For contractors and consumers, 2023 is the “year of the rebate” due to the Inflation Reduction Act. Potential customers are starting to learn how they can utilize these rebates to start new projects.
This raises the question: what improvements can you make for your marketing in order to capture the business of prospects wanting to take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act?
Tune into this episode of the R-Value podcast to learn from a few industry experts: our own Ken Allison and special guest Peter Troast, founder and CEO of Energy Circle. Peter is recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on marketing for home performance, HVAC and other efficiency related contracting companies. He authors the widely-read Energy Circle blog and is a passionate advocate for the power of the whole house home performance business model.
This podcast will help you better understand how to make marketing improvements for the Inflation Reduction Act:
- 2:53 – Is there already consumer interest online for the inflation reduction act and energy efficiency topics?
- 7:51 – What is a building science approach and how does it work?
- 10:02 – What insulation search terms are the most important to focus on?
- 15:35 – Why long-form landing pages are the ticket to the future
- 18:36 – Types of marketing that are most important for insulation contractors to focus on
- 26:09 – When will tax credits be available and how should that affect marketing timing
- 29:05 – Should I be reaching out to non-profit program managers in my area?
- 35:24 – What Google is looking for in your business profile
- 38:24 – Other things you can be doing to move the needle higher on Google
Browse our monthly specials if you’re interested in saving even more with help from America’s wholesale insulation supplier.
[00:00:01] Peter Troast
As much as we all know that there’s a mandate to fix a lot of buildings, there’s only one way the building gets fixed, and that is if a contractor does the work.
This is the one and only, the original podcast where you can find yours, and your business’s true value. You’re listening to R-Value. Brought to you by America’s Insulation Source, IDI Distributors. Do you want to hear from the best contractors, suppliers and consultants that dedicate themselves to more than just survival in the business world? Industry professionals that are dedicated to excellence in every aspect of their business? R-Value has them all here to share that same motivation and knowledge with you. Tune in and grow more successful, profitable, educated and recognized business. Listen to the R-Value podcast to become the industry leader in your market. Find your value with our value.
[00:00:50] Ken Allison
Welcome all you incredible insulators and critical contractors in and around the home performance industry. We are about to get some golden nuggets of masterful marketing on the Information Express, known as the R Value Podcast. Today we have Peter Troast, the founder and CEO of Energy Circle. For those of you that don’t know who that is, you really should. So today he is coming on to tell you insulators a little bit about what he sees in the future and planning for 2023. Quite frankly, I’m excited. I want to remind everyone when we’re talking about the Inflation Reduction Act, which is really what 2023 is about, we are talking about billions and billions of dollars. By the end of 23, early adopters will be getting rebates and the American consumer will be waking up to the idea, thanks to their neighbor and their newfound money that they need to fix their homes and how much money they can get for doing it and it’s a lot. So, Peter, thank you for joining today.
[00:01:45] Peter Troast
Ken, thank you so much for having me and thank you for doing this. What a great service this podcast is to all of us.
[00:01:52] Ken Allison
We are going to talk about marketing the IRA incentives, rebates. Before we get into that, can you give a quick elevator pitch or mission statement for Energy Circle and what you guys do?
[00:02:02] Peter Troast
Yes, thank you. So for about 12 years, Energy Circle has been providing marketing services to a particular niche of contractors that we consider to be we call high performance. So typically these are contractors that have adopted principles of building science that are working around the idea of the house as a system and as a result of which have produced better businesses. We think that sell bigger jobs, that have better close rates and do things better because they’ve made a choice to differentiate themselves on the basis of sort of a higher level of quality in a different way of doing things. And so as much as we all know that there’s a mandate to fix a lot of buildings, there’s only one way the building gets fixed, and that is if a contractor does the work. And so we made kind of a decision strategically, we just want to go help contractors be better and consequently drive more the fixing of a lot more homes.
[00:02:59] Ken Allison
I think you said it at the very beginning of your statement. You know, really what I see you guys doing is getting people better jobs that are typically higher margin jobs, and that just equates to a healthy company. When you look at key phrase – keyword searches right now, are you seeing consumer movement already on the Inflation Reduction Act topics and those types of things?
[00:03:25] Peter Troast
Yes, we are. And so and primarily where we’re starting to see this as in the performance of our individual clients, where we have already made the moves to make sure that they have very good landing pages around the IRA, around incentives and rebates and tax credits generally. And what we’re seeing is that those that content that we have produced over the course of the last few months since the IRA was enacted is performing really well. I’ve got some stats from my team earlier that just, you know, just singular blog posts that are seeing a doubling of traffic month over month over month, which is, while this is somewhat anecdotal, just based on folks that we are working within our clients, what we’re seeing is, I think proof enough, that there is growing consumer awareness about the IRA and about these provisions and a lot of anticipation going into next year, which, as you know, has some complications. And we can probably talk a little bit about that. The other thing I just want to mention, Ken, related to keyword trends is that I think we all just need to remind ourselves of the of the era that we are living in now with respect to energy prices. And really there isn’t much comparable in the last ten, 12 years to these levels, these high prices that we’re experiencing now, that goes back to about 2008, 2009 at that time period. And so both – that was both a time of economic stress, but also a time of high energy prices. And what happened in that time frame is that the values of energy efficiency and cost saving grew. And so for much of the last, since then, we’ve not – we’ve energy prices came down. We’ve been talking about comfort, we’ve been pitching health and various other benefits. But what I just want to make clear here is that we are seeing a resurgence of interest and search in energy efficiency just for its value itself from a cost saving standpoint. And what’s very good for the insulation world is that most homeowners, when they think about energy efficiency, immediately think that the primary solution they can go for is related to insulation. So that’s a good, good thing. And another trend I think that’s happening now in addition to the IRA.
[00:05:49] Ken Allison
I’m very glad for that and I’m glad to see the topics. Obviously, there’s the green topics of saving energy and going electric, but the topics of saving money on energy really do play to a strength of insulation. I completely agree with that. And I think that when you mention someone’s single blog post doubling, yeah, in my mind that immediately goes to numbers. I’m just, you know, this is survival. This is what I’ve got to do to get seen. So that means if in my first month I get four reads, in month seven I’m getting 256 and then the following month, you know, I’m well beyond 512. And so it just shows you how you can start this train rolling and then it becomes this exponential generator of income. And just like you’re buying equipment to generate income, marketing generates income. And so I see that Now, I mentioned green, and I think everyone wants to use less energy. I’m not you know, there’s you don’t have to be altruistic to want to use less energy and they want to be more green conscious. But it seems like we don’t want to sacrifice for it. It’s like everyone wants to be seen as green as long as they don’t have to pay for it. And I know health and comfort have been our big motivators, obviously since 2020. But is it best to blend the energy saving message into a healthy home message as well, or is it really separated by income level?
[00:07:20] Peter Troast
Well, I mean, income level is clearly very relevant to how much the message of cost savings matters to any individual family right? So it’s clearly the you know, the low and moderate income audiences that are feeling the pressure of natural gas since last winter, up 21%, heating oil up 19%, electricity up 4%. So these are year over year numbers and they’re very meaningful and they’re quite high. And we’re, I think we’re not really talking about them enough, right? As an industry, we’ve sort of forgotten a little bit about it. Now, one of the fundamental truths which gets to your question is that people enter our sphere, right, for lots and lots of reasons, and it’s almost always some single thing, right? A single measure that they’ve concluded that that bloody room over the garage is just, you know, I don’t want to go through another winter with that room being so terribly cold. Right. And so, so we want to address that. So what we’re looking for and I think where we’ve developed a lot of expertise is kind of casting a wide net for people that may enter into our sphere for lots and lots of reasons. It may be that a health related reason, right? There’s preparing the nest for the birth of your first child, for example, is a really significant driver. And all of these things for contractors that do have a building science approach that kind of take a diagnostic first step to help that homeowner understand, let’s really paint the picture of what your house really needs. That has proven to be a lot of resilience around, ok suddenly, efficiency and cost savings are up. And we feel like sadly, some of the some of the attention to healthy homes and website is going to come up and the Internal Revenue Service website is going to come up and so forth. But if you really good conversion when we get to those pages. So it really – my case for this first mover advantage is get that content up first, beat your competitors to that content and you have every chance at that point of never get – earning that pedestal and never falling off of it because you got there first and you you’ve tended things and kept them going.
[00:09:36] Ken Allison
So with that in mind, then I would really need pages for the lure I’m using. In other words, my squeeze page, my landing page where I bring that person should marry up to the marketing I have landing on that page.
[00:09:50] Peter Troast
That is exactly the point, Right. And so that means having a breadth of content. We’ve obviously talked about, IRA, and I think that’s going to be a driver of traffic, but all of the traditional types of terms around insulation are as well. And those divide up into three main buckets. One is rooms of the house like attic insulation, one is types of insulation like spray foam, and the other is the business of installing installation installer or contractor, etc. And we all know this, I think and it’s great news spray foam rains king the that search term continues to be a massive driver of traffic more so than anything else probably followed secondarily by attic insulation and so forth. But you need in order to win traffic for those things and wind traffic to spray foam, you’ve got to have a really, really good spray foam page. And also not just a solo page. The best case scenario is lots of supporting content around spray foam that answers everyone’s questions. How does it work? How much does it cost? What is – are its benefits? All of these kinds of things that can all be supportive content that help you really build up a very heavy and credible bolus of content around a subject like spray foam.
[00:11:18] Ken Allison
So I’m seeing it as whether it’s fiberglass or spray foam, I’m going to need at least five buckets relating to each one because if I’m bringing someone through less dust, allergies, asthma, health, that’s one bucket. If I’m bringing them through, find an insulator for spray foam. How to spray foam work? I mean, you can you could probably clearly define the buckets, giving each bucket two main subjects and maybe three below each of those. So I can see how you could almost make a reverse funnel that captures on the landing pages. But one landing page for spray foam in my mind and one landing page for fiberglass just aren’t going to cut it.
[00:11:59] Peter Troast
That’s right. But at the same time, start with where you are because if the simplest way to think about this is to make sure that you have a page for every one of the significant services that you sell, right? And so if you do spray foam, make sure you got a solid spray foam page. If you also do cellulose, make sure you’ve got a cellulose page. If you do fiberglass bats, make sure you’ve got that, etc… Right?
[00:12:22] Ken Allison
[00:12:23] Peter Troast
That, all services and that’s the starting point. And listen, doing that makes you better than 90% of the rest of the market, right? So if you get there and then we can start talking about these this kind of sort of infrastructure underneath those pages that really build them up and make them supportive.
[00:12:46] Ken Allison
How much do you see saving money searches trending? And as a follow up to that, do you still see health trending?
[00:12:55] Peter Troast
Yeah, good question. We are – this is a little bit of a, you know, Gretzky analogy of skate to where the puck is going to be. And so we are just seeing similar patterns to what we saw ten years ago. So we’re making some bets on the on the saving money and the energy efficiency kinds of things being more so in the mix given the general state of energy prices. So so that’s but at the same time we’re seeing success. So the bets that we made two, three months ago to prepare for this winter seem to be paying off in the health category. Things have tailed off a bit since the peak of COVID, but continue to be there. And here’s the main thing to know about people’s interest in health and their awareness about the possibility there’s something wrong in their home tends to start with a question in people’s minds, which is, is my home safe, right? Is there something wrong with my home? Is my house, the famous line, is your house making you sick? Those are the – that is oftentimes the starting point. So what people are looking for to begin with is some kind of a diagnostic approach to say, come to my house and tell me whether that’s there. And so we’ve encouraged folks who already have some kind of an energy auditing process to just augment that process around healthy home assessment as a as a way to get that people through the door. Now, there’s one big caveat to this whole discussion, and this is a regional thing, but this has to do with forest fire smoke. And so a huge driver of concern about indoor air quality has been those locations in the summer that are subject to all of the fire, smoke, forest fire, smoke, obviously largely concentrated in the west, but not exclusively. And this is really, really interesting around air sealing because we’ve always had a hard time explaining the value of air conditioning or excuse me, of air sealing. And now that the conversation at the kitchen table that the reason we want to prevent infiltration in your building envelope is to keep the smoke out, becomes suddenly very, very tangible for people. And so we’re finding that that’s a – that in those regions that’s really powerful.
[00:15:22] Ken Allison
One thing you did bring up, which this is going back towards the money side trending, you talk about the “Am I Eligible” crowd and I know they’re definitely going to be a big target. Like you said, skate to where the puck is. You often talk about having long form incentives and financing pages and their success. I know I’ve seen people with story pages or squeeze pages that just were incredible at a generating. So we’re going to add a link to your example page for sure on optimizing. But can you expand on that? Because I think long form pages are the ticket to the future.
[00:16:00] Peter Troast
Yeah, the reason. So just to be clear, what we’re talking about is a landing page is a page on a website, not a separate website or not in any way kind of a separate thing. It’s the page on your website. So let’s use spray foam, well, we use the incentives page as an example here you with the coming of the IRA and not just with the IRA, but people need to understand financing and they need to understand what other state incentives might exist in your area. The having a really solid page about that is the ticket to gaining that traffic. And when we say long form, what we’re saying is that for most of these topics, right, whether it’s incentives or whether it’s spray foam, these are educationally intensive topics. People have a lot of questions about it. They have curiosity about it and we need to approach it from an educational standpoint. So doing so in a long form, which means a good storytelling, right? It doesn’t mean a sea of text. It means a well laid out page that guides people to the questions that they need is nicely designed and has a very, very clear call to action. Here is why – here’s the value exchange between me giving you my name in exchange for something in return with all the fear of getting aggressively sold to in the mix of that. We have to we have to do that well and that’s the science, right? That’s what we are constantly working on, tweaking, never ending sort of process of how do we make that page work even better. And so one way to think about this is for any service, for any major thing that you are selling, you ought to be thinking about a landing page and think about the length of that and how long form it needs to be. Based on what you already know. Customers ask you about that. Do you do you get a ton of questions about spray foam? Do you get a ton of questions about, well, what about cellulose and how does that work? And so if it is if you know it to be a more question intensive topic, then that’s your cue to say we should make a long form landing page for that.
[00:18:00] Peter Troast
Well, and I think also if you’re walking someone through a story, then that long form pages are great. If I’m trying to take you from A to B and A being, you’re considering adding fiberglass to your attic, B being, Oh, heck no, I’m not doing that. And so if that starts out with, you’re not going to get a good air seal. And the air seal is the most important thing and you won’t get one unless you back out the old stuff. And by the time you talk about going down to the rental yard, grabbing a vacuum, bringing it back, it’s half as good as the new one. And insulators got, you’re racking your head against nails on the roof, but be very careful. Don’t get that stuff in your skin, you know? “Click here if you don’t want to do this”, I think those kinds of pages are just almost heroic in terms of their ability to convert.
[00:18:46] Peter Troast
Exactly. Exactly. And you just made a point there can have a fair amount of traffic. And I think there’s going to be especially true with this these moderate income audiences are going to think first DIY, right?
[00:19:58] Ken Allison
Yes, a lot of them.
[00:19:59] Peter Troast
A lot of them are. And so what we’re doing in terms of the targeting of them is targeting a lot of places where people are thinking that they have to do it themselves because they’re unaware these incentives exist, right? They’re unaware of how much money they could potentially get and really interrupting them and saying, look, you don’t have to do this yourself. You can hire somebody, you can hire a contractor to do this work and take advantage of these very, very significant incentives.
[00:19:25] Ken Allison
Yeah, it’s the magic. And then now your website, you highlight the advantage of creating a lot of links to and from these pages. You mentioned blogs, videos, FAQs. Am I safe to say, you know, just because I got a follow up question for this, but am I safe to say content’s never been more important?
[00:19:44] Peter Troast
You are absolutely safe to say that.
[00:19:46] Ken Allison
So with that, is there one form that you consider to be the most important? These guys out there, they’re dying for time. They have so little time to do their marketing. How do you rank what they should be doing? Because, you know, they’ve got case studies, they’ll have this and that, and they want to take people maybe to a phone manufacturer’s website for a case study or something. What do you think is best if I’m trying to get me leads and not the company I buy products from?
[00:20:11] Peter Troast
Yeah, well, I think what I said earlier, which is first of all, make sure you’ve got a page for the most important services that you sell. That’s the anti. If you can get there, you’re 90 – you’re ahead of 90% of the market and then you can kind of build on that. And what there’s a couple of things, having the content is sort of the – is part one freshness, right? The constant sort of changing of your website, the updating of your website on a regular basis in a way that the Google search engine sees it is, is kind of part two. And so what we try to advice here is make it easier on yourself, right? Case studies you know, in the most case, if they’re set up properly and you don’t get too elaborate about what you’re trying to tell in a case study, they’re pretty easy, right? You do a job, you know what the – you know what the CFM 50 was but when you started and what it was that when you finished, just get that stat in there and that kind of stuff can just be very easy to do. Somebody on your team can just be assigned with that. Same thing with gathering first party testimonials and reviews for your website. The other easy one, which is which is often overlooked, is frequently asked questions, right? People ask you questions all the time. The answer to a frequently asked question, which is terrific website content is two sentences, right? Just think about those and answer them. And hopefully if you’ve got a good structure to your website, all this stuff is tied together. Every question gets asked about spray foam is tied to the spray foam page, right? And so that’s all supportive to your question, Ken, about offsite links, offsite links to a manufacturer or to Department of Energy, to SPFA to buildingscience.com, there is credibility. The search engine values seeing that you are doing that, particularly if the link is to a very authoritative website for example like buildingscience.com. What I only would just say here is be careful those are leaks in your ship, right? When you put a link somewhere, it’s an opportunity for somebody who you’re trying to get to convert on your website to get lost off somewhere else. So always make sure that you those links are opening up a new tab or a new window and just be judicious about where you locate them, right? They are good things, but don’t put them on the first page, right? Let people dig a little bit more and if they’re digging and they’re looking for that much more information, then tell them, “Oh, here, go to the buildingscience.com and look at this article about the perfect wall”.
[00:22:37] Ken Allison
That sounds wise. I didn’t think of that. So the farther back you keep reading if you want to see this link, but here’s what I’m talking about. I can see where you could bury it farther down. So that you had more time to capture. The other thing I saw was this latest study came out and it said that the number two search engine is YouTube.
[00:23:56] Peter Troast
[00:22:57] Ken Allison
And that, wow, knowing how these guys are doing all this with this to do list I was talking about, how do you decide what to do first? Like, should I have at least 3 to 4 blogs before I start trying to jump into video and creating that page? Or how important is my YouTube site compared to the other? Because I’m going to be trying to gather these people, but I absolutely can make video while I’m out there doing jobs on IRA projects.
[00:23:22] Peter Troast
So video is increasingly important and it is what homeowners want to see. The demand for it is there. Keep it short and simple. We track the data on fall off rates. And after 90 seconds you see a significant kind of drop off. Here’s the thing about video that people sort of tend not to realize is that a simple video with some just even your phone just taking shots of spray foam being installed, people are fascinated by that and doing a voice, whatever you have to say to voice over that. That recording is really perfectly fine content, right? You don’t have to get all in a twist about production quality and getting it perfectly lit and all that kind of stuff. The other thing is that transcription these days is dirt cheap. So for you to do a video like that for 90 seconds and then just have that transcript of your voiceover put into words in some ways solves the kind of blog problem, right? Because you’re getting blogs are simply a methodology for putting words on a page that Google consumes and can use to sort of determine the authority and the content of your website. So doing those videos, having a good voiceover that you can just do spontaneously and then transcribing those is the magic. The thing to know about or to think about when you think about the YouTube as a search engine is especially in the insulation category, it is very dominated by people looking for do it yourself solutions. And so that is not a bad thing necessarily because of what we said before, which is that more of the people in this moderate income category are thinking of doing it themselves, but not knowing that these incentives exist so you can intercept them. It’s just important to know that that’s kind of what a preponderance of the YouTube installation related searches tend to be in that category. Now, the other one that’s funny kind of is that there’s just an amazing fascination with watching foam expand, right. And so we’ve seen examples of TikTok videos that have 42 million views. And it’s just a simple video of somebody spraying, right? So there’s a lot of that out there.
[00:25:38] Ken Allison
You said to have things transcribed. So even the videos I have on there now, where would you put that transcription?
[00:25:47] Peter Troast
Well, you. And either just associate it with the video on your website, right? Just sort of you could make a sort of call it a blog post or whatever form you want, just to have that video and then include the transcription or put it separately, right? Just turn the, you know, turn that transcription, the word part of it into a blog post. That would be fine as well.
[00:26:09] Peter Troast
So as far as timing, I saw your chart on staging for 2023 and breaking down your marketing focus for 2023 into tax credits Q1, Audience Building Q2. I think it’s dead on. You want to elaborate on that?
[00:26:24] Ken Allison
Yes, I think the thing that we all need to be very wary of here, as we are as this sort of interest in the IRA is building, is that for most states, even the fastest states that are those rebates are not going to be available until Q3, Q4, and I’m hearing in some cases not even until 2024. And so what we want to be very careful about and we’re starting to see this already is creating too much kind of demand for these incentives when they’re not going to be available. So what we’re recommending is go hard now on the tax credits, right? Starting Jan one, you’ve got a $1200 tax credit for insulation and air sealing. We are sort of arguing, look in the beginning of the year, make that your main priority. Build the platform so that later as you have more visibility as to when your state is going to get those rebate dollars to market, build that kind of IRA foundation and then prepare when you know the dates to turn that on aggressively. But it’s we all need to be very careful and we’re seeing some of this already where, you know, jobs that got sort of booked already in 2022. People are saying, I think I want to wait till next year so I can get these rebates. And so we just need to be aware of that and obviously, I would argue, get involved with your state energy office, because really it’s that – the federal government’s going to meet their deadline of the spring to get the money to the states. Once it’s there. It’s really up to those state energy offices to determine how quickly it’s going to get into a program and figure out how it’s going to get to market.
[00:28:04] Ken Allison
I know you say you want content from every angle and be the local expert. Can you talk about the first mover advantage and the magnitude or impact that has on your rankings in your market?
[00:28:17] Peter Troast
Yes, the first mover advantage is available to us for topics that are emerging. So IRA is a – is one of those on the on the mechanical side, heat pumps are one of those. And so when you can be first and meaning to that you can have the most authoritative website content about that topic in your marketplace. The chances of you getting dethroned from that position are very, very low. And so getting there first has enormous value, right? And so, so that’s why we’re arguing get the content out there. Be cautious about overhyping the rebates before they’re going to be available. But getting that foundation in place and then being prepared to turn on the gas as soon as it’s time. That’s the – that’s our recommendation.
[00:29:05] Ken Allison
Perfect. So knowing that a lot of this really is geared to the lower middle income or median income, you know, on the lower income side, should I be reaching out to NPOs, nonprofit organizations, program managers in my area where I live, to make sure they’re aware of what’s coming and helping them spread the word? In other words, I could make a lot of free sales people out of them. I’m just giving them one more thing, “hey, did you know?” Do you think that would be a worthwhile effort?
[00:29:37] Ken Allison
I think it I think it is. I mean, obviously, every business has got to decide that this is a priority for them and how and to what extent they want to prioritize these audiences. If you’re going to be aggressive about it because, as we said, the so many of these rebates are oriented towards that low and moderate income audience. That is a great way to do it. I get as many ambassadors out there pointing to you to say this is a company that can help you get your home fixed and take full advantage of these. I think that’s really helpful. You know, the targeting opportunities that exist in social media, Facebook, Instagram, for example, and to a certain extent in Google, mean that when you are targeting that narrow of an audience, the cost to market to them is very, very reasonable. And so and especially reasonable in the in the social media sphere. So we’re always for kind of whatever works kind of strategy. But if you have the wherewithal to get out there and really get into the communities and to the places where there is a there are touchpoints with this particular audience to let them know, I think that that can be very, very fruitful.
[00:30:47] Ken Allison
My content. I would love to try and gear it that way. And you bring this up targeting by zip code, your site shared incomebyzipcode.com. I went on immediately and looked up where I live. I was like, “Wow, this is so cool”. So we’ll share that but once you know your audience and your spin, I love your plan of the two step video marketing. Your blog talks about running an ad to a large group and maybe 70% of them click on it and then you can target that second, more specific group to create lead conversion. I love this. So how do you how do you follow that customer and then target them specifically if they’re not filling out a form? Is that easy to do?
[00:31:31] Ken Allison
It is. This is one of the features of digital marketing that people don’t know that much about and don’t take full advantage of the concept here. As you said, Ken, is let’s develop a target audience. We could be based on zip code or interest or whatever it may be. We’re going to we’re going to target a video ad at those people. And for every person that watches X percentage of that ad, you decide 50%, 75%, 25%. We can then put all those people into another custom audience. And so just to be clear, what we’re talking about here are cookies, right? These are not identifiable people necessarily, but we know that this custom audience is everyone who watched 75% of that prior video. And then you can imagine this like you got them to watch video number two, and then 75% of the people who watch video number two are going to put into a – into the next level, which is video number three. And so this is the way that we move people down a funnel using these very effective and very low cost ways of doing it. Some of the costs in Facebook, for example, around some of this video advertising are a penny a watch, right? So it’s it can be very, very effective and essentially what you’re doing, it’s back to the storytelling thing. You’re getting people to be a little bit knowledgeable, a little bit more knowledgeable, a little bit more knowledgeable. And at some point, if they’re continuing to kind of follow the storyline, you are much better – in a much better position to go for a more specific call to action, you know? Sign up to get a free evaluation, sign up for a free quote, whatever you choose as your call to action.
[00:33:12] Ken Allison
I think it’s I absolutely loved it when I saw what you talked about there on Facebook. You go from like 70,000 to 54,000 people. You get to watch the second video for a penny each and I’m thinking, okay, that is so worth it for such an audience to get them through a second video. That’s incredible. So I do want to dive in to another completely different category for all these guys, because it’d be wrong to let you go without doing it. But okay, Google business profile.
[00:33:46] Peter Troast
[00:33:47] Ken Allison
So let’s talk a little bit about that. I’m sure most contractors can go in and fill out their category. You know, we get one as insulators and some of them do other things. But are there any secrets to how you fill them out?
[00:34:00] Peter Troast
Yeah, well, sadly, we are in the insulation sector. We have limited number of categories, right? So there’s Insulation Contractors is really the primary one. That is my primary recommendation for anybody who’s leading with the envelope. There’s also a category called Insulation Materials Store. There’s also a category for you, Ken, called Insulator Supplier. So there is no penalty for using multiples of these terms and so you always want to have the first one, the primary one, be the most important one. And I would argue, as I said, that Insulation Contractor is one. So that’s, that’s first and foremost. There’s no other place on the internet where you are signifying to Google what the category of your business that is as important as that. So that’s starting point and obviously once it’s done, that’s, you know, is not really much to do, right? If you happen to also have heating and cooling services, for example, you might switch those out seasonally. But other than that, it’s a separate set and forget kind of thing.
[00:35:04] Ken Allison
Your story on it, though, it does talk about how you can go in and fill it out. But the keys to boosting its performance are to mention Q&A features, weekly posts, things like that. So is there spots inside the Google business profile that I need to fill out a certain way?
[00:35:21] Peter Troast
Here’s the here’s what you want to have happen. What Google is looking for is engagement, right? Meaning people are interacting with you in Google My Business, Google business profile and you are responding. So there’s a variety of features in there. There’s requests to quote, there’s messaging, there’s Q&A, there are posts, all of which in some fashion give the search engine Google this massive algorithm, an indicator of whether or not you are engaging and interacting with your customer base. And so the simple way to think about this is the more engagement you can demonstrate, the better. And another form of engagement in the Google business profile, which is really an easy one, is reviews and responses to reviews. Oftentimes people think the only time I should ever respond to a review is if it’s negative. We recommend responding to all of them, and we’ve got lots of data on this with a couple of our clients that have just been really good at it, right? They’re just the kind of people that say, “Thanks so much for the review”, you know, “great to have met your dog”, whatever you want to say that those are also succeeding. So the watchword here is engagement and just look for every opportunity you can to be interacting with people through that system called Google My Business.
[00:36:39] Ken Allison
Okay, you added another subject because now I’m curious. So I know that because there’s an ocean of five star reviews, Google has started to make reviews searchable by key term. We got a place in Arizona, there was 100 scorpions, literally I killed 100. And so when I went in and searched, I searched the term “scorpion”. I wasn’t just looking for any pest control person. So let me ask you this, because I don’t know the answer to this. When you respond to someone who gave you a review and you ask them about certain aspects of a project and they respond back and actually say it, sound attenuation, would that then become searchable?
[00:37:23] Peter Troast
[00:37:25] Ken Allison
Thank the lord!
[00:37:26] Peter Troast
You are raising a very important point about the evolving nature of reviews, which is we are evolving beyond just the star averages and more and more to two buckets of kind of actual terms within what people write in the review. One is the nature of the quality of the work, the professionalism of the work, and the other is what the work was. And so the extent to which we can get we can we can prompt people when we ask for the review to talk about the impact of the new installation that we just installed for you, etc., to talk about the new levels of comfort that exist or the perception of health that exist. All of that is for the good, right? And so you can as you say, there tends not to be very much back and forth in a in a review sort of response. But if you can definitely say, you know, “Mrs. Jones, so glad we were able to get that that bonus room insulated” or “fix your crawl space”. What any kind of keyword information like that you can get in there that is all for the good and just you know, just don’t overcomplicate this. What we’re trying to do is signal constantly, constantly, constantly, I’m in the business of insulation, of fixing bonus rooms, fixing crawl spaces, etc. And those kinds of keywords in there are very, very effective.
[00:38:55] Ken Allison
Nice. So everybody listening wants to be in the three pack. The first three you see when you search anything on Google, are there other things I could be doing to move that needle higher? I know someone said check in at every job. I don’t even – where do you check in? You know, do I just do it on my own blog? So – but what about that?
[00:39:20] Peter Troast
Yeah, it’s a great question. So just to make sure everybody is clear on this, Google sadly has a significant bias towards your physical office location, right? And so typically somebody is searching insulation contractor, Dallas. Whoever has got a Dallas address is going to be is going to – has a leg up in terms of winning that search. And so that’s something that Google has been saying for years that they intend to fix for service area businesses because it’s totally irrelevant. But they haven’t done it and I’m starting to not hold my breath anymore for that to happen. Consequently, you have to do a lot of different things to signify the priority geographies in which you do work. And so there’s lots of ways to do this. You can do city pages. I can have a page about installation services in Dallas, installation services in Arlington, whatever it may be that is the priority for you. Very important, we talked about case studies earlier. If you can put a geographic indicator on a case study that is very effective if you are going to put third party reviews or testimonials on your own website, having the location of that person, their name isn’t that important. It can be Agatha Jay in Arlington, Texas, that is that is what you want is the Arlington, Texas. So the more and more you can just have geographically oriented content on your website, the better. And the trick here is always to understand the unique ways in all parts of the country that people think about their geography. There’s this great term called Chicago land, right? Well, so that’s one of the things that people search for. In New York, Long Island in particular, people use Long Island and people use Nassau County and people use Babylon, New York, the name of the city. So you have to kind of know your area and one piece of advice I would have here is beware of being a mile wide and an inch deep. It’s really important to prioritize because it’s hard to if you pick 50 cities that you’re trying to win and rank in, in your service area, it’s hard to really be good in every single one of those. But simple direction is more and more geographic content relative to your service area, the better.
[00:41:44] Ken Allison
Perfect. Well, we could go on so much longer. But before we go, I want to expand on one more thing. You mentioned multiyear plans to capitalize on these incentives coming.
[00:42:56] Peter Troast
[00:42:57] Ken Allison
I think that is wise. I didn’t think that all the way through before, especially with lower to moderate income customers. So can you talk about that?
[00:42:05] Peter Troast
Yes, there’s a couple of things going on here. One is obviously the ability to use the tax credit year after year after year, the ability to use some of these rebates in multiple years, I think is going to have people thinking in a more of a multiyear kind of mindset. And so again, back to the point that we have to engage people and keep them interested for perhaps many, many months before the actual rebates are going to be available. What we’re suggesting is offer a kind of a planning approach, right? “We are going to determine the rank order of what it’s going to take to fix your house Mrs. Jones will give you a plan to make sure that you are taking full advantage of the rebates that may be available, the tax credits that may be available if you’re eligible for those or you need those”. And also, clearly the stack order of what’s going to have the biggest impact in the short term and improving your house. And so we think that this kind of a longer term plan approach is the best antidote to this potential trough that’s going to happen in the first three quarters of the year where people are like, “I want these incentives, but I’m not I’m not going to take any action until they’re actually available”.
[00:43:19] Ken Allison
Well, Peter, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. That is excellent. There were really some great nuggets our contractors can use to strengthen their position in the marketplace. If any of them want to reach out and see how your team can help them. Where do they do that?
[00:43:37] Peter Troast
Yeah. Thank you, Ken. Thank you so much for having me. So EnergyCircle.com is our website and there’s an enormous amount of free resources there both about the IRA, but just about all things that we’ve talked about today. You can you can communicate with me directly at [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn if that’s if that’s your choice and if anyone is potentially interested in working with us. The starting point is we do an absolutely free, no pressure, evaluation, you know? The first thing we want to know is can we make a big impact on your business and so we’re going to do a deep dive, we’re going to look at your website, we’re going to look at what we can determine how you’re doing currently on the internet. And at that point, decide, you know, “yes we can help you” or “no we can’t you’re doing great”. So that’s the entry point, it’s very high value I think. And you’ll never get pressure sales from anybody at Energy Circle.
[00:44:37] Ken Allison
Awesome. The other thing I want to say Peter, I am very thankful for what you want to do and want to give you a shoutout for your service on the board of the Building Performance Association. I’m actually getting to do a podcast with Steve Skodak next year on the changes in the organization. And I think everyone should check out the organization. I really like the direction the Building Performance Association is going and all the stuff you guys are doing.
[00:45:01] Peter Troast
Yeah. Thank you, Ken. I – that is my primary, you know, give back to the industry. As my service on the board and I agree with you and I know you know this to be the case. The events the Building Performance Association puts on in next year’s conference in April to be in Seattle. There are regional conferences really the content and I think the learning on every level, both technical and well as business side, as well as policy side, really, I think the best. I go to a lot of conferences and it’s really, really high quality. And I think more Insulation Contractor’s that are trying to do things differently, I think that is a really great place to go to learn, to be around peers that are doing it the way you’re trying to do it. And so, if anybody has any feedback, comments, desires in terms of the association, then I’m all ears for that.
[00:45:56] Ken Allison
I think that is great. For those of you out there, hopefully we gave some great information today. If you want more information on marketing, reach out to Peter, reach out to your local IDI rep, reach out to any of us at corporate where we look forward to earning your business everyday.
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