One of the biggest problems facing most local service businesses is generating sales-ready leads (leads you can send straight to your sales team and close).
Although sales-ready leads are what generate revenue for any business, generating them in sufficient quantity is very challenging.
In this article, I'll show you how to generate sufficient sales leads for your business with Google Ads.
According to wordstream, 64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy a service.
And according to unbounce, Google Ads visitors are 50 percent more likely to buy a service than organic visitors.
In this article, I'll show you how you can quickly use Google Ads to start generating lots of sales leads.
Google Ads will help you reach potential clients when they are:
- In need of your services
- Actively searching for answers to a question of which your services can solve
- Actively searching for a service to buy.
While other articles have been created, none are in-debt for a local service business as the map I’m going to layout to you.
Google Ads stands out among other digital marketing strategies for local service businesses because unlike social media which is driven by interest, Google Ads is driven by intent.
Because Google Ads is an intent-based platform, you’ll be generating lots of sales leads you can just send to your sales team and close.
And because I want to give you a jump start on implementing this strategy into your local service business, I’ve made this explanation short and sweet (without cutting the important bits)
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Before we start, here is what you need to know about Google ads:
- Google Ads is an intent-based platform that is driven by keywords
- People use Google when they have a need and they make use of keywords.
For example, if you are looking to hire a bankruptcy lawyer in NY, you can search on Google with the keyword ‘bankruptcy attorney NY”
How does Google Ads work?
Once you create a campaign with your target keywords and people start searching for those keywords, your ads will show above and below the search engine result page like on the image below
Now that you know what Google Ads is and how it works, let’s look at the ways to start generating more sales leads with Google Ads.
Step 1: Choose the right keywords
Keywords are the most important component of Google Ads. It's what instructs Google on the type of search phrase your ads will be shown on.
If you choose the wrong keywords, your ads will show for irrelevant searches.
To get it right with keywords, you need to understand keyword research and keyword intent
And in this section, I'll show you how to leverage keyword research and intent to build a Google Ads campaign that generates lots of sales leads and customers.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of generating keywords you want to target on Google Ads
How to conduct keyword research
To conduct keyword research head over to Google keyword planner here.
Enter the name of the service you provide and hit "Get Results".
For example, if you are a home remodeling contractor, enter home remodeling in the discover keyword box.
Next is to select your keywords based on intent
What is keyword intent:
Keyword intent is the motive behind a search. It is what a searcher wishes to accomplish by conducting a search.
Understanding the intent behind a search will help you not only to choose the right keywords but to build a sales funnel and write ads copies that will carter to the needs of the searcher and ultimately convert them to a sales lead.
How to determine the intent behind a keyword:
The best way to determine the intent behind a keyword is to ask Google. Google the keyword you got during your keyword research phase and go over the organic results, not the paid results.
Then ask yourself, what are the organic results all saying? Are all the organic results filled with the "how-to" "when" "top 10" or "where" articles?
If it's filled with those articles then that keyword is informational (people use it to get answers to a question)
But if the organic results are filled with local service providers like yourself showcasing their service offerings, then that keyword is transactional (people use it to search for a service to buy)
But if the organic results list articles and websites not closely related to your service offerings, then that keyword is irrelevant.
Let's take a look at the type of keywords based on intent.
There are two types of keywords intent:
1. Informational keywords
Informational keywords are search terms people use to get answers to a question on Google of which your service could solve.
These search terms normally have the words "how" "where" or "when".
People searching with these terms are not yet ready to hire you but are looking to get answers to their questions.
These types of people are in the research phase, gathering the information that will help them make the right buying decision.
An example of an informational keyword is:
- what is the cost of a kitchen remodeling
- how to file for bankruptcy
- when do I need to see a dentist
Since people searching with this type of keyword are not yet ready to hire a local service provider, you need to combine your advertising efforts with remarketing to get a good result.
2. Transactional keywords
Transactional keywords are the king of all keywords because people use them when they are in need of your services and are ready to hire a local service provider.
Below are some examples of these keywords:
- divorce lawyer queens NY
- limousine service near me
- bathroom remodeling contractor
- orthodontist near me
Step 2: Use the right keyword match types
Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad.
A lot of local service business Google Ads campaigns failed not because they didn't choose the right keywords but because they associated their keywords with the wrong match type.
Associating a keyword with the wrong match type is more like choosing the wrong keywords.
If you fail to associate your keywords with the right match type, your keywords will show for search phrases Google thinks is right for your business.
But in most cases, those search phrases Google thinks is right for your business may be the keywords you'd rather have in your waste bin.
Let's take a look at the types of keyword match types and the effects they will have on your advertising.
Broad match keywords
Associating your target keywords with broad match type will cause Google to show your ads on search phrases they think is relevant to your keywords but in most cases, they aren't.
If you associate your keywords with broad match, your ads will show on search phrases that are not closely related to your keywords.
For example, if you used a broad match on the keyword "limo service" your ads will show up on search phrases like airport taxi or airport shuttle.
Getting your ads clicked on by those search terms is good if you also offer a taxi service, but if your service is strictly limo then you are just wasting money on those clicks.
Another negative aspect of broad match keywords is that it doesn't allow you to build a more granular campaign.
Building granular campaigns will help you pay less per click, increase conversion and reduce cost per conversion.
Modified broad match
Modified broad is more targeted than broad match and will trigger your ads on search phrases that are closely related to your keywords.
If you want to reach more people but don't want to waste clicks on search terms Google think is right for you but in most cases, they aren't, then using a modified broad match is the answer.
Modified broad match is adding a plus sign (+) before each word of your keyword.
By adding a plus sign to your keyword, you are instructing Google to show your ads on any search phrase that contains the word with a plus sign or its misspellings or close variation.
For example, the modified broad match of +remodeling +contractor can trigger search phrases like bathroom remodeling contractor, NY remodeling contractor e.t.c
Modified broad match will help you build a granular campaign and it's highly recommended to use it in place of broad match keywords.
Phrase match is a keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone's search includes the exact phrase of your keyword, or close variations of the exact phrase of your keyword, with additional words before or after.
The phrase match keyword "bicycle bell" can cause your ad to show if someone searches for "bicycle bell," "buy bells for bicycles" and "bicycle bell reviews."
Phrase match is ideal if you are targeting a handful of keywords but isn't ideal if you want to reach more people.
Exact phrase keywords is a keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone's search includes the exact phrase of your keywords or close variations.
The exact match keyword "dentist queens NY" can cause your ad to show if someone searches for "NY dentist queens," "dentist queens NY" and "queens NY dentist"
Just like phrase march, exact match keywords are ideal if you are targeting a handful of people but it isn't ideal if you want to reach a wider audience.
Which keyword match type should be used for a campaign?
The keyword match type you should use is modified broad, phrase and exact match type keywords.
These three keyword match types will help you build a more granular campaign and generate more leads and customers while spending less.
Step 3: Get your ads to top three positions on top of the first page
64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item or hire a service online.
And guess what? 64.6% of those clicks go to the top 3 ads on top of the search engine result page.
That means the guys occupying the top three listings are the ones getting 64.6% of new leads and customers to their local service business.
Here is how to get your ads to top three listings:
To get your ads to occupy the top 3 positions on search engine result pages, you need to outbid your competitors by using certain bid strategies.
This bid strategies are:
- Maximize clicks
- Top of page impression share
Once you select the above bid strategy, you'll be required to ad the maximum amount you'd like to pay per click.
Now, here is the trick, if you add an amount that is lower than that of your competitors, they will kick you off the top three positions.
But if you add a maximum cost per click (CPC) that is higher than your competitors, you will be able to dominate the top 3 listings and win 64.6% of the leads and customers.
In this section, I'll show you how to effectively select the right amount that will ensure you dominate the top three listings.
Head over to Google keyword planner and input your target keywords and click submit.
You'll be shown a list of your keywords historical search volume and the highest and lowest amount your competitors are bidding to occupy the top four listings on top of search engine result pages.
Now what you will do to outrank your competitors is to add 6 cents to the highest amount your competitors paid for that keyword.
For example, the keyword "orthodontist" has a top of page highest bid of $11.32.
In order to outrank your competitors and become the number one listing, you will add 6 cents to the $11.32.
But if you don't have the budget to compete for the number one spot alone, you can still compete for any of the top three spots by dividing the highest bid on a keyword by two.
So, for the keyword "orthodontist" whose historically highest cost per click is $11.32, you will divide $11.32 by 2 and that will be your maximum CPC bid.
Alternatively, you can read my in-debt article on how to choose the right Google Ads budget and maximum CPC using data from Google.
By following the guide on the article, you'll not only be able to choose the right Ads spend and maximum CPC, but you'll be able to see how many clicks you'd get.
Step 4. Send Google Ads traffic to the right landing page
Your landing page is very crucial for Google Ads campaign success.
Unless you're running a call-only campaign, neglecting your landing page is committing digital suicide.
Your landing page does one job and that is - engaging and converting Google Ads traffic to leads and customers.
And if your landing page isn't doing that job, then you need to rethink your landing page design and strategy.
Here is how to build a landing page that converts ad clicks to leads and customers
Build a landing page that meets the intent of your keywords
Like I said, people use Google because they have a need that needs to be met.
It could be that they are searching for information or looking to buy a product or service.
Meet those needs (intent) and you will be smiling to the bank.
Build a landing page that focuses on one call to action/offer
Your landing page should be focused on one call to action/offer and nothing more.
Adding more than one call to action on your landing page will confuse people and reduce the potency of your landing page.
Step 5: Use trust signals to triple conversion
Testimonials, reviews, and ratings help assure potential customers that you can deliver on the promise.
When a consumer interacts with your review, four things will happen.
- Google Ads visitors are 58% more likely to convert to a paying customer
- Google Ads visitors are more likely to click on your ads
- You generate 62% more revenue per site visitor
- Your customers will buy 3% more per order (AOV)
Places, where you can display your reviews and ratings, are:
- On your ads copy
- On your landing page
Step 6: Speak the language of your potential customers
Drop the Jargon – It’s tempting to want to show the customer what you know.
It’s natural to want to speak about it in the same language and voice that you might behind closed doors with your fellow industry experts.
But here’s the thing…you have to resist that temptation.
Your customers have a problem and view you as the solution. That doesn’t mean they have the technical expertise already.
Avoid industry jargon and acronyms. If there’s a simpler way to explain a concept on your ads copies and landing pages, go in a simpler way.
If you have to use a complex industry term, define it on the first use so you don’t leave your customer out in the dark.
The same goes for an acronym. Spell it out on the first use.
When the customer doesn’t understand what you’re talking about, they become less sure that you’ll help them solve their problem. Then, they leave.
2 Ways to Speak Your Customers’ Language
- Mention the search phrases they used on your ads copies and landing pages
- Talk about the before effect of their problem and the aftereffect of your solution
Step 7: Improve Pre-click and Post click experience
Pre-click experience is making sure your ads copy matches the intent of your keywords.
One way to make a great pre-click experience is to add your target keywords in the title and descriptions of your ads copy.
Post click experience is making sure your landing page matches the intent of your keywords and the promises made on your ads copy.
4 Ways to Optimize the Post-Click Experience
Decades ago, when your advertisement converted well, it added dollars to your bottom line. If people called your phone number or mailed in a check after seeing your print ad, it was to purchase your product.
That’s no longer the case.
Today, on the internet, an ad can give you tones of traffic, but not earn your business a cent of revenue.
Yet, the advertisement is still treated as THE most important element of the advertising campaign, even though it’s not what gets users to make an appointment, request a free quote, or call anymore.
According to MOZ, building a great pre-click and post-click experience can Lift your Conversion Rates by 212.74%.
The pre-click vs. the post-click experience
Before the internet, there was only the ad and the conversion. But the click has changed all that.
Online, prospects take action by clicking an ad, and then they take action again by choosing to claim or not claim an offer.
Therefore, we can divide the user experience into two parts as it relates to a marketing campaign. Everything before the click, and everything after:
- The pre-click experience: The user experience before the click. Affecting the pre-click experience are things like where your ad is shown, how it’s presented, its colors, headlines, value proposition, etc.
- The post-click experience: This is everything after the click. Affecting the post-click experience are things like visual hierarchy, conversion ratio, retargeting, and message match.
Like a headline is only good if it gets people to read the copy, an ad is only good if it gets people to click and visit the landing page.
And a landing page is only effective if it gets visitors to convert to a lead.
Advertisers are familiar with a lot of the things that make a good pre-click experience, but elements affecting the post-click experience may seem a little more foreign.
And you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken…
4 elements every local service business should know for post-click optimization
It’s an unfortunate truth that most ad dollars are wasted. The average Google Ads click-through rate is only 3.17% across all industries, and on the display network it’s an embarrassing 0.63%:
That means, on average, out of every 100 people who see your ad, 96-99 of them are not clicking it. And what’s worse — when they DO click it, only between 0.77% and 3.75% of them convert to a sales lead.
To boost that conversion rate, here are a few elements every advertiser should know to optimize the post-click experience:
Publishing an ad is like making a promise. It says to the viewers, “here’s what we have to offer.” The last part of the promise is fulfilled when they claim your offer and determine if it was as advertised.
But before they even get there, the landing page has to fulfill the promise of the ad by letting visitors know they’re in the right place.
That can be accomplished with a headline, colors, and images that are identical to the advertisement.
Your visitors won’t bother to evaluate your copy or even glance at your form if they think you’ve pulled the old bait and switch trick with your ad and landing page.
Here’s a great example of a message match from WordStream. Here’s the ad:
And the corresponding landing page:
On your website, navigation links help visitors move between pages to learn more about you.
On your landing page, though, they’re holes that let visitors escape. And those holes are killing your conversion rate.
You should think as every link outside of your call-to-action button as a distraction, and you should eliminate as many as possible.
The ideal conversion ratio (ratio of links to conversion goals) on a landing page is 1:1. Terms of service and privacy policies can be tucked into the footer, but they shouldn’t distract the visitors from the call to action (CTA) button. Here’s an example from Adobe
Theories of attention state that we don’t perceive everything equally. It was proposed in Germany over 100 years ago by three psychologists who concluded that “the whole is other than the sum of its parts.”
As in, when you’re crossing the street, you don’t notice birds flying overhead because you’re focused on getting to the opposite curb safely.
In that scenario, cars are more important to attend to than birds, because cars directly threaten your well-being.
In most everyday situations when our safety isn’t at risk, there are certain cues that jerk our attention around.
Things that are bigger, higher, move faster, contrast their surroundings — these are a few of those visual cues.
On your landing page, you can use this theory to guide visitors to your most important elements. Here’s how:
- Higher = more important than things that are lower. Your headline should be higher than your body copy. Your body copy should be higher than your form. Before they can convert, they have to know why.
- Bold, italics = more important than letters which aren’t bold or italicized. These should be things like your headline, benefits, or words like “free,” “limited-time offer” or “while supplies last...”
- High contrast = more important than things with low contrast. When you’re creating your landing page, you have to be mindful of the colors you’re using because the most important elements have to stand out on your page. The 60-30-10 rule is great to follow in this instance. It says 60% of your page should be your base, then 30% should be your background, and 10% should be your accent. That accent should be things like your logo, your call to action (CTA) button, and maybe your form. Your visitors shouldn’t have to hunt to find out where to convert.
- White space = things with more space around them are important enough to own their own section of a page. This is a great way to draw attention to badges and testimonials, and your call to action (CTA) button in particular. Your button shouldn’t be surrounded by clutter. It should be all alone, easy to find.
- Bulleted = more important than things which aren’t bulleted. Bullets are best used when listing benefits. Research has shown that both on and off the internet, people skim when they’re not pleasure reading. Using these cues to guide their eyes instead of letting them skim block text can be effective in getting them to evaluate your offer completely.
Here’s an example from Simply Measured that guides the visitor to the CTA button logically and effectively:
Step 8: Build a well-structured account
Why Is Google Ads Account Structure So Important?
Let’s take a step back – what is even meant by account structure and why is it so important?
I’m glad you asked. Put simply, the way you structure your Google Ads account allows you to control how you want your ads to be triggered and when and where you want them to appear.
Not having a well-structured account is like attempting to drive a car that’s not properly built – accidents are bound to happen. Keep in mind that having a well-structured account will:
- Ensure that the searches triggering your ads are relevant for your audience.
- Result in better quality scores, which in turn results in better results and lower prices. Quality score is essentially the scale of how much Google likes you (and trust me, you want Google to love you!).
- Keep you organized and able to optimize. If your account is a mess, then you’re likely to get lost in the mess, your results will plummet (or never arrive) and optimizing to get better results will be out of the question. So keep in mind organization (and your own sanity) when structuring your account.
The 6 Critical Components of Google Ads Account Structure
It’s important to have a full understanding of each component of account structure before even dreaming of getting started, so let’s quickly review the basics
- Campaigns: How to structure Google Ads campaigns, in a nutshell: Unless your account is very large, you’ll typically only have a few campaigns that surround broader themes. Each campaign will contain ad groups, which contain keywords that tie to your text ads and direct to your landing page. Typically I recommend deciding on campaign topics based on how you want to divvy up your marketing budget since you set up your budget at the campaign level.
- Ad Groups: Under each campaign, you will create relevant ad groups, which will be much more specific. There’s no recommended number of ad groups to have under a campaign, but typically it’s more manageable to not go overboard since this will stretch your campaign budget across so many ad groups, keywords, ads, and landing pages, that results could suffer. Ad groups contain keywords (no more then 10-20 is recommended), these keywords will trigger your text ads (2-3 per ad group), and then direct to a relevant landing page.
- Keywords: Keywords will fall under each ad group, and are very important to control the way your ad is triggered. When someone types in the search box in Google, that search is called a “search query,” which is then matched with a keyword, which then triggers an ad. Each keyword will have a Max CPC, match type, and quality score tied to it. It’s critical to conduct thorough keyword research, gain a concrete understanding of match types, and spend time refining and optimizing your keyword strategy over time.
- Negative Keywords: These are vastly overlooked by advertisers, but they’re critical to set up and build upon to avoid spending money on irrelevant searches. Especially if you’re using more broad match and/or modified broad match keywords, you’re highly likely to pull in some completely irrelevant search queries that match with your keywords and ads. Keep building your negative keywords list and checking out your search term report to identify new negatives.
- Ad Text: This is the actual text that will appear when your ad is triggered. Each ad group should have 2-3 ads per ads per group directing to the same landing page. It’s important to follow AdWords guidelines in order to get your ads approved, A/B test your ads over time, and really highlight the benefits of your offering to one-up your competition in the search results.
- Landing Pages: Last, but not the least, we have landing pages. The destination where each ad will direct the searcher to (likely a page on your site with an offering or call-to-action). I recommend being very strategic with your landing pages, making sure that each ad directs to an extremely relevant page, which reflects not only the keywords you’re bidding on within that ad group, but also the ad text displaying in the SERPs. Landing page relevancy and optimization are critical to see success with PPC.
Now that we’ve reviewed the basics, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what you need to do when building out your account. If you’re completely new to Google Ads, start off by creating an account. This part should be pretty self-explanatory, but follow this guide if you need assistance.
By following the guide listed above, you'll be on your way in discovering a new reliable source of generating unlimited customers for your business.
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