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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bill Thomas and his effective online marketing approach

One of Bill Thomas's Youtube videos, which help explain to homeowners how his service works -- the videos and website marketing enhance trust, reduce inconvenience, and cut marketing costs -- allowing him to 'over deliver' to consumers, and thus expand his business further. Seems, however, the previous blog posting about his business has resulted in some unintended consequences. . .

Bill Thomas Jr. of Mechanicsville, MD, called me today to apologize for the delay in responding to my initial inquiry about his intriguing website,, and his intriguing approach to online marketing and roofing service sales. He said he had been on vacation, and his administrative staff did not give my call priority (and for some reason, my emails to his address did not get through to him.)

You can read the previous blog entry about his business here.

Regardless, he elaborated on how he has built a seven-figure business using Internet marketing techniques that other contractors would be wise to consider and emulate. (However, local competitors are not happy, he says; following the publicity about his business on and this blog, he says he received at least seven "threatening calls.")

So how does his system work?

Lets start with the email he sent to me today:
Thanks, Mark. Truly a pleasure for me to speak with you. Your site is a great asset to the community.

I read the thread on Pretty neat. Some of the guys seem to "get it", and that's very cool.

I'll send you some links when I get back in the office.

Again, our system works like this:

The website develops the "know you, like you, trust you" automatically, saving both us and the customer MUCH time . . .

We over deliver on the education and the trust aspect, and back it up with social proof (testimonials, public video)

We know immediately what they're looking for and present them with an irresistible offer.

We over deliver on service, do something extra that's a benefit (not in the contract) then present them with before/during/after photos and video for total proof, peace of mind)

We encourage them to send their links to their friends and family that need our services.

Most of our marketing and follow up you don't even see unless you're a qualified prospect or a client.

It's all about the customer, and we're always trying to improve . . .
Thomas says a surprising percentage of his clients conduct the entire business relationship online. They feel trust and confidence in his services, and appreciate the convenience that they don't have to wait around their home while his employees complete the inspection to prepare the online proposal, then the final work. (A few clients speak with him on the phone, but direct sales calls and visits are not needed, he says.)

Thomas isn't a kid -- he's 52 year's old. The website is only part of his marketing system. "We know the 'hot' (potential clients), how to market to them . .. we do direct mail, we have a list database that is proprietary to us."

He says his company is set up to repair roofs, and this creates future business for more significant jobs.

"We get a lot of leads through videos, Google Adwords and search engine optimization," he said. "We're not blowing off a lot of money on our keywords -- we're right on our target."

He says the money saved on client acquisition -- he says his competitors may spend upwards of $85 per lead -- is used to over deliver to clients; to give them more than they expect, and thus build the reputation even further. Thomas declined to discuss his cost-per-lead, and the online sales approach certainly would reduce the direct sales costs, but he declined to get more specific.

He says he is ready to share his ideas and methods with other contractors elsewhere in the country, and is not seeking money for consulting services. He attributes much of his online success and knowledge to Mark Hendrick's

Thomas added a PS to the email which is especially revealing (and shows the power, I suppose, of this blog!)
PS. I purposely try to communicate with my customers electronically rather than by phone. People that come to my site are usually highly focused local prospects, and when I DO talk to them by phone, we establish e-communication immediately. The idea is to save time on the phone, and I reward them by passing along the savings.

Since you published my phone # on your site, I'm now getting TONS of spam calls, sales people, and others -- and since I roll the calls to my cell -- it's become a little disruptive. I've gotten 25 calls or so since you and I talked this morning that are non prospects, and I usually don't get many of those per day. It's a testament to how well your highly ranked site (#1 for contractor marketing in my area) is working.

Would you consider removing the # from your post so I don't get international attention?

I know it's "fair game", but it's kind of time consuming, and maybe if you helped me out, I could write an article or shoot you a link from another site that could be helpful to your cause as a return favor.

All in all, international attention is good, but my focus is on my clients, and I hope
you understand . . .
I'm removing the phone number from the previous posting, as he requested.

Below is another example of his youtube videos:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have always been curious about functionality in websites and, well, the world in general. I read this article with great interest. It does seem to me that the reason we comment is to speak our minds so why not have the comment field first? However, as others have pointed out, one gets used to the conventions regardless of reason.
online marketing