If you’re like many local service business owners, such as plumbers, painters, electricians, roofers, or house cleaners, you may often wonder – where to find more clients?
Most people turn to Google when they’re looking for local service providers. In fact, 97% of consumers search online to find a local business and 92% of searchers contact businesses that are listed on the first page of search results.
That means if you want to get in front of more prospects when they’re looking for the exact type of services you offer, you need to get listed on the first page of Google.
How to do that?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a very effective tactic to get your business listed in the “local pack,” which occupies “position zero” (i.e., at the very top) of relevant search result pages.
However, PPC advertising can be quite intimidating thanks to all the moving parts that could impact your results.
To help you navigate the world of local PPC, we’re sharing some “from the trenches” insights we have gained from working with numerous local service businesses to help you maximize your ROI:
1. Fine-tune Your Targeting
The many targeting options on PPC platforms (e.g., Google Ads and Facebook) allow you to get in front of the right prospects with the right messaging based on their search intent.
For example, you can target leads in a specific geographic region and/or direct prospects to a landing page with customized content most relevant to the keywords they use.
In addition, you can narrow your targeting with single keyword ad groups to increase the quality of your traffic. For local businesses, it’s often effective to create ad groups based on geographic regions or size of the market (e.g., county, zip code, city, or immediate local radius).
Don’t forget to utilize the robust analytics and reporting features to refine your targeting and bidding strategy so you can optimize your results.
2. Use Ad Extensions
Ad extensions, which are available on Google and Bing, give you the opportunities to include more information about your business in an ad with no extra cost.
Besides showing more relevant links to searchers, you also increase the “real estate” your ad occupies on the search results page – thereby attracting more attention and improving the chances that a searcher will click on it.
There are many kinds of ad extensions so use the ones most relevant to your business. For local service providers, location extensions, call extensions, review extensions, and dynamic sitelink extensions are often the most effective in attracting leads and driving traffic.
3. Optimize For Mobile Searches
Mobile devices account for more than half of all online searches while 88% of consumers who look for local service providers on their mobile devices would either call or visit a business within 24 hours.
Not to mention, Google prioritizes mobile-optimized websites, so you should make sure that yours is mobile-friendly.
For example, ensure that your site loads fast on mobile devices, displays all the content legibly on the small screen, and leverages mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call to deliver a convenient user experience.
4. Set Up Weather-Specific Ad Copy
If the demand for your services is partly dependent on the local weather, you can use a custom Google Ads script to adjust the copy of your ads based on the weather reported by Google.
For example, roofing professionals may get more business during the rainy seasons while landscapers may see an increase in inquiries after a severe storm.
The success of such weather-triggered campaigns often depends on the dynamic copy. Make sure to communicate a sense of urgency related to the weather condition so your ads are timely and relevant.
5. Respond to Inquiries Promptly
Getting searchers to click on your ad is only the first step. If you don’t pick up the phone when they call or reply to their inquiries via email or messaging, you’re just paying for the clicks but not getting the clients.
Before activating your PPC ad campaigns, implement a system to ensure that you can respond to requests for quotes in a timely manner.
For instance, make sure that there’s always someone available to answer the phone and check email messages. Consider using an answering service to ensure that nothing falls through the crack, especially if advertising during off hours.
6. Keep Up the Good Work
Just because an average of 1 in 7 clicks turns into a lead doesn’t mean you won’t have a “bad day” or even a “bad week” during which your ad gets many clicks but produces no leads.
Bad streaks can happen… but so do “good days” or “good weeks” if you stay consistent.
Let your ads run long enough so the data is statistically relevant before drawing any conclusion about the effectiveness of your strategy. Take into account factors such as time of the year or any holiday that could affect customer behaviors.
7. Know Your Numbers
PPC advertising is all about ROI so you need to get a good grasp of your metrics in order to make your investment profitable.
Most PPC platforms, such as Google Ads, offer in-depth metrics and analytics that allow you to understand your ads’ performance.
One of the most important metrics you should track is the lead cost. For example, if it takes five clicks to get one lead on average, then you should target the average click cost to be 20% of the lead cost in order to stay profitable.
8. Set Realistic Expectations
As much as PPC advertising is effective, it’s not a magic bullet. Simply put, there’s no free lunch – if you want more clicks and leads, you need to invest in getting your ads to the top of search results pages so more prospects will see it.
However, you should be aware that ads in the #1 spot often receive the most unqualified clicks. Users are more likely to accidentally click on the first result they see and you’d have to pay for that click.
The #1 spot typically gets the most clicks but spots 2, 3, and 4 are oftentimes more cost-efficient when it comes to optimizing your ROI.
Local PPC advertising is an effective tactic to drive high-quality prospects to your website.
The key is to tailor the ads so they’re as relevant to your target market as possible so you can show up in the right place at the right time and with the right message.
In addition, you should make sure that you’re driving traffic to a website that’s optimized for capturing leads and converting visitors.
That’s why here at 99 Calls, we not only help local service area businesses get onto the first page of Google, whether organically or paid ads, but also provide you with an optimized lead-generation website to capture the traffic and turn visitors into clients. Find out how we can help you optimize your online advertising budget here.