Contractors sometimes have a hard time marketing their businesses online. Creating a strong and functional website to promote your business can feel daunting, especially if it’s not your forte.
Setting up your company’s online presence requires a lot of work. You have a build an attractive website that showcases your work and correctly conveys the services you offer. You will also want to create a few social channels (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) for your business and post compelling content. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your website and those social channels regularly updated with current project photos, blogs, announcements, service offerings and contact information. It’s a lot of work when your plate is already full.
The good news is that your business can get by with just the basics, and still stand out ahead of the competition and win more work. One additional way to stand out is to invest in Google Ads (formerly called Google Adwords).
In case you’re not familiar with Google Ads, here’s a few basics:
- What are Google Ads?
Google Ads are the text ads that show up at the top and bottom of Google search results pages.
- How much do Google Ads cost?
With Google Ads, you typically pay every time someone clicks on one of your ads. The cost-per-click (CPC) can range anywhere from $.01 per click to $10 per click or even more. Your final CPC depends on a few factors including your maximum bid, your relevancy and how many others are bidding on those same keywords.
- How do I get started?
Simply visit ads.google.com to setup your account. You’ll need to provide some basic business information and supply a credit card to pay for your advertising costs.
Getting Started with Google Ads
Let’s dig a little deeper into a few important concepts that contractors should understand about Google Ads.
- Keywords and key phrases—When setting up your Google Ads account, you’ll choose when your ad shows up on the search engine results pages (SERPs) by selecting keywords relevant to your business. As an example, if you are a painting contractor, you may want your ad to appear when someone searches for terms like painting contractor, commercial painting, office building painting, painting subcontractor, painting business, painting contractor, etc. The more the keywords relate to the services you offer, the better results you’ll see.
- Targeting—Google Ads offers many different ways contractors can target their ads including by age, gender, household income and location. Based on one of those criteria, you can include or exclude showing your ad or increase/decrease your bid amount. One targeting criteria that is critical for contractors to use is location. Location targeting is important so that your ad will only appear in areas where you do work. For example, if you only do work within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, California, you can set your targeting to that area so you don’t show ads to people located outside that area. By making sure your location targeting is correct, you won’t waste your advertising dollars showing your ads to those outside your target area.
- Bids—Your bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. One useful thing about Google Ads is that you can set different bids for each keyword based on how valuable it is. The more targeted the keyword, the more you should be willing to bid. For example, if you’re a painting contractor in Los Angeles, California, you might want to bid more for a search like “Los Angeles office building painting contractor” than for a search of “painter to paint my bedroom.” The first search is more targeted and would be a much larger job than the second search. Therefore, you should bid more on a keyword like this to ensure your ad show up for this search.
- Quality score—Your “quality score” is a measure of how relevant Google thinks your website and ad are to the keywords you’re bidding on. The more relevant you are, the higher the quality score Google will give you. Using our painting contractor in Los Angeles example, the quality score will be higher for a search of “Los Angeles painting contractor” than “San Francisco painting contractor.” Your quality score is important because it, along with the amount you bid, determine the position of your ad on the SERPs, whether your ad will show up at all, and how much a click will cost you.
- Budget—Google Ads gives contractors a lot of control over budget right from within their Google Ads account. Your daily budget can be as low as $1 per day up to $10,000 per day or even more. This gives you a lot of control over how much you spend. As with any advertising, it’s best to start off with a small test to see how it performs and then ramp up your ad spend once you’ve proven it’s driving business your way. The other thing to note is that you can change your budget or pause your advertising altogether as often as you want so you don’t have to commit to anything long-term.
- Text ads—Unlike most other forms of advertising, your Google Ad won’t include any graphics, photos or your logo to help convey your services. You’ll have to let the searcher know what you do and convince them to click through to your website in just a few words. Think about how your company differentiates itself from the competition and highlight that in your text ad. Do you offer the lowest price? Are you the top-rated? Most-trusted? Do you specialize in large commercial jobs? Is no job too small? Include anything that helps your business stand out and highlight your unique positioning. Also, be sure to customize your ad for each set of keywords. For example, if your company does painting and hangs drywall, you should create two separate ads that highlight these services. If someone searches for something painting related, show them the painting text ad. Conversely, if they search for a drywall contractor, show them the drywall text ad.
- Landing pages—Your landing page is the page on your website where searchers are directed when they click on your ad. A few things to keep in mind about your landing page:
- Make it relevant—Ensure your landing page is relevant to what the user searched for. Using our example above, if the user searches for a drywall contractor, your landing page needs to be all about your drywall services. Landing page relevancy is a key factor in your Google Quality Score.
- Include a call to action—What do you want the searcher to do once they come to your landing page? Give you a call? Schedule a meeting? Fill out a contact us form? Make it easy for them to take that action.
- Tracking conversions—As a contractor, you’ll want to see how effective your Google Ads are. Google offers both pixel tracking and call tracking to help you measure how many people give you a call or take another action, such as fill out a form or schedule a meeting. For more detailed information on this topic, read the Google Ads help article “Different ways to track conversions.”
Ready, Set, Go
Now that you know some of the basics, you’re ready to get started. Head over to ads.google.com to create your account. Google ads has a step-by-step guide to get you up and running quickly. They also provide additional help documentation when questions arise.
Not sure if you want to do it yourself? Reach out to a local marketing agency or digital advertising consultant and have them setup and manage your account. You’ll pay extra for their services, but their expertise can be invaluable.
After Your Google Ads Are Active
Once you have your Google Ads account setup and running, you’ll want to monitor your performance. Are people clicking on your ads? Once they do, are they getting in touch with you and requesting a quote? Google provides reporting that will help you determine the answers to these questions and more.
After your ads have run for a while, you’ll start to notice some keywords performing better than others. When you see this, you can bid less or pause the keywords and ads that are doing poorly and increase the bids on those that are performing well.
Moving forward, you can also add new keywords and text ads to test out. Look at adding additional keywords that are similar to those that are already performing well for you.
With just a little bit of effort, you can have a successful Google Ads campaign up and running in no time. Take the time today to invest in your company’s digital presence and reap the rewards for years to come.