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HOT TOPIC Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses

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Andy Black

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@Kid thanks for the reply.

I tried putting the number in the headline. No difference in conversion or behavior. In both cases, they go through the site carefully reading the text (this is what I see from visitors recordings)

Since I am not the only one in the top of the google search, I think that people view all the other options and make the decision based on which site gives them the best "feeling" and not only if they see phone number (maybe in some other business like - plumber they do). This is why I hired copywriter to make some tests the conversion with good copy.

The problem I have with keywords is that I cant target exact match - [massage mycityname] since there is not enough monthly searches (in keyword planner it says 100 - 1000 per month), so I must go with the broad term phrase match "massage mycityname" and also have geolocation set up only to my region.
Use modified broad keyword +massage +location.

You can geo-target a larger location if you ensure a location is in the search term. Someone in New York might look for “massage scottsdale”. If there’s only one Scottsdale in the US, then you’d want that visitor.
 

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Kid

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In both cases, they go through the site carefully reading the text (this is what I see from visitors recordings)
I see (at least they read it, which is good). I just revisited your website to check for one (well known ;) ) trick - the website doesn't have email capture.

My reasoning is that if they read it, then ,as you said, they in "info gathering" mode. So give them something in exchange for their email. Like short .pdf about massage in general or "Quick guide on how to choose thai massage service".
 

focusedlife

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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:
@Andy Black there is so much gold, not only in the post itself, but the rabbit hole of links.

Just what I needed as I ponder the current "online" changes occuring including:

  • Craigslist charging $5 per gig and service post, now
  • The onslaught of Facebook friend requests I'm getting (how weird)
  • The underappreciated value of organic lead generation you can accomplish by just tweaking your profiles (especially on LinkedIn)
  • The potential I'm suspecting from Quora
  • The idea of revisiting some "old school" methods that people proclaim as dead
And, of course, more.

Would love to chat with you, one of these days.

Thank you.
 
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Andy Black

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Craigslist charging $5 per gig and service post, now
Oh, when did that happen? Interesting.

The underappreciated value of organic lead generation you can accomplish by just tweaking your profiles (especially on LinkedIn)
Yep. Change your title to be something clear and just connect with loads of people. Anyone who needs a "Freelance AdWords Consultant" will check out your profile before/as they accept the connection request, and may well PM you.

The idea of revisiting some "old school" methods that people proclaim as dead
Whatever is proclaimed as dead ends up not being flavour of the month. So while the herd chases flavour of the month we can go the other way.

I prefer to be contrarian and not follow the herd. There's much less BS and arseholes that way. Haha.

Would love to chat with you, one of these days.
Sure. Do all your pondering first, make some moves, and then let's have a chat. Maybe we can drop it in here?
 

Vincent_Vega

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One question: how do I handle clients in the same niche?
If I rent one landing page to a plumber for a monthly fee, creating a second landing page for another plumber would be direct competition. Is there a way around it?
 
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Andy Black

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One question: how do I handle clients in the same niche?
If I rent one landing page to a plumber for a monthly fee, creating a second landing page for another plumber would be direct competition. Is there a way around it?
I only take on one Google Ads client per city.

If it's just landing pages for the customer then I don't think it matters so much. It's like Unbounce not caring if their customers compete with each other.
 

Vincent_Vega

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I only take on one Google Ads client per city.

If it's just landing pages for the customer then I don't think it matters so much. It's like Unbounce not caring if their customers compete with each other.
Thank you for your reply!

So if you're doing Adwords for the client's website, you only take one client per niche per city?
What about niches in the niche like specific lawyers, doctors etc?

And what do you prefer: doing Adwords for the client's website or for your landing page for the client? Why?
 
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Andy Black

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Thank you for your reply!

So if you're doing Adwords for the client's website, you only take one client per niche per city?
What about niches in the niche like specific lawyers, doctors etc?

And what do you prefer: doing Adwords for the client's website or for your landing page for the client? Why?
Now I think about it, I do have one plumber doing emergency plumbing in Dublin, and another doing boiler replacements in Dublin.

If the client has a website we send visitors to that. If the data then shows that the landing pages aren’t a good match for the search terms and ads, then we suggest we create a landing page for them.

I’d love it if we always sent visitors to one of our landing pages because client sites are often slow, poor at converting visitors to enquirers, and don’t have various functionality we think helps.
 

Blackman

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Hi Andy,

After going through quite a few of your posts/threads on this forum, as I've just realized that you're "the Adwords guy" in here! I've got a feeling my Christmas holidays will be spent going through all of your 8k posts and making notes....

Wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the tons of invaluable content that you're putting out in here, which is not just information about Adwords, but it's actionable, because you show everyone how YOU do it yourself <<<<< not something that you come across often online.

I say "Adwords" (despite the fact it's Google Ads now), because I run my first ads back in 2007, when the whole PPC game was just taking off. I came across it from the affiliate marketing side and used to bid $0.05, which was good enough back then to get decent traffic.

Since then my focus shifted from PPC to building blogs and doing SEO, then making info products to running ads on Bing and just recently e-commerce, but after reading your posts on local service lead gen, it seems like this is what I should've done long time ago...

I've already posted some questions in another thread where I questioned the whole idea of running ads for local service keywords, where you only get a few clicks per day - initially, it feels like a waste of time, because you are hardly getting any traffic.

I'm only now starting to understand the real value of those clicks for local businesses, where even if you spend £10-15 on a click, that click could turn into a phone call and generate £100 or £200/sale...

As you can imagine, I'm coming from an affiliate background, where I would normally bid on something like "how to lose belly fat", get 100 clicks to my "review landing page" of the info product, then probably around 50% will click-through to the main sales page and I'll be lucky if 1% actually bought the product.

Needless to say, the local service lead gen is probably more like, you get 5 clicks to your landing page, 3 people make a call and 2 result in a sale. Of course, it'll be different from service to service, but you get my point.

This post is getting a bit too long, but I guess I'm trying to describe how a lot of people who are coming here from the "other side of Adwords" can look at this business model and think it's a waste of time due to very low volumes and expensive keywords.

I wanted to ask your opinion on 2 things really:

1. How would you compare doing Adwords for local service lead gen VS creating and optimizing a website for the sole purpose of getting ranked in organic results?

You could argue that once ranked by doing SEO, then all the traffic to your website is "free", but then from my experience, organic SERPs can be very unstable, and also you have to bare in mind that you are BELOW all the ads AND the "Local 3-Pack", even when ranked #1, so your traffic is going to be minuscule for local service keywords.

On the other hand, while Adwords does cost money, but you get instant traffic, you control keywords/ads and unless you do something really stupid, as long as you're paying, your ads won't suddenly disappear from the results, because of another Panda/Penguin or whatever Google algorithm update.


2. I have a good understanding of what goes into building an effective Adwords campaign (or at least I like to think so) as well as building a good landing page (the time will tell), but I have no experience of selling/referring leads.

So my idea of doing this is to build a non-branded landing page for a local business (window cleaning area X, carpet cleaning area Y), making it look relevant to the search terms, professional with all the necessary headlines/bullet points, etc. Put a CallRail or a similar service call number, which will then refer the calls to a local service provider, a person/company fulfilling the job.

I will choose the local service provider myself by finding them in Google and doing basic research, making sure they are a good company, been in business for X years and generally have a good reputation, etc. Once done, I will just use their contact number in CallRail to generate the tracked contact number for my landing page.

Then I will run the Adwords campaign for X amount of clicks, depending on the cost, and refer the leads to them totally free of charge. Meanwhile, I'll be listening to the calls in CallRail to see if those calls actually turn into a business.

If they do, I will then call the service provider and have a chat, saying that I referred John, Michael and Barry to you, and can keep on doing this for X fee/month, if you are interested? Of course, the pitch can be tweaked, but I'm describing the method in general, i.e. refer leads, generate business, then offer your help for a monthly fee.

I could also use a whisper message with CallRail to maybe mention my website, so later when I get in touch with the business owner, then he/she will know who I am once I've mentioned the website, but these are all minor details.

Would be great to hear your thoughts on the above 2 points and if I'm processing this the right way.

Appreciate what you do on this forum and all your help.

Thanks

Stephan
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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So my idea of doing this is to build a non-branded landing page for a local business (window cleaning area X, carpet cleaning area Y), making it look relevant to the search terms, professional with all the necessary headlines/bullet points, etc. Put a CallRail or a similar service call number, which will then refer the calls to a local service provider, a person/company fulfilling the job.

I will choose the local service provider myself by finding them in Google and doing basic research, making sure they are a good company, been in business for X years and generally have a good reputation, etc. Once done, I will just use their contact number in CallRail to generate the tracked contact number for my landing page.

Then I will run the Adwords campaign for X amount of clicks, depending on the cost, and refer the leads to them totally free of charge. Meanwhile, I'll be listening to the calls in CallRail to see if those calls actually turn into a business.

If they do, I will then call the service provider and have a chat, saying that I referred John, Michael and Barry to you, and can keep on doing this for X fee/month, if you are interested? Of course, the pitch can be tweaked, but I'm describing the method in general, i.e. refer leads, generate business, then offer your help for a monthly fee.

I could also use a whisper message with CallRail to maybe mention my website, so later when I get in touch with the business owner, then he/she will know who I am once I've mentioned the website, but these are all minor details.
I’m gonna be trying this out soon too.

I’ve tested it in the past and my only concerns are the biz owner either a) not hearing the message or b) thinking it’s spam cause of the robotic voice.

Could be a very powerful lead gen tactic.
 

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Blackman

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I’m gonna be trying this out soon too.

I’ve tested it in the past and my only concerns are the biz owner either a) not hearing the message or b) thinking it’s spam cause of the robotic voice.

Could be a very powerful lead gen tactic.
Well, to be honest, it's not really needed, because you could just go through the calls that you referred to the business owner in CallRail or whatever call tracking service you've got set up, and then use the information from there to identify yourself as the person who sent those customers. That would be things like customer's name or location or the specific type of service they required, etc.

You could also try to get in touch with the business owner in advance and tell him that this is what you're planning to do, i.e. there will be a whisper message for every customer you refer, but I think you might sound like a weirdo while explaining all this.

You will probably be in a much better position to explain yourself in the earlier example, because you will come across as someone who's already provided real value for free and want to know if you can help further, but for a reasonable monthly fee.
 
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Andy Black

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Hi Andy,

After going through quite a few of your posts/threads on this forum, as I've just realized that you're "the Adwords guy" in here! I've got a feeling my Christmas holidays will be spent going through all of your 8k posts and making notes....

Wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the tons of invaluable content that you're putting out in here, which is not just information about Adwords, but it's actionable, because you show everyone how YOU do it yourself <<<<< not something that you come across often online.

I say "Adwords" (despite the fact it's Google Ads now), because I run my first ads back in 2007, when the whole PPC game was just taking off. I came across it from the affiliate marketing side and used to bid $0.05, which was good enough back then to get decent traffic.

Since then my focus shifted from PPC to building blogs and doing SEO, then making info products to running ads on Bing and just recently e-commerce, but after reading your posts on local service lead gen, it seems like this is what I should've done long time ago...

I've already posted some questions in another thread where I questioned the whole idea of running ads for local service keywords, where you only get a few clicks per day - initially, it feels like a waste of time, because you are hardly getting any traffic.

I'm only now starting to understand the real value of those clicks for local businesses, where even if you spend £10-15 on a click, that click could turn into a phone call and generate £100 or £200/sale...

As you can imagine, I'm coming from an affiliate background, where I would normally bid on something like "how to lose belly fat", get 100 clicks to my "review landing page" of the info product, then probably around 50% will click-through to the main sales page and I'll be lucky if 1% actually bought the product.

Needless to say, the local service lead gen is probably more like, you get 5 clicks to your landing page, 3 people make a call and 2 result in a sale. Of course, it'll be different from service to service, but you get my point.

This post is getting a bit too long, but I guess I'm trying to describe how a lot of people who are coming here from the "other side of Adwords" can look at this business model and think it's a waste of time due to very low volumes and expensive keywords.

I wanted to ask your opinion on 2 things really:

1. How would you compare doing Adwords for local service lead gen VS creating and optimizing a website for the sole purpose of getting ranked in organic results?

You could argue that once ranked by doing SEO, then all the traffic to your website is "free", but then from my experience, organic SERPs can be very unstable, and also you have to bare in mind that you are BELOW all the ads AND the "Local 3-Pack", even when ranked #1, so your traffic is going to be minuscule for local service keywords.

On the other hand, while Adwords does cost money, but you get instant traffic, you control keywords/ads and unless you do something really stupid, as long as you're paying, your ads won't suddenly disappear from the results, because of another Panda/Penguin or whatever Google algorithm update.


2. I have a good understanding of what goes into building an effective Adwords campaign (or at least I like to think so) as well as building a good landing page (the time will tell), but I have no experience of selling/referring leads.

So my idea of doing this is to build a non-branded landing page for a local business (window cleaning area X, carpet cleaning area Y), making it look relevant to the search terms, professional with all the necessary headlines/bullet points, etc. Put a CallRail or a similar service call number, which will then refer the calls to a local service provider, a person/company fulfilling the job.

I will choose the local service provider myself by finding them in Google and doing basic research, making sure they are a good company, been in business for X years and generally have a good reputation, etc. Once done, I will just use their contact number in CallRail to generate the tracked contact number for my landing page.

Then I will run the Adwords campaign for X amount of clicks, depending on the cost, and refer the leads to them totally free of charge. Meanwhile, I'll be listening to the calls in CallRail to see if those calls actually turn into a business.

If they do, I will then call the service provider and have a chat, saying that I referred John, Michael and Barry to you, and can keep on doing this for X fee/month, if you are interested? Of course, the pitch can be tweaked, but I'm describing the method in general, i.e. refer leads, generate business, then offer your help for a monthly fee.

I could also use a whisper message with CallRail to maybe mention my website, so later when I get in touch with the business owner, then he/she will know who I am once I've mentioned the website, but these are all minor details.

Would be great to hear your thoughts on the above 2 points and if I'm processing this the right way.

Appreciate what you do on this forum and all your help.

Thanks

Stephan
Thanks for your kind words.

1) I don’t do SEO, but tell people that the Google Ads campaign will collect data about search terms, their search volume, CPCs, etc. From there people can decide what search terms are worth ranking for.

2) Sounds good, albeit maybe a bit complicated to start. Most of the time I’m hired by a service provider to generate them leads (or try to). When I generate leads first then I prefer to have someone answer the phone. I’ve not done it that way round very often (because I’m too busy with client work) but the phone calls are great - both answering the service-seeker, and trying to find a service-provider.

Have you listened to this:
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Thanks for your kind words.

1) I don’t do SEO, but tell people that the Google Ads campaign will collect data about search terms, their search volume, CPCs, etc. From there people can decide what search terms are worth ranking for.

2) Sounds good, albeit maybe a bit complicated to start. Most of the time I’m hired by a service provider to generate them leads (or try to). When I generate leads first then I prefer to have someone answer the phone. I’ve not done it that way round very often (because I’m too busy with client work) but the phone calls are great - both answering the service-seeker, and trying to find a service-provider.

Have you listened to this:
Possible value add? Offer an “in house” call center to answer the phone calls and book service for the client.
 

mikemiller

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Aug 19, 2019
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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:
Great post!
 

Blackman

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Thanks for your kind words.

1) I don’t do SEO, but tell people that the Google Ads campaign will collect data about search terms, their search volume, CPCs, etc. From there people can decide what search terms are worth ranking for.

2) Sounds good, albeit maybe a bit complicated to start. Most of the time I’m hired by a service provider to generate them leads (or try to). When I generate leads first then I prefer to have someone answer the phone. I’ve not done it that way round very often (because I’m too busy with client work) but the phone calls are great - both answering the service-seeker, and trying to find a service-provider.

Have you listened to this:
Thanks Andy, will check out that recording.

If I'm not wrong, you started doing this for your clients since 2015, so it will soon be 5 years that you're doing local service lead gen.

Has your method/strategy changed much during this time, if so, then how and have you managed to scale this business in a way that you're financially satisfied vs the time you spend every day dealing with clients/managing campaigns?
 

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Doesn’t google try to mitigate that?

I would think so since integrity of the platform world affect their revenues.
Yep. The effort needed to generate fake clicks that are hard to detect will be way to high for your avg. competitior of a local biz.

Nothing you should worry about to much.
 

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Yep. The effort needed to generate fake clicks that are hard to detect will be way to high for your avg. competitior of a local biz.

Nothing you should worry about to much.
@WillHurtDontCare Also Google allows you to block specific IP Adresses if you suspect a competitor is trying to run up your ad spend.
 

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Blackman

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Hi Andy, wondering if you had a chance to have a look at my post #167 (HOT TOPIC - Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses) ?

I run a Google Ads campaign this week to test the volume of local keywords for a home service and noticed 2 things:

1. I expanded my initial target local area to include almost 20 surrounding areas (1m+ population), because I barely got 2 clicks for my original location. However, the added locations hardly made any difference, as my best day was 5 clicks.

In the last 7 days, I received 11 clicks, 227 impressions with 4.85% CTR. How is it possible to work with this kind of volume?

2. While hardly getting any traffic is one issue, but then the cost of the clicks is also a killer. I initially set my max bids at $10/click, which is a lot as it is, but after that decided to make use of Google's "Maximum clicks" feature without a limit on bids to see if I could get more traffic.

It was a stupid decision anyway and hardly made any difference to the volume, as it got me a few ridiculously expensive clicks at $22 and $26 each, while the average CPC is at $9.87.

Mind you, this was for a quite simple home service, where the sale value won't be a lot, compared to more expensive services such as dentists and plumbers, so I struggle to see how my local window cleaner or gardener would cover my Google Ads costs, plus my management fee of X/month?

I know there are quite a few variables that can make a difference to the above numbers, such as type of service, location and campaign structure, but the overall picture doesn't look too exciting to me, hence the reason why I asked in my reply #167, if you still do this today, possibly with a few tweaks?

Thanks for your input.
 
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Hi @Blackman ... I’ve put this into my calendar to reply to.
 

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Hey Andy,

We spoke recently on FB quite awhile ago. Great thread (as always)!

I agree with you on Linkedin not allowing us to target on intent vs demographic, it's quite a pain but it still works. I've just started marketing on Linkedin, I get about 5k impressions and 13 clicks, I'm pretty new to marketing so I'm not sure how good/bad these metrics are (I feel they're quite bad).

But overall Linkedin is my favourite way of getting new leads inbound and outbound because the prospects seem to always be ready to invest in anything that can genuinely improve their productivity/save time.

I was going to make a separate thread about this but I use tools like Quiklist.io to quickly hit my personal sales/prospecting targets. With Quiklist, I literally spend 5 minutes building my contact lists, simple tool & use case but if you saw my sales forecasts and pipeline you'd cry hahaha
 
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Let me try and work my way through the latest questions. It will take a few evenings I think.


1. How would you compare doing Adwords for local service lead gen VS creating and optimizing a website for the sole purpose of getting ranked in organic results?
When someone says they want to rank for something via SEO I ask “Rank for what?”.

Personally, I’d rather start with paid search because I can learn much faster for my clients. They can give me a list of services, a list of locations, I can do a bit of keyword research, and then load hundreds or thousands of service-location combinations and see what the demand and supply is like.

We can buy data quickly and cheaply, and if the data says there’s not enough search volumes we can fail fast.

If there’s search volumes we then get data about click volumes, CPCs, CPAs, etc. If they’re not good enough we can pull the plug.

If it goes well, or there is some other business case based on the real-life data we’ve collected, then we can give the client data about search terms so they can decide which are worth getting ranked for SEO wise.


I’d rather have my Google Ads skills than SEO skills.


EDIT: Doh. Looks like I already answered that one. Oh well, I just added some more flesh to my answer.
 
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If I'm not wrong, you started doing this for your clients since 2015 ... Has your method/strategy changed much during this time,
I started local lead gen in 2009, so it’s been 10 years now. I did get a couple of Google Ads jobs to reskill, but was back working for myself after a couple of years or so.

Mobile is super important now. So much so that we often have to design a mobile landing page for clients because their website doesn’t cut it. I don’t just mean that it’s “responsive”. I mean designed for mobile users: fast, simple to use, with tap-to-call buttons and simple form fills or chatbots/pseudo chatbots.

The basics are the same. Get the search term to appear in the ad, and the landing page:

The high-level strategy is the same. Get ads to show, then count impressions, then buy data about clicks, then about conversions. Try to get profitable quick, iterate to get profitable, and ideally fail fast if not:

Ads have got waaay bigger over time. Side ads have disappeared. New ad extensions make top ads so big they almost push all organic results below the fold.

The trick is to make full use of all available extensions and get one over on the competitors who don’t. (After making sure you’re bidding on the right keywords, in the right match type, and with the right account structure.)

Google has been very sneaky by changing the precision of match types over the years. We have to watch our search terms for cr@p showing up. It can be very frustrating, and I trust Google less and less each week.


Am I happy with my business? I love it. I’ve focused on family for the last decade, what with having three small boys, losing my brother, and then losing my dad. My business has given me the freedom to spend a lot of time with them, while rubbing shoulders with business owners, and learning many different business models.

I still have local lead gen clients, and have up pushing back on eCommerce clients. Google Shopping can work a treat, although I prefer creating and optimising standard paid search campaigns.

There’s so many options available now that weren’t when I started 10 years ago. Remarketing can work amazing. We’re just getting into YouTube Ads. We’re looking more at Display Ads too given I’ve now got a graphic designer in house.

I’ve a few contractors working with me now.

I’m also seeing more clients coming through who are selling courses, which is fascinating for me as I also have a course I’ve been meaning to sell more of.

There’s definitely occasions where we can’t get campaigns to work. Sometimes volumes are too low, and/or CPCs are too high. But my goal was always to find soft under bellies and attack there.
 
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how and have you managed to scale this business in a way that you're financially satisfied vs the time you spend every day dealing with clients/managing campaigns?
As mentioned above, the business has kept me going while I had to attend to lots of other things. I switched from being an IT Contractor with one client where I went onsite each day, to having 20+ clients who pay monthly and where I don’t go onsite or have to sit through cr@p meetings. My revenue is about the same, but how it’s earned is so very different.

I not only have consulting clients, but we’re starting to build productised lead gen services in various industries. We’re starting to build directories, rent out landing page like Leadpages/Unbounce do, and build a plugin.

I also have a course and a paid email newsletter that I’ll scale and can then tackle other subjects where I’m not the subject matter expert.

I’m very grateful for what my business has allowed me to do in the past decade, and I’m excited about the possibilities for the next decade.
 
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Hi Andy, wondering if you had a chance to have a look at my post #167 (HOT TOPIC - Lead Gen for Local Service Businesses) ?

I run a Google Ads campaign this week to test the volume of local keywords for a home service and noticed 2 things:

1. I expanded my initial target local area to include almost 20 surrounding areas (1m+ population), because I barely got 2 clicks for my original location. However, the added locations hardly made any difference, as my best day was 5 clicks.

In the last 7 days, I received 11 clicks, 227 impressions with 4.85% CTR. How is it possible to work with this kind of volume?

2. While hardly getting any traffic is one issue, but then the cost of the clicks is also a killer. I initially set my max bids at $10/click, which is a lot as it is, but after that decided to make use of Google's "Maximum clicks" feature without a limit on bids to see if I could get more traffic.

It was a stupid decision anyway and hardly made any difference to the volume, as it got me a few ridiculously expensive clicks at $22 and $26 each, while the average CPC is at $9.87.

Mind you, this was for a quite simple home service, where the sale value won't be a lot, compared to more expensive services such as dentists and plumbers, so I struggle to see how my local window cleaner or gardener would cover my Google Ads costs, plus my management fee of X/month?

I know there are quite a few variables that can make a difference to the above numbers, such as type of service, location and campaign structure, but the overall picture doesn't look too exciting to me, hence the reason why I asked in my reply #167, if you still do this today, possibly with a few tweaks?

Thanks for your input.
Yes. This can happen. Sometimes volumes aren’t high enough and/or CPCs aren’t low enough. Sometimes it’s a case of grinding it out. Often it’s a case of giving it a bullet sooner rather than later.

If I’m running these campaigns for a client I feel so bad if I can’t dial it in. I understand it’s not just my time and effort being spent trying to dial it in, but also their money and time. I’ll often help out with costs when we pull the chord.

Then other times the client gets a load of enquiries immediately and is delighted.

And then there’s the bread and butter ones we have to grind out.
 

Blackman

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Yes. This can happen. Sometimes volumes aren’t high enough and/or CPCs aren’t low enough. Sometimes it’s a case of grinding it out. Often it’s a case of giving it a bullet sooner rather than later.

If I’m running these campaigns for a client I feel so bad if I can’t dial it in. I understand it’s not just my time and effort being spent trying to dial it in, but also their money and time. I’ll often help out with costs when we pull the chord.

Then other times the client gets a load of enquiries immediately and is delighted.

And then there’s the bread and butter ones we have to grind out.
Thanks for coming back to me Andy.

I've listened to your conversation with Contrarian about local lead gen business and I remember there was a point where you discussed the suitability of generating leads using this model for certain types of businesses.

For example, you mentioned that it probably won't work for dentists or solicitors or estate agents, where you would need more than just a simple landing page matching your ad title, to capture a lead, as with such services a lot more research goes into making a decision due to higher costs and generally it's a different kind of a buyer.

My point is, would you say that the model you describe is more suitable for trades types of businesses, such as what you would find on, say, here > Find Trusted Traders and Local Tradesmen

These types of services don't generally require fancy landing pages and as long as it's decent looking and more importantly relevant, then it should all be good, correct?

As for finding keywords with enough search volume and figuring out an acceptable CPC for the client, I'm assuming it's just a simple trial and error until you get it right? Do you cap your bids and let Google get you the max possible clicks for your daily budget?

And regarding landing pages, I'm thinking of simple HTML landers, as I don't fancy bothering with Wordpress...What's your experience?
 
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For example, you mentioned that it probably won't work for dentists or solicitors or estate agents, where you would need more than just a simple landing page matching your ad title, to capture a lead, as with such services a lot more research goes into making a decision due to higher costs and generally it's a different kind of a buyer.

My point is, would you say that the model you describe is more suitable for trades types of businesses, such as what you would find on, say, here > Find Trusted Traders and Local Tradesmen
What I meant was that a simple (ugly?) landing page works better for trades than for dentists, solicitors, or estate agents. People expect a tradesman's website to look a bit simple and garish.

I'd actually say the model is harder to make work for the usual trades - because so many people are trying to do it for them. If you were to scan through the local yellow pages and look at all the categories you'll find a lot of different types of businesses that could be easier.


As for finding keywords with enough search volume and figuring out an acceptable CPC for the client, I'm assuming it's just a simple trial and error until you get it right? Do you cap your bids and let Google get you the max possible clicks for your daily budget?
We rebuild, rebuild, rebuild until we either get it working, or call it a day.

We start with a blanket bid price for all keywords in the account, so we're then comparing apples with apples when we look at the data for each keyword. We can run these data gathering campaigns on $5/day or $10/day.
 

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