Many local service businesses are turning to AdWords to increase leads and calls for their businesses. This includes a wide range of trades like plumbers, electricians, painters, decorators, tree surgeons and many others.
A search on Google will bring up many competing ads each promising quality service, speed of delivery, price competitiveness, specialist team and much more. And with this increase in advertising by local tradesmen has been a corresponding increase costs, driven by the competition for higher visibility with the target audience.
Cost per click rates have shot through the roof and it’s common to see average CPC rates of £3 and more. So, what should a business do? Stopping ads is not a solution because that would lead to a significant drop in business; reducing spend also won’t help because that would potentially wipe out visibility for the most important searches.
Neither does continuing to advertise on Google as before help, hoping your fortunes will change.
Here are some top tips to help you create and launch effective ads that will drive leads and calls for your business and ensure your sales pipeline is always full of prospects waiting to do business with you:
Aim for at least 5% Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click through rate is an important metric for local services because there is a limited number of searches and it’s crucial to be visible for them. The first thing to consider when looking to achieve a CTR that is above 5% is your position in the ad results. You are unlikely to achieve that if your ads are consistently below the organic search listings with an average position of 4.5.
This is especially true with many of your mobile searches, with Google reports showing that a top position is important for your CTRs. Mobile screen sizes are much smaller and navigating the web is harder and many searchers won’t go to the bottom. Also, many searchers are “On the Go” and will have less time, so they will pick only the top listings, especially in an emergency.
Target top two positions
As mentioned earlier, getting top positions is crucial because that helps to increase CTRs and conversion rates and improve quality scores. Most searchers looking for a local tradesman such as an electrician or damp proofing expert are unlikely to look below the organic results.
They are more likely to click the top three positions which will usually be above the Organic Search & Google Map results and then request two or three quotes.
Appearing in the top results has many psychological benefits too. Most searchers perceive the top ranked sites to be the best and the most reliable and will not bother with lower ranked sites. It’s also common to find that lower ranked websites tend to be of a poorer quality and that’s because of low quality scores due to ‘Below Average’ landing page experience.
So what you need to do is get higher positions and there are a number of ways you can do that:
⁃ increase your bids if you are using a manual bid strategy and continue to increase them based on your positions. This can be effective but also time consuming. If you have hundreds of keywords and multiple ad groups, that could take up a lot of time, just checking your competitors’ positions and adjusting accordingly – but it can give you greater control
⁃ Top of page bid strategy – this is an automated bid strategy and works to place your site at the top of the auction results for all ads in the campaign. This is a simpler bidding option and has a high success rate but gives you less control.
⁃ Target outranking share bid strategy – this is a highly effective bidding option to appear in the top results because you can pick one of your competitors that consistently appears at the top and then add their domain in the bidding option and state what percentage of the time you would like to appear higher than them. If you want to appear higher all the time, then you would add 100% but remember to put a bid cap because this can be very expensive.
⁃ Improve quality scores and therefore ad rank – this is more of a long-term strategy because it requires working on your landing pages, ad extensions, ads, keywords and other parts of your account and although beneficial in the long run, you are still not guaranteed higher ad positions.
⁃ Add all ad extensions – ad extensions are an important factor to your ad rank and campaigns that have as many extensions added consistently achieve higher rankings for lower costs. So, add all extensions where applicable including sitelinks, callout, call, structured snippets, reviews, price and message extensions.
Target long tail searches with match types
Long tail keywords are three or more word keywords. They have fewer search volumes individually but collectively have high search volumes and higher conversion rates, unlike ‘head’ keywords that are more popular and more expensive too.
Examples of long tail keywords are:
Local plumber Milton Keynes
Electrician in Milton Keynes
Swimming pool specialists in MK
Location extensions are a must
It’s amazing how many local service businesses don’t utilise the location extensions to include their addresses with their ads. Your potential customers are more likely to contact you if they see you are a local landscaping or locksmith business and can quickly respond to their request.
The location extension helps to to show your address and also directions on how can reach reach you if needed. It also gives searchers the confidence that you are local and they can reach you quickly and want to work with a local provider. There are many suppliers that claim to be local when they are not and an address will separate the real from the not so real.
To add location extensions, you first need to create a ‘Google My Business” account and add all relevant addresses for your business. Next you need to link this to your Google AdWords account and import relevant addresses to the campaigns that you are creating.
Add location in the ad
After adding location extensions to highlight your address and allow for potential customers to visit your business or contact you directly, you should also add your location in the ads. That also includes all the towns, cities and counties that you are targeting.
Don’t assume that people know you are local. Your location extensions won’t show for all your searches neither will your phone number appear in all search results. Having the location in the ad ensures that you are covering all bases and can give prospects confidence that you are local to them.
There are a number of places to add your location in the ad and these include:
⁃ Headline 1
⁃ Headline 2
⁃ Path 1 and Path 2
Headline 1 is the most prominent part of your ad and along with headline 2 and sitelinks are the only clickable parts of your ads. So, adding the location in headline 1 is best and also good in headline 2 and you can test this in your ad group.
Avoid asking questions – assume you have the answer
Asking a question like “Looking for a Plumber?” In the headline or description for plumbing searches is the type of question that should never be asked. People come to Google for answers, so asking such questions adds no value. Their search term already indicates that they are looking for a plumber and your ad should instead state how you are the plumber that will solve their problem.
It’s also a waste of space. With only a limited amount of text space in the advert, it’s important that you maximise that space. So, asking such a question will likely lead to lower ad performance with lower CTRs because you will not be addressing the searchers real problem.
If you do decide to add a question, it should be more in line with the problem or challenge that they are facing. So, someone searching for a plumber you could ask a question like ‘Boiler broken down?’. And then in the description you can describe how you can help and how quickly you can get there.
Of course, you should test this alongside other ads with various questions and different benefits and features.
Use the right call to action
It’s quite common to see ads that talk about features and how the business has been in existence for many years and then finally end with a call to action like ‘Call Us’. Such ads usually perform poorly on Google and that’s because they don’t give the prospect any real incentive to call the business.
Instead, combine your benefits with your call to action like this:
“Call us to book your emergency boiler repair & we will arrive in 60 minutes.”
Getting a steady stream of qualified leads for your business is possible with Google AdWords and by following the tips above, you will soon outperform over 90% of competitors in your industry.
Are you looking for a Google AdWords Expert? Contact me to discuss and to find out how I can help you launch and manage effective campaigns