Turns out the cost per lead varies widely depending on the effectiveness of the marketing company you hire to run your campaigns.
Utilizing Google Ads PPC campaigns is the fastest, most versatile method of achieving a high volume of leads for service contractors. However, buyer beware; not all PPC marketing firms produce equal results. In fact, differences in performance are alarming and could mean the difference between enjoying a robust return on investment and blowing your advertising budget with little to show for it.
There is an enormous gap between average and superior Ads performance. According to a recent article by Wordstream, a trusted authority in measuring PPC conversion results, a full 25% of PPC users report conversion rates under 1%.
Unlike SEO, or organic lead generation, which takes many months to ramp up and achieve first-page placement on Google searches (and let’s be honest, if you aren’t being found on the first page, you most likely will not be found), using Google Ads PPC to generate exclusive leads yields much faster results.
Google PPC is an auction-style platform for showcasing businesses on the first page of searches. Rather than showing in the maps (GMB) section, or the highly regarded organic results section, Google PPC ads are displayed at the very top and the very bottom of the search page.
Ads are about scarcity. There is only room for 3-6 PPC ads on a page, about half posted at the very top and half at the bottom, under organic results. In order to achieve first-page placement on Google, you’ve got to be one of the top bidders. A high conversion rate is achieved when a large percentage of people who click on an Ad call for a quote (a lead). The more leads you receive for your monthly budget, the better your return on investment.
With Google Ads, contractors are bidding per click, meaning, they are telling Google what they are willing to pay each time a potential buyer clicks on their Ad. The goal is to pay the lowest Cost Per Click, or CPC that you can but high enough to make it into a top 3 position, at least for a decent percentage of the time. Google doesn’t place 3 companies there and then walk away. The top 3 are rotated throughout the day. What gets companies up there? First and foremost is being a top bidder.
Achieving visibility on a search is just one piece to the puzzle though. Equally as important are your click-through rates (CTR) and your conversion rates. Click-through rates are the percentage of times someone clicks on the link in your Ad to visit the landing page compared to the number of times your Ad is shown (aka impressions). If the Ad is compelling and relevant to what the person is looking for, the click-through rate will be higher. If your CTR is low, you will likely also have a low conversion rate.
And finally, let’s talk about conversion rates. A conversion for some industries may be the collection of information (email or phone number) from a potential buyer that can be added to a telemarketing or email nurturing list. In service contractor industries, a conversion is a lead. Better, with 99 Calls, it is an exclusive lead that is delivered either through a live phone call or email. The better your conversion rate, the more leads you will receive for your monthly budget or advertising investment.
Average Conversion Rate and Why it Matters
The average conversion rate for service contractors using Google Search PPC advertising is 2.35%. This means that out of every 100 customers who click on your Ads, only two to three will actually call you for a quote.
The worst-performing (bottom 25%) campaigns receive a 1% or lower conversion rate. One in four campaigns falls into this bottom category. In fact, nearly half of all people who use Google Ads have a conversion rate lower than 2.5%. Included in these numbers are the do-it-yourselfers who don’t think it’s worth paying the service fee to have a marketing team manage their accounts.
Imagine that your monthly Ads budget is $1000. If the average click for your industry costs $5.00, at a 2.35% conversion rate, you’d get 4-5 leads with your budget if you hire an average marketing company.
The best performing marketing businesses, those in the top 10% of all companies, are averaging an 11.45% conversion rate. If you were using one of them to manage your Ads campaign and had the same $1000 budget and click cost at $5.00 each, you’d achieve 23 leads. That’s over 5x the lead volume for your marketing dollars! That’s why conversion rate matters.
How to Maximize Your Conversion Rate
There is a bright side to Google Ads marketing. People and businesses in the know are able to achieve excellent results with PPC advertising. The best performing marketing businesses, those in the top 10% of all companies, achieve an 11.45% conversion rate. This is far better than the average performer with 5x the lead volume for the same budget.
A small study looked at 124 customers using Google Ads campaigns managed through 99 Calls with a monthly budget of more than $300. The Google Ads specialists at 99 Calls were able to use their in-house PPC advertising system to achieve an average conversion rate across all service contractor (restoration contractors, carpet cleaners, painters, landscapers, appliance repair technicians, electricians, plumbers, HVAC, etc.) industries of 20.43%. Using the same scenario above, these contractors would have achieved 40 leads per $1000 budget, 10x the average PPC customer.
With the increases in online competition, SEO alone often isn’t enough anymore for a growing service business. Many service contractors have turned to PPC advertising to increase their customer base and their revenue. However, with the huge discrepancy between top-performing PPC management firms and low performers, it’s no wonder that many companies have become frustrated with PPC. They have lost trust in Google Ads. They complain that they have burned through their budgets too quickly without results. When every dollar counts, it is crucial that contractors find a top 10% company to handle their Ads campaign. Using a trusted, experienced Google Partner to manage an Ads campaign can literally make the difference between getting one lead for every 100 clicks on your Ads or 20 or more!
Established in 2010, 99 Calls entered the lead generation business one decade ago. During its first few years in business, online competition was considerably lower. When new customers signed up for services, after the onboarding process was completed, contractors began receiving leads within days after going live. As online competition has increased year after year, and most businesses now have a website and other forms of a web presence, such as social media and business listings, this is no longer the case.
In fact, as recently as five years ago, 99 Calls customers received twice the lead volume within the first four months of services as they do when they sign on today. It now often takes weeks to months for a new site to rank on the first page of Google for enough keywords to begin to consistently generate leads.
Recognizing that online competition was increasing tremendously and that customers were becoming frustrated with the wait time inherent to organic lead generation, in 2018, 99 Calls added a Pay Per Click division through Google Adwords, now called Google Ads, to their service offerings. The leadership team realized the potential advantages that Ads offers to service contractors. Properly built and managed PPC campaigns can provide an almost unlimited (stopped only by budget constraints) supply of exclusive leads very quickly.
Although generally a bit more expensive than organic leads, Google Ads campaigns offer many advantages over organic lead generation alone, including quick results (within just a few days), quick adjustments to service areas, advertising budgets, and the ability to turn the system on and off. 99 Calls assembled and trained a talented team of certified Google Ads specialists and completed the requirements to achieve the status of “Google Partner”. This team of experts has developed a system with a targeted focus that works within contractors’ budgets to generate as many leads as possible.
During team meetings, as representatives presented accounts that were performing above expectations, more and more members noticed that the star performers were frequently those who were running a Google Ads PPC campaign in conjunction with regular organic lead generation. The phenomenon occurred frequently enough that more team members began to wonder whether running Ads and organic campaigns simultaneously generates a higher organic lead volume, even early on in the relationship with a client.
Background and Review of Literature
Although Google’s official statement is that there is no benefit to a site’s SEO rankings if the use of PPC campaigns is added, several members of the 99 Calls Ads team reported that they were seeing an apparent increase in organic lead generation results for customers using both PPC and SEO lead generation as compared to customers who used SEO (organic) leads alone. This inspired further investigation.
Other lead generation companies have reported noticing an increase in keyword rankings when the two vehicles are used together as well. Most have found no reason to dispute Google’s official stance, but have chalked the increase in the number of keywords ranking to the mere fact that online traffic to a web page will increase rankings, especially if the content is compelling and visitors stay on the pages, share the content, and click links within the pages. All of these interactions between users and pages will lead to increases in online rankings.
Because 99 Calls is a performance-driven lead generation business, we decided to take a different approach to learning the impact of combining PPC with organic local lead generation during the first few months of starting a new account. We are in the unique position of being able to measure both organic and PPC lead generation results through the use of tracking numbers and call and email reporting. Success on the 99 Calls lead program is measured not by keyword rankings, but by the number of leads achieved. Keyword rankings are important, but as we say, “The bottom line is leads.”
Hypothesis: The speculation mentioned above led us to wonder if we could demonstrate that combining our approach of local lead generation via organic efforts with targeted PPC campaigns would result in a measurable increase in organic lead generation.
The study consisted of new customers who signed on for lead generation with 99 Calls between September 5, 2019, and December 23, 2019, and kept the services for which they initially signed on running continuously for a minimum of four months. Another measurement was taken during the second four months of service. Only customers who signed on for Organic lead generation alone or in a discounted bundle combining organic lead generation with Google Ads campaigns were included. Customers who had been with 99 Calls in the past and returned were not included. Customers who used Google Ads alone and current organic customers who added a Google Ads campaign to an existing lead generation account were also excluded.
There were 54 new customers who signed on for organic lead generation alone and 13 who signed on for a bundle package that included both organic lead generation and PPC campaigns and received continuous services for at least four months.
Additional considerations, aside from well-optimized websites that contribute to organic lead generation performance, such as whether the customers furnished the lead team with photos and customer testimonials to add to the lead sites and whether the customers allowed 99 Calls to manage their online directory listings were noted. Of the 67 total businesses studied, only 5 did not allow the team to manage their Google My Business listings and 11 did not send any photos or online reviews to add to the lead sites. It is noteworthy, however, that of the people who did not fully participate in the program, only one received 5 organic leads during the first four months of services, and the others received three or less. This is consistent with other informal studies completed by 99 Calls which demonstrated that providing unique content on sites significantly enhances lead generation results.
Of those 54 customers, 45 continued on through the first eight months of service. Performance during those first four months of service was documented. Unfortunately, the second four months of data collection occurred during the months when COVID-19 was spreading widely throughout the United States, and many companies reduced their advertising budgets or placed their sites on hold.
The average lead volume achieved during the first four months or organic-only lead generation services was four leads. Typically, customers receive 0-1 leads during the first two months of service. As organic rankings increase, lead volume grows. Our experience is that lead volume steadily climbs month after month, with the average contractor benefitting from over 12 leads per month, and many receiving more than 20 per month after their eighth month of service. When the five out of the total 54 organic-only customers who did not allow us to manage the Google My Business listing were removed from the results, the average lead volume increased to an average of five during the first four months of service.
Although these numbers may sound discouraging, we have found that the first four months of an organic lead generation program are often the slowest. In fact, the average customer receives over four times the lead volume over the second six months as they receive during the first six months.
During the second four months of organic-only lead generation, 99 Calls customers received an average of 14 leads. Again, the results were less than expected during the timeframe of March 2020 through June 2020 due to the pandemic, but a trend was established. Customers in their first four months of lead generation service with 99 Calls received three additional leads when combining Google Ads with organic lead generation.
Because customers who use Google Ads PPC campaigns have set up budgets that differ quite significantly, the number of Google Ads leads produced from PPC campaigns were not factored into this study. We solely looked at changes in organic lead production on the sites using the organic-only and organic/PPC bundle programs. Only one customer of the 13 on the organic and PPC bundle program did not allow us to manage his Google listing. With this person counted, the average organic lead volume achieved during the first four months of service was 7.5 and increased to eight when they were removed from consideration.
During months four through eight, customers who utilized the combination of organic lead generation and PPC service achieved an average of 17 organic leads in addition to the Google Ads PPC leads they received. This demonstrates an average increase of 3 additional leads on average. Bearing in mind that all service industries were included in this sampling when the companies that specialize in water and fire damage restoration service were excluded, the average lead increase more than doubled.
Although it is reported that SEO rankings do not rise by adding a Google Ads PPC campaign, customers who signed on to receive organic lead generation in combination with a Google Ads campaign enjoyed a 60% higher lead volume from organic leads during their first four months of service than those who used organic lead generation alone.
It appears that the advantage that Google Ads had on organic lead volume was not as strong during the second four months of lead generation but still resulted in an 18% higher lead volume. Customers who combined Ads with organic lead generation received an average of 17 leads. This is most likely due to the fact that the organic lead volume was increasing on its own, as is frequently seen.
Why did this phenomenon occur? We believe the boost in organic lead generation is the result of increased first-page presence in search engine results. Rather than showing in the organic section of a search or possibly the maps section as well if the search is in the customers’ towns of residence, running a PPC campaign adds another placement on the first page of a Google search. This double and (possibly triple) exposure provides potential buyers double the opportunity to select them and call for a quote. It is thought that having a large Ads budget will result in the largest increases in organic lead volume because the Ads will be shown more frequently throughout the day.
Industries That Generate The Highest Organic Lead Volume With 99 Calls
This study included contractors from many industries, including roofing, water damage restoration, painting commercial cleaning, handyman, moving, remodeling, landscaping, and plumbing businesses. Several industries demonstrated a much higher-than-average lead volume on the organic service.
Roofing, Remodeling (including replacement window contractors), carpet cleaning companies and appliance repair contractors often achieve lead volumes of over 20 per month with the first four months of service, while businesses with higher competition and lower searches, such as water damage restoration fire damage restoration typically receive 0-3 leads per month consistently throughout their first four months of service. However, restoration jobs usually bring in more than $10,000 in revenue per incident, and close rates for contractors is often higher, as long as they answer their phone and are immediately available.
Google Ads Campaigns Produce High Lead Volumes Quickly
Google Ads PPC campaigns built and managed through 99 Calls drives a high ROI for contractors. Although the leads are generally 15%-20% more costly than through organic lead generation, the cost per click decreases over time. Google Ads has the ability to produce a high volume of leads in a short period of time. For example, the 13 customers that were examined in this study received 372 leads within the first four months of service, as compared to 65 total organic leads achieved for those same businesses during the same time frame.
This study has inspired us to consider other factors in enhancing lead generation results for contractors, including optimizing Ads PPC budgets and working to further increase participation in the organic lead generation program. In addition, the 99 Calls Google Ads team has been working to decrease the cost of lead generation from PPC to the point that these leads are just slightly more costly than organic leads for many industries, namely carpet cleaning, commercial and residential cleaning, electrician work, appliance repairs, damage restoration, and painting.
Contractors who serve home and commercial industries understand that to get jobs, you need leads. There is a lot of information out there about lead generation. Some is true, and some is misleading, or downright false. Worse, several lead generation firms use misinformation as scare tactics to lure customers into their programs. Even if not intentional, there are quite a few myths floating around about lead generation. This article highlights the most common myths about buying leads and gives pointers on how to identify a reputable, effective lead generating program.
Lead Generation Myth #1: I Don’t Need to Buy Leads- I Can Get My Own
You may be a skilled painter, carpet cleaner, plumber or electrician. You may get quite a few referrals from happy customers who have shared your information with a friend or neighbor. Other people may have called after seeing your lettered truck around town.
While it’s true that the most reliable leads with the highest close rates come from referrals, and while you probably do get calls from people who saw your truck, these methods alone are probably nowhere near enough to grow and sustain your business.
Lead Generation Myth #2: I Can’t Afford to Buy Leads
If you think leads are too expensive, you are not alone. We frequently hear from customers that they don’t have the money to buy leads. And it can certainly feel that way when you do not have a lot of revenue coming in and times are tight. However, investing in lead generation is a proven way to grow your business, and following this calculation will ensure a positive return on your investment:
Here is a simple way to figure out what how much you can afford to spend per lead. In general, the goal is to keep your cost of lead generation below 15%, and Ideally 10% of your revenue from each job. If your average job brings in $800, you should spend more than $120 on your marketing. To complete the calculation, you’ll also need to know your close rate. Most contractors close 1 or 2 of every four jobs they bid, or a 37.5% close rate.
So, here is the formula to figure out the maximum you should spend per lead:
Revenue (price of the job) X 15% (max % to for leads) X Close Rate (Average is 37.5%) = Max Lead Price
Using the Example Numbers Above: $800 X .15 X .375 = $45
So, if you generally close 1 or 2 jobs out of every 4 and the average job brings in $800, you can afford to spend a maximum of $45.00 for each lead. Imagine if you could get 20 good leads in a month. You would expect to close about 8 of them. For spending a maximum of $900 (20 leads X $45 each), you could expect to bring in $6,400. If you can get your leads for less, your profits will increase, of course!
Lead Generation Myth #3: I Shouldn’t Pay If I Don’t Win the Job
Unfortunately, just like all other forms of marketing and advertising, there is no guarantee that a lead, no matter how “hot”, will turn into a job. In fact, even the best sales reps close about one of every two to three leads.
This is just the cost of doing business. There are certainly methods you can use to increase your close rate, which will increase your return on investment of purchased leads. The biggest factor is knowing ahead of time what you will pay for your leads and to be certain that you will not be billed for unqualified leads. Finding a company that listens to the calls and only bills you for qualified leads is key.
Lead Generation Myth #4: I’m Going to Be Sent Old, or Recycled Leads
Quite a few contractors tell us that they are concerned about being sold “stale” leads. Many share stories of getting a lead and calling the number almost immediately, only to find that the person does not respond, or that they “no longer need the service”. How can this be if they were just sent the lead?
There are companies out there that use different channels to generate leads. Our experience is that producing live, exclusive leads is possible, is cost effective and is the right way to do business. There are a couple main ways to generate live leads, both through SEO efforts and PPC (pay per click with Google Ads). Although SEO lead generation takes time to generate consistently, PPC is a great way to get leads coming in quicker.
Lead Generation Myth #5: I’ll Get Shared Leads with Other Contractors
Here you will need to be careful because many lead generation companies sell their leads to multiple contractors. This situation can be disastrous if you are having to compete with businesses who do not play by the same rules. Businesses that cut corners by not being fully licensed and ensured and don’t pay employees reasonable wages quote low estimates for jobs that quality contractors can’t compete with.
There are still some of us who offer live and exclusive leads to contractors. Yes, customers may still have to call three contractors to present to a company owner or to review on their own, but when you answer your phone in a professional manner and make yourself available for a quick and fairly priced bid, your chances of winning the job are excellent.
Lead Generation Myth #6: I’ll Get Thrown Off of Google
Competitors frequently call our customers, trying to win them over by using this scare tactic. They tell the contractors they cannot have more than one website, and if they do, Google will penalize them or pull their site down. Really? Do you know how many Dunkin Donuts websites are out there? What about Lowes?
Companies that serve multiple locations frequently set up local advertising campaigns, including sites, listings such as Google My Business, Yelp and even Facebook Pages. All of these are techniques to drive local traffic to their business. You certainly can use more than one website for a business. However, you can’t have multiple listings at the same address for the same business. This is the best way to get into trouble with Google. You can work with a lead generation company who offers a second site for leads. Just be sure they know what they are doing, and do not give up ownership of your listings and citations – many companies are known for holding them hostage when you part ways.
Lead Generation Myth #7: Buying Leads Will Hurt My Branding
Although we market our customers by promoting them by name, most lead generation companies will market your services but not your name. Either route is ok if your main goal of the partnership is lead generation. If your phone is ringing, does it matter if the customers know exactly who you are?
You can work on establishing a relationship with them when you go out for the bid, shake their hand, and give out your branded business card. The purpose of buying leads is to get that inquiry for an estimate. The brand building happens when you perform excellent work and the customer calls you directly the next time around, leaves a great review on your Facebook page or refers a neighbor
How to Buy High Quality Leads for the Right Price
Hopefully, we have been able to demystify the myths behind buying lead generation services and have demonstrated the value in purchasing quality leads. There are a few companies out there that get it right and work to give you the biggest bang for your marketing bucks.
Here are the top things to look for in a lead generation company:
Make sure they don’t charge a fixed monthly rate. Yes, you’ll always know what you will be billed each month, but many companies are happy to charge you $399 or more whether you receive 1 lead or 30. Fine a company that will bill you a fair price per lead.
Find a Company that only bills for qualified leads. Getting billed for services you do not provide or from areas you don’t serve will rack up your expenses and offer no value. Be sure to set the parameters ahead of time and find out what their policy is for disputing leads.
Beware of companies that sell shared leads. These are frequently cheaper, but the quality is lower, and you will have to come down quite a bit on your pricing to win the job. Be careful that you do not bid so low that you lose your profits, or worse, come out in the hole!
Avoid any company that requires a long-term contract. Make them prove themselves to you month after month.
Don’t allow companies to own your listings. Hundreds of customers have wound up with listings in a tangled-up mess, with outdated information that they no longer have access to. Reputable companies will keep you as the owner or will turn over the ownership to you should you part ways.
Be patient! If you are working with a company that utilizes SEO-style lead generation, which tends to be the least expensive method, know that it takes months for the system to ramp up. In the meantime, consider working with them on a highly effective and pinpointed PPC campaign. These leads are a bit more expensive but can still produce leads within your max lead price point.
Have More Questions About Buying Leads?
If you still have questions about buying leads, the lead generation specialists at 99Calls.com are ready to help. You can call 800-717-4669 to speak with a representative or click here to schedule a call at a convenient time for you.
As a local service provider (e.g., painter, plumber, landscaper, electrician, cleaner, etc.) you have probably noticed that more customers are finding your business via online searches.
With 97% of consumers learning more about a local company online than anywhere else and 46% of all Google searches seeking local information, optimizing your website for local SEO is key to generating more leads and growing your business.
However, Google changes the rules of the SEO game frequently by updating its algorithm. While this helps deliver relevant results to searchers, it has become more challenging for business owners to keep up with the latest SEO best practices so their websites can consistently show up at the top of relevant search engine result pages (SERPs).
When you lose your position on search results, the number of website visitors may go down and Google may interpret the signal as your site not being as helpful to users — creating a vicious cycle that would hurt your SEO.
Is your website SEO-ready for 2020 and beyond?
Now is the time to do a local SEO checkup for your website!
SEO Check-Up For Your Local Service Business Website
Here are the key areas to evaluate when optimizing your website for local SEO:
Do You Have Local Content and Location Information?
Publishing fresh, timely, and engaging content regularly helps you show up on Google’s radar. Meanwhile, including local search terms (e.g., town or city name, local events, or local landmarks) can increase your ranking on local search results. Mentioning local news and sharing educational content related to local conditions helps signal relevance to search engines while positioning you as a local expert to build trust.
Experiment with different content formats to increase engagement and dwell time, which is a significant ranking factor. For example, post infographics, how-to videos, or photos of your team participating in local events to make the content more interesting.
Also, include information about your location, such as address and phone number, on various pages and the website’s footer area. Add locally descriptive copy in the “About Us” page and add a Google Map to your “Contact Us” page. Make sure your contact information (e.g., name, address, phone number) is identical to that on your Google My Business listing and other online profiles.
Are You Leveraging the URL, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Headers?
Each page on your website gives you an opportunity to rank for a geographic search phrase and get found by searchers in the area. Besides the content on each page, you should also optimize the URL, title tag, meta description, and header tags to include relevant search terms and keywords, such as the name of the cities or areas where your audience are located and the specific services that you provide.
Title tags and meta descriptions are displayed on search engine results so you should optimize them to drive high-quality traffic. Meanwhile, the header tags help organize your content to improve the website’s user experience while helping search engines understand your pages’ content, thereby increasing the likelihood that your site will show up on relevant search results.
Title tags and meta descriptions are displayed on search engine results so you should optimize them to drive high-quality traffic. Meanwhile, the header tags help organize your content to improve the website’s user experience while helping search engines understand your pages’ content, thereby increasing the likelihood that your site will show up on relevant search results.
Also, research long-tail keywords and incorporate them in your title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. These long search phrases are less competitive and more likely to drive traffic that is looking for your exact services and ready to hire you right away.
Is Your Website Mobile-Optimized?
Did you know that 89% of consumers search for local businesses on their smartphones every week and 58% do so daily?
With more people using mobile devices to conduct online activities, it’s important that your website is optimized for a fast and streamlined mobile experience to increase engagement and signal relevance to search engines.
Not to mention, Google’s algorithm prioritizes mobile-friendly websites so using a responsive template, reducing load speed, simplifying navigation, and leveraging mobile-optimized features such as tap-to-call and location services can help improve your search engine rankings.
Have You Created Individual Service Pages?
While it’s may seem easier to list all your offerings on a single “Services” page, doing so may hurt your SEO because it doesn’t allow you to rank for specific search terms used by prospects with high purchase intent.
Instead, create one page for each service so you can target the most relevant long-tail keywords. This will also improve the clarity of the site map so search engines can better index your site and rank your pages. Similarly, if you service multiple cities, you should create an individual landing page for each location to rank for local terms.
Also, optimize your site with local business schema (also called structured data markup), which is a set of codes added to webpages to help search engines understand who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and how you may be relevant to searchers. This is the key to getting listed on the Local Pack at the top of Google search results.
Internal and External Linking Structure
Adding internal links from one webpage to another on your website helps support website navigation, improve website hierarchy, and build page authority. This will not only assist search engines index your site but also improve the user experience. Visitors will stick around longer and view more pages — signaling relevance to Google and boosting your search engine ranking.
Meanwhile, external links from high-authority third-party sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Facebook) and local directories can improve your SEO. It’s important to make sure that the information on your profiles and listings (e.g., company name, phone number, address) are exactly the same as that on your website. You can do so by mirroring your Google My Business listing to maintain consistency.
Up Your SEO Game with an Optimized Website
Having an SEO-optimized website will not only help you improve SEO ranking and drive high-quality traffic but also engage your visitors to signal relevance to search engines — creating a virtuous cycle that will further boost your SEO.
Not to mention, a high-converting website is key to maximizing profits from your investment in SEO and online ads.
That’s why at 99 Calls, we don’t just run Google Ads for local service businesses . We make sure that they’re part of an effective lead generation strategy by setting up an SEO-optimized, high-converting website so you can attract high-quality leads and get the most of your marketing dollars.
There is a great deal of uncertainty about who and what is considered an essential employee or business during this time of lockdown throughout much of the United States. Of most importance is the safety of workers and the public from the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. However, government officials also recognize that there are certain services that need to continue in order to keep people safe and maintain buildings in working order and support a struggling economy.
There is good news for contractors in a variety of industries who provide services to both residents and businesses. Tradespeople are considered to be essential employees in many states. According to The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response” are considered essential businesses.
Types of Essential Work Permitted
As lead generation providers who specialize in serving contractors, we at 99 Calls have identified several categories of essential services under the guidance of the CISA. Industries relevant to these essential services include Janitorial and commercial cleaning businesses, damage restoration companies, plumbers, appliance repair personnel, emergency tree services, landscaping businesses and others who provide residential and commercial services that keep people and businesses sanitary safe, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Of the 16 categories (see image below), three specifically relate to contractors within industries we serve. They include commercial facilities, residential facilities and services, and hygiene services.
Commercial Facilities Category
Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.
Workers distributing, servicing, repairing, installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces, and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment.
Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services Category
Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services.
Workers performing housing construction-related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.
Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing.
Hygiene Products and Services Category
Workers providing personal and household goods repair and maintenance.
Workers providing disinfection services, for all essential facilities
Workers necessary for the installation, maintenance, distribution, and manufacturing of water and space heating equipment and its components.
Support required for continuity of services, including commercial disinfectant services, janitorial/cleaning personnel, and support personnel functions that need freedom of movement to access facilities in support of front-line employees.
Which States Are Allowing Contractors To Operate?
As the current situation continues to evolve, it is important to also check with your state’s government offices. It is also important to note that in addition to being considered an essential business or worker, it is necessary to follow the CDC’s guidelines to avoid the spread of COVID-19, including wearing appropriate protective equipment and social distancing.
This information is advisory and should not be considered a standard across all states. Each state has determined what businesses are considered essential and contractors should adhere to their states’ rules and regulations for specifics. At the time of this article being written, the following states are considering tradespeople as essential:
Contractors Can Stay Safe During the Pandemic
If you are considered an essential employee, you may be wondering how to keep yourself, staff, and customers and your family safe and healthy. The virus is primarily spread from person to person and there are steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you. Employers must stay abreast of the latest CDC guidance, and should frequently remind workers to follow all necessary precautions.
Keep at least 6 feet of space between you and other people. This includes all customers and coworkers. The newest guidance is to wear protective face masks when in public places.
Avoid groups of people of 10 or larger. Allow employees to work from home when possible.
Continue to wash your hands often and thoroughly. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after being out in public, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If handwashing with soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
As a contractor, it is important to limit staff members on-site and practice social distancing when on a job site.
When it comes to getting payment from your customers, try no-contact methods like PayPal, Venmo, or other online payment methods.
How to Keep Your Business Operating During COVID-19
Of course, the health and safety of your family, your employees, your customers and yourself comes first. Second, and still important is preserving the viability of your business. If you are in a state that considers your services to be essential, how can you access leads and get your phone ringing? First, update your website and Google listing to alert potential customers that you are still open for certain types of business.
Next, if you aren’t doing so already, consider running a Google Ads campaign. Google Ads is a great way to generate leads quickly. Google Ads PPC is a silent auction-style where you bid on certain keywords to get on the first page of Google. This service allows contractors to target specific services in the towns they serve. Many business owners are concerned, and rightly so that Ads campaigns can be too costly. If you are not familiar with how to manage a budget and get the biggest return on your investment, consider partnering with a lead generation firm that can help you reach your lead and revenue goals.
There are quite a few services that people are searching for amid this viral crisis. Some of the most frequently searched services we are seeing include disinfection and decontamination of homes and facilities, plumbing services and appliance repair. These are all important to keep homes and businesses functioning. Even during these times, emergencies and disasters still occur, such as water damage from appliance leaks and home damage from fallen trees.
The main industries that are still receiving a robust supply of leads include:
The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is crushing small businesses in the US and around the world. Schools, universities, government facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, large and small, all struggling to come out ahead of the virus while making every effort to keep people’s safety the number one priority. However, with every problem, there is an opportunity.
With extreme measures being implemented such as social distancing and public facilities remaining closed, construction companies or contractors are among the small businesses being impacted the most.
Many of US’s construction companies rely on Chinese or Italian made goods and materials, but the Coronavirus has tremendously impacted these countries. Because of government containment efforts, manufacturing in China and Italy has drastically declined due to a reduced labor force, which could mean a slowdown of supply to the market, and even higher material costs. For example, US contractors rely on China for steel, plumbing fixtures, and even cabinets, and on Italy for stone and tiles.
Another challenge is with restrictive travel, construction companies struggle to obtain supplies normally manufactured or shipped from China or Italy, causing them to delay or cancel in their projects.
As the spread of the virus in these countries slows down, production and labor force in factories will pick up, but it will take time.
Contractors also struggle to find work with social distancing measures being implemented. Customers are canceling scheduled jobs with greater frequency. Home or commercial construction and remodeling projects are either being canceled or being placed on hold for these reasons, as well as concerns over a failing economy on the horizon.
Times are tough for everyone, but there are marketing strategies that can be adopted to best foster growth in the weeks and months to come.
Strategies to Succeed
In the meantime, what should service contractors do to overcome these tough times? Around this time last year, we had also written an article about surviving the next recession, which is exactly what we are currently facing. The answer, work on a long-term solution that will get your business on the fast track when the crisis subsides, and consider services you can offer in the short-term that will keep your business afloat.
Whether you’re a plumber, handyman, house cleaner, damage restoration expert, or any other contractor, organic SEO is a fantastic marketing option, however, it takes time to see results via a steady stream of leads. It’s a more “long-term” strategy which many don’t have the patience for. However, during tough times like the present, the key to succeeding is having a long term strategy in place, and focus on services you can offer now and promote with a PPC campaign.
Strategies with Organic SEO:
Organic SEO is an online marketing strategy used to help your website rank at the top of the search engine results. Some of these strategies include:
Mobile First – With over 75% of user searches being performed from their mobile device, it is essential to have a website which is first mobile-friendly. Because of higher percentage of mobile traffic, Google is making sure the search results are more catered to this group of users.
Keyword Search – When it comes to marketing or lead generation, you don’t want just any traffic to your website. You want traffic which will potentially turn into a real client. In order to optimize the quality of traffic to your website, it is best generated when using long-tailed keywords, since that group of people knows exactly what they want and are looking for.
User Experience – User experience refers to how every site visitor interacts with the website which includes the ease of navigating the website, the appearance, the loading speed, the engaging content, and the organization of pertinent information.
Link Building – One of the key ranking factors is backlinks, not the quantity, but rather having quality backlinks. Having your business listed on relevant directories, third party sites, and social media channels will always help your website’s visibility. Of these channels, the most effective being an optimized Google My Business listing.
Multimedia – Adding relevant photos, videos, blogs, or other infographics allows visitors to engage more with your site and spend more time on it. With photos and other images, it’s important to include image alt tags so Google understands what the images are trying to display.
With the domestic and global economy headed for a major downturn, contractors will be hit the hardest. Job markets and buying power will decline. Substantial layoffs are inevitable. However, it’s only temporary. Once the current situation with the Coronavirus is under control, the economy and job markets will pick up, and when they do, you want to be ready. Start planning now and beginning (or enhancing current) organic SEO efforts. You will be in much better shape in the months ahead when we are back on the rise, and you’ll be more prepared for those leads to start rolling in.
Strategies with PPC:
There are some industries that will remain busy in spite of this pandemic, such as damage restoration companies and cleaning contractors. For those in these industries, you may offer unique services which are more prevalent now than ever, in which case, Google Ads or PPC may be right for you.
For example, although the number of regular carpet and hard surface cleaning jobs have declined, we’re seeing a rise in the number of sanitizing and disinfecting calls that customers are receiving lately. Consider services you are offering that can be done outdoors, away from crowds, that will be least likely hit by a recession and consider a Google Ads campaign to highlight those services.
Combining short-and long-term strategies will give small businesses the biggest opportunity to weather the difficulties we are facing and position them to surge once the economy and the nation’s health is back on target.
What are data aggregators and how will they help me?
Data aggregators compile information and propagate this data to other directories, citations, and search engines.
Data aggregation is a fantastic way for businesses to spread their name through the web, accurately and consistently. With NAPW (name, address, phone number, website) consistency being a huge part of SEO rankings, data aggregation is a sure way to assure your listings and citations are being displayed accurately and consistently across the internet.
Who are the four major local data aggregators?
There are four major data aggregators, known as “The Big Four”:
Each of these data aggregators has its own unique function and directories it feeds information to.
Infogroup calls each business personally to ensure accuracy of the information provided then feeds information to several directories including these fews displayed below:
Localeze collects and distributes data to other directories with a focus on local searches and location based services such as the few shown below.
Factual is an open data platform that facilitates personalized and contextually relevant mobile experiences. Factual’s real-time data stack builds and maintains data on a global scale, for 65M local businesses and points of interest — in 50 countries.
Acxiom collects information about a business and sells this information for advertising campaigns such as the handful shown here.
How is The Big Four changing?
Acxiom announced they will be shutting down their local search / directory operations at the end of 2019. So what does this mean for The Big Four?
Well, what’s great is another key player is being added, Foursquare. Though Foursquare hasn’t been known to be a data aggregator, its recent partnership with AWS Data Exchange will allow it to become a powerful data aggregator, replacing Acxiom beginning January 2020. Foursquare will provide consumers accurate location data which can be purchased through AWS Data Exchange.
In addition, Foursquare’s acquisition of Placed in May of 2019 means that it has so many more media partners such as Twitter and Snapchat. These big brands, along with others, gather data directly from Foursquare.
Foursquare also has an easy to use mobile app, allowing more businesses to be discovered and more accurate information to be distributed much faster. Because of Foursquare’s location intelligence technology their reach has extended to over a hundred million locations of interest, across 190 countries, making them a key distributor of data through their Places API, and in turn, making them a crucial advertising platform for businesses.
With Foursquare becoming the up and coming social media tool, allowing “check-ins” and shares to their favorite places, while using their latest location intelligence technology and hypertrending, it is expected to be a social media tool consumers will use, share and love. Best of all, because Foursquare has become a trusted, loyal directory, businesses listed on Foursquare get indexed and crawled by Google, improving your SEO.
Listing your business on Foursquare is free, but claiming it and verifying it is a fee of $20. If your business has been around for some time, chances are it may already be listed on Foursquare, but claiming it and verifying it for the $20 will be a worthwhile investment since you will be able to manage your Foursquare listing, ensuring your NAPW is consistent. This is even more worthwhile if you are a brick and mortar business to help generate more foot traffic through its location intelligence technology.
Best of all, submission to Foursquare through citation services such as BrightLocal and Moz is more cost-effective than submissions to Acxiom. For instance, via BrightLocal, Acxiom submissions cost customers $25 per location, where as Foursquare submissions will cost a mere $15.
Consumer expectations are changing rapidly and marketing technologies are evolving at a fast pace to help businesses meet their customers’ needs and stay ahead of the competition.
It’s not always easy for local service businesses (e.g., painter, plumber, landscaper, house cleaning service) to keep up with all the new marketing trends. What should you focus on in 2020 to get the most from your marketing budget?
In this article, we’ll show you how to expand your reach, build relationships, generate more leads, and increase sales in 2020.
Top Marketing Trends For Local Service Businesses
For local businesses, search engine marketing (SEM) will become more important than ever. Meanwhile, consumers expect a highly relevant customer experience, regardless of how they interact with your business. Here are the key trends you can’t afford to ignore:
Mobile PPC ads could be the key to driving significantly more traffic to your website in 2020. You should keep an eye on the new ad formats and features that Google rolls out regularly to help advertisers generate better results. For example, you can create text ads, image ads, and call-only ads to optimize your ROI.
In addition, use Google’s Smart Bidding feature to automate your bids. This machine learning technology leverages various data and signals to help you optimize conversion by adjusting every bid. You can also set up your bids to focus on searches from mobile devices so you can effectively target searchers that are most likely to convert.
2. Voice Search
More than 66 million Americans now own a smart speaker (e.g., Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant,) presenting more opportunities for voice search in the home. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, 30% of web browsing — including searches for local services — will become screenless. Not to mention, 75% of smart speaker owners search for local businesses on a weekly basis!
Since voice search only presents the top search results, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website is search engine optimized so it can rank high in relevant searches.
You can increase the chances of getting found on voice searches by writing conversationally, creating content based on commonly asked questions, formatting articles to signal relevance to search engines (e.g., use header tags and bullet points,) using long-tail keywords to minimize competition, and including local keywords in your copy.
3. Social Media Marketing
While social media marketing has been around for a while, user behaviors have changed significantly. Today, you need to create useful content and interact with your audience in a way that will drive engagement, traffic, and conversion.
Post informative and high-value content to build trust and credibility with your audience. Write your posts in conversational tones, focus on establishing a dialogue, and use the platforms to build relationships instead of drive sales.
Visual content, particularly videos, is most effective for engaging an audience. Many platforms now offer a new format — Stories — which allows you to share images or short videos and add hashtags or polls to increase interactivity while fostering relationships with your audience.
Did you know that 82% of consumers read online reviews on local businesses? In addition, among those who do, 97% also read the businesses’ responses to the reviews. The number of people who use reviews to aid their decision-making is only going to increase as more consumers turn to online searches to look for local service providers.
Having great online reviews on third-party sites (e.g., Yelp) is key to building instant credibility that’ll help you attract more leads. To leverage the power of online reviews, take control of your online reputation by:
Setting up and completing your online profiles on major review sites.
Responding to comments promptly, whether they’re positive or negative.
Asking happy clients to leave a review and make it easy for them to do so.
Encouraging reviewers to use their real names and be descriptive in their comments.
Share positive reviews on your website and social media.
Consumers expect a customized experience when they interact with brands and service providers. For example, 80% of people are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Thankfully, there are many marketing technologies that will allow you to implement a personalization strategy at scale so you can build relationships, drive conversions, and retain customers at a reasonable cost. For example, you can segment prospects and customers based on their locations or inquiries so you can send the most relevant content and offer via email or targeted ads.
In addition, a centralized customer database (e.g., a CRM system) can help make sure that all information is updated in real-time so you can deliver a cohesive and personalized experience through every channel (e.g., phone, live chat, email.)
6. Live Chat and Chatbots
Consumers want to get the information they need when they need it and many expect live chat as part of the user experience on a website. Live chat, combined with rule-based or AI-driven chatbot technologies, allows you to offer immediate assistance to customers who have simple questions or route the queries to the appropriate team member.
Using chatbots strategically will not only help you lower operating costs but also streamline the customer experience to increase conversion and improve customer satisfaction. To deliver the best experience, make sure you’re setting up the chatbots with your target audience in mind and consider the context of the interaction while keeping the tone on-brand and personal.
It’s also important to identify which processes should be automated and what queries should be directed to a human agent right away to minimize delays and frustrations that could impact the customer experience.
Final Thoughts: It’s All About the Customer Experience
The top marketing trends in 2020 will focus on delivering a seamless and cohesive experience during the entire customer journey — starting from search and social media content through customers’ interaction with your company through various channels.
Getting found by high-quality prospects via search and making sure they’re directed to a high-converting website that offers clear navigation, valuable content, and engaging experience is the key to generating more leads.
In addition, with an outstanding website experience that’s coherent with your PPC strategy, you can increases engagement, signal relevance to search engines, improve your SEO ranking, and drive more high-quality traffic — creating a virtuous cycle that will keep on giving!
Google Ads is one of the best ways to generate a lot of leads for your local roofing business quickly. In fact, 63.7% of local businesses say that paid search is either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their marketing.
You may wonder, “How much does it cost to generate roofing leads with Google Ads? Is it worth the investment?”
Google Ads is priced like an auction. The going rate depends on your competition. In 2019, we generated roofing leads in volume via Google Ads at $40 to $120 per lead.
Although Google Ads can get competitive, don’t be intimidated by the cost!
When you drive your conversion rate higher and higher, the lead cost goes lower and lower. For example, you can maximize your ROI by using superior targeting, compelling ad copy, and highly relevant landing pages optimized for conversion.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using Google Ads for roofing contractors and how to leverage the advertising platform to attract high-quality traffic that will turn into customers.
Why Use Google Ads To Promote Your Roofing Business
Over the years, Google has taken steps to maximize the performance of Google Ads, which can generate far more leads per day than organic search results (SEO). Combined with a high-converting website that turns visitors into customers, you can increase the ROI and make Google Ads quite affordable.
It’s also easy to get started with Google Ads since you can adjust the ad spend based on your budget. This allows you to adapt your bidding strategy to optimize the resources you have available.
In addition, the leads you get are exclusive – meaning that prospects will call you directly. Unlike a lead generation platform from which you’d purchase “shared leads” (e.g., HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, CraftJack), the competition is lower and you’re more likely to win the business.
Without the middleman, you keep most of the profits. You can also track your close rate and the effectiveness of your advertising strategy much more easily and gather meaningful metrics to improve results.
The Bonus SEO Benefit Of Using Google Ads
Boosting your website’s SEO is the best long-term strategy for driving low-cost high-quality traffic to your site. However, it often takes 6-12 months to build up your domain’s “SEO juice” if you depend on organic search results alone.
Google Ads can help drive traffic to your website right away while indirectly increasingly your free organic leads. How?
Google’s database keeps track of hundreds of factors on billions of things, including your business. It knows how often people search for your business. It can even gauge how relevant and helpful your website is based on the way users interact with your content and how long they stay on your site.
Google’s algorithm “likes” businesses that people search for, links that they click on, and websites on which they spend time because these are all signals that indicate the relevance and usefulness of a site.
When you use Google Ads to propel your site to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs,) you’ll be attracting more attention. People will see your ad and Google your business directly.
When Google sees that your business is being actively search for, you get “bonus points” that will move your business higher in organic search results. In turn, you’ll get more clicks that signal relevance to Google, so your site will move even higher in rankings. The virtuous cycle continues, helping you dominate the first page of Google.
Showing up multiple times and consistently on search results can also help you build brand awareness. After consumers see your business name a few times, your brand becomes familiar. This helps you build trust and makes people more likely to click on your free organic links that may be lower on the page.
How To Use Google Ads Effectively To Grow Your Roofing Business
Google Ads can get competitive and the cost per lead can be expensive for roofing contractors. In order to maximize profits, you need to generate the highest-quality leads and maximize the conversion rate. Here’s how:
Expand Your Service Area
One reason why Google Ads can be so effective for local service businesses is that it gives you the ability to target a highly-specific local audience that uses high-intent search terms. As a result, you only pay for clicks from searchers located in your area and are most likely to engage the service of a roofing contractor right away.
To increase the number of qualified prospects, expand your service area to cover a larger geographic location. The bigger your market, the more people will see your ad and the more opportunities you can get.
Build a High-Converting Website
What searchers see after they click on your ad can determine if they’d further interact with your business, e.g., by requesting a quote. Your landing page(s) should be optimized so they’re coherent with the ad copy to deliver a consistent user experience that will build trust and increase engagement.
In addition, optimize your entire website for conversion. For example, by making it easy for visitors to get in touch or request a quote. This can help you maximize the ROI for every click and improve your profitability.
There are many moving parts when it comes to building a high-converting website but the good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. Many reputable Google Ads services include a conversion-optimized website as part of their packages to help you get the most out of your ad dollars.
Optimize Your Site For Inbound Leads
Consumers don’t want to get calls from pushy salespeople. Instead, they prefer companies that are helpful, listen to their needs, and solve their problems. They also want to have control over how they interact with a business – some of them prefer to call while others want to fill out a web form or send an email.
As such, your website should provide visitors with multiple ways to interact with your business. For instance, by making it easy for visitors to find your contact information, fill out a web form to request a quote, or get in touch using the tap-to-call features on mobile devices.
Work With a PPC Agency
Working with a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) agency can help you get results fast because it has the expertise to quickly optimize your ad campaigns while helping you shorten the learning curve. Not to mention, Google updates its algorithm often and an agency has the resources to continuously adjust your campaigns to achieve the best results.
Look for a PPC agency that understands the roofing industry and has a track record working with roofing contractors. It should also be transparent about your ad spend and how the agency fee structure works – if an agency that doesn’t tell you what its “cut” is, you’d very likely be overpaying.
Achieve Fast Results With Google Ads
To quickly achieve substantial results with Google Ads, you should be ready to spend at least $1,000 every month. You can start lower, but the resulting lead flow will be slower and less consistent.
Also, you need to be willing and ready to maximize the channel by increasing your ad spend as the lead volume increases and the lead costs decrease.
How many new roofing leads do you want in a day? Whether your answer is one, two, five, ten, or twenty, the right Google Ads strategy can make it happen.
Do keep in mind that it may take a few months to gain traction, fine-tune your tactics, and hit your target level – but with a large enough target market, Google Ads can get you as many leads as you can handle and in a fairly short amount of time.
With 86% of consumers using the internet to find a local business, there’s no question that you need to appear on relevant search engine results. It’s the key to getting your local service business found by more potential clients.
If you’re like most local business owners, you have probably considered running Google Ads. However, what’s the best way to go about it?
Should you go the DIY route or hire a PPC agency?
This article will look at the pros and cons of each option, show you the tools for managing Google Ads yourself, discuss a few pointers for hiring a PPC agency, and share our unique, from-the-trenches perspective on how you should decide if the DIY route is right for you.
Should You Manage Google Ads Yourself?
Many local service professionals wear many hats but should you take on managing Google Ads yourself?
Pros of Managing Google Ads In-House
Without ad management overhead costs, you can dedicate 100% of your advertising budget to ads.
You have complete control over your campaigns, including copy, keywords, and bidding strategy.
You can learn about the platform as you run the campaigns and gain more insights into your audience.
Cons of Managing Google Ads In-House
Running Google Ads successfully takes a lot of time, diverting your attention from servicing your customers.
You or your team may get spread too thin, which can cause issues in other areas of the business.
There’s a steep learning curve so if you haven’t used Google Ads before, you’d likely be spending a good amount of your budget on trial-and-error.
Technical ability required for maximum results
Tools You Need To Manage Google Ads Yourself
Using the right tools can help you manage Google Ads cost-effectively and here are a few essentials:
Google Ads’ built-in “Ad Rotation” feature and “Responsive Ads” to help you understand what ad copy and combinations of ad copy components works and what doesn’t.
Competitive research tools (e.g., iSpionage) that allow you to “spy” on your competitors to see what keywords are working for them.
Google Analytics to help you track traffic and landing pages performance after searchers come to your website. You can use the information to improve conversion and increase ROI.
Should You Hire a PPC Agency?
Hiring an agency can relieve your workload but what are the downsides?
Pros of Hiring an Agency To Manage Google Ads
Google Ads is a complex platform that requires in-depth knowledge to achieve a good ROI. Hiring an agency gives you access to experts who are up-to-date with the latest algorithms and strategies.
You don’t have to spend hours managing your ads so you can focus on servicing your customers and generating revenue.
Agencies have access to a variety of tools for tracking the effectiveness of your ads and optimizing their ROI.
Many agencies get “agency perks,” such as early access to beta programs and faster support from Google, to help you get the most out of the platform.
Cons of Hiring an Agency To Manage Google Ads
The process may lack the transparency you desire to keep track of your marketing effort and understand what works for your market.
You may not have instant control of your ad campaigns.
You have to pay the agency’s fee on top of the costs of running the ads.
What To Look For When Hiring a PPC Agency
If you decide to work with an agency, here’s how to find one that’s right for your business:
Seek out an agency with experience working with local service professionals in your industry.
Ask about the KPIs they use for tracking the campaigns’ effectiveness. These metrics should focus on driving conversion and increasing profitability.
Get the “A-team” by asking about the specific experience of your account manager and interviewing those who will be managing your ads.
Inquire about the pricing structure to see if the cost makes sense for your budget and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Do some research about the agency, look for third-party reviews from clients similar to you, and talk to a few clients to ensure its service is a good fit for your needs.
Are You Cut Out To Manage Your Own Google Ads Campaigns?
Even after weighing all the pros and cons, you may still be on the fence. Here’s our honest opinion after years in the trenches on whether you should go the DIY route:
Running successful Google Ads campaigns requires a balanced combination of knowledge, experience, effort, and marketing savvy.
You need to know what to do and how to do it. You need to invest the time, patience, and resources to implement the strategy while having the ability to create, analyze, and experiment so you can optimize results.
Also, managing Google Ads is an on-going effort. You need to be constantly monitoring and tweaking your campaigns to respond to market conditions. As such, you should only run Google Ads yourself if you truly enjoy the process and have what it takes to succeed: time, effort, money, creativity, and luck.
Time and Effort
It can easily take a year to get the hang of running Google Ads. Even though it’s easy to pass the Google Ads certification exam, studying for it doesn’t teach you the ins and outs of marketing effectively to your target audience.
For example, while it’s relatively easy to find out what keywords to target, you won’t know which negative keywords to include in your campaigns – so you don’t have to pay for clicks that don’t convert – until you have run the ads and analyzed the results from the campaigns.
The only way to learn what works and what doesn’t for your market is trial-and-error, which requires substantial investment in time and effort.
Trial-and-error also means that you will make mistakes, which costs money. Every click that doesn’t yield new business is wasted ad spend and it takes time to dial in your strategy so you can get the most from your ad budget.
For example, to maximize your ROI, you need to figure out what keywords get you the highest quality leads and what keywords are attracting clicks that don’t turn into customers. This information often comes from analyzing your results over time before you can refine the campaigns with a list of effective negative keywords.
For any ad campaigns to yield the best results, you need to write good copy that gets the right people to click the ad. But that’s just the beginning!
When prospects click on your ad, they go to your website. You’ll need a landing page with relevant copy and design optimized to drive conversion (e.g., filling out a form to request a quote or making a phone call). You also need a high-quality website that projects a professional image to foster trust and build credibility.
Getting all these set up requires experience and knowledge in web design and copywriting, not to mention the right mix of creativity to create an on-brand experience that’ll attract the right leads to your business.
When you’re getting started with Google Ads, it can be expensive (i.e. high cost per lead). Trying to figure out what works can feel like rolling the dice and the cost of bad clicks can add up fast.
If you’re lucky, you may hit the right target audience and keywords on your first try… clicks convert into business. Otherwise, you may not see much other than a click charge.
You have to be ready to roll with the punches. You also need to be patient because success is measured over a month or more so you can collect enough data to fine-tune your tactics.
Getting Started With Running Your Own Google Ads
If you have what it takes to run your own campaigns but you’re just getting started, you may not have a conversion-optimized website ready. However, don’t wait! The sooner you start running campaigns, the sooner you can learn about the platform and your market.
You can use Google’s Call-Only ads. They only work on smartphones but clickers usually become callers. This often results in a high conversion rate, which is key to maximizing your ROI.
While the amount of traffic produced by Call-Only ads is small, it’s one of the best ways to get started with Google Ads. It keeps your burn rate low and ROI high.
Once you are successful with Call-Only ads and want to generate more business, you’ll need to create a website. Start with a single page that’s highly relevant to and consistent with your ad content, to which you can send the ad traffic.
When you start collecting data, you can make improvements based on the analytics. Keep in mind that optimizing your landing page will take some time and effort so don’t give up too soon. A/B testing is the best way to find out what really works for your business – some tweaks you think would work may not while others may surprise you!
And the Verdict is…
There are pros and cons associated with running your own Google Ads vs. hiring a PPC agency. You should evaluate your budget and requirements to find a solution that works best for your local service business.
While going the DIY route may be tempting thanks to the initial savings, you should only do so if you have a creative and marketing knack. Otherwise, you could be spending a lot of time and money on trial-and-error and still find yourself at the bottom of the learning curve!
For many business owners, working with a PPC agency can often lead to higher ROI over time since you can yield better results at a lower cost. Not to mention, it can free up your time so you can focus on delivering outstanding service to all the clients you have generated with your ads!