Lead Generation Strategies for Trades | Katie Stone from LeadHub


Katie Stone, SEO team leader at LeadHub, shares valuable insights on marketing for the trades industry. LeadHub, a full-service marketing agency founded in 2011, specializes in serving HVAC, plumbing, and electrical businesses. 

Katie discusses their focus on lead generation, the importance of marrying marketing with operations, and their partnership with ServiceTitan. She also highlights LeadHub’s innovative approach to digital marketing, including their award-winning AI-powered lead response system for Yelp, and emphasizes the crucial role of websites in client acquisition.

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Ernesto Quezada: Pathmonk is the intelligent tool for website lead generation. With increasing online competition, over 98% of website visitors don’t convert. The ability to successfully show your value proposition and support visitors in their buying journey separates you from the competition online. Pathmonk qualifies and converts leads on your website by figuring out where they are in the buying journey and influencing them in key decision moments. With relevant micro experiences like case studies, intro videos, and much more, stay relevant to your visitors and increase conversions by 50%. Add Pathmonk to your website in seconds. Let the AI do all the work and get access to 50% more qualified leads while you keep doing marketing and sales as usual. Check us out at pathmonk.com. Welcome to today’s episode. Let’s talk about today’s guest. We have Katie, SEO team leader at LeadHub. How are you doing today, Katie?

Katie Stone: Hi. I’m doing great. Thank you for having me.

Ernesto: It’s great to have you on, and I’m sure our listeners are tuning in, wondering what LeadHub is all about, so let’s kick it off with that. Katie, in your own words, can you tell us a little bit more?

Katie: Yeah, for sure. LeadHub is a full-service marketing agency. We serve primarily the trades industry—HVAC, plumbing, electrical, anything you can think of. If it’s work done on a house, we can market it. We were started in 2011 by Benjamin Hubbard. He owned an HVAC company called Champion AC, and he saw a gap in the market for Google Ads and people to run Google Ads. He was having a lot of success there, so he thought, how about I just start my own advertising agency to run my own Google Ads? And the rest is kind of history from there. We went straight from a PPC and SEO company to commercials and direct mail—literally every avenue of marketing you can think of.

Ernesto: Website development, too?

Katie: Yes, definitely important in today’s world, especially for those trades.

Ernesto: Awesome to hear that. So that our listeners can get a good understanding of LeadHub, Katie, what would you say is the key problem that you guys like to solve for clients?

Katie: Yeah, so obviously our name is LeadHub. The biggest thing our clients are looking for is leads. We work very closely with them, not only for lead generation and acquisition through all marketing platforms but also by really focusing on marrying marketing with operations to make sure that their businesses are working to their advantage. We’re so focused on the industry. Obviously, we were started by someone who owned an HVAC company, so we were really built by the trades for the trades, and we work very closely with them on optimizing their CRMs and any sort of internal operations. Outbound and inbound marketing, we work with them on that.

Ernesto: Okay, perfect. Great to hear that. So then, would it be fair to say that those would be the only verticals that you guys like to go for? Or maybe, being an agency, you started going into another type of vertical?

Katie: Yeah, home services are really our bread and butter, but we do have some outliers as well. We do serve a few lawyers, and at one point we had physical therapists and a nursing home. So we will hear your case, but people know us for our home service marketing.

Ernesto: Okay, perfect. Awesome. So what would you say is LeadHub’s main top client acquisition channel?

Katie: A lot of it is genuinely word of mouth. Our clients really enjoy us, and I think pretty much everyone in the trades knows each other. It’s a very tight-knit community, and I think when they know they have something special, they’re going to talk about it. So that’s been really great for us, having such a tight-knit community as our client base. But we also get a lot of inbound leads specifically from ServiceTitan. ServiceTitan is a CRM for the trades, one of the biggest, and we are an official marketing partner of ServiceTitan, which is a pretty exclusive club. I don’t want to toot our own horn, but yes, I do. It was a lot of hard work to get us to the point where we could call ourselves a ServiceTitan partner. Our CEO, Aaron Waters, worked really hard to get us to that point, and so did everyone on the team. So we do get a lot of leads coming directly from ServiceTitan, which is great. We’re well-versed with the platform, so we know how to help our clients optimize its usage for better marketing overall. We help them with their review acquisition and drip campaigns. Any sort of outbound email marketing, we can handle that through ServiceTitan or really any other platform. But ServiceTitan is one of our biggest lead sources. We also work with Yelp. We were a designated Yelp partner as of last year, and very quickly, we were able to win a Yelp Advertising Partner Award for software or automation that we created and developed here with AI. We call it LeadReply. Basically, it’s an autoresponder for Yelp leads that takes the lead response time out of the equation so that our clients can jump on those leads as quickly as possible.

Ernesto: Perfect. Awesome. Great to hear some news from you guys. So our listeners who are tuned in could go ahead and visit you. They could always check you out at leadhub.net. What role does the website play in client acquisition?

Katie: Yeah, so, obviously, I am the SEO lead. So, everything that I’m focused on is really almost entirely on our website, except for link building and everything. Websites play a very pivotal role in pretty much any element of digital marketing. It’s where our customers and clients land. It’s where they can get all the information they need about our team, terms, and services. It also gives us a digital billboard that exists everywhere that anyone can reach. It is the main landing page for any of our ads and any keywords that people are searching for, like “digital marketing near me.” Obviously, when they Google that, we want to be the ones to come up. So it is important. We do get quite a bit of inbound leads from our website.

Ernesto: Definitely important. On that note, Katie, are there any tools or tips that you would recommend to our listeners for website lead generation?

Katie: Oh, yeah. So let’s see. I’m more on the organic side, so I really like to use Semrush. Semrush is a major SEO platform—a bit pricey, but for me, it’s really worth it. It helps me do my job really well. It helps me identify any sort of keyword and competitor research I need for any of my clients’ websites but also for LeadHub’s site as well. We can oversee basic leads and anything through that platform. So it really helps us come up with our strategy and see how we’re performing.

Ernesto: Definitely important. Great to hear that from you guys. Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about you as a leader, being the SEO team lead for LeadHub. What are some key tasks you focus on in your day-to-day work?

Katie: Every day is different. I know that’s kind of a cop-out answer, but truly, with SEO, literally anything changes from day to day. We’re very reliant on Google’s algorithms, so I’m pretty deep in the trenches of staying up to date on the latest industry news trends, getting into the SEO community, and really identifying what we can be using for our own strategies here at LeadHub. I want to make sure that we’re on the cutting edge and not being left behind by anything in these updates. Google’s currently rolling out a major update, so I’ve been on my toes every single day watching our rankings. But I oversee a team—it’s a great team. I love working with them. They know what they’re doing, so I feel very confident letting them go, but I do oversee the main strategy of all our accounts, everything from competitor research to keyword research. I oversee a lot of that information.

Ernesto: Awesome. Great to hear that. How do you stay up to date with all the marketing news trends? Is there a preferred channel you like?

Katie: Yeah. I am one of the lone survivors of Twitter (now X). I am on there all the time, deep into the SEO communities. It’s gotten a little less popular now that it’s X, but I still find some really good nuggets there. I stay up to date with the latest industry publications as well. The two biggest ones are Search Engine Journal and SEO Roundtable. They have the best information. Barry Schwartz is an SEO god. I follow him. Marie Haynes—I follow her on Twitter. If you’re in SEO, those are two must-follows. They know everything. I do a lot of my learning by following them on social media and their respective news outlets.

Ernesto: Absolutely. Great to hear that for our listeners to check them out. Let’s jump into our next section, Katie, which is our rapid-fire question round. Are you ready?

Katie: Yeah, sounds great.

Ernesto: Perfect. First off, Katie, what is the last book you read?

Katie: Ooh, I read “Take Your Own Advice” by Geoffrey Marsh.

Ernesto: Interesting read for our listeners. Next up, if there were no boundaries in technology, what would be the one thing you would want to fix for your role as a marketer today?

Katie: Oh my gosh, lead tracking and any sort of acquisition channels—knowing where everything came from correctly the first time would be fantastic. Instead of having to hunt down where all of our leads are coming from, we just need the platforms to all talk to each other. That would be lovely.

Ernesto: That would be amazing. Perfect. Next up, if there’s one repetitive task that you could automate, what would that be?

Katie: Keyword research. I know a lot of people are talking about using AI for keyword research, and it can be useful for some idea generation, but ultimately I have to do a lot of the heavy lifting for keyword research, identifying trends, what people are searching for, and identifying the intent behind the keywords. That’s something AI is not quite ready for yet.

Ernesto: Definitely. Perfect. You have some experience already in the marketing world, but what is one piece of advice you would give yourself if you were to restart your journey as a marketer today?

Katie: I would tell myself to get involved in the marketing and SEO community sooner rather than later. I was always a really shy kid growing up, so when I got into college and needed to start networking, that was really daunting for me. Even at the beginning of my career, it was really daunting, but now I have become a lot braver in reaching out to people. There’s a lot of experience sharing that can happen in the SEO community, especially with the way things change from day to day. So many people run amazing experiments, and being able to learn and grow from all these people going through the same thing as you is invaluable.

Ernesto: Great advice, not just for yourself but for our listeners. Katie, it’s been a pleasure to have you with us today. I appreciate it. Before we end, I want to give you the last word. If someone forgets everything about the interview today, what is the one thing they should remember about LeadHub?

Katie: Ultimately, at the end of the day, LeadHub is your marketing partner. We are in it with you. We want to be an extension of your business, not just a vendor. So anytime, if you’re a trades company or even something a little different, definitely reach out to LeadHub. We have got your marketing covered.

Ernesto: You guys heard it. Thank you so much, Katie, for being with us today. To our listeners, thank you so much for tuning in. I’m looking forward to our next episode at Pathmonk Presents. Thanks a lot, Katie.

Katie: Thank you.