In October of this year, Hurricane Ian hit the gulf coast of Florida head-on. Hurricane Ian is one of the worst storms to hit the Gulf Coast in almost a decade. Clocking in at a category 4, Ian destroyed over 5,000 homes and left millions without power for several days.
Rocco Zaldivar, one of 99 Calls’ customers, is one of those over 5,000 to lose their home in the storm. Unfortunately for Rocco and his family, his home stood directly in the path of the eye of the hurricane. Being so close to Sanibel beach, their home ended up flooding completely within 40 minutes if the storm’s approach. His home is now completely unlivable.
With no true place to call “home” at the moment, Rocco and his family have been forced to stay in a hotel an hour north of Lee County, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping others in his community. Due to the nature of the industry he serves, there are a lot of people who are in need of his assistance. As a Lee County resident himself, Rocco has been traveling back and forth to help home and business owners to repair their damaged and flooded properties. Because he works in both claims adjustment and general contracting, Rocco is in a unique position to be able to provide support both with filing and managing insurance claims and property repairs, which is hard to find!
Both Florida Claims Adjusting Firm and Powerhouse Roofing pride themselves on being honest and good companies with customer service at the forefront of their business models. When you choose to work with either or both of these companies, you can rest assured that you are in great hands. Rocco gained his passion for hard work and getting it right stems from a lifetime of solid role models in his life.
Since he was 15 years old, Rocco has found himself a part of the construction industry. Thanks to the strength and durability that a youthful body possesses, he was a great fit when it came to working for his Uncle’s construction business with his cousins. After learning the labor side of the trade, Rocco went on to get his general contractor’s license. In turn, his cousins began working for him instead of alongside him.
Rocco knows the importance of hard work in order to be successful in business, but he notes that it’s also important to not overwork yourself. As a word of wisdom for future and existing business owners, Rocco recommends finding honest, loving, and humble people to surround yourself with and always following your passions.
Once again Google has made changes to the Google Business Profile management dashboard. Business owners will have to adjust to a new process for managing their GBPs.
Here is the latest on how to navigate the Google Business Profile dashboard. It is quite different from what it used to be.
Once you log into your account, if you just have one profile to manage, the process to access it is simple. You are taken directly to the “in search experience”, which looks like this:
Below we’ve layed out how to navigate the new “in search experience”.
Here you can manage all the basic details about your business. Business name, category, phone number, website, location, service area, business hours.
Note: For service area businesses, in the previous GBP dashboard you would need to manually clear the address so that it would be removed from the maps. In this new search experience, you’ll see an option like this, where you will turn that field off, so the business address isn’t visible.
From this option, you can access all the customer reviews on your GBP and respond to them.
From here, you can either turn your SMS alerts on or off and manage the rest of your chat settings:
There are other chat settings that can be adjusted within “chat settings”:
From this field, you can add your photos, logo, and cover photo.
From the performance option, you access analytics on your GBP’s performance. This feature was the “Insights” feature in the prior GBP dashboard.
This option will direct you to the Google Ads platform where you can build and run an Ads campaign if you’d like.
From here you can highlight any products you sell or promote.
In this section, you can manage a more detailed list of the services you provide.
Here you can link any online booking tools you would like to use on your GBP.
This feature allows your customers to directly request a quote from your GBP.
This feature shows you your call performance or your call history.
Then when you click on the down arrow next to Calls from your menu, you’ll see additional options,
Q & A
This is the question and answer feature allowing you to connect with your customers via GBP.
From here you can add Posts, either an update, offer or event. Just choose which type of update you’d like to add and complete the fields prompted.
Ask for reviews
From here you can capture the link to your GBP to make it easier for you to refer your customers to your GBP to leave a review. You can also send the link directly from here to an email address or other platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook.
Other Management Tools and/or Settings
Some additional management options which aren’t so obvious can be found by clicking on the 3 dots found here:
Business Profile Settings
Business Profile Settings is where you would need to access your user management, Google assistant codes, see profile ID, remove business profile options, and link accounts such as Ads or Merchant Center.
From here, you can manage you you wish to receive notifications from multiple fields shown below:
Adding or Managing More than One Profile
If you are managing more than 1 GBP from your account, or want to add a new GBP, then you would select “Add a New Business Profile” or to manage another GBP, select “Your Business Profiles” to see your others.
The last 3 options include Help & Support, Send Feedback, and Terms of Service.
If you’ve just created your GBP and you were waiting for a PIN code, once you receive the code, you will see this screen,
You’ll want to click on Enter code to enter your PIN code and verify the profile.
If you look at your menu from your in-search experience and you see this
Then you’ll want to click on “Get verified” and complete your GBP verification via the method you’ve been prompted.
Pros and Cons of Google Local Service Ads (LSA) and Google Ads (PPC)
By Dipa Gandhi and Devon Osborne
Google provides businesses a few different platforms for lead generation. Google Business Profile (GBP), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Local Service Ads (LSA), all of which have their own pros and cons associated with them.
Here we’ll focus on LSA and PPC and the pros and cons of each. Many business owners or marketing managers have asked themselves which route is better, LSA or PPC. They each have their own pros and cons, and both have the potential to generate leads and produce a solid ROI.
First, let’s look at how each result is displayed. If you search Google for “HVAC in Palm City, F” L. Here are the search results presented on the first page:
The first set of results at the top of the page are your LSA:
The next section down contains the PPC results. They are easily recognized by the “Ad” designation to the left.
And directly below these are the Google Business Profile results:
Local Service Ads
Based on this example, let’s take a look at LSA.
Gain Trust Immediately
Google displays a Google Guaranteed badge on your LSA which lets your customers know you’ve passed Google’s vetting process and that you are a screened and qualified business backed by Google. Being displayed here means you are a legitimate business. You benefit from the attention, recognition, and trust of your business.
What You’re Paying For
With LSA, you are paying for each qualified lead you receive, not click. Again, you are paying for every lead, NOT click. Google uses its own tracking phone number on the LSA itself and vets all the calls which come through the LSA. They remove any unqualified leads and only charge you for qualified leads. Because this is a manual process, they too make errors, and you may be charged for an unqualified lead. However, their platform allows you to dispute a lead if you feel you have been wrongly charged. If Google determines this dispute to be valid, they will credit the charge back to your account.
Most contractors report that the leads they receive through Google LSA are far less expensive than through Google Ads. For example, HVAC contractors are typically paying $100 – $200 for PPC leads, and less than half that for those received through their LSA campaign, depending on your region of course.
Most businesses already have a free Google Business Profile (GBP) set up for these businesses. The great thing about LSA is that the reviews from your GBP will feed directly into your LSA. You don’t have to worry about which platform to have your customers leave reviews on. As long as they leave a great review for your business on your GBP, your LSA will also display it.
It’s SO easy!
LSA’s platform is transparent and simple. Google has made it extremely easy for most business owners and managers to use. It is easy to monitor and once set up, the only adjustment you might want to make is your monthly budget.
Google does have several requirements before gaining the Google Guaranteed badge. Depending on your industry and your state requirements, you must pass these requirements:
Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure you have a business license if required by your state, proof of insurance and allow Google to run a background check on yourself, as the business owner, and other employees if Google requires it.
LSA is not yet available for all services in all areas of the United States at this time. There has been a slow rollout of service by service. If your services are not yet being promoted by Google’s LSA program, check back in a few months.
The position of your LSA is driven by ranking factors similar to the free organic Google Business Profile. Some of these ranking factors include proximity to your primary location, number, ratings on reviews, optimization of your LSA account, and budget. Another factor that will affect the position of your LSA is the level of competition. In the end, it is more difficult to control where and when Google will choose to highlight your LSA Ad than your PPC Ad.
Google Ads PPC Campaigns:
Google Ads are auction-style, meaning that you’ll be competing with other businesses in the same area. There is no long “ranking” process the account needs to go through. A well-optimized Google PPC account can expect to see leads being generated within the first week or so of a campaign going live.
Higher Lead Volume
When optimized and properly funded to reflect the going prices for local leads in your industry, you can expect to achieve a higher volume of leads via PPC advertising than you will through an LSA account. Many people get the bulk of their leads through Google Ads but use LSA as a supplement for lower-priced leads.
Flexibility In Targeting Your Most Profitable Services
With Google Ads, you have the ability to choose the keywords for the services you want to target with your campaign. With LSA, you are only able to select the “Job type” or “Category” to indicate the services you offer. There is tremendous flexibility in terms of running different campaigns and targeting locations and adjusting budgets for each campaign.
Less Extensive Verification Process
Google requires only garage door companies and locksmiths to undergo a vetting process. To run Google Ads, there is no extensive verification process like LSA, however, Google may eventually require you to provide proof of business registration.
With PPC Google Ads, you are doing just as the name suggests, paying for every click, whether that person is calling or not. Due to the cost per click being auction-based, getting leads via PPC Google Ads can be costly, especially if the campaign is not being properly managed.
Not for Beginners
Running a PPC campaign without the proper knowledge is not advisable. The Google Ads platform can be overwhelming to newcomers. Without knowing the basics behind PPC Ads, you likely won’t know where to find the pertinent information you need to optimize the account or how to use it to your advantage.
If you are looking for a low-cost set-it-and-forget-it platform to supplement your other lead-generation efforts, LSA is a great option. It does take time to rank among the competition, but simple to set up and maintain. It is easy to optimize an LSA, and adding lots of high-quality reviews will improve your results. If you already have a free Google Business Profile for your business with several great reviews, and not a lot of competition, then LSA might be the best option for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more specific types of leads in a more targeted area, a large number of leads, or faster immediate results, then PPC might be the best option for you.
To capitalize on the number of leads you receive, you can run both LSA and PPC Google Ads simultaneously. The pay-per-click Google Ads will help bring in leads quickly while the LSA builds rankings. Due to the fact that you only pay per lead with LSA, you won’t be wasting money while it grows.
For a free consultation on LSA or PPC for your business, call the experts at 99 Calls at 800-717-4669.
Since the beginning of this year, Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), has undergone several changes. A new video verification process was tested earlier this year to verify Google Business Profiles, specifically for service area businesses to avoid spam listings. Just last month, it appears Google officially rolled out this video verification method. This is now the more prevalent method of verification. We’ve outlined the steps to help businesses complete the video verification process.
The New Video Verification Process
When a new Google Business Profile is created, follow the standard steps, for a new client’s business. Once the final step in creating the profile is complete, you will likely be prompted to enter a business address. Rather than being given the option to send the postcard, a video verification option is prompted, which looked like this:
When you’re prompted to complete a video call, you are asked to capture all of the following in one video recording:
Once you have prepared and gathered the required supporting items or documents and you are at your business location, you will be prompted to complete the video verification from your mobile device.
Steps to complete GBP video verification
On your mobile device, make sure you are signed in to your Google account at business.google.com. Note: You might need to have Google Chrome installed and sign in from there in order for this to work.
2. Once you select your business, you will see this screen:
3. Click on “Verify Now”
Then this screen:
4. Here you want to enter your verifiable business address, then click “Next”.
The next screen is:
5. Click “Start”
Then the next screen is:
6. Click “Start Recording” here. Then you will see this screen:
7. Here go ahead and click “Next”, then follow the remaining steps as instructed.
If you would prefer to watch a step-by-step video on what the video verification process looks like on your mobile device click here: https://youtu.be/bYTuTTZpBX0.
Though this process of getting your Google Business Profile seems a bit more cumbersome than the simple PIN code verification, it may actually have greater benefits. It may prevent more spammy Google Business Profiles in the search results and on maps, and you don’t have to wait 2-3 weeks to get your postcard and then complete the verification.
For assistance in setting up or managing a Google Business Profile or with supercharging your lead generation efforts, call the lead generation and SEO specialists at 99Calls.com at 800-717-4669.
Phone Tips from an Experienced Customer Service Representative
by Devon Osborne
The way you conduct yourself on the phone with potential customers can be the determining factor in whether you get the job or not. Proper phone etiquette may seem straightforward, but it can be easy to slip up and speak to potential customers or business partners as you would speak with a friend. Making an outstanding first impression, in a good way, of course, will help you convert more jobs.
Answer the phone with a professional greeting. Introduce yourself & your company
Customers want to know whether or not they’ve reached the proper party as soon as possible. Start your conversation off on the right foot with a professional greeting like: “Hi this is [name] with [company], how may I help you?”
Return calls quickly
Missing calls is something that is bound to happen, but it is important to return calls promptly. A good rule of thumb is to try and respond to missed calls within 24 hours, but the sooner the better! If you have difficulty being available to answer calls, consider hiring a receptionist or using an automated process for responding to missed calls such as this one.
Don’t Mumble! You want your customer to be able to hear what you’re saying, don’t you? Speaking clearly and confidently can help avoid unnecessary frustration and build trust with the customer.
Listen to what the customer is saying, take notes, & don’t interrupt
Why are you answering the call if you’re too busy to actively listen to the customer’s needs? Having a conversation with someone who is not listening is maddening. Agree on a time that you both can speak and call back.
Would you choose a company to work with if they were rude to you? No. Being kind is an easy thing to do and it goes a long way. Just be nice!
Eliminate background noise
If you’re in a noisy environment, make it a point to move to a quieter place.
Don’t use unprofessional language
This should be a given, but please don’t use unprofessional language like cursing. This is a professional phone call you’re on, so you should act like it.
Don’t make it complicated
Asking customers to text you their address or asking them to call YOU back at a more convenient time is off-putting. When you make it complicated for them to get the information they need from you, they will seek it elsewhere.
Don’t eat, drink, or chew gum
If you were face to face with the person on the other line, would you do this right into their ears? Hopefully not. Swallow the mouthful of food or drink that’s in your mouth before picking up and take a quick break from eating for the entirety of the call.
Don’t use the bathroom
If you’re using the bathroom and get a call, please don’t answer the phone. Finish up your business and call the person right back, believe me, they’ll appreciate it. You may think you’re being discreet, but I can promise you that they know.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep
It is always best to be upfront and honest with potential and current clients. If there are things that you know aren’t possible, or are not entirely sure of, be very clear about that in the beginning. Making false promises with customers never ends well and can land you a negative review.
Don’t Let Your Business Go Into Hibernation This Winter
by Devon Osborne
As the weather changes from season to season, everyone’s needs shift with them. If you’re in the dead of winter in New England, you’re likely not looking to paint the outside of your home or have it pressure washed. As fall approaches, contractors typically see their calendars less scheduled out. You may be wondering, “How can I keep my calendar booked with jobs during the winter months to keep my business afloat?”
SEO is not always enough to keep businesses busy in the colder months. Ranking organically takes time and effort and pre-planning. To be successful during “off” times, you need to be thinking about what services you want to push months in advance if you want to be seen on the first page of Google.
If you have not modified your organic service offerings yet, all is not lost. Changing your service offerings with the seasons is a great way to keep a steady stream of revenue coming in for your business no matter what time of year. It takes just a little planning and strategy.
How Google Ads Can Help
Instead of letting your business hibernate this winter, try running a streamlined Google Ads campaign for your most profitable winter services. Doing so will help get your business to the first page much quicker. Pay Per Click Google Ads are a great tool for boosting your lead volume. By running an ads campaign, you will have the ability to promote your services more aggressively and keep your revenue stream flowing. You can choose exactly what services you’d like to allocate your budget to in order to be seen more often by potential customers and get more calls for quotes.
Some of the most popular services that our Google Ads specialists target for contractors in the winter months include:
Ice Dam Removal
Heating System Checks
If you optimize your Google Ads campaign and are competitive with your budget and bids, you will likely start to see those calls start coming through within a few weeks. There are many components to running a successful PPC campaign. If you’re not confident that you have the proper knowledge to run a profitable ads campaign on your own, consider hiring a PPC agency instead. Utilizing a company with a proven track record of getting leads using this method can save you time and money in the long run and allow you to focus on service delivery.
Email leads are just as valuable as phone leads. In today’s day and age, technology is king. More and more people are turning to the internet to get things done, including fielding quotes from contractors.
Time is of the essence with email leads. It is important to keep a close eye on your inbox so that you can respond to those email leads as soon as possible. One of the biggest complaints we see about email leads is that by the time contractors get back to a prospect, they have already chosen another company. Studies show that 75% of prospective leads will do business with the first company that contacts them back! If you’re not keeping up with your email leads, you are missing out on a large chunk of potential customers.
If you are a one-man show, you likely don’t have the time to sit and watch your inbox throughout the whole day. 55% of companies take at least five days to respond to sales inquiries. However, responding to an email within 5 minutes increases a contractor’s chance of closing the sale by 400%! We have identified a few action items that you can put in place to try and capture these leads as quickly as possible!
Almost everyone carries a smartphone these days. If you have your email on your phone, you can set up notifications to alert you each time you receive a new inquiry. If you always keep up with your text messages, another option is to have email leads forwarded via text. Setting this up is a fairly simple process, you just need to know your mobile phone number and provider.
If you’re getting overwhelmed and feel like you’re already wearing too many hats at your company, there is no shame in hiring some additional help. Having a designated person to handle incoming calls and emails can increase your response time and your bottom line more than you may realize.
The journey doesn’t end after the first interaction. In addition to being one of the first companies to respond, you’ll also want to touch back in with them regularly. The sales cycle for many industries is not instantaneous. Staying at the top of the mind for your potential customers can help you close even more jobs. Not only is there the possibility of closing new leads that didn’t convert the first time, but you may also re-convert returning customers. Lead nurturing allows you to build trust with your potential clients over time and be at the top of their minds when they are ready to buy.
We understand that the majority of business owners don’t have the time to personally send emails to each and every previous inquiry they’ve received. Instead, wouldn’t it be nice if there were some kind of technology in place to do it for you so you can focus on other aspects of your business? Lucky for you, there is!
99 Calls is now offering lead nurturing and lead reactivation services. These services allow you to effortlessly and automatically check in with your contacts on a regular basis. Once we gather a bit of information from you, our team will come up with a strategy for your database reactivation.
Do you notice some of your competitors seem to stay busier than you? You may even know that they cut corners, use uninsured workers, or lower quality materials than you do. Wonder how they manage to get more jobs? First, it may simply be that they are investing more in advertising and lead generation. It may just be a difference in lead volume. If that’s the case, there are steps you can take to compete with them online.
However, there are also immediate steps you can take now that are simple and effective. Competition among local service contractors is tighter than ever. How can you make your business stand out and stay “top of mind” with your potential customers?
We’ve outlined three areas where you can have an immediate and substantial impact. Impress your potential customers and win more business by following these guidelines.
1. Perfect Your Presentation
Your appearance: It may seem obvious, but first impressions really are critical. People often decide within seconds if they find you trustworthy. It doesn’t take much to win over your prospective clients. Always carry an extra clean shirt, a stick of deodorant, and a comb in your vehicle and spruce up before you pay a visit to give an estimate. If you’re a smoker, keep that clean shirt in a Ziploc bag and have a stick of gum handy. Last, don’t forget to greet your customers on time and with a warm smile.
Your pitch: Before you arrive to give a quote, call or text your customer to let them know you are on your way. This not only impresses them, but also reminds them to be there and ready for you. The team at 99 Calls vets the lead calls that our customers receive and we’re always amazed at the number of clients who have to call the contractors because they didn’t show for an appointment. If you end up running late, no big deal. It happens, but keep your prospects informed!
After you introduce yourself, and exchange greetings, be prepared to give a short pitch or elevator speech about yourself and your business. Successful business owners often let the customer know about their experience, any certifications earned, and other points that will put a customer at ease. Do you run background checks on employees? Are you going to be present at the job site? Let them know. If you have a reference list, give them a copy. Some contractors arrive with a 3-ring binder with photos of jobs they’ve completed.
Demonstrate that you hear them: Be sure to listen and take notes when the customer is describing their issue and what they would like to do to resolve it. Be prepared to give suggestions on how the issue can be resolved in the most cost-effective and efficient way. Once they have shown you what they want to be quoted, be sure to ask questions to clarify your understanding. Then repeat to them what you heard so there is no miscommunication.
2. Polish Your Proposal
Quick turnarounds impress. Provide your prospective customer with a written (electronic) quote within 24 hours of your visit. If you really want to impress them and have quoting software, work up the estimate on your tablet right after you leave and send it in an email within an hour. If you really, really want to impress them, send a text message letting them know you’ve just emailed their quote! Be sure to include those finer details on the estimate that the customer brought up during the appointment.
Offer 2-3 choices. Rather than giving them the option to go with you or go with a competitor, offer 2-3 options for getting the job done. Order them in terms of cost, time estimates for completion, and complexity and give reasons why each could solve their problem. When giving 3 options, make the second seem the most favorable or the most valuable solution. People like to choose a practical solution, one that will save them money but still give them a quality product. Consumers are always searching for the best value they can find. Make it easy to choose yours.
3. Be Persistent
Persistence pays. Over 90% of contractors do not follow up on their estimates. They wait for the customer to call them. If you are telling yourself, “If they want the job done, they will call me.”, you are missing out on many opportunities! People get busy. They forget. The project goes on the back burner. What brings it back to an urgent issue? Often, either the item finally breaks beyond repair, or a contractor contacts them at the right time and gets the “yes”. How can you be that contractor? Follow up. By phone and email and text.
Yes, people are being bombarded every day with solicitors emailing and texting and the old 7-touch rule of sales may be overdoing it but people still need “touches” or reminders. A gentle nudge that they need the service done and especially that you’re the right person to do it can make all the difference. There is nothing wrong with following up the next day by phone to ensure they received the emailed quote. Then, send a quick text 3-4 days later to ask if they have any questions. Try again in 10 days to two weeks to let them know you’ve got some time coming up on your schedule. Most customers do not find well-timed follow-ups annoying. They often appreciate the reminders. And when they do decide to get the work done, guess which contractor is first on their mind?
On Getting More Leads
The steps outlined here are meant to be simple techniques that can be executed quickly. The results will be immediate. What was not touched on was potentially the most impactful (and most challenging) way to close more sales, which is to get more leads to bid on. If you close 25% of the jobs you bid on and you give quotes on four jobs per week, you’ll likely win one new job each week. Double your lead volume and you’ll double your sales. Here is more information on getting more leads by investing in lead generation.
If you are like other small service businesses that depend on inbound leads, you likely have some experience with Google Ads, whether from your own efforts or working with a marketing company. Many business owners report having negative experiences with running Google Ads on their own. Other experiences have been downright traumatizing. The most common issue was low return on investment. Contractors overwhelmingly complained that they spend a lot of money on Ads but did not gain many new customers.
The DIY Ads Campaign
If you are not running a Google Ads campaign yourself, chances are you are buying leads from a third party. And chances are they are running an Ads campaign to generate those leads, and then selling them to to you at a huge margin. Buying leads this way can be very expensive for a small business. But so can the DIY Ads campaign if you aren’t optimizing your ads.
Running a PPC campaign on your own can be overly expensive as well. Although Google goes to great lengths to convince people that running ads is simple and lucrative, that is not always the case. Running Ads is not for the novice or the risk-averse. Online marketing is a career path that requires incredible amounts of knowledge and ongoing learning to stay abreast of the ever-changing advertising climate. That said, it is possible to learn the skills to manage your own Google PPC campaign.
There are several things that the average business owner can do if they are determined to run an online PPC campaign for their business.
Here are 11 proven points to review when working on your Google Ads campaign
1. Determine your goals. Some businesses use Google Ads to increase customer awareness of their product. Some are working to build a contact list. If you are a small service-oriented business, you probably have a very specific goal: Get the greatest number of leads possible at the lowest cost per lead. Once you have set your goal, you’ll have a better chance of achieving it because you can focus on the efforts that will get you there and ignore the noise. If you are a service business, you probably will not be investing in display ads, as search Ads produce more consumers who are ready to buy now. You’ll have to determine for yourself the definition of a lead, but the team at 99 Calls defines it as a consumer who contacts you for a quote for a service you provide in an area you service.
2. Build a solid Ad. Make sure you highlight what makes you stand out from your competition. Use compelling verbs that showcase the benefits of calling you. Google recommends creating 3-5 ads. Over time they will show the one or two most often that resonate best with your target audience. Be sure to follow Google’s policies in order for your ad to get shown.
3. Research what search keywords to use. Although it may seem like a great idea to add as many keywords as possible to bring in as much traffic as possible, that is not the case. Instead, it is better to add in high-quality, relevant keywords. Remember that this is a case of quality over quantity. Pay attention to your quality score, as the higher your quality score, the lower your cost per lead will be. The goal of each keyword is to bring in clicks from people who intend to buy services you provide. Bad keywords bring in bad searches and lead to money spent without a return on investment.
4. Determine your target pricing. Learn how much leads are going for in your area for your service. If you are a roofer in Miami, do the legwork to determine how much roof repair and roof replacement leads typically cost on Google searches. Knowing what a lead should cost will help you determine your budget.
5. Set a monthly and daily budget you can live with, but remember, you’ve got to invest money to make money. Setting your budget too low is likely to end in a loss because your ad will not be shown frequently enough to generate the lead volume you’re after. Setting a daily budget too high will burn through your monthly budget very quickly. A high budget and keywords that are too broad will result in lots of impressions and clicks, but few legitimate leads. You also should know your close rate before getting started so you can determine your actual cost to acquire a new job. For example, if you know that the going rate in your area is $50 per lead and you close one in every three leads, you will spend $150 on average to acquire each new customer. So if you want to obtain 10 new jobs this month, your budget should be $1500. You’d expect to get 30 inbound leads and close 10 jobs.
6. Remove negative keywords. You will learn a great deal by reviewing what users searched for to come to your ads. It will help you to identify keywords that are generating clicks those that don’t show intent to buy your service. You’ll want to continually review your keywords and add those “bad clicks” to your negative keyword list. In addition, decide whether you should remove your competitors’ names as negative keywords. Some contractors choose to allow, or even promote the names of competing businesses as keywords. There is some logic to this. Some business names are so universal that they are used as household names. For example, people say they are going to buy a Coke, meaning they are going to buy a soft drink. Serve Pro is a name commonly used in the restoration industry. When someone has experienced a water damage emergency, they may search “Serve Pro” because they know they need a restoration professional. They may be just as happy speaking with Joe’s Restoration Service, but that name probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. So, should you use a competitor name as a keyword? If you or your answering service have solid sales abilities and are able to turn that call into an appointment, then it makes sense to include those keywords. If this isn’t the case and you are uncomfortable receiving calls potentially intended for a competitor, then enter all competitor names as negative keywords. You’ll want to do a search of all of the competitors in your area that people may search for. As an example, the team at 99 Calls includes at least 100 names in a negative keyword list after doing research in each locale.
7. Keep it relevant. Your ad must match the page where searchers land. If you are advertising your HVAC service and are talking about AC repairs in your ad, be careful not to send users to a heating page or a general home page. If you have a landing page about AC repair services, you are presenting a highly relevant Ad and your chances of it being shown more frequently will improve.
8. Provide an easy experience for your consumers. If someone is searching for a roof repair, send them to a roof repair page. It should be visually appealing. The consumer should instantly recognize that they found the information they were looking for. They should feel confident in your abilities. They should also have easy access to you, either by a simple form or highly visible phone number to call. If you are able to further entice them with a promotion or special price, you’ll likely experience a higher conversion rate (the percentage of people who contact you after landing on your page).
9. Give them a reason to call you. Once a consumer clicks your ad and ends up on your landing page, it should be easy for them to call you with a simple and accessible phone number or form. What’s more, you’ll want to give them a reason to call. If you have images of your great work on the page, you’ll give them confidence that you can handle their job as well. You might also add one or two excellent testimonials that people have written about your service.
10. ANSWER the call! We are always amazed at the number of contractors who go through the time and expense of setting or paying to have a Google Ads campaign set up, only to not be available to answer when leads call! If you don’t answer the phone, or at least call the customer back very quickly, your efforts are for nothing. You’ve already paid Google for that click, and the potential customer is already calling the next contractor in their search. If you are not regularly able to answer your calls, having a receptionist is worth the investment. Another excellent solution is to employ a lead company to provide a system of 2-way texting, auto-responses and nurturing so that your potential customers are acknowledged instantly when you aren’t available.
11. Know when to hire an expert. Across the board, the average conversion rate for Google search campaigns is 3.17%. This includes everything from the sole proprietor carpet cleaning business owner to the top lead generation firm in the country. However, top-performing online marketing pros can garner 10, 15, or even 20% + conversion rates for service contractors. If you’ve given a DIY campaign an honest try but can’t seem to bring in the return on your investment that you hoped for, calling a reputable lead generation company can help. Check online reviews, ask your colleagues, and be sure to hire a firm you trust can deliver.
Pros and Cons of Using Online Calendar Booking for Lead Generation Sites
by Diane Lovine
The team at 99 Calls has increasingly been asked about online calendar bookings for lead generation sites. Many service contractors are utilizing appointment scheduling software for their lead generation websites. Most often, small businesses report using appointment-setting features to allow customers to schedule free consultations.
The Cons of Adding Online Calendar Booking Features
Some home and business services contractors choose not to add this new technology to their sites. The main reasons cited are concerns that it will be too complicated to manage by their team and their customers. Often, this stems from the contractor not having technical experience or access to a web consultant or software developer. After all, a calendar for booking appointments on your website will need to sync with the calendar used by office staff so that you don’t end up overbooked. The best remedy is to purchase a calendar booking tool and have someone else manage it. Many lead generation companies now offer calendar booking as part of a service package.
Another concern expressed by contractors is that using an appointment setting feature to book an appointment for a quote is less personal than speaking directly with the customers. If you are a contractor who is available and prefers to answer the phone each time it rings, you may want to continue with the personal touch that you offer.
The Pros of Adding Online Calendar Booking Capabilities
Although there are a few valid concerns regarding adding this technology to websites, the pros overwhelmingly outweigh them. There are many reasons why giving customers the option to book a repeat service or an appointment for a quote makes sense.
The top reason for adding online appointment booking capability to lead sites is that it adds convenience both for contractors and their customers. Most service contractors run small businesses and the office staff is not always available to answer incoming calls. Contractors are working in the field and often can’t pause what they are doing to answer calls. The result is missed calls, which results in missed business opportunities and ultimately, lost revenue.
Another benefit of installing an appointment calendar is that it makes businesses more accessible to potential customers during off-hours. People are often searching for home services during evenings and weekends when service businesses are closed. Providing them with the ability to book an appointment for an in-home or even over-the-phone quote is simple for them and means their search for a contractor may end with you!
In order to keep up with today’s consumer demands, the question becomes “How” to add a calendar, rather than “Whether” to add one. Installing and maintaining online appointment scheduling programs can be expensive, so you’ll want to shop around. Some businesses report spending $199 per month on the service. With some research, you’ll be able to find a service that can work with your existing website and provide support at a fair price.
Due to high demand from our clients, 99 Calls now offers a calendar booking feature that can be customized and added to websites. The maintenance fee of the calendar feature is just $29 per month. Click here to learn more.