Today we’re going to talk about the three most common digital marketing mistakes that I see home service companies making. They’re really simple but really damaging.
#1 – The first mistake that I want to talk about is being too reliant on your PPC, paid search, Google Ads (formerly AdWords) campaigns (however you want to call it)
#2 – The second mistake that I see people making is not filling their funnel. We’ve all gone away from branding and it’s unfortunate. True, it’s not direct response, you’re not going to get a really low cost per lead, but you’ve got to fill that funnel from the top and not just stay at the very bottom at the conversion point where PPC lives.
#3 – The third thing is not taking Yelp seriously enough and, let’s be honest, even if you don’t think Yelp is a player in your market it is and there’s one reason and that’s Google. I’ll explain why later.
Okay, let’s dig into it.
Ten years ago, if you owned a Home Service company, you were probably doing things like local cable television advertising and maybe some radio advertising and direct mail and, of course, the Yellow Pages. Well, Google Ads came along and basically replaced the Yellow Pages and you were able to move those YP dollars straight into Google Ads. And that was great. Good riddance. But things have changed. Google Ads was incredibly cheap and incredibly effective back then but it’s gotten considerably more expensive over time. We’ve all become so reliant on the power and the performance of it that we’ve stopped doing those other things. TV is becoming less effective, which we’ll talk about in another post. But the most important thing to note is that we’ve started to filter out those other advertising and marketing opportunities that we used to do and so Google Ads is all that’s left and it’s holding this incredible burden. It’s now the most important part of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Or, in some cases, the only part. Occasionally, we have potential clients contact us and on our free strategy call, we discover that they’re only doing Google Ads. They’re saying, “Well, it’s really getting expensive” and “you know, we’re just not growing like I want to be able to grow” and I’m saying, “well, yeah, you have ONE CHANNEL that’s responsible for your entire business”. I tell them, “This isn’t going to happen but imagine if Google said, you know, Google Ads has been great, but we’re going to shut it down. What would you do? You’d be out of business.” Now that’s not going to happen. Google Ads is basically all of Google’s revenue. Don’t worry about that. But you have to worry about it getting more expensive and more competitive and it has never been more expensive or more competitive in the history of its 15-year reign than it is now and it’s unlikely to get better.
Look at your advertising and marketing budget. Look at your advertising and marketing plan overall. Look at it from a 10,000-foot view. Maybe all you need to do is just climb up on a chair and see the fact that almost all of what you’re doing is Google Ads.
Now obviously, the things that used to work like TV don’t work anymore. You need to brand in new ways.
And I’m not saying don’t do Google Ads. At IMA, we are certified Google Ads experts that have been doing this since 2006. We’re 12 years in doing Google Ads and were incredible at it for our Home Service clients. We have some that are getting leads as low as $10, maybe $9.50, at this point right.
But we have to be less reliant on that. That’s a key mistake. That’s number one.
Number two is not filling your funnel. What am I talking about with the funnel? Well, your marketing funnel looks like any other funnel. It starts at the top and it’s really wide. That’s where you engage your potential customers, at the top. Then you nurture them, through what is referred to as the User Journey, all the way down to the point where they’re right there at the bottom and they’re saying, “hey, I need your service right now!”.
This is crucial because in some industries, like plumbing or heating and air, customers don’t need you until they need you. You can’t fix a broken pipe if it doesn’t exist yet.
So what we need to do at the top is create a marketing funnel in order to create awareness. This where things like Facebook and Instagram campaigns and retargeting and what we call Advanced display campaigns come into play? All these different types of digital branding. These are the types of things you need to do so that your Google Ads campaign, which is running way down at the bottom of that funnel, is churning out all those leads for you. And now you can make it perform even better and combat the increasing costs because you’re nurturing people down the funnel.
This is crucial to understand. As I said, you cannot just rely on Google Ads. You need to feed that funnel. You have to start at the top and you’ve got to nurture that User Journey all the way down to the bottom.
And YouTube just announced that you’ll be able to start targeting television sets. Cool, right? So you can actually use a 30-second spot that you have and only show it to people watching YouTube on their TVs. So now you can get back in the TV advertising game at a significantly reduced price.
So mistake number one is to leveraged on Google Ads.
Mistake number two is not feeding that funnel.
Mistake number three is not taking Yelp seriously. A lot of business owners in smaller markets might say, “hey, you know what, Yelp’s not a player here.” Well, I’m going to tell you something that crushes that naive thought. What is it?
It is this. Google is going to rank Yelp for your service keywords. And not just rank but rank in position 1, 2 or 3. So what does that mean? Let’s say you own a large plumbing company. We have a lot of plumbing clients. Let me talk about that. So if I’m a plumber and somebody searches for “plumber” in their city or “plumber near me” or some other variant of that keyword or key phrase what’s going to happen is Google is going to show the Yelp results first.
In fact, a lot of times the three organic listings are Yelp. And, not only will they rank Yelp, they’re going to rank Angie’s List. They’re going to show HomeAdvisor. They’re going to show Thumbtack. We’ve seen certain markets where half of those organic listings, five out of ten, are not actual local businesses. Instead, they’re aggregators and Yelp is the most prominent among them.
So to the original objection of, “Hey, nobody uses Yelp in my market” doesn’t hold water. Sure, they might not post a lot of taco truck reviews on Yelp but people in your market do searches on Google. And if they’re doing searches on Google and they see Yelp in the first one two, or three positions, guess what? They’re clicking on Yelp. And if they get to Yelp and you’ve got six reviews and a 1.5-star rating, you’re not getting their business.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to take Yelp seriously. You have to get your reviews up, get your ratings up and then watch your business grow.
So let’s recap the three biggest mistakes:
1. Being too reliant on Google Ads. It’s great, but it is not the end-all be-all
You cannot only do Google Ads
2. Not fueling that funnel, not doing digital branding, not getting people aware of who you are in your marketplace and gaining market share. Before they get all the way down to that conversion point you have to start getting in front of them.
3. Not taking Yelp seriously. Your customers are going to Yelp. They may not check Yelp before they go out and get dinner. You may not be hearing about it from your neighbors all the time but, trust me, people are seeing reviews on Yelp because of how Google ranks them for your keywords.
The good news? Guess what? It’s really easy to address these three things. What we do at IMA is use something called the Digital Marketing Quadrant to address those three concerns specifically and it solves those problems and allows our clients to grow their businesses exponentially. One of our clients has grown from $4 million to $20 million since we’ve been working with them.
But all you have to do is start taking those three things seriously and start looking into how you can get less reliant on PPC, how you can start doing some top of funnel digital branding (I’d start with Facebook and retargeting) and then start getting those Yelp reviews and ratings up. If you do that, you’re going to grow your business immediately.
Have a great day, demand better, and good luck growing your business!