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How To Use Google Ads For Your Local Service Business

Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are on local information while 88% of people who search for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours?

As a local service business (e.g., painter, plumber, electrician, house cleaning service, landscaper, etc) you can’t afford to ignore the power of local SEO.

While using high-quality content to boost your SEO is the most cost-effective way to improve search engine ranking and drive website traffic in the long-term, it takes time for any content marketing strategy to yield results.

What can you do if you want traffic (and clients!) right now?

Thankfully, you don’t have to look further than Google Ads.

It essentially allows you to cut the line and jump to the top positions on Google search results quickly if you do it right.

Ready to use Google Ads to attract more leads to your local service business? Here’s what you need to know.

Why Use Google Ads For Your Local Service Business

First thing first… why Google Ads? Here are the benefits of using Google Ads to promote your local service business:

Most people search for a local business when the need arises – that means they’re ready to hire a service provider immediately. Google Ads allows you to get found by these prospects at the right time by targeting keywords with high purchase intent.

The last thing you want is to pay for traffic from people who don’t live in your service area! Google Ads allow you to set a target audience based on location so you only pay for clicks from searchers that are living in your area.

In addition, you can leverage ad extensions to show searchers more information about your business (e.g., address, phone number, ratings) while increasing the “real estate” your ads take up at no extra cost to capture the attention of more prospects.

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Google Ads also allows you to retarget visitors and drive them back to your website if they didn’t convert on their first visits. Besides boosting conversion, this can help you increase brand awareness and stay top of mind.

As a local service provider, the next step for prospects to engage with your business is likely to give you a call and make an appointment. With Google Ads, you can target searchers using mobile devices – making it that much more convenient for prospects to take action so you can increase conversion rates.

Devices view in Google Ads web interface

Furthermore, Google Ads gives you different ways to control your ad budget and how it’s being spent so you can continuously test and refine your tactics without unpleasant surprises.

You can use detailed analytics from Google Ads to measure results and make adjustments. For example, you can track metrics such as traffic to your website, conversion rate, revenue, etc. to make sure that you’re yielding the desired ROI.

Also, Google Ads allow you to import data to see how leads generated online convert offline (e.g., after a phone call) so you can better integrate your digital and brick-and-mortar channels.

Last but not least, paid ads level the playing field by allowing you to become more competitive, especially if you’re relatively new to business and there are more established companies in the area providing similar services.

How Google Ads Works

Google Ads works by “auctioning” keywords – the more demand for a keyword, the higher it costs. When you create an ad, you set a budget and a bid, which indicates how much you’re willing to pay for each click. The higher your bid is, the more likely your ad will get shown to searchers.

Don’t worry, Google won’t run away with your money! If other advertisers are bidding less for the same keywords, Google won’t spend your maximum bid. The algorithm optimizes impressions and bids so you’d likely pay less than the maximum amount, generally only 1¢ more than the next highest bidder, and only when your ad is clicked.

However, it’s not all about the bid. Google also takes the user experience into account and is willing to show ads that are more relevant and of higher quality even if the bid may be lower.

Your bid and whether your ad gets shown is also affected by your account’s quality score, which is a metric that combines several factors to determine how well your offer matches a particular search. Google uses relevancy, click-through-rate, and account history to determine the quality score of your campaigns.

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Besides the budget, you can define a conversion event (e.g., signing up to your email list, requesting a quote) to accurately track your results, adjust the targeting, and fine-tune your bid so you can optimize the ROI.

How To Set Up an Effective Google Ads Campaign

There are many moving parts you need to consider when setting up a Google Ads campaign. Here are some key steps and how you can improve the effectiveness of your ads:

  • Set your goal: tailor your ad based on the results you want to achieve. You should first identify an objective for your campaign, such as getting more calls or taking action on your website (e.g., signing up for your mailing list or filling out a form to request a quote.)
  • Define your audience: for local service businesses, it’s important to target searchers located in your service area (e.g., within a certain radius of your business address). Using location targeting will ensure that your ads are shown to the right people.
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  • Choose an ad format: ad extensions allow you to include additional information in your ads. You can use Google’s automated formatting systems to display information from your website or other relevant third-party content alongside the ads based on your objectives.
  • Select your keywords: to target searchers that are most likely to convert, bid for keywords that are specific to your services and include local terms. Research your competitors and use Google’s Keyword Planner to find the best keywords that balance cost with search volume and competitiveness.
  • Craft compelling copy: create relevant copy that aligns with the keywords you’re bidding for to deliver a cohesive user experience that’ll increase click-through-rate. Make references to local places or events if appropriate to increase relevancy.
  • Set a budget cap: this allows you to maintain control of your ad spend. Google Ads will recommend a budget based on businesses similar to yours and provide estimated results to help you make an informed decision.
  • Create an effective landing page: the quality and relevance of the landing page (i.e., the page to which your ad is linked to) not only affect the quality score but also help deliver a cohesive user experience that will improve conversion. If you’re running multiple ads, you may want to set up a dedicated landing page for each so the content matches the ad copy. Follow these landing page conversion optimization best practices to turn more clicks into customers.
  • Set up conversion tracking: “what gets measured gets done” so make sure you’re tracking the appropriate conversion action based on the objective for each campaign (e.g., website actions, phone calls, offline conversion, local actions.)

Final Thoughts – Maximize Your Results Without the Stress

Google Ads can be intimidating for many small business owners but don’t fret! Here’s how to keep everything in perspective while handling all the moving parts:

  • Start small and set a fixed budget. Test the water and find out what works for you. Even a monthly budget as little as $250 or $500 is sufficient to get the ball rolling. Once you discover what’s effective for your market, you can increase the budget and optimize your results.
  • Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things. Google Ads’ interface is complex – it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and get lost in tinkering with the different features. Instead, start with the basics – for a local service business, that means including local keywords, using ad extensions, setting up location targeting, and creating an effective landing page.
  • Be patient! While Google Ads can be highly cost-effective, it’s not a magic bullet. The majority of advertisers lose money on Google Ads just because they quit too soon. Give your campaigns at least a month to gain traction and yield results. Then review your metrics to optimize the ROI.

Some trial-and-error is par for the course but if you want to shorten the learning curve and get quick results, work with experts who have a track record of running PPC ads for local service businesses and understand the unique requirements. This will allow you to make the most of your ad budget while freeing up your time to do what you do best – servicing your clients and generating more revenue!

Of course, 99 Calls provides expert Google Ads service for local service businesses. Having worked with thousands of service businesses we know the keywords that work and those that don’t. We also provide high converting landing pages (our pages convert at an extremely high 20%-40% depending on the industry…meaning maximum bang for your buck) at no extra charge.

When you are ready to really grow your local service business, consider Google Ads and 99 Calls for high volume lead generation.

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Boost Local SEO With Content Marketing

For most local service businesses (e.g., painters, plumbers, electricians, cleaners, etc.), getting found by high-quality prospects is the key to generating more leads and making more sales cost-effectively.

If you have been tracking your traffic sources or asking your customers how they found you, you’d probably notice that many leads came from online searches.

As such, dialing in your local SEO strategy is instrumental to getting found by more potential customers and generating more business:

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One of the most effective ways of leveraging the power of local SEO is content marketing, which allows you to get found on local searches by prospects that are looking for the exact services you’re offering in your local area – in the right place and at the right time.

Here’s how to boost your local SEO with content marketing:

Optimize For Local Keywords

Start by researching relevant local keywords for which to optimize all of your online content, such as website copy, blog post, online profiles, etc.

You can use a variety of keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, to identify search terms that are relevant to your business and have high search volume in your target location(s).

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Also, look for locally-relevant phrases, events, news, or trending topics that are most likely used by your prospects in their searches. This will signal to Google that your website is relevant to users in your area and improve your SEO ranking.

Create Relevant and Helpful Content

High-quality content that’s useful to your target audience helps drive traffic and generate engagement, which can improve your SEO ranking. You should also publish fresh content regularly because it signals to search engines that your site is current and relevance.

Having to generate new content week after week may seem intimidating at first. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, there are great topic ideas everywhere you look:

  • Trending or seasonal topics in your area that are related to your services.
  • Your business’s participation in local events and activities.
  • Commonly asked questions about your area of expertise, appropriated into content pieces.
  • Write-up of customer case studies and interviews.
  • Topics that are tangentially related to your business but frequently searched for by your ideal customers.

Structure Your Content For On-Site SEO

Great content won’t achieve the intended results if people aren’t reading it or search engines can’t index it. Here’s how to structure your content for both visitors and search engines:

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly as more consumers are searching for local businesses on their smartphones and tablets.
  • Incorporate local phrases and locations in your content to signal relevance to both readers and search engines.
  • Format your content pieces so they’re easy to read on all devices. Also, ensure that all images and layouts are displayed correctly.
  • Use schema markup, which is a global standard vocabulary used by search engines to understand website content.

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Implement a Local Link Building Strategy

Publishing a variety of content and sharing it on high-authority websites can build backlinks that will boost your SEO. This will also help you drive more traffic and gain exposure to new audiences. Here are a few ways to build backlinks:

  • Implement a guest posting strategy to generate backlinks from local websites with audiences that overlap with your ideal customers.
  • Identify local businesses that share your target market but aren’t direct competitors. You can guest post on each other’s site and/or cross-promote your content.
  • Claim online local listings, such as Yelp and Google My Business, which allows you to post your links, share updates, boost your credibility, and reach more people.
  • Participate in local online communities, such as Nextdoor, to share relevant content when appropriate.

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Promote Your Content

The most successful content marketers spend 20% of their time producing content and 80% of their time promoting it. Having a content promotion strategy is the key driving traffic and boosting your website’s SEO. Here’s how to effectively distribute your content to a local audience:

  • Share links to your content on your social media updates and use it as a starting point to engage your followers in a conversation.
  • Add social sharing buttons on your website and ask your readers to share the content with their friends and neighbors.
  • Join local groups on social media (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn) and share links to useful content on your website when appropriate.
  • Seek out media opportunities on local news outlets. For example, by getting featured on local papers’ resident or business spotlights and include a link back to a relevant piece of content on your website.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is one of the top strategies for improving your search engine ranking so more high-quality prospects can discover your business.

However, it’s not enough just to write something and hit publish. Since 95% of consumers only look at the first page of search results, it’s important that you also invest in the effort to optimize and promote your content so it gets a high ranking.

Although driving traffic is a key benefit of content marketing, don’t overlook the many other benefits of this strategy. A well-crafted piece of content can help you build trust and cultivate relationships with your audience while positioning your business as a relevant and helpful resource so you can stay top-of-mind.

In fact, the best content marketers focus on using content to drive engagement. When search engines see that your visitors are spending time on your website and returning for more information, your SEO ranking will improve automatically.

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How To Be A GREAT Team Player

Every company or organization, small or large, 1rely on solid teams for a positive outcome. For great results, not only does it take good team players, but rather GREAT team players. This is ever more important for smaller companies or organizations. Being a great team player in a small office setting is crucial for the company’s success.

Here are qualities which make a great team player:

  1. Commitment – Good team players will make sure they are where they need to be when expected, but great team players will do this and take it one step further by contributing to the team as much as possible, whether it’s through helping out or making suggestions. Great team players give 110% commitment to the job, not just 100%.
  2. Reliable & Responsible – A good team player will complete their tasks and prioritize accordingly. A great team player will complete their tasks, but with remaining time will assist the rest of the team in completing their tasks as well.
  3. Listen – Listening to others’ questions and concerns, without interruptions, makes you a great team player. Respecting others’ ideas, and considering their views makes a good team a great team.
  4. Inform – Keeping your team informed of opinions, ideas, changes, etc, makes a great team player. Yes, making yourself success is important, but you can’t achieve this without being a great team player.
  5. Respect – You may not agree with other teammates’ ideas, or may not even like another teammate, but it is important to treat your colleagues, or teammates with respect. You receive respect when it is given.
  6. Helpful – Yes, there are times when you have completed your tasks, or when you know how to do something but another teammate doesn’t. Whether in your job description or not, it is important to be willing to help your teammate. After all, you are working as a team, not yourself.
  7. Optimism – Sometimes when you see struggles in the workforce or even your own personal struggles, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try to take a more optimistic approach to keep your teams’ spirits high as well. Just because of your struggles, don’t boggle the whole team down.
  8. Participates​ – Great team players not only come to meetings on time, but they are active participants. They listen and speak up in discussions. They bring other issues or other feedback to the table.
  9. Flexible​ – Teams deal with constant changes, whether its work-related or staff related. Great team players adapt to these ever-changing scenarios. They don’t complain about a new avenue being pursued, or about a new staff member. Great team players know how to compromise and adapt.
  10. Error​ – Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human nature. But what makes a person stand out is when they own up to their mistakes. For example, if your approach in solving a problem was wrong, but another teammate’s was the better solution, own up to it and admit you were wrong and give your teammate credit for coming up with the better solution.Every person is of course human. Many times insecurity, jealousy, or old habits can 1interfere with teamwork, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what kind of teammate you would like to be, a good team player, a great team player, or maybe not a team player at all.
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Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

One of the most important keys in SEO is to be sure your NAPW, name, address, phone number and website, are consistent across all online directories. Discrepancies in these would be reason for lower rankings.

Once you’ve verified consistency in NAPW across all channels, you should make sure your Google My Business listing is verified and fully optimized. 

To fully optimize your Google My Business listing:

  1. Get your listing verified – Once your listing is created, be sure to request a postcard from Google, which will be sent out to you with a PIN code. Entering this code on your listing will verify it. 
  1. Complete all pertinent fields – Be sure all the key fields are completed, accurately – Name, address, phone number, website, relevant category, and business hours. 

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  1. Service Area Business – For service area businesses where you serve customers at their location, be sure to set the address field appropriately and complete the areas served by listing all the towns or counties you serve. The address on the public listing will remain hidden and should display a service area served on the map.

14. Phone Number – Use a local phone number on the listing and not a toll-free number. 

5. Photos and Videos – Add high-quality photos of your work to highlight your business and make you stand out from your competition.

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6. Posts – Add a post to make yourself more visible. A post may be a special you’re offering or a highlight of your business. A post will stay active for 7 days unless you specify an expiration date. Within the post, try to use a couple of keywords, and add a relevant, high-quality photo to it.

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7. Short Name – Short names selected are useful so you can add your short name to your business card, making it easier for your customers to find you.

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8. Holiday Hours – When possible, add special holiday business hours to your listing to keep it more accurate.

9. Description – Add a description of your business using keywords and telling you customers a little bit about yourself. You’re allowed 750 characters but only 250 show up in the knowledge panel, so make the first 250 count. 

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10. Services – Specify the services you offer.

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11. Reviews – Try to have your customer leave a review, and respond to the reviews you receive. If negative, respond professionally, trying to resolve your customer’s dissatisfaction. If positive, a simple thank you would suffice.

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12. Q&A – Sometimes someone may ask you a question via your Google My Business listing. Be sure to answer these questions in a timely fashion, showing your customers you care.

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All of these are great ways to fully optimize your Google My Business listing, but one of the most important things to remember once you’ve optimized it is to be sure not to violate any of Google’s policies, which would result in having your listing flagged or suspended, resulting in your listing being removed entirely. Refer to this link to ensure all of Google’s policies have been followed, https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en.

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How To Optimize Conversion For Your Local Service Business’s Landing Page

Are you investing in SEO and PPC ads to promote your local service business and drive traffic to your website? Are website visitors contacting you for a quote or engaging your services?

To make the most of your marketing dollars, you need to turn as many visitors into leads or customers by optimizing the webpage on which they land when they click through your online ads.

Otherwise, you’d be paying for the clicks with little to show for. Here’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you get the biggest bang for your bucks:

What’s Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

CRO are tactics that encourage website visitors to take an action (e.g., request a quote, sign up for your email list) by designing and modifying certain elements of a webpage. Often, the goal is to turn visitors into leads or customers before they leave the website.

While CRO can be applied to every page on your website, dialing in the landing pages you use for PPC ads has the highest impact in converting online traffic into prospects and customers.

CRO helps you make the most of your existing website traffic sources so you can turn more visitors into customers without increasing your marketing budget.

How To Optimize Conversion On Your Landing Pages

By definition, landing pages are designed to elicit a specific action from visitors. They’re set up to minimize distraction by removing the standard navigation, simplifying footer information, and removing all hyperlinks except the call-to-action (CTA.)

Creating dedicated landing pages that match the messaging and offers on your PPC ads can help maximize results. Optimizing the conversion rate on these landing pages allows you to get the most out of your online ads.

Here’s how to make a landing page work harder for your local service business:

Hone In the Copy and Messaging

Most local business websites are rather generic – they have the essential information and are optimized for relevant keywords but fall short when it comes to making visitors feel that the content is speaking to their needs.

Here’s how to fine-tune your landing pages’ copy and messaging to increase conversion:

  • Ensure that the messaging matches the copy on your ad. For example, if you’re promoting “20% off” in the ad, include the discount in the landing page copy.
  • Mention specific information that’s relevant to the local market or conditions to highlight the relevance of your services.
  • Write a distinctive title that’ll capture the attention of your visitors. Again, include local references if appropriate.
  • Tell the visitors why they should respond to your CTA by highlighting the benefits of doing so.
  • Be succinct – focus on the pain points and desired outcomes of the audience segment you’re targeting on your ads.
  • Incorporate local and long-tail keywords in your copy to signal relevance to both search engines and the visitors.

Direct Attention To the CTA

The purpose of a landing page is to get as many visitors to take the desired action as possible and you can do so by directing attention to the CTA on the page.

Here’s how to make your CTA more appealing to visitors and entice them to respond:

Arrange the landing page’s content to follow the F- or Z-pattern, which is how most people’s eyes travel when reading a webpage. This will guide the readers from the title through the copy and to the CTA.

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  • Use a heat map application to track how visitors interact with your landing page and place your CTA where their eyes naturally go.
  • Use visual elements and images to direct visitors’ gaze to the CTA (e.g., a model looking at the direction of the CTA, a graphic that points toward the CTA.)
  • Use CTA copy that’s relevant to the landing page message and make it action-oriented. For example, if your landing page is aimed at getting visitors to sign up for a video series on DYI house-painting, your CTA text could say, “Learn How To Paint Like a Pro Now.”
  • Experiment with the size and color of the CTA button, which can have a significant impact on the conversion rate.
    • Place the CTA close to the top of the page to minimize scrolling. If you have a long landing page, put another CTA at the bottom so visitors don’t have to scroll back up.

    Optimize For Mobile Experience

    Did you know that 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase? In fact, mobile-friendliness is now the top priority for local businesses to convert online traffic into leads.

    Here’s how to optimize your landing page for mobile users:

    • Improve page load speed – a 1-second improvement can lead to a 27% increase in conversions! You can do so by using a mobile-first template, optimizing images, and making sure that the code is clean.
    • Include your phone number at the top of the page and add a tap-to-call feature to make it easy for prospects to get in touch.
    • Leverage geo-fencing technology to deliver the most appropriate content and auto-fill function to streamline form submission.
    • Ensure that the page is displayed properly on all browsers and devices. The fonts should be legible and the key information should be shown at the top of the page.
    • Reduce complexity in your CTA to make it easy to take action on the small screen. For example, request only the information you need immediately (e.g., an email address to download a lead magnet) – you can ask for more information later.
    • Remove intrusive pop-ups and interstitials that will not only cause visitors to leave the site but also impact your SEO ranking.

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Consider the Entire Customer Lifecycle

Your landing page is just one component in the buyer’s journey. You also need to consider what happens after visitors have taken the action on your landing page so they’d turn into customers:

  • Set up a lead nurturing email sequence if you use the landing page to capture visitors’ email addresses.
  • Contact prospects immediately if the CTA is to request a quote.
  • Use a tracking phone number for each campaign to deliver a consistent experience (e.g., offering the same promotional package) when visitors call your business.
  • Set up retargeting ads that match the messaging on the landing page to drive visitors that haven’t converted back to your website.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Marketing Budget

Conversion rate optimization strategies can help you increase ROI by making the most of your current market and existing traffic sources.

After you have implemented these CRO tactics for your landing pages, conduct A/B testing to find out what works and what doesn’t for your specific audience so you can fine-tune the copy, page design, and CTA.

Don’t forget to dial in other components of your online marketing strategy – from PPC ads and social media to online review and monthly analytics – so they work together synergistically to optimize results and maximize your marketing ROI.

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Get More Leads at Less Cost – Target Cost-Per-Acquisition Smart Bidding

If you have been driving traffic with PPC ads for your local service business – great job!

But…

Do you know how much you’re spending on acquiring each lead?

After all, if you’re spending more on acquiring leads than the profit you generate from those leads – you’re losing money!

Thankfully, Google can help you control how much you spend on lead acquisition using machine learning technology to make sure that your PPC ad campaigns are profitable.

This smart bidding strategy is based on the concept of cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and we’ll show you how local service businesses can best leverage this feature.

 

What’s Cost per Acquisition (CPA)?

As a marketing concept that calculates the cost of acquiring new customers, CPA helps you determine if your PPC ads are attracting and retaining customers profitably so you can maintain a healthy ROI.

For many small businesses without sales people and the associated overhead, CPA is proportional to lead cost. Lead cost is the amount one pays for leads. If you win 1 in 3 leads, your close rate is 33%, and without sales overhead, your CPA would be 3 times your lead cost.

For instance, if you are a painting company and your average lead cost is $40, and you close 1 in 4 leads, then your CPA is 4 x $40 or $160. Each job you win costs you an average of $160.

How To Determine Your CPA?

Start with your average transaction value, which is the gross revenue you generate from each sale. Subtract the cost of delivering the service and fixed costs involved in running your business (excluding ad spending) from the gross revenue to get the gross profit before advertising.

Next, determine how much net profit you want to make from each transaction. Subtract this number from the gross profit and you’ll get the maximum CPA you should target for acquiring a new customer.

Keep in mind that some factors may affect this final target cost per acquisition (TCPA). For example:

  • If you have a high customer retention rate and high customer lifetime value, you may be able to afford a higher TCPA for the initial transaction so you can stay competitive and get the right customers in the door.

  • Your TCPA can vary based on the service area or type of service. Also, some customer segments may convert more easily so the cost associated with selling to the different prospects may vary.

Applying TCPA To Your PPC Ads

Thanks to Google Ad’s Target CPA bidding feature, you can easily set TCPA for your PPC ad campaigns. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s Target Cost Per Acquisition Bidding?

Formerly called Conversion Optimizer, this is a smart bidding strategy within the Google Ad platform that optimizes bids so you can get as many conversions for the TCPA you set for your campaigns.

You can determine the conversion event (e.g., a click, a request for a quote, a purchase) and set the TCPA as a standard strategy for a single campaign or a portfolio strategy for multiple campaigns.

Google’s machine learning technology uses historical data from past campaigns and combines it with contextual signals present at the auction time (e.g., the user’s location, type of device, remarketing list, time of the day, etc.) to determine the optimal cost-per-click (CPC) bid based on your TCPA.

Setting TCPA In Google Ads

If you have historical conversion data from past campaigns (at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days,) Google Ads will make a recommendation on TCPA, which is calculated based on the actual CPA performance during the previous few weeks.

Here are some bid settings you’ll encounter as you’re setting up your campaign:

  • Bid limits: for most advertisers, Google doesn’t recommend setting a bid limit because it can restrict the platform’s automatic optimization of your bid. It could prevent Google Ads from adjusting your bid for each auction to the amount that best meets your TCPA. However, if you have a limited ad budget, you can set maximum and minimum bid limits to avoid overspending. This feature is only available for portfolio level use.

  • Device bid adjustment: you can prioritize conversion by setting adjustments for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. For example, if you want to prioritize spending on mobile searches, you can set a bid adjustment to +30% — in this case, if your TCPA for the campaign is $10, it’ll be raised to $13 on mobile devices.

  • Pay for conversions: use this setting if you want to pay for conversions, instead of clicks, in your Target CPA bidding. You’ll only pay when visitors convert on your website or app.

Your TCPA can influence the number of conversions you get from the campaigns. For example, if you set the number too low, you could be shown on fewer search result pages and miss out on clicks that could lead to conversion.

To gauge whether your TCPA is performing optimally, you can review a campaign’s performance using the Target CPA Simulator, which shows you how an ad could have performed if the TCPA was set differently.

A Few Things To Know When Using TCPA Bidding

Since Google Ads determines your TCPA based on historical data, make sure that your conversion tracking is set up correctly. Otherwise, the data won’t be accurate and this will likely affect your TCPA bidding.

In addition, you should have accumulated a good number of conversions (e.g., 30 to 50) for Google to accurately estimate your TCPA.

If you’re just getting started, set realistic initial goals so you don’t limit the auctions you can enter. For example, if your average CPA is $50 in the past few months, setting your TCPA at $25 is likely to be too low and prevents you from taking full advantage of the smart bidding feature.

Also, note that you’ll probably go through a learning phase during the first two to four weeks. Setting a slightly higher TCPA can give you some room to find your footing and then you can bring it back down to your goal TCPA.

Using TCPA Bidding For Your Local Service Business

There are some nuances when it comes to using TCPA bidding for your local service business.

Let’s say a carpet cleaner wants to advertise for his various offerings, such as carpet cleaning, rug cleaning, and upholstery cleaning, which may have different margins and cost associated with delivering the service. Also, certain towns may be more profitable, due to factors such as a shorter travel distance or larger average job size.

As such, the carpet cleaner may be willing to pay $35 for carpet cleaning leads but only $25 for upholstery cleaning. Meanwhile, he may be able to afford a higher CPA for town A than town B.

In this case, the carpet cleaner can set TCPA for carpet cleaning leads at $40 for town A and $30 for town B so he can stay competitive in each location without spending unnecessary ad dollars.

The Biggest TCPA Challenge For Local Service Business

As we discussed earlier, Google needs the right conversion data to recommend optimal TCPA.

This is technically more challenging for local service businesses thanks to the often-complicated buyer’s journey. For example, most prospects would click on a PPC ad, visit the website, and then call to make an appointment.

As such, more clicks than Google recorded have likely turned into leads. If you don’t provide that conversion information to Google, the recommended TCPA can’t be optimized properly.

99 Calls has devised a specific solution to help contractors accurately track conversion (i.e., clicks turning into leads) and supply the data to Google Ads.

Our system is set up to track each click and call, match them up, and then mark clicks that have turned into qualified leads on Google as a conversion. This allows Google to learn how to get more clicks that are most likely to turn into leads.

In addition, 99 Calls can run Google Ads campaigns to target a specific lead price, a specific ROAS (return on ad spend,) or simply get as many leads as possible for a given budget – depending on your business objectives.

See how we can help you optimize your PPC campaigns here.

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Key PPC Metrics for Local Service Businesses

As more local service businesses (e.g., painters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, cleaning services, etc.) are using PPC ads to get in front of prospects and drive traffic to their websites, it’s not enough just to run a few online ads and hope for the best.

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” If you want your PPC ads to yield the results you want, you need to measure their performance so you can adjust your strategies and fine-tune the results.

However, for many local service providers, plowing through a PPC ad campaign report is no walk in the park.

Which metrics actually matter? What should you focus on to move the needle?

Measuring the wrong metrics is at best a waste of time and at worst, it could derail you to spend your time and resources on improving numbers that won’t translate into profits for your business.

In this article, we’ll explore the PPC metrics you should focus on and what they mean for your online marketing. You’ll also learn the one simple metric that shows whether your ad campaigns are profitable and what you can do to make them work harder for you.

PPC Metrics That Matter For Your Local Service Business

Here are some key PPC metrics and what they can tell you about your PPC campaigns:

  • Impressions: it refers to the number of times an ad has been displayed on search results pages and it’s an indication of visual awareness. Getting prospects to see your ads on relevant search result pages is the first step to raising brand awareness and getting clicks.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): calculated by dividing the number of times an ad was clicked with impressions, CTR is a good indicator of the ad copy’s effectiveness. A low CTR means searchers are seeing your ads but aren’t compelled to click through – which could indicate a message mismatch between the keywords or audience you’re targeting and the ad copy.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): the total cost of all clicks divided by the number of clicks and is an essential metric for evaluating the ROI of the campaign.
  • Conversion rate: it measures the completion of an action by a searcher after clicking your ad, such as completing a form to get a quote, calling a tracking number, or scheduling an appointment. If you have a high CTR but low conversion rate, you should make sure the messages on your ad and the landing page are consistent and the landing page is optimized for conversion.
  • Cost Per Conversion: also called cost per acquisition (CPA), it shows you the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer. A low CPA is a good indication that your ads are yielding high ROIs while a high CPA means your PPC strategy probably has room for improvement, e.g., by lowering the bids, using more specific keywords, and improving the ad copy.

The Most Important PPC Metric You Should Know

While the various metrics discussed above can help you gauge the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and fine-tune the different components, they don’t directly answer the most important question – is the PPC ad campaign profitable?

After all, if a campaign is driving traffic or even generating sales but the revenue isn’t covering the cost of the ads – you’re losing money!

If you only track one number, make it the ROAS (return on ad spend) of the PPC ads because it tells you whether your campaigns are generating profits.

How To Calculate ROAS

To calculate ROAS, simply divide sales by ad spend: ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend

For example, if you spend $20 on an ad and generate $100 in sales, the ROAS is 5.

ROAS shows you the amount you spend on a PPC campaign in relation to the sales resulted from the ads. Simply put, if you aren’t making enough profit, you should tweak your tactics or stop running the ads.

How To Determine Minimum ROAS

To find out if an ad campaign is profitable, you need to determine the break-even point, which is represented by the minimum ROAS.

You’ll just need a few numbers to figure out the break-even ROAS:

  • The revenue generated by the ads.
  • The cost of the services sold by the ads.
  • Other fees involved in the sales (e.g., transaction fee.)
  • Profit per sale.

Then you can calculate the minimum ROAS for the PPC campaign. For example:

If the revenue is $100, the cost of delivering the service is $50, and the fees are $5, then the profit will be $45 (Revenue – the cost of goods – other fees.)

If your ad spend is lower than $45, the campaign is making money; if it’s $45, you’ll break even; if it’s higher than $45, you’re losing money for every service package sold.

In this case, the minimum ROAS is ($100/$45) = 2.2.

Keep in mind that ROAS doesn’t cover other costs that you may incur in running the campaigns, such as hiring a copywriter or a graphic designer, which you’ll need to take into account when evaluating the ROI of the ad campaigns.

As such, your target ROAS should be higher than the minimum ROAS in order to generate a profit.

How To Track Your ROAS

ROAS is campaign-specific and can be set up to evaluate the effectiveness of an individual campaign, ad group, or keyword.

To correctly attribute each sale to a traffic source/ad campaign and calculate the ROAS, you need to set up conversion tracking.

This is where things get more complex for service-based businesses because unlike eCommerce websites, the conversion event may not be an immediate online transaction. Also, both online and offline interactions are often involved before a sale is made.

However, with the right tools and some thoughtful planning, you can set up conversion tracking on your website to collect accurate data:

First, you need to have a lead-generation website with Google Analytics installed. Then, set up goals on Google Analytics to track conversion events, such as form submissions, phone clicks, or email clicks.

From there, you can associate the conversion event with the specific PPC ad that brought the visitor to your website and track the prospect’s subsequent interactions with your business using a CRM system.

Due to the less linear customer journey, it’s more challenging to map a prospect’s interactions with your business from an online channel to an actual sale – especially for local service businesses that also use other offline marketing tactics, such as word-of-mouth, print ads, or billboards.

For instance, a PPC ad may generate brand awareness but a prospect may finally call using a tracking number on a print ad. Or he may be seeing your company vehicles around enough to build trust before he searches online and clicks on your ad.

To understand how these online and offline tactics work together, you can ask your customers how they learn about your business and what prompted them to get in touch so you can fine-tune your ads to match the customer journey.

How To Improve ROAS For Your Local Service PPC Campaigns

One of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns is to focus on maximizing their ROAS.

Remember ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend? In order to increase ROAS, you need to increase sales and/or lower ad spend. Here’s how:

Increase Sales and Revenue

Generate more sales by driving high-quality traffic that’s most likely to convert by doing the following:

  • Improve ad copy to attract high-quality prospects that are ready to engage your services. For example, mention a special offer, include social proof, highlight unique selling points, and add a compelling call-to-action.
  • Match ad content to the target audience segment and make sure the messaging on the landing page is consistent with the ad copy.
  • Review your search query reports to identify “cost-effective keywords” so you can allocate more budget to those that generate the most conversions.
  • Include keywords that indicate high purchase intent, e.g., business name, specific service category, or brand names of products you use.
  • Target local keywords, such as the specific areas you service or local conditions.
  • Improve your website’s mobile experience as more consumers are using mobile devices for local searches. In fact, 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile-friendly site.

Reduce Ad Spend

Here’s how to allocate your ad budget strategically to lower ad spend:

  • Review your search term report to identify keywords that are getting clicks but don’t result in a conversion event. Add these terms to the campaign’s list of negative keywords so they won’t trigger the ads.
  • Improve your Google Ads quality score, which often translates into lower ad cost, by making sure the ad copy and landing pages are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
  • Optimize your bidding strategy, e.g., only show the ads when your target audience is most likely to be searching for your specific services. Experiment with Google’s Smart Bidding feature, which automatically adjusts the bids based on various auction-time signals such as device, location, time of day, remarketing list, and operating system.

Final Thoughts

PPC advertising is a great way to get in front of more prospects and you can augment its effectiveness by using marketing strategies that foster trust and credibility with the community, e.g., by building a strong and recognizable brand and proactively managing your online reputation.

Meanwhile, the various PPC metrics associate each ad with the revenue it generates to offer key insights that will help you understand the effectiveness of your online ads.

By closely monitoring your PPC campaigns and leveraging the right analytics, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy and make accurate data-driven decisions to improve your ROI.

Lastly PPC advertising can be a highly productive and cost-effective way to generate leads for local service businesses. However successful PPC ad campaigns require time, effort, and hard-earned expertise. As a local service business leader, you can choose to roll-up your sleeves and dive into the details of PPC. Or, another option, outsource PPC advertising to a local lead generation expert such as 99 Calls.

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Top 3 Online Logo Makers For Local Service Businesses

In a previous article, we talked about why you need a well-designed logo for your local service business (e.g., painter, electrician, landscaping, house cleaning) and how to effectively apply it to your marketing materials to enhance your local presence and make your brand instantly recognizable.

If you’re ready to take a stab in creating a logo for your business, there are many online tools you can use to generate a logo that you can apply to all customer touch points.

Here are 3 popular online logo makers and how they stack up against each other:

VistaPrint Logo Maker

  • Choose from a list of designs and explore different icons, colors, and layouts to narrow down your options.
  • Personalize the template with your business information and customize the design to meet your needs.
  • Use the logo on any VistaPrint products at no additional cost or download the files for $20.
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LogoMix

  • Enter logo text, such as your business name.
  • Choose up to 3 logo styles (e.g., badge, text, icon, or initial,) up to 3 fonts, and up to 3 logo layouts.
  • Select a template and edit the design by entering your business information, choosing the font, and adjusting color options.
  • Save and download your files.

BrandCrowd

  • Enter your business name and the application will generate a series of logo ideas. Or you can choose from designs based on industries or keywords.
  • Select a template and customize the design by changing the colors or fonts. You can also add a tagline.
  • Download your logo file.

Logo Makers Comparison

When selecting an online logo making tool, you should consider the ease of use, template variety, customization options, file format variety, cost, and future application:

Ease of Use

All three logo makers offer a simple step-by-step process that involves not much more than choosing a template, colors, and fonts.

In addition, VistaPrint allows you to filter logo ideas by style and BrandCrowd offers the option to choose from a list of industries or filter by keywords.

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Design Options

Get started on VistaPrint or BrandCrowd by choosing from a wide range of design templates as a starting point from which you can customize the text, colors, and fonts.

LogoMix offers fewer layout options and you can begin the process by choosing a style, color, and font.

Customization Options

All three logo makers offer templates you can use as starting points to customize your design with their editing tools.

Brandcrowd offers the most user-friendly editor with many options to adjust text, fonts, layout, background, icon, and shapes.

Output Variety and Cost

You need the ability to download the final design files in a variety of formats and resolution so you can apply the design to different marketing materials (e.g., website, print, etc.)

You can apply the logo you have created with VistaPrint’s logo maker onto its own products at no additional cost or you can download the files, including color and black-and-white versions, icon-only versions, landscape and portrait layouts, and high-quality PDF and JPEG for $20 each.

BrandCrowd is free to use and you can purchase your logo in a standard package ($45) that includes high-resolution PNG and JPG files (for web), vector SVG, EPS and PDF files (for print), files with transparent background, and multiple logo variations.

For $39.95, you can download high-quality source files you can use for documents, business cards, and websites from LogoMix. The logos are available in multiple sizes, black & white, and transparent formats.

Future Usage

VistaPrint and LogoMix allow you to apply the logo you have created using their logo makers to business cards, brochures, shirts, stationery, website, promotional products, labels, stickers, etc. directly on their website so you don’t have to spend the time to download and upload the assets.

Keep in mind that printing can be tricky because the colors you see on the screen may not be the same as it comes out on paper, especially if you use different vendors. Having the same service to design and print your logo can minimize unpleasant surprises, saving you time and money.

If you plan to use different vendors, check that the file formats provided by the logo maker are accepted so you don’t get locked into a single provider.

Final Thoughts

The various online logo makers offer easy and affordable options for creating a visual identity that can help you build brand awareness in your community and attract more customers.

Your logo, when applied to various customer touch points such as website, social media, third-party review sites, and offline promotional materials – can help you deliver a consistent customer experience that’ll help you augment your local presence and build trust.

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Help! My Google My Business listing was suspended!

In the last few months (Summer 2019) , we’ve seen an increase in Google My Business (GMB) listing suspensions. Why? Maybe Google filters have become more stringent. Maybe Google is cracking down on spammy listings. Whatever the reason, yes, there were many spammy listings removed, but there were also many legitimate businesses affected by this crackdown. In fact, there have been so many suspensions, and reinstatement requests that Google’s incorporated a banner notifying all users of the high volume of suspended listing questions.

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What’s a Suspended Listing?

First of all, what does it mean to have a suspended Google listing? There are 2 types of suspensions, a soft suspension, and a hard suspension. We are not seeing many soft suspensions anymore, but once in a while, you may. This is simply when your GMB listing is still live, but in your account it shows as suspended. However, you no longer have the ability to manage it. On the other hand, hard suspensions are much more common. In this case, your entire listing has been removed from Google and shows as suspended in your account.

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In either case, when your listing is suspended, Google feels you have violated their policies in some way, and you need to try to get it reinstated.

Why was my GMB listing suspended?

If your Google My Business listing was suspended, you’ll want to ask yourself if you are following all of Google’s guidelines. The number one reason a listing is suspended is because of Google’s policy violations. Some of the most common violations include:

  • Your address is a P.O. Box or mailing facility
  • Keyword stuffing – Your business name is stuffed with keywords and not simply your business name
  • You are a service area business but haven’t listed yourself as a service area business
  • There’s already another business or multiple businesses at the address you’ve provided
  • Your listing has a website which is a forwarded URL
  • You have multiple listings for the same business within close proximity
  • You’ve had several recent changes to your business listing
  • You’ve made multiple field edits at once
  • Simply because you’re a “high-risk” industry which seems to many spammy listings such as Garage Door Contractors, Locksmiths, Plumbers, or other home-based, service-providing businesses

What can I do now?

Once you’ve reviewed all of Google’s policies and confirmed that none have been violated, or you’ve rectified any policy violations, you’ll need to “appeal for reinstatement”. To appeal, it’s fairly simple. You need to complete this form, https://support.google.com/business/troubleshooter/2690129?authuser=1. Once the form is completed, you’ll need to patiently wait till Google’s reviewed all your information. Once reviewed, they’ll send you a response via email with either a rejection:

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Or approval of reinstatement:

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Once in awhile, upon completion of the appeal for reinstatement form, Google may email you requesting proof of your business, it’s legitimacy and that you own it. In this case, depending on whether you’re a brick and mortar business or service area business, they may ask for an image showing signage of your storefront and the address or a state license or registration. Once submitted, you wait.

If you’ve waited for a few weeks and haven’t received a response from Google, the best way to reach out to Google support is via Twitter, @GoogleMyBiz.

How do I prevent a GMB suspension?

The first, and foremost way to avoid a GMB suspension is to not violate any of Google’s policies/guidelines. Check and double-check for policy violations by referring to this site, https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177.

Secondly, only allow manager access to people you actually want to manage your listing. Remove any additional users such as previous employees or previous marketing agencies.

And finally, keep your basic profile info consistent across the web, such as your name, address, phone number and website.

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How To Supercharge Local SEO With Branding

You have read up on local SEO, done your keyword research, and optimized your website for search engines.

All good! But… why isn’t the search engine ranking for your local service business skyrocketing?

The truth is, your competitors are getting SEO savvy too. Everybody is chasing after the same keywords and reading the same how-to articles.

Now, we’re not saying don’t get your SEO ducks in a row – that’s the absolute minimum you need to do to thrive in today’s competitive market!

After all, your online traffic could suffer dramatically if you don’t get onto the first page of Google since 90% of searches don’t go past the first page of search results.

Meanwhile, spending a lot of money on ads may get you temporary results but they’re not nearly as cost-effective in the long-run as optimizing your website for organic searches.

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However, simply doing the basics is no longer enough to help you stand out from a large pool of service providers in local search results.

How can you capture the attention of your potential customers… and Google?

Turns out, they’re not that different!

Google considers user behavior as a signal of relevancy and uses it as a ranking factor, so what works for your audience will work for Google too!

How do people decide that they can trust a product or service provider?

In today’s crowded marketplace, we don’t have time to compare and research every single product or service. We take a shortcut by choosing those that we recognize.

We take a recognizable brand as a shorthand that we can trust the product or service. Have you noticed that when you’re looking for a product online, you often type in a brand name instead of the generic name? (E.g., Band-Aid, not self-adhesive bandages.)

When a website gets a high amount of brand queries (i.e., people use the brand name in their searches) compared to their competitors, Google takes it as a signal that it’s preferred over the others.

Since consumers prefer and search for brand names, Google gives them higher priority for all the terms they’re optimized for. As such, Google considers these sites to be more relevant and therefore, will rank them higher in relevant search results.

So, what can you do to build a brand for your local service business?

How To Create a Successful Brand For Your Local Service Business

First, keep in mind that establishing your brand is a long game. It’s not about making immediate sales.

The goal is to stay top of mind and position yourself as an expert. You want people to recognize your brand, remember it, and trust it. So when they need the services you provide, they’ll search for your business name.

Here’s how to build a brand that’ll capture the attention of your prospects and Google alike:

1. Choose a Unique And Memorable Business Name

If people can’t remember your business name, they won’t enter it into Google, right?

Your business name should be easy to recall and hard to misspell. For example, if you print out the website URL on a poster or say your URL on a radio ad, will your prospects be able to remember it clearly and spell it correctly?

When naming your business, also consider the names of your competitors. For example, if your business name is very similar to that of more established competitor, you’re likely to lose out on the SEO ranking.

In addition, include keywords in your brand name or URL if possible. This will not only aid recall but also signal to Google that your website is relevant to the search terms.

2. Deliver Great Services And Leverage Word Of Mouth

Providing outstanding services is the key to getting known for your expertise and building a stellar reputation that’ll benefit your business for years to come.

If you deliver great results, then your existing customers are likely to look you up online when they need your services again. Or they’d share their experience with others, who’d then search for you online. As a result, your brand queries will increase and Google will take notice.

Also, leverage the power of word of mouth by asking your happy customers to post online reviews about your business. This will increase your brand’s visibility on third-party sites, build brand recognition, and boost your credibility.

3. Create Value And Share It Everywhere

Creating value is one of the best ways to build trust and nurture relationships with your prospects and customers.

Publish relevant and helpful blog articles regularly (e.g., once a week) and don’t skimp on the promotional efforts. Share the content with your email list and on social media to build credibility while driving traffic back to your website.

You can also create videos to engage viewers and build a personal connection. It also helps you get found on YouTube and leverage the increasing popularity of video content on social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram.)

Select topics that allow you to showcase your expertise. Focus on helping your audience solve their problems rather than talking about your services – nobody wants to watch a 5-minute infomercial!

4. Engage With Your Community

As a local service business, you can enhance your brand by building relationships with the local community online and offline.

Participate in and/or sponsor local events and take advantage of the in-person interactions to build rapport with prospects. Take photos and videos then share them on your website, email newsletter, or social media to boost your local presence.

You can also join online neighborhood communities, such as Nextdoor, in which you can participate in conversations, add value, and become a trusted resource for topics in your area of expertise.

Conclusion

Establishing a unique and memorable brand can help you create a virtuous cycle that drives more traffic and improves your search engine ranking.

Of course, just building a brand and driving traffic isn’t going to bring you customers. You also need to dial in your lead generation and lead nurturing strategies to progress prospects down your sales funnel.

That’s why a lead generating website is such a critical component of SEO – when you drive traffic to your website, you want to get the highest ROI by capturing visitors’ information so you can follow up and close the sale.

Here at 99 Calls, we not only help you drive high-quality traffic but also build an optimized lead generation website to optimize your conversion rate. Learn more and request a free demo here.