10 Marketing Tips for Local Home Services Businesses

Do you run a local home services business but find yourself chasing work instead of providing your services to clients? Whether you're a contractor, a handyman or own an appliance repair company, garage door repair, locksmith, plumbing, or any other local service, the tips below can easily improve your bottom line in a matter of days.

Marketing Tips for Local Home Services Companies

We used some of the techniques below to more than triple the profitability of one of the biggest home services companies in the US, and some other techniques on others, so everything was tested extensively.

1. Hire a Marketing Agency

I know what you think: "Marketing agencies are expensive", "they don't guarantee results", "I'd be better off buying leads", and here's why I think you're wrong:

A good marketing agency can blend different marketing channels to ensure you hit your revenue, profit, and business goals. It would also ensure that they generate more profit than what they charge, so in most cases, it really is a no-brainer.

When you hit your "size limit", a good agency would find growth opportunities so you can scale up your operation without sacrificing your revenue.

2. Retain your Existing Clients Better

We always think that as soon as people need a service such as yours, they go to Google and look for a service provider, but there's one thing they do before that.

The first thing they do is try to find out if they know someone they have hired in the past by searching their contact list on their phone. I know you like handing out these magnets, but they are not as effective as you think.

A woman calls a local home service provider
Most people will search their contact list for a service provider they trust before they search for one on Google

3. Measure, Measure, and Measure Some More.

It's easy to track calls, but not all calls are the same. Report paying customers back to your ads platform through offline conversions, preferably with conversion value. This will ease the process of optimizing your campaigns to favor high-paying clients over those who will likely not hire you or just pay for the service call.

4. Take a Second Look at Your Service Areas

Even if you can technically service one big city and 10 of its suburbs, it doesn't mean you should. Take a look at your data (and if you don't collect it, start now) and see which neighborhoods or cities you convert more leads into fulfilled jobs and which areas' average value per job is higher.

You'd be better off focusing your energy there rather than spreading across a bigger area just to get lower revenue per job.

5. Collect Good Reviews Efficiently

It's very easy to collect good reviews. One way is to email a client a survey after you leave and ask them to rate your job and their experience. If they gave you a good score, ask them to rate you on Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp, and if not, give them space to write why - this is a great opportunity for improvement and to try and make up for poor experiences.

Make sure not to incentivize your clients to leave positive reviews (through discounts and freebies, for example), as it goes against the terms and conditions of most review services (Trustpilot, Yelp, BBB, etc), and you don't want this notice to hang above your page:

TrustPilot Misuse Notice
Trustpilot Misuse Notice

6. Display Your Reviews on Your Site in a Great Way

Collecting the reviews, though, is just half the job. To take it to the next level, you need to showcase them in a way none of your competitors do.

Think about a map showing users visiting your website your 5-star reviews from their neighbors. Amazing, right? It's pretty simple, too, and we offer this as a service to our clients.

This little thing alone increased the conversion rate for some of our clients by almost 30%!

RWL Review Display
Showing reviews on a map from nearby clients can improve your conversion rate by 30%

7. Don't Put All of your Eggs in One Basket

Diverse your marketing efforts over a few different ad platforms, and don't just concentrate on the biggest one. Try Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising (Bing), Yelp, and other relevant networks. By doing that, you can pay less of a "premium" on each platform and significantly lower your marginal cost per lead.

8. Getting Work from Big Companies is Fine, but Won't Take You Far

Although getting the lead for "free" is tempting, these companies usually take around 50% of the client's payment. This comes down to an average of $130 per job (excluding parts), and let me tell you that most leads don't cost that much.

You'd be much better acquiring your leads yourself, promoting your own business, and putting your name out there instead of identifying yourself as an employee of another company.

9. Buying Leads or Calls is not As Good as You Think

A lead aggregator's sole responsibility is to provide you with leads, but not all leads are of the same quality or fit your business in the same way. Some leads are more likely to hire your company, some are projected to bring a bigger job than others, and some are just from users who want you to evaluate the problem for free over the phone.

It's nothing against lead companies, but this is just how things work. Once they give you the lead (or forward you the call), they don't know whether you got paid or what payment you received, meaning that they won't be able to optimize for higher-value clients.

Another thing that is hidden from local home services businesses is that, in many cases, the way pay-per-call companies and lead aggregators generate leads is by setting up fake companies that users call to get services from. When you pick up the phone or call the lead, they have no idea who you are or why you answered the phone because they tried contacting a different company.

10. Keep Communicating With Your Clients Throughout The Year

We like to think that most local home services answer an immediate need, but the truth is that many jobs wait for a few weeks before the client calls a professional. Tons of small projects around the house, such as hanging shelves, small drywall repairs, and other non-urgent tasks, wait until spring cleaning, the holiday season, or until they gather a few small things to justify calling for a professional.

By emailing your clients with valuable information and discounts throughout the year, especially during the peak seasons, you can stay on their minds and even save a lot of money on paid advertising during the most competitive months. Not to mention that you can impacr their decision and cause them hire you instead of trying the FYI route.

Make sure to have a yearly gantt with relevant holidays to not miss this sort of opportunity. Collecting emails is simple enough, and the cost of emailing your clients is insignificant compare to the potential revenue it can bring.

Finishing Thoughts

Today we looked at 10 different ways you can improve the marketing efforts of businesses in the home services industry. Implementing any of the above tips could really make a difference, and the more you use, the better!

You can read more about the impact of some of these in a series of three case studies, in which we used many of the tips mentioned on this article. The overall result was multiplying the revenue of an appliance repair company by 3.8 (part 1, part 2, part 3).

If need help getting more leads that actually buy your service, improving your bottom line, or scaling up, feel free to reach out for a free consultation. We'd be happy to help!

Easing PPC Competitive Research with Ad Libraries

Running a successful PPC campaign requires more than just targeting the perfect keywords and a great ad (on Google and Bing) or an extremely accurate creative that meets the users exactly when they're about to make a purchasing decision (on Meta and TikTok).

Most advertisers don't run their campaigns in a vacuum, and to rise above the competition, an advertiser must first know what their competitors are doing.

So, in today's post, I'll show you how you can perform an almost complete PPC competitive analysis in less than 10 minutes without using any expensive tools.

Performing PPC Competitive Analysis

A PPC competitive analysis means different things in the context of different advertising platforms. In most cases, it has a lot to do with the offering, creative, and landing pages used in live campaigns. For these, ad libraries have the most up to date and accurate data.

What are Ad Libraries

An ad library is where big advertising platforms show up-to-date, live ads in different industries and, in our case, by a specific competitor.

Meta was the first to create one, by launching the Facebook Ad Library back in 2019. This was Meta's (Facebook, at the time) response to being accused of influencing the 2019 US elections. It was their way of being more transparent about the ads running on their platform. Thankfully, other platforms followed the trend.

Up until that point, we (advertisers and marketing agencies) relied on third-party tools to see competitors' ad creatives. This was efficient but pretty expensive and inaccurate at times, as these tools didn't really catch up with most campaigns in real time. In some cases, we'd still use third-party tools to help us with PPC competitive analysis, even today, but this is getting pretty rare.

Performing Competitor Research with Ad Libraries

Although most libraries work in the same way, each has its own features. Despite that, they're all very intuitive and easy to use.

Meta Ad Library

The ad library that started it all. It lets you searsh for ads by keyword (that can represent either the creative or the advertiser) and filter by location and ad category (political or other ads).

image of Meta Ad Library
Meta Ad Library

Visit the Meta Ad Library

Google Ad Transparency Center

Google's Ad Transparency Center includes ads running on Google search, the display network, and YouTube. You can search for ads from a specific industry or by a specific advertiser.

I find the industry lookup not to be as accurate as it could've been, so I usually run some manual searches from the location where I plan to run ads and do the research based on specific advertisers.

image of the Google Ads transparency center
Google Ads transparency center

Visit Google's Ad Transparency here

Microsoft Ad Library

The Ad Library by Microsoft includes one search bar that searches both advertisers and creative. It's not complete, and it doesn't show many of the ads it should have shown, even from verified advertisers.

image of Microsoft Ad Library
Microsoft Ad Library

Visit the Microsoft Ads Library

LinkedIn Ad Library

On LinkedIn's Ad Library, you can search for either part of the creative or advertiser name, and filter by country and date. I haven't yet experiences ads that were missing from there.

image of LinkedIn's Ads Library
LinkedIn's Ads Library

Visit the LinkedIn Ad Library

TikTok Ad Library

TikTok's Ad Library is only showing ads running in European countries. It allows you to search for ads or advertisers and display the results.

image of TikTok Ad Library
TikTok Ad Library

Visit the TikTok Ad Library

Twitter (X) Ads Repository

The X Ads Repository is only available in countries from the EU. It's pretty limited compared to other libraries, allowing users to only search for ads from a specific advertiser. It also doesn't show you the results of your search, but allows you to generate a CSV report.

image of X Ads repository
X Ads repository

Visit the X Ads Repository

Completing the Research

Once you gathered the creatives used in multiple advertising platforms from the same advertiser, you can pretty much understand how they transformed or adjusted their offer to reach audiences in different places. What do they do differently on social than search, etc...

Take this information to help you craft a set of ads that are more likely to perform well, using tests done by your competitors.

Finishing Thoughts

Today we learned how to conduct a PPC competitive research by using the ad libraries run by big advertising platforms to learn from competitors' experience and tests.

If you need help with your online campaigns, reach out and we'll be happy to help.

Should You Use Broad Keywords on Google Ads?

In the last two years, Google representatives started offering advertisers to use broad match type keywords instead of phrase and exact, which were the standard at the time.

In the last year, they took it a step further, pushing advertisers to experiment with broad keywords and even allowing them to turn all of a campaign's keywords into broad in a single click.

But, as an advertiser, should you rely more on broad match keywords, or would you be better off sticking to the more old-school phrase and exact? I think you should at least give it a shot, and today I’ll explain why.

What’s Broad Match Type?

Broad match type keywords are the broadest (didn’t see it coming, huh?) of Google’s 3 match types: Broad, Phrase, and Exact.

Originally, they triggered ad impressions based on very clear criteria, which became much more complex and vague in 2022.

It essentially means that a broad match type keyword can trigger one of your ads if the user’s search query matches the intent Google believes represents your keyword. Did I already say it’s vague? We’re essentially giving Google a green light to trigger our ads whenever they feel like it. 

Although it sounds like a bad idea, when paired with conversion-oriented automated bidding strategies, it very often works remarkably well, but more on that later.

The Old Criteria

Exact keywords triggered your ad only when they exactly matched the search query entered by the user.

Phrase keywords triggered ad impressions when the user’s query included the whole keyword. Meaning that the query could add words before, after, or both but has to include the keyword as a whole.

Broad keywords were (and still are, actually) the loose cannon of the three. They triggered an ad impression if at least one of the words in the keyword was included in the user’s search query.

Broad Match Keyword Paired with Automated Bidding Strategies

Even though, as mentioned above, using Broad match keywords gives Google the freedom to show or not show your ad based on criteria they don’t share publicly, Google’s conversion algorithms are arguably the best of their kind.

When you pair a conversion algorithm that is very accurate with the ability to decide whether or not to show your ads, you can expect scale at a higher rate than with other match types. But there are times when you don’t really want to use it.

Reasons to Avoid Broad Keywords

There are a few situations where we notice Broad match type keywords performed significantly worse than other match types.

  1. New accounts with not enough conversion data. What’s enough conversion data? Usually between 100 and 200 conversions.
  2. When using it with a new conversion, even if the account has a lot of data for other conversions. This is not as bad as using it with a new account, though.
  3. Making converting “too easy” for the user. Examples include clicking on a phone number instead of actually tracking call lengths or navigating to the contact page rather than filling out the contact form. 
  4. It doesn’t work in the same way in every language. A rule of thumb is that the more popular and closer it is to English, the better it works.
  5. Very small or niche industries are harder for Google to understand, especially if you’re only targeting a small portion of the audience.
  6. In any way, your campaigns must have a healthy list of negative keywords, but with broad match type, it’s ten times more important.

Best Practices for Using Broad Match Type Keywords

To properly use the benefits of broad match type, there are a few best practices that can direct you in the right place and save you some money on, potentially, expensive and irrelevant clicks. 

Use Broad Match Type Keywords With Automated Bidding Strategies Aimed At Conversions

Even though Maximize Clicks technically counts as an automated bidding strategy, pairing it with broad keywords will most likely result in getting many clicks but not many conversions. Broad keywords work best with Maximize Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value.

Choose The Right Conversion Goal

Even if you do use a conversion or conversion value oriented automated bidding strategy, you must understand that algorithms must be trained. You want to ensure the conversion you’re tracking is worth prioritizing and is not a soft conversion.

Wait Until You Have Enough Conversions

You want to keep a balance between the number of conversions and their value. The more they are at the top of the funnel, the more you’ll have and the easier it would be to gather a substantial amount of, but the less valuable they would be.

Experiment Before You Turn Everything Broad

Like everything, you should test it before you change your entire account to broad match type. Below I explain exactly how to set up that experiment.

Want To Give Broad Match Keywords A Try? This Is How

So, if you want to try broad match keywords, there are a couple of ways to do it.

#1: Start an Experiment

The simplest way to test whether broad match keywords work for you is to run an experiment. Thankfully, Google already has a “preset” for this.

Go to experiments at the bottom of the left panel, and then click on “Create Experiment” under “Add broad match keywords” under the recommended experiments.

Create a broad match type experiment
Create a broad match type experiment

#2: Set It on the Campaign Settings

You can use the broad match keywords setting to determine whether you want to use your keyword match types or bypass them and treat them all as broad.

The Broad match keyword option under campaign settings in Google Ads
The broad match keyword option under campaign settings in Google Ads

#3: Upgrade to Broad

You can mark keywords at any level (ad group, campaign, or account) and change them to broad under “edit”.

The Upgrade to broad option unter change match type while looking at keywords
The Upgrade to broad option unter change match type while looking at keywords

#4: The Good Ol’ Google Ads Editor

If you’re not familiar with Google Ads’ Editor, it’s a tool that allows you to edit your campaigns offline and perform bulk actions very efficiently, including match type editing.

Finishing Thoughts

At the end of the day, I think you should at least consider testing broad keywords if you are running campaigns using Maximize Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value bidding strategies and have enough events.

Need help managing your Google Ads account? Reach out, and we'll be happy to help!

How to Stop Getting Spam Leads

Fake leads are a pain point in many types of campaigns. They waste advertising budgets, and they mess up the conversion algorithm of some automated bidding strategies.

That said, there are a few easy and effective ways to fight fake and spam leads, and today we’ll review them, each with its pros and cons.

What Are Fake Leads

Fake leads are either the result of bot clicks meant to sabotage your campaigns or just made manually by users or competitors.

In some cases, especially if you offer a freebie in exchange for the users' details, they are not made by users with malicious intent but by regular users who prefer not to share their real details.

What’s The Problem With Fake and Spam Leads

Beyond being extremely annoying, fake leads can also mess with conversion-focused automated bidding strategies because they provide many fake signals that don’t really describe your clients.

If they look real, spam leads can even waste sales agents’ time and hurt their target sale rates.

How to Stop Fake Leads

There are many ways to stop fake and spam leads. Each method below would work for a different type of fake leads, so invest some time in identifying the problem before you choose a solution.

Recaptcha

Recaptcha almost became a synonym for identifying bot traffic. In the early versions, it required users to type misshaped words, but in its latest versions, it does most of the identification with the help of behavior analysis and other signals, ensuring most users won’t even know it’s running in the background, leaving the user experience unaffected.

ReCaptcha is Best For

Everybody. It integrates pretty easily into most forms and is, in most cases, completely free. One thing you should know is that it won’t stop humans from leaving fake details in your forms.

For The Best Results

Pair with offline conversions to improve lead quality.

3rd Party User Identity Verifiers

Some services, like Pipl, for example, match the actual lead details and compare them against their database to determine whether the lead details left in your form belong to a real person. It’s more expensive, but it’s really accurate in giving a definitive answer for whether the lead is real or not. Not to mention the data enrichment feature.

User Identity Verifiers are Best For

Businesses working online at a large scale and need a reliable service to determine whether a lead they receive is real in real-time.

For The Best Results

Prevent users who don’t pass the test from getting into your CRM or ask them to verify their phone number or email address.

Double Opt-in (DOI) / Phone Number Verification

Double opt-in is a method to verify the email address of a lead by sending an automated email with a link they need to click on.

Phone number verification is done by sending a 4/6 digits number to a lead’s phone number and asking them to fill it back on the page before the lead is submitted.

Lead Verification is Best For

Freebies, newsletter campaigns, giveaway submissions.

For The Best Results

Pair with another service that verifies the user first and ask for SMS or email verification only if they failed the automated test. In most cases, verifying phone numbers and emails is an awful user experience, especially if the user converted on their desktop.

Honey Pot

Honey Pot is a very old and very simple method to prevent bots from filling forms. Although it’s old and not very complex, it’s still very effective.

It works like this:

You add a field to your form, but make it invisible with CSS. This makes it invisible to humans, but since bots see it in the code, they act as if it’s visible. Most bots are designed to fill out all the fields in a form, so you can safely know that every time this field is filled, it was a bot submission and you should just ignore that submission (don’t post it to the CRM) and send the user to a fake thenk you page.

Honey Pot is Best For

Literally everyone. It’s not a service, so there are no ongoing costs other than the initial setup, which can be done together with setting up your landing page or site for the first time.

For The Best Results

Use it before you trigger additional checks, such as identity verifiers or SMS and email verifications to save costs.

Fake Clicks Prevention

Services such as ClickCease prevent fake clicks from Google Ads using IP exclusion. They are working under the (true) assumption that Google doesn’t catch all the bot clicks. I don't think it’s anywhere near the 20% they claim it to be, but I know it exists.

IP exclusion is not the most effective method, but if your campaign is spending enough, you can safely assume that your monthly cost on invalid clicks is greater than the cost of their service.

Bot Click Prevention is Best For

Businesses with above-average numbers of invalid clicks, or those working in highly competitive industries with many small competitors, such as plumbers, appliance repair technicians, locksmiths, etc… 

For The Best Results

Use offline conversions and call tracking services that can report a conversion only after a certain call length.

Using Offline Conversions

Using offline conversions together with a conversion oriented automated bidding strategy, and especially, reporting conversions that are lower in the funnel, is a great way to improve lead quality whether or not you are under a fake leads attack.

By signaling Google, Facebook (or any other advertising platform) about conversions that are lower in the funnel and closer to the end goal of the campaign, you are rewarding the algorithm only for leads you have chosen and not for all of them.

You can choose to report for leads that your sales team identifies as “interested”, for those who asked for a follow-up meeting, or even just for those who picked up the phone. In any way, you won't report fake leads, so over time, you’d get fewer and fewer of them.

Offline Conversions is Best For

Businesses who start taking their online marketing efforts more seriously and want to scale up and increase their profitability, and are willing to put in the effort to set it up.

For The Best Results

Use data from your CRM to determine the ratios between leads, qualified leads, and a sale. Bid accordingly, and make sure that you optimize for down-the-funnel conversions only after you’ve tested the conversion and let the system some time to adjust.

Finishing Thoughts

Today, we learned about a few different methods to prevent fake leads and how to save money and time by dealing with them. We learned about the pros and cons of each method and which combination of methods gives us the most advantages.

If you are dealing with fake leads or want to increase the scale and profitability of your online campaigns, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

12 Ways to Instantly Earn More From Your Etsy Store

Etsy is the world’s biggest marketplace for handmade items. In most cases, if you chose Etsy as your main storefront, it’s because your products won’t fit bigger marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay, in either pricing or demand.

Etsy buyers are willing to pay more for higher-quality and unique items, but some categories are extremely competitive, making it very hard to monetize. But, like in many cases, the ones who win are those who go the extra mile and do what others would not.

So today, I’ll give you some tips on how to earn more from your Etsy store, even outside of Etsy. 

Tips To Instantly Increase Your Profits From Etsy

1. Have Your Own Website

In a world where you can buy a domain and build a Shopify store for $30 a month, it costs more not to have a website. Seriously, Etsy is a great place to be discovered, but once you get the customer, you’ll save a lot of fees if you can incentivize them to place their next order on your site. It has some up and downs, of course (Etsy loves repeat buyers).

Another thing to remember is that if you get to a point where users are searching for your store name on Google, there’s no reason to give Etsy the first result when you can get it yourself.

2. Add Cupons to Interested Potential Buyers

Send a coupon for users who added your items to their cart but never purchased them or those who recently added your products to their favorites. Often, they just need that little extra push to turn them into buyers.

3. Free Worldwide Shipping

Studies show that users prefer to buy a product that is more expensive if it comes with free shipping over a cheaper product that doesn’t, assuming that both end up costing the same. Add the cost of shipping to the product’s price and offer free shipping, and make it easier for your customers to hit the buy now.

4. Selling from Outside The US? Don’t Share Your Local Store Link

This is a mistake I see everywhere, and it’s one of the simplest things to fix.
In most cases, users won’t scroll down and change the currency to USD, they’ll just leave. Make sure that if you share a link to your store with an international audience, you link your international store. 

They won’t know how much anything costs if they’re unfamiliar with your currency.

5. Never Underestimate The Value of Presentation

Wrap your items nicely, invest in nice bags, engrave your logo, etc... Don’t make your handmade, high-quality item be presented in the same way a cheap, mass-produced one is. Users expect an extraordinary experience, and they’re happy to share a good experience with their friends and on social media.

6. Turn Your Envelope Into an Ad

This alone can easily get you more paying customers with almost no extra effort.

Think about the number of people who see your envelope between the time you send it, and when it reaches the buyer. 

Make your envelope pop, and make sure your web address is clearly listed, together with a short tagline of what you do. You can even add a QR. You have an opportunity to get the attention of many people who already know that people buy your products.

7. Add a Small Surprise

Bonus points if you can make it digitally and available on your site. It can be a small guide on how to use it, a small extra something, really anything. Make your customer feel special, that’s why they bought from Etsy and not from Amazon.

8. High-Quality Images Are Good, A Video Is Better

Including videos in your listing will help you sell more to those who enter your store, and they will incentivize Etsy to rank your products higher in the search results. 

You don’t need 

9. Social Media is Your Best Friend

There are infinite ways you can promote your Etsy store on social media. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (sorry, X), TikTok, or even Pinterest. There’s a community in one of these networks that is looking for products such as yours.

In my experience, it’s most likely Instagram or Facebook, but this is not a reason to not post regularly on all. 

10. Do Your Keyword Research

Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to determine which keywords are used more often than others and use them in your titles and descriptions.

11. Have an Amazing Customer Service

Accidentally send the wrong item? Wrong quantity? Did you miss a flaw, or did the item get destroyed in shipping? Offer a free replacement (within reason, of course), and when you can, don’t insist on getting your broken item back.

Your buyers would appreciate your effort, and you will easily make them more comfortable buying again and recommending you.

A study shows that a disappointed client that was compensated to their satisfaction is almost three times more likely to leave a good review and recommend the store than a happy client that didn’t need .

12. Add a Thank You Note, Ask for a Review

As long as your scale enables it, add a handwritten thank you note with every package you send. Include their name and, if you can, a custom discount code to be used on your site.

Finishing Thoughts

Today we learned about a few ways and methods you can use right now in order to earn more from your Etsy store.

If you need help with your Etsy store or if you feel that it doesn't perform to its full potential, drop us a line, and we'll be happy to help!