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HOT TOPIC Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses

xaviel

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I'd like to thank Andy for the amazing material he posted on Adwords over the years.

A month ago, I sat down for 6 days and went through his posts 1 to 35 here: Andy's AdWords Posts (at 3-4hrs a day, i read slow)

I now run Adwords for two local clients, and a 3rd very soon.

90% of my ads are in the top 3 position with awesome impr share.

In a city of 1.2 million people, the local lead gen market is still ripe for the picking in January 2017.

Most of the local businesses don't know what they're doing. A new client of mine was throwing $1500/month at Adwords without being able to measure results, nor knowing what's going on.

Thanks Andy for the knowledge!
 

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Andy Black

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I'd like to thank Andy for the amazing material he posted on Adwords over the years.

A month ago, I sat down for 6 days and went through his posts 1 to 35 here: Andy's AdWords Posts (at 3-4hrs a day, i read slow)

I now run Adwords for two local clients, and a 3rd very soon.

90% of my ads are in the top 3 position with awesome impr share.

In a city of 1.2 million people, the local lead gen market is still ripe for the picking in January 2017.

Most of the local businesses don't know what they're doing. A new client of mine was throwing $1500/month at Adwords without being able to measure results, nor knowing what's going on.

Thanks Andy for the knowledge!
Whoa. 6 days at 3-4 hours a day is like 18-24 hours to go through my AdWords threads!

Glad it helped, and well done taking action and getting a couple of local clients.
 
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Andy Black

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Most of the local businesses don't know what they're doing.
Oh boy. This is so true.

Do a search for <service> <location> for a big city near you.

Check the ads to see if they echo back both the service and the location.

Check the landing pages to see if they match the ad.

Can you find *any* that have a good search term -> ad -> landing page?

With my new found screen casting skillz, I'll do some videos and drop them in here.

It's sooo bad out there.

The blind really are leading the blind, and the one eyed man can clean up.

Do paid search right and it's like 21st century weaponary against poor mom 'n' pop brandishing rolling pins.
 

Zimbizee

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Andy,

Firstly, thanks for all the info you have shared here, it's a goldmine of knowledge.

Are there any adwords courses available that you would recommend, other than by google?. I am also going to try and get some work experience with an agency to get some real world knowledge. This looks like a real opportunity to get involved in local and at the same time help small biz's
 
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Andy,

Firstly, thanks for all the info you have shared here, it's a goldmine of knowledge.

Are there any adwords courses available that you would recommend, other than by google?. I am also going to try and get some work experience with an agency to get some real world knowledge. This looks like a real opportunity to get involved in local and at the same time help small biz's
You're welcome @Zimbizee, and thanks for your first post.

Hmmm... do you want to learn AdWords to get into an agency, or to help businesses generate more sales?

I've never worked for an agency, although have been head-hunted a few times by agencies in Dublin.

An agency may want you to be Google Certified so they can tell prospects you're certified when they're pitching. And so they can have the Google Certified badge on their website.

In which case, the Google training may be helpful. I've not been through their online training although had the misfortune of sitting through day 1 of their Certification bootcamp. It was excruciating, and downright wrong in places.

Here's my personal opinion on Google Certification:


I think working in an agency for a little while would definitely have its benefits. I took a couple of jobs when I wanted to upskill into AdWords (and keep paying the mortgage), although went client-side rather than agency-side.

I mention it here:


I didn't get those jobs because I was book learned though. I'd already started and had a few small local clients. My first was someone I knew who needed more work, as described here:


The first book I read was Perry Marshall's, but that was after I had campaigns running. It's a good book.


My personal recommendation would be to NOT have a goal to learn AdWords, but to have a goal to help someone. As mentioned in this thread:


I believe it will take 18+ hours to go through my posts here:



And if you're going to take action on it, then I'd recommend the course I dropped into the Marketplace here:
 
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Zimbizee

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You're welcome @Zimbizee, and thanks for your first post.

Hmmm... do you want to learn AdWords to get into an agency, or to help businesses generate more sales?

I've never worked for an agency, although have been head-hunted a few times by agencies in Dublin.

An agency may want you to be Google Certified so they can tell prospects you're certified when they're pitching. And so they can have the Google Certified badge on their website.

In which case, the Google training may be helpful. I've not been through their online training although had the misfortune of sitting through day 1 of their Certification bootcamp. It was excruciating, and downright wrong in places.

Here's my personal opinion on Google Certification:


I think working in an agency for a little while would definitely have its benefits. I took a couple of jobs when I wanted to upskill into AdWords (and keep paying the mortgage), although went client-side rather than agency-side.

I mention it here:


I didn't get those jobs because I was book learned though. I'd already started and had a few small local clients. My first was someone I knew who needed more work, as described here:


The first book I read was Perry Marshall's, but that was after I had campaigns running. It's a good book.


My personal recommendation would be to NOT have a goal to learn AdWords, but to have a goal to help someone. As mentioned in this thread:


I believe it will take 18+ hours to go through my posts here:



And if you're going to take action on it, then I'd recommend the course I dropped into the Marketplace here:
Wow Andy, many thanks for such a detailed and speedy reply.

I would much rather help businesses with more sales than work in an agency. I was looking at agency work more as a means to an end to learn the in's and out's of working with adwords in a real world situations. Maybe i'm approaching it in the wrong way and it would be far more useful to work with a real business. I just didn't want to use a business as a guinea pig whilst trying to figure out how adwords worked as it's real money they would spending and i know many folks have been badly burnt not really knowing what they are doing.

I understand adwords do have vouchers on occasions to use, but i did read something a while ago that some registered charities can apply and receive a free adword spend per month from google if they meet certain requirements. This would be an excellent way to learn the ropes whilst helping a good cause without risking anyone's money. If this is still true i will investigate this week.

I have just listened to " the-biggest-reason-websites-suck " and it was very informative. I'm going to head over to www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/andys-posts.70522 now and start digesting.

Once again, thanks for the info, greatly appreciated

Ashley
 
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TheDillon__

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Hey! Tangential question here on marketing your services.

I really like this AdWords thing. It seems like a perfectly mathematical way to go about doing business - and I feel like there's a great opportunity to help a lot of small businesses here.

Say I'm trying to get myself listed as a local AdWords expert. (I want to get enough customers to pay for Andys course out of my own profit.)

How do I go about running a modified broad match test for local keywords? Would I do [+AdWords +Expert +Dallas] in its own campaign? Should I have [+AdWords +Dallas] in a separate campaign? Or one campaign for both?
 
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Hey! Tangential question here on marketing your services.

I really like this AdWords thing. It seems like a perfectly mathematical way to go about doing business - and I feel like there's a great opportunity to help a lot of small businesses here.

Say I'm trying to get myself listed as a local AdWords expert. (I want to get enough customers to pay for Andys course out of my own profit.)

How do I go about running a modified broad match test for local keywords? Would I do [+AdWords +Expert +Dallas] in its own campaign? Should I have [+AdWords +Dallas] in a separate campaign? Or one campaign for both?
1) You're mixing your match types up a bit.

Square brackets is exact match: [adwords expert dallas]

Pluses is modified broad match type:
+adwords +expert +dallas

I don't know what would happen if you wrote it as you had:
[+adwords +expert +dallas]

I guess Google would use the square brackets and see the pluses as some sort of punctuation and ignore them. It's a guess though.


2) Your keywords are cannibalising each other. They could both show for someone who types in "adwords consultants dallas". No real biggie, but I prefer to force traffic to the right keyword and ad. That way I can show a better ad.


3) My favourite business quote is from Mother Theresa:

"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person closest to you."

Listen to the call I have with Paloma (call 16 in the thread listing all my calls with fellow forum members... linked to in my signature).

Start with the people closest to you. Family members, friends, etc.

Also listen to the first radio interview linked to in my signature.

Do you really want to learn AdWords by running AdWords campaigns head-to-head against other AdWords specialists? (BTW... I think they're probably as bad at it as a lot of non-AdWords specialists so maybe it won't be that hard. I've never tried it tbh.)


4) I understand the cost of the course could be high for some people even though I think the value-for-money is exceedingly high.

Would a payment plan help? I might have a look at that, although I think I have to pay a higher monthly fee to Thinkific to have payment plans...
 

TheDillon__

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1) You're mixing your match types up a bit.

Square brackets is exact match: [adwords expert dallas]

Pluses is modified broad match type:
+adwords +expert +dallas

I don't know what would happen if you wrote it as you had:
[+adwords +expert +dallas]

I guess Google would use the square brackets and see the pluses as some sort of punctuation and ignore them. It's a guess though.


2) Your keywords are cannibalising each other. They could both show for someone who types in "adwords consultants dallas". No real biggie, but I prefer to force traffic to the right keyword and ad. That way I can show a better ad.


3) My favourite business quote is from Mother Theresa:

"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person closest to you."

Listen to the call I have with Paloma (call 16 in the thread listing all my calls with fellow forum members... linked to in my signature).

Start with the people closest to you. Family members, friends, etc.

Also listen to the first radio interview linked to in my signature.

Do you really want to learn AdWords by running AdWords campaigns head-to-head against other AdWords specialists? (BTW... I think they're probably as bad at it as a lot of non-AdWords specialists so maybe it won't be that hard. I've never tried it tbh.)


4) I understand the cost of the course could be high for some people even though I think the value-for-money is exceedingly high.

Would a payment plan help? I might have a look at that, although I think I have to pay a higher monthly fee to Thinkific to have payment plans...
Great tips. Thanks as always!

1. Oops. Thanks

2. I understand exact match is optimal. I meant when I'm testing for impressions, how I could do so most effectively. However I feel like a single campaign for "+AdWords +Consultant +Dallas" would yield good results.

3. Will definitely check these out! And I'm reaching out to Amy friends with businesses already. Offering them impression research at cost for the experience. :)

4. Honestly I think the course is very generously priced as is - especially with the discount for forum insiders. It's only difficult right now as I'm between jobs moving into the city.

I wouldn't mind dropping $100 and getting a bit of content - the rest on full payment. But if that's the case, I'll just sign up for Insider and enjoy the discount later.
 
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2. I understand exact match is optimal. I meant when I'm testing for impressions, how I could do so most effectively. However I feel like a single campaign for "+AdWords +Consultant +Dallas" would yield good results.
My default is to start with modified broad, with a few words in the keyword (so not +london or something dumb like that).
 

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nzott

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Hey! Tangential question here on marketing your services.

I really like this AdWords thing. It seems like a perfectly mathematical way to go about doing business - and I feel like there's a great opportunity to help a lot of small businesses here.

Say I'm trying to get myself listed as a local AdWords expert. (I want to get enough customers to pay for Andys course out of my own profit.)

How do I go about running a modified broad match test for local keywords? Would I do [+AdWords +Expert +Dallas] in its own campaign? Should I have [+AdWords +Dallas] in a separate campaign? Or one campaign for both?
Spend some time learning other local lead gen strategies beyond Adwords as well. Average Adwords ad spend for small local service business i.e. business owner and <5 employees, is <$1,000. That's not an exact figure, but it's what I've come across. Plus, depending on the market you're in, there's only so many searches being performed each month for specific industry keywords. For any one market, you can only take on 1 client in a specific industry before it becomes a conflict of interest. Meaning if you have two lawn care companies in the same market, you're clients are competing against one another driving up costs.

Another big platform that most people don't have the time to monitor properly is Thumbtack. I have someone who works full time and her only job is bidding Thumbtack jobs and doing a 5 day follow up sequence with every bid we submit. You can train a VA to do this for any business you bring on board. It'll be a value added service you offer that nobody else is doing (at least from what I've found). One VA can easily manage multiple accounts.

To learn Adwords, create a simple landing page from lead pages, or unbounce. Make sure you have all the key elements necessary for a quality local service landing page. Drive traffic to this using Adwords, but don't put any branding on the page. Just a place to enter a clients name, contact info, and message box for what the client needs. When a lead comes in, call around and find someone to do the job. For lawn care, call a lawn care service in your area (highly rated on Yelp) and say you have someone that needs lawn care, here's the contact info. You send that business 2 or 3 free referrals and they'll want to be your best friend. At that point you can offer to send them jobs "exclusively" for a fee.

Also, spend time on forums and Facebook groups where local service business owners hang out. Offer your services for free for 5-10 clients as you fine tune your process. Or simply offer to do an analysis of their current online marketing strategy for free. Then, ask them to publicly leave you a review on the forum once you're done. You'll have to get your name out there as a valuable resource before you can claim to be an "Expert" and charge money for your service.
 
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Andy Black

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Spend some time learning other local lead gen strategies beyond Adwords as well. Average Adwords ad spend for small local service business i.e. business owner and <5 employees, is <$1,000. That's not an exact figure, but it's what I've come across. Plus, depending on the market you're in, there's only so many searches being performed each month for specific industry keywords. For any one market, you can only take on 1 client in a specific industry before it becomes a conflict of interest. Meaning if you have two lawn care companies in the same market, you're clients are competing against one another driving up costs.

Another big platform that most people don't have the time to monitor properly is Thumbtack. I have someone who works full time and her only job is bidding Thumbtack jobs and doing a 5 day follow up sequence with every bid we submit. You can train a VA to do this for any business you bring on board. It'll be a value added service you offer that nobody else is doing (at least from what I've found). One VA can easily manage multiple accounts.

To learn Adwords, create a simple landing page from lead pages, or unbounce. Make sure you have all the key elements necessary for a quality local service landing page. Drive traffic to this using Adwords, but don't put any branding on the page. Just a place to enter a clients name, contact info, and message box for what the client needs. When a lead comes in, call around and find someone to do the job. For lawn care, call a lawn care service in your area (highly rated on Yelp) and say you have someone that needs lawn care, here's the contact info. You send that business 2 or 3 free referrals and they'll want to be your best friend. At that point you can offer to send them jobs "exclusively" for a fee.

Also, spend time on forums and Facebook groups where local service business owners hang out. Offer your services for free for 5-10 clients as you fine tune your process. Or simply offer to do an analysis of their current online marketing strategy for free. Then, ask them to publicly leave you a review on the forum once you're done. You'll have to get your name out there as a valuable resource before you can claim to be an "Expert" and charge money for your service.
Great post. Thanks @nzott. Rep.

Focus on one vertical and scale by going to other locations so you're not competing with your current clients. Lots of ways to do this for the same location and vertical too.

Thumbtack AdWords campaigns and landing pages suck. So easy to beat. But they're doing pretty good anyway. Shows how wide open local lead gen is.

IMO, start with AdWords and branch out to other channels, especially if it's your own domain.
 

nzott

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Great post. Thanks @nzott. Rep.

Focus on one vertical and scale by going to other locations so you're not competing with your current clients. Lots of ways to do this for the same location and vertical too.

Thumbtack AdWords campaigns and landing pages suck. So easy to beat. But they're doing pretty good anyway. Shows how wide open local lead gen is.

IMO, start with AdWords and branch out to other channels, especially if it's your own domain.
They definitely suck, but for some insane reason, they get the phone to ring. Definitely not a long term option as it's got a limited lifespan as the space improves. It's so fragmented currently that cheap stuff like that works.

Use this to one's advantage now, but build the real valuable assets around that as things improve. Great way to get started on the cheap.
 
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@Andy Black

Have you had any success/experience with the click to text ad extensions for local businesses?

If so, what trends have you noticed in the ctr?
 
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@Andy Black

Have you had any success/experience with the click to text ad extensions for local businesses?

If so, what trends have you noticed in the ctr?
I've set them up for a few clients but completely forgot to check them tbh!
 

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@Andy Black Hey Andy,

So I just finished an AdWords course and I was searching terms like "hot water heater repair Ottawa" to see who was competing for AdWords and how I could try and beat them.

For almost every term I searched www.homestars.com was in the AdWords results.

It's funny because I've actually been on their site multiple times, but it wasn't until learning about lead gen that I now realize it's a massive lead gen site.

They definitely have big pockets and have already amassed a big database of businesses with reviews etc.

If you had a big site like this to compete with for AdWords in the UK, would it worry you? Or am I just being paranoid?
 

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Just because they're big, doesn't mean they exist without flaws. At least one of my early clients has mentioned flaws in their system. Work it to your advantage.

Nike owns 80% of the sneaker market, should Adidas call it quits?
 
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^^^ What he said.

You can compete with people with big budgets by being better.

Mind you, there's so many local service verticals wide open that I'd rather not pick hotels and go up against booking.com...
 

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I've read on hear the need to build a sort of landing page, send traffic to it via Adwords, and then maybe give away a few free leads to a local business in order gain their trust (and ultimately sell future leads). Many of the Adwords CPC I find are around $8-$10+ dollars for keywords such as service + location (Tree Trimming Kansas City is $8.85 for example). Even if I can get 5% of people to enter their contact info, 100 clicks would be somewhere around $900 for those 5 leads. Am I thinking about this the correct way or am I missing something? If 100% of my traffic comes from Adwords at the beginning it seems like the cost could add up very quickly.
 
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I've read on hear the need to build a sort of landing page, send traffic to it via Adwords, and then maybe give away a few free leads to a local business in order gain their trust (and ultimately sell future leads). Many of the Adwords CPC I find are around $8-$10+ dollars for keywords such as service + location (Tree Trimming Kansas City is $8.85 for example). Even if I can get 5% of people to enter their contact info, 100 clicks would be somewhere around $900 for those 5 leads. Am I thinking about this the correct way or am I missing something? If 100% of my traffic comes from Adwords at the beginning it seems like the cost could add up very quickly.
Firstly, if you're getting that data from the Keyword Planner then those estimated *bid* prices (not CPCs) are for top ad positions, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Secondly, the ideal way to get your first few clients is through people you already know. Spend your time and money on diesel and coffee first?

"Spend your money on diesel and coffee"
 
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I've read on hear the need to build a sort of landing page, send traffic to it via Adwords, and then maybe give away a few free leads to a local business in order gain their trust (and ultimately sell future leads). Many of the Adwords CPC I find are around $8-$10+ dollars for keywords such as service + location (Tree Trimming Kansas City is $8.85 for example). Even if I can get 5% of people to enter their contact info, 100 clicks would be somewhere around $900 for those 5 leads. Am I thinking about this the correct way or am I missing something? If 100% of my traffic comes from Adwords at the beginning it seems like the cost could add up very quickly.
This is what no one talks about. Conversion Rates for service based local businesses that are spending $5-10 per click and converting at 5% which is actually above average...unless your thinking in terms of lifetime value of a customer, most business are paying well over a hundred bucks on average for a confirmed sale/new customer...way more for competitive segments like plumbing in bigger cities. It's discouraging to say the least.

In your example you get 5 leads, but how many of those leads turn into a paying customer? Maybe 2 or 3 at best.
 
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This is what no one talks about. Conversion Rates for service based local businesses that are spending $5-10 per click and converting at 5% which is actually above average...unless your thinking in terms of lifetime value of a customer, most business are paying well over a hundred bucks on average for a confirmed sale/new customer...way more for competitive segments like plumbing in bigger cities. It's discouraging to say the least.

In your example you get 5 leads, but how many of those leads turn into a paying customer? Maybe 2 or 3 at best.
When dialled in, I've had some service based businesses converting visitors into enquiries at nearly 40% some weeks.

Just last week for one client: 36 clicks, 14 phone calls, 10 sales (ads were paused on Wednesday too).

(These results are not typical!)
upload_2017-6-13_23-12-2.png
 

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AdamMaxum

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When dialled in, I've had some service based businesses converting visitors into enquiries at nearly 40% some weeks.

Just last week for one client: 36 clicks, 14 phone calls, 10 sales (ads were paused on Wednesday too).

(These results are not typical!)
View attachment 15164
There's definitely still plenty of potential with adwords...but for the majority of people paying for adwords with less than stellar management or knowledge of the platform....depending on industry of course...they're paying more than they probably realize for customers in most cases.

I manage adwords for clients and it's mind boggling how many of them spend thousands a month and really have no idea what is going on...and maybe glance at the reporting.


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I have a newish post on the thread linked to my sig about conv rates at 5-8% ( for pretty much anyone setting up Adwords ) and going up to 18-25% if you are doing things right.

I even mention people I know hitting 50%, but they are dialed in and doing it with warm and semi-warm leads.

@AdamMaxum - I also agree with you on the clients spending $1000's a month and not knowing whats going and having just anything run for months/years in their account.

It's a shame really, but it's what also keeps me in business too.
 
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Andy Black

Andy Black

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ZeroTo100

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I've read on hear the need to build a sort of landing page, send traffic to it via Adwords, and then maybe give away a few free leads to a local business in order gain their trust (and ultimately sell future leads). Many of the Adwords CPC I find are around $8-$10+ dollars for keywords such as service + location (Tree Trimming Kansas City is $8.85 for example). Even if I can get 5% of people to enter their contact info, 100 clicks would be somewhere around $900 for those 5 leads. Am I thinking about this the correct way or am I missing something? If 100% of my traffic comes from Adwords at the beginning it seems like the cost could add up very quickly.
I'm sorry but I feel this is an aweful approach. Think about this for a second - you have a massive competitor in your market and they have a huge following on FB, IG, Twitter, etc. Many of their customers are repeat customers. So, you use their service and try to find flaws, gaps, ways to compete against them. Now you're all set to go with your site and your business. You're ready for your first sale...What's your first move? I am hoping it isn't paid ads...WHY? Don't you think it might be wise to target your competitors followers on social media (for free)? They're targeted, they are already spending money in the market, and you're ready to win them over.

Hope this helps!
 

Aston_M

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Hey Andy, I have created a landing page and set up a AdWords campaign for a local niche in the hope of selling the leads to a local provider. Should I put a phone number on the landing page, I was thinking either my mobile number or a number of a local provider. I can then see if I generate any phone calls, if so I can call up the provider and say I have generated you x number of calls? What would you recommend either my mobile number, a local service providers phone number or use callfire and divert the phone calls to a service providers phone and I can listen to the calls? Appreciate any advice.
 

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