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HOT TOPIC Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses

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Andy Black

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Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses
(Originally posted here.)

So you're trying to increase inbound calls or email enquiries for a local service business?


Start by watching this 4 min video:

When someone searches for "window repairs", they could be looking for a local service, or they could be looking for articles showing how to do it themselves. We can't tell from their search term.

They could have a cup of coffee and notepad next to them when they search (browsing/researching), or they could have their phone and credit card next to them when they search (shopping/buying).

When someone searches for "window repairs dublin", we know they are looking for a local service - in Dublin. I picture them searching with their phone to hand so they can ring the local service business.

So when someone searches with a geo-modified search term (a search term with a location in it), they are MORE likely to convert.

If you can't sell to these searchers, then don't try and tackle the non geo-modified search terms (window repairs, blacksmiths, shepherds, etc).

So start with geo-modified searches.


...


Next, get your head round the fact that:

Your landing page does NOT convert!

Read this fella:

When you say your Dublin Plumber landing page converts at 20%, you really mean that 20% of people who visit your page searching for a plumber in Dublin convert into an enquiry.

If I send people looking for Car Insurance to your Dublin Plumber landing page, then they ain't converting into enquiries at 20%.

TIP: Always specify what conversion rate you're talking about. In this case I might call it my click-to-enquiry-rate.


...


If you're going to use AdWords paid search to generate leads for a local service business (and I suggest you start there and at least rule it out) , then you need to know the difference between search terms and keywords. You're going to be bled to death if you don't.

Read these three posts here:

...


Sales happen when you get the right person to the right offer at the right time.

This is why I love AdWords paid search.

The right person is the person searching for your offer.

The right time is the moment they are searching.

All we have to do is get them to the offer that matches what they were searching for.

Get people searching for a service with a location in their search term, to a page that shows that service and location right in front of them.

Here's a quick exercise: Google for "tax attorney chicago" and see how many of the ads mention "Tax Attorney" and "Chicago" in their ad. If you're not based in the US, then do a search for something similarly expensive and for a large city.

Even for something this expensive (Google estimates €33 CPC for top ad positions for search term "tax attorney chicago"), less than half of the ads manage to echo back what you were searching.

Don't click on the ads because you're costing those advertisers a fortune, but I can guarantee that a lot of the landing pages you get sent to won't make it obvious that they are Tax Attorneys, or that they cover Chicago.

Maaan, the competition for local lead gen is soooo poor. I love it.

I can throw up the simplest ugly ugly landing page, and get a 10% click-to-enquiry-rate because I'm just echoing back what they were searching for in my landing page.

When a graphic designer gets involved and beautifies my crappy page, the click-to-enquiry-rate can be 20%-40% for a local service business.


...


My page might be a two column layout.

In the left column:
  1. Top left is the company-name and/or service-location (e.g. Dublin Blacksmith Services).
  2. Below the company-name and/or service-location I might have a relevant tagline (Domestic & Commercial Blacksmith Services throughout Dublin).
  3. Then I might have a heading such as "Looking for a Blacksmith in Dublin?". Something where they go: "Yes! That's exactly what I'm looking for!".
  4. Then I might have 3-5 bullet point benefits.

In the right column:
  1. Top right I typically have the phone number on the page (big and bold and where people expect to see it).
  2. Then I have a call to action heading above a form. The heading is "Request a Callback", since we want people to fill in the form who want a callback. Often these enquiries aren't as strong as a phone call, but this caters for people who're doing a quick search at work and can't make a personal phone call, and who don't want or can't send an email from their work PC.
  3. Then I ask for "Your name", "Your phone number", "Your email address", "Your message".
  4. The call to action on the button isn't "Submit"... it's "Request a Callback >".

...


Most businesses want the phone call, or people who want to talk on the phone. Hence "Request a Callback" rather than a "Contact Us".

Maybe half the calls will be new enquiries. The rest might be returning customers who Googled for the phone number, or people ringing back about an enquiry that's in progress.

Obviously more of the form fills are new enquiries.

I've been using Callrail and other solutions to track inbound calls. This is good if the Blacksmith company has a few offices in the country, and we're using a different tracked number for each office. Sometimes we can see that one office is missing 20%+ of their calls (and typically screaming the loudest that they're not getting leads... go figure).

The keyword can be captured in Callrail reports, and I think can be passed back to AdWords. I typically just download both the AdWords and call tracking data and join it up. I'm working on a better solution at the moment though.

So not all calls and form fills are new enquiries, and not all new enquiries will be logged as a new lead.

Not all leads will convert into sales.

So these intermediate steps of Calls/Form-fills -> Enquiries -> Leads are actually just INDICATORS of performance. We really need to see the number of sales that are made each week/month/quarter to really see wtf is going on.

This might mean hooking up to their CRM (downloading their data and joining it up). Or (often), trying to pull teeth to get them to log leads and report on sales.


...


You should also read these two posts:

And read posts you might have missed in here:
 

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NVaz

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Amazing post Andy, you've just laid out a detailed business idea. Maybe you should have posted on Insiders-INE ? :rolleyes:
 

amp0193

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Great post Andy.

I launched my first Google Adwords campaign for my local business 4 days ago, so this information is particularly relevant for me.


So when someone searches with a geo-modified search term (a search term with a location in it), they are MORE likely to convert.
A great resource for generating geo-modified search terms is: http://www.5minutesite.com/local_keywords.php
 
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Chitown

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Chitown

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@Andy Black

Very tight info and super useful for something I'm working on. Speed +

The post below was originally a response to this inside post by @MyronGainz :

I thought it might help people on the outside too.

Fill yer boots,
Andy




Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses


So you're trying to increase inbound calls or email enquiries for a local service business?


Start by watching this 4 min video:

When someone searches for "window repairs", they could be looking for a local service, or they could be looking for articles showing how to do it themselves. We can't tell from their search term.

They could have a cup of coffee and notepad next to them when they search (browsing/researching), or they could have their phone and credit card next to them when they search (shopping/buying).

When someone searches for "window repairs dublin", we know they are looking for a local service - in Dublin. I picture them searching with their phone to hand so they can ring the local service business.

So when someone searches with a geo-modified search term (a search term with a location in it), they are MORE likely to convert.

If you can't sell to these searchers, then don't try and tackle the non geo-modified search terms (window repairs, blacksmiths, shepherds, etc).

So start with geo-modified searches.


...


Next, get your head round the fact that:

Your landing page does NOT convert!

Read this fella:

When you say your Dublin Plumber landing page converts at 20%, you really mean that 20% of people who visit your page searching for a plumber in Dublin convert into an enquiry.

If I send people looking for Car Insurance to your Dublin Plumber landing page, then they ain't converting into enquiries at 20%.

TIP: Always specify what conversion rate you're talking about. In this case I might call it my click-to-enquiry-rate.


...


If you're going to use AdWords paid search to generate leads for a local service business (and I suggest you start there and at least rule it out) , then you need to know the difference between search terms and keywords. You're going to be bled to death if you don't.

Read these three posts here:

...


Sales happen when you get the right person to the right offer at the right time.

This is why I love AdWords paid search.

The right person is the person searching for your offer.

The right time is the moment they are searching.

All we have to do is get them to the offer that matches what they were searching for.

Get people searching for a service with a location in their search term, to a page that shows that service and location right in front of them.

Here's a quick exercise: Google for "tax attorney chicago" and see how many of the ads mention "Tax Attorney" and "Chicago" in their ad. If you're not based in the US, then do a search for something similarly expensive and for a large city.

Even for something this expensive (Google estimates €33 CPC for top ad positions for search term "tax attorney chicago"), less than half of the ads manage to echo back what you were searching.

Don't click on the ads because you're costing those advertisers a fortune, but I can guarantee that a lot of the landing pages you get sent to won't make it obvious that they are Tax Attorneys, or that they cover Chicago.

Maaan, the competition for local lead gen is soooo poor. I love it.

I can throw up the simplest ugly ugly landing page, and get a 10% click-to-enquiry-rate because I'm just echoing back what they were searching for in my landing page.

When a graphic designer gets involved and beautifies my crappy page, the click-to-enquiry-rate can be 20%-40% for a local service business.


...


My page might be a two column layout.

In the left column:
  1. Top left is the company-name and/or service-location (e.g. Dublin Blacksmith Services).
  2. Below the company-name and/or service-location I might have a relevant tagline (Domestic & Commercial Blacksmith Services throughout Dublin).
  3. Then I might have a heading such as "Looking for a Blacksmith in Dublin?". Something where they go: "Yes! That's exactly what I'm looking for!".
  4. Then I might have 3-5 bullet point benefits.

In the right column:
  1. Top right I typically have the phone number on the page (big and bold and where people expect to see it).
  2. Then I have a call to action heading above a form. The heading is "Request a Callback", since we want people to fill in the form who want a callback. Often these enquiries aren't as strong as a phone call, but this caters for people who're doing a quick search at work and can't make a personal phone call, and who don't want or can't send an email from their work PC.
  3. Then I ask for "Your name", "Your phone number", "Your email address", "Your message".
  4. The call to action on the button isn't "Submit"... it's "Request a Callback >".

...


Most businesses want the phone call, or people who want to talk on the phone. Hence "Request a Callback" rather than a "Contact Us".

Maybe half the calls will be new enquiries. The rest might be returning customers who Googled for the phone number, or people ringing back about an enquiry that's in progress.

Obviously more of the form fills are new enquiries.

I've been using Callrail and other solutions to track inbound calls. This is good if the Blacksmith company has a few offices in the country, and we're using a different tracked number for each office. Sometimes we can see that one office is missing 20%+ of their calls (and typically screaming the loudest that they're not getting leads... go figure).

The keyword can be captured in Callrail reports, and I think can be passed back to AdWords. I typically just download both the AdWords and call tracking data and join it up. I'm working on a better solution at the moment though.

So not all calls and form fills are new enquiries, and not all new enquiries will be logged as a new lead.

Not all leads will convert into sales.

So these intermediate steps of Calls/Form-fills -> Enquiries -> Leads are actually just INDICATORS of performance. We really need to see the number of sales that are made each week/month/quarter to really see wtf is going on.

This might mean hooking up to their CRM (downloading their data and joining it up). Or (often), trying to pull teeth to get them to log leads and report on sales.


...


You should also read these two posts:

And read posts you might have missed in here:
 
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MakeItHappen

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@Andy Black awesome post!

How much local SE traffic per month would you be looking forward to for a decent local market?

I just did a quick research for a city with a population of 300k.
The keyword "roofer city" just gets 200 searches per month which doesn't look like much at all.

For what kind of monthly traffic would you be looking for when deciding to enter a local market as a lead seller?
 
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How much local SE traffic per month would you be looking forward to for a decent local market?

I just did a quick research for a city with a population of 300k.
The keyword "roofer city" just gets 200 searches per month which doesn't look like much at all.

For what kind of monthly traffic would you be looking for when deciding to enter a local market as a lead seller?
Ah, this a classic case of Google confusing things by calling them keywords when they are in fact search terms (what people type in).

Read The Single Biggest Reason People Lose Money With AdWords (if you haven't already).

Let other people stay confused by this, while you know better. :)

Those estimated monthly search volumes are for exact match searches (aka search terms).



People are going to search for:
  1. roofer <city>
  2. roofers <city>
  3. roofer in <city>
  4. roofers in <city>
  5. <city> roofer
  6. <city> roofers

They will add all sorts of other words they might put before, after, and in between all those words (e.g. best, cheapest, recommended, local).

They're also likely to add the statecode if it's a search in the US (e.g. roofers charlotte nc). Just type it into Google and see how it auto-suggests. This is self-fulfilling.



Then you have all the other locations in the <city> that people might search for (suburbs, zipcodes, etc).



THEN you have all the other services that roofers provide.
e.g.
  1. roof repair <city>
  2. roof repairs <city>
  3. roof repair in <city>
  4. roof repairs in <city>
  5. <city> roof repair
  6. <city> roof repairs


TIP: Find out which web page is top for roof repairs <city> and point the keyword planner at that URL and have a look at the suggested keywords (search terms!).

Put a filter on to include the name of the location(s) you are targeting.

This will give you some more ideas for geo-modified search terms.

(Note that I don't bid on all these permutations in exact match. Modified broad is great for catching a lot of this, with the usual negatives of job, jobs, career, careers, salary, salaries, course, courses, etc.)



Don't get too precious doing this research though!

Read these two posts if you haven't already:
 
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Anthony88

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Hey Andy thanks for all your advice, I joined here specifically to talk to you about Adwords

How do you go about creating your funnels and acquiring/charging clients? Are you creating funnels using your own seed money then trying to sell the leads or do you find clients in a industry you know you can generate leads them build a funnel? Do you charge per lead or do you charge a monthly fee?
 
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Andy Black

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Hey Andy thanks for all your advice, I joined here specifically to talk to you about Adwords
Wow, I'm honoured.

Welcome to the forum.

I specialise in local lead gen with AdWords paid search, but there is MUCH more gold in here from people with more business smarts than me.

Check out all the Gold threads, in particular The Absolute Beginners Guide To TMF & TFLF and @MTF 's great summary post that I can't seem to find at the mo (I'll link to it when I find it).



How do you go about creating your funnels and acquiring/charging clients? Are you creating funnels using your own seed money then trying to sell the leads or do you find clients in a industry you know you can generate leads then build a funnel? Do you charge per lead or do you charge a monthly fee?
Great questions.

I will reply in a few days. I want to write up a decent response. I've not cracked it by any means and am still slow-laning it, but I can at least brain dump my learnings to date.
 

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BigBrianC

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Hey Andy, really amazing thread here. I've read some of your other threads, but I've got a question:

I google "city plumbing"", run the keyword finder on Adwords, and look at keyword ideas, nd the top 5 are:
"toilet"
"plumber"
"delta faucets"
"cleaning services"
"water heater"

So now what do I do with this information? Surely I can't make an ads targeting "toilet (city)" right? Or is that what the data suggest? I think the answer is "Just do it", but just asking for more info before I jump in!
 

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Great questions.

I will reply in a few days. I want to write it up a decent response. I've not cracked it by any means and am still slow-laning it, but I can at least brain dump my learnings to date.
Very interested to hear the answer to this too. I am always curious as to how to charge for this sort of service and how to find customers, would have thought all the big SEO/marketing type web companies have it cornered...or there is no real money in it. I am probably wrong though!!
 

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(Note that I don't bid on all these permutations in exact match. Modified broad is great for catching a lot of this,

@Andy Black Would you mind explaining how you use modified broad a little more in depth? I did some reading on some external sources (I couldn't find anything you had written about it), and tried to wrap my head around it the best that I could.


So far, I have been doing the permutations myself on a very narrow set of search terms, and making each one exact match. CTR has been great, but volume is less than I would like, and I feel that I might benefit from the extra permutations from modified broad.

However, I swapped out the exact match search terms I was using to some modified broad ones, and almost all of the new modified ones were labeled "Low Search Volume", even though 60% of my exact match ones were not labeled this way.


Example of how I was doing my search term previously in the ad group (not the actual terms):

[phoenix arizona used car]
[phoenix arizona used cars]
[phoenix used car]
[used car phoenix]
[used car phoenix arizona]
[used cars phoenix arizona]
[used cars phoenix az]

etc., etc.

My Ad Group with the new modified broad looks like this:

+used +car +phoenix
+used +car +phoenix +arizona
buy +used +car +phoenix
+used +car +phoenix +az

Am I on the right track?
Are my modified broad search terms overlapping or competing with one another? Meaning, would +used +car +phoenix be sufficient as the only keyword on the ad group?

Thanks for your help. I had started the process of setting up ad groups / ads / landers by city, but figured I should make sure I was doing it right, before I went duplicating it any further.
 
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How do you go about creating your funnels and acquiring/charging clients? Are you creating funnels using your own seed money then trying to sell the leads or do you find clients in a industry you know you can generate leads them build a funnel? Do you charge per lead or do you charge a monthly fee?
Here's what I did... maybe you can skip steps, or modify them for your situation.


Getting started - that first "client" and my first AdWords campaign

What I like about client work, is that you learn with someone else's ad budget. Ideally they pay you for your time too, so you're getting paid to spend someone else's money - quite different from learning with your own ad spend, where you're also trying to learn what products of your own sell etc.

Let me say that again:

Client work allows you to get paid to learn AdWords using other people's money.


You can take on a client and manage their campaigns with no knowledge of paid search before-hand, just a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

My suggestion would be to start with someone you already know. Maybe you have a friend or someone in the family who runs a local service business or is a tradesman?

I started with an electrician friend who wasn't getting enough work. I offered to build a website for him and he bit my hand off. I didn't even know about AdWords back then, and it wasn't until a voucher fell out of an SEO book I'd bought that I decided to have a go.

He agreed to pay the AdWords bill, and I didn't charge him for my time.

He was just delighted that someone who knew computers was going to help him.

Don't underestimate your current knowledge of online marketing, and your skills on a computer, compared to the average small business owner.

Some small clients, then the first time as an employee since year 2000

Once I had my first client success, I was able to tell the story to other people.

Here's the story I tell people all the time:

Back in 2009 I was so excited about this first taste of helping someone get more work that I didn't renew an IT contract when it was offered, and decided to jump straight into selling this service to small, local businesses.

I got onto a programme for local business startups to get training on all the cr@p that I now realise we don't need when starting a business (business plans, business networking tips, etc).

On those courses I'd introduce myself as a guy running paid ads to get businesses more leads, and I could see other attendees taking note, and a few would talk to me on coffee breaks. This was back in 2009, so I imagine you'd get even more interest doing this now.

I picked up a few small clients that way, and again, it was good experience. I charged a small flat monthly rate, and naively thought I'd scale this on my own to maybe 50 clients.

I quickly learned that a lot of these "startup" businesses weren't going anywhere (because they had a "great idea", no-one actually wanted what they were selling, and no-one was therefore searching on Google for what they were selling.)

So before my war-chest ran out I took a job in a company that was buying 1m clicks a day via AdWords. This resulted in a massive paycut from what I was used to as an IT contractor, but I thought it was worth pursuing.

I've only had two jobs since 2000, and both were so I could reskill and focus on a skill I thought would add value to many businesses.

Learnings:
  1. It's not a bad idea at all to get a job in a company or agency running campaigns if it's going to pay your bills while you rapidly gain experience.

  2. Many small businesses are small for a reason. They don't have a market who want to buy their products/services, and/or they don't believe in investing in leads and sales. Many are a completed headache to deal with, but if you go into it with your eyes open and knowing that they likely aren't going to last more than a few months, then they're a good way of learning, gaining more experience (aka gathering more stories), and making more contacts.

  3. Businesses new to paid advertising will all start out with budget mentality. They will have a budget in mind that they are prepared to spend until they see some revenue.

  4. Businesses typically don't move to an ROI mentality until they see some revenue coming in, and some businesses will NEVER change to an ROI mentality and will always be trying to reduce costs.

  5. When they get to seeing AdWords spend as an investment (typically when they turn it off for a while and then quickly realise they need it back on), then they're likely to keep you managing their campaigns for a long time.

  6. If a business always sees you as a cost, then you want to drop them quick as you can anyway. They're going to be a pita to deal with ALL the time.


Trying to scale what works

I noticed that not all campaigns worked out.

Sometimes there just weren't people searching.

Sometimes it was just too competitive.

I could get a Dublin washing machine repairs campaign to work, so built www.corkwashingmachinerepairs.com (Cork being the second biggest city in Ireland).

I created ads, had them running, and cold-called plumbers and electricians in Cork to offer to put their number on the website for free for a month, as long as they told me how many enquiries they got.

I was surprised when NO-ONE took me up on the offer. Even back in 2009, these guys were fed up with the daily calls from SEO guys, Yellow Pages guys, and AdWords guys pretending to be from Google.

Obviously I could have kept trying this, but I decided outbound wasn't really for me, and focused on inbound instead.



The beauty of inbound

I created lots of blog posts, updated my Linkedin profile, and agreed to meet any business owner in Dublin who contacted me to find out about AdWords. I'd let them buy me lunch and they could pick my brains for an hour.

I enjoyed it, got better at explaining things, asking questions, telling stories, and selling the benefits of AdWords.

I didn't chase up, so maybe this strategy could be used to get more clients than I did. Never-the-less, I still got some pieces of work out of this, and started building up a reputation in Dublin.

Working in one city for 5 years, where everyone knows everyone else, and sticking with one focus (AdWords) really helps gain some momentum.

I now know many agency owners in Dublin, and all the different clients I've had over the years has helped with referrals and inbound leads.


My problem with inbound

(Actually, this is a problem with my positioning.)

When you're known as an AdWords guy, anyone with a website thinks you can help them.

If I get 4 inbound leads in a month, and I knock two out of the park in a couple of days, I then spend a LOT of time trying to get the duds to work.

So I spend most of that month working on campaigns that I can't get to fly, and that aren't going to pay me the next month.

Learnings:
  1. Paid search can't help every business.

  2. If you're not positioned precisely enough, then your leads aren't going to be qualified enough.

  3. Landing a client and THEN trying to generate them leads might not be the smartest way to do this.


Where my revenue comes from currently


CONTRACTING

Like I said before, I'm still slow-laning.

Most of my revenue comes from being an onsite contractor. I go on client sites from 9am till 3pm from Mon-Thu. I am available out of hours via email and work on small pieces out of hours every now and then. Mostly this isn't required.

I've found to date that being a contractor who'll work on the client site is VERY attractive to larger companies compared to them working with an agency.

I've took over two largish accounts doing this. If I could find people to backfill my positions, then maybe this can be scaled, but I'm not focusing on that at present.

I bill them at a daily rate for the 5 hours onsite, and a flat weekly rate for the out of hours support.


I like being a contractor for various reasons:
  1. I work IN the client teams. This gives me much better visibilty of things outside of just paid search. I meet with Marketing Directors, Pricing Directors, other marketing specialists. I get to see the revenue attributed to the paid search campaigns (if they know it that is), and help them work out their Daily (ROI) Trading so we can manage their bids and maximise profits.

  2. I don't have to go to the numerous standing meetings that permanent staff go to. Yay!

  3. I don't do annual performance appraisals. Yay!

  4. I get paid into my limited company... so can be more tax efficient paying myself, and can use some of that revenue pre-tax to build my own sites and buy my own traffic. Awesome.

  5. When I "clock-out" and go home, I don't take any of this home with me as mental baggage. My evenings are free to work on my own stuff.


MENTORING

I have one client business that I provide support to, and mentor one of their employees so that he can build and optimise their campaigns. I'm also helping to build out their Daily (ROI) Trading reports.

So far this is working out well as a flat rate of €1k/mth (just to give you an idea of numbers).


SMALLER CLIENTS

I've found that I get contacted a lot by agencies and other marketing consultants. They get me to build and manage campaigns for their clients, and effectively white-label my services.

It's a great way to get clients, because they will do it for me when they see positive results.

They will also manage the end clients (which can be great when they are small clients).

It can sometimes be painful as their goals might not be aligned with mine. I want to drive leads, whereas a website consultancy might want to sell more website functionality.


An interesting model that ran for 12 months for me was a direct client in Dublin. He did window repairs and I built a landing page and campaign and put his phone number on the page. I owned the site and campaign, and he put his credit card details in the AdWords account so I didn't pay the bill myself and then have to chase him for the payment. He just paid me a flat monthly fee on top of the bill, to effectively RENT the funnel from me. It lasted 12 months, with the only work I needed to do from months 2-12 being to meet up with him to get my money.

Handy wee model.




Other notes:
  1. Basecamp is great not just for managing client projects, but also for pre-sales. When you put the conversations and audits/reports into Basecamp, they see how you're going to be much more organised to deal with than agencies they've dealt with in the past, and it can help to win the business.

  2. When you find a niche that works, you're probably going to be much better off focusing on that niche. e.g. become known as "the guy who generates leads for lawyers", not "the AdWords guy".

  3. I prefer the flat monthly rate for new clients. I've no idea sometimes if the campaigns are going to work, so there's no point having a performance based arrangement when there's a chance all your work is going to amount to nothing.

  4. Clients often prefer paying you a flat monthly rate anyway. Some are used to paying the Yellow Pages a flat monthly fee.



EDIT: I've still not answered the questions, but I'll get round to it. I thought I'd add the context first.
 
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It worth "waiting" for the answer :) , more golden nuggets, ty Andy.

Why don't you try to build some digital assets that could make you some passive income ? You can gather some of your clients and arrange a paid training webinar (HO, skype, etc) ? You can record it and make a Udemy Course, or maybe you can create a course on Adwords or Lead Gen for Local Business from scratch.
 

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Another big hurdle to cross, is what does YOUR customer base google? What YOU call your trade they may call it by another name/ factor in demograghics as well, IMO in order to work a PPC ad effectively you HAVE to know who your customer is...
 
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Hey Andy, really amazing thread here. I've read some of your other threads, but I've got a question:
Just a quick tip to help your own mindset... change the "but" to "and" in the sentence above and see how that sounds. (You can read this post where I explain what that does... I'll add a couple more stories to that post soon.)


I google "city plumbing"", run the keyword finder on Adwords, and look at keyword ideas, nd the top 5 are:
"toilet"
"plumber"
"delta faucets"
"cleaning services"
"water heater"

So now what do I do with this information? Surely I can't make an ads targeting "toilet (city)" right? Or is that what the data suggest? I think the answer is "Just do it", but just asking for more info before I jump in!
Lol...
Beware the keyword candy store!!

Is someone looking for "toilet" looking for a plumber?

Not likely.

Even if they were looking for "toilet chicago", they are either looking for a public toilet to use (maybe?), or looking for a store that sells toilets.

"Toilet repairs chicago" or "toilet installation chicago" would be better bets to get in front of people looking for a plumber in Chicago.

Saying that, I don't know if people would search that, or just "plumber chicago".


Like I said earlier, I start by looking for search terms that contain location names.

There's a handy wee multiply keywords function in the Keyword Planner:




This won't give you additional keyword ideas, but you can always download them and load them back into the normal Keyword Planner:





To be honest, I just use excel to get loads of permutations.

Now you can get ideas from Google, and can specify that all the search terms contain the location names:

 
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@Andy Black Would you mind explaining how you use modified broad a little more in depth? I did some reading on some external sources (I couldn't find anything you had written about it), and tried to wrap my head around it the best that I could.
I dropped a how-to doc in the Speed way forum that shows how I setup an initial campaign, adgroup, keyword, and ad.

You should look through it if you haven't already:

So far, I have been doing the permutations myself on a very narrow set of search terms, and making each one exact match. CTR has been great, but volume is less than I would like, and I feel that I might benefit from the extra permutations from modified broad.

However, I swapped out the exact match search terms I was using to some modified broad ones, and almost all of the new modified ones were labeled "Low Search Volume", even though 60% of my exact match ones were not labeled this way.
Yep, sometimes illogical stuff like that happens.

Example of how I was doing my search term previously in the ad group (not the actual terms):

[phoenix arizona used car]
[phoenix arizona used cars]
[phoenix used car]
[used car phoenix]
[used car phoenix arizona]
[used cars phoenix arizona]
[used cars phoenix az]

etc., etc.

My Ad Group with the new modified broad looks like this:

+used +car +phoenix
+used +car +phoenix +arizona
buy +used +car +phoenix
+used +car +phoenix +az

Am I on the right track?
Are my modified broad search terms overlapping or competing with one another? Meaning, would +used +car +phoenix be sufficient as the only keyword on the ad group?

Thanks for your help. I had started the process of setting up ad groups / ads / landers by city, but figured I should make sure I was doing it right, before I went duplicating it any further.
Yes, these keywords are going to canabalise each other. Don't worry about it for now.

There's no hard and fast rules. I change my style quite a lot depending on who's going to manage the account after I've built it, whether I think the volumes are going to justify the work put into building an intricate campaign out, and the fact that at the start you're likely to change your campaigns rapidly as you learn.


For this case, I'd probably have two campaigns targeting the whole of the US (I presume there's only one Phoenix in the US?).


Campaign 1 - named (without the quotes): "IP=US {Used Cars} (google; exact)"

The naming convention here is that it's targeting the whole of the US, it's for all the "used cars" keywords, that it's just targeting the Google network (and not search partners as well), and that all the keywords in this campaign are exact match.

Adgroup: used cars phoenix
Keyword: [used cars phoenix]

Adgroup: used cars phoenix az
Keyword: [used cars phoenix az]

etc. for things the Keyword Planner says have sufficient volumes to justify doing this.


Campaign 2 - named (without the quotes): "IP=US {Used Cars} (google; modbroad)"

Same as the first campaign, but all the keywords are modified broad.

Adgroup: used cars phoenix
Keyword: +used +cars +phoenix

Campaign negative keywords:
[used cars phoenix]
[used cars phoenix az]
etc


The reason for the campaign negatives is to force those search terms to the "exact match campaign", rather than allow them to be sent to either campaign. I'd call this "preventing the modified broad match keywords from canabalising the exact match keywords".

This post explains why you'd want to prevent Google from controlling where you traffic goes:


Yeah, be aware of adding keywords with the "low search volume" warning. I've still seen keywords with that warning get impressions. Often I just load so many keywords knowing that most will have that warning, but I have no way of determining which beforehand.

Good luck!
 
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Thanks for that post Andy, for both the in-depth guide and the "Yes, but" post. Real gold right there.
 

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Why don't you try to build some digital assets that could make you some passive income ? You can gather some of your clients and arrange a paid training webinar (HO, skype, etc) ? You can record it and make a Udemy Course, or maybe you can create a course on Adwords or Lead Gen for Local Business from scratch.
Ha.. that's so funny. That's exactly what I was working on prior to joining TFLF back in May-2014.

And in my progress thread on the inside where I was creating some info product or coaching course @redsfaithful wondered why I wasn't doing lead gen.

I've ended up coming round to lead gen and am focused on that for the moment.

Funnily enough, I did a written interview for someone's website yesterday.

Here it is:

...


1. What or who inspired you to start your own business?

It's quite a normal route for IT support staff in the UK to go "contracting" and work on client sites. My choices back in 2000 were to move into management roles, or stay technical. I like being at the coal-face and learning so chose to stay technical. The obvious route for IT techies to earn more is to setup a limited company and charge yourself out at a daily rate.

After 5 years as a contract IT support techie I realised that I was always seen as a cost. Businesses begrudged paying me, and only did so to keep their systems running.

It took another 5 years to get out of IT contracting, with me trying various ways to be seen to add more value.

I wanted to do something that obviously added more value, and thought learning to create a website would help.

The real break came back in 2009 when the economy was heading South. I had a friend who was an electrician and his work had dried up so much he couldn't afford payments on his van and had to hand it back. He had a wife and two kids with another baby on the way and he must have been staring into the abyss back then.

I can't learn for the sake of learning, so asked my friend if I could build him a website to try and help him get some work. He bit my hand off down to my ankle, and I set to learning a bit of Wordpress and installing a free theme.

I got him ranked top on Google for "kildare electrician", the county we live in here in Ireland, but he didn't get any calls.

Then an AdWords voucher fell out of a book I'd bought, and I thought "what the heck, let's try that."

I still remember being on a client site in their IT support team when my friend rang me all excited saying "Andy, I've had a call". I physically stood up and wandered around the office in a daze, thinking "wow... this actually works".

It's like I found a true purpose for all my technical skills and creativity - I can generate leads for local service businesses. Instead of being a cog in a big blue chip company, I can now help actual people keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.


2. Tell us a bit about it and the services you provide.

I've since had a couple of j.o.b.s as I reskilled, then I've gone back to being self-employed.

I've managed a team of 35 AdWords specialists spending €120k+ a day. I've managed a team of 4 AdWords specialists building 120m keywords and ads to drive 15k signups a day. I've driven calls to a call centre for tradesmen in the UK, created campaigns for the biggest insurance broker in Ireland, and work in a team driving sales for a worldwide online brand.

Currently, most of my revenue comes in as a contractor still. :)

I'm on client sites 9am till 3pm Mon-Thu running their AdWords campaigns. Sure, I don't feel that I'm helping anyone directly, but those businesses can very directly see the value in the service I provide.

I also have a few smaller clients, and I work on their campaigns in the evenings.


3. Was this your original product idea?

People liked the way I explained how to generate leads and sales via AdWords. I put up a lot of posts on my blog, and posted a lot in forums. This lead to me building an email list that I emailed for a while, and building up some authority on forums. Which in turn lead to me doing some consulting for these smaller clients, and doing some coaching calls. It wasn't something scalable, but I enjoyed the one-to-one interaction, and finding out deeper what people's pain points and needs were. I thought I might bring out an info product or course.


4. What have you found most rewarding?

I really enjoyed demystifying AdWords. When I'm on a coaching call and looking over someone's shoulder as they create an ad, and then 10 minutes later they do a search on Google and see their own ad, I get a buzz at their excitement. They thought it would be impossible to setup an AdWords campaign, and now their ad is running.

Sometimes they even shout to their wife to come have a look at the screen.

Hearing the penny drop has been the most rewarding.


5. What is the most important lesson you have learned with regards to creating products/services?

Whilst I enjoyed giving people what they wanted, I realised I wasn't giving what they needed.

They learned AdWords quickly, and created some ads, but they're not going to become full time AdWords specialists, and they can't possibly do what I do with my 15 years IT and 6 years AdWords experience.

I realised that the 2 hour coaching calls could have been better spent if I build the campaigns myself, then handed them over.

They wouldn't know how to build the campaigns at the end of that 2 hours, but they would hopefully get the end result... which are inbound leads.

It seems obvious now, but people don't really want to learn AdWords. They don't want to learn SEO, content marketing, how to create a website. They don't want a yellow pages listing, or an ad on Google, or Facebook. They just want the leads and sales.

They might not think that at the start, but eventually they will realise that they want the result of this learning, not the learning itself.


6. Do you have a specific project you are working on at the moment? Please tell us about it!

So I'm now turning it on its head. I'm no longer interested in attracting prospects who want to learn AdWords, or want an AdWords consultant to build campaigns for them.

Instead, I'm going to generate leads for local service businesses, and give some free leads to contact businesses that can fulfil those leads.

If I give away 5 free leads to get a business signed up to buy future leads, then the cost of those 5 leads is my client acquisition costs.

I'm also moving away from having clients who I provide an AdWords service to, to having customers who buy leads from me.

I've a call-center lined up to accept the inbound calls and do the outbound calling. I'm getting the landing page created, and then will start doing what I do best - building AdWords paid search lead generation campaigns.


7. Is there something you would like to offer our readers? (if not I will remove this question from the blog post - could be newsletter, report, free advice - something for listbuilding)


No... not selling anything. I'm not trying to attract clients. :)

They can read the story about my electrician friend here though: www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/the-biggest-benefit-of-adwords.52440
 
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Errr... and in case you're wondering why I created this thread in the first place...

It's not to generate leads for myself from the forum.

It's because of all the PMs I get asking how to get started in lead gen. I'm not doing them justice with my short replies, and it makes sense to have a thread to point people towards.

Cheers!
Andy
 

DaRK9

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What do you use to track leads?

I was looking at hooking a CRM's API into my contact fields. I didn't find much on going from landing page to tracking customers besides newsletter type opt-ins.
 
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What do you use to track leads?

I was looking at hooking a CRM's API into my contact fields. I didn't find much on going from landing page to tracking customers besides newsletter type opt-ins.
A lot of leads will be people ringing in rather than filling in a form.

I'll be able to tell how many form fills were generated in a month by the AdWords campaign, and how many calls they got via a tracked number on a dedicated paid search landing page (I've used www.callrail.com and www.switchboardfree.co.uk to date).

But some of the calls are going to be someone ringing up about some work that's already in progress... meaning not all calls are new enquiries (and I certainly don't want to listen to all the calls and work out what are new enquiries).

Even then, not all new enquiries will be classified as a "lead" by the brick-and-mortar business, and their criteria for classifying it as a lead often changes based on who took the call.

I found that when the lead-to-sale closing rate for the inbound teams was monitored, they would often only class an enquiry as a "lead" if they thought they could close it - to keep their conversion rates high.

I've had clients complain that they aren't getting any phone calls. I then check the campaigns and ask them if they're sure they aren't getting ANY phone calls - to which they often reply "Yeah, we've had a few, but they are cr@p."

Overall, I've found it difficult to track leads generated for brick-and-mortar businesses. Most of the time they don't have their act together enough to know where their leads originate from.

It's just as well that most of them have a "budget" mentality anyway. Even if they believe their campaigns are profitable, they don't want to spend more than they budgeted for the month. The penny often drops after a few months, but not always.


Even big companies have this tracking problem, and agencies can struggle to help them.

A guy in Google told me that the AdWords agencies often don't get to know how many leads or sales are generated by inbound or outbound calls originating from a paid search campaign. (Outbound sales can occur when someone gets a quote online, but doesn't purchase, and then the outbound team follow up and close it.)

Because the PPC campaigns only have the direct online sales attributed to them, and the inbound or outbound sales are not attributed to them, agencies often lower bids to not be "unprofitable".


I've spent soooo much time trying to create "daily trading" ROI reports for clients... joining the AdWords data with what they're reporting in their CRM etc, and mostly it's to no avail.

At the end of the day all that matters is whether the client is happy with the campaign performance. Often the proof is as simple as campaigns having to be paused for some reason, and their numbers dropping instantly.

Maybe others have cracked this?
 
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Someone PM'd me this:

Based on your experience with search and working B2B, do you think that AdWords is the best way (I'm talking only about paid traffic) to validate a business offering B2B services or would you go elsewhere, perhaps LinkedIn?

Also, technically speaking, if you can get your first clients with paid traffic, does it better show that your offer is solid than if you were to go after warm traffic? I.e., does the ability to get clients with search traffic pretty much guarantees you have a solid offer that will also do well with organic traffic?
Great questions. I don't think I have definitive answers, but I can tell you what's worked for me, and what I think...

I think non-branded paid search is the first cold traffic type to start with, and since Google has most of the traffic, then that means AdWords paid search. My thinking is: if you can't sell to someone already searching for product or services you offer, then how are you going to sell to anyone else?

Also, use that traffic to find out what people are really looking for, and what ad copy they respond to, and build your landing page based on those learnings.

Saying that, I think that it sounds good in theory to get your first clients via paid cold traffic, but I think the reality is that you define your offerings by speaking to people first.

I know, I know - this seems to contradict what I first said, which is where I'm still unclear in my head.

I know that I've not generated ANY clients for myself via any paid media efforts.

I've spoken to many many people over the years, honed my stories, honed the way I explain the benefits of what I do. This has lead to leads trickling in, either from who I've spoken to, or more often, from people THEY have spoken to.


What I find I do then, is find out what people are looking for, and where I think I can get a steady stream of traffic and leads.

Then I load a quick campaign to see what MY volumes will be, and what my CPC will be.

Once I'm buying data, I pay WAY more attention to it, and it's like my other brain cells don't engage until then.

When I find something of interest, I can pause the campaigns, and then work out what money nozzle to put on the end of the quick-and-dirty funnel I've just built.


Also, whilst I provide a B2B service (lead generation), and want to move to a B2B product (the leads), I've realised that B2B searches are very low volume. e.g. not many people search for "solicitors leads", or "solicitor website design".

But there are MANY B2C searches such as "solicitors edinburgh".

We both know that the businesses don't want the website, AdWords, SEO, marketing services, marketing products.

The end result they want is the leads that all of the above generates.

So the current strategy I'm trying out is to use the higher volume B2C searches by consumers, and use those to acquire the businesses.


LinkedIn vs paid search? I suppose it depends. What I don't like about LinkedIn and Facebook is that you target a demographic of people who match certain criteria (location, sex, job title, likes, etc). If your offering has generic appeal to a certain demographic, then fine. I'd rather all my visitors had the same intent, rather than the same demographic criteria.


...

To which I then sent a further reply:

Actually, the first paid media campaigns to run are branded paid search - bid on your brand name to ensure you get them to your site, and to measure any changes in your branded search volumes.

As per this post:
 
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Thanks, Andy. I'm trying to find a decent way to track clients for a Botox Dr. I might end up having a few scripts made for me.
 

nbe

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A lot of leads will be people ringing in rather than filling in a form.

I'll be able to tell how many form fills were generated in a month by the AdWords campaign, and how many calls they got via a tracked number on a dedicated paid search landing page (I've used www.callrail.com and www.switchboardfree.co.uk to date).

But some of the calls are going to be someone ringing up about some work that's already in progress... meaning not all calls are new enquiries (and I certainly don't want to listen to all the calls and work out what are new enquiries).

Even then, not all new enquiries will be classified as a "lead" by the brick-and-mortar business, and their criteria for classifying it as a lead often changes based on who took the call.

I found that when the lead-to-sale closing rate for the inbound teams was monitored, they would often only class an enquiry as a "lead" if they thought they could close it - to keep their conversion rates high.

I've had clients complain that they aren't getting any phone calls. I then check the campaigns and ask them if they're sure they aren't getting ANY phone calls - to which they often reply "Yeah, we've had a few, but they are cr@p."

Overall, I've found it difficult to track leads generated for brick-and-mortar businesses. Most of the time they don't have their act together enough to know where their leads originate from.

It's just as well that most of them have a "budget" mentality anyway. Even if they believe their campaigns are profitable, they don't want to spend more than they budgeted for the month. The penny often drops after a few months, but not always.


Even big companies have this tracking problem, and agencies can struggle to help them.

A guy in Google told me that the AdWords agencies often don't get to know how many leads or sales are generated by inbound or outbound calls originating from a paid search campaign. (Outbound sales can occur when someone gets a quote online, but doesn't purchase, and then the outbound team follow up and close it.)

Because the PPC campaigns only have the direct online sales attributed to them, and the inbound or outbound sales are not attributed to them, agencies often lower bids to not be "unprofitable".


I've spent soooo much time trying to create "daily trading" ROI reports for clients... joining the AdWords data with what they're reporting in their CRM etc, and mostly it's to no avail.

At the end of the day all that matters is whether the client is happy with the campaign performance. Often the proof is as simple as campaigns having to be paused for some reason, and their numbers dropping instantly.

Maybe others have cracked this?
I assume you have done so already but just to be sure have you looked at?

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722054#calls_from_websites

Google will track clicks that lead to calls by dynamically inserting a Google forwarding number on your website that measures the calls made by users who have clicked on one of your search ads.
 

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