Taking an analogue business into the digital age

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As consumers in Australia change the way they buy, research and engage with any purchasing decisions, business owners are needing to adjust the way they position and market their businesses to ensure they remain relevant and in front of potential customers. Whether you’re running a retail store, provides professional services such as an accountant or even a trades-person, engaging with the digital marketplace opens up new opportunities to grow your business. One such business who has taken the leap into embrace online is Best Price Roofing, a local Adelaide roof restoration company owned and operated by Grant Somers. Here’s an interview with Grant detailing his experiences with investing in digital marketing and running his business in the increasingly digital economy.

Tell us a little bit about Best Price Roofing?

I’ve been running Best Price Roofing for over 30 years. Working shortly for another business in the roofing industry I realised there was a great opportunity for me to run my own business where I could make a comfortable living, choose my hours and take time off to do holidays as I please. I enjoy travelling and scuba diving, so taking a month or two off in the business is fine if I can afford it, but working for someone else that would become a problem quickly.

What drove you to look at taking up digital marketing?

There was two main clearly drivers for me taking the leap. The first reason is like all businesses, I wanted to keep growing my revenue and profit, which after years in the business was starting to flatline.

My second reason was after entering into my 60’s and looking at retirement as something I will need to aim for moving forward, I wanted to work out a way I could structure my business where I could generate and quote work, whilst leaving the hands on tasks which will become increasingly difficult to staff or contractors. Hitting the pavement hustling for work didn’t fit into my retirement goals, so I needed to advertise.

No one reads papers and radio and television advertisements are too expensive and saturated with the larger competitors so that wasn’t a pathway I could realistically take. So I decided to take up Google Ads and SEO.

How did you start? Did you DIY or did you hire an agency?

A bit of both. I started with DIY on Google Ads and hired a SEO company shortly after to look after my website. Google Ads was pretty easy and I started getting leads coming through within a few days. The SEO side took a bit of work and I ended up going through three different agencies and interviewing half a dozen more before I found the right person who has kept me in the top positions.

What happened with the agencies you were working with?

I think what most people suffer when they sign up with these agencies. Overpromising and under delivering mainly. Generally most of the agencies I worked with would provide some varying level of results but nothing consistent, and so the leads were sporadic at best which barely covered the costs of the fees they were charging. Eventually I was approached by a digital marketer while I wasn’t engaged with any agency and they came up with a plan to provide me with the right results and surprisingly delivered the results within a month. I started generating roof restoration leads which supplemented those I was receiving via Google Ads.

What has worked out better for your business, Google Ads or SEO?

Nowadays it would be SEO, but I still do Google Ads alongside it. With the SEO, my websites leads around half the cost of Google Ads which is great, but I’m already in the top positions so I can’t really generate more leads than I’m currently receiving. With the Google Ads even though its more expensive per lead, they’re still profitable so I keep the campaign running and it stops competitors taking up that space. The SEO provider I’m working with checked over my Google Ads campaign and made some adjustments which helped me stop paying for some clicks which weren’t profitable, so the cost per lead has gone down a little over time.

Finally to anyone considering whether they should do digital marketing for their business, what’s your advice?

It’s definitely worth it if your business can afford it and there’s a market for your service online. Finding the right people to help is essential because you don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on bad advice. Ask anyone you work with for evidence of work they’ve done and clients they can provide as references – if they won’t provide this you have to question why this is the case. Check out whether Google Ads is worth it, even if more expensive than alternatives it helped me get leads quickly which helped me afford to investing in my website and other digital marketing. Overall its achieved what I’ve wanted and will enable me to transition into a more management role within the business as I get older.

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