In the right hands, Google Ads can be one of the most powerful platforms to market your business.
It gives you the opportunity to put your business directly in front of people who are looking specifically for what your business offers.
For example, if you’re a fence and deck contractor, you can specifically bid to show up in front of people who are searching for “fence contractor near me” in your local market.
This is great because the people who end up calling your business have high intent. They’re looking to get in contact with a fence contractor in their area to get a fence installed on their property.
The only problem is, if your Google Ads aren’t done right, they can be equally as costly as they can be powerful.
When a Google Ads campaign isn’t set up or run properly, it can end up costing thousands and produce absolutely no result for your business.
On the other hand, a well built and well run campaign can produce predictable and consistent lead flow for your business for months and years ahead.
Today, I’ll go over some of the most common ways that businesses find their budget slipping away when running Google Ads.
1) Sending Traffic To Your Website’s Homepage
This is probably the most common one that I see.
When you’re running a Google Ads campaign, for the most part, you want to be running your traffic from Google to a landing page. Not the homepage of your website.
The problem with sending people directly from your ad on Google to the homepage of a website, is that there are so many distractions on your home page.
There’s usually a ton of different navigation options, buttons to click on, pictures to look at, and in some cases live chat support notifications popping up.
You want to send people to a simple and focused landing page, where they can either call you, submit a lead form, or go back to Google. There should be one action to take when they land on your page, not 100.
The image below shows a sample layout of what a basic landing page looks like…
There are a few key things to notice in the image above…
There is no navigation, and the page is very focused on getting someone to take action on something. The more options you give someone, the more distracted they’re going to be. Keep it focused on one outcome. Either they call/fill out a form and become a lead, or they go back to Google.
Calls To Action
The calls to action are all very prominent and are shown “above the fold”. This means that any call to action, whether it is getting someone to call or submit a form, is shown at the top of the page. That way people don’t have to scroll to see them.
You can make your calls to action even stronger by attaching a great offer to them. Instead of just saying something like “Call For A Free Estimate”, you can say “0% Financing For 12 Months – Call Now To See If You Qualify”.
Since you don’t have much time to capture someone’s attention, it’s all about building trust as quickly as possible. That’s why you want to add as many benefits, trust indicators like the BBB logo, certifications, awards, etc, before and after pictures of work, and testimonials and reviews.
It’s way too easy for a business to just say they’re great. You need to be able to prove it to them. Adding in all of those elements helps people trust you more, which will lead to higher conversion rates.
This is a very simplified version of a landing page, and an actual landing page would have much more content on it. Generally, you’re going to want to have more than just a few sections on it. The main things to keep in mind are to keep it focused, have clear calls to action, and build trust with your potential customer.
It’s not just me sitting here telling you to do this either, the data shows this as well.
Generally, if you send your traffic to a well designed website home page, 5% of people will become a lead.
Alternatively, if you send that traffic to a landing page, upwards of 20% of people who make it to that page will become a lead.
Here’s how those numbers work out…
If you’re paying $10 for a click from Google, and you’re spending $1,000/month on your ads… that’s 100 clicks from Google per month.
Sending people to the homepage of your site – ~ 5 phone calls per month.
Sending people to a dedicated landing page – ~ 20 phone calls per month.
It sounds like small numbers when we look at the number of calls, but consider that increasing call volume that much could lead to an extra 3 to 5 new jobs per month. That can add up pretty quick.
Obviously, these numbers are just approximations for the sake of basic math, and every market, niche, business, etc will be different.
There’s more that goes into successful campaigns besides just sending your traffic to landing pages, and we’ll touch on that coming up.
2) Not Controlling Your Traffic With Keyword Match Types and Negative Keywords
This is a bit more of a complicated one, but still incredibly important. I’ll expand on this more in another post, but for now I’ll cover the basics.
Essentially, if you’re running Google Ads, and you’re not being very specific and intentional about the keywords you’re bidding on, Google will waste your money.
At the end of the day, Google doesn’t care if you make money or not on your campaigns. They will gladly spend whatever money you put towards your campaigns. If your ads are showing up for people searching for roofing contractors in Nashville, Tennessee, but your business is a fencing company in Morristown, New Jersey, they’re still going to spend the money.
The accuracy of where your ads show up, and who they show up for, is all up to you.
In order to make sure your ads are showing up for the right searches, you have to do a few things: select the right keywords, use the right keyword match types, and use negative keywords.
Selecting The Right Keywords
Selecting the right keywords is pretty straightforward.
You want to make sure that you’re putting only high intent keywords into your account that people in your local market will actually use when searching for what you offer.
“Intent” essentially means that they are actively searching for what you offer.
Bidding on a keyword like “fencing” for example is way too broad. People who search fencing could be looking up a ton of different things, not just people who offer fence installation. These searches could be people looking for fencing materials, fencing schools, general information about fencing, and much more. This is an example of a very low intent keyword, and in 9 out of 10 times should be left out of your account.
What you want to be bidding on are things like “fence contractors near me”, “fence installation [insert your city]”, “fence companies in [your city]”, etc. These are very high intent keywords. The people going to Google and putting in these searches are actively looking for a fence contractor to install a fence.
Showing up in front of these searches is half the battle when it comes to Google Ads success. If you’re showing up in front of the wrong searches, then even the best landing page in the world won’t convert them into leads.
Using The Right Keyword Match Types
On top of selecting the right keywords, you also want to make sure you’re using the right keyword match types.
Like I said, I’ll expand on this in another post, but you can check this link out to read about the different match types from Google.
There are four main keyword match types
- Broad Match
- Broad Match Modified
- Phrase Match
- Exact Match
The most important one that I want to focus on here is the broad match type. Broad match keywords will waste your money almost every time because of how… well… broad they are.
When you put a broad match keyword into a Google Ads campaign, you’re essentially putting a keyword into a campaign with no modifications added onto it (see the link above for more info on that).
With any of the other keywords modifiers, outside of broad match, from the list above you’re essentially giving Google more and more restrictions for what searches they can show your ad for.
A broad match keyword is essentially letting Google take the reins and figure out what to display your ad for. Google will display your ad for searches that are loosely related to that keyword. When I say loosely, I mean very, very loosely. Sometimes it’s not even in the same ballpark as what you want your ads to be showing up for.
For example, if you were bidding on “fencing” as a keyword and just left it set to broad match, your ads are going to be showing up all over the place.
The other day I was searching for fence contractors in my area, and an ad for a chimney sweep and masonry service showed up that was located 200 miles away from me. I would be willing to bet that they weren’t leveraging keyword match types.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will “run your Google Ads”, but will just drop a bunch of keywords into your account and walk away.
If you’re currently paying someone to run your Google Ads, I would highly suggest checking this on your account.
The first thing I would do if I were you, would be to check to see what keywords are actually on your account. You can see this by logging into your account, navigating to the “Keywords” tab, and then selecting “Search Keywords”. Here you’ll see a list of the keywords on your account.
If you see a list of keywords that look like this, with no modifiers to the actual keyword itself… fence contractor in morristown
… not +fence +contractor +in +morristown
… not “fence contractor in morristown”
… and not [fence contractor in morristown]
Then there is a very good chance that Google is spending your budget wherever it feels like it.
If you want to see what searches your ads are actually showing up for, under that same “Keywords” tab, select the “Search Terms” option. This will give you a list of all of the searches that have resulted in your ads being clicked on. If you’re seeing a bunch of irrelevant search terms, then you’ll know your budget is not being used as effectively as it could be.
The final way that you can control your traffic from Google is through using negative keywords.
A negative keyword is pretty much the opposite of a keyword. You put in a negative keyword when you don’t want to show up for a specific search, or even an individual word.
Overall, this final piece is fairly self explanatory, so I’m not going to go into it in great detail.
A good rule of thumb is to add in any negative keywords revolving around jobs, training, DIY, and other things like free services. Also, it’s good to go through to all of your competitors in the area and then add in their brand names as negative keywords so that way you’re not showing up for their brand name searches when you don’t want to.
If you’re having any of these issues, and you want to have a pro look over your account, click the button below. I offer 100% free, no obligation, Google Ads account audits. Just follow the link below, fill out a bit of information, and we can get in touch!
Click the button below to get a 100% free audit of your Google Ads account!
3) No Organized Campaign Structure
This ties back into the first point of sending traffic to a landing page.
When you’re running Google Ads, everything is about being as specific, organized, and as relevant to the searcher as possible.
If you’re going to bid on the keyword “fence contractors morristown nj”, then you don’t want to show them a generic ad, and then send them to a generic page or your home page.
You want to show that person an ad that speaks directly to that search, and then send them to a landing page that aligns with that person’s intent.
So, it would look like this…
Person searches “fence contractors morristown nj” > They see an ad that reads “Morristown NJ Fence Contractor” > They click the ad > They’re then taken to a landing page with a headline that says “Morristown NJ Fence Contractor” and content that talks about their fencing services.
Every step in the process has to align and be relevant to what the person is searching for.
This is what it would look like from a campaign structure perspective…
This is where things can get a bit complicated and tedious, but it’s 100% worth it. Doing the legwork up front means that you’re going to get a better performing campaign.
The example above is just a somewhat generic roofing company example, but you essentially want to organize your campaigns based on your products and services.
For example, if you own a general home improvement company that offers fencing, decking, roofing, siding, etc, you want to have dedicated ad groups, keywords, ads, and landing pages for each service and service subset if needed. This would mean, if you do roofing, you would want to expand on things further and have ad groups dedicated to metal roofing, tile roofing, flat roofing, etc, depending upon the different services you offer.
At the end of the day, the key thing to keep in mind here is that the more relevant you can make things to the searcher, the higher your conversion rates are going to be.
4) Weak Ad or Weak Offer
This section itself warrants an entire post, so I’m going to try to keep this one as simple as possible.
You want to avoid looking like a “me too” kind of business.
What do I mean by that?
You want to write ads and create offers that allow you to stand out among your competition.
Pretty much everyone says the same things in their ads. A lot of the ads that I see say something along the lines of…
“Bob’s Roofing – In Business Since 1975”
“Our customers have been trusting us with their roofing needs for years. When you work with us, you’re not a customer, but you’re family. We do high quality work.”
If you look around at your local marketplace, you’ll start to notice patterns and see that everyone is saying pretty much the same things. There’s going to be done, maybe two competitors that are actually differentiating themselves in their ads.
You want to create something that is going to entice someone to want to click on your ad and do business with you over everyone else in your market.
When you just talk about facts and figures about your business, your ads aren’t going to work as well and not as many people are going to be tempted to even click them.
Here’s one thing to always remember when creating any kind of marketing for your business – Your customer’s favorite radio station is WIIFM
“What’s In It For Me?”
It might sound harsh, but nobody cares about you, your business, your history, how good you say your work is, etc.
They only care about themselves. They’re looking for someone who can solve their problems.
I want to avoid just giving an ad template, because templates in marketing rarely work every time. Every market is different, and you always need to be testing. That said, here are a few rules of thumb that you can follow for your ads.
You want to make sure that the first words in the headline of the ad contain the keyword that people are searching for. When someone searches for “roof replacement near me”, you want to begin your headline with something as simple as “Need to replace your roof?”. From there, you want to follow up with a benefit or differentiator that you provide.
For example these could be something like “0% Financing For 12 Months”, “$500 Off Roof Replacement”, “Free Quotes”, etc.
You only have a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention with your headline, so make sure you load it with benefits and give people a reason to click.
Offers and Differentiators
In the rest of the copy on your ad, you want to load it up with as many differentiators as you possibly can. The best way to go about coming up with ideas for this is to look at what your competitors are saying, and then come up with ways to position yourself differently from them.
Essentially try to avoid going down the route of saying the generic “we do good work” approach.
Local Market Knowledge
This is on a market to market basis, but if you have been in business for long enough, you’ll generally know what people are looking for in your type of business in your area. One way you can find some more intel on this is to look at reviews of your own business as well as your competitors. You’ll start to see some themes about what people like/dislike about the businesses locally.
Here are some examples off the top of my head…
If there are a lot of people complaining about the other businesses in the area not showing up on time, flaking, etc – Make it a point to talk about being responsive, on time, punctual etc
If you’re in an area where people don’t have a ton of money on hand but need work done, position a financing offer and make that known in your ads.
If there are a bunch of sketchy service providers in your area that have burned people, talk about your licenses, certifications, insurance, etc.
Like I said, I want to avoid going down the path of just giving a template for “The Best Ad Ever”, because ultimately writing good ads and creating good offers for a business requires research and critical thinking.
Once you do a bit of research on your competitors and your local marketplace, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with some good ideas.
5) Not Using Any Conversion Tracking
I’m sure you’ve probably heard this saying before – “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”
In order to make changes and improvements to your account, you have to know what is working and what isn’t working. This is where conversion tracking comes in.
A conversion is when someone takes an action that you want them to take on your website. Usually, when you’re trying to generate more leads this means anyone who picks up the phone and calls you, or submits a form. Those actions would be counted as conversions.
I come across a lot of accounts where people are surprisingly spending quite a bit of money, but they don’t actually know if it’s working for them.
With conversion tracking, you’ll be able to see where your phone calls and form fills are coming from all the way down to the individual keywords you’re bidding on.
Over time you’ll be able to see what is working and what isn’t. Then you can remove anything that isn’t working so you can focus your budget on what is.
That’s the game with Google Ads – Small incremental changes over time, that eventually lead to you having an asset on your business that brings you exclusive leads predictably and consistently.
This article from Google goes over how you can set conversion tracking up on your Google Ads account.
With a call tracking number you’ll be able to see all of the phone calls that have come in as well as get a recording of every phone call.
The screenshot below shows you what the back end of a call tracking software looks like. You’ll be able to create phone numbers that allow you to track and log every phone call. The software will save that information, and then present it to you in a way that looks like this.
If you’re in the process of figuring out what marketing platform to use for your contracting business, no worries! I’ve got plenty of other content you might find useful. Check out one of my guides on how to choose the right marketing platform for your contracting business. There’s plenty of information in there if you’re still trying to find the right marketing channels for your contracting business.
Also, be sure to check out my other post about the “hidden” ways Google could be wasting your Google Ads budget. There’s much more valuable info in there as well!
If you’re currently running Google Ads for your business, and you’re not seeing the results you want to be seeing, let me know!
I’m offering 100% free Google Ads audits where I’ll personally go over your Google Ads account, give you recommendations for improvements, and then send it your way. It’ll be yours to keep and implement.
Click the button below to apply for your free Google Ads audit.
Thanks for reading!
Click the button below to get a 100% free audit of your Google Ads account!
My name is Chris Down, or as some call me – “Downey”. I’m a digital marketing pro with multiple years of experience, and help contracting businesses generate more qualified leads and jobs with predictable lead generation systems.