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HOT TOPIC Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses

Justin Gesso

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Be careful. Keep a tight rein on the Google guys. I've never seen this work out well for the business footing the AdWords bill.
Oh really? Why is that?

I assumed we would be in great hands. We will certainly be very close to the entire process. Thanks for the heads-up.

And we have set up the Google forwarding numbers for tracking. Seems to work well.
 

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Justin Gesso

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Andy - quick question on the Google forwarding numbers...
Do the phone numbers available from Google match up to your local prefixes?
(Meaning - does it look like a local phone number to potential customers?)

If not, how would you use conversion tracking?
Yes, we use Google forwarding numbers and yes they match the local area code. If none are available in that area code, it will use a 1-800 number prefix.
 
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Andy Black

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I got asked a few questions recently:

1) How to you track the ROI if you dont ask for leads ?
  • I try and get the client to tell me weekly how many enquiries he's had, and sales
  • I get them to add to a weekly shared Google spreadsheet
  • If I can, I get Google call forwarding added to the landing page to allow tracking in AdWords

2) Have you any experience in pay per call?
  • A little of pay-per-call affiliate marketing. I didn't like not having a relationship with the end client.
  • I prefer flat-fee with my current clients.

3) Do you use call extensions in the regular PPC campaigns ?
  • Yes

4) You talk about exact search a lot on fast lane, but you told me you did +service +area, so do you write it exact as well - Like [+service +location] ?
  • I use modified broad mostly now. It's written as +service +location
 

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Oh really? Why is that?

I assumed we would be in great hands. We will certainly be very close to the entire process. Thanks for the heads-up.

It's a question of incentives. Google's incentive is not for your business to be successful, it's for you to pay more money for advertising.


I talked on the phone with an Amazon PPC rep recently. She gave me some good ideas, and pulled data and sent me a list of keywords. She told me to set up campaigns using those keywords, let them run for 3 weeks, and then we would talk again.

30-40% of those keywords were high volume, one or two word keywords, that were completely non-relevant to my product. If I had thrown those in a campaign, I would've spent $100s uselessly. I took the good ones, and rolled with it.

One campaign she suggested I run, had an Average Cost of Sale of 120%... which is incredibly unprofitable. I canned it after a few days, but what if I had let it run for 3 weeks like she suggested?


You gotta take the good info and separate it from the not so good info.


They don't know or understand your business. They don't know what people who want your business might search for, or really be needing. However, they DO know how to make money off of advertising, and to do so by running people's accounts. I would never ever ever ever ever let Google run an ad campaign of mine. I'd much rather hire a company or person who specializes in adwords, someone like @Andy Black, because their incentive is me doing well, as they get paid more if I do.
 
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Andy Black

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It's a question of incentives. Google's incentive is not for your business to be successful, it's for you to pay more money for advertising.


I talked on the phone with an Amazon PPC rep recently. She gave me some good ideas, and pulled data and sent me a list of keywords. She told me to set up campaigns using those keywords, let them run for 3 weeks, and then we would talk again.

30-40% of those keywords were high volume, one or two word keywords, that were completely non-relevant to my product. If I had thrown those in a campaign, I would've spent $100s uselessly. I took the good ones, and rolled with it.

One campaign she suggested I run, had an Average Cost of Sale of 120%... which is incredibly unprofitable. I canned it after a few days, but what if I had let it run for 3 weeks like she suggested?


You gotta take the good info and separate it from the not so good info.


They don't know or understand your business. They don't know what people who want your business might search for, or really be needing. However, they DO know how to make money off of advertising, and to do so by running people's accounts. I would never ever ever ever ever let Google run an ad campaign of mine. I'd much rather hire a company or person who specializes in adwords, someone like @Andy Black, because their incentive is me doing well, as they get paid more if I do.
You're also dealing with employees in a large company, that requires 10 interviews to get in, and has months long induction programmes.

Not quite the same mindset as a freelancer or an employee in a small agency that can live or die by how well they perform.
 
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Andy Black

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Oh, and they all have to follow the Google best practices. If they give the exact same advice to every single client, then how can you get an advantage over anyone?

For local lead gen, I will go longer tail and build more intricate campaigns than my competition. I'll analyse the campaigns by downloading three dimenstions of data from the interface rather than trying to use the interface like everyone else does.

I'll do what others don't think to do, think is too hard to do, or aren't able to do.

...

It's not in Google's interest to get you the best possible performance either. Just good enough to keep you paying.



TL;DR?

There's a conflict of interest in letting Google manage your campaigns.

They're cr@p at it anyway.
 

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Andy - great stuff on this thread!

Do you have a shortcut to find advertisers who are letting Google manage their campaigns?
(Likely wishful thinking - but I've seen some amazing tips from you on several of your threads... so, thought I'd ask)
 
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Andy Black

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Andy - great stuff on this thread!

Do you have a shortcut to find advertisers who are letting Google manage their campaigns?
(Likely wishful thinking - but I've seen some amazing tips from you on several of your threads... so, thought I'd ask)
I've never even thought of looking for the ones that Google managed.

I suppose just look for cr@p campaigns generally.

You won't be able to tell which have been setup by Google, which have been setup by an agency or freelancer, and which have been setup internally.


PS: I currently don't get new clients by cold-calling. It's either repeat business, referrals, or inbound from reading/watching/listening to some content I've put out on the interwebs.
 
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Andy Black

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Originally posted here in response to someone who wanted to rent out a website to local service businesses.


Forget SEO.

Build a paid search campaign.

Build a landing page.

Send paid traffic to the landing page.

Generate a lead.

Contact the lead and confirm what they want and the best number to contact them on.

Do a Google search yourself.

Scour the Yellow pages.

Find businesses that could fulfil those leads.

Ring them and ask them if they do XYZ service and cover ABC location.

Tell them you have an enquiry for XYZ service in ABC location.

Ask if they can deal with it.

Give them the contact details.

Ask if you can ring later to find out how they got on.

Ring the consumer back too.

Take it from there.



.
.
.


Stop thinking about "building" stuff.

You're helping the consumer find a local service.

You're helping a local service get new business.

Everything falls into place when you think about who you're helping, and what you're helping them with.

Read my "Clarity of Purpose" post.

And go help someone, this week.​
 
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Andy Black, any recommendations for finding a website developer for a local service business with a focus on conversions?

What about getting help with managing adwords account?
 

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Andy Black

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Andy Black, any recommendations for finding a website developer for a local service business with a focus on conversions?

What about getting help with managing adwords account?
Took me ages to find a developer who was technically able, and keen to learn about local lead gen. You've got to know what you want first I think, then kiss a few frogs.

Now who could help build and manage local lead gen AdWords campaigns? Nope. Can't think of anyone. ;)
 
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Andy Black

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I dropped this video in another thread to show how I set "goals", but I think the goals are useful for anyone reading this Local Lead Gen thread:

 
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Andy Black

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This could be a game changer to local lead gen (and the end of it for marketers):

http://www.cleanfax.com/cleanfax-insider/google-home-services-will-change-seo-ppc-game/?platform=hootsuite
I've seen a few of these ads in the US. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.

It's obvious that Google is trying to become more of a directory than a search engine (my definition of a directory is that when you click a listing you stay on the site, and for a search engine you get sent to another site).

It makes sense for Google to not just index other people's content but to also house content itself (maps, the weather, flight times, etc).

To me this looks like an attempt by Google to get the smaller guys onto their advertising platform - the guys who can't use AdWords. But will it not canabalise the revenue they get from bigger players already using AdWords?

I don't know and I'm not going to try and second guess it.

The only thing constant is change. We adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

If there's a new lead generation environment or strategies then whoever masters them can use that skill/knowledge to grow their own business or other businesses.

Every business needs to generate leads. They either do it themselves, or get a third party to do it for them. If there are people out there who can bring a better ROI even with their fees included, then they will get hired. (They probably still get hired if they can't deliver a positive ROI tbh.)

No death of marketers that I can see.
 

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It's obvious that Google is trying to become more of a directory than a search engine (my definition of a directory is that when you click a listing you stay on the site, and for a search engine you get sent to another site).
Google is becoming a social network. Not its G+, but actual Google.com.

In fact, their Adwords game will be dead in a matter of several years as majority of people will use adblockers by that time, and Google perfectly understands that, hence why all those moves in last 2 years.
 

welshmin

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Google is becoming a social network. Not its G+, but actual Google.com.

In fact, their Adwords game will be dead in a matter of several years as majority of people will use adblockers by that time, and Google perfectly understands that, hence why all those moves in last 2 years.
I don't think it's so much that it will be dead, but the game will have evolved. It's prudent for any company to diversify and invest in alternative revenue streams. Google grew by essentially monopolising search and ad spend, they may just monopolise local lead gen next?
 
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Andy Black

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I don't think it's so much that it will be dead, but the game will have evolved. It's prudent for any company to diversify and invest in alternative revenue streams. Google grew by essentially monopolising search and ad spend, they may just monopolise local lead gen next?
I hear you, I just think that Google already monopolises local lead gen.

All they are doing is trying out different ways HOW to connect consumers and providers, and different ways HOW to sell it to providers, and different ways HOW to charge for it.

It will be interesting when Facebook search rivals Google search for local businesses.

Me personally? I just follow the intent and eyeballs.

It doesn't matter how we do it, we just have to get the right people to the right offer at the right time (aka make sales).
 

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I hear you, I just think that Google already monopolises local lead gen.

All they are doing is trying out different ways HOW to connect consumers and providers, and different ways HOW to sell it to providers, and different ways HOW to charge for it.

It will be interesting when Facebook search rivals Google search for local businesses.

Me personally? I just follow the intent and eyeballs.

It doesn't matter how we do it, we just have to get the right people to the right offer at the right time (aka make sales).
Agreed.

To jump to the conclusion that Adwords will die, that's a leap if I've ever heard of one. Until the day comes that there is a better service for practically ANY business to quickly scale regardless of where they stand on the totem pole, Google will remain supreme. Not saying it won't happen eventually, but within the next few years, highly unlikely. Google provides huge value to both sides of the transaction. If the paid SERPs are more relevant than the organic, it's silly to block ads and over time end users will realize this.

As for local lead gen, still viable. The issues I have personally encountered in this space is the required time and capital resources are growing, the end users are becoming more savvy, and the contractors have been burned too many times from countless fly by night companies. The unfortunate reality of the situation is, this industry is becoming more and more like the SEO industry, extra heavy on the upfront resources with the hope that the winds of change don't blow in the wrong direction.
 

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Agreed.

To jump to the conclusion that Adwords will die, that's a leap if I've ever heard of one. Until the day comes that there is a better service for practically ANY business to quickly scale regardless of where they stand on the totem pole, Google will remain supreme. Not saying it won't happen eventually, but within the next few years, highly unlikely. Google provides huge value to both sides of the transaction. If the paid SERPs are more relevant than the organic, it's silly to block ads and over time end users will realize this.

As for local lead gen, still viable. The issues I have personally encountered in this space is the required time and capital resources are growing, the end users are becoming more savvy, and the contractors have been burned too many times from countless fly by night companies.
By the time when paid results will be more relevant than organic (displaying ads to people who just search for some topic is not by any means relevant, and that's what the majority of google users does), industry will already change.
There will be no industry as it is now and it's a matter of years, not even a decade.
Currently google SERP with paid output looks like trash and it can't be improved much. Google SERP itself is 10 years outdated as the industry has already changed and became spotlight-oriented for the user. And there cannot be 2 spotlights at the same time, far the more not 10 spotlights + sidebar.

Those who realize this kind of things changed the approach years ago. Big companies realized that competing with Google is relatively easy with extended user experience. Your users don't even need to leave your website to find anything (vk.com for example), so you benefit from Google but Google doesn't benefit from you that much.

Service-based businesses generate incomparably more profits simply by skipping reach-focused SEO and PPC altogether, marketing directly or physically instead.
My commerce business doesn't run a single PPC campaign on Google or social media. We used to do PPV on social media, but now we don't need to.
Meanwhile, for majority of businesses no PPC = no business.

The unfortunate reality of the situation is, this industry is becoming more and more like the SEO industry, extra heavy on the upfront resources with the hope that the winds of change don't blow in the wrong direction.
Good marketing is easy and not resource demanding at all.
Meanwhile, bad marketing only becomes harder and more expensive with each year.
Unfortunately not many are wired in a progressive way to see this.
 

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Andy Black

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Example of initial exchanges with a prospect

So I had a text out of the blue last week from a Child Physiotherapist in Dublin.

She got my details from a guy I met for a coffee years ago, who ultimately never turned into a client, but sends me a referral probably once a year.


Text Exchange:











I put the ball back in her court by asking where she was based, what her catchment area was, and what she thought people might search for.

I'd leave it for her to come back to me. If she didn't then I'd not follow up.

She emailed me these details within a few days, which shows me she's been thinking about this already, and that she's quite keen.




I sent a short email back:



I replied to acknowledge receipt of her email, both because it's good manners, and to "take her off the market" for a few days until I could do a bit of research and send her a report.





Last night (about 4 days after our last email exchange) I spent about 20 minutes doing Keyword Research with the Google Keyword Planner. Search volumes were low as expected, so I didn't screenshot the Google Keyword Planner results.

I did send her the screenshots below as a Powerpoint attachment last night.


Here's the slides from the powerpoint doc:

















She's replied saying "That info you have sent looks good so far. Can you let me know if you can help set it up and also the fee involved?".

For me, these initial exchanges have gone reasonably well.



I've now replied with a lot more detail of what could be done, and only now have given a ballpark range for costs.

Here's the top of that email:





There's some more meat in the middle of that email, and then here's the end:



NOTES:
  • She's asked for fees in the first text exchange. This is a red flag for me. Fees for what? This indicates she sees the cost in what I do, and not the value. It's up to me to show the value before we discuss costs again.
  • I try hard to SHOW her her "bleeding neck". Screenshots help her visualise where her ad could appear, and how it could look better. Other screenshots (not included in the post) show how her landing page could look more relevant.

  • I show all the other things she could (needs?) to do.

  • Only then do I mention fees, and I mention that we can't determine those until we've better discussed her requirements. I give a ballpark range that ends with €3000+/mth to "anchor" the price high (also... I do genuinely have clients on that package).

  • My goal is to have a phone call or meet up next.

  • None of this is templated. It's a bespoke email based on her business, and our previous exchanges.

  • I talk about "we", not "I".
 
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Andy Black

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Jeez, all that free upfront work for such a tiny client?
Yep. That's the way I roll.

She likely got scared off by the price range too.



EDIT: If she doesn't come back within a couple of days then I'll follow up. I'd be happy doing the first month for the normal rate for a small client, and then dropping down to half that ongoing.

I'm more interested in learning this new vertical. If we can make it work, then there will be Child Physios around the rest of Ireland (and indeed the UK, US, AU, etc) who it should likely work for. Lots of ways to skin that cat if we can make it work for this one.

This small client could be the start of something bigger. And I love helping the smaller guy because I can relate better, and because I think they're under-served by the agencies who can't touch them due to their overheads and costs.



EDIT2: I spent probably as long writing up the post above as it took to do the report and compose the emails to her. There's a reason for that too - I want to help the guys on the forum who might want to do this, AND it's to educate a few of the guys I work with so they can see what I'm doing and why. This will help us all to get better with our processes going forward.

Maybe we create a standard brochure like response? Maybe it goes on my website and I can point them to it instead of writing the emails?

I won't get any feedback and ideas (from the market or from my team) if I don't spend the time to put it out there.
 
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Andy Black

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Had a chat with the physio today. Her business is smaller than tiny, but there's over 3,000 chartered physios in Ireland.

I've just sent a proposal that should hopefully suit her, with the lowest fees possible. I'm more interested in whether we can make this work for her and then roll out to other physios in other locations.
 
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Had a chat with the physio today. Her business is smaller than tiny, but there's over 3,000 chartered physios in Ireland.

I've just sent a proposal that should hopefully suit her, with the lowest fees possible. I'm more interested in whether we can make this work for her and then roll out to other physios in other locations.
I forgot to update this.

Even that smaller proposal was too high for her.

With red flags waving, I still came up with a way for her to pay my developer, designer, and work experience guy. She's delighted, and they're delighted.

The landing page is almost complete. Campaigns will likely be built this week.



What do I get out of it if I'm not taking any payment?
  1. I keep my team paid, and happy.
  2. A client pays for our processes and templates to get a bit better.
  3. A client pays for my work experience guy to learn with a real client. Hopefully this will turn out well for him and he can be a resource I can call on after his work experience finishes.
  4. I get to find out if our strategies/solutions work in the child physio space.
  5. I hopefully get one more happy client who can refer us on.
  6. It's a first step into the Irish Physio vertical. I'm eyeing the bigger picture.
 
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Jake Harris

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I've seen a few of these ads in the US. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.

It's obvious that Google is trying to become more of a directory than a search engine (my definition of a directory is that when you click a listing you stay on the site, and for a search engine you get sent to another site).

It makes sense for Google to not just index other people's content but to also house content itself (maps, the weather, flight times, etc).

To me this looks like an attempt by Google to get the smaller guys onto their advertising platform - the guys who can't use AdWords. But will it not canabalise the revenue they get from bigger players already using AdWords?

I don't know and I'm not going to try and second guess it.

The only thing constant is change. We adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

If there's a new lead generation environment or strategies then whoever masters them can use that skill/knowledge to grow their own business or other businesses.

Every business needs to generate leads. They either do it themselves, or get a third party to do it for them. If there are people out there who can bring a better ROI even with their fees included, then they will get hired. (They probably still get hired if they can't deliver a positive ROI tbh.)

No death of marketers that I can see.
Hi there Andy. Thank you very much for starting this thread and for spreading your ideas. It's great information and all actionable. I do have one question. I am new to Adwords and was exploring a bit, and noticed that you can pay per call now. Would you recommend this method (depending on the business of course), seeing that it eliminates the conversions that are often lost in a traditional squeeze page?

Thanks!
 
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Hi there Andy. Thank you very much for starting this thread and for spreading your ideas. It's great information and all actionable. I do have one question. I am new to Adwords and was exploring a bit, and noticed that you can pay per call now. Would you recommend this method (depending on the business of course), seeing that it eliminates the conversions that are often lost in a traditional squeeze page?

Thanks!
Thanks for your kind words.


You mean using a call extension so that people on a mobile can click the "Call" button in the ad and call without visiting the landing page?

Sure, we use them for businesses that want phone calls (pretty much all out clients at the moment).



I wouldn't have it so that someone clicking the ad headline on a mobile is shown the phone number and doesn't get to the landing page.

Firstly, it isn't what people expect when they click an ad headline.

Secondly, my highly relevant ad headline is replaced with a "Call <number>" headline - which defeats the purpose of me crafting a highly relevant ad headline to entice the click in the first place.


I'm not sure where a squeeze page comes into it.

Check out video in thread "Local Lead Gen Simplified".

When you're searching for a local service business by location, you probably want to ring them or send them a message.


Hope that helped!
 
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Andy Black

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