For the most part, I would recommend Google Ads for just about every local home improvement or contracting type business.
I mean, it’s essentially a never ending stream of people who are actively searching for the products and services you offer.
All you have to do is dip your bucket into that flowing river of leads, and get some for yourself.
That said, there are certain times where I wouldn’t recommend running Google Ads for your business.
Those reasons can range from the industry you’re in, to the population of your existing market, search volume, or just where your business is at right now.
So, without wasting any time, let’s jump into the content and get moving.
Here are some questions you want to ask yourself when you’re thinking about running Google Ads for your business.
Are people actually searching for what you offer within your local marketplace?
This comes down to a couple of things really…
Are people actually going to Google to search for your product or service?
If so, are there enough people within your local market searching for those products or services to sustain a Google Ads campaign?
Right off the bat, if you offer something that people just aren’t searching for, then Google Ads isn’t going to be the right advertising platform.
Google Ads is very simple in concept…
People go to Google and search for a solution to their problem – “roof repair near me” for example…
Your business bids to show up for that particular search term in Google…
That searcher clicks on your ad, ends up on your landing page, and then calls your business to speak to you to get an estimate.
If we’re trying to advertise for something, and people just aren’t even showing up to Google and searching for that, then we’re not going to end up having anybody calling us in the first place.
Sometimes we tend to forget, with so much of advertising and marketing being digital, that there are humans involved in the process.
In order for Google in general to work, there needs to be an actual person who goes to Google and then searches for a solution to a problem.
Without that, it just won’t work.
On top of that though, there is the other side of the question where we start getting into if there are enough people in a given market actually searching for what you offer.
If you’re in a smaller market, sometimes Google Ads isn’t really sustainable.
Even if there are people searching for what you offer, it can sometimes be a challenge if there just aren’t enough people going to Google on a regular basis to make it work.
There’s obviously some level of grey area to this, but here are some examples off the top of my head…
If you’re in a town with a 100,000 population, and you only offer bathroom and kitchen remodeling services… Google Ads might work.
There would be very little regular search traffic for those things, so you would have to have that expectation. Targeting a wider population would make this much easier.
If you’re in that same town with a 100,000 population, and you offer something really niche like septic tank installation… Google Ads probably won’t work.
The number of people who would be searching for that on a regular basis would be so low that there would probably be better options for marketing that. The only way this one would work is by targeting a much wider population.
There are ways to make smaller population areas work, but you would need to be able to add in more services to make it work. I’ll go more in depth on that in another post.
Really, this part is kind of all about common sense. I can’t really give a specific outline for what combinations of things work and what don’t.
Some smaller markets can work with certain products or services, while others can’t.
At the end of the day it all comes down to search traffic. If you want Google Ads to work, you have to have people actually going to Google and searching for what you offer.
If that’s there, then you’re in business.
If that isn’t there, then I would suggest looking into other platforms outside of Google, or try targeting other markets.
For those that are curious, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner in the Google Ads platform to get a sense of what the search volumes look like in your area.
Quick disclaimer though – Sometimes the search volumes on any keyword research tool can be off, so don’t expect the numbers that you see on any tool to be exactly what you’ll see if you run Google Ads.
Do the numbers make sense?
When it comes to local businesses, Google Ads usually works best for service based businesses with larger transaction sizes.
In the many different home improvement niches this is usually the case. You’ve got a great combination of people who are actually searching for what you offer, and the services these businesses provide to the searcher are high value.
The reason this is important is because Google Ads can be pretty expensive to start up and keep running.
Usually, a good starting budget for Google Ads is at least $1,000/month. This is because a single click for a good keyword can usually average out around $10/click. That number changes from industry to industry and from market to market, but either way it’s not the cheapest form of advertising.
So, this is where you need to look at your business and do a little bit of math to figure things out.
Look at what your average customer lifetime value is first.
This is what the total value of a customer is to your business over the lifetime of them being a customer.
If they only buy from you once, then that average transaction value is your customer lifetime value. If you know, on average, how many of your customers refer after you perform jobs for them, then you could factor that in as well. For the sake of simplicity, I would just stick with the flat number that you came up with before.
Alternatively, if the customer buys from you multiple times, or is on some kind of recurring program, then you’ll have to calculate what that average revenue is. You’ll have to figure out how many transactions on average one customer makes over a given time frame. That will be your average customer lifetime value.
There’s a good chance that this won’t be perfectly exact, because things rarely work out that way. As long as you have a fairly accurate idea of what you make and what your profit from every customer that comes through your business, then you’re off to a good start.
From there, we need to look at the cost of Google Ads.
Depending on your niche and how competitive your market is will determine how expensive a single click on Google is going to be.
If you’re in roofing for example, an average click could end up being $20. Alternatively, if you’re bidding on fencing related keywords, then a single click can be somewhere around $5 to $7.
In some cases, clicks can be even higher.
I’ve personally worked in the IT niche where a single click can be $40 or more. There’s also legal niches where a single click can be over $100.
For the sake of simplicity today, let’s say that the average cost per click for your industry in your marketplace is $10.
If you convert 20% of those clicks into leads, then you’re going to be looking at $50 leads.
Let’s be very conservative, and say that you convert 10% of your leads into new jobs.
That would mean that you would need 10 leads to land a new job.
10 leads at $50 per lead, means that you would acquire a new customer at $500.
If your average customer lifetime value or job size is $5,000, then you just invested $500 and made back $5,000.
I intentionally made the close rate really conservative to illustrate the point here.
Even with a lower close rate, the numbers can still work.
On the other hand, there are businesses where Google Ads just aren’t the best solution for.
If we’re talking about other types of local businesses like retail stores, restaurants, boutiques, etc then it’s a different story.
Their transaction sizes are too small to really get a return from Google Ads.
Don’t get me wrong, it can work, but you would need to have a pretty strong and systematized business to make it work.
These types of businesses would probably acquire new customers at break even, or at a loss, and would have to rely on getting those customers back to the business for multiple purchases over the long term.
Once you factor in the management fee from an agency or freelancer, and it becomes even tougher for these types of businesses to turn a profit in a reasonable amount of time.
For businesses that have smaller transaction sizes, I definitely recommend going with Facebook Ads over something like Google Ads.
So, this is one of those things again where I can’t really give you a specific guide.
You’ll have to look at your own business and see if the numbers would work for you.
If the numbers work out between the cost per click, cost per lead, and the average value of a customer then Google Ads would be a good choice for your business.
When am I expecting to make a return? What runway do I have to invest into marketing?
Expectations are huge when it comes to running Google Ads.
I always try to be as blunt as possible about this, so that I can avoid sounding like another hypey marketing person.
Google Ads most likely won’t work spectacularly month one, and they won’t be the cheapest option in the world either.
In terms of the timeline to results, I usually say that around month 3 or 4 is when you’ll start to see profitability. Around that time is when you’re really able to dial in a Google Ads campaign to get it working well consistently.
Most likely, you’ll generate some leads during the first month, but the campaign won’t be churning out huge profits right from the start.
Google Ads falls somewhere in between Facebook Ads and SEO in terms of time to results.
Facebook Ads can work very fast (within a month or two), but the lead quality can be lower. If your business isn’t equipped to follow up on 100s of leads 7 or more times over the course of months, then Facebook can be a cheaper but tougher choice for businesses.
SEO can produce much higher quality leads, but can sometimes take up to a year to really start seeing results from it.
The reason why this is important is because if your expectations for when you’re going to see a return are out of alignment with that reality, then you’re going to be disappointed.
If you’ve got $1,000 to invest, and you’re expecting to get an amazing return within one month of running Google Ads, then you’re going to be disappointed.
When it comes to running a Google Ads campaign, you need to approach it with a long term, investing mindset.
An ideal scenario is that you have the runway, or at least plan to, invest for at least a year.
This doesn’t mean just spending money for spending’s sake. Doing this allows you to gather data and lets you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Investing in Google Ads on a monthly basis allows you to gather data to figure out what keywords, ads, locations, ages, devices people use, etc lead to conversions (leads).
Over time, as you gather more and more data, you can refine that campaign more and more to the point where it just churns out a profitable return every month.
You can’t get to that point if you don’t have a long term investing mindset in the first place.
I’m a firm believer that a really well optimized Google Ads campaign can change a business forever.
When you spend the time to build out a campaign that works consistently, it’s essentially an asset for your business for years to come.
It’s like taking a Toyota Corolla, and then swapping in a Corvette engine. You’re taking something efficient, and putting in an engine that will make it go that much faster.
… I probably wouldn’t recommend that idea in real life though.
Not only is that engine going to provide you with a consistent flow of leads to keep your team paid, but it’s going to increase the value of your business.
This is huge if you’re ever looking to sell your business. If you’ve got a predictable way for the business to generate leads, then you’ll get a much higher purchase price for your business.
So, ultimately, that was just a really long winded way of saying that you should expect to invest for months and not a month.
If you’re not in a position for that right now, then Google Ads may not be the best option. That’s absolutely no problem though because everyone is always at different points in their business’ growth, so no judgement from me!
The good thing is that there are tons of other options that you can go with for marketing your business outside of Google Ads.
What does my sales process and team look like? Can I handle bringing on more leads?
The good thing with Google Ads is that businesses can be a bit more flexible when it comes to this question.
The reason for this is because most of the leads that come from Google Ads will be phone call leads.
If you’re working with something like Facebook Ads, where a lot of the leads that come in are going to be form fill leads, then you’ll need to have people and systems in place to do a lot of follow up and nurturing.
A lot of businesses just aren’t set up for something like that where they have to be following up with 100s of leads multiple times to make sales. That takes at least one person dedicated to it full time to make it work.
I suppose that’s another great thing about Google Ads, is that the leads are usually inbound phone calls, and the people calling in are usually much higher intent and more likely to convert into new business.
A majority of businesses usually have someone in place that handles phone calls that come in.
This can work if you’re the owner of the business and you’re taking the phone calls and handling leads for now. Moving forward though I would highly recommend setting someone up who handles this as their full time job.
In addition to that, I would also recommend incentivizing that person and compensating them for booked appointments. This will make sure that the person is invested in answering the phones and getting to the leads in a timely manner.
At the end of the day, you need to have someone in place to handle the leads that come in. Also, you need to have someone who is dedicated to follow up, and making sure that all of the leads are taken care of.
So, at a bare minimum, you will need to have someone who can answer the phone regularly and get to the leads.
On top of that, you want to have someone in place that will not only follow up with any missed calls, but will also follow up with any form fill leads that come in. They should also be following up with engaged leads that you may have gotten a quote out to so that you’re constantly in contact with your leads.
Like a lot of the other things on this list, you’ll need to use common sense and look at your own business.
If you’re the business owner and you’re already stretched pretty thin as it is, and you’re the one handling phone calls and leads, then Google Ads is just going to overwhelm you more.
The first thing I would do is put someone in place who is dedicated to answering the phone and handling leads.
This will make sure that no leads are slipping through and you can maximize your investment and the opportunities that Google Ads generates.
That’s it for this post! I hope that information was useful for you if you’re in the process of figuring out whether or not to invest in Google Ads.
There’s a ton more that I’m sure we could discuss and go over, but I want to leave it at that for now for the sake of simplicity.
If you do have any other questions, feel free to reach out! I’m always glad to try to help out however I can.
Also, if you’re currently running Google Ads and you want to have someone take a look at what you’ve got going on, let me know!
I’m currently offering 100% free Google Ads audits.
In the audit, I’ll personally put together a video going over your Google Ads account, and will highlight different areas of improvement.
If you’re interested in that, just click on the button below, fill out the form on the following page, and I’ll reach out to you personally to schedule your audit.
Thanks for reading,
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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.