You want to make sure you’re investing your money in channels that will help grow your business. A working knowledge of the return on your investment (ROI) in lead generation platforms will help you understand just that. Start a new spreadsheet, grab a pen and paper – figuring the return on your investment in leads is pretty straightforward. Follow these steps:
1. Track your leads and hires.
Start a spreadsheet, or keep a physical notebook handy. Make a column for each acquisition channel you use (Thumbtack leads, social media, ads). Jot down how many leads you get through each channel throughout the month, and how many of those leads turned into jobs.
At the end of the month, you should have a good understanding of the number of leads and jobs coming from each channel.
2. Figure the monthly revenue from your jobs.
Next, we’ll take a look at the revenue earned from your jobs. For this example, let’s just focus on jobs from Thumbtack. Let's say you were hired 5 times in May, and those jobs resulted in $1,000 in revenue, for an average of $200 per job.
But were the leads worth it? Let’s dig into the cost of those leads, or your investment.
3. Calculate your ROI
Let's say hypothetically, you got 25 leads on Thumbtack that ultimately led to those 5 jobs, meaning 20% of the leads converted into revenue. If the average cost of those leads was $15, you spent a total of $375 on 25 leads.
So, to recap, you:
Booked 5 jobs from Thumbtack in May
Received $1,000 total for those jobs
Paid $375 to get those leads
Subtract the cost of leads from the revenue attributed to Thumbtack: you made $625 in May through that channel. Now, divide that profit by the total number of leads - both the ones that turned into jobs and the ones that didn’t. Your gross profit per Thumbtack lead is $25.00.
To calculate the ROI for each individual lead, divide that gross profit per lead ($25.00) by the cost of the lead ($15.00), and express it as a percentage — 166.7% in this case. Your average lead – whether won or lost – paid for itself a bit over 1.5 times. That’s a great return!
Looking at the ROI of individual leads is helpful in identifying patterns, but remember to look at the aggregate return on your investment to get an idea of how the channel you’re measuring is performing overall.
The good news is you can always improve your ROI. If you’re responsive, professional, and do great work, you’re more likely to turn one-time jobs into repeat customers, and grow your return without increasing your investment. Even if a lead isn’t quite ready to hire, give them all the information they need to contact you when they’re ready, so the investment you made in that lead is worth it down the road.
Another worthwhile exercise is to take a look back at your job and lead tally for the month. Is there a trend in the types of jobs you were hired for? If you’re a plumber and the majority of leads you get for emergency repairs ends up hiring you, you might want to adjust your profile and your preferences to target these customers, specifically. The more you can narrow the gap between the number of leads and the number of jobs, the greater the return on your investment.
How do you track your leads and jobs? Give your advice in the comment section below.
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Though the price of each lead on Thumbtack varies, how you pay for those leads is the same from job to job – you only pay for new leads, or new customers who have already checked out your profile and want to talk. Let’s dive into more on what and when you pay Thumbtack.
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First, let’s start with a few definitions, just to make sure we’re all on the same page.
Search results : If you’re a pro on Thumbtack, you show up in customer search results . Customers come to Thumbtack, tell us their zip code and what kind of service they need, then they get a list of pros they can filter and contact.
Lead : A customer who contacts you.
Inbox: Where you go to see the customers who have contacted you.
Opportunities: A list of customers who have already contacted a pro. After they contact one pro, all their job details go to the Jobs tab. You can tell customers you find there that you’re interested in their job, in case the first pro falls through.
Targeting preferences: Instead of choosing which leads to accept as they come in, you tell us what kinds of leads you want ahead of time. We give you a rank boost in search results for those jobs plus a 20% discount. You pay automatically as you get them.
Clear? Great. Now let’s dig in to the different kinds of leads you can get on Thumbtack:
What is it
Leads you told us you want.
Leads we’re not sure you want.
Leads you might be able to pick up if another pro can’t do the job.
Ok, but what is it really
When you set targeting preferences for your business, you tell us to only list you for leads within 10 miles, or only for house cleaning, or only in the mornings, etc.
A targeted lead will always fit squarely within those requirements.
A customer who doesn’t quite fit your preferences.
Say you’re a florist and are only targeting for weddings. You could get a non-targeted lead for a baby shower. We don’t know if you want that lead, so you can pay for it or decline it.
All customers in the opportunities have already contacted at least one pro.
You can look through those customers in the opportunities section and tell them you’re interested. If they respond, you’ll see their response in your Inbox.
When you pay
When the customer contacts you.
After you read the job details and accept the lead.
When the customer contacts you back.
How much it costs
Why you want it
The customer picks you and they’re an ideal fit for your preferences.
Best way to get more of the customers you want.
Rank boost in customer search results
This customer picked you. Now you can decide if you want that lead since it’s outside of your preferences.
So if you usually only take leads within 10 miles, but you get one 20 miles away for a really big job, you can choose to make an exception or not.
Good way to pick up more work if you’re not getting enough targeted or non-targeted leads.
Why you don’t want it
You shouldn’t target preferences if you’re all booked up and don’t need more work.
You can’t depend on these leads. And they may not be a great fit for your business.
And if you choose to not target your preferences at all, you’ll get fewer leads.
These customers have already contacted another pro, so your chances of getting hired are lower.
What to do if you don’t like it
Go to your preferences in the Services tab and make some adjustments — make sure you’re only getting auto-charged for leads you are definitely ok paying for.
You can also pause targeting at any time — like when you’re all booked up or going on vacation.
Always decline the leads you don’t want — we’ll learn what you don’t want and show you lower in search results for those kinds of jobs.
When you get leads you like, target your preferences for those kinds of leads to keep them coming.
Skip it. Focus on the main way customers find pros: through search results.
Set targeting preferences to rank better in search results.
How do you control it
You can adjust your preferences here . We recommend starting small then expanding your preferences over time as you want more business.
You can also change your weekly budget so you never spend more than you’re comfortable with.
You choose which leads you want or don’t want to pay for.
You can also change your budget so you never spend more than you intend to.
You choose which customers you’re interested in.
You can also change your budget so you never pay more than you’re comfortable with in a week.
Edited: updated for accuracy and clarity
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[The following story was written and submitted by Top Pro Leslie Taylor (@RevDrLCT)]
I started my business on Thumbtack in February 2017. I’m a wedding officiant — I’ve done about 70 weddings through Thumbtack, plus referrals from those weddings. When I first started, I’d chase down every lead on my schedule. Since I was doing it part-time, I didn’t really stress about “Oh, I need to have X number of weddings per month.” It was initially “Christmas” money. Fun money.
Now I’ve left my other job and will focus on doing weddings full time. Now I do have to worry about the number of weddings I get per month. But showing up in search results hasn’t changed anything for me. Being in the list, when somebody wants to find a wedding officiant, then I’m right there with six other people or whatever. The customer can see that I’m a Top Pro, what my ratings are, and they can click to learn more about me. When they reach out to me and a few other people, they’ve already done their homework. They’ve thought about what they want. So when I talk to them, it’s just about whether or not I’m the right fit. I like giving the customer the option of looking and doing their own research and not having us chase after them. The customer’s in the driver’s seat. It’s their choice. So it’s my responsibility to make my profile stand out to them.
I’ve looked myself up on Thumbtack before. It’s kind of fun. I want to look at people that are ahead of me. I want to look at their profile to see if there is anything I can tweak in my own. I think I’m one of the top three or four. I’m generally on that first page, which is helpful. And I promote my business on Thumbtack now.
I think promoting makes sense because the customers are looking, not me. Otherwise, I’m going to be glued to my phone and computer all day, looking every few minutes to see who’s new. That’s a complete waste of time. But now it’s set up that if somebody’s interested, then I get a text message and an email, then I can go respond. And if I’m in the middle of something, I can respond when the time is right. I pay automatically, but as long as I remember to block out the dates that I’m not available, then I don’t have any concerns. So I like promoting my business. It helps people find me, and it feels far more efficient to do it. It just makes sense.
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When we launched the ability to promote your business, we thought we made it simple. First we slotted all pros into customer search results, then we saw that the top 10 pros in any search got the most leads.
So we said, ok, those spots are up for grabs. But they should only go to pros who are a great fit for the job. So we started letting people promote their business. You tell us what leads you really want and commit to paying for them automatically, and in exchange you’ll get a boost in rank so those customers can find you. And you get 20% off.
At the time, it all seemed clear. But there’s a lot of confusion. Hopefully this can help:
FALSE: When you promote your business, you lose all control.
Signing up to auto-pay for leads sounds scary. We get it. But when you set your preferences, you can get really, really specific about which customers you’re willing to pay for. So if you promote yourself for jobs within 10 miles, you will never, ever auto-pay for a job that’s 11 miles away. In other words, only promote yourself for the kinds of jobs that you don’t mind automatically paying for.
TRUE AND FALSE: Customers will still be able to find me, even if I don’t promote myself.
There are only 30 spots in customer search results. If you don’t promote your business, you might not get one of those spots and customers won’t be able to find you at all.
However, there will always be jobs you aren’t promoting yourself for. If you’re a great pro and don’t have a ton of competition, you might show up in search results for those jobs. In that case you could still get contacted — we won’t know if they’re a perfect fit, so you can decide whether to pay for them or not.
FALSE: You have to promote everything or nothing.
We only recommend promoting your business for the kinds of jobs you’d actually be happy to pay for — ones that are within 10 miles, or happen in the mornings when you’re never busy, or are for birthday parties but not weddings. You can set your preferences to be as narrow or as broad as you like. Whatever makes sense for your business.
FALSE: You only show up in search results if you promote your business.
You’ll show up in customer search results even if you don’t promote yourself. But if you’re not promoting, you might not show up high enough for anyone to find you.
FALSE: If you promote your business, you’ll spend more money.
You control your weekly budget — that’s the limit of how much money you’ll pay. You also get a 20% discount on all your promoted leads. So if you don’t want to spend more money, you don’t have to.
Although yes, the idea is that if you promote your business, you’ll get more leads. The more leads you get, the more you’ll pay. But the idea is that you’ll get so much work that’s right in your sweet spot that you’ll be happy to pay for them.
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It takes 2 seconds and will change how you use Thumbtack.
Go to Thumbtack.com or the Thumbtack app — the customer one. Not the pro version you’re used to. Type in your service and your zip code. You are now seeing exactly what a customer sees: the top 30 pros for your service in your area.
If you’re not in the top 30, customers can’t find you. If you’re not in the top 10, your odds of getting contacted go way down.
At the top (in the app) or on the left (online) you should see the options to filter pros. In the middle is the full list of your competition and where you show up.
Now pretend you’re a customer. Pretend you have a big, meaty job and set your filters. Look at the list. Who would you click on?
This moment — looking at the list of pros and deciding who to click on — this is the key to getting leads on Thumbtack. There’s no better way to understand your competition or your customer — anywhere. You should do it at least once a week. Then you should be refining your profile and doing everything you can to move up the list.
Almost every single customer is looking for three things:
Pros who look professional - nice photo, lots of good reviews, intro with no typos.
Show up high on the list - the higher you are, the more likely you are to get noticed.
Have a good profile - photos of your work, cost estimates, licenses, everything a customer needs to make an informed decision.
Customers have a short attention span.
When you search something in Google, you don’t often click past the first page. Customers are the same. They don’t have time or energy to go through pages of search results. You need to get their attention fast by appearing near the top of the list.
You looked yourself up on Thumbtack. Where do you rank now? If it’s not as high as you want it to be, here’s what you can do:
Promote your business. It gives you a rank boost when customers search for a job you want.
Respond quickly when a customer contacts you. A faster response time helps your ranking.
List your prices. It helps set the right expectations for the customer.
Ask for reviews. The number of reviews and your review rating influence where you appear in results.
Have a great profile. Which leads us to the next point...
Customers make snap judgments based on very little information.
Customers won’t click something they don’t like — even if it appears at the top. You need to make a good impression right away.
Look again at where you appear in the search results. How does your profile picture compare to the competition? What about the number of reviews? Or your rating?
Make sure your profile picture is well lit, professional and high quality. Always remember to ask for reviews after a job well done. The more you can do to make yourself look good, the better. Don’t give customers any reason not to click on your profile. Because once they do...
Customers want to do as little legwork as possible.
Click into some of the top-ranking profiles for your service. Chances are, these pros give customers the information they want upfront. Prices, photos of past work and so on. The customer won’t waste time to find exactly who they need.
So fill out your profile. Upload impressive pictures of past jobs. Add your prices so customers know what to expect when they reach out to you. Write a strong introduction and FAQ (check your spelling). A customer is taking precious time to view your profile. Make sure you don’t give them a reason to turn away.
What tips do you have for standing out to customers? Share them in the comments below.
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We’re toasting the latest class of Top Pros on Thumbtack — the business owners who set the standard for responsiveness, quality work and client service.
This week, electrical contractor Jordan Gilbert tells us how he unexpectedly turned a side hustle into a thriving business. Here’s his story.
“I’ve been an electrician in New York City for 15 years. From time to time we go on furlough, so I started using Thumbtack to fill in my income. I ended up getting so much work I had to create an LLC and get business insurance.
Before, I was one of 50 on a commercial job site, never interacting with the client. Now I’m the only person that matters and I’m wiring people’s homes from the ground up. I get to put my word to what I do rather than other people speaking for me. It’s invigorating.
Just last week I found an unexpected issue at someone’s home. I told her, ‘Listen, I already quoted you a price, so I’m going to do whatever I can without charging you extra.’
I was able to make it work, and she ended up calling me back for another job. If I had charged her extra last time I wouldn’t have had that next job. But I’m honest, I’m straightforward. I get to do things for people that other people won’t do. When you can see how happy that makes your clients, you have a much better sense of accomplishment.”
Jordan is an electrical contractor based in Long Island, NY. This is his second time making Top Pro since joining Thumbtack two years ago.
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Top Pros are among the most popular and best rated pros on Thumbtack. Getting the Top Pro badge is a big deal. But does having Top Pro status move you higher in search results?
Actually it doesn’t — at least, not directly. But don’t worry. If you made Top Pro, you have a stellar response rate, a great profile and lots of 5-star reviews. Those are all factors that affect ranking.
And while being Top Pro doesn’t technically “move you up,” it’s still a huge advantage. The blue badge on your profile gives you extra credibility with customers, which means you can get hired more. So keep up the good work! If you want more of a boost, you can always promote your profile.
If you didn’t make Top Pro, the good news is you can still improve your ranking and stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
Start with your profile . Write a good intro. Add a nice headshot. Think about it — what can you add to make your business look good to customers?
Promote your profile . When you promote your profile in search results, you tell us what jobs you want ahead of time. If a customer searches for a job you want, we’ll give you a rank boost. You’ll get 20% off and pay automatically.
List your prices . Customers like seeing prices up front. It makes finding the right pro easier.
Get lots of great reviews . Having a lot of 5-star reviews means you’ll show up higher. Remember to always ask for a review after a job well done.
Respond quickly. When you do get a lead, respond fast to win the job, or decline it right away. A quick response rate improves your ranking.
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This month, we’re celebrating the freshly-crowned Top Pro class of 2019, starting with Laura Brooke – a professional organizer from Philadelphia who transformed a career in corporate productivity into a successful solo venture.
Laura is the kind of pro people come to Thumbtack to find: talented, responsive and highly-rated. But more importantly, she’s a partner to her clients. Here’s her story.
Before I started PHL Organizer in 2015, I was working in business management and corporate productivity. I loved having a career that played to my strengths: efficiency and organization. But I realized doing that type of work in a corporate setting didn’t leave me as fulfilled as I wanted to be. I wanted to help people on a more personal level, in their homes and daily lives. So I started a local house cleaning business and as I got more organizing experience, I moved into organization exclusively.
The best part about running my business is that I get to set my own tone for the company. When I know I’m doing my best work and giving my clients my all, it’s nice to know that’s good enough. It’s not about working 24/7 to keep up. It’s about having high standards but not burning out. Putting the client first and making them happy. It feels like a luxury to no longer worry about company policies or corporate agendas that don’t make any sense.
I’ve been in business almost 4 years now and I still get as excited for every new client as I was with my first. I’ll never forget my first client. I remember being so nervous on the drive over to our session. But when I got there, everything just felt right. I was in my element and had a great time. I knew that day: this is what I was meant to do. It’s one of my favorite work experiences. I still feel that same excitement, seeing the joy on my clients’ faces when their homes are organized and complete. There is no greater reward for me than that.
Laura is a professional organizer and personal coach based in Philadelphia, PA. She was awarded Top Pro status in January 2019, for her exceptional work and customer service.
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