Cover Story: Growing Leads
Adding Some Paid Bait
Spring-Green front-loads much of its marketing between January and the end of May and leverages paid search during an eight-week window when Young says the company spends the bulk of its pay-per-click dollars. "There's a flurry of activity, and we generate thousands of leads for our franchisees," says Young.
Local search is one significant aspect of Spring-Green's paid campaign, centering on the main objective of fine-tuning results via keywords, town names and other relevant criteria. "It doesn't make sense to a franchise that has 80 locations to be advertising in paid search campaigns where they have no locations servicing customers," explains Wehr. "So [we're] developing campaigns that are highly targeted towards a radius around each one of their locations …"
According to Wehr, paid search is particularly useful if Spring-Green has a relatively obscure keyword that would require a significant investment to position well in SEO. "Paid search has grown alongside of the natural search campaign to supplement [it] and really better position [Spring-Green] where we may have some difficulty or it doesn't make enough sense to invest in SEO," says Wehr.
As the fastest-growing component of the marketer's budget—both because Spring-Green's witnessed its impact and continues to invest in it, and because the per-click cost perpetually increases with more competition—paid search may not continue to be a feasible lead-generation method. "A big part of why we continue to invest in the SEO and local search optimization is because we know as more and more companies become competitive in our space for paid search, that can potentially take us out of that being an effective channel if it becomes cost-prohibitive," notes Young.
Making It Stick
Sticky Web content is the glue Spring-Green has applied to improve the overall relevancy of its content and keep leads coming back to the sites. The franchisee sites feature a glossary and articles on basic lawn and tree care tips, as well as the Knowledge Base, a search tool that scours all of the articles published by Spring-Green and provides quick answers to visitors' questions.