® will put your counter top product, installation service and surface remodeling company on the virtual map and generate a buzz that you could never have imagined. We focus on maximizing your return on investment through a clear understanding of your business objectives and by translating your value proposition to your customers! If you want to do more counter top installations tomorrow,
partner with FireUps® TODAY!603 617 3877

Take your customer back from the box store!

Granite Countertops Marketing Strategy

The Walmart model and the adoption of the Box store to home improvement have shaken up the industry. The good thing is they can't beat you if your know what you are doing.
The market for countertops has changed and it has changed very fast due primarily to the reduction in available work. With the sharp decline in new construction, the availability of diverse and green products as well as an influx of fabricators it’s not good enough that your fathers father started your business and you do really good work. People on all level of the income scale are pinching pennies and ensuring that the dollar goes just a little bit further.
Granite is still and will remain as the top product selected for countertops due to the qualities inherent in the product and the unique sense of individualism that comes with it. Our fight is not really with the other products in the space.  It is with each other and people moving into our territory and creates these price wars.
In this article I will talk about how we can compete and how we will maintain a level of business that you control. That you can build your granite business or any business on.
Referrals Vs Advertising – Hands Down referrals are better than adverting customers. This day in age with online reviews and social media the opinion of one no longer really has that much power. A good referral is only going to take you so far. I find that people are referring less and less. Even myself I told a neighbor that I had a certain heating company over and they look professional but within 7 days my furnace was out- again. From that experience and that I referred them I tend to think twice before I recommend a company to others.
Perceived Value – This is a very important aspect of marketing your business. You want to create the greatest perceived value of the products and services that you offer. What this means is that you want to target the customers that you want with your offers.  The strategy that I like the best is to offer more colors, more edges, and more sinks for slightly more than the other guys that
Pricing strategy – We have many examples of ways to work the pricing strategy into your local market place. It’s all about creating perceived value through your quality service and value. You may see some competitor ads as these crazy low prices and wonder “how can they possibly be that cheap” – its about creating and managing expectations. What is included in the price will be
 
Some example pricing strategies

Per SF Pricing
Potiential SF 40 40 40
Price Per SF 29.99 39.99 49.99
Template 150 150 150
sink cut out 150 150 150
tear out removal 150 150 150
TOTAL 1,650 2,050 2,450
/SF value of sale $41.24 $51.24 $61.24
Package Pricing
Up to X Square Feet 40 60 80
Package Price 1,499 2,199 2,999
Template 150 150 150
sink cut out 150 150 150
tear out removal 150 150 150
TOTAL 1,949 2,649 3,449
/SF value of sale $48.73 $44.15 $43.11

Installation Goals - coming soon
Growth - coming soon
The Internet Customer - coming soon
Why are we specializing in granite countertops? We fell into this niche after working with one client that had a business model and a goal and knew what he needed to do to get there. This was very rare so I took the opportunity to listen and execute on these customers goals. During this process I was able to fall back on my background as marketing director for a Special finance lead generation company where I managed a $250k / Month marketing budget where my job was to buy at $7 and sell at $25. This is a very simple directive but taught me a lot about how to grow a business and how to provide a lead generation service.
So I took my back ground and put it to work for this small town granite fabricator that just opened his doors in the middle of a recession. We had a small advertising budget to work with and I knew that this budget needed to produce results and fast.
I review the completion as did the owner and I knew that the website had legs because well I created it so it was just a matter of putting people on the site to see if we could put people in the store.
The big differentiator for the website was that all your answers were right on the first page. The offers / specials as well as the colors and links to the gallery were everywhere. The key to the success was to have a quality presence on the web with clear detail of the deals that were available and the customers should show up.
Well, they sure did! That next weekend was standing room only. I knew this was happening because I was watching the analytics and everything looked good. I knew that the phone was ringing because we implemented call tracking so it was just a matter of time.
I was really very fortunate that I was hooked up with the right guy with the right attitude and the right infrastructure and the right frame of mind.
All the pieces fell into place and he went from 2 kitchens per week to 6 in just 30 days.
Then we found the breaking point
System began to break down, Communication issues internally and to the customers began to deteriorate. We started to see inefficiencies in the process and the staffing. Based n this some adjustments were made to the way the business was being run and to the staffing as well as a few other processes and bam back in business.
Over the next 2 years that we were conducting this pilot program we studied this business very closly. We learned many facets of the business that controlled or hindered growth. The business based on infrastructure changes and ownership changes continues to do 60-70 countertop installed per month doing close to 2 million in sales in this economy.
This is all done with the proper use of perceived value.
FireUps® is the granite and natural stone installer’s source for instant exposure to local and national markets with strategically Targeted Online Marketing Campaigns and proven Web exposure. FireUps® provides local online marketing services for the small to medium sized granite surface installers with a focus on the proven results that will increase your bottom line. Our teams expertise in direct to consumer marketing is second to none, and we want to share how we can help ensure your business is found by the pro-active customer who is searching for counter tops made from granite, stone, marble or other stone surfaces. Just the niche product or services you provide!
FireUps® will put your counter top product, installation service and surface remodeling company on the virtual map and generate a buzz that you could never have imagined. We focus on maximizing your return on investment through a clear understanding of your business objectives and by translating your value proposition to your customers! If you want to do more granite counter top installations tomorrow, partner with FireUps® TODAY! 603 617 3877

Free Countertop Advertising - REALLY?

FREE COUNTERTOP MARKETING! - FireUps® | Local Marketing Specialists

Yes… *Free Granite Marketing Program!

*We will work with you to drive more sales for your business. This model outlines how my team will increase your business and grow your sales with you not having to dip into your wallet to make that happen.

Nothing out of your pocket, PERIOD!

We will send you 10 free exclusive leads
for your granite countertop company.

The profit from that first job(s) you will reinvest in our marketing plan.
Lets say that your average sale is $2000 – easy math;)
You sell 1 of the 10 customers we send you free.
$1500 is your cost of good and services
$500 profit
With $500 of profit you send to us we then help you generate 3 sales in 30 days
You sell 3 -$6000 in sales
$4500 cost of good and services
$1500 profit
$1000 to us for advertising
$500 in your pocket – New Business Profit!

With $1000 profit  you send us we then help you generate 6 sales in 30 days
You sell 6 – $12000 in sales
$9000 cost of good and services
$3000 profit
$1500 to us or advertising
$1500 in your pocket – New Business Profit!
With $1500 profit  we then generate 10 sales in 30 days
You sell 10  – $20000 in sales
$15000 cost of good and services
$5000 profit
$1500 to us or advertising
$3500 in your pocket – New Business Profit!
…How much more counter top sales can you handle?

We just put $40,000 in sales on your books
and it cost you nothing.

Granite Countertops Advertising

Granite Countertops Advertising

Advertising your granite business is a great way to bring buyers. We provide you with various ways to advertise your business. We have created directories, Co branding opportunities and we help you manage on page and off page SEO efforts.
We find that what is missed in the process is ensuring that you website actually has the ability to hold the attention of the consumer.
This is why we offer applications that do just that. They also help to answer the questions that the searching is looking to answer.
An important process to go through when developing a granite countertops advertising program (or any program) is to

  1. Put yourself in your audiences shoes.
  2. If I was searching for granite countertops what would I be looking for
  3. Which website did I visit from the SERP pages and why
  4. When I landed on those pages what was going though my mind
  5. am I enticed to make that next step

Go through this exercise and this will position you well for making your next step into advertising your business.

Positioning

Now that you have put yourself in the position of the consumer, look at these same businesses as a competitor. Monitor the perceived value of your competition and define who your competition is. You may not think that you are competing with the pre fab guy but you are. You will need to educate your customer on the difference in the product and service.

Define your competitive advantages

What makes your service better than your competition, what values do you provide to the consumer that can influence buying decisions. This is not friends and family or even referrals anymore. You need to earn this business by understanding these steps in the process of developing your advertising campaign.

Since I mentioned referrals

Your advertising process should include a process for referrals. If you truly provide a quality product and service for a great price than you want to ask for the referral and have a process for managing your referrals just like managing advertising. Referrals will be an important part of growing your business and reducing advertising costs. If you are receiving referrals than you can expect less negative reviews to have to contend with.

granite countertop marketing plan

Logo Online Marketing Specialists

Your granite countertop marketing plan should include some form of advertising/Marketing budget. Most small business will spend between 6-10% of sales. Your starting target budget should closer to 10% to establish a brand and representation in the market place.
Our goal is to get you to the 6% range within 3-6 months. We do this by starting out with a perceived value campaign to get the phones ringing and the sales process dialed in. During this time some very valuable information shakes out about your local competition, what perceived value strategy will work in your market and whether you have the correct infrastructure to deliver on your values.
Before the internet this process took months to years and a lot of money but today we can figure this out in a matter of weeks. We can adjust your infrastructure in real time to ensure you have the right people providing the right job functions and start monitoring your sales pipeline to project profit.
Once we have this knowledge we then can begin to scale up your sales to meet your full potential. We can tailor your message to maximize profits based on your desired infrastructure.
Product Pricing
Service Pricing
Internal Services
External vendors
Competitive advantages
Referral and Review Management
Reputation management

Countertop Marketing & Sales Tips - Marketing Plan

Counter top Marketing Plan Development

Developing a marketing plan is a major step in starting a countertop business as well as taking your fabrication business to the next level. In this article we will look at parts of a granite marketing strategy that will help you to implement your strategy.
How many installs do you want?
If you know how much business you want this is the first step. By defining the amount of business you are looking to gain you now have a touch stone to measure success. We then attribute the cost associated to generating this business based on general market intelligence and we are then able to project your return on investment.
How many installs can your current infrastructure handle?
Are you the one man shop, sales team with install crew and fabrication crew or are you bigger than this? If you can project out where problems begin with too much business you will have a realistic view of the top line for cost to do more business. To much business is measured by a decrease in quality of service, and reduction in profit due to sales force limitation, fabrication crews over worked and installs going bad based on teams rushing to complete work.
What is your competitive advantage and value proposition?
How will do we differentiate you in the market. Look at your competitors and see what they do. How they do it and see who is winning the work. Take this and apply it to your values and see if that lines up with your values and your message.
How much should I spend on adverting?
Zero. Spend your money on marketing. You can’t measure what you don’t track. Marketing is advertising but includes measuring and tracking effectiveness of every advertising dollar spent. Once you have tested various channels and have developed your message to drive new business your marketing budget typically reflects 6-10% of sales to sustain this flow of new business.
Where do I start?
Start on the Internet. Why? it is the best medium to test creative, define your competitive advantage, build you brand and effectively understand the specifics of your market. Learning so much about the customer by driving them to a well formed website will provide you insight into how to define your marketing strategy and provide you with more confidence as you build out your marketing mix(Internet, Print, TV, Radio, etc.) Granite Countertops and Stone Marketing is a great niche’ to market online. Track all channels with tracking phone numbers and track-able call to actions. This is very cost effective way to monitor the effectiveness of one channel over another and manage where your money goes when advertising.
How do I manage customers effectively?
With a online CRM or lead management solution. You may be able to manage your current work flow in your head or in your day planner but you dont want to be the bottle neck in your business. by managing your work flow online certain aspects of your business can be managed for you to allow you to allocate more of your resources to other tasks like sales , process , and your competitive advantage. A Granite Countertop lead management system monitors the effectiveness of each channel and while you track the progress of each sale you will be able to see trends, monitor closing rations and truly measure the effectiveness of each channel.
Example marketing mix:
Internet buy: $2500 : 50 phone calls 40 emails 17 sales = $147 Cost per Install (CPI)
Radio buy: $2000 : 40 phone calls 2 emails 3 sales = $667 (CPI)
Print buy: $3500 : 60 phone calls 10 emails 12 sales = $292 (CPI)
Marketing Budget $8000 for 32 installs = $250 (CPI)
Projected sales $2500 x 32 installs = $80,000 Sales per month advertising @ 10% of sales
Who are you?
We are online Granite Marketing experts that focus on specific markets. We take these specific markets and take the best online marketing tactics and strategies and apply our knowledge of specific verticals to put together a program that can’t fail. We do not take on every customer we don’t work in every market. We pick specific verticals that we have a passion about and can make a difference for small to medium size businesses. We are online marketers that specialize in you, the Granite Shop.