Have you noticed a new type of badge showing up in Google search results? Hi, I’m Christian and with Spark Marketer, and today I want to talk to you about why you should be using Google’s local service ads.
So first up, what are local service ads? Google’s local service ads are a new type of advertising platform that is pay-per-lead, and that Google has been introducing since about 2017. It’s important to note that Google’s local service ads aren’t available for all cities and all industries. We’ll include a link in this video that you can use to see if your business is eligible to get started.
Google’s local service ads are pay-per-lead, not pay-per-click like in Google Ads. You don’t get to choose what keywords to target. You don’t write ads or select landing pages for users to land on. Instead, you select categories and job types that you offer. Google decides what keywords to match with your category or your offerings to show to customers. This makes local service ads a great choice if your business and city are eligible. Local service ads appear above Google ads. So if you’ve already seen local service ads, you may have noticed that they appeared not only above Google Ads, but the Google map local pack and organic results.
Since local service ads and Google Ads are completely separate from one another, that means if you’re on both platforms, your business may actually show up for local service ads, Google Ads, and then of course, if you’re showing up on maps and organic, then those are essentially four spots that your business can show up for relevant keywords to your business.
And finally, there’s no cost to sign up. Similar to Google Ads, there’s no cost to actually sign up for the platform. You just end up paying for, in this case, the leads that you get. You can start and stop local service ads at any time you’d like, and just like Google Ads, you’re only paying for the leads that you’re receiving.
However, even though there’s no cost to sign up, there is a bit of an onboarding process that each business has to take. As part of the onboarding process, each business must submit license and insurance proof and any person, whether it be technician or other staff member that will visit a customer’s home will need to be background checked, and this is done through Google’s partner, the Pinkerton Company.
So hopefully those are enough reasons for you to start using local service ads, if you are eligible. Again, those reasons are, it’s a cost-per-lead model, not cost-per-click. They appear above Google Ads results, and there’s no cost to sign up, but there is a little bit of an onboarding process.
If you have any questions on signing up or using local service ads, feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll see you in the next one.
Have you ever thought about making Facebook Ads a part of your marketing strategy, or do you think, “Hey, that might work for other industries, but it doesn’t make sense for roofing”?
Well, there are actually a couple of key ways Facebook Ads can complement your roofing company’s marketing strategy and sales efforts, making it easier for you to get leads and boost conversion rates.
If you’re considering using Facebook Ads for your roofing business, here are two tips to get you started…
#1 Use Facebook Ads to Prep Customers in a Specific Area Before Canvassing
While roofing falls into the home service category, it’s actually a very different industry than say plumbing, chimney, or HVAC in terms of how companies in the industry typically sell. Successful roofing companies typically send sales reps out to knock on doors and convert entire neighborhoods. And a lot of times, this door-to-door selling revolves around specific weather events.
For example, when a hailstorm or tornado hits a specific area, sales reps target that area. Which means that unlike chimney companies, plumbing companies, and other home service businesses, a roofer’s service area or focus sometimes shifts a bit.
This weather-oriented, neighborhood-specific sales focus makes Facebook Ads a great marketing strategy for roofers — because you can actually use Facebook Ads to warm up specific zip codes or neighborhoods for your sales reps.
With Facebook, you can target a specific housing complex or gated community that’s a potentially high-dollar area, and you can target whole zip codes and service areas as well. You can even get as specific as targeting a one-mile radius around a specific house. Simply put in a previous customer’s address or an address from Zillow and target the 1-2 mile area around that.
Here’s why hyper-targeting with Facebook Ads is such a win for roofing companies…
By showing your ads to a specific area prior to sending your sales reps out, you’re actually setting your sales reps up for success when they go door to door. Because your ads will have done a little work up front, when your sales reps canvas a neighborhood, the homeowners they’re talking to will already know about the company and its reputation.
So, what type of campaign should you run when you’re using Facebook Ads for this purpose?
In this instance, we recommend running a video views campaign using a video that educates homeowners on how to recognize hail damage or other storm damage, or what goes into a roofing inspection. What do you want to do with these ads?
- Make people aware that their roof may have been damaged by the recent storm or weather event.
- Let homeowners know you’re going to be in the neighborhood and that you’re happy to do a roof inspection to check for damage.
- Build trust by letting them know who they’re going to be talking to, educating them on your company, and providing social proof that you do the quality work you say you do through reviews and testimonials from happy customers.
So in this case, you’re not using Facebook Ads to generate leads, but to prep the customers in the area to be more accepting of sales technicians and more likely to convert at the door.
#2 Use Facebook Ads to Generate Leads With a Free Roof Inspection
While Facebook Ads don’t have to be used to generate leads, they absolutely can be used for that purpose. Because of the targeting capabilities of Facebook Ads, you can easily use the platform to achieve your objective of getting more customers or potential customers in a specific, high-dollar or high-need area.
Ads can get your brand out in front of people in a targeted area and make them aware that their roof may have been damaged by recent weather events. The offer of the ad? A free roof inspection.
By running a Facebook Ads lead gen campaign in this instance, you can collect the info of homeowners (in a target area) who are interested in having their roof inspected. Which means you can follow up with them. Voila: leads generated.
Could Facebook Ads Make the Job of Selling Easier for Your Sales Reps?
I think almost everyone would agree: selling is hard — especially when you’re selling a high ticket item or service like a new roof. With big ticket items comes longer sales cycles (typically). Who couldn’t use a little help?
So before you write off Facebook Ads as good for every industry but yours, consider how you sell and how Facebook Ads can be used strategically to your benefit. You just may find that Facebook Ads do a lot of the heavy lifting up front so that when your sales reps show up, a lot of the selling is already done for them.
Adding Facebook Ads to your marketing strategy can be a great way to grow your business, increase brand awareness, and engage with potential and existing customers. But one thing that can make business owners uneasy is how different results can be.
One industry — say ecommerce, for example —could see really high conversion rates and easily identify return on ad spend (ROAS), while another industry — say home services — could see lower numbers and have a challenging time figuring out ROAS.
What’s going on here? Do Facebook Ads just not work as well for some industries as they do for others?
If you’re running Facebook Ads for your home services business and you’re wondering why your results always look different from the results you’re hearing about from business owners in other industries, you’re not alone.
Facebook Ads are definitely worth it for home service businesses — but there are four reasons why your Facebook Ads results will always look different from industries like retail and ecommerce…
#1 Selling a Home Service Business Just Takes Longer
Think about it: the sales cycle for a home services business is not the same as the sales cycle for an ecommerce business or a retail shop. You don’t have to have a relationship with a brand to click the “buy now” button for a pair of shoes you’re drooling over. You just have to know how and where to buy.
So think about that in terms of Facebook Ads….a retail or ecommerce store may only have to get an ad in front of a potential customer one time before that potential customer becomes a paying customer. As a result, it can *seem* like Facebook Ads are really cheap for ecommerce and retail businesses.
It’s easy for customers to open up their wallets for low ticket items, but home service businesses are not typically selling low ticket items.You’re not typically selling products that provide immediate gratification or any of the other tangible pleasures that retail provides.
Buyers typically want to know more than just how and where to hire you before they make the jump from potential customer to paying customer. They want to have a relationship with the brand first, because…
#2 Hiring the Wrong Home Service Business Carries More Risk
It doesn’t take much convincing to get a potential customer to click the “buy now” button for a pair of shoes they can’t wait to slip their feet into — especially when there are things in place to reduce risk, like fast shipping and easy returns. Even if they haven’t purchased from the brand before, risk is minimal. They can always get their money back and life will be no worse than it was before they bought the shoes.
But as a home services business, you’re selling something less tactile and far riskier — a service.
When you hire a plumber you’ve never worked with before to come into your home and install a costly new tankless water heater, there’s a lot that could go wrong if you hire the wrong company.
The plumber could show up late, or not at all. They could damage the water heater or install it wrong. They could leave you with a massive bill that far exceeds the number you were quoted at the start. They could stop in the middle of the job and leave your home a total mess.
In other words, there are a lot of what ifs that you have to contend with when you hire someone to perform a service, that you don’t have with the shoe purchase. And that’s true for your customers, too.
They’re what if-ing their little hearts out, and they want to minimize risk as much as possible.
They want to know they’re going to be charged a fair price, that the work will be done right, and that their property will be taken care of. They want to know that the contractor will be clean, professional, and trustworthy. After all, they’re going to be in their home around their pets and kids.
And here’s another reason hiring the wrong home services company feels riskier than making an ecommerce purchase: Chances are, the work being done is out of the homeowner’s area of expertise.
They can look at a pair of shoes and judge their quality, but they wonder: Will I able to tell if a plumber does the job wrong, cuts corners, or tells me I need something I don’t?
This increased risk and lack of confidence is exactly why people will ask their friends and family for contractor referrals, but aren’t likely to ask where their friends or family buy their shoes. It’s why people check reviews before they pick up the phone.
The truth is: when we make a purchase — especially a high ticket purchase — we all want to know we’re making the right choice and that it’s going to be okay. And when it comes to a purchase that could affect the value, comfort, and integrity of our homes, we want to be extra sure.
For that reason, more ads are typically needed for a home services business to see a conversion on Facebook.
You have to get your name and business out in front of a potential customer multiple times to build trust and authority with your audience. They have to become familiar with your brand — because familiarity minimizes risk and increases confidence.
So, it’s not that you’re paying more for Facebook Ads as a home service business — it’s that you will likely need to run more ads over more time to turn a prospect into a paying customer.
#3 Home Services Are Not an Impulse Buy
One of my closets is filled with shoes, bags, and jewelry. That’s it. Do I really need another pair of black boots or another bag? Absolutely not. But will I justify spending money on both if I see an ad that catches my eye? Of course.
I don’t care who you are, getting new things that you absolutely love feels good. Spending thousands of dollars on a new plumbing fixture install for your home does not.
It doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the benefits of the plumbing fixture — it just means the urgency, cost, and benefits are perceived differently than they are with an ecommerce product.
The service you provide is not something your customers expect to squeal with delight over. And it’s definitely not an impulse buy. So ad conversion requires more context and more frequency.
Let me explain…
If I see a new bag I love on sale for under $100, I’ll start doing the math. I’ll think, Well, I recently stopped drinking, so I’m saving X amount of money on wine each week, which adds up to $100 in X amount of time.
What’s that mental calculation come out to? I deserve that new bag and I should get it.
All the ecommerce company has to do is show me an ad once, maybe twice — then they’re done selling. I do the rest of the selling in my head.
As a home service business, you’ve got to work a lot harder and so do your ads. You have to convince them that they need your services as urgently as they need that thing they really, really want — the thing saved in their Amazon wish list.
You’ve got to convince them that you’re the right company for the job, and that risk is so low and the experience so stress-free that they have no reason to defer the decision to a later time.
You’ve got to convince them that the gain is greater than the loss — that they’ll be glad they called. And it’s not going to take one ad — it’s typically going to take many.
#4 ROAS Isn’t as Straightforward for Home Services Businesses
For an ecommerce business, ROAS can be easily calculated if the Facebook pixel is set up properly, because the pixel will trace the user’s ad view or click through to the point of purchase. When your sale happens on the website and you have a purchase event that is triggered, tracking is super simple.
But for service businesses, the return is a little harder to see — not because you’re not seeing a return, but because the end goal (a purchase) doesn’t typically happen on your website.
You’re asking the person who sees your ad to take the next step in the sales process, which is typically to visit your website or give you a call. But there’s no product to buy online, no purchase event to trigger, so that’s the end of easy ROAS tracking.
To figure out the ROAS of your Facebook Ads, you’ll have to:
- Look at attribution — If your customers have Facebook IDs and your Facebook pixel is set up properly, you should be able to tell if a customer saw one of your ads at any point in the customer journey. Attribution reveals what online and offline actions can be attributed to your ads, so you know if your ads are effectively getting people to take specific actions and become paying customers.
- Look at your call tracking — While call tracking won’t give you a complete or 100% accurate picture, it’s a key tool for evaluating the effectiveness of Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Just remember, you probably won’t see the same high numbers with Facebook that you might see with Google, because Facebook Ads are more focused on nurturing and getting customers earlier in the buying stage — not on those hot leads who need your services ASAP. But you should see calls coming from your Facebook Ads! Also, keep in mind that someone may have seen your ad on Facebook, but ended up researching and clicking to call on Google. It may look like the lead came from Google, when in reality, the ad played a pivotal role in getting the call.
- Look at this year vs. last year — Another great way to tell if your Facebook Ads are working is to compare the number of calls and booked jobs you’re getting this year vs. last year (assuming you weren’t running Facebook Ads last year). You should see an increase in calls and booked jobs if you’re using Facebook Ads, so if you don’t, there’s a problem. But when considering the numbers, take into account any and all marketing changes that you made in that time frame.
- Ask your customers —It also never hurts to ask your customers what made them call you. Ask if they remember seeing any ads on Facebook. It’s simple, but it can help you track ROAS!
Hopefully this blog post has been informative and cleared up some of the confusion you may have had around Facebook and ROAS for service businesses.
Every one of us has been affected by this global pandemic to some degree, and local businesses have been hit especially hard. This is unlike any challenge we’ve ever faced and we’re all in uncharted territory.
That said, we want you to know we stand with you and we’re behind you as you navigate this challenging time. We’ve spent countless hours talking with clients and others in the home services industry over the last few weeks, and we’ve put together some resources to help.
We’ll be updating this blog post as we, and those we know and work with, create more resources – so bookmark this post and check back periodically.
Stay safe, breathe deep, and remember this is just a moment in time. We’ll get through it together!
Sales & marketing strategies for times of crisis
For sales and marketing strategies that work during times of crisis, check out the chimney industry online discussion we hosted with Alan Rush. And don’t forget to check out the resource links below the video!
Tips for leading your business through tough times
Taylor and Carter did an emergency BCP video to talk about how we can better lead our companies through this time. At the end, they’ll also tell you how you can get their book Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love for free.
Your restart ready marketing kit
From how to talk to your employees during tough times to templated social posts and phone scripts you can use to communicate with customers right now, you’ll find a little bit of everything here in our Restart Ready Marketing Guide.
Safety + sanitation guide for in-home services
Keeping your employees and customers safe is crucial right now. Clinical microbiologist L. Joseph Ochal III of The Chimney Scientist put together this awesome in-home guide to help service businesses reduce COVID-19 risk while serving customers.
Technician in-home safety compliance strategy
If you are advertising touchless appointments and new safety procedures during in-home appointments, but your techs aren’t following the rules you put in place, there’s going to be a real potential for negative reviews – or worse. Check out this Technician In-Home Safety Compliance Strategy for making sure your technicians are following the safety procedures you have put in place, even when you aren’t on the job site to enforce it.
We’re rooting for you (in the good times and the bad) and we hope these resources help!
We love the businesses in the Chimney Industry! Part of our effort to serve this industry during the COVID-19 outbreak in the US has been to share sales and marketing strategies that work during these extraordinary times. We did an online discussion on April 1, 2020 between industry experts Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins (co-founders of Spark Marketer) and Alan Rush (owner Rush Profits). If you were not able to join the call, here is the video of the webinar discussion. We hope it is useful to you as you navigate changes and decisions in your business right now.
Resource links shared during the presentation
Facebook and Instagram ads not performing as you expected? Not to worry, because we’re sharing our Facebook team’s top tips for troubleshooting and fixing poor ad performance.
If you want your ads performance to improve or you’ve noticed that your ads performance has changed drastically, these are the things you want to check:
- Are you using the right type of campaign for your goals?
- Is your targeting correct?
- Is there a problem with your budget?
- Has Facebook flagged any of your campaigns?
- Is your frequency too high?
- What’s your relevancy score?
- Has the competition ramped up?
#1 Are you using the right type of campaign for your goals?
If your ads aren’t doing well, the very first thing you need to look at is whether or not you’re using the right campaign. Does your objective match your goals?
Facebook has three different marketing objectives that each of their campaign types fall into: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
Awareness includes brand awareness and reach campaigns.
This is the marketing objective you would choose if you were trying to get your company out in front of as many people as possible or in front of people that are best suited to what you’re offering.
Think: spreading the word.
Consideration includes traffic, engagement, video views, and any type of campaign that is designed to get the viewer to think about purchasing from you.
Conversion covers any type of campaign that’s designed to get those who see your ads to purchase from your brand, sign up for a webinar, or take whatever action it is that you consider your “end goal.”
Why does it matter if your campaign objective matches your goals?
Let’s say you want to drive store visits with your ads, but you’re using a traffic campaign. Well, you won’t see the end results you’re looking for.
Here’s why: A traffic campaign drives more traffic to your website, not your store.
In this case, you’d be better off with a conversion campaign that features ads with offers or incentives for visiting your store.
#2 Is your targeting correct?
The second thing you’d want to look at is your targeting.
When we talk about targeting with ads, we mean your audience. Who is in the audience you’re targeting with your ads? Is your audience large enough?
Facebook will show warnings like, “Your audience is too small,” or “Your audience is too broad,” and those things do affect performance.
So if you’re running the right type of campaign but you’re still not seeing the results you’d like to see, take a look at your audience and make sure you’re targeting the right people.
#3 Is there a problem with your budget?
The next thing to check is: is your budget feeding out?
While it’s not the only option, most people will be using a daily spend for their ads (for example: $5/day).
Now, let’s say you’re spending $20 a day and you’re thinking, “Wow, my campaigns are just not working.” If it’s budget-related you’re either:
- Not spending enough.
- Miscalculating your reach.
Let’s address spend first.
Let’s say your cost per result for a lead gen campaign is $25 and you’re spending a daily budget of $20…
Well, Facebook cannot get you a lead in one day with that budget. It needs two days worth of budget to get you a lead with that lead cost and that daily spend.
To see if this is the problem with your ads performance, you need to look at what your cost per result is and what you’re spending daily.
You might want to only spend $5/day, but if a lead in your industry costs more than that and you’re not willing to spend it, you’re wasting your money.
Facebook has to match industry standards and they can’t give you a lead for $5/day just because that’s what you want.
So if the average plumbing lead costs about $80, you need to be willing to spend at least $80/day or accept that you’re only going to get one lead every several days.
Now, let’s talk about your reach.
You may think that your reach is really wide and your budget will go a long way — but you could be wrong.
For example, you may think it’ll be $0.50 to $1.50 per lead, but Facebook may be saying something different, depending on the day.
So you need to look at the estimated daily reach. If that’s not lining up with what you’re getting in your results, then it’s time to switch campaigns, adjust your budget, and switch up some copy and headlines.
If it is matching, then Facebook is doing the best it can with what you’re giving it.
#4 Has Facebook flagged any of your campaigns?
Still not sure what’s affecting your ads performance? Then it’s time to look for any red flags (pun absolutely intended).
When you look at your dashboard, do you see any yellow or red triangles next to your ad sets, your ads, or your campaigns?
If you have a red triangle, you either need to fix that ad/ad set/campaign, or delete it.
Why delete? Even though that ad might be turned off, Facebook Ads Manager sees in there and can hold that against you in the long-run. So if you can’t fix it, get rid of it!
If you have a yellow triangle, read it and take action!
The nice thing about Facebook Ads Manager is that it tells you why it’s flagging something, so you can fix it.
And if you don’t understand what it’s saying, you can always go in and submit a request that says, “Hey, I don’t really know what this means,” or “Hey, I don’t agree with this.”
Flags can get overturned, but you can’t just ignore them.
#5 Is your frequency too high?
Let’s say your ads were running just fine for a couple of weeks or a month or two, and then all of the sudden, performance plummeted.
Chances are, your frequency is too high. Frequency means how many times a person has seen that specific ad in the time that it’s been running.
Why is too high of a frequency bad? It means people aren’t engaging with your ad anymore because they’ve seen it so many times.
What’s a good rule of thumb for frequency?
If your frequency is at or over four and your ads have started to decrease in results or increase in costs, it’s time to switch those ads out or update them.
You can keep the same campaign, you can even keep the same ad set, but you need to keep fresh ads coming in there.
#6 What’s your relevancy score?
If frequency is down and cost doesn’t seem too ridiculously high, but you’re just not seeing the results you hoped for, look at your relevancy scores.
Relevancy scores are broken down into three parts:
- Quality ranking — This is determined by the feedback on your ad in comparison to other ads going to the same audience. Are people liking it?
- Engagement ranking — This is determined by looking at how people are engaging with your ads. Are they getting a lot of likes, comments, clicks, shares, etc.?
- Conversion ranking — This is determined by looking at whether or not your ads are achieving the goals you’ve set for them. For example, if you’re running a traffic campaign, is this ad bringing more people to your site? If you’re running a conversion campaign, is the ad getting conversions and purchases?
If quality, engagement, and conversion rankings are low, and Facebook is saying your ads are in the bottom 25% of ads, chances are your ads just aren’t being shown, and people aren’t liking or engaging with the message you’re putting out there.
If this is the case, you need to completely overhaul your headlines, your copy, your videos, and your images, and get something out there that people really care about and want to engage with.
#7 Has the competition ramped up?
If you’re freaking out because your Facebook or Instagram ad costs just skyrocketed and you don’t know why, look at CPM. CPM = cost per thousand impressions.
If this number is high, it typically means that your competition has increased on Facebook or Instagram, and indicates that more people are targeting the same audience you’re targeting.
A good average CPM is between $5 and $15.
That said, during the holidays, you can expect a normal CPM to be $25+ because more people are typically vying for your audience’s attention during the holidays.
If it’s not holiday season and you have a really high CPM, that means you have a super competitive audience and it’s time to go back into your audience and see if you can adjust your targeting.
See if you can target people who are a good fit for your business in a different way, so that you can get those costs lower.
For example, you may use a lookalike audience instead of interest targeting, or you may focus on retargeting instead of cold audiences.
You’re still getting to the same people, you’re just going about it in a different, more cost-effective way.
Hope this post helps!