If you’re using Facebook Ads for your service business, you may be wondering why ads seem to be more expensive or lead to less “conversions” for you than they do for other companies. The reality is, service businesses are always going to get different results than e-commerce businesses, businesses with websites that are designed to sell online, and businesses that have a physical storefront.

Why is that? Our Digital Marketing Strategist and in-house Facebook guru, Amber Krigbaum, explains…

#1 Your industry is different

As a service business, you’re not selling a low-ticket item that someone can purchase with very little risk or thought. You’re not selling a dress or a pair of shoes that someone can easily return if they’re not happy. You’re not selling an online course that someone can purchase and watch from home.

No, you’re selling a service that requires your customer to allow you into their home. A service that can affect their family and the value of their home. In other words, what you’re selling involves a lot more risk and requires a lot more thought and consideration than an impulse buy or low-ticket product.

The fact that you’re selling a service and not a product sets you up to face some resistance that other industries don’t face, and that difference leads to different results from Facebook Ads. You’ll have a harder time and you’ll have to shell out more money to get leads, because your customers are weighing things they’re not weighing with other businesses, like e-commerce businesses. They’re thinking:

  • Are you scamming me? Unfortunately, your customers have to consider the possibility that you’re a scammer or a fly-by-night business. They’re asking themselves if you’ll do what you say or if you’re simply trying to scam them.
  • Should I choose your company? There are so many other home services companies your customer can choose from in your service area. If you’re a roofer, plumber, or chimney sweep, you probably have at least three competitors for your customers to consider. So why should they choose you? They want to know and it’s something they’re looking into before making a decision.
  • Are you trustworthy? Buying a low-ticket product from a website doesn’t involve that much risk or that much trust. But you’re literally going into your customers’ homes. Inviting strangers to work inside of your home is much more intimate than having a package delivered. You’re affecting their home structure, you’re around their children and their pets, and that stuff matters. Let’s say your average ticket is $400. It’s easier for someone to buy a $400 designer coat than it is to invite a stranger into their home and spend $400 on a service that could affect their home and family. People value their home, they value their privacy. A coat showing up at the front door does not affect that. The wrong service business coming into their home does. Your customers don’t want to make a wrong choice because there’s more at stake than there is when they order a product from a website. So before you decide to call you, they’re looking for assurance that you’re trustworthy.
  • What’s the price? Unless you’re installing a new fireplace or providing some other tangible product, at the end of your service, your customers won’t get the warm and fuzzy feeling they’d get from spending that money on a product. Without the tangible product, people are more hesitant to hand over money. Your customers are also considering whether or not it’s a necessary expense right now. Maybe money’s tight and they’re thinking, “Does this really need to happen this year?” Remember, they’re not as excited and eager to have your service done as they might be to get that new coat. Of course, that’s why offering financing options to your customers is so important. People may not be able to shell out the money or may not want to shell out the money right now, even if they know they need the services. If you don’t advertise your financing options, people may click on your ad, know they need the services, and still not book with you.
  • Do I really need your services? Nobody needs a $400 coat, but they’ll still buy one if it’s the coat of their dreams and they can see themselves wearing it for years. But no one is going to spend $400 on chimney or plumbing services they aren’t sure they need. You have to educate them on why they need your services. Be a problem preventer, not just a problem solver, and you’ll increase the lifetime value of your customers, and get rid of some of their reluctance to call.

All of these considerations are greater for home service industries, so that’s why your conversions from Facebook Ads may not look the same as another industry’s. The decision-making process is longer for your type of sale than it is for an impulse buy or product. So just because you aren’t seeing e-commerce level conversions, it doesn’t mean your Facebook ads aren’t working. Compare your results to the results of businesses in the same industry — not to the results of other industries.

#2 The way you sell is different

ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is built for businesses with websites that were built to sell — sites where you actually make the purchase right then and there. Because the conversion is done on-site, there’s a purchase event that is triggered, and it’s easy to tell the ROAS. Most home service business websites are not set up this way.

Your customers can’t just go to your website and buy a chimney inspection or a fireplace. Instead, your call-to-action is to fill out a form on your website or give you a call. So, when they see the ad, they’re not going to complete a purchase. They’re going to take a “next step” towards completing a purchase.

As a result, as a home service business, you’re not going to necessarily see a clear-cut ROAS. What your marketing company *can do* is tell you what actions people are taking on your website once they see your ads, and if those actions are leading to a decision and an actual sale of your services. The way you sell is different, so naturally, what you consider a conversion will differ.

A quick note on the triggers on your site + what you’re seeing with your call tracking: Someone might click your ad and click the “call” button, and for any number of reasons — maybe they’re in the car or at work and shouldn’t be on the phone, maybe their kids are yelling, etc. — they don’t actually call you. It’s incredibly common and we’ve all done it. We know that the decision-making process sometimes gets interrupted. When they have time to look into your business again, they’re going to have to go back and find you unless they see another ad. So just know that for your industry, there’s going to be a discrepancy between what’s being triggered on your site and what you’re seeing with call tracking. And by the way, I think call tracking is an absolute MUST when you’re doing Facebook Ads.

How can you tell if your ads are working?

Okay, if you can’t compare yourself to other industries or expect the same results, how do you know if your Facebook ads are even working?

  • Check attribution. Attribution measures if the ads are influencing the customer journey, and can tell you if someone who called had ever seen one of your ads anywhere in the customer journey. (This relies on them having a Facebook ID lined up and can only be measured if you have a pixel in place.)
  • Check your call tracking. Don’t put too much weight on this because, as I pointed out earlier, some people are going to see your ad, click to call, and then not actually call you. Or they’re going to see your ad on Facebook, head to Google to get some more info, and then get your number from there. That said, call tracking is a must because you are going to and should get calls from your Facebook ads. You should use call tracking for all the marketing you’re doing. But again, don’t measure the effectiveness of your ads by this alone – especially if you’re running ads to a cold audience. They’re not going to call you the first time they see the ad. If they do, you’re incredibly lucky. The reality is that the customer needs to see your brand at least 7 times before they make a decision, because of all the considerations specific to home service businesses that we mentioned above.
  • Check the # of jobs booked and amount of money coming in this year vs. last year. If there isn’t an increase in both the number of jobs booked and the amount of money coming in, then you need to be looking at the specific ads you’re running on Facebook and determining if they’re actually working. When you’re doing this comparison, keep in mind that retargeting is going to increase the value of your customers, and Facebook may not have been the only thing you changed year-to-year. So when you’re comparing this year vs. last year, make sure you’re taking into account all of the marketing you’re doing and all of the changes you’ve made. An increase is not going to be solely because of Facebook, but if there’s *not* an increase, then you need to revisit your ads.
  • Ask people if they saw an ad on Facebook. It’s simple, but one way to tell if your Facebook ads are working is to ask customers who call how they heard about you and if they saw an ad on Facebook. Sure, they may have gone to Google to get your number or visited your site before calling you, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t seeing your ads and being influenced by them in some way.

Hope you found this post helpful! As always, if you have any Facebook Ads questions for Amber or you’re interested in learning more about how Facebook Ads can help your home service business, shoot an email to amber@sparkmarketer.com. She’ll be happy to jump on a call and answer any questions you may have!

And don’t forget to check out this post where Amber answers your top four FAQs about Facebook Ads!